That Day is at Hand
How near are we to the time of the end? The prophet
Daniel was told to, "Go thy way, Daniel:
for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the
end." (Daniel 12:9) Most people will not recognize
when the Day of the Lord is at hand, but some will. "Many shall
be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do
wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the
wise shall understand." (Daniel 12:10)
John Jewell explains how England and the United States have rejected God, and
are living contrary to the way of God. As a result, perilous times
are coming upon our nations (2 Timothy 3:1-7). Let me give a little
history of how John Jewell and I [Warren Zehrung] came to work
together in proclaiming the Gospel warning message to the world.
Our countries must be warned of their soon coming destruction.
"Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the
families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob
[England and the United States], and devoured him, and
consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate."
(Jeremiah 10:25) "Behold, the Day of the Lord comes,
cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate:
and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it." (Isaiah
John and I both had our beginnings in the Radio Church of God, which later became the
Worldwide Church of God. John first heard Herbert W. Armstrong in
the 1950's via Radio Luxemburg while cruising in the Indian Ocean on
the British Royal Naval anti-submarine frigate, the HMS Ulysses.
I heard Herbert W. Armstrong in 1964 over radio station WOAI San
Antonio, TX, while driving through Mississippi very early one Monday
morning, when the dark sky was lit only by the shimmering strobes of
a billion majestic stars. He was quoting the psalm of David
where it says, "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and
the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art
mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?"
While serving in the central Pacific Ocean near Christmas Island on September 23,
1958, John Jewell witnessed first-hand, the devastating last
atmospheric nuclear test of Britain's Hydrogen-bomb detonations.
That H-bomb, utilizing fusion boosted tritium gas, resulted in
Britain becoming a world thermonuclear power. Destructive power that
dreadful, announced the last days of the world as
we know it. "Except that the Lord had shortened those days,
no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake,
whom He hath chosen, He hath shortened the days." (Mark 13:20)
Ambassador College had three branches. John graduated from Bricket Wood in the county
of Hertfordshire, England, and I graduated from Pasadena, CA, after
also attending at Big Sandy, TX. For a time, John ran the printing
press at Bricket Wood before becoming a Pastor.
John and I were ordained ministers in the Worldwide Church of God up until Joseph
Tkach renounced the Biblical teachings of Jesus Christ, and
turned the Church to Protestantism. The Worldwide Church of God
ceased to represent the Truth of God when it accepted the doctrine
of the Trinity as its primary test of orthodoxy, and declared that
the Ten Commandments were not to be obeyed. I was fired and
disfellowshipped for preaching Hebrews 4:9: "There remains
therefore a keeping of the Sabbath for the people of God" -
one of the Ten Commandments!
In May of 1995, John and I, independently, traveled to Indianapolis, IN to
participate in an effort to put the Church of God back on track.
The name chosen for that new organization was the, "United Church of
God, an International Association." I personally approached Richard
Pinelli (Ministerial Services operational manager), about the
doctrinal beliefs of United at that conference – but it had been
predetermined that doctrine would not be discussed until a later
date, and that organization was of primary importance. (For the
record, doctrine and obedience to God must always come first.)
Many of the approximately 130 ministers attending that organizational conference were
still on the Worldwide Church of God payroll – and thus, tacitly approving
of the false doctrines, like the Trinity, and doing away with the Ten
Commandments. Many ministers, in fact, had been disfellowshipping
those members who did not support the Tkach's. Victor Kubic was
appointed to be the head of Ministerial Services at United – the
same job he was doing in the Worldwide Church of God. Victor Kubik
founded LifeNets International, Inc., a humanitarian aid
organization that provides life-sustaining food and medicine,
education, vocational training and other forms of support for United
members, Sabbatarians and others around the world.
At that same conference, Victor Kubic asked me the
whereabouts of some of the ministers who were not in attendance at
that formational conference. (While in Worldwide, Victor had
personally fired me in February 1995, turning over two congregations
to an apostate minister, who openly professed that the Sabbath had
been done away with, and who had a refrigerator full of shrimp and pork
chops). I answered Victor that one of the reasons that some of the
ministers stayed away from the Indianapolis conference, was because some of the
ministers and hand picked organizers of United had accepted the
false Trinity doctrine. Some ministers, like David Hulme who
was chosen to be the first President of UCG-aia, had personally adopted the trinity
doctrine and were actively preaching in favor of the trinity.
