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Another critical reason why Mr. Armstrong’s prophetic warning and God’s great answer are for the Church today is that we must publish, using Mr. Armstrong’s words rather than our own, God’s final Gospel witness/warning to the nations just before “the end comes.” Mr. Armstrong taught literally till the day he died that, however many years the Gospel had been proclaimed beforehand, God’s purpose required that it be proclaimed as a witness in great power immediately preceding the Tribulation. Even after the Gospel had been proclaimed in every nation, Mr. Armstrong enjoined, God expected the Church to continue proclaiming it to reach more and more of the population individually, especially in Israelite nations.
He further charged that doing this Work was vital to the end time Church’s spiritual development individually—for “the bride to make herself ready.” The degree of coverage within all nations that God purposed, and the number of years of work necessary to complete the bride’s preparation, God alone knew. Yet Mr. Armstrong believed God had revealed that the necessary degree of coverage and preparation would be achieved, by miraculous orchestration, only a matter of months before onset of the Tribulation proper, not multiple years. Then God would end this great final Work, possibly through persecution.
Thus, even though Mr. Armstrong knew he had proclaimed the Gospel in all the world, he literally used his last strength to urgently command and make extensive provisions for the Gospel to be proclaimed even more widely after his death (it was for a short time). See his January 10, 1986, and December 23, 1985, member and co-worker letters. In the January letter, when he was fully aware that he was near death, he prophesied, “The greatest work lies yet ahead.”
The splinter groups’ efforts to proclaim the Gospel, while likely not completely without value in some cases, are nevertheless doctrinally compromised and unlawfully divided, just as was true of Garner Ted after he left. See Phil. 1:15-18; I Cor. 1:10-13. Their labors are blighted, by every objective measure as compared to Mr. Armstrong’s standard, due to God’s displeasure with their doctrinal unfaithfulness and division.
God chose not to reveal to Mr. Armstrong that, due to Church-wide sin in the great test, such a long gap would occur in proclaiming the Gospel with the power of God’s blessing; this fact had no bearing on God’s command through His end time apostle to proclaim it with all priority in whatever years remained before the Tribulation. Also the long, shameful gap was not pre-ordained by God nor His will: it could have been greatly lessened if the Church overall, and particularly the ministry, had done better in the test. Remember, Mr. Armstrong revealed and frequently mentioned that God’s purpose allows for the Tribulation to be delayed according to the pace of spiritual development and achievement of the end time Church. See II Pet. 3:10-12; Rev. 19:7.
Despite these many years of slumber and negligence, we still have opportunity to fully redeem our shortcomings, just as Mr. Armstrong promised the Church in 1978 that if they shunned liberal teaching and returned to his doctrine, God would forgive their sin and wonderfully restore the loss of the whole previous blighted decade.