That Old Time Religion
The “first trumpet”, according to Weinland, will “sound” on April 17th. What exactly does that mean, and why should outside observers be worried for members of the CoG-PKG?
Rev. 8:1-7 is proof-texted in the 2008: Final Witness book. According to Weinland these verses mean:
“This first powerful event of the Seventh Seal will result in wide-spread destruction over the United States and beyond her border into Canada. The destruction in Canada will be less, but she will experience repercussions from what will happen in the U.S.; because she is a neighbor, as well as a prophetic brother. When we are told that a third of all plant life will be destroyed, that is exactly what it means. The actual event will not be disclosed until it is time for it to happen. As with all the Seals of Revelation, many of the specifics of each of the Seven Trumpets will not be revealed until it is time for the actual events to take place. It should also be noted, that in the first trumpet there is fire mingled with blood. Blood means there will be much death when this event occurs. Most of it will be the death of animals and birds, but also a large number of people will die—into the tens of thousands.” [pp117-118]
“The actual event will not be disclosed until it is time”–Weinland has now disclosed (although CoG-watchers have long assumed this date anyway, based on his mathematical contortions) that April 17, 2008 will be the sounding of the first trumpet, as described above.
Weinland appears to absolutely believe every word of this himself. That is the key thing to remember when dealing with this potentially dangerous closed high-demand religious group. He intimated in the book that this would be through nuclear attacks on the US, but he has since changed his tune, to wit, from the sermon Feb. 9, 2008, “Satan” will be able to “influence very powerfully” a “great religious leader”. Weinland is careful to never mention who this great religious leader is.
Sympathetic CoG organizations who believe their prophet is the right profit, as well as lay-members of Weinland’s own church, are extrapolating to the public that Weinland here is referring to the pope, who will be in the US during the same timeframe. Weinland on the other hand, says he has “to be careful how I phrase that”. And he is. Very careful.
Classic Armstrongism posited that “the great whore of Babylon” in the book of Revelation was the Roman Catholic Church, which is likely why CoG adherents and Weinland’s own followers are automatically drawn to that conclusion. Clearly this is where Weinland wants them to jump, and they are responding with “How high?”
Weinland has also apparently told members that the verse “silence in heaven that lasted half an hour” means thirty days, not thirty minutes. Thus, the time from March 18, 2008 to April 17, 2008 constitutes this “silence”.
Some CoG-watchers think I may be over-reacting, in saying that there exists the potential for a cult suicide event to occur on or around the 17th of April, 2008, for members of the Church of God Preparing for the Kingdom of God. Given the tone of the “predictions” quoted above, combined with the “45 Days” sermon, wherein he instructs members: “You may die a week from now you may die a month from now but if you’re in the 144,000, you may die three and a half days before the end, but if you are sealed, then you are going to be in that [the first] resurrection. That’s what this is all about,” it is it any wonder that I believe Weinland is absolutely cultivating a culture of death among his followers? A mass suicide event on or around the 17th of April, 2008 is definitely a worst-case scenario that no one wants to see played out.
The best-case scenario is only likely if Weinland does not truly believe the “prophecies” he has been spouting. This seems unlikely, given everything he has said, in print, on the air, and on the Internet. Weinland is as much a product of Armstrongist brainwashing as any of us were; He has just started his own little branch of it, because he believes himself a member of the Levitical priesthood.
The best of all possible bad outcomes for this situation on or after April 17, 2008 would be that Weinland is simply going to take the money and run. Hearsay suggests Weinland has Swiss bank accounts, and his daughter is the bookkeeper for the organization. That is to say, during the period of “silence in heaven”, he’ll pack up all the tithes he’s collected thus far, close up shop, and and disappear with his family and a tidy little nest egg. In this scenario, Matthews and Harrell would be the fall guys, put in place well ahead of time to try and pick up the pieces once Weinland and his family takes off.
Weinland might be no stranger to this; he may have done the same thing in Erie, PA, after he allegedly sold and made a personal profit from a house he recruited congregation members to build for him. Not to mention the fact that he was known among ex-members for his “fund-raising” skills.
It is a better scenario than the one posited by the CoG-PKG’s preoccupation with and promotion of the culture of death. For the members on the inside, who may be facing substantial financial losses, it will be the lesser of the bad outcomes, but still a potentially ruinous one nonetheless.