I told Victor, "If you expect all those men to be on-board, the first thing that you will have to
do is to repudiate the false Trinity doctrine." Victor responded to me,
"We are not going to repudiate anything – we are going forward from
here." And with that, Victor Kubic literally swept me and my
wife aside and walked off. Most of the men in United were the
very last to leave Worldwide. They left only after most of the
faithful brethren had previously left. (Wait for me – I'm your
leader!) They stayed in Worldwide after the Sabbath and the Ten Commandments were done away
with. Some of United's ministers disfellowshipped brethren for
continuing to keep the Sabbath and the Ten Commandments.
Five years later in 2000, when I was on the Council of Elders of the Church of God a Christian
Fellowship, I was asked by Larry Salyer to be on a "Task Force" with George
Meeker (coordinator) and Norbert Link to work with our counterparts,
United's Roy Holladay (coordinator), Clyde Kilough, and Dennis Luker
for the purpose of bringing our groups together. From the days of
the Global Church of God, Larry Salyer had been working behind the
scenes to have us join with United CoG, aia. Later on, speaking before
the Council of Elders of the Church of God a Christian Fellowship,
Larry said, "We are robbing United of tithes." I did
not agree with his assessment. Had Larry supported our Task
Force's findings, we could have helped United strive for higher
standards, rather than settling for less.
I campaigned for individual ministers in United to make amends, and to reconcile with
those members whom they had disfellowshipped for political reasons
during the apostasy – some five and six years previously. On March 12th, 2001, the
Ministerial Council of Elders of the Church of God a Christian
Fellowship and the United Church of God, an International
Association met together in executive session at a cumulative
conference in Cincinnati, OH. I was asked to make the opening
comments to the combined councils. I asked President Les McCullough,
specifically, and the others generally, why the United CoG, aia was
still reluctant, after 5 years, to invite those members who had been
disfellowshipped from WCG back to church. Many of the men on
Council of Elders had disfellowshipped brethren, not for any sin or
heresy, but for failing to go along with the Tkach's false doctrine.
Les McCullough answered that
obviously those people knew where United was and could make their
way back, if they had a mind to. I felt that the response was
entirely inappropriate for a minister of Jesus Christ, and a servant
of the brethren. There was absolutely no humility or remorse for
the terrible infractions some of the ministers were guilty of. Gary Antion was the
first of two men sitting on United's Council of Elders who justified their
past actions by replying that it would have been "unethical" to go
against Joseph Tkach because the ministry worked for him, and their salaries
were paid by him. Jesus taught love for the brethren, and He made
Himself our servant. That example is not understood
nor put into practice by many ministers. By definition, a
minister is the servant of the brethren.
For the record, let me clarify
that the proper understanding is that True ministers are ministers
and servants of Jesus Christ. They work for Jesus Christ, and He
alone is the head of the Church. I was told that our salaries would
double if we went with United. All but three of Christian
Fellowship's ministers went with United. Edwin Pope, Norbert Link
and myself began the Church of the Eternal God.
During my discourse at that
Council of Elders conference in Cincinnati, OH, I was explaining
that the abuse of the brethren was a sin and that sin separates us from
God. Leon Walker, chairman
of Doctrinal Committees of both Worldwide and United, asked where I
[Warren Zehrung] came up with the notion that, "sin separates us
from God?" I was sitting next to John Jewell at that conference –
he was openly sympathetic to my position – John quickly turned
to Isaiah 59:2: "Your iniquities have separated between
you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you,
that He will not hear." When the ministry does
not know the foundational truth, that sin separates us from
God, they cannot understand the reconciliation of the Church
to God the Father brought about by Jesus Christ at Passover, nor the
reconciliation of the world that will take place when the Day of
Atonement is fully come (Acts 2:1).
John Jewell and I have been working together ever since that time. We work closely together, using
each others materials, recordings, and programs, etc. John has
broadcasts continuously on the internet, as well as satellite and land based
stations. Let me add that we count many brethren in United, Living,
etc., as brothers and sisters in Christ and consider them personal friends.
We only ask the brethren to be cautious because ministers in those various
organizations, some of them, after being baptized for over 40 years, do not
know what they believe. They decided early-on at United that every
single doctrine had to be put on the table for discussion – why hadn't they
proved the Truth for themselves before that time???
