Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Which Church of God Will Make Petra Bloom Like A Rose?

Now that Gerald Flurry is diminished in his mental capacities due to his recent strokes, PCG has been reposting many of his old articles.  One such article is about the long-held myth that the COG has circulated for decades, that Petra is the place of safety (The Place of Safety: The World Tomorrow In Embryo!).  Flurry believes that the PCG will be taken to Petra where they will make the desert bloom like a rose and send out broadcasts to the world on the "truths" of Herbert Armstrong.

Flurry writes:
In this place of safety, this great rocky fortress, God’s people “declare his praise in the islands.” There certainly are no islands in the wilderness areas of the Middle East—especially in the area of Jordan. So there’s some kind of a work going on from the wilderness, something more than just what the two witnesses are doing during the Great Tribulation (Revelation 11:3-12). God has a message and these people are declaring it, probably via satellite and other technological means. A powerful Work will be done somehow.
Now who will declare His praise in the islands? The Bedouin Arabs? No. God’s Laodicean Church? Of course not. They are spewed out and will go through the Tribulation because of their rebellion toward God and because they were overthrown in the spiritual wilderness as ancient Israel was physically. They had the truth and then they lost it. 
God says, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise” (Isaiah 43:19-20). In context, you’ll see this is during a time of great suffering. God is giving drink to His chosen, and He is making the desert blossom as a rose, even before the Millennium.
God is talking about a single wilderness and a single desert, and about “my chosen”—in the context of the rest of Israel, with whom He is not happy. So this cannot be during the Millennium; it must be in a place of safety, where God is going to start a “mini-Millennium.” There will be a message going out from the place of safety, and there will be miracles in that place, and the desert will blossom as a rose. There will be a message of hope to this world which will have very little hope—especially those who will have been victims of the Beast power. 
Herbert W. Armstrong used to say that the Place of Safety would be an embryo of the World Tomorrow. And it may be more of an embryo than even he realized, because of the work God is going to do in the place of safety which will give the whole world a vision. He is going to use this small group, a very elect, to usher in the wonderful World Tomorrow—a beautiful paradise where all the world and all the deserts will blossom as a rose. There will be hope like this world has never even dreamed. The word paradise doesn’t describe it. It is far more than just a paradise: it’s a glorious vision! 
This is going to be a mighty tough job to do since Bob Thiel will also be in Petra when Flurry arrives.  Flurry will not need to worry about Thiel though, all Thiel will be doing is still screeching about being doubly blessed, Fatima, satan's chair, and those damn ugly crosses.  Add to that mix Dave Pack and his superfantabulous church.  They will be making mincemeat of Flurry and Thiel as they proclaim that they are the ONLY ones doing a real work.  Head on up the road a distance, then through a canyon, and there will be United Church of God doing their bold work by putting up useless billboards on the hillsides.  Then round the next bend, you will find the Living Church of God building their one room cave university so they can educate the world on just how things will be.  Further down the road, in a god forsaken place, you will find the COGWAites building their little exclusive compound and doing what they do best, nothing.  Over in the next wadi, you will see David Hulme building fences around his little parcel of land in order to keep his members from commingling with the other heathen COGites while complaining how hard it is to drive his Jaguar on sand. Meanwhile, outside the siq, Mark Armstrong will be hold up in the Petra Marriott still living off the teet of long dead Garner Ted.

The Bedouins in the Petra area will be standing there in amazement at the complete asinine shenanigans of the TRUE Church of God.  What an amazing witness this will be to the Bedouins!  A foretaste of the UNITY of the kingdom...ugh!


David said...

The only "place of safety" I know of is here in the mountains of West Virginia! After all, this is "God's country". Stick that in your hat Mr. Flurry!!

Anonymous said...

United has never preached the Waterhouse Petra baloney. Rarely is a "Place of Safety" mentioned, even though it's taught in the NT.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what planet you are on but a large percentage of UCG members still believe that Petra is the place of final training. While Kubik and others may not preach it publicly, they still believe it.

nck said...

