An annual retreat was held last March 5 – 9, 2014 in a state park located in Sans Bois Mountains of southeast Oklahoma which was attended by students and faculty members of the Herbert W. Armstrong College of the Philadelphia Church of God:
HWAC students, faculty retreat to Robbers Cave
EDMOND—More than 100 Herbert W. Armstrong College students and faculty remembered their spiritual history and built unity March 5-9 following midterm exams during the college’s 12th annual spring excursion to Robbers Cave State Park. The yearly outing began in 2002, the first academic year of the college, when about 10 students plus a few faculty members and members from the headquarters congregation caravaned 192 miles to the San Bois Mountains of southeast Oklahoma and the state park that is known by its association with outlaws Belle Starr and Jesse James, who hid in the area’s sandstone caves in the 1800s. (The Philadelphian, April 3, 2014, p. 13)
Prominent leaders of the PCG are beginning to put a great emphasis on a certain place where Stephen Flurry supposedly read Malachi’s Message for the first time:
“So what do you think?” the minister asked when his son paused while reading the manuscript. “Well, that definitely will get you fired,” his son responded. It was July 1989, and the young 19-year-old was on a Y.E.S. camping trip with his father at Robbers Cave in southeastern Oklahoma during the summer break. But it would turn out to be much more than a simple, everyday summer camping excursion. It became a pivotal moment in the history of God’s Church and marked Robbers Cave State Park as an important historical location for the Philadelphia Church of God. (A Significant Historic Landmark, March 25, 2014)
But one might ask: Has this been prophesied in your Bibles? Is there any specific Biblical reference that could point us to that particular place, i.e., ROBBERS CAVE? Let us consider what the prophet Jeremiah wrote:
“Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 7:11)
In Strong’s Concordance, we find the original Hebrew word for “den” being transliterated as:
me’arah H4631: From H5783; a cavern (as dark): CAVE, den, hole
We may then substitute that word “CAVE” to the word “DEN”, thus the verse can also be read this way:
“Is this house, which is called by my name, become a ROBBER’S CAVE in your eyes? …”
Look at this prophecy carefully: A house or a Church which is called by God’s name is associating itself with a ROBBER’S CAVE. It does seem very obvious now that it is referring to the Philadelphia Church of God (which is called by God’s name) by having the ROBBERS CAVE state park as its LANDMARK. Can anyone dare challenge this prophecy?
“…BEHOLD, EVEN I HAVE SEEN IT, SAITH THE LORD“!
Even God has seen the very fulfillment of this prophecy. It has been laid before our own eyes! Now see for yourself and refute this fact if you can. As Matthew Henry Commentary further wrote:
Behold, I have seen it, saith the Lord, have seen the real iniquity through the counterfeit and dissembled piety. Note, though men may deceive one another with the appearances of devotion, yet they cannot deceive God.
Does it mean that there are men inside God’s own Church to whom this message is being addressed? Does God wants us to clearly see those men who has “counterfeit and dissembled piety“? For emphasis, let us again consider what that place (Robbers Cave), has been well known for: “…the state park that is known by its association with outlaws Belle Starr and Jesse James, who hid in the area’s sandstone caves in the 1800s. (op. cit.)
The state park has been named as such because of its historical affinity to the robbers and outlaws! Well, someone may argue, “That would be totally ridiculous! The Philadelphia Church of God is God’s Church and surely God will not allow His Church to be branded as robbers and outlaws.” Or, is the prophecy really addressed to the PCG anyway?
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord” (Jeremiah 7:1-2).
As discussed in a previous article, we have already proven the identity of spiritual Judah and to whom this message really is for. This prophecy is primarily for the Philadelphia Church of God. But what could be the reason behind this turn around? Why does it have to happen to the PCG?
Let us consider what Mr. Gerald Flurry wrote in his Jeremiah booklet regarding this prophecy:
Spiritually, God’s saints are the temple today. Jeremiah is discussing God’s house, temple or people. HE STOOD IN THE GATE OF THE TEMPLE, WHERE THE WORSHIPERS HAD TO SEE AND HEAR HIM! Of course, the people accused him of leaving God’s temple. They said he was a traitor who was betraying them.
But remember, this is primarily a prophecy for today.
“Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these” (verses 3-4). Jeremiah warned them to repent and stop listening to lying words. What were these lying words? The temple, the temple, the temple. Their statement was the same as what God’s people today are saying: the church, the church, the church! Or, to state it another way—“This is God’s Church,” or, “You can’t leave God’s Church,” or, “This is still God’s Church.”
All these statements are LYING WORDS! It was a problem in Jeremiah’s time, and he prophesied it would be a problem today in God’s own Church! These are lying words because the statements imply that these are God’s people doing God’s Work. That is simply not true.
God’s faithful people today, just like Jeremiah, have a commission to warn God’s UNFAITHFUL people that they are going astray spiritually.
If God’s people are going astray, THEN IT BECOMES A SIN TO REMAIN WITH THEM. A plea to remain in a sinning church becomes “LYING WORDS”! (verse 8).
Some people ask, “Well, can’t God control His own leaders?” The answer is NO, He cannot, because He has made them free moral agents and they must CHOOSE right over wrong. God won’t force obedience on His leaders or His followers. CHARACTER IS BUILT BY VOLUNTARY CHOOSING THE WAY OF GOD.
The Bible is full of examples where God’s people were led astray by sinful leaders.
“Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?” (verses 9-10). These people turned away from God as they sanctimoniously talked about loving God and His temple! Just having God’s name doesn’t make it God’s Church. Jeremiah says the temple is only called by God’s name and he condemned them for rejecting God’s Word. (Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible,pp. 59-60)
The Philadelphia Church of God is under the Ezekiel 4 siege, and while under that spiritual condition, the people inside have witnessed stealing, murder, adultery, lies, even burning incense unto Baal through the Irish dance and other pagan doctrines; and walking after other gods through the work in Bricket Wood and Ireland instead of walking after God with the work in Jerusalem.
“But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.” (vv. 23-24)
What happened to the PCG’s work in Jerusalem? Why has the PCG “went backward, and not forward“? Because they have not obeyed God’s voice, instead they have listened to a voice that declares in Dan (Ireland) and who publish “nothingness” from mount Ephraim (Britain and Australia) – Jeremiah 4:15.
Do we dare come and stand before God inside the Philadelphia Church of God – which is called by God’s name and still justify ourselves in doing all the abominations before God and yet appear deeply religious before Him?
Again as Mr. Gerald Flurry wrote,
“God won’t force obedience on His leaders or His followers. CHARACTER IS BUILT BY VOLUNTARY CHOOSING THE WAY OF GOD.”
Now upon learning of this prophecy, will you choose to accept God’s Word or utterly reject it?
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