Are they ready to defend the brethren from future threats and apostasy? That is the more important
question. The Bible predicts much more apostasy to come. Will you be able to depend on their
kind of ministerial leadership in the future? To maintain, as they do, that it would have been "
unethical" to go against Joseph Tkach because he was their employer, is deplorable, as far as I am
concerned. That demonstrates clearly that they were only hirelings – and not defenders of the
faith, as they should have been. That is exactly like Hitler's war criminals who used the defense,
"I was only following orders." It would be much more hopeful and helpful if those ministers
who quietly went along with Joseph Tkach's false doctrine without resistance, would repent and admit that
they were led astray – and did not protect the flock in their greatest time of need. To those
ministers – the brethren are expendable. That is a gross and unGodly mistake! "
The hireling flees, because he is an hireling, and cares not for the sheep."
(John 10:13) Those ministers forgot the parable about being concerned for the one lamb out of
ninety-nine that needs to be cared for.
We teach a message of unity of the brethren by the Spirit of God, in one Church
– one Body of Christ, and that all who are led by His Holy Spirit are
in that one Body. We believe that we are in the last days – time is
short. Unfortunately, in these Laodicean times, ministerial
leadership with character is greatly lacking. We are told to seek
first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then, our
personal needs will be added to us – then, we are told not to make
our salary and retirement program a high priority – take
therefore no thought for the morrow: (Matthew 6:33-34). We believe one of the highest
priorities is to become holy as God is Holy.
Whenever we know of serious wrong-doing in the ministry – we are not allowed to bury our heads
in the sand. When there is wrong doing – the ministers are
obligated to correct the problem. If not, Leviticus 5:1 says that
God holds those ministers as guilty as those doing the wrong. Too
many ministers in United say, "It is not happening in my area –
and therefore, it is not my responsibility – I do not have to get
involved." According to God's word, when they know about the
problem – they are involved! For example, responsible ministers
have no option but to deal with child molesters, people living in
adultery, divorce and remarriage problems, lying spirits, etc. They
are wrong to look the other way. "For the pastors are become
brutish, and have not sought the Lord: therefore they shall not
prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered." (Jeremiah
Ministers are supposed to be serving God first. Jesus makes it plain that when the brethren are
served, He is served. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
(Matthew 25:40) Jesus is serious about that! He takes it
personally when His little ones are being mistreated.
Whenever ministers put their corporate organization ahead of serving
the brethren – they are putting God last. That is idolatry. No one
worries about idolatry today – but that is what it is. I know that
they reason around that – but it is true. They really believe that if
they uphold the corporate organization, first and foremost, it will benefit
them and the majority of the brethren in the long run. That is a lack
We are to do what God says. Corporate organizations are okay, but
they never come before God's will. But you cannot put the
brethren last and the corporate organization first. That is plain
and simply wrong. If that is what God wanted, the Worldwide Church
of God would still be standing. God does not want compromise. It
is time to be zealous and live what we believe, and not be lukewarm!
And by the same token, a number of "Head Ministers" need to realize
that true spiritual leadership is not about who's running things.
The "Who's in charge" attitude has been running amok. Again,
Jesus said, "The son of God came not to be served but to serve -
If you desire to be great [in the Kingdom of God], be the
servant." (Matthew 20:26-28)
The return of Jesus Christ is at hand, and we are warned not to become complacent. Today,
there is much discussion about the world in which we live, and whether or not mankind will, or can,
survive. "As Jesus sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately,
saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the
end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3)
Jesus said, "Except those
days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for
the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew
24:22) "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord
doth come... Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye
think not the Son of man comes." (Matthew 24:42, 44)
Indeed, we are about to face the end of the world. "At that time shall Michael stand
up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble,
such as never was since there was a nation... But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the
book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
(Daniel 12:1, 4)
We live today in perilous times. "The leaders of this people cause them to err; and
they that are led of them are destroyed." (Isaiah 9:16)
The world stands on the brink. We are facing the storm. "Wherefore the Lord said,
Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed
their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men."
Jesus Christ, however, is going to return. That return of Christ is very near. We shall see a new world.
"Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion
from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (1 John 3:17)
|| "That Day is at Hand"