The Life & Ministry of William Irvine
Revised April 21, 2013
Events of 1938 - 1950
Life of The Omega Message Followers While Irvine Was Living
1936: Visit from John Hardie
1938: Visit To Wm. Irvine By Ed Cooney, Alfred Magowan & R. Irwin
1937-38: Visit to Wm Irvine by George Linn and Percy Abbott
1940-41: Irvine Diagnosed With Cancer
1943: Willie Edwardsis Excommunicated
1947: Death of Wm Irvine
Disposition of Irvine's Possessions
1952: Death of Archie Irvine, son of Wm Irvine
1982: Death of Mary Jamieson Irvine, wife of Archie Irvine
Life of the Omega Message Followers During Wm. Irvine's Lifetime
It is important to understand that there are significant differences in the viewpoints and lifestyle of the followers of Wm. Irvine who (1) followed his prophecies while Wm Irvine was living; and (2) who were converted after his death. Following is a first-hand account by a follower of the Omega Message while Wm Irvine was still alive and personally directing his followers. Lew Fountain, a long-time ex-Omega Follower wrote the author: “How queer, and shall I say unique, the cult was, in that all the years my parents were in it, not 1% of his followers had met the man (W.I.). It was only by letters written back and forth. We can learn a great deal from this, because it points up the fact that it was a 'GREAT SPELL’ he could cast over people, even by the written word!…What I have written…may seem extreme to some, but you must understand that when my parents joined W.I.’s group, it affected my whole family til this very day!” (April 25, 2001 Letter to Cherie Kropp)
The family of Llewellyn (Lew) W. Fountain was converted in the 1928-29 through Mrs. Manley while Wm Irvine was still alive. “It followed that, after Mother found some spare time, that she contacted Mrs. M. by letter, in which she indicated continued interest in this William Irvine and his Message. She still had a burning in her heart for more of the false teachings of this man. PRESTO!! Back came a letter from Mrs. M. with great rejoicing. It was like hearing from a person raised from the dead, she exclaimed enthusiastically!! Mother wrote W.I. He also gave her/us a Royal welcome. From this point on, the course of my parents spiritual life and that of their three children was set. Mrs. Manley visited us on the farm for two or more months. This resulted in more indoctrination. Later, another follower of W.I. who lived in Vancouver, B.C. a George Linn also visited us. These were the years 1928 and 1929…Now you may ask: What about the Fountains--all five of us? Well their 3 children were still quite young, and as for myself I was just blindly following them. As for Father and Mother--well they were just like putty in W.I.’s hands. He had convinced (brainwashed them) them that he was “THIS GREAT PROPHET,” and he could do no wrong…“My thoughts now go back to the 1930s. I was just a young lad; and knew very little of what life was all about. We were in desolate country and surroundings. We had joined with Irvine and were trying so hard to faithfully follow him with all our heart. Here I was, a young lad at a very impressionable age, very sincere and sensitive about doing the right thing in my spiritual life. At the same time, we have all these letters from this man, written from Jerusalem, Palestine. This really was something! My! The Holy Land where Christ was born. It fed my imagination. But at the same time--all these letters received if not weekly, certainly monthly, with all his prophecy of gloom and doom.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
Lew explained how the Fountain family and other Omega Message followers lived in uncertainty as to their eternal future, while Irvine was alive. He called it “THE EVERLASTING FRENZY.” They were looking for the Apostle John to return AT ANY MOMENT, at which time the dreaded 3-1/2 year worldwide drought would begin. They lived their lives as though the end was eminent—next week, next month, etc. Some didn’t have children; didn’t marry, didn’t build homes, didn’t provide for their future. They lived from minute to minute.
“how near to John’s arrival we are…” “Never had anything before like we have now to encourage us to believe that John’s coming is so close by…" (Phillip Edwards Letter to Loitz Marcy 5, 1943*) “can only believe He is keeping Rose til John comes, for you can see where the armies are now and John is to come with the start of the second Woe. So after all our unbelief, doubts and fears, He may be going to glorify Himself in raising up Rose.” (W. Edwards Letter to Loitz September 17, 1941*) “Every tick of the clock brings John nearer." (W. Edwards to Loitz October 6, 1941*) “Of course, we watch and pray for John’s coming, and we feel it’s very near and that may be His reason for not having taken her (Rose Edwards was dying) before this…” (W. Edwards Letter to R. D. Young September 29, 1941*) “we were in hope that John might come at Easter…” (W. Edwards Letter to Hansens May 16, 1941*) “Everything points to John’s soon coming…” “Don’t expect the time will be long till John comes. Only a few more days to Armistice, and we have felt for a long time that we can’t plan far ahead." “Today is August 8, and so far have had no news of John’s arrival…” (Anna Edwards Letter to Fountains August 8, 1938*)
To say his followers had a HIGH regard for Wm Irvine would be a gross understatement.