That is nuts. Even HWA put in writing in 1982 that he shure hoped it wasn't in that inhospitable place.


DPR567 said...

I love Petra. Got to see them in concert during their "On Fire" tour.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

The Place of Safety (drum roll please)... can be in the safety of your own home! Which, if God is truly an almighty God, can protect us while the rest of the world goes down the toilet...right in our own homes!

No wings of an eagle; no "counted worthy to escape all these things"; no "one is taken, one is left" no Gerald Waterhouse; no Petra Place of Safety; No place of further education and training.

This was an incentive to many for joining the Radio/Worldwide Church of God. There was even a booklet entitled "There is a way to escape" - to escape the Great Tribulation which was scheduled to start with the second 19 year time cycle and the German attack on America in the first week of January, 1972.

"Classic Armstrongism" as preached from the pulpit in the years leading up to 1972 taught the Philadelphia brethren would be taken to Petra Place of Safety in January, 1972 (50% of the Church) while the remaining brethren left behind would constitute the Laodicean era.

The ACOGS continue to use the Petra Place of Safety as an incentive. Post Herbert Armstrong, the coexistence of the Philadelphia remnant in the Laodicean era in this present age is not a classic Armstrong teaching. Often "Philadelpian zeal" in the Splinters as well as in the old WCG is measured by the amount of money given to the Church which, in turn, helps being counted "worthy to escape all these things".


Anonymous said...

G.Flurry gave the commencement speech this past Sunday before the graduates at HWA College and he looked fine according to someeone I know who watched it. So I am not sure where the rumors about his having strokes is coming from but apparently he looked fine. Maybe having his own private jet boost his moral and rejuvenated him.

Anonymous said...

“Which Church of God Will Make Petra Bloom Like A Rose?”

Gerald Flurry's PCG will be “razing and ruining” Petra.

David Pack's RCG will be stealing anything that is not fastened down in Petra.

Petra will become a desolate waste after they are done with it.

Church Of Armstrong said...

Garner Ted Armstrong did NOT teach going to a place of safety. The Church Of God (International) & The Intercontinental Church Of God and their various splinter groups do not teach that particular doctrine.

DennisCDiehl said...

I have a Petra-Hut all ready to go to serve the brethren in their Place of Final Complaining!

Arno said...

Ever wondered where Gerald Waterhouse could have/must have sourced his ideas about The Place of Safety, from? Ever heard about the Dake's Annotated Reference Bibe? It's a bible with four equal-sized columns on each page -- two of KJV-text and two of notes and comments, and a complete concordance and cyclopedic index, by Finis Jennings Dake, a contemporary of HWA. The bible itself was copyrighted in 1963. All the notes and comments were previously -- and still are -- available in seperate books/booklets and tracts.

Dake has the following comment on Ps. 60:9 under the heading "Sela or Petra."

"Sela or Petra, the rock hewn stronghold capital of Edom (2 Ki. 14:7; Isa 16:1). It is mentioned several times as *the rock* (Judg. 1:36; Isa. 42:11; Jer. 48:21; 49:16; Oba. 3). It is also called *Bozrah* (Isa. 35:5-6; 63:1-5; Jer. 48:24; 49:13, 22; Amos 1:12). The ancients called it *Bozrah of the rock.*

"Today it is referred to as *the silent city of the forgotten past*, and *the rosed city, half as old as time.* It lies halfway between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. It exerts a magic spell upon the minds of men who know it. It has one weird approach through a deep rock cleft 6,000 ft. long. Its temples, numbered nearly 1,000, cut into the rock of the great cliffs surrounding the whole city ... It has places of defense where one man could hold against an army. ... an open theatre seating 6,000; many runlets, aqueducts, basins, reservoirs, and cisterns where water has been storedbin time of seige; and several springs supplying water for the city. ..."

Dake's went on to explain how the Romans utilized the place, why it was abandoned and why the British was persuaded not to build an access road to the place. He then closes these notes on Petra with the following rather remarkable paragraph:

"This is the central place to be reserved for the Israelites when they flee from Judea and when Antichrist breaks his covenant with them taking over Palestine during the last 3 1/2 years of this age. See point 10, *The sun-clothed woman, p. 307 of N.T."

