February 18, 2011
". . . I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the Seven Churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea" (Revelation 1:11).
The History of God's One and Only True Church
Alton (Don) B. Billingsley
Continued from 4-13-2010, 4-23-2010; 4-30-2010; 5-7-2010; 5-17-2010; 5-21-2010; 5-28-2010; 6-11-2010; 6-18-2010- 6-25-2010; 7-2-2010; 7-16-2010; 7-23-2010; 7-30-2010; 8-6-2010; 10-15-2010; 11-12-2010; 11-26-2010; 12-3-2010-12-17-2010;1-21-2011;1-28-2011; 2-4-2011
Regarding the establishment of His Church, Jesus Christ said to the apostle Peter and the rest of His disciples:
". . . On this ROCK (Greek: Masculine, Petros, Feminine, Petra, meaning Jesus Christ Himself, Deuteronomy 32:3-4; I Corinthians 10:4) I will BUILD My Church, and the gates of Hades (graves, I Corinthians 15:54-55) shall NOT prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18).
The Church in Philadelphia - The Church of Brotherly Love - began in October 1933 (with 19 members) and is ongoing -
“And to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia write, "These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens, and no one can shut, and shuts and no one opens: I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews, and are not, but lie- indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trail which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast which you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God and he shall go out no more.
I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches (Revelation 3:7-13).
Continued History of the Philadelphia Era of God's True Church-
This writing will continue to focus on the history of the Philadelphia Church Era from the death of God's apostle January 16, 1986, to the present date of January 1, 2011, focusing on the evolving transition from that time to what came to be the Church of God, Faithful Flock in 2002.
The evolving transition of the faithful few members began after our departure from the parent Church that had now become totally corrupted by the apostate leadership (Daniel 12:7).
It took about 14 years before circumstances directed by Jesus Christ brought about the Church of God Faithful Flock into a place whereby He could use this small handful of members to once again open the door to His Gospel and the Ezekiel warning message going forth to this world that Christ had closed at the time of the death of Mr. Armstrong.
The simple fact is Jesus Christ was not going to use an apostate pastor general to continue with His Work so He closed the door (Revelation 3:7).
It should be understood that Jesus Christ would only use a leader of a corporate Church of God who would prove to be faithful to Him in fullness of truth and in name.
This required time to see if any evangelist would stand up for the fullness of the doctrinal teachings and rulings Jesus Christ used His late apostle to restore within His Church regardless of the deceptive pressure brought about by Satan the devil through his human instruments.
Not one did.
My Personal History-
Up to almost that time in 1994, I had remained as pastor of the local Churches in Stockton/Modesto, California without being dealt with by the leadership at headquarters of the Worldwide Church of God; though I had not preached any of the changes.
The First Step of the Transition
The second Sabbath, April 8, 1995: We made the decision to begin our own Church service, with the name Church of God, Modesto, in Modesto, California. The only hall we could find for services was located in Escalon, California.
There were 125 members in attendance for that Sabbath service. My sermon: “Faithfulness to God’s Covenant”.
The name Escalon is a Spanish name and means: a stairway, rung, or beginning step. This is both interesting and also very meaningful for this would be the first or beginning of steps that would lead to others before we would come to where we are now, and where we hope to be later.
Modesto is another interesting name and is also very meaningful for its meaning fits us real well. It means: little or small.
After departing from the Worldwide Church of God we chose to go with the United Church of God thinking they would pick up where we left off in 1986 after the death of Mr. Armstrong.
It did not happen. We left them.
We chose to go with Mr. David Hulme, believing, from what he had said to us in a meeting with the elders that he was in accord with the teachings of Mr. Armstrong. Again, we were misled into believing what he had told us in our private meeting with him before we came to accept him as our leader. Once again, we lost some members who chose him over the true teachings of God.
Though I resigned September 9, 2000, Stephen Leblanc told me he was going to stay for awhile with him. He was talked into resigning by a member September 19, 2000.
Learning the Hard Way
Some things we often learn later that had we known at the time would have spared us and others from needless problems. It seems we often have to learn the hard way – often with sorrow and tears for all of us.
