This whole world is deceived and that is accomplished by Satan through human beings. On the other hand, God has done great works throughout the ages, and He has achieved it through human beings. Satan deceives us through men. God leads us through men. We must learn to distinguish between the two or be deceived!
When Christ died, the disciples decided to go fishing (John 21). At that time, they were looking too much to the man and not God.
When Herbert W. Armstrong died, there were about 150,000 people in the Worldwide Church of God. After he died, the Church quickly turned away from what God taught through Mr. Armstrong. Most of the people were following Mr. Armstrong and not Christ!
God has revealed to the Philadelphia Church of God that this human frailty was there most of the time, during the Philadelphia era under Mr. Armstrong. “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (Revelation 3:7-8). This was the work God did through Mr. Armstrong—the Philadelphia era.
“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (verse 9). This synagogue of Satan was extant during the Philadelphia era. This satanic plot almost succeeded in the 1970s when Mr. Armstrong was close to death. He recovered and regained control of the Church. But the synagogue of Satan remained. How? Satan kept it alive through men. When Mr. Armstrong died, those deceived men took control of the wcg. They don’t see Satan behind their deeds. And they don’t see God behind the Philadelphia Church of God. The Laodiceans are blind to what God and Satan are doing (verses 17-18).
The Philadelphians keep God’s Word—the Laodiceans reject much of it. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (verses 10-11). God is going to protect those people who keep His Word. However, many are going to let a “man” take their crown. Many others are going to lose a much higher reward, even though they will repent in the Great Tribulation. All the Laodiceans are unprotected by God during the Tribulation.
The Laodiceans followed Mr. Armstrong when he was alive. But they didn’t like much of what he taught and did. The Philadelphians followed Mr. Armstrong and loved what he taught and did—because they saw God behind him.
The great difference between the Philadelphians and the Laodiceans is this: The Philadelphians follow God, the Laodiceans follow a man. God gives His Church one great warning in this end time: Let “no man take your crown.” God prophesies in Matthew 25 that 50 percent of the Laodiceans will let a man take their crown! And the other 50 percent almost let a man take their crown—God spews them out of His mouth into the Great Tribulation! (verses 10, 16, 19.) This is a very strong warning to God’s own Church, and most of them are taking it far too lightly!
Still, God’s people must follow a man as he follows Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). We must be a part of and support God’s Work to qualify for God’s Kingdom. How can we do God’s Work? This is a very, very foundational question! And John gives us the answer.
We must believe—have faith—in the Work God does through Christ and those who follow Him, as it says in John 13:20: “He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me.” Which man is doing God’s Work today? You need to know. That means you have a heavy responsibility. You must prove that yourself. And if you follow a man who is not following God, you’re under a curse (Jeremiah 17:5).
We must let no man take our crown. But we do need God’s help through the man He uses. The Ethiopian needed the help of God’s man (Acts 8:27, 31).
So should we follow a man? Yes and no. Never follow a man God is not leading. Always follow the man God is leading. How well you are able to do that will determine your physical and spiritual future. It’s the most important choice you will ever make in your life!
To bring clarity to your spiritual journey and to ensure you are where Christ is leading, read Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today.
Many of God’s people have forgotten the reason for their calling and have lost their spiritual vision. You need to study the book of Hebrews. It has one of the most powerful and profound messages in the Bible. It tells you explicitly what the living Jesus Christ is doing right now! Read The Book of Hebrews: What Jesus Christ Is Doing Today.