Some people often ask Church of God members this question— “If you guys believe we are living in the last days and the kingdom of heaven is near, why do you keep building new churches?” The Church of God has been known for its exponential growth since its establishment in 1964. Well…why do we establish more churches? If you want a simple answer, it’s because we need more space to accommodate new members and opening up new churches will continue until Christ comes. Those who slander the church try to make it seem like our word and action are different but if you think about the teaching of the Bible, what the Church of God is doing makes perfect sense.
Even Apostles believed they were living in the last days
1 Peter 1:20 “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”
This is from the book written by Apostle Peter. He testified that Jesus was revealed in the last days though He was really revealed 2,000 years ago. This shows Peter and other early Christians believed that they were living in the last days. Let’s see another testimony.
Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
Paul also referred to his time as the last days as he was testifying about Jesus. Therefore even 2,000 years ago, believers thought they were living in the last days.
Then, did apostles and Christians neglect preaching the gospel and not building churches because they were living in the last days? Far from it. The whole book of Acts shows that they actively preached the gospel and established many churches all over the regions, including gentile areas.
What is the Christ’s teaching about the last days?
As Jesus prophesied about the last days, He gave the following teachings.
Matt 24:42-47 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come…Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns…
Whom did Jesus say is blessed? He is the one who gives food at the proper time. Obviously the food here is not the physical food but the spiritual food which is the word of God (Matt 4:4). Even though He was prophesying about the last days, He still taught that God’s people should share the word of God with others. This means even in the last days, we should preach the gospel.
Matt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
The gospel mission will continue until the end of the age. Then, what about establishing new churches? Since preaching the gospel means having more people in church, building more churches is definitely necessary to fulfill the gospel mission.
Church of God’s expansion is prophesied in the Bible
The growth of the Church of God is not a coincidence. It is already prophesied by many prophets in the Bible. First of all, let’s understand which place the Church of God is spiritually.
Isaiah 33:20 “Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken.”
Physically, Zion refers to an area in Palestine but the spiritual Zion is the place where God’s festivals are kept. Then, what are the festivals of God? They are the seven feasts in three times and the Sabbath day. The following is the list of the annual feasts according to the Leviticus 23—
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread
- The Feast of Firstfruits (The Resurrection Day)
- The Feast of Weeks (The Day of Pentecost)
- The Feast of Trumpets
- The Day of Atonement
- The Feast of Tabernacles
Then, which church keeps all the feasts of God? It is only the World Mission Society Church of God. Therefore, the Church of God is the spiritual Zion testified in the Bible. What does the Bible say about this spiritual Zion?
Mic 4:1-2 In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Isaiah 49:14-20 But Zion said,…. “Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride. “Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away. The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’”
Isaiah 54:1-3 “”Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD. “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.”
According to the above prophecies, in the last days, many people will stream to Zion and it will be enlarged and expanded. Nowadays, most Christian churches are deteriorating and decreasing in number. However, the Church of God has been growing exponentially, having more and more locations all over the world. It is the result of members’ eagerness to share good news with all nations and also the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Bible.
Church of God will preach the gospel until the end
The Church of God is not concerned about the end day but the salvation of people. Even if the end day does not come, all human beings have to die in the end. Christ came to this earth and taught us how to receive eternal life and the members in the church are diligent to share this truth with others. Since many are interested in coming to the Church to learn the word of God, isn’t it necessary to build more churches? Also if we believe we are living in the last days, building more churches is even more necessary since the time of salvation is getting shorter. Please do not be confused by what slanderers say and come to the Church of God to learn the word of salvation.