God’s Church arose June 13, 1903, by the declaration of the Prophet Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson. During the next 20 years, that Church grew to tens of thousands under his oversight.
The forty-year ministry of A. J. Tomlinson as the leader of the Churches of God is of tremendous importance. A forty-year leadership of God’s People occurred only eight times in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, not at all. God gave A. J. Tomlinson a forty-year ministry so we would know that his work had “the Seal of God” upon it. He fulfilled Bible prophecy, and generated a succession of churches which were themselves the fulfillment of the volume of prophecy which was written about God’s Church for the 20th century.
Most of us Christians want to think of ourselves as God’s Church, but the prophecy part is summarily set aside, and/or rejected altogether. We must remember the words of God by the prophet Malachi. “I am the Lord, I change not.”
Though they surely paid a price for doing so, just as did Jesus Christ. He was popular in the Synagogue until He told them He was fulfilling prophecy that day. The ministry of the New Testament record viewed the Old Testament as a book of “Instructions by Prophecy.” Paul boldly stated in Col. 1:25, “I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God.” And in Acts 13:47, he quoted Isaiah 49:6, and said it was a commandment to him and Barnabas from the Lord. He proceeded forthwith to fulfill that prophetic command.
But according to Jesus, it was John the Baptist who began the practice of fulfilling prophecy and declaring openly that was what he was doing. In Matt. 11:10-13, Jesus declared that John The Baptist was “More than a prophet, for this is he, of whom it is written.” It was John himself who had declared earlier, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as said the Prophet Isaias.” He was fulfilling those prophecies, and he knew it.
Also, when Peter and the other Apostles replaced Judas (Acts 1:15-22), shortly before the Holy Spirit was poured upon them, he quoted parts of Psa. 69:25 and Psa. 109:8. He said, “Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas.” “It is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein:’ and ‘his bishoprick let another take.’ Wherefore of these men must one be ordained to be a witness with us.”
Concerning his finding The Church of God at Burger mount near Murphy, N. C., Bro. Tomlinson later declared it to have been the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psa. 132:6. “Lo we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in Fields of the Wood.” The Church of God, over which A. J. Tomlinson was then General Overseer, purchased that property, renamed it Fields of the Wood, and marked the place where he had found “a place for the Lord, An habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob.” He had found the beginning of the restoration of the New Testament Temple which had been destroyed by Mystery Babylon so very long ago.
As early as the General Assembly in Nov. 1915, Bro. Tomlinson began to suggest the need for a council of Elders. At the next Assembly in Nov. 1916, the council initiated plans for the selection of twelve with a potential total of seventy. On Feb. 13, 1917 Bro. Tomlinson appointed F. J. Lee and T. L. McLain as the first two of the twelve, and they three selected and appointed the other ten.
I am confident that A. J. Tomlinson was not aware that he was fulfilling prophecy at the time of those appointments, but in 1922, when ten of them rebelled and only two of them remained faithful, I am just as confident that he made the connection between himself and Moses. Of a truth, the allegory of Moses and his twelve was fulfilled in that dissimulation.
When Bro. Tomlinson’s forty years were finished, it seemed as if he favored his eldest son Homer to carry on his work, even as Isaac favored Esau over Jacob. However, their mother favored Jacob, and saw to it that Jacob received the greater blessing. Even so, the woman, the Church, in this case the elders who were gathered together in special session, had other plans. They selected his younger son Milton.
In his book “Diary of A. J. Tomlinson,” 1953, Homer Tomlinson called the event “A brother casting out a brother, a 1943 meaning of - Jacob and Esau.” I am sure he was disappointed, but he went out from there and prospered in his work just as Esau, who also being blessed by Isaac, did. Upon Jacob’s return from Laban’s house, he found Esau to be very prosperous. Perhaps more prosperous than he.
There are many more prophecies which were fulfilled in the course of those forty years, but I offer these for your consideration. I cover the subject in much broader detail in my booklet “God’s Church, Prophecy In Motion” which can be had upon request.