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Triumph founder Bill Dankenbring speaks his mind on churches' doctrines
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Triumph founder Bill Dankenbring
speaks his mind on churches' doctrines
By Mac Overton

Of the many ministries and fellowships that came out of the Worldwide Church of God, what may be one of the smallest is also among the most prolific in the production of literature.

It is also not afraid to reexamine established Sabbatarian Church of God doctrines and cogitate outside the box.

That ministry is Triumph Prophetic Ministries (Church of God), founded by William "Bill" Dankenbring as a full-time effort in 1995.

(Mr. Dankenbring was disfellowshipped by then-WCG pastor general Joseph Tkach Sr. in 1987 because, Mr. Dankenbring said, "the church was at that time becoming very hard-fisted and negative to anything not under their direct authority, so my name and reputation began to be slandered, reviled and questioned in many quarters.")

An example of how Mr. Dankenbring, who nowadays lives in Omak, Wash., is not afraid to reexamine cherished beliefs is the lead article in the September-October issue of TPM's flagship publication, Prophecy Flash!

Jesus was an angel

The article is "Who Is the Archangel Michael?," in which Mr. Dankenbring presents what he sees as scriptural evidence that Michael is Jesus.

"I show the amazing relationships and statements in the Old and New Testaments that, first of all, Christ, or the Logos, was a created being who was always under the authority of the Father, as He Himself said, 'The Father is greater than I,' " Mr. Dankenbring told The Journal in an interview conducted by E-mail.

When the end comes, Jesus-Michael "will deliver up the Kingdom to the Father and Himself be subject to or under the authority of the Father."

Mr. Dankenbring cited 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 and John 14:28.

Beginning of creation

Jesus Himself "called the Father the only true God," Mr. Dankenbring continued, "and in Revelation 3:14 He tells John that He was the beginning of the creation of God."

About the archangel Mr. Dankenbring explains: "It is Michael who fights against the devil and his angels" (Revelation 12:7-9) "and who prevails over Satan. Who but Christ has qualified to conquer and replace Satan?"

Mr. Dankenbring said he also noticed that Michael is a "prince" of God, citing Daniel 10:21, and "Michael is the one who stands watch over the sons of your people, Israel."

"More and more," he continued, "it sounded like another of the many names of Christ Himself, who is also called in the Scriptures Prince of Peace, wonderful, Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, etc. It is Christ who is going to fight for and redeem His people. The angels of heaven will follow Him on white horses."

A comprehensive study, and letting the subject "mull and roll over in my mind for several months," led Mr. Dankenbring to his conclusion about Jesus and Michael.

He also credits an Englishman, Nick Wood, for bringing to his attention last summer the possibility of a Michael-Jesus identification.

The Angel of the Lord

"Then I read a fascinating article in New Beginnings, anewsletter of a British-Israel and holy-name-using group, on the Angel of the Lord, and for the first time it all came clear. It all clicked in my mind so that there was no doubt left for me."

Clicking into place, he said, was the realization that the "preexistent Christ was the Angel of the Lord and also YHVH, who spoke to Moses at the burning bush and who gave him the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, as Stephen shows" in Acts 7:30-32, 38.

Mr. Dankenbring had earlier concluded that Jesus, the Logos, was the angel who had led Israel out of Egypt.

"So it all began to fall together. In other words, it all added up to the old principle: Two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other ... Of course, there is much more evidence, but one would have to read my article to come to a full understanding."

The article is at the Triumph site,

Defining differences

Mr. Dankenbring said many other things have set his ministry apart from others in the Church of God tradition.

His "major, defining differences" include the following tenets:

  • Passover is to be observed at the "end of the 14th of Nisan, beginning of the 15th, as the Orthodox Jews do and as the Jews did during the time of Christ."
  • The Last Supper was not the Passover but a "final going-away dinner for the disciples." This conclusion takes into consideration that the Passover lambs would not be slain until the afternoon of the 14th in Jerusalem.
  • Pentecost is properly counted 50 days from the day (the "morrow") after the first annual Sabbath, as the Jews--Pharisees and modern Jews--count it.

"We do not follow the Sadducean counting, from the day after the weekly Sabbath, as that leads to confusion," Mr. Dankenbring said, "especially in the years when Passover is on a weekly Sabbath.

"In such a case do you count from the very next day or wait until the last Sabbath or last day of Unleavened Bread to begin to count?"

Great Feast symbolism

The Feast of Tabernacles observance involves meeting with fellow Feastgoers, conducting and attending Bible studies, building sukkahs, blowing shofars and waving lulavs, the four species of plants mentioned in Leviticus 23:40.

"There is much great symbolism in blowing the shofars and sitting in the sukkahs, fellowshipping and waving and marching, carrying the lulav bundles, rejoicing before the Lord," commented Mr. Dankenbring. "One minister who joined with us for a while decided he would not wave the lulav and adamantly refused to do so. Within the following year he suddenly died."

The proper view of the ontological nature of God is that the Father created Jesus at some time in the distant past. The Journal has described this belief in its variations as "unitarian," a belief in one God and that Jesus is not God.

