God's Church
Prophecy in Motion
by C. Elden McNabb

The Wells

God’s Church went through four phases, under the leadership of four great men, during the first century A.D.  As Paul said concerning the body of Christ, in 1 Cor. 12:5, “There are differences of administration, but the same Lord (1 Cor. 12:5.” Jesus laid the foundation of the Church; Peter led the Church to perfection; James accomplished the task of preserving the Church; and Jude had the unhappy task of trying to hold The Church together while “certain men crept in unawares” and corrupted that spiritual “man,” God’s Church (Eph. 4:13).

The first phase, under Jesus, was the fulfillment of Abraham’s “Beersheba:” the well of the covenant, the well of seven.  In the prophetic allegory, in Gen. 26:18-25, “Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father.  For the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham.  And he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.”

With Isaac’s wells, God reveals the progressive development of His Church, in the twentieth century.  Therefore, in that century, we must look for a series of three organizations, followed by another group which comes out from them at some time before the Church expires.  That fourth group is the stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands and later smote the image in its feet, causing its destruction (Daniel 2:31-45).

That series of twentieth-century groups will have a succession of six leaders, completing the “ten generations.”  Five of those leaders will be identified in the three phases of the Church.  The seventh leader of God’s Elect will come forth from the third well: the “Mountain of the Lord’s House.”  And he will fulfill the allegory of Isaac at Beersheba: the Well of the Oath.  He will do so as “the Messenger of the Covenant,” in “the spirit and power of Elijah” (Mal. 3:1-4; Mal. 4:5; Matt. 17:10-13).  And, as the name “Enoch” (the seventh from Adam) signifies, he will initiate something different.  He will establish the nation of which Daniel spoke in Daniel 2:43-44, and which Jesus confirmed in Matthew 21:43.

The First Well

As the Church of God grew, A. J. Tomlinson was accepted as appointed by God to be their leader.  After seven years, in 1910, His title “General Moderator” was changed to General Overseer.  Then, in 1914, the group acknowledged that God’s appointment of Brother Tomlinson as General Overseer was for life.

However, by 1920, a strong sentiment had developed that the General Assembly should be the highest authority in the Church.  Therefore, a contention arose which ultimately forced Brother Tomlinson out of office.  In the process he was falsely accused of appropriating a large sum of money to his own use.  By the time it was proven that the accusations were untrue, Brother Tomlinson’s enemies had successfully forced him out.

Thus was fulfilled the prophecy, “Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.  And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours:  and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him” (Gen. 26:19-20).

      Although God had taken the candlestick out of their midst (Rev. 1:20; 2:1-5), and they had ceased to function in the capacity of God’s Elect, He did not cast them off altogether.  Rather the Church of God continued on and grew, and accomplished much good in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As an instrument of God, they have reached many souls with the gospel of redemption, and have carried the blessings of salvation to hundreds of thousands who have believed because of their efforts.

The Second Well

A. J. Tomlinson did not accept those developments as a defeat.  He and a few men and women, who faithfully held to the earlier concepts of the church, stepped out and began another organization, which today is called the “Church of God of Prophecy.”  They took the “Spirit of The Body of Christ” [7] with them, and the burden of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy rested upon them.  They walked away from the well “Esek”, and founded another instrument to use for their service to God.  God blessed the work, and it grew and prospered.

As the disruption unfolded, God justified and confirmed Bro. Tomlinson, as his twelve appointees fulfilled the allegory of the twelve which Moses sent to spy out the land.  George T. Broyer and S. O. Gillespie remained faithful to Brother Tomlinson, and the other ten went with the rebellion. 

A. J. Tomlinson had put twenty years into the building of the Church of God.  Then it was necessary for him to launch a whole new effort, which would occupy the next twenty years of his life.  God honored him and blessed his ministry in many ways.  Then, in 1943, he died in fulfillment of the allegory of Moses leading God’s people for forty years.