And this is what point 10 has to say, "There is only one company saved ... at the beginning of Daniel's 70th week ... That company is ... clearly revealed to be 144,000 Jews."

It's fascinating to read the notes at all the other scripture references that Dake's use and to realize how Waterhouse utilized it to weave *his* version of a Place of Safety. I was always under the impression that this *doctrine* was unique to the WCG, until I read this source during 1986. Once again nothing new or unique under the sun!

Anyone else here that has an idea where the original WCG got this *doctrine* from?

Anonymous said...

Post Herbert Armstrong, the coexistence of the Philadelphia remnant in the Laodicean era in this present age is not a classic Armstrong teaching.

^THIS. If your ACOG teaches that you are a "Philadelphia remnant" in the Laodicean Era, you are following the teachings of the Buddhist occultist Herman Hoeh, not the teachings of Herbert Armstrong.

HWA's old doctrine today poses a problem for the splinters. If there are church eras and there is just one true church, then that one true church must now be Laodicea. However, if there exists a Philadelphian remnant alongside Laodicea, this also opens the door for a Sardis remnant and a Thyatira remnant, and multiple "true churches" all at once.

Ed said...

I don't think that most COG people who believe in going to a place of protection realize how crazy that sounds. I, as a former WCG member used to believe that I was going to the place of protection. Now I am on the outside looking in and see the craziness of this belief. Waco and Jonestown come to mind. Where those places supposed to a safe place for the true believers?

Unknown said...

Im cool with Petra, just as long as it has free ESPN, HBO and Dominoes Pizza delivery.

Anonymous said...

Wait--you forgot Malm. He's some miles away in Pella, but every day he sends planes over Petra, which drop leaflets detailing 1,000 reasons why everyone is wrong and needs to hightail it over to Pella--with him as leader, of course.

Glenn said...

My understanding is that the Petra teaching originated as speculation from Loma Armstrong after she read an article about Petra in National Geographic magazine.

NO2HWA said...

Good one 9:45! The leaflets most assuredly would say that the other COG's had no zeal left in them. What an idiot.

LCG Expositor said...

The Case Against The Place Of Safety

1) There are two groups of people in Revelation 12:13-17. They are clearly described in the immediate context. One is “the woman who gave birth to the male Child”. Every preacher I have ever heard promote the place of safety glosses right over this. At most they give a passing reference to the woman being the church, but they never address how the church could possibly have given birth to Jesus, since the church didn’t exist then. Some might argue that there is only one continuous woman from the time of Abraham down through today. But Revelation 12 clearly talks about TWO sets of people and makes clear distinction between them. The second set of people is “the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev 14:12 describes the saints as “those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus”, a nearly identical description as the second set of people, those in Rev 12:17. So, it appears that Revelation 12:17 is the saints (the church) and 12:13 is not. So, who is the woman of verse 13? It can only be the Jews. It was the Jews who gave birth the the male Child; it is the Jews who gave birth to the church; it is the Jews who will be taken to the place of safety. Further, the faulty teaching that the church of God gave birth to the man Child, is made worse by the inference that since only the Philadelphia era of the church of God will go to the place of safety, the Philadelphia era of the church of God must have given birth to the man child. That is stretching the scripture far beyond the breaking point. So, the conclusion is that it is the Jews who will be taken to a place of safety, not the church.
2) The place of safety that the woman fled to for 1260 days in Rev 12:6 is singular, as is the place of safety in Rev 12:14. Yet the church has taught that the verse 6 place was not a single place yet verse 14 is.
3) Matthew 24:16 says “let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains”. It specifically says nothing about those who are elsewhere. Who is in Judea now, the church of God or the Jews?
4) The KJV refers to the people of Rev 12:17 as the remnant. The Greek word is not explicit on what remnant means. The concept of remnant in common English is that of leftover scraps after the good stuff has been taken away. However, the Biblical concept is quite different. “Remnant” is referred to as “very holy” when used for the offering portion remaining for the priests. The book of Ezra refers to the returning Jews as a remnant. Isaiah and Jeremiah talk of a remnant returning to the land. Ezekiel talks of a remnant that shall be saved. The point is that the remnant of Rev 12:17 need not be some inferior Laodicean Christians, but could be the choice elect. There is no indication in Rev 12:17 that they are anything otherwise.
5) Revelation 13:7 says Satan shall war against the saints and overcome them, they don’t escape. Daniel 7:25, too. It doesn’t say that some will escape and some won’t.