"We believe the Bible is quite clear that originally there was one God, who became known as the Father," Mr. Dankenbring said, "and later He created the Logos as the firstborn of His creation" (he cites Revelation 3:14 and Colossians 1:14-17).

The Logos became God's firstborn son, who "became," rather than always existed as, "a member of the Godhead."

Then Father and Son, who jointly comprised the "Elohim," created the heavens and earth.

"Thus Christ was originally a created being, as He Himself said in Revelation 3:14, the beginning of the creation of God. He was the first of all creation and joined the Father as His eldest Son."

No longer an excuse

The Jewish calendar errs in determining the beginnings of most months, "although it comes close."

Often, Mr. Dankenbring said, "the new-moon crescent does not fall on the first day of the Jewish fixed-calendar month. This may have been all right during the years of persecution, dispersion and Middle Ages, but now we have science, astronomy, the Internet, rapid communication, etc., and there is no excuse not to begin each month on the first faint crescent of the moon, the true new-moon day.

"This, of course, affects the proper date to observe the annual holy days."

God's people should not observe the "postponements" of the Jewish calendar.

"These artificial postponements were never adhered to in biblical times and changed the dates of the calendar and the beginning of the year, thus altering the days for holy-day observances. No wonder God says in His Word, prophetically, 'Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me.'"

The daughters of men

"Although Christ said clearly the angels of God in heaven do not marry--Matthew 22:30--He was not speaking of the fallen angels, the disobedient angels on earth who were not God's angels any longer but who had become the devil's angels."

Mr. Dankenbring recommends his book on this subject, Angels, Women, Sex, Giants, UFOs and the Occult: What on Earth Is Going On?

Who's Ephraim and who's not?

The United States is prophesied Ephraim, and the British nations are prophesied Manasseh.

"When I used to be a writer for The Plain Truth and Tomorrow's World magazines, in the late 1960s and early 1970s," Mr. Dankenbring explained, "a high-level fellow in the computer department of the Work [the Worldwide Church of God] and I were walking to church services one day, about 1973, and he brought up the subject of who was who, questioning HWA's [Herbert W. Armstrong's] old conclusion."

Impressing Mr. Dankenbring was that at the time the United States had about 250 million population, compared with Britain's mere 60 million.

"Yet Moses in Deuteronomy 33:17 said that Ephraim would constitute ten thousands compared to Manasseh's thousands."

Greg Doudna

Then, "after I was put out of the church [the WCG] in 1987, I learned of a graduate student from Ambassador College Big Sandy, Greg Doudna, who had written a massive book on questions and problems he found in Ambassador [and] church theology titled Showdown in Big Sandy. I obtained a copy and found he was right in many areas."

(Speaking of Showdown in Big Sandy, The Journal ran a review of Mr. Doudna's book, which he had updated only a few weeks earlier, in the Sept. 30, 2006, issue.

(Though Mr. Doudna may have influenced Mr. Dankenbring's belief about prophesied Ephraim and Manasseh, in the years since he wrote the first edition of Showdown he has abandoned his beliefs in any form of British-Israelism and most other old WCG doctrines as well.)

After reading Mr. Doudna's views, Mr. Dankenbring "went into a concentrated study of the subject and began teaching the reverse of the old Herbert Armstrong British-Israel dogma."

Ephraim must be America, he concluded, because "America far surpassed the power of the whole British Commonwealth by the middle of the 20th century and is the world's only remaining superpower today."

Mr. Dankenbring's current thinking on the Ephraim-Manasseh question is compiled in a 450-page book, published in 2005, America and Great Britain: Our Identity Revealed: Ephraim and Manasseh in the End of Days.

Small but outspoken

Mr. Dankenbring said his Triumph Prophetic Ministries (Church of God) is "probably one of the smaller church groups that came out of Worldwide."

Triumph began in 1987, a year after Mr. Armstrong died, "when Joseph Tkach [Sr.] had his ministry throw me out of the church as a false prophet."

However, Mr. Dankenbring said he never claimed to be a prophet.

But Mr. Tkach "took umbrage at my independent publishing of the truth of God, most all of which, at that time, came from the Worldwide Church of God's teachings."

Church and Feast attendance

The Journal asked Mr. Dankenbring about his membership statistics.

"We don't know our total membership" numbers, he said. "We don't try to keep those kinds of records. We feel we are a voice in the wilderness, calling God's people back to repentance, and to living by every word of God."

He did mention that "40 to 100 people" attended this year's Feast of Tabernacles site sponsored by Triumph. This was besides a telephone connection during the services for people who could not physically attend.

"We also have brethren scattered around the world. Our magazine, Prophecy Flash, 88 pages in length, goes out to about 3,000 to 4,000 people every two months."

Contact information

More on Mr. Dankenbring's background--how he came to no longer work on WCG publications because of "internal power struggles" that left him as a casualty, and other information--is contained on his Web site,

The site also has information about his CD-and-tape ministry for the homebound based on Bible studies he conducts in his residence each week.

Most of his literature is available as free downloads from the site. Some major books have prices, and for others a donation is suggested.

Write Mr. Dankenbring at Triumph Prophetic Ministries, P.O. Box 842, Omak, Wash. 98841, U.S.A.

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