Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The Bible Shows that the Elijah Work of Restoring Doctrine Continues Today

I will cover this very briefly in this post, then refer to other posts in this blog that cover this in more detail.

The Bible shows that the Elijah work of restoring doctrine, that is, "all things", continues today and into the future.

There are people who claim that Herbert W. Armstrong completed the work of restoring doctrine and that, because he completed that work, we should never correct or add to what he has taught.  Assuming they are sincere in wanting to follow their Bibles and live by every word of God, they are making a serious mistake.

Jesus said, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things" (Matthew 17:11).

I, and many others, think that Herbert W. Armstrong was the Elijah to restore all things.

But that does not mean his work is yet complete.  It continues today.  The Church of God today has the responsibility to finish the work started through Mr. Armstrong.  But it is still Mr. Armstrong's work.  He restores all things even today through the Church of God, which God raised up through him for this time, and which Mr. Armstrong trained to finish the work.

This is what the Bible teaches.

Some of those who say we should not change Mr. Armstrong's doctrines because he was the Elijah to come ought to do a Bible study on Elijah, starting with the first Elijah, and be careful not to sweep the scriptures under the rug.

Are scriptures about the first Elijah prophetic?  Can we learn something about the Elijah of our time from what the Bible says about the first Elijah?  If not, why call him Elijah?  Why call Mr. Armstrong Elijah unless that name has some meaning - unless it represents something about the first Elijah we can learn from?

God gave Elijah a job.  He was to do three things.  He was to anoint Hazael as king over Syria, Jehu as king over Israel, and Elisha as prophet in Elijah's place (1 Kings 19:15-16).

Think of this as God giving Mr. Armstrong a commission to restore all things.

Did Elijah do all these things directly himself?  Do your own Bible study.  He did not.  At least one thing he did indirectly through the work of those who followed him, delegating the job.

It was Elisha who anointed Jehu after Elijah was gone, and even he did not do it directly but through an unnamed son of the prophets (2 Kings 9:1-10).  You can think of Elijah and the sons of the prophets as like the Church of God today, continuing the work of Elijah even after Elijah was gone.

This is the principle of delegation, and there are examples throughout the Bible.  One of the clearest is that Christ baptized, not directly but through His disciples (John 4:1-3).

When someone delegates a job to someone else, the first person has the authority, but the ones he delegates the job to are the ones who actually do the work in the name of the first person.

Mr. Armstrong taught and prepared the Church of God to continue his work of restoring all things, even as Elijah delegated the work of anointing Jehu to Elisha, and Elisha delegated it to an unnamed son of the prophets.

If not, what do these scriptures mean?  If those who came after Elijah were not to continue the work God had commissioned Elijah to do, even after Elijah was gone, what does this example show?  Because that is exactly what happened with the first Elijah.

Mr. Armstrong's work of restoring doctrine is to continue through the Church of God he supervised and trained in his lifetime.  That is our responsibility.  And it is Mr. Armstrong's work, and it is attributed to him, even as we do it today, because he started it, he trained us, and we continue his work.

Mr. Armstrong restored all things to the Church of God by teaching us to believe the Bible more than our traditions and by teaching us to understand the Bible by letting the Bible interpret the Bible.  He set that process in motion.  It continues today, but at a slower pace because of the resistance of many COG leaders to changing tradition.  I believe the pace will quicken after God tests us a while.  But it is Mr. Armstrong's work because he set the process in motion.  Mr. Armstrong restores all things today and in the future, because he started the process and we continue in his work.

It has been more than 35 years since Mr. Armstrong died.  God has been testing the Church of God and all its leaders, ministers, and members since that time.  God used Mr. Armstrong to teach the Church, both by his example and his doctrines.  The lesson of his example continues through his autobiography and his other literature and audio recordings, and God is testing us to see how well we learn our lessons.

No group today has a wide-open door for preaching the gospel and the Ezekiel warning to the world.  For some groups, the door is open a little, and wider for some than for others.  For some, it is not open at all.  Maybe when God finishes testing us He will open a door wide for someone.

