COG members, others, preparing to flee
By Bill Stough
LONEDELL, Mo.--At least 100 people, including several members of five Church of God families who live in Missouri and Illinois, may soon "flee" from the United States to the Central American nation of Belize. So says Tom Van Asperen, a Sabbatarian, Bible teacher and spokesman for Fourth Angel Ministries, Paradise, Calif.
A family of five from Catawissa, Mo., who until recently attended the independent Church of God of Belleville, Ill., pastored by Al Buchanan, plans to leave the United States on or about May 28. The husband and wife, who were reluctant to divulge their names for publication, told The Journal they are waiting to leave because they expect on that date to receive the proceeds from the recent sale of their residence.
The wife said, however, that "world events" could dictate that they flee before May 28, whether they have money in hand or not.
Members of five families who attend the Church of God congregation in Belleville say they plan to travel in automobiles through Mexico as a convoy on the way to Belize. They plan to take their furniture with them on the trip.
The Church of God members say they will not live as a commune in Belize, but will reside as individuals in private homes.
Mr. Buchanan, in sermons, has spoken out emphatically against the planned exodus.
Mr. Van Asperen, who says he is not the leader of a group but only an adviser and teacher, agrees with the couple's approach. He said he knows it is almost time to flee because of a coded Bible language he calls "twice speak" that he has interpreted.
The mission of Fourth Angel Ministries, according to the ministry's Web site (www.twicespeak.com), is "to share with the world the message of the gospel and the Bible's secret last-day encrypted languages."
The Church of God members said the stay in Belize could last a couple of years. After that, miraculous events will lead the nation of Egypt to send planes to fly the sojourners to that country, where they will reside for perhaps five more years or until the return of Christ.
Mr. Van Asperen commented that he is uncertain how long he can maintain his Web site or continue selling lecture tapes after he leaves the United States.
At the site he mentions that Psalm 91 "tells us of a special secret hiding place" where God's people will be protected just like "in the days of Noah."
He said an understanding of seven Bible "languages" is necessary to know when to flee and to learn other important Bible truths.
The Journal asked him how many people are taking his teachings to heart and will soon move to Belize.
"At least 100 people I personally know of," he replied.
He does not head up a church, but he conducts seminars in various locations. Many of his seminars are for fans of The Prophecy Club, a radio, television and Internet ministry based in Topeka, Kan.
The anonymous Church of God members from Missouri estimate Mr. Van Asperen has influenced several thousand, maybe as many as 10,000, people, most of whom are not Church of God members.
Unlike many Church of God members, Mr. Van Asperen does not have a background in the Worldwide Church of God, but he is a Sabbath-keeper and observes the biblical feast days.
New world order
In an interview April 13 with The Journal, Mr. Van Asperen issued a warning about the "new world order."
"Today there's a new-world-order beast system, and it is devouring the whole world one bite at a time," he said. "There are major reasons to leave the United States. I just attended a Y2K conference, and horrible things will occur."
"Y2K" is a reference to the computer glitch that will affect many systems in government and industry beginning Jan. 1, 2000. Its effects, depending on which experts one talks to, will be anywhere from minimal to catastrophic.
"England just bought 20,000 bicycles for Y2K postmen," Mr. Van Asperen said. "But America hasn't provided for postmen like that.
"Anyone who has assets in this country will lose them. All property value will become zilch. You'll lose all your money in banks and in the stock market. Overnight, people will be wiped out. The entire electrical grid will go down."
He said 70 percent of American businesses will go bankrupt. General Motors will close. "That's what I heard," he said.
"There is a shadow government behind the scenes in the United States that stopped anyone from dealing with the Y2K crisis, and now it's too late. The purpose of the Y2K problem is to perpetuate the bringing in of martial law."
World War III
Thanks to his interpretation of messages using "twice speak" and other methods, he has determined that World War III will soon begin, although he did not reveal a date for the start of the conflict.
"Our Bible coding shows six out of seven American men will die in World War III. Men from age 12 to 70 will be drafted. When you learn the code languages, you can determine that. We decoded Isaiah to prove this.
"Saddam Hussein has already sent in hundreds of women into America with vials of anthrax in their private parts. At the appropriate moment they will dump the vials in every water reservoir in this country that they can reach. Bodies 12 high will be left on the streets of our cities. We don't have any food left in America, not even three days' supply."
Russia will bomb America, he said. Russia is building one nuclear submarine every four weeks. "We are surrounded by Russian subs."
The current bombing by NATO of Yugoslavia is significant because "every world war has started in the Balkans. A war will take place between the Muslim world and Israel. Iraq and Iran will hit Israel. We no longer have a U.S. constitution. The papacy has claimed the United States as belonging to the Vatican."