A. J. Tomlinson led The Church of God for forty years!  His forty years as leader over God’s Church is perhaps the most significant sign which God has given to us Christians today.  In the Old Testament, there were no less than seven leaders who ruled the people of God for forty years.  Their leadership cannot be a prophecy of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, because He ruled for only three and a half years, and died at about 33 years of age.  Nor has any other Christian leader ruled for forty years.  This fact cries out to us, “Look here!  This is where God is fulfilling Bible prophecy!”

Every man who professes to be led of God should acknowledge this great sign and begin to consider what God has done here.  Every Christian should take notice.  Read the sign!  By this sign, we know that God chose the Churches of God as His instruments of prophetic fulfillment in this century!  Each group, in their turn, were God’s Elect, chosen to labor together with the man to whom He had given “the testimony (2 Kings 11:12; Col. 1:25).”

Let us accept the truth of Colossians 1:25.  Paul said, “The dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God.”  God has not changed.  Jesus fulfilled “the volume of the book it is written of [Him],” and the Apostle Paul had the same testimony.  And so it has been with every man who occupied that kind of position in the last two Millennia.

From 1903 to 1943, God gave a special dispensation to A. J. Tomlinson, the fourth Anointed of God in the New Testament, for those faithful believers who were with him “to fulfill the word of God.”  When he died, the next volume of prophecy was given to another and so forth.  Knowing this, we can confidently follow the progression of Prophetic fulfillment as events unfold in the Churches of God, and be able to recognize “the Seventh Angel” when he is sounding his trumpet: preaching his message (Rev. 11:15; Exodus 19:16-20).

The Changing of the Guard

There was the usual power struggle at the time of A. J. Tomlinson’s death, which resulted in Milton A. Tomlinson emerging as the new General Overseer. However, the real struggle was a behind-the-scenes struggle to wrest the authority from the man in charge, whoever he might be, and transfer it to the General Assembly.

They accomplished that in the General Assembly of 1948 in fulfillment of 1 Kings 14: 25-27.  Just five years after the death of A. J. Tomlinson, the leaders of that attack against Moses’ Seat won a great victory.  The Assembly rejected divine leadership and declared “the General Assembly is the highest authority in the Church.”  Thus they declared that A. J. Tomlinson’s work had been in error from the beginning, and condemned their own work also.

If indeed the General Assembly was intended, by God, to be the highest authority in His Church, A. J. Tomlinson would indeed have been in error, as many thought.

But prophecy again justified the claims, and the labors, of A. J. Tomlinson by the advent of the fulfillment of Hosea 8:1.  God found fault with the Church of God of Prophecy, because they had “resisted His will” (Rom. 9:19). Therefore, He raised up a flying prophet against them.  As it is written, “Set the trumpet to thy mouth.  He shall come as an eagle against the House of the Lord, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.”

In 1948, the year that the Church of God of Prophecy rejected divine leadership, Guy Klapp gave the Apostle Grady R. Kent a new Cessna 195 airplane.  By 1956, Brother Kent’s “White Angel Fleet” had grown to about one hundred aircraft, and a force of over two hundred pilots.  He preached at airports across America with great effect.  He even took a special squadron to the Caribbean Islands in fulfillment of Isa. 60:9.  He was indeed the “Voice of The Bird of The Air” (Eccl. 10:20; Ezek. 10:1-7; Eccl. 10:20). 

      During the General Assembly in 1956, as my wife Zena and I looked on, the General Overseer declared, “I am subject to the Assembly.”  Thereby, the princes of the Assembly were handed the control of “Moses’ Seat” (Num. 16:1-3; Jude 11), by the very man who should have been vehemently expressing his objections.

      Within about six months, God raised up another prophet: Grady R. Kent, and anointed him “ruler over His household.”  Thus that prophecy was fulfilled, “They strove for that (well) also, and he called the name of it Sitna.  And he removed from thence, and digged another well.”

A close study of Jer. 3:1-11 will give you an idea of how God views the Church of God and Church of God of Prophecy.  The Church of God of Prophecy saw the example of the 1923 rebellion, yet did the same thing.

