Rulership with Christ
Hold Fast Letter
Let me remind you that Satan the devil will do everything in his power to deny you a position in Christ's government.
For those who were specifically called to rule with Christ, to fail to qualify is to loose out on the opportunity for eternal life as well as ruling with Christ.
What is the connection between ruling with Christ and eternal life? Simply this: He is eternal, and thus, we require eternal life to be with Him and to rule under Him. If we fail to qualify in this life to rule with Him, He has no reason to provide us with this marvelous gift.
This is why we must focus our attention on our specific calling: rulership with Christ. That means, in the Church setting today, we have to prove faithful and supportive of the ministerial-led government in God's Church.
Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong said that the first resurrection is a better resurrection because those in it will have overcome Satan, as Christ had overcome him. Remember, throughout the millennium Satan will be banished. Those living then won't have to contend with him.
Qualifying to rule with Christ in a governmental setting is connected to overcoming Satan because it was in this area that Satan failed.
Not only did he fail, but he persuaded one-third of the angels to follow him into failure. Satan became bitter in the face of God's authority and in the words of the apostle Paul “many [became] defiled” (Heb. 12:15).
Satan worked on their minds constantly undermining God. I'm sure he began by subtly suggesting in some way that God was unfair to him and by extension to them. It doesn't appear that any of those angels went to God for guidance, probably because Satan warned them that God would vent His anger on them, or that He was too smooth-tongued for them to prevail in any discussion or argument with Him.
What a disaster! Now one-third of the angels are demons, with dark twisted minds-tools of Satan to destroy mankind.
Satan's goal is to do to us what he did to one-third of the angels! He knows our destiny is to become God [Elohim], and his bitter anger is driven by envy and jealousy. As the spirit of the power of the air, he beams, into the minds of unsuspecting human beings, his moods, attitudes and spirit of rebellion. This rebellious spirit is prevalent throughout human society. In the Church it can lead to disintegration. So it is important that Christians become aware of the fact, that Satan is actively involved, on a daily basis, to undermine the Church, which is working hard to fulfill God's will.
In God's Church, it is the responsibility of His ministry to discipline the membership where necessary. This can involve minor matters of human error all the way to removal from the congregation. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Heb. 12:6).
As much as possible discussions between the ministry and the brethren are kept confidential, only including those who need to participate, to try to protect the privacy of all involved. To do otherwise leads to gossip, speculation and an ever-widening circle of partially informed people tempted into taking sides.
In God's Church there is no taking of sides. One third of the angels took Satan's side against God! They never went to God. They simply took Satan's word. Now look where they are.
Since all of us grew up in Satan's world, under his influence, our natural reactions are his. Remember he once owned us.
Now in the Church, God's Holy Spirit should prevail over Satan's influence, but that depends of course on whether God's Spirit is being utilized when certain events take place.
Understand brethren, you are under the direction of God's ministry and you need to work with us, so that all things can be done decently and in order. Satan is the author of confusion, so don't be part of any confusion. If in doubt, check it out with the Pastor immediately, and no one else!
When people are in a rebellious attitude, because they didn't get their way, they begin to run down the ministers involved, especially the Pastor. They want the people they talk to to take their side against the ministry. Again, it starts off subtly. They give the impression of poor innocents who are misunderstood. Indeed, they give the appearance of “angels of light.” “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Cor. 11:14-15). They will attempt to convey the situation as a personal problem between them and the minister, or even a minister and his family, instead of as an act of utter rebellion.
How can you tell if it is a personal problem between one family and another? In a personal situation both sides will be running the other down.
In a minister-member situation, involving rebellion, only the bitter, lay person will be running down the minister. The minister will not be attacking, or belittling, or taking things out of context, or spreading rumor and gossip around. That's how you can tell the difference!
But why do such situations gain traction in God's Church? Three reasons:
1. Not enough of God's Spirit is in evidence.
2. In Satan's world, people always tend to support the little guy (lay member) and we naturally have negative feelings towards those in authority (the boss, the Pastor). We must learn to resist the natural and the carnal if we wish to be able to say with the apostle Paul that “we are not ignorant of [Satan's] devices” (II Cor. 2:11).
3. Curiosity. People want to know. But as “curiosity killed the cat,” so curiosity can destroy us if we get into situations beyond our depth.
Remember, a bitter person wants to gain our sympathy, by making us feel sorry for them. Then, they gradually undermine our confidence in God's ministry, until we come over to their side, the side of the fallen angels.
People in a bitter attitude seem instinctively to know who to latch on to in the congregation. In my thirty years experience in God's Church, every congregation has those in it who think that there is a special inside group around the pastor . . . and that they are on the outside. This bothers them, so they are susceptible to giving an ear to those intent on division.
In the past there was a lot of politics in the Worldwide Church of God. There were Church congregations with special inside groups around the pastor, but not here in God's Church, Worldwide.
We use people for service, according to their abilities and attitudes. If anyone has a talent that they feel would be useful to the Church, we welcome their input.
As people get older they cannot always keep up with what they did when they were younger. This opens up an opportunity for someone else to serve in that capacity. Further, since the Church is headquartered in Florida, most of the organization is made up of local members. Again, those intent on division also look for the kind, the innocent and those they deem popular who always think the best, but are often naive and unsuspecting. The curious, who love to talk, are another mark. Take it as a compliment if you are never approached by those interested in division, or you are the last to “hear the latest.”
In God's government, authority is from the top down. The government is arranged in this way to help create and sustain unity. Harmony is achieved when everyone understands their role.
Satan's goal is to cut the head off from the body. The ministry are assigned by Christ to lead the congregation, so Satan will always try to put a barrier of mistrust between the ministry and the brethren, to cut off communication, so that he has a free hand to pick off the members one by one.
God's Holy Spirit unites us with God and Christ. It also unites the ministry and brethren, so that complete unity can be made possible.
The ministry are in the Church to help the laity qualify to rule with Christ. We are on your side. We want you to be part of Christ's 144,000 first fruits, His millennial government. Your responsibility, now, is to support God's ministry and this is a major key in reaching your goal.
The Feast of Tabernacles will soon be upon us. This year there will be many new brethren joining us. Will they find what they are looking for? They have proved the doctrine to be correct, and they are very excited to meet all of us. So what will they find? A flock at peace, unified and exemplifying Godly, out-flowing love for one another and them?
Yes, I know they will. Let me conclude with part of a letter I recently wrote. “Personally, when I go to the Feast, I want to congregate with a band of comrades who are wholeheartedly committed to the cause; brethren with a common set of beliefs who are united in doctrine and love.” I'm sure those are your sentiments too. From Feast to Feast there is an opportunity to learn and to grow. Each year we are proving to Christ whether we are guarding our crowns or letting them slip. Time is short. Don't give Satan a victory.
Hold Fast, brethren.
Robert J. Elliott
Other Important Articles:
Rulership with Christ
God's Church, Worldwide