Fourth Step – September 9, 2000
Upon our departure from Mr. Hulme the elders (Stephen LeBlanc, Wayne Carlson and David O’Malley) and I chose not to connect with any other corporate church not knowing of any with whom we could connect with who were like-minded and believed the same teachings that we were taught by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.
We legally incorporated under the name of the Church of God, EIM (meaning: established in Modesto).
In addition to the Modesto Church there was also a small Congregation in Fresno California of about 20, and another one in Waggoner, Oklahoma of about 28 members.
Steadfast Church of God
We began meeting off and on with Mr. Arlen Berkey the elder and leader of the above corporate Church in December 2000. He was taking care of a small group of members in Oregon. Though we had the same beliefs he chose not to come under God’s government in this Congregation of God’s true Church.
Since I have mislaid my Pocket Pal (a pocket size daily calendar) for the year of 2001, I will have to write of some events that took place in that year without the exact dates.
Global Church of God, Belgium
March, 2001? -- Upon receiving a request from the French Evangelist, Mr. Jean Carion, in Belgium, Stephen Leblanc and I made the trip to Belgium to spend a few days with him and his son-in-law, Mr. Rees Ellis. Though I do not know for sure the exact date for the visit, it was probably during the month of March, 2001.
Mr. Robert Divine, pastor of the Global Church of God in England, and his wife were also there at the request of Mr. Carion. I appreciated getting to know both of them; a very fine couple. I am sorry I did not get to know him better before he died.
The purpose of their request was that since we had been with the United Church of God they wanted to learn from us anything that would be helpful concerning that corporate church and their consideration of it. They expressed no interest in coming to be a part of us.
It was an enjoyable visit and they were hospitable treating us with every courtesy. Prior to our returning home Mr. Carion made arrangements for us to tour the Hapsburg castle in that area.
This was very interesting. The lady responsible for it, and of the Hapsburg family, a princess, guided us through all of it. In a friendly talk with her, we found we were born the same year and on the same day.
The Church of the Eternal God
February 2-4, 2002 -- We met with the elders of this corporate church in Bakersfield to see if we could possibly associate with one another. Though I knew they did not have the right government we still had the meetings.
From those meetings it appeared we could possibly have some connection with them. However after we returned home I had a member to forward correspondence via e-mail letters between the apparent leader of the Church of the Eternal God with Mr. Robert Divine of the Global Church of God in England. From that correspondence I learned that Mr. Divine was trying to convince this elder that Matthew 28:19 has nothing to do with the trinity.
Upon reading this I knew we could not have any association with them. I then wrote an e-mail letter to the elders of EIM letting them know there could not be any association under those circumstances and I was going to write to our membership the next day to let them know we could go no further with that corporate church.
Though the elders had agreed, when we incorporated we would talk to together over decisions that had to be made, I still would have the prerogative of making unilateral decisions, my letter was very upsetting to them.
Though it would not be until after the Feast of Tabernacles that we would separate; this was the beginning of it.
The Death and Burial of Mr. Robert Divine, UK
It was the day after I had e-mailed my letter to the elders I received a phone call from Stephen LeBlanc who had flown to England to attend the funeral of Mr. Divine who had died with cancer.
He was very upset and in a high an angry voice told me I should not write that letter to the membership for fear it would be so upsetting to the members in the church Mr. Divine pastored it would turn them off from connecting with us.
Trying to keep peace as much as possible, I relented for the time being.
A Meeting between Jon Bowles and Mr. Divine
Just before Mr. Divine died, Jon Bowles learning of his imminent death made a trip to see Mr. Divine. Though no visitors were welcomed to visit with Mr. Divine due to his severe illness, he did receive Jon Bowles, as he wrote in a letter, he did not know what God might possibly be working out.
(There will be more about Mr. Bowles later in this writing.)
More Problems Ahead with EIM
To be continued
Your servant and friend in the Lord Jesus Christ,
http://bodyofchristonline.us/ http://cog-ff.com http://www.ezekielwatchman.org/