Mr. Van Asperen told The Journal that people cannot understand the Bible unless they know seven specific esoteric languages or codes. The codes include the transposition of letters. For example, the first letter of a word becomes the last. "We've found Hitler many times this way," he said.
They also include "twice speak," the repeating in the Bible of certain words and phrases.
It also includes "amazing mathematical evidence."
An example of the latter is in Genesis 1. Hebrew letters can stand for numbers as well. Thus interpreted, the first chapter of Genesis provides 12 pages of mathematical formulas.
Other codes pertain to Bible names and "numeric geometric structures."
"We have decoded the date for the beginning of the final seven years [before Jesus' second coming], and it is May 11," Mr. Van Asperen said.
Although he says he knows the date of the month that will begin the last seven years, he doesn't know the year. "But it will definitely begin May 11. This is 100 percent sure. The beginning event is the Muslim world attacking Israel."
He has also interpreted the seven thunders of Revelation 10.
"Certain important things happen often on the same date in the Bible. April 19 is very significant and could be very bad this year. Prophecies play twice. The last pope will personally crown Satan in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. This will be Satan himself. He can appear as a physical being, even as an angel of light. Catholic leaders are having face-to-face communication with Lucifer in the Vatican."
The new world order, he said, is laying plans for America and the Muslim world to destroy each other.
"The United Nations will survive but not the United States. The eagle's wings will be plucked. That's why my friends are leaving the country. I personally know of over 100 people who are going to Belize. These are people who have had contact with me, and some are from the Church of God. They aren't going to a commune but are going as individuals."
An important code word in the Bible, he said, is thing, referring specifically to Daniel 10:1.
"It is a secret thing and used 1,156 times. The final seven years are spelled out in this chapter. If the prophecy [Daniel 10:1-8] occurs this year, it will be on April 21. The men of Daniel 10:7 fled. Maybe we should flee. Something dramatic may happen April 21 this year, but we don't know what. If something horrible happens on that date this year, we should definitely flee the country."
In view of "twice speak," The Journal asked him if he saw any significance in the mob shouting "Crucify him! Crucify him!" in Mark 15:13-14.
"It's not even sensible to talk about this topic unless you know the language," he replied. "I believe that on Calgary my Savior made a complete atonement for my sins. But I'm trying to understand what's going on. We've decoded over 100 verses that imply something more.
"Why are there two goats in Leviticus 16? Is there to be an end-time sprinkling of Christ's blood in the sanctuary? Look at Hebrews 9:26. It implies Christ appears at the end of the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. This appears to be a future event. The end of the world wasn't 2,000 yearsago."
A future "crucifixion of Christ," he said, could refer to future Christian martyrs.
Mr. Van Asperen says he believes Jesus will return to visit with the 144,000 of Revelation before the world comes to an end.
"Does the Bible say Christ can't come back before the end of the world? He did come back visibly and physically after His resurrection, after having gone to heaven to be accepted of His Father. He showed Himself to many. We've decoded in the fiery-furnace story that Christ will be walking personally with the 144,000 during the final seven years. I have personally talked with four different people who have come face to face with Christ visibly."
The church, he said, must flee from Israel, which he believes includes America, for two years, then move to Egypt.
"We know this because Joseph said his brothers existed two years on food outside their country but that five more years remained of the famine. That's twice speak. Joseph's brothers had to go to Egypt. The Exodus will be repeated. We'll again be gathered at Mount Sinai at the end of two years to be taught by Moses and Elijah the last-day message that Babylon has fallen. This will absolutely be the same Moses and Elijah who were on this earth thousands of years ago."
The Journal asked Mr. Van Asperen how Christians who believe in the "simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3) can come to grips with such a complicated view of scriptural interpretation.
"I don't share it," he said, "because some people can handle only milk, not meat. But we need to move on from Christ and Him crucified to the deeper things of the Word."
A statement on Mr. Van Asperen's Web site notes that "twice speak" is "an encrypted language" that can be read in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or in English in the King James Version. "It is generally not present in the new translations," he said.
"This language unquestionably unseals the sealed words and book of Daniel. It also unseals the Seven Thunders of Revelation 10:4. These Seven Thunders spell out in detail the final seven years of this world's history! This amazing language also unseals the entire Bible for the last days. Many chapters and books of the Bible have now become headline news!"
Mr. Van Asperen told The Journal that his father was a Roman Catholic and his mother a Seventh-day Adventist, but "I don't buy either one of them."
Before his current ministry, he studied the doctrines of many churches and religions and was involved in many ways of making a living.
"Each church had truth but also had hooks in them. I'm tired of deception. You can't put a denominational label onme."
See also Ron Dart's editorial, beginning on page 3, for Mr. Dart's comments about people deciding to flee.
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God