LCG Expositor said...

6) There is a promise of protection for the faithful Christian at the time of the end, it’s just not the place of safety of Revelation 12. Revelation 3:10 clearly says that the faithful will be spared in the time of trial. “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world” This is addressed to the church at Philadelphia. If you believe in church eras and therefore conclude that it is the Philadelphian era that is going to the place of safety, then you confronted with trying to explaining how the Philadelphian era gave birth to the man child. The same group of people who gave birth to the man child are going to the place of safety Read Rev 12:13-14 again. Luke 21:36 also promises end-time protection to those “worthy”, but says nothing about a place of safety.
Observation: The place of safety doctrine is the Church of God’s own rapture theory that has been invented and abused by church leaders to manipulate people into staying in a human organization, thinking that doing is the only way to be protected during the great tribulation. This, of course, gives more power to the leaders, both in terms of more money and in terms of more personal loyalty. Once this place of safety myth is shown for the fraud that it is, people are then more free to follow a leader because he follows Christ, as opposed to following a leader only to save their own skin.

Anonymous said...

4.18 PM
God protecting you in your own home during the tribulation, is not Gods way of doing things. In the bible, God goes out of His way to honour reality. For instance, He typically uses the weather or foreign armies to punish nations.
As Christ out it, don't tempt God.

If Gerald Flurry is beaten down with strokes, why did he buy that nice plane?

nck said...

Yes Glenn,

The Petra speculation started with Loma.
However I don't remember if the NG article coincided with her trip to Iraq, Syria, Egypt in the early fifties while HWA was doing his usual diplomatic business, which was his real job since his meetings with the Saudi King in the '40's.

It is important to know the origin of this speculation since Herbert acknowledged in 1982 that it was speculation by his writings. In many top down organisations the minions or lower rank take speculation by the upper echelon as order or strict dogma.

I do feel the importance to stress Petra as the place of safety to "true Armstrongists" though. I feel that any negating of this Petra doctrine might just open a can of worms of speculation that the place of safety might just be in the Guyanan woods, a Tejan or Oklahoman compound. So Petra is the place to go any time I engage with a "true believer."

I saw a person not understanding the "church era" doctrine.
Both from historic sources as from the bible it was interpreted that more than one remnant of "church era's" could exist in the same "era".

Even you are into "church era's" it reads, that in all era's there were "righteous or "philadelphians" among them "counted worthy.

In the early eighties this led me to speculate that the Laodicean era had started with the departure of Garner Ted. Since his doctrines were more or less a liberal version of the "mother church" while coexisting.
So the budhist/occultist Hoeh was not the first to invent such narrative. If I can do it than certainly "the annointed" I would speculate.

Of course the Tkachian changes were more to be likened to the wholesale departure of the priesthood from temple worship instead of a mere transition into "Laodiceanism".

I applaud Joe Jr for proving the splinters wrong by just doing that. Although I do disagree with his doing that. But he was faithful in not being Laodicean, he just changed it a 100 percent.


Anonymous said...

The COGs should have high tailed it to Petra back in the 70's when most of the congregation consisted of Depression era babies. They were brought up on sacrifice and the threat of war and would, for a time, feel a true sense of safety from the tribulation. Now, we are used to our creature comforts, running water, air conditioning and electricity. Initially, most who actually made it there would be thankful they were "safe." Not so much when the reality of living like Bedouins get old, very quickly. Personally, I may want to tough it out in the comfort of my own home. I want my MTV!

