Church of God Preparing for the Kingdom of God

An apocalypticist splinter sect from the Worldwide Church of God, known for its end-time prophecies and controversies.

The Church of God, Preparing for the Kingdom of God (COG-PKG) is an apocalypticist new religious movement that originated as a splinter group from the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). Established in 1998 by Ronald Weinland, a former WCG minister, COG-PKG maintains its headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and utilizes a robust online presence to engage an international audience.

Ronald Weinland, who has been a central and controversial figure in the church, draws heavily on the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong, the founder of WCG. These teachings include the observance of the Sabbath on Saturdays and adherence to certain Old Testament practices and dietary laws, consistent with the seventh-day Sabbatarian tradition. The church’s doctrinal emphasis is on preparing for a prophesied Third World War, which they believe will precede the Second Coming of Christ.

Ronald Weinland has made several specific predictions about the end times. In his 2008 book, he claimed that the final countdown to the return of Jesus Christ began in 2008, with the prophecy stating that Christ would return in 2012. This date was later changed to May 27, 2012, and then to May 19, 2013, with Weinland suggesting that Christ’s return would be preceded by the death of 7,000 ministers and leading members of the Sabbatarian Churches of God in the Great Tribulation. Weinland’s book “Prophecy Against the Nations” predicted June 9, 2019, as the new date for the second coming of Jesus Christ, preceded by World War III and other biblical events. All these predictions have failed to materialize, which, combined with Weinland’s conviction for tax evasion, has significantly affected his credibility and added controversy surrounding the church.

Despite these issues, COG-PKG continues its operations, focusing on its core teachings and community activities, including the annual Feast of Tabernacles. The church’s messages and sermons, many of which are delivered by Weinland, emphasize the urgency of the end times and feature apocalyptic themes. Weinland, asserting himself as a prophet and the last apostle similar to the apostle John, claims a divine commission to reveal biblical truths about the end times. He and his wife are also purported by COG-PKG to be the two end-time witnesses referred to in the Book of Revelation and the Book of Zechariah.

The church’s mission is underscored by a continuous vigilance over “prophetic parameters” that they believe will signal the imminent final events leading to Christ’s return. Despite the controversies and criticisms due to the unfulfilled prophecies and legal issues, COG-PKG persists with its mission, emphasizing the preparation for impending catastrophic global events.