They all but worshipped him and his letters. Lew Fountain wrote: “W.I.
was just a man. A man just the same as any other, needing to be saved by Grace--but
he was not. He made himself 'god.' How often do I remember some of his followers
making such remarks as ‘I wonder how God must have felt when William Irvine
was born into the world.’ As if it were some event that was second only
to creation itself. Also a woman (Rose Edwards) once said of W.I. ‘My!!
How he has suffered for us. No one has suffered as much as he.’ Now you
would think she was talking about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ--but
she was not--she was talking about Wm. Irvine!” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends
by Lew Fountain)
Willie Edwards reverently wrote: "We have only just tasted of the big feast prepared for us by the Man who alone has been worthy to see and say what no other has ever been able to say, because no other has ever suffered or paid the price which he has, therefore God has exalted him above all others and has kept that place reserved for him all these ages." (W. Edwards Letter to Fountains May 17, 1936*)
“He was supposed to be one of the two witnesses who were going to be able to put plagues ‘ON AND OFF THE EARTH AS OFTEN AS THEY WILL.’ Also Malachi 4:1: ‘BEHOLD THE DAY OF THE LORD COMETH THAT SHALL BURN AS AN OVEN; AND ALL THE PROUD, YEA, AND ALL THAT DO WICKEDLY SHALL BE STUBBLE,’ etc. (It was going to happen soon.) He kept it at fever pitch. ‘The first WOE has sounded--the second and the third are about to.’ ‘The trimming days are over (trimming of our lamps) the great judgment is about to begin.’ ‘The door will be closed, and after it is closed no one will be allowed to enter,’ and on and on it wen. It would be too late to get inside the door (according to him). I have called it ‘THE EVERLASTING FRENZY.’ ‘The squirrel wheel that never stopped turning.’ (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
“Keep in mind, these were terrifying words, falling on the ears of
a young lad 7 to 17 years old, who had no other yardstick to measure it by.
And oh yes--the only way we would be able to ‘get inside the door’
or be saved, was to read these letters of his, obey everything he said
(he wrote thousands of letters), and if we followed him closely, did this and
much more, maybe just maybe, we would make it, or be saved from the wrath
to come. I can remember as a lad in the late 1930s suffering great anguish,
about whether I would have a chance. All these broad statements, uttered by
an old man like he was cause to be confused and troubled!” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends
by Lew Fountain)
“My mind also remembers very vividly, the way my Mother suffered, certainly from the cancer, but also as much from his never ending prophecies--the confusion and anxiety that tortured her mind. Plus all his false teaching. As you will remember John was supposed to return from heaven. Now he (Wm. Irvine) taught that all who were sick and ailing, this would give the signal that all would be HEALED. This was torture of the kind that words can not describe. How well I remember her telling a neighbour Charlie McCoy when he called to see us, shortly before we moved (she was moved on her deathbed). She told him, ‘I don't expect to die from this--John is going to come from heaven and heal me.’ At which time Charlie McCoy gave a puzzled look, and was too modest to dispute her. Do you see what I mean?” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
“We were all kept sitting on the edge of our chair, wondering what ‘this wonderful prophet’ was going to have revealed to him next.…I have given you some of the places in the Bible to tell the false from the true (Deut 18:20-22). My Mother died 61 years ago. There is still no 'JOHN FROM HEAVEN'; also no worldwide drought. Still no---well, to tell the truth, I can't think of anything he said is coming to pass…In the past 50+ years, I have thought how nice it would have been for my Mother to have died like real Christians die, to know where you are going, to a prepared place, for a prepared people—Heaven! This is the terrible turmoil you people are in who still blindly cling to what is left of W.I.’s so-called “Message.” He made wrecks of your lives, to say the least…Please get one thing clear: John is NOT going to return like W.I. said. The only one who will return, according to the promise is our Lord and Savior, JESUS CHRIST. THIS COULD happen very soon. This is what true Christians believe.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
