80% of the doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God were correct in my estimation. The other 20% are questionable or just down right wrong. We will deal with some of these in other editions of Commonwealth Magazine. Yet it is these doctrines that have caused splits in the churches of God! The 80% should bind them together, instead its the 20% that has torn them apart. These doctrines include:
1) Church eras
2) End time Elijah
3) Is Armstrong God's end time Apostle?
4) Is there only one true church?
5)The Place of Safety
6) 1975 in Prophecy
There are some others but those are some of the main ones. The place of Safety I have dealt with in my booklet on the Rapture (click link for booklet). One doctrine we will deal with in this article is Psalm 83. Many of the church of God, British-Israelites and even mainstream churches believe that this verse is the end time beast, and the nations listed will be the 10 nations that make up the beast. The Psalm reads:
"Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
"For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
"They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
"They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
"For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
"The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
"Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
"Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah." (83:1-8). The question is, Is this scripture an end time prophecy?
For many years the Church of God taught that Psalm 83 was a prophecy of the coming end time Beast, and these nations would be part of that beast. This led us to believe that Russia would be part of that Beast power. But upon further investigation of this scripture, Psalm 83 is NOT A PROPHECY! There is no language in that chapter which indicates that it is a prophecy. The Psalm which David wrote was about the war that he fought in I Chronicles19 against the Assyrians, Mesopotamians and their allies when they came to “help the children of Lot” (the Ammonites of I Chronicles 19). There is just no prophetic language here at all!
What kind of Psalm?
The MacArthur Bible Commentary, p.651 says that “This Psalm [is] a national lament which includes prayer and imprecations, Second Chronicles 20:1-30 may record the specific historical event prompting this Psalm...” It should be further noted that a national lament Psalm is usually composed of the following structure:
1) An introductory cry to God.
2) A lament.
3) A confession of the Psalmist trust.
4) A petition.
5) A vow of praise or expression of praise. Psalm 83 has all of these elements, except for the last item.
The Psalm is divided as follows:
1) An introductory cry to God (83:1).
2) A lament or complaint to God (83:2–8).
3) A confession of the Psalmist trust in God (83:9–12).
4) A petition or request of God (83:13–18).
Do you notice something missing from this Psalm? There is no response by the Lord to Asaph’s request recorded in Psalm 83. Since there is no response by God then the Lord did not provide a prophecy in Psalm 83. The biblical text of Psalm 83 does not contain a prophecy no matter what some contend when they call it the Psalm 83 war. We have to remember that the Psalms were written long before the prophets began to write and give specific prophecies concerning the nations. The prophets are where we look to find specific prophecies concerning the nations and end time events. There are certainly messianic prophecies in the Psalms, but of other specific prophecies in the Psalms concerning the Gentile nations in the end times there are none. Constructing a separate end time war out of Psalm 83 is just reading too much into a text and that is simply saying that Israel has been and always will be surrounded by enemies and that some day the Lord will finally deal with them. It could be that this national lament during the Davidic reign is raising the ubiquitous question for Israel—why does everyone hate us? When will it ever end? God will one day judge these enemies mentioned in Psalm 83, but its not based upon this Psalm. Actual prophecy relating to the nations of Psalm 83 and their judgment do appear in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and others. There is no prophecy in this Psalm, simply a petition to God by Asaph to judge those enemies that are against Israel.