We should learn from Mr. Armstrong, but is his example important?  Some hold on to a list of doctrines but throw his example out the window.  But Christ said that one perfectly trained will be like his teacher (Luke 6:40).

Mr. Armstrong's example, available through his autobiography, teaches us to believe the Bible more than any man, church, minister, or tradition, to learn new knowledge from the Bible, and to correct mistakes in doctrine.  If we learn from his example, we will follow in his footsteps.  We will change doctrine in order to grow in knowledge of the truth as he did.

We continue the Elijah work of Mr. Armstrong of restoring lost doctrine today, as he trained us, just as Elisha and the sons of the prophets continued the work of the first Elijah.

We either believe the Bible or we don't.  If we reject the Bible, we reject the God who inspired it.

I am not trying to cause division.  I want peace in the Church of God.  But God, in the Bible, warns and corrects those who need correction, and His words are not always gentle.  He also instructs us to warn those who need a warning (Proverbs 24:11-12, Ezekiel 3:17-21).

These warnings and corrections should be given in love, just as a father corrects his children in love, for their good.  God corrects and rebukes and warns in love, and we should do so from the same motivation.  And those who are wise will heed correction and not resent it (Proverbs 9:7-9).

Not everyone who offers correction is causing division.  You can correct someone, in love, and still be a peacemaker.  If the correction is true and if those you correct heed the correction, divisions can be healed and there will be more peace, not less.

"Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear" (Proverbs 25:12).

What we may call, "the Ezekiel warning", has two parts.  One is the warning Ezekiel, and those of us like Ezekiel who have the knowledge of the warning and the opportunity to deliver it, are to deliver to Israel.  But a second part is the warning to Ezekiel himself, and us also, if we fail to deliver the warning.  If we do not deliver God's warning, blood guilt will be on our heads.  In other words, God will count us as murderers (Ezekiel 3:17-21).

I want all Israel to hear that warning before tribulation begins, all 500 million people, while there is time for anyone to repent and escape.  I want them to hear it so they know God was fair to warn them and give them a chance.  This glorifies God's name for eternity because it shows God's fairness and compassion.

I also want the Church of God members in all fellowships, and those scattered and at home, to escape the judgment of blood guilt for not doing their part to warn those who need a warning.  That is why I encourage the preaching of the gospel and the Ezekiel warning to the public.

Being willing to practice what we preach is a necessary part of that work.  We cannot close our minds to new knowledge, new truth from the Bible and history, then ask the general public to learn new truth, contrary to our own example.  If we do that, we are hypocrites, and cannot expect good success in delivering God's warning to others.  And God may count us as murderers because we had an opportunity to warn, and we didn't.

We can warn.  We can glorify God's name and reputation for fairness and help Israel by delivering God's warning.  But we must pay a price to do so.  We must leave our comfort zone and be willing to follow the example and work of Mr. Armstrong.  He always put the Bible first, and any new knowledge he found in the Bible, over and above any traditions or teaching of men, even in the Church of God.

If we close our minds to that example, if we turn away from new truth we find in the Bible, if we make it church policy not to go beyond Mr. Armstrong's teaching and never add to it or correct it, as he himself did all his life, we fail, through our own fault, to obtain the open door for giving the warning.  God will put the blood of the people on our heads.

That is what I want to avoid.

I am not trying to cause division.  I am not seeking a personal following.  I am not making any money from this.  No one even knows who I am.  I want peace in the Church of God, but peace that comes from all of us following God's teaching in the Bible.

Here are related posts in this blog. You can find these posts in the column on the right or copy and paste the link into your browser:

TITLE:  Is There a Contradiction Between Learning New Knowledge and Recognizing Herbert W. Armstrong as the Elijah to Restore All Things?
DATE:  Thursday, December 24, 2020
LINK URL (website address, copy and paste in your browser):

TITLE:  How Did the First Elijah Do God's Work?
DATE:  Wednesday, December 30, 2020
LINK URL (website address, copy and paste in your browser):

TITLE:  Elijah (Again)
DATE:  Saturday, January 2, 2021
LINK URL (website address, copy and paste in your browser):