RSK said...

Very good, LCG Expositor. I used to note the issues with Rev 12 in WCG and never could get a straight answer.

Byker Bob said...

I can see that some folks need to read up on William E. Blackstone (1841-1935), father of American Zionism. Blackstone taught that Petra would be the post-rapture place of safety for the Jews, and invested thousands of dollars in stocking the caves of Petra with New Tesataments so that the Jews would read them during the tribulation, understand what was happening to them, and could become saved.

I don't know that HWA ever knew of Blackstone or his work. However, based on what we know today about HWA and GG Rupert, we know for a certainty that HWA did not always credit his influences. Blackstone was well known as an advocate for the recreation of Israel as a nation, and it is plausable that one minister preoccupied with Israel would be aware of another.


Anonymous said...

I think people can endlessly debate the laodicean issue since definitions vary wildly. But as I see it, the Joe changes brought the doctrines in line with the general character, or lack of it, in the church. Joe was the effect rather than the driving force in the church. Those who complain of treachery in the church leadership, seem to ignore this.

Still Learning said...

Spot on, LCG Expositor. You've summed it up very well. I've never heard any minister touch on that one, but the faulty logic falls apart pretty quickly when you read the text for what it says.

RSK said...


nck said...


I think you mix up, "necessary updates", like the first 2 years of Joe sr, moving away from 19th century superstitions on make up and birthdays for instance and the wholesale changes toward an evangelical mainstream church except the cultic "one man" rule as established in and legally enforced under the bylaws. And of course the theft and destruction of hundreds of millons of assets and "goodwill".


Anonymous said...

At a recent bible study conducted in the home of a former ACOG minister, he suggested that IF Petra is the so called "place of safety" that two groups MIGHT be in that location. The Philadelphia Church Of God & The Living Church Of God according to Revelation 11:1-2

RSK said...

And came to that conclusion how?

DPR567 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Mixed up? Let me put it simply.
A group of people with a good character will end up with good leaders.
A group of people with a bad character will end up with bad leaders.
Therefore Joe Tkach is the effect, whatever be your opinion of him.

Anonymous said...

9.51 AM
I attended home bible studies when I first started attending church. But after decades, it seems odd that any person should need a bible teacher. At this stage, one should know the bible inside out, and be sufficiently independent to study the bible for oneself.
'Prove all things' is a individual rather than a group activity.
The ministers don't have some sort of special or inspired knowledge that your post implies. That's a deceitful ploy that the ministers use to give them undue influence over their members.
Many ministers are moral fools, so their opinions don't mean jack.

Anonymous said...

I am Anon 9:51. The minister left The Worldwide Church Of God in the 1990's and conducts bible study one Sabbath a month. He DOES NOT force his views on anyone. He was simply making an observation and telling his opinion based on a question someone asked. For the record, I attend a Church Of God (7th Day) congregation.

nck said...

NO 3:22

As I said earlier.

Your wisdom is true for a democracy and should be heeded by citizens, citoyens, members of society, elites and the people.

It does not compute for a theocracy where the bylaws state that there are 4 members in the organization and one of those 4 can fire the other 3 at will. Then EVERYTHING flows from the top.


RSK said...

Still would like to know how he came to that conclusion from those two verses, 9:51. Do you recall his reasoning?

Anonymous said...

4.24 AM
Rev 11.1 just says '..include the altar and everyone worshiping there'. How in the heck can anyone conclude that this scripture refers to the PCG and the LCG.
The definition of hypocrite also includes pretending to have knowledge one does not possess. This is rampant in the ministry. They talk as if they are oracles having great wisdom and insights that the unwashed masses do not have. They are lying. Your 'minister' is wildly guessing. His opinion is no better than yours or mine.
I was like you when I was a teenager. But I threw out the daddys in my life and cut them down to size in my own mind when I couldn't physically escape them.
In fact, it's one of the benefits of this blog. It cuts down those leaders who exalt themselves in members minds.