Lew Fountain wrote the author: “Three and one-half years of worldwide
drought was to come SOON on the world. We (The Fountain family) did not know
that back in 1919, he was prophesying the same thing, and he said it was going
to start on August 1, 1919, and it did not come to pass. All during the
1930s, he was writing about the worldwide drought to us in S. Saskatchewan,
while to other people in US, NZ, Britain, Australia and all over there was only
a mere mention of it. He kept it at a fever pitch with us. In the 1930s,
he said in one of his letters to us. "Next year at this time John will have
come." (April 25, 2001 Letter
to Cherie Kropp
by Lew Fountain)
“Further to his prophecy about the worldwide drought that was going to happen SOON. In his letters to the Fountains (then of Ponteix, SK) and the date was in the early 1930s, we were beginning 10 years of extreme drought. Mother and Father were writing him about it, and he wrote us in reply, thus: ‘What you see there (the drought) we will soon see worldwide.’ Now that was prophecy. Also, it was some 67 years ago. Don't you think the poor man was slightly wrong.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
The annual date of NOVEMBER 11 figured prominently in Wm Irvine's prophecies. November 11 was Armistice Day in 1918, or the Day World War I ceased. He prophesied that: "Rev. 9:15 speaks of the 11th hour of the 11th day of 11th year from Armistice, so you can see what mourning is in store for them, and much cause for mourning before the war of Armageddon comes, when 600 million men will be its toll, with 200 million already taken in violence since Aug. 4, 1916. (January 28, 1928 Letter to Friends).
He looked toward November 11 each year with great anticipation: "Is this the great day we have been looking forward to so long?" (November 11, 1936 Letter to Dunbars). "I knew from the beginning of the war there was a close connection between what happened in The Testimony and the war, but it was only towards the end of the war that the Lord opened up Revelation and showed me Revelation 8 as a record of the war and the consequences which are to follow, or the 3 woes. The 1st of which began at the Armistice and is still going on all over the world, as outlined in Revelation 9:1-12." (September 3, 1922 Letter to Skerritts) In 1922, he wrote: "The 5-hour earthquake and tidal waves on 1,400 miles of Chile Coast on Armistice morning was very cheering to those who have eyes to see." (December 30, 1922 Letter to Mrs. Adams) He alluded that the 1929 Wall Street crash was due to some significance of November 11, 1929: "And so, you can see the cause of the world slump which is marked by the Wall Street crash in November 1929, about Armistice Day, which seems to baffle the experts so much, both in finding the cause and cure for such." (August 1, 1930 Letter to Grims)
Lew Fountain explained the Omega Message followers concern regarding November 11 each year: “William Irvine was great at setting dates. I can remember my mother was always HOLDING HER BREATH or expecting some great thing to happen when November 11th rolled around…As you may know World War I ended on the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month. He would always refer to this as 11/11/11…He would write such things as ‘THIS IS THE DATE WE HAVE LONG FOUND HARD TO GET, OR FIND.’ And a short time later he would change that ‘DATE.’ THIS was what he made us believe, was ‘THE MEAT IN DUE SEASON--FROM THE THRONE.’ He was forever changing. (April 25, 2001 Letter to Cherie Kropp)
Another explanation for Irvine's fascination with November 11 was:
"You know that Armistice Day is the anniversary of the Day the Lord told
Noah to prepare to enter the Ark--The 10th day of the 2nd month. October
is the 1st month of the Civil year, as April is the 1st month of the Sacred
year; and so, we expect to see judgment come on the Earth as result of conditions
in those fateful days. I expect all the dates given in Noah’s record to
play an important part, as they did in his day. So now, as it was in the
days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of Man. Son of Man
refers to the man who is of the Earth, anointed as one of the 2 Witnesses.
Noah was the Son of Man for his day, as Daniel and Ezekiel are called by the
same name. Jesus is called the Son of Man, as He was the Anointed of God
in His day, and will come back as such to rule the Kingdom and world as King
of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Book is a record of a few men by whom
God did His work in every age, and He must needs work on similar lines today."