So God set that church aside, but did not reject them altogether.  From that time, until the present, He has used the efforts of the sincere workers among them to reach souls for His Kingdom.  It is only that they have lost the Spirit of The Body of Christ (Eph. 4:4).

The Third Well

On February 13, 1957, Brother Kent stepped out and began to dig the third well, which would indeed prove to be Rehoboth, which means “much room.”  Not many people were interested in The Church of God, and there was no striving for it.  Two of the six “generations” of the Gentile age had finished their work: one had died at his post, and the other had been defeated by the enemies of Christ.

The time had come for “The Voice of the Bird of the Air” to take the spirit of the Church, and begin to build a new organization.  That third group, named “The Church of God,” was destined to finish the life span of the “Man” of Ephesians 2:15.  It endured until December, 1980, just a little short of the prophetic allowance of “fourscore” (Psalm 90:10).

Brother Kent was born again in a meeting of the Church of God in 1931.  At about that time God gave him the spirit and power of John the Revelator.  About a year later, after inquiring of where the man was who had found the Church on a mountain, [8] he found A.J. Tomlinson, and began to work with him.  By 1934, he had begun to preach The Revelation of Jesus Christ.  You may think that assertion to be too bold, or perhaps worse, but consider the sign which God gave to us concerning those events.  In 1931, U.S. chemist, Harold Clayton Urey made an amazing discovery.  He found “heavy water.”  Then, in 1934, he was given the Nobel Prize for that discovery, coinciding exactly with Brother Kent’s first four years in Christ.  The water of The Revelation of Jesus Christ is about as heavy as the water of the Word of God gets to be.

In 1939, during a phenomenal revival in Egan, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, Brother Kent had a dreadful experience.  This is the way he described that revival in his book “Sixty Lashes at Midnight.” [9]

“God gave one of the greatest revivals ever known in that vicinity.  The Spirit of God had come down there in a greater way than the people had ever witnessed before.  There were hundreds of people converted, received the second definite work of grace:  sanctification, and at the time the great persecution broke out, to the best of my recollection, I had counted more than two hundred who had received the great experience of the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.  People were healed by the mighty power of God, the blind received their sight.  Many who had been paralyzed for years came and were healed, throwing their hands in the air and praising God because they had been healed by His mighty power.”

The enemy became incensed, and raised up great persecution against Bro. Kent.  One night, after the meeting, he was kidnapped and taken to a secluded spot, where he was beaten with sixty cruel lashes, with heavy leather whips.

After they had vented their wrath upon him, one of the men demanded of him, “What do you now intend to do?”  Then they said, “Get your family and get out from down there, or else this will be only a sample of what you will get.”  Bro. Kent wrote, “That was what they were wanting me to do all the time, but I had not obeyed, because God had sent me there, and I was only to move at God’s notice.”

After they had gone, he managed to make his way to the Atlanta suburb of East Point, a little too late to catch the last scheduled street car.  But, for some reason, the last car for the night was running twenty minutes late.  When he arrived back where the other saints were praying and anxiously waiting, he was treated for his wounds and mighty prayers were sent up for his recovery.  The next night he was back in the pulpit for God.  However, he suffered from that beating for many years.

Brother Kent went forth from that revival to labor hard and faithfully in that church which later took the name Church of God of Prophecy.  Grady R. Kent: the kind of man to whom God could entrust with His prophetic work for that hour, and the understanding of The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Previous - The Thomlinson Phenomenon

Next - The Second Gentile Anointed

The Body of Christ - Table of Contents

The People of Truth - Home Page

Copyright © 1995 - 2009 by THE PEOPLE OF TRUTH

[7] 1 Cor. 12:12-13 and Eph. 4:4.  "By one spirit are we all baptized into one body."

[8] Psa. 132:6,13,14.

[9] Church Publishing Co., P.O. Box 1207, ClevelandTenn.