Dave thinks that the recent deaths of COG ministers are a sure sign that his god is displeased with all of the COG's. The god of Armstrongism has always been a magical god, ready to wreck vengeance upon all the ministers and COG's that certain leaders disagree with.
I wanted to talk a little bit about something that relates to prophecy in a way that we would not normally talk about or think of. If a certain verse came to mind…that I’m going to show you in a moment…that, again, is another one of those that nobody ever understood, you certainly wouldn’t think of what I’m going to tell you. I’m just going to pass on something that is not pleasant, but, in a way, it can be, once I explain the whole picture.For a number of days now, maybe a couple weeks, in a large splinter…One of the large groups; the one I was in when it was called Global…one person after another, one minister after another, has died in an unbelievably tragic way. It’s just unprecedented. For a long time, in some ways before we even got to the things that I’m going to mention, I often thought of that group as a place of death and tragedy in some ways.Now, you might say that’s awfully strong…but there’s so much. There’s been murder. There’s been a vastness of the ministers that have died; been incapacitated. I’ve often called the group a widows’ convention…and there are a great many.About two weeks ago, maybe just a little over two weeks ago, a senior minister—a man who was ordained an evangelist over there in Australia—died suddenly. A massive stroke—dead—and left Australia rudderless. They put his son in charge because all the other ministers in Australia have grave health problems, and they can’t put any of them in charge. I know these men, because I’ve been to Australia for the Feast 20 years ago. I helped this man come into Global. I remember meeting him back in 1973. He was a faithful man in many regards. Love him dearly, and suddenly—gone.Another minister—this week—killed himself, and I knew him very well. The name is very personal to me. He was my first wife’s dear friend, beginning in 1960. She was in Milwaukee at age 14, and he was in the teenage group from Chicago, age 15. She would have graduated from college in’ 67; he in’ 66. Her childhood friend…I’m glad my wife is not here to learn how he took his own life.When I got to meet him, it was a joy, because I’d heard so much about him, and how, when my first wife’s grandmother, who was from Germany, came to services one day in Chicago for a Holy Day, this man’s father…very German family…also from Germany, walked up to the two Germans, on a Holy Day at, I believe it was McCormick Place in Chicago in the early’ 60s, and said, Oh, are you a member of the Church? She said no, and he goes, Ahh, du bist ein Heide. In other words, “You’re a heathen.” [laughter] I’ve never forgotten that story. And I kidded this man about his father, and it was a fun story. There are many wonderful memories I have of this man.I also helped him…even though he was older than I was by about four-, four-and-a-half years; five years ahead of me in college…I helped him come into the Global Church of God. Now, they’re both suddenly gone.Another pastor, in the Philippines, dropped dead this week. Just dropped dead, in the same group—heart attack, massive heart attack—longtime pastor.A member in this splinter was on the plane that went down—Egypt Air. A member in France left a grieving husband and son…and she’s never to be found. A terrorist act or not…I don’t know…but they were coming in…If you know the story, about two-and-a-half weeks ago. That’s a sad situation.So, there’s four, right there, and I wanted to just to cover this. I don’t “speak to” every one of those people. I’m not about to say that, if you take your life…That’s why I don’t want to get into his name…that you’re just going to come up in the Kingdom. Because very difficult things are going to happen, and to suggest to people—who, really, in the end, don’t endure to the end—that’s all right, you can die this way or that……But, that’s okay. You take your life, even though you didn’t endure to the end, you can be in the Kingdom. Because you suggest, to other people, that if the going gets tough—check out, and you’ll be in the Kingdom.There is a horrible, horrible message being portrayed about this…I hope the man, who was a friend of mine, was never converted; then maybe he could be someday. It’s a confusing time. One other thing that makes this man personal to me, and I guess I choose to share it with you, this particular minister took the Real Truth magazine for many years, right till his death. His name is still on our subscription list. He used my book on the trinity to help people in the splinters. The fact that the Worldwide Church of God introduced the trinity at a point was a big, big problem, in a particular way to this particular man, and he saw the book that I had written…and he’d studied the subject a lot…and he asked if he could have copies of the book.There was certainly a very interested and zealous side of this man, and none of you would have ever known he was on the Real Truth list, but now that he is gone, I will make you aware of that. But one of the concerns that we have, brethren—and I’ve seen this—where we sort of judge in more than one way. We have to be very careful we do not judge that people don’t make it into the Kingdom. You have to be very careful. And I’m not doing that. But when you declare that someone is in the Kingdom, you have also overruled God in a different way. You have judged for Him.
We can understand sin. We can know people by their fruits, but when it comes to such matters, at the end of the day, where they do or don’t go, we stay out of it. I just bring that up, because there are so many different elements of the tragedy like this in an organization that’s full of tragedy, where sometimes that tragedy can personally touch us. And in this case, I’m very personally touched. I’m just glad my wife, again, is not here to know how her dear friend, from the early 1950s, ended.
It’s a very confusing time with some of these people. The person who went down in that plane…Is it random? It’s kind of like the tower of Siloam fell on certain ones, you recall Christ’s account—except you repent you shall all likewise perish. These were not chief sinners, Christ said. There are tragic things that happen in a world. Why does God let a woman like that go down in that plane, leaving a grieving husband, and son? It also happens in other splinter groups where a lot of people are dying, not just ministers. I listed both there.