(November 4, 1922 Letter
to Skerritts) Irvine also claimed the title "Son of Man" for himself. Refer to
“There is a verse in Matt. 23:4 that W.I. was always applying to the churches, but he should have put his own name there. The verse reads: “FOR THEY BIND HEAVY BURDENS AND GRIEVOUS TO BE BORNE, AND LAY THEM ON MEN’S SHOULDERS; BUT THEY THEMSELVES WILL NOT MOVE THEM WITH ONE OF THEIR FINGERS.” Wm Irvine’s so-called MESSAGE certainly did that. Even those who were his most faithful, he was forever building them up to high heaven then tearing them down. W. Edwards was just one of many. Praising them, and telling others to follow their example. Then a short three years later he writes words like, ‘I have seen the wrong things working in them (Rose and Willie Edwards) for years!’ These poor people gained and lost W.I.’s diplomatic recognition, more often than a small Balkin State. I’ll tell you folks this man must have been plain CRAZY!! Do you folks realize that in the last year before his death, in his letters he named the following people in the Message who were ‘not showing the right marks,’ and not doing it at all right according to him. We were guilty of being ‘big’ and ‘puffed up,’ etc., etc. Those names were: W. Edwards, Balls, Loitz, Fountain, McCaskill, Symington, Berglinds and many others. These people were ALL in his BLACK BOOKS.” So that strictly speaking, dear folks, NONE of you have the right to speak for him to this day. But I don’t think you realize it.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
Lew Fountain wrote the author about followers being instructed to shun one another and the rod of correction. Willie Edwards was Irvine’s right hand man in North America. “One case in point: W. Edwards deemed it necessary one time to "correct harshly one man in the Message, Vance Fixen. After he had ‘CHEWED HIM UP’ for some time--He (W.E.) took him on his knee and kissed him. This really MADE VANCE FEEL ‘ALL BROKEN UP.’ To think that W. E. ‘LOVED HIM SO MUCH!!’ THIS is what the SCIENTOLOGY cult do also. They are all compelled to kiss each other. W. Irvine did just about the same thing, only it was by letter. Especially with W.E. I can show you the letters. Time after time he (W.I.) would praise him (W.E.)--then tear him apart. To shun people ‘NOT SHOWING THE RIGHT MARKS’ was another way. One time when the Loitz family were ‘NOT SHOWING THE RIGHT MARKS,’ W. Edwards advised us by letter thus: ‘A GOOD LEAVING ALONE WILL BE BEST FOR THEM.’ It followed that we (The Fountain's) did as he said. Afterwards the Loitz family ‘SHOWED THE RIGHT MARKS,’ and as I remember were given ‘A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH.’ I write these things to try to paint a picture of the ‘OFF AGAIN--ON AGAIN’ situation all those years were. And all the time, this William Irvine was the one who bent and warped our minds.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
All the time I was with him, I must admit, I only had a vague idea what his ‘OMEGA MESSAGE’ was all about. We were all so concerned about pleasing him (W.I.)...We all gained or lost his ‘well done’ by how well each of us could feign keen interest in every word he wrote! We were like ‘PUPPETS ON A STRING,’ and those of us who could put on the best show were deemed to be ‘THE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT’…This is the way I spent my early years--from about 1927--1945. I am thankful I got out from under his terrible spell.” (April 25, 2001 Letter to Cherie Kropp)
Irvine’s ideas affected people lives irrevocably. Some took his advice regarding financial matters which proved to be a catastrophe for them. Most didn't get higher education or provide for their old age. Some chose not to have children, because of the warning Irvine stressed in: ‘But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.’ Luke 21:23. He was expecting very hard times to befall the world immediately, and felt it better children were not born to suffer through this period. Many couples refrained from having a family for this reason; therefore, his followers did not multiply significantly, and in fact, have nearly died out. Lew Fountain wrote: “In the early 1940's W. Edwards was, you might say, a deputy of W.I…at W. Edward’s urging, a young newly married couple in Vancouver, B.C. went to the Doctor, and the man was operated on so that he could never sire a child. Now this was done by the couple because W. Edwards had convinced them this would be in line with what W.I. would do. Further to the young couple--they regretted having done this in the years to follow. Also many young couples getting married then, did so with a feeling guilt, because of the way this man had power over them. Think of it, one of the most sacred and wonderful things in a young person’s life, being marred by this FALSE PROPHET and his silly ideas.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
Concerning Irvine's prophecies, Lew Fountain recommended: "There are those of you who make the claim that, ‘all that Wm. Irvine has prophesied is coