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   ELIJAH : WHERE ARE THE TRUE PROPHETS? : PART 1



Copyright 1994 - 2011 Endtime Prophecy Net

Published On : April 4, 1998

Last Updated : January 3, 2009

The Endtime Elijah Theory, Herbert Armstrong, Monopolizing
The Truth, Giving God All The Glory, Mark John Allen, The
Prophets' Excuses, Gideon's Test, Man Worship, Rebellion And
Delusion, William Branham, Divine Healing, Father David And
Maria, Virginia Berg, False Prophecies, The David Verse Set,
The Name Of Jesus, And Call No Man Your Father




Within certain Christian circles, there exists the belief
that in the years preceding the Second Coming of Jesus
Christ, a mighty Prophet of the Lord will arise in the
United States of America. According to this school of
thought, this Prophet will follow in the footsteps of the
Prophet Elijah of old by exposing the sins of the spiritual
and political leadership of America, and of the American
people in general. Like John the Baptist who preached in the
wilderness areas of the Jordan River Valley, it is said that
this Endtime Prophet will inspire the American population to
repent of their sins in preparation for the Second Coming of
Jesus Christ. To support their belief, the adherents of this
doctrine point to certain Old Testament Scriptures found in
the writings of the Prophet Malachi, as well as to certain
verses found in the Gospels. Some of these verses include
the following which we will examine more closely later on
this article:

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the
coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he
shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the
heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and
smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)

"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall
first come, and restore all things." (Matthew 17:11)

Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of this belief
in an Endtime Elijah can be found in the life of Mr. Herbert
W. Armstrong, the now-deceased founder of the Worldwide
Church of God. Due to my own personal interest in anything
related to Endtime prophecy, I have taken the time to read a
considerable amount of material written by Mr. Armstrong;
including his final life's work, 'Mystery Of The Ages'. I
have also visited a few websites which are dedicated to his
life and ministry. I will candidly admit that I agree with a
number of the views espoused by Mr. Armstrong, although not
with all of them. If one believes everything that is written
in support of this man, it appears that he was destined for
greatness within the Christian world; at least from a human
perspective.

Herbert W. Armstrong was born into a staunch Quaker family
in or near Des Moines, Iowa on July 31, 1892. Without going
into a great amount of detail, once he reached early
adulthood, he entered the advertising business where he
became quite successful; however, due to several serious
setbacks, such as the Great Depression of 1929, all of his
hard work eventually came to nought. Some people view these
events as God's Hand working in his life to prepare him for
the ministry ahead. That ministry began in earnest in 1934
following his conversion, and several years of theological
training. During those years, Mr. Armstrong embraced some of
the doctrines of what is known as British-Israelism. You
will find this topic discussed in a separate article called
'British-Israelism And The Legacy Of Abraham'. While Mr.
Armstrong's ministry found its humble beginnings in the
state of Oregon, U.S.A., by the time of his death fifty-two
years later, the various outreach branches of his ministry
had reached millions the world over with the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. Herbert W. Armstrong's life and ministry came to a
peaceful end on January 16, 1986 when he died in his sleep
at the age of ninety-three.

As you will see when you read the aforementioned article
concerning British-Israelism, Mr. Armstrong firmly believed
that the United States of America is the modern-day parallel
to Israel, the land between the two seas; and that many of
the physical blessings promised to Abraham have found their
completion in America, as well as in other nations of the
Anglo-Saxon-Celtic world. It is upon this foundation that he
then launches into his belief concerning a great American
Prophet named Elijah. Unfortunately, prior to his death,
with the encouragement of some of his followers, it appears
that Mr. Armstrong was actually led to believe that he was
this Endtime Elijah. In my view, it seems that, like other
men of God who have gone astray, Mr. Armstrong was simply
tricked by Satan into yielding to his own pride and vanity.
Exactly where and when this began to occur, I honestly do
not know; however, the following quote taken from a letter
dated August 23, 1984, clearly shows the spirit of
exclusivity which had already taken hold in his heart:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Brethren and Co-Workers, God wants that world to hear the
message--if only as a witness. We have delivered that
message--and we only!...We have served God faithfully--and
are the only voice in a lost and doomed world shouting out
God's message."

----- End Of Quote -----

While I can truly appreciate and respect Mr. Armstrong's
fervent dedication to the cause of Christ, when one begins
to make such claims of being the only one with the right
message, that is, to be God's only Endtime voice, then I
feel that it is wise to examine their belief system with a
great deal of caution, prayer and consultation with the Word
of God. Just over a year later, on September 12, 1985, only
a few short months before his decease, Herbert W. Armstrong
also wrote the following in a letter to a co-worker which
further reveals the self-aggrandizement to which he had
succumbed:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Since last December I have been working diligently on the
largest and most important book of my life. In fact I feel I
myself did not write it. Rather, I believe God used me in
writing it. I candidly feel it may be the most important
book since the Bible...The Bible itself is a mystery to
nearly all people. God and the nature of God--what God is
like--God's purpose--have been a mystery. No religion on
earth has ever truly understood just who and what God really
is...This new book, Mystery of the Ages, unveils all these
mysteries. It puts the many different parts of the 'jigsaw
puzzle' together."

----- End Of Quote -----

Being a Christian writer myself, I honestly understand the
degree of hard work and devotion Mr. Armstrong applied to
his writing ministry. It requires a lot of patience,
perseverance, inspiration and vision to sit at the keyboard
day after day in what is for some Christian writers, like
myself, a rather lonely and thankless job. Some of us never
even meet the people to whom we are ministering. We have
absolutely no idea exactly how far and wide our words are
travelling; or how much of an affect we are having upon the
lives of others. It is really a work of faith. However, this
job is not without its rewards; not only in the next life,
but in this life as well. It gives us great joy and personal
satisfaction to know that we are faithfully feeding God's
sheep day after day. Not only that, but it is in feeding
others that we ourselves are fed of the Lord. I am always
getting excited and thrilled by the things revealed to me
through His Word. There is nothing like it. I have no doubt
that this is the Lord's calling for my life at this present
time. Whether it will be in the future, I honestly do not
know; for as the Apostle James wrote:

"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into
such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell,
and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the
morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that
appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For
that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and
do this, or that." (James 4:13-15)

The main point is this: None of us has the right to claim a
monopoly on the Truth of the Word of God as Mr. Armstrong
did. For a person, organization or church to boast that this
is the very first time that a certain Biblical Truth is
being properly understood and explained seems ludicrous to
me. As I have already said, to become excited by what the
Lord reveals to us is one thing; but to make such inflated
claims is not wise. Regardless of what type of ministry the
Lord has chosen to give to each of us, we are not to do it
for personal gain or for self glory; but rather to give
glory to God alone, to enrich people's lives by bringing
them closer to Jesus Christ, and to lift up, or to exalt,
His wonderful Word. Consider the following verses which
clarify these points:

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do
all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare
ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they
measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves
among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of
things without our measure, but according to the measure of
the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to
reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our
measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come
as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: Not
boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other
men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is
increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our
rule abundantly, To preach the gospel in the regions beyond
you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made
ready to our hand. But he that glorieth, let him glory in
the Lord." (2 Corinthians 10:12-17)

"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the
oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for
filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;" (1 Peter 5:2)

"Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not
given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;"
(1 Timothy 3:8)

"For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not
selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker,
not given to filthy lucre;" (Titus 1:7)

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than
themselves." (Philippians 2:3)

"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name
for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast
magnified thy word above all thy name." (Psalms 138:2)

In the above verses, the term 'filthy lucre' is actually
referring to being greedy for physical gain, that is, for
money. It is derived from the Greek word 'aischrokerdes'. I
discuss the commercialization of modern Christianity more
fully in the controversial article 'Money-Making Bible
Hucksters And Mammon'. I hope you will take the time to read
it. I believe you might find it to be quite an eye-opener.

So again, in my humble opinion, Mr. Armstrong's remarks
regarding the ministry of the Worldwide Church of God being
the only voice of Truth in the world is clearly exaggerated.
If he were to have added a tone of humility to his statement
and said that, like many other dedicated and hard-working
Christian evangelists, his church was involved in an
important outreach for the Lord, this would have been more
acceptable. Likewise, to candidly say that his last book,
'Mystery Of The Ages', may be the most important book ever
written since the Holy Bible, clearly reflects a serious
problem in the area of pride and humility. If Mr. Armstrong
were to have said that he believed his book to be an
important contribution to Christians everywhere, this would
have been much more appropriate. Lastly, to believe that he
was the Elijah of the Endtime is the height of vanity. In
the words of the Apostle Paul, quoted earlier, Mr. Armstrong
was clearly and unwisely boasting beyond his measure.

Let me make clear that I do not question for one minute
Herbert W. Armstrong's in-depth knowledge of the Word of
God. Neither do I doubt his sincerity in preaching the
Gospel of Jesus Christ; nor his love and deep concern for
lost souls; however, the manner in which he elevated his
work and himself in his final years, is a cause for concern.
Some might argue, 'Well, what does it matter now? The man is
dead. Why not just leave him alone?' The reader needs to
understand that this article is not a personal attack
against Mr. Armstrong, or against any other person; but
rather it is an expose of the false doctrines, and the
spiritual deceptive forces behind such men who unwisely
yield to them. Some people do not realize that obtaining a
lot of Biblical knowledge is a two-edged sword. Such
knowledge can either humble us by showing us how little we
really know, and how small and helpless we really are, or
else it can make us proud, boastful and self-righteous. I am
reminded of the following verses taken from the Apostle
Paul's first letter to the Corinthians:

"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we
all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity
edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he
knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
(1 Corinthians 8:1-2)

"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all
mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith,
so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am
nothing...Charity never faileth: but whether there be
prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they
shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish
away." (1 Corinthians 13:2, 8)

This is one of the primary dangers for those who are
enlightened through many years of following the Lord and
studying His Word; and it is a danger for all of us, myself
included. Instead of continuing to give the Lord all of the
glory, which is His alone to receive, some of the Lord's
workers begin to want to take a little bit of the credit for
themselves. They begin to elevate themselves in their own
eyes, and then in the eyes of their followers as well.
Although the Lord, who is the True Source of Light, wants to
remain center stage, which is His right to do, sometimes His
servants want to push the Lord a little to the side so they
can also bathe in the limelight and receive a little bit of
praise from their followers. They may continue to praise the
Lord outwardly with their mouths, but in their hearts, the
sins of pride and vanity have already set in. These were
precisely the sins of the Scribes and the Pharisees as I
have pointed out in a number of other articles. By the time
Jesus arrived, they were so spiritually off-center, that
they didn't even feel that they needed a Saviour; at least
not one who would attack and expose their whole false
religious system. As we are clearly told in the Word:

"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed
with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace
to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty
hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"
(1 Peter 5:5-6)

Notice that it is the Lord who does the exalting, and not we
ourselves, or our followers. I was just reminded of the
following verses spoken by Mary, the mother of Jesus:

"He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the
proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down
the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low
degree." (Luke 1:51-52)

The Apostle James also wrote the following verse which is
quite fitting for this discussion:

"Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is
exalted:" (James 1:9)

So again we see that exaltaion, when it comes, is a work of
the Lord, and not of man. While I truly wish that this were
the end of this sad story concerning the Worldwide Church of
God, I regret to inform you that this is not the case by any
means. In the process of updating this current article, I
visited the website of an aquaintance in order to obtain
some information regarding Mr. Armstrong. My friend's name
is Mark John Allen; and he is a former member of the WWCG;
as well as a current member of the Reformation Church Of
God. It was through reading an article that John wrote that
I first became aware of the Endtime Elijah theory. This was
perhaps a year ago. In fact, the original version of the
article you are now reading was written in response to some
of John's erroneous claims. While he didn't fully accept my
conclusions, John did admit that I had presented a strong
case and a convincing argument based on the Scriptures. Even
if I hadn't fully persuaded him of his error, I was happy to
know that at least I had managed to motivate John to
question his own beliefs and to go directly to the Bible for
his answers. I would now like to share with you some
excerpts from John's article entitled 'The Work Of Elijah'.
Please read them slowly and carefully, as they relate
directly to what I will be sharing afterwards:

----- Begin Quotes -----

"Many people down through time have claimed to be the
Prophet Elijah. In our present day, individuals from time to
time do this as well. Some say they have seen God either
personally in a vision, or an angel, and that this Being
told them they were Elijah and had a special mission."

"Did Herbert Armstrong fulfill this role?"

"The purpose of this article, then, is to discover the
purpose for Elijah and to understand his astounding role in
this end time, which will also let us know, hopefully, just
who he is when he finally appears."

"Many misguided people have thought that they were Elijah
from time to time."

"For the last few years of his life, Herbert Armstrong and
those around him claimed that he was doing the Elijah Work,
and that he therefore was the Elijah to come. I suppose at
the time it made a strange kind of sense. We were under the
influence of the doctrine of exclusivity... which says that
God is only working in one place at one time, and primarily
through one individual."

"Sadly, there are many today within the churches of God who
are returning to the old habits of exclusivity. This is
really sad because most of us have just been through a
prolonged and traumatic experience that should have shown us
just the opposite, that God can work and does work in more
than one place at a time and that we should love and
treasure our brothers and sisters no matter what human
organization they belong to and call them brothers and
sisters in the Lord as long as they are obeying the
commandments of God to the best of their abilities."

"Even more tragic is one group that claims that it, the
church, is the Elijah Work now, and says dogmatically that
Mr. Armstrong was the Elijah to come. If one doesn't accept
these doctrines, they cannot be a part of that fellowship.
In fact, what they have done, unwittingly, is to turn Mr.
Armstrong into an idol for virtual worship and admiration,
and they have set up their ministry on the same egomaniacal
pedestal. Even angels will not allow themselves to be
treated in this way, so why do mere men? As will soon be
evident, the Elijah of God is yet future. He may not be
recognizable at first, but he will be finally to those who
are being guided by the Spirit of God."

"Soon, our people and the world in general will become so
evil and wicked that they will not be able to stand God's
Word any longer. At that time, in response to their
arrogance and sin, God will send another Elijah. This Elijah
will come into a spiritual wilderness proclaiming God's
Truth and warning in preparation for the Second Coming of
Jesus Christ in spiritual power to rule the world with a rod
of iron!"

"Well, my friends, I don't know who this end time Elijah is
going to be, but he will be used to proclaim God's Word in
no uncertain terms to a sin sick world and a sin sick
church, and they won't like it one bit."

----- End Of Quotes -----

From the above, it is clear to see that while John doesn't
believe that Herbert W. Armstrong was this purported modern
Elijah, he still believes that this Endtime Prophet will
come. Furthermore, he acknowledges that a number of other
misguided people have also been tricked by deceptive spirits
into erroneously believing that they were this Elijah. I was
also encouraged by John's willingness to admit that the Lord
works in many ways through many people, and not just through
one individual or organization at a time such as the
Worldwide Church of God. John also recognizes the dangers of
man worship as in the case of Mr. Armstrong. Overall, except
for the fact that he still clings to the idea of an Endtime
Elijah, he seems to have a healthy attitude. Unfortunately,
that one little belief which he has not been willing to
forsake has now apparently resulted in his own downfall. You
cannot begin to imagine the shock, the grief, the saddness,
the discouragement and the disappointment I experienced when
I discovered John's current so-called 'revelations from
God'. Here are some excerpts from his commentary. Please
keep in mind his previous statements as you read these:

----- Begin Quotes -----

"And so, God has raised me up as a voice in the wilderness
of spiritual confusion to proclaim the Good News of Christ's
second coming. This is therefore an Elijah Work just before
the terrible Tribulation to prepare the way for Christ's
Second Coming when He will seize and actually sit on the
throne He qualified for in His First Coming!"

"Yet, there are evil men -- many of whom have prayed for the
very deliverance Christ is now giving them -- who scoff and
sneer at God's end time Apostle. They doubt that the living
Head of this Church, Jesus Christ, has raised me up to set
God's church back on His track!"

"Let me ask you something. Did you think that Christ would
violate His promise which He made to us in Mtt. 24 that He
would inspire this Gospel to be proclaimed in all of the
world as a witness before the Tribulation and the Day of the
Lord? Do you disbelieve the plain prophecy we just read in
Malachi that He would send this end time Elijah the Prophet
to set His people back on His track, and to turn our hearts
to each other in love? Do you think that God is not capable
of doing it, and of doing it His way, rather than man's
way?"

"Men's churches and religious organizations make their
choices about who is to be a minister in that church. These
men have to have worldly credentials to be accepted by man!
But God chooses for His servants those whom He decides to
draft into the job He has for them."

"In just such a way, God has selected me to become His end
time apostle and to be the spiritual successor to Herbert W.
Armstrong, whose work forms the very foundation for what
Christ is now preparing to build."

----- End Of Quotes -----

What a terrible tragedy! This man had a fair chance to
receive the truth concerning the Elijah prophecies of the
Old Testament. He read my article; but sadly, not only has
he rejected it, but he has now fallen under the very same
delusion as his predecessor, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. After
reading John's latest comments, I immediately sent him a
message in which I wrote in part:

"...We have had some interesting discussions in the past. I
know that we see eye to eye on a number of views; but please
tell me that you do not honestly believe that you are now
the Endtime Elijah, which even you yourself agreed that
Herbert W. Armstrong was not. You have read the original
version of my article. Does this mean that you have since
then totally rejected its contents and Scriptural basis,
even though at the time you candidly admitted that I
presented some very convincing arguments?"

After waiting for a few days to receive a reply from John, I
began to suspect that perhaps he had simply decided not to
respond to me because he knew that I would not agree with
him on this issue. Finally, on April 1, 1998, just a few
days before releasing this current article, John sent me the
following response confirming the position he has taken in
his previous comments above:

----- Begin Quote -----

"I did not fully agree with the first edition of your Elijah
article, but will be happy to look at what you write in the
revised edition. I have had numerous dreams that validate my
claims. Naturally, a lot of people don't believe these
dreams happened, but they did. I will be happy to discuss
this further after I read your updated article. If I am
wrong, I will admit it, and retract what I have written."

----- End Of Quote -----

This is a confirmation of exactly what I wrote earlier. It
is because John did not fully agree with my understanding of
the prophecies in Malachi, that he has now succumbed to this
erroneous belief that he is the Endtime Elijah. If Satan can
maintain control of just one small unyielded area of our
hearts, if we compromise in just one small thing in our walk
with the Lord, then eventually we will be defeated. It is
like a small crack in the dam. If left unchecked, it may
eventually result in a deluge of catastrophic proportions.
In the same manner, if we cling to one small lie, soon Satan
will flood our minds and hearts with many more, for as
Jesus clearly said, Satan is a liar, and the Father of Lies:

"...He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in
the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he
speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar,
and the father of it." (John 8:44b)

If John did not accept my conclusions in the original
article, then it is going to be even more difficult for him
to accept what I have written in this updated two-part
version of the same; because in my view, he has already
begun hardening his heart to the truth. However, our God is
a God of miracles, and He may yet work in John's life to
show him the subtle trap into which he has fallen. One thing
I would like to point out to the reader is that John's
current conclusions are based upon certain dreams he had. As
I point out in 'What Is God's Will For My Life', dreams are
indeed one way to find the Will of God. In the Book of Job,
we find the following verses:

"For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it
not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep
falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he
openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That
he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from
man." (Job 33:14-17)

While dreams are one way to find the Will of God, they are
definitely not the only way; and in fact, they are not
always trustworthy. It is very easy for our evil vain
imagination to give us dreams which we believe are of the
Lord, when in fact they are really not. Let me again clarify
for you the true condition of the human nature through the
words of the Prophet Jeremiah:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately
wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

The above verse is an excellent response for those who are
of the attitude 'I'm okay, you're okay.' The Lord knows our
weak human condition. He knows the evil temptations to which
we can succumb. It is for this reason that in His Word we
find a variety of ways to confirm the Will of God. By using
these different ways as a system of checks and balances, we
can thus better confirm exactly what the Will of God is for
our lives. To fully understand this, I encourage you to read
the article 'What Is God's Will For My Life?'.

As I stated earlier, to say that you, or your church, or
your organization is the only one preaching the full Truth
of God, is born of nothing but pride and vanity. It is the
spirit of exclusivity. Sadly, this evil spiritual disease
has plagued the world of Christianity from one end to the
other. Satan must be falling over his heels laughing with
delight at what he has accomplished. This spirit is in
direct contradiction to the Scriptures which clearly tell us
to uplift the Lord, and not ourselves, or our church, or our
organization. In the first verse which follows, the term
'lifted up' has two possible meanings. In one sense, it is
referring to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In another
sense, it is referring to exalting the Lord in our lives. It
is derived from the Greek word 'hupsoo', pronounced
hoop-so'-o, which means to lift up on high, to exalt:

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men
unto me." (John 12:32)

"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and
ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
(2 Corinthians 4:5)

Notice who is the King, and who is the servant in the above
verses. If that isn't clear enough, consider how Jesus
referred to His own Disciples in relation to Himself:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater
than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that
sent him." (John 13:16)

"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not
greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will
also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will
keep yours also." (John 15:20)

Thus we see that we are not supposed to uplift ourselves or
our work, but rather we are supposed to uplift and glorify
the Lord and His wonderful Word. By proclaiming himself the
Endtime Elijah, Mark John Allen is doing the exact opposite;
just like his mentor Herbert W. Armstrong, and a number of
other men of God. Frankly, as I mention in the article 'The
Office Of A Prophet', I have never known a true Prophet of
God in the Bible who ever really wanted the job for which
God had chosen him. Moses did his very best to try to get
out of His calling from the Lord. He told the Lord that he
was slow of speech, and that no one would listen to him or
believe him. He basically said 'Lord, send whomsoever you
will, just please don't send me! Find yourself another
man!':

"And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not
believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say,
The LORD hath not appeared unto thee...And Moses said unto
the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore,
nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow
of speech, and of a slow tongue...And he said, O my Lord,
send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send."
(Exodus 4:1, 10, 13)

When the Lord called Gideon to fight against the Midianites,
Gideon was very skeptical of the whole situation. Just as
Moses had reacted, Gideon likewise was full of excuses, and
had a very difficult time believing the message of his
Angelic Visitor. Gideon basically said, 'Look, if the Lord
is with us Israelites, where are all of the miracles our
fathers told us about? I'm just a poor man; what do you want
with me? Not only that, but I am the youngest in my father's
house. You are going to have to give me some mighty signs if
you really expect me to believe all of this.':

"And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with
us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his
miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the
LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken
us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites...And
he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel?
behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in
my father's house...And he said unto him, If now I have
found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou
talkest with me." (Judges 6:13, 15, 17)

As you may recall, it wasn't until the Lord had displayed
His Power by turning Moses' shepherd's staff into a serpent,
and by turning his hand leprous, that Moses finally got the
point that this was serious business. In like manner, it
wasn't until after the Angel had demonstrated some amazing
pyrotechnic wonders by causing a flame to materialize and
completely burn up Gideon's offering, that Gideon was
finally shocked into realizing that this was a real Angel of
the Lord with a message for him straight from the Almighty!
Notice Gideon's change in attitude afterwards:

"And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD,
Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an
angel of the LORD face to face." (Judges 6:22)

Despite this, the Lord wasn't quite done testing Gideon. The
Lord wanted to make sure that Gideon was the right man for
the job, so He asked him to do something so radical, that
the best example I can think of would be if the Lord were to
ask you to go down to your local Catholic church and knock
over and destroy their beautiful idol of Mary and the pretty
garden that surrounds it! Here is the test the Lord put
before Gideon:

"And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto
him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second
bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal
that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:"
(Judges 6:25)

After the incident with the Angel and the burning altar,
Gideon realized that he better do exactly as he was told;
even if it turned the town folks against him; which it did.
Well, God was with Gideon, and used his own father to
protect him. Despite these wonders, Gideon still doubted in
his heart that God had called him to deliver his brethren
out of the hands of the Midianites. Thus we enter the story
of Gideon's fleece. To keep this story brief, I am just
going to quote the verses where Gidoen tests the Lord twice
concerning this:

"And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine
hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool
in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it
be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that
thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And
it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust
the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece,
a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto God, Let not
thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this
once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the
fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all
the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for
it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all
the ground." (Judges 6:36-40)

It was after the Lord had performed these two signs for him,
that Gideon finally became convinced that God was going to
use him to defeat the Midianites. Unfortunately, some people
today are so full of pride, and so eager to be somebody,
that they will grab at anything in order to support their
false claims. When the Lord called the young lad Jeremiah to
preach against the sins of Israel forty years prior to the
Babylonian invasion, the Prophet-to-be also displayed a lot
of hesitancy. Jeremiah complained that he was simply too
young for the job; but even that didn't prevent the Lord
from choosing him:

"Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am
a child." (Jeremiah 1:6)

While Jeremiah's excuse may have been a valid one, it still
wasn't good enough to be excused from the work the Lord had
chosen for him. The Prophet Jonah foolishly thought that he
could evade God's will by fleeing on a ship. Three days and
nights in the belly of a great fish with slimy seaweed
wrapped around his head soon changed his mind:

"But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence
of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship
going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went
down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the
presence of the LORD...Now the LORD had prepared a great
fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the
fish three days and three nights...The waters compassed me
about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about,
the weeds were wrapped about my head."
(Jonah 1:3, 17, 2:5)

In the Apostle Paul's case, due to his own pharasaical
pride, he had strayed so far from the Truth, that the Lord
had to literally knock him off of his horse and blind him
for three days in order to get him on the right track. Paul
knew in his heart that persecuting the First Christians was
wrong; that is why the Lord said to him 'It is hard for thee
to kick against the pricks'. In other words, Paul was
resisting the conviction of the Holy Ghost; God's still
small voice deep within his heart:

"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly
there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he
fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul,
Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou,
Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:
it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks...And Saul
arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw
no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into
Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither
did eat nor drink." (Acts 9:3-5, 8-9)

So as we can see by these five examples, most of these men
were convinced by undisputable signs from the Lord, exactly
what God's will was for their lives. It wasn't just a matter
of a dream, or a voice; they had actual physical signs to
convince them of their God-chosen destinies. The Lord wanted
to make them absolutely sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that
He, the Creator of the Universe, was speaking with them, and
directing them in their actions; because He knew the
resistance they would all face in the times ahead. Short of
such clear and unmistakable signs, I don't know how anyone
today can possibly make such a wild claim of being the
Endtime Prophet of God. It just doesn't follow the Biblical
pattern; and this is only half of the story as you will see
shortly.

Notice though that once they were convinced that the Lord
had called them, these men didn't proudly come announcing
themselves as some great ones. None of them had to ever go
out and say, 'Hey! Here I am! I am your new Prophet of God!
Everybody follow me now! I am going to tell you things that
no one has ever told you before! I am going to give you the
whole 'truth' for the very first time in the history of the
world!'. As I pointed out in the article 'Lying Wonders Of
The Endtime', this is one of the favorite tricks that Satan
uses to attract the ignorant into his web of deceit. The
Devil just loves using words like 'secret', or 'mystery' or
'esoteric'. Some of his false prophets are pros when it
comes to luring innocent spiritually-hungry souls into their
lairs with their sales pitch of 'Hey! I know something that
you don't know! If you want to know what it is, you must
first join my church or my organization and follow me.' When
you are tempted by such things, remember Paul's admonition:

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not
ignorant of his devices." (2 Corinthians 2:11)

To even be considered a Prophet of the Lord in Biblical
times must have been an extremely humbling experience. I
have pointed out in other articles how Jeremiah was thrown
into prison a few times, including being thrown into a
mudpit so that he sank up to his armpits; accused of being a
liar and a traitor, etc. Jeremiah wasn't the only one who
endured such treatment at the hands of his enemies, the very
people he was trying to warn and save. All of God's Prophets
were treated basically the same. Being a Prophet of God was
not a popular job. You would have to be crazy to even desire
such a ministry; especially in ancient rebellious Israel!
That is why the Lord had to really convince these men of
their callings before they would finally yield to Him.

In all fairness, it should be recognized that in certain
cases, man worship isn't always the leader's fault; although
it will become his fault if he doesn't do anything to stop
it when he realizes that it is happening. Sometimes leader
worship, or personality worship, can be the result of the
carnally-minded followers who feel they must uplift and
idolize the man of God. They foolishly take their eyes off
of God, the True Power behind the man, and they place them
upon the man himself. It is just a weak human tendency some
people seem to have; and it has existed for literally
thousands of years. Even the Apostle Paul had this very same
problem. Consider how he rebuked those carnal Corinthians
who were having all kinds of problems in their church:

"Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul;
and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is
Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye
baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:12-13)

In the Book of Acts, we find several examples of where the
people proclaimed the Apostle Paul to be a god. For example,
on his way to Rome, after their boat had been shipwrecked on
the island of Melita, what is assumed today to be Malta,
Paul was bitten by a poisonous viper. Notice the people's
reaction when Paul didn't fall down dead after a few
minutes:

"Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen
down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while,
and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and
said that he was a god." (Acts 28:6)

In another incident in Acts chapter fourteen, Paul and
Barnabas went to the town of Lystra in the region of
Lycaonia, which is today a part of central Turkey. After
Paul had healed a man who was crippled in his feet from
birth, notice again how the local inhabitants reacted:

"And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up
their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are
come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called
Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the
chief speaker." (Acts 14:11-12)

In his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul made it very clear on
Whom we are supposed to keep our eyes; and it certainly
isn't upon a man or any human leader, no matter what title
they may appoint themselves:

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of
the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

Jesus was also confronted with this same problem of man
worship on at least one occasion. After the Lord had
multiplied the fishes and the loaves on the moutainside
along the shores of the Galilee, notice how the people
reacted to this wonderful display of God's Power:

"Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus
did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come
into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they
would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he
departed again into a mountain himself alone."
(John 6:14-15)

Although Jesus truly was and is the King of Kings and Lord
of Lords, He knew that it was not yet His time to take
control of the Earth. That won't happen until He returns
sometime in the future. I encourage you to read some of my
other Endtime articles for a full explanation of these
events. The point is, when Jesus came two thousand years
ago, it wasn't to be our King, but rather to be our Saviour.
Until He died on the Cross for the sins of the world, there
could be no Kingdom of God on Earth, because there would be
no one to populate it. As I have shown in other articles,
Jesus was the Firstfruits of the Resurrection; and we will
follow in His footsteps at His glorious Coming:

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the
firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death,
by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in
Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But
every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits;
afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
(1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

"Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we
should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
(James 1:18)

Contrary to all of the above examples of godly humility,
consider now what happens when mere men do decide to accept
the praise and worship of their followers. In the Book of
Acts, when King Herod took too much glory and credit upon
himself, it angered the Lord so much, that we are told that
Herod was smitten of worms and died. Whether this means the
Angel of the Lord smote him with worms and he died at that
very moment, or whether it may have taken a few days or a
few weeks for him to actually die, I really don't know:

"And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat
upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the
people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and
not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote
him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of
worms, and gave up the ghost." (Acts 12:21-23)

In Acts chapter eight, we also find the story of Simon the
Sorcerer; a warlock from Samaria who thought he could
purchase the Power of God for a price. He didn't really want
the Holy Ghost so he could glorify the Lord and win souls to
Christ; he wanted it so he could uplift himself and boast
even more of his spiritual powers; and thus maintain even
more control over the people of Samaria, who were already
involved in a lot of dark practices inherited from their
pagan conquerors. This is discussed in more detail in some
of my other articles such as 'The Fruits Of Disobedience':

"But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime
in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of
Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom
they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying,
This man is the great power of God. And to him they had
regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with
sorceries... And when Simon saw that through laying on of
the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered
them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on
whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But
Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because
thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with
money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for
thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore
of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought
of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that
thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of
iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord
for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come
upon me." (Acts 8:9-11, 18-24)

These worldly men weren't the only ones to yield to their
pride; even Jesus' own Disciples apparently squabbled at
times regarding who was the greatest among them. In fact, it
seems that some of them, such as the younger Disciple John,
began to yield to this very same spirit of exclusivity. They
thought that they were the only ones; however, Jesus was
quick to put them in their proper place. Consider the
following incident found in the Gospel of Luke:

"Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them
should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of
their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto
them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name
receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him
that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same
shall be great. And John answered and said, Master, we saw
one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him,
because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him,
Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us."
(Luke 9:46-50)

Notice that Jesus says '...for he that is least among you
all, the same shall be great.' This goes hand in hand with a
few things the Lord said such as the following:

"Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even
Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your
servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased;
and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
(Matthew 23:10-12)

"And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked
them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the
way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had
disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And
he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If
any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all,
and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the
midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he
said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children
in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me,
receiveth not me, but him that sent me. And John answered
him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy
name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he
followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there
is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can
lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is
on our part." (Mark 9:33-40)

"But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be
great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of
you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even
the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
(Mark 10:43-45)

What is so sad about this situation concerning the Worldwide
Church of God, is that in the first set of quotes I shared
with you from John's article, he clearly recognized that Mr.
Armstrong's followers had idolized him. John pointedly said
that this was wrong; yet now he is doing the very same
thing. He is setting himself up all by himself as God's
Endtime Elijah; and he is hoping that members of the Church
Of God will recognize, honor and respect him as such. In
fact, it appears that John may be saying that not only is he
the Prophet Elijah for the Worldwide Church of God, but that
he is also the Prophet Elijah for all of America, and even
possibly the entire Westernized Christian world. Again I can
only say, how tragic, and how sad. At the same time, I
suppose I really shouldn't be too surprised. I have told my
readers many times before what happens when we reject the
Truth of God's Word. In case you have forgotten those
Scriptures, allow me to share them with you again:

"I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their
fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer;
when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before
mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not."
(Isaiah 66:4)

"...because they received not the love of the truth, that
they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them
strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:"
(2 Thessalonians 2:10b-11)

If we reject God's Truth and want to be deceived, then that
is precisely what the Lord will allow to happen. What else
can He do? As I have clearly explained in other articles
such as 'Free Will And Personal Choice', God has purposely
limited Himself by giving us the freedom of personal choice.
He will try to point us in the right direction; but if like
a rebellious and stubborn sheep we don't want to follow Him,
then we must be willing to face the consequences and suffer
for our misakes until we have learned our lesson; and that
lesson is that God always knows what is best for His
children. Like the old black and white American family
television progam used to say, 'Father knows best!'; and
that is with a capital 'F'! Pride and rebellion are terrible
things. I have talked about this a number of times before.
In articles such as 'The Chidren Of God And Politics', I
have shared the Prophet Samuel's rebuke to rebellious King
Saul:

"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt
offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the
LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to
hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of
witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath
also rejected thee from being king." (1 Samuel 15:22-23)

As we know, it was some time after this that King Saul and
his sons died in a battle against the Philistines, and David
became the new king. If there is one thing of which I am
absolutely certain, it is that God is not the author of
confusion. This is precisely what the Apostle Paul said to
the Church at Corinth on one occasion when he wrote to them
concerning the Gift of Prophecy:

"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in
all churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:33)

While Paul specifically applied this Biblical truth to the
usage of the Gifts of the Spirit, it can also be applied to
other Biblical principles and doctrines; and in fact, to
every area of our lives. No matter how you look at it, God
is simply not the author of confusion. Despite this
Scriptural fact, it may surprise you to know that Herbert W.
Armstrong and Mark John Allen are not the only men who have
claimed to be the Endtime version of the Prophet Elijah. In
fact, as you will now see, there were at least two men
living on the Earth at the very same time, both living
within the United States of America, who claimed to be the
Endtime Elijah! The first was Herbert W. Armstrong; and the
second was William Marrion Brenham. The latter was a
preacher and a faith healer who was born in a log cabin to a
poor family who lived deep in the mountains of Kentucky.

According to Mr. Brenham's personal testimony, and other
articles I have read concerning him, since the morning he
was born on April 6, 1909, wonderful spiritual and physical
manifestations are said to have accompanied him throughout
his life. Mr. Brenham came to refer to this spiritual
presence as the 'Pillar of Fire'. There are several black
and white photographs I have looked at which are purported
to show this mysterious esmeraldic presence. Based on the
articles and the testimonies I have read, these phtotographs
are said to be authentic; and the negatives unaltered in any
way. Whenever this presence was near, Mr. Brenham claimed
that he had the gift to see a person's affliction, to know
if they were going to be healed by looking into the future,
and then to claim the healing for them. His fame became so
widespread, that William M. Brenham travelled to different
parts of the world in order to heal those who had petitioned
him. In some cases, they even paid for his travel expenses.
It is said that Edward I, the King of England, was one such
beneficiary of Mr. Brenham's gift.

While Mr. Brenham was still alive when I was a young boy, I
personally never had the opportunity to hear of him or to
meet him. Concerning his Gift of Healing, it is difficult to
believe that his fame would have risen to such a degree if
he truly did not possess such a wonderful Gift from the
Lord. Based on the Scriptures, we do know that Healing is
indeed one of the Gifts of the Spirit which the Lord imparts
to whom He will. We also know that Healing was a major part
of the Lord's Earthly ministry; and that He passed it on to
His Disciples. As we have already seen from the example at
Lystra, even Paul, who was not one of the Original Twelve,
possessed this wonderful Gift. I discuss this topic in much
more detail in an article entitled 'Are The Gifts Of The
Spirit For Today?'.

The main point I wish to make regarding William M. Brenham
isn't so much whether or not he truly possessed the Gift of
Healing, but rather his claim to being the Prophet Elijah.
As I mentioned earlier, the lives of Herbert W. Armstrong
and William M. Brenham overlapped each other by fifty-six
years. I want you to really stop and think about this. If
God is not the author of confusion, then how is it that He
could possibly have at least two persons on the Earth at the
very same time who both claimed to be this so-called Endtime
Prophet Elijah? Was God purposely playing tricks on us; or
was one or both of these men deceived and lying? In his
personal testimony which he shared before a small audience
on January 17, 1955 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., Mr.
Brenham said the following:

----- Begin Quote -----

"I was baptizing down on the river, my first converts, at
the Ohio River, and the seventeenth person I was baptizing,
as I started to baptize, then I said, 'Father, as I baptize
him with water, You baptize him with the Holy Spirit.' I
started to--to put him under the water. And just then a
whirl come from the heavens above, and here come that Light,
shining down. Hundreds and hundreds of people on the bank,
right at two o'clock in the afternoon, in June. And It hung
right over where I was at. A Voice spoke from there, and
said, 'As John the Baptist was sent for the forerunner of
the first coming of Christ, you've got a . . . have a
Message that will bring forth the forerunning of the Second
Coming of Christ.' And it liked to a-scared me to death."

----- End Of Quote -----

Later on, as Mr. Brenham continued to share his personal
testimony, he related the following unusual incident which
occurred some time later in the state of Texas, U.S.A.:

----- Begin Quote -----

"And one night when I was walking out onto the . . . in a
Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas, walking out there, a little
fellow sitting up here begin to speak in tongues like a
shotgun firing, or a machine gun, rapidly. Way back, way
back there, a fellow raised up and said, "Thus saith the
Lord! The man that's walking to the platform is going
forward with a ministry that was ordained of Almighty God.
And as John the Baptist was sent as the first forerunner of
the coming of Jesus Christ, so he packs a Message that will
cause the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."

----- End Of Quote -----

Perhaps it is just my lack of faith, but Mr. Brenham's
account of the incident by the Ohio River seems like a
mighty big claim to make to me. If the incident really took
place exactly as Mr. Brenham described it with literally
hundreds of witnesses present, why, I would think that the
entire Christian world would have been moved! In fact, I
would think that people would still be talking about it
today. Unfortunately, I personally have no way to prove or
disprove his story. I was not there; and I don't know anyone
who was there. In like manner, I wasn't present at any of
his meetings where all of these wonderful healings and
spiritual manifestations are said to have taken place; so
all I have is the stories written across my computer screen.
All I can say is that of the men we have discussed so far,
Willima M. Brenham appears to be the only one to have had
signs following him which may possibly confirm the true
Divine Nature of his ministry. If you note a degree of
caution in my words, it is because of the following
admonition from the Apostle Paul:

"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no
marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of
light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also
be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end
shall be according to their works."
(2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

I am by no means saying that William Branham was a false
apostle. I honestly do not know. Perhaps he truly was
yielded to the Lord; but towards the end of his life, he
allowed his pride to get the better of him; and thus he
chose to believe that he was Elijah the Prophet. To bring
William M. Brenham's story to a close, let me just state
that he died at the age of fifty-six on December 18, 1965
just outside of Amarillo, Texas, U.S.A. His tragic death
was brought about by some teenage drunken drivers which
resulted in a two-car head-on collision. I read several
different testimonies regarding the accident and the
aftermath; and I must tell you that it was very graphic and
very heart-wrenching. This man suffered a slow awful death.
In all honesty, I must admit that it is difficult for me to
understand why the Lord would allow one of his servants to
die so horribly in such a senseless manner after healing so
many himself. Some have applied the following verse to try
to explain this enigma:

"And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with
them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save
himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God." (Luke 23:35)

While John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, Stephen and many others
also died by horrible means, this was at the hands of their
enemies who were trying to stop them from preaching the
Gospel; and their deaths served as a witness and a testimony
to many. I don't see how being horribly mangled in a car
wreck served to glorify the Lord. There are stories that
prior to Mr. Brenham's death several days later, many of the
broken bones in his body were miraculously realigned; but I
don't know if there is any truth to this or not. If there
is, perhaps it at least served as a testimony to some of the
doctors present. But then we must ask ourselves, if the Lord
did heal Mr. Brenhnam's bones, then why not his whole body?
At the age of fifty-six, William Brenham may have still had
many years left to serve the Lord. Perhaps the only
plausible answer at this time is the following:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your
ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my
thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

By now, you are probably seeing the pattern I have laid out
for you. I have just related the stories of three different
men, all of whom claimed or claim to be the Endtime Elijah
who will prepare the way for the Second Coming of Jesus
Christ. What is also interesting to note is that at the
different websites I visited which are dedicated to these
men and their ministries, the very same verses from Malachi
chapter four are used to support their claims. If you are
feeling a bit confused right now, please don't worry, as in
part two I will be sharing what I believe to be the correct
interpretation of these controversial verses. This belief in
an Endtime Prophet of God is not just limited to Elijah.
Over the past decades, within and without Christianity,
there have been a variety of other charismatic figures who
have attracted followers to themselves and to their
doctrines; and their numbers appear to be growing. These
range from those who claim to be reincarnations of some of
the Prophets of old, to those who claim to be an actual
manifestation of Jesus Christ, to those who believe that the
Lord has given them a special anointing to carry out a
particular ministry in the Endtime.

In the late 1960's, one of the groups which rose to the fore
of the 'Jesus Revolution' of southern California, U.S.A. was
the Children of God. This evangelical group was founded by
David Brandt Berg, a former pastor and leader of the 'Teens
For Christ'. Mr. Berg was born on February 18, 1919 to an
evangelical couple. While the husband of this team was noted
for his excellent singing voice, it was his wife Virginia
Brandt Berg who appears to have become more widely known due
to her weekly radio broadcast known as 'Meditation Moments'.
Exactly how this program came about is an interesting story.
As a young adult, Mrs. Berg suffered an automobile accident
which left her with serious back injuries and other medical
complications. As tragic as the accident was, later events
would confirm that this was just another one of the Lord's
setups to humble one of His children in preparation for
her future ministry. As we are told in the Book of Romans:

"And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose." (Romans 8:28)

According to her personal testimony, which I read almost
three decades ago, at the time this accident occurred, Mrs.
Berg was a staunch atheist who was thoroughly enjoying the
pleasures which this life has to offer. The Apostle John
pinpointed exactly what the world has to offer when he wrote
the following in the second chapter of his first Epistle:

"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and
the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the
Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and
the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth
for ever." (1 John 2:16-17)

It would not be until the Lord had literally brought her to
the point of death as a result of her accident, that Mrs.
Berg would finally surrender her worldliness, her atheism
and her pride, and cry out to Him in utter desperation. It
was only then that the Lord delivered Mrs. Berg from her
afflictions and blessed her with a complete healing. This is
all according to her personal testimony. It was following
her miraculous healing, that Mrs. Berg conceived and gave
birth to her son, David Brandt Berg, a miracle in itself
which the doctors claimed would never happen. According to
his own testimony, David Berg for the most part remained
close to his mother's side until her death in California,
U.S.A. many years later. It was actually his mother who
first sparked Berg's interest in the hippie counterculture
of southern California, U.S.A. Before long, together with
his first wife and their four teenage children, Mr. Berg
assumed the reins of the ministry to the teens of California
first begun by his mother.

[ 5/8/00 Update - In her book, 'The Children of God: The
Inside Story', Deborah Davis, the daughter of David Berg,
and one of the founding members of the Children of God,
states that the account of her grandmother's accident and
so-called 'miraculous healing', which has been believed
without questions for over three decades by members of the
cult, is in fact an exaggeration and distortion of the truth.
Please read her book, also found on this web site, for more
details. ]

In the formative years of his organization's development,
Mr. Berg initiated the practice of adopting Biblical names
by assuming the name of Moses David. This practice was
viewed as a means of fuflilling such verses as the
following:

"And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he
said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called
Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone." (John 1:42)

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It was later revealed in Mr. Berg's weekly articles, which
became known as the 'Mo Letters', (from the name Moses),
that the reason he had chosen this particular name was
because, according to certain prophecies he had received, he
believed that he possessed the spiritual anointing or
assistance of Moses and King David of the Old Testament.
Like the Moses of old who freed the Hebrew slaves from
Egyptian tyranny, Moses David believed that his calling was
to free the hippies from a corrupt American system by
offering them a whole new way of life through Jesus Christ.
Many heard his call to become 'fishers of men' and followed
in step behind him. Some of Berg's early witnessing methods
were quite revolutionary and controversial to say the least.
One of these was the practice of leading his radical young
followers in church invasions dressed in long burlap robes,
carrying wooden poles, wearing large yokes, and bearing
large posters which contained messages of prophetic doom.
Moses David and his followers would arrive at these events
in large red buses which they dubbed 'prophet buses'.
Needless-to-say, actions such as these quickly aroused the
ire of his religious enemies.

By the mid-seventies, despite heavy persecution, or possibly
as a result of it, the Children of God, now numbering in the
mid-thousands according to their own reports, had expanded
to over eighty countries living in communities known as
'Colonies' or 'Homes'. Moses David also moved abroad and
spent considerable time in Europe, particularly in Spain. At
about that same time, they went through some major changes.
One of these was that Moses David changed his name to Father
David; and his second wife, Maria, came more to the fore.
The organization took on the new name of the Family of Love.
This was due in part to several new controversial doctrines
introduced by Father David. One of these is referred to as
'sharing'; which refers to a mutual sharing of sex partners,
be they married or not. The second doctrine became known as
'Flirty Fishing', or 'FF'ing'. This form of evangelization
utilized sex as a lure to win new souls to Christ. This
ministry was pioneered by Father David's own wife, Maria.
Based on his understanding of the Scriptures, Father David
was convinced that this activity was permissible in the eyes
of the Lord. According to some recent information I read,
due to the threat of the AIDS virus, this second practice is
purported to have been discontinued since sometime in 1987.

Another major event which occurred during that time period
was a leadership shake-up. As with many organizations,
religious or not, power and money had corrupted some of the
upper echelons of the Family of Love structure. It is
claimed by Father David that he personally fired some three
hundred leaders due to their serious abuse of their flocks.
It is also said that many of the regular members who could
not adjust to the changes also abandoned the group. While
the Family of Love claimed that they were now a whole new
organization, their enemies viewed it as nothing more than
an attempt to whitewash the public. As far as they were
concerned, as long as Father David was in power, nothing had
really changed. In their eyes, Father David was still the
main culprit as he was the one who had corrupted their kids
with his doctrines of liberal sex, communal living and
controversial witnessing techniques; as well as turning the
kids against their parents.

Another claim made by Father David was that it had been
revealed to him that he possessed the wisdom of the Prophet
Daniel. I personally have a difficult time accepting this
claim. According to the Book of Daniel, while the Prophet
was able to interpret the dreams and visions of the
Babylonian kings, when it came to the Endtime visions, even
Daniel confessed that he did not understand everything he
was being told to write down:

"And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord,
what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy
way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the
time of the end." (Daniel 12:8-9)

My skepticism regarding Mr. Berg's prophetic abilities is
based on even more concrete evidence. Throughout the course
of his ministry, he made some very time-specific prophecies.
Primary among these was the prediction of the arrival of the
Beast in 1989. In 1971, eighteen years earlier, Mr. Berg had
also predicted that his death would occur in the very same
year that the Beast appeared on the world stage; that is, in
the year 1989. Mr. Berg was also convinced, and taught his
followers, that Jesus Christ would return in the time period
1990-93. Unfortunately, neither of these two events has come
to pass as predicted. I recently discoverd that Father David
died at the age of 75 in 1994, five years after the date he
said he had been given through prophecy many years before.
As to the Return of Jesus Christ, we are all still here
patiently waiting for our Lord's Return. In light of this
evidence, and the following Scriptural admonition, it is
extremely difficult for me to believe that Father David was
the Prophet of God that he claimed to be. As the true
Prophet Moses of old wrote in the Book of Deuteronomy:

"And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word
which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in
the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to
pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but
the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be
afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

While the above are some of the more apparent prophecies
which did not come to pass as expected, there are others,
such as those surrounding the 1974 Comet Kohoutek, which
also failed. This becomes apparent if you carefully read
Father David's article on that subject. In order to enforce
the belief that Father David was the fulfillment of various
Old Testament prophecies concerning the re-establishement of
the Throne of David in the Endtime, members of the Family of
Love were encouraged to memorize a set of Bible verses known
as the 'David Set'. This group of verses included such
Scriptures as the following from the Book of Amos:

"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is
fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise
up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:"
(Amos 9:11)

As I explain in the latter portion of 'The Kings Of The
North And The South: Part Two', in my view, this and other
verses attributed to Father David were taken out of their
proper context. For a more in-depth explanation of what some
of those verses are, and what I believe them to mean, I
encourage you to read the aforementioned article. Like the
other men I have mentioned thus far in this article, I
believe that Father David founded his organization upon
strong Biblical doctrine which included Eternal Salvation
through Jesus Christ alone, the in-dwelling of the Holy
Spirit, and a vision for worldwide evangelization. This is
clearly reflected in many of his articles which I have had
the opportunity to read. In fact, despite the controversy
which surrounds this man and his organization, I must
candidly admit that it is because of some of his writings
that I was motivated to dedicate my life to the Lord many
years ago. Thus, I do not doubt Father David's sincerity and
dedication to the Lord, or his concern and love for lost
souls.

However, it appears to me that one of Father David's primary
errors was the same as that committed by these other men;
and that is that he knowingly allowed and encouraged his
followers to set him and his words on a pedestal. The
practice of memorizing the 'David Set' is one clear example
of this; but it is by no means the only one. As I discuss in
the article 'Have You Read The New Scriptures Yet?', the
Family of Love, or The Family as it is now known, also
believes that the writings of Father David are new
Scriptures which in some cases may supercede the Bible. As
shocking as this may be to some, this belief can be verified
by reading some of Father David's earlier writings. Due to
some recent information I came across, which I will share
momentarily, I suspect that this belief may still be an
existing part of The Family's doctrine.

Perhaps you are now thinking that things could not possibly
be any worse than this within The Family. Unfortunately,
there is still more. In some of my other articles such as
'Mary Worship And Catholicism', I clearly expose the lie and
deception involved in praying to statues of Mary or other
Catholic saints. As most non-Catholics are aware, there is
absolutely no Scriptural precedence for doing this. If you
are not yet personally convinced of this, then I suggest
that you read the aforementioned article. As Paul wrote in
his first Epistle to his dearly-beloved co-worker Timothy:

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus;" (1 Timothy 2:5)

A thorough reading of the Scriptures will clearly show that
the only people we find in the entire Bible who are praying
to idols, are the rebellious Israelites, and the heathen
nations around them. While members of The Family do not pray
directly to idols, it may shock you to know that it has been
their practice, and may still be their practice, to pray in
the name of their founder, Father David, whom they view as a
king. A prayer by a member of The Family might end in such
phrases as 'In Jesus' and David's names I pray, amen'; or
perhaps 'in the name of David I ask, amen', or possibly 'in
your servant David's name I pray, amen.' Again, this
practice is clearly in contradiction to the Scriptures; in
fact, it is against Jesus' very own words. Consider what our
only Lord and Master said in the following verses:

"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do,
that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask
any thing in my name, I will do it." (John 14:13-14)

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained
you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your
fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the
Father in my name, he may give it you." (John 15:16)

"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I
say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name,
he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my
name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the
time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in
proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At
that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you,
that I will pray the Father for you:" (John 16:23-26)

The above verses are just a few of the many places where
Jesus stressed the importance of using His name when
petitioning the Father. There are many more which I have not
listed here. In the Book of Acts, and in the Epistles, we
also discover that everything was done in the name of Jesus
Christ. People were saved in the name of Jesus Christ;
people were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ; and
miracles were performed in the name of Jesus Christ. Nowhere
in the entire Bible are we told to pray in the name of
anyone else; not in Mary's name, and certainly not in Father
David's name. Thus, while The Family may not erect physical
idols to Father David, it appears that they hold him as an
idol in their hearts which is just as bad. Remember again
what Jesus said about committing the act of adultery. The
same principle holds true for this practice of praying in
the name of David:

"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to
lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in
his heart." (Matthew 5:28)

As with the Catholic pope and fathers, the very fact that
David Brandt Berg is referred to as Father David is also a
clear sign of placing oneself above others, and a symptom of
self-glorification. Remember again what Jesus said in the
Gospel of Matthew:

"And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your
Father, which is in heaven." (Matthew 23:9)

I am not exactly sure how Jesus meant for this verse to be
understood. I suspect, but cannot prove, that perhaps He is
not condemning the practice of referring to our biological
dad as father; but rather that He is saying that we are not
to look up to any spiritual authority upon Earth with the
same degree of respect as we do with our Father in Heaven.
In other words, if some spiritual leader we respect teaches
or practices something which we know is clearly against the
Scriptures, then it is our obligation to disregard what they
do or say, and to give our Heavenly Father and His Word
pre-eminence in our lives. To do otherwise would be to allow
this Earthly spiritual figure to usurp the position and
authority of our Father in Heaven; thus, indirectly we would
be calling them Father in place of our true Heavenly Father.
In my view, the fact that The Family views the writings of
Father David as being equal in status to the Bible makes
them guilty of this very thing.

A final clear example of the exaltation of Father David and
his wife can be found in The Family's charter. In explaining
the requirements for fulltime membership with the group,
what The Family refers to as being a DO, or Disciple Only
member, the charter begins as follows:

----- Begin Quote -----

"The basic responsibilities of full-time Family members
(referred to as DO [Disciples Only] members) in the Family
are in brief: They must believe in Jesus Christ as their
Savior. They must believe that David Berg, and Maria, his
wife and successor, are God's Endtime prophets."

----- End Of Quote -----

The first requirement is one which any sincere Christian can
easily meet; however, notice the second one. If you have an
earnest desire to serve Jesus Christ in a fulltime capacity,
unless you are willing to accept David Berg and his wife and
successor, Maria, as God's Endtime Prophets, then the clear
message is that you should not even consider trying to do it
with The Family. While Jesus did establish some requirements
for being fulltime Disciples, I don't recall that honouring
two people as Endtime Prophets was ever one of them. In
addition, considering that David Berg is now deceased, I
must sincerely ask how is it possible for a potential new
member of the group to be convinced that Berg was a true
Prophet of God? In like manner, what positive proof can his
wife Maria provide to confirm that she is a true Prophetess
of the Lord?

With this question in mind, I am going to bring part one of
this article to a close. In part two, I will be discussing
the topics of the proof of the ministry of an Apostle or
Prophet, the Age of Faith and Grace, Christian unity versus
the spirit of exclusivity, and the danger of keeping certain
statistics. I hope that you will join me. I pray that this
first part has been a blessing and an inspiration in your
life.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

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