In this sermon and others widely available, Mr. Armstrong warned that Philadelphians are “accounted worthy to escape” only because they faithfully complete the great Work of the last days, and they hold fast to all the Truth restored in the end time—despite persecution and lies by those who falsely claim authority to overrule apostolic doctrine.  See Rev. 2:2; 3:8-11.  Also in this sermon and others, Mr. Armstrong pronounced that no one would be accounted worthy who condoned the identical apostate doctrines and governmental perversions many brethren condone today.


Please do not rationalize with yourself on this life and death question to avoid confronting the fact that you have been in error, as we all have to one degree or another in this difficult test, nor allow your leaders to deceive you any longer to glorify themselves and maintain their personal following.  See John 7:18.  Every splinter organization today, the main ones and the less well known, embraces some (or most) of these apostate doctrines and governmental perversions.  Mr. Armstrong pronounced on many occasions that just one such apostate belief/practice is enough to Biblically mandate disfellowshipping and shunning.  If you attend services with a group that accepts or condones any such apostate doctrine, even if you privately disagree with that doctrine, you are in grave danger of being accounted by God as one who condones apostasy.2


God expects all His people of the Philadelphia understanding to unite now, as Biblically commanded, to accomplish important work.  Uniting is a very difficult spiritual achievement because, as part of God’s great test and lesson for us, we have become widely dispersed, in many cases unknown to each other:  many brethren effectively “disappeared” in isolation as they righteously shunned the various groups, and many others seek to remain unidentified within groups they know are apostate.  Yet God declares, in a prophecy for this very time of testing:  “I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, who are among you, to whom its reproach is a burden” (Zeph. 3:18); the word translated “sorrow” here literally means “grieve.”


In truth, all have “slumbered” to some degree in these years of ruin; in his sermon, Mr. Armstrong revealed that the parable of the slumbering virgins applies in a particular sense to Philadelphia, in addition to Laodicea.  Those who, by God’s grace and leading, first awaken and find each other are specially obligated to join as one to accomplish the work of seeking the others; we must help all our slumbering or straying brethren return to the full Truth.  See Ezek. 33:8; 34:4-6.  Then the restored, purified, united Church must, according to Mr. Armstrong’s most urgent final directives, proclaim the precise, untarnished Gospel of Christ as a witness again shortly before the Great Tribulation.

2 Mr. Armstrong admonished in the sermon that God expected him to “assemble with one or two” faithful Christians alone rather than assemble with “thousands” of liberal-leaning Christians—even if they backed the proclaiming of the Gospel (many did), and even if they rebelled against only a single Truth established in the Church through his apostleship.  Some liberal ministers Mr. Armstrong drove out actually were measurably less liberal than Meredith, Hulme, and leading ministers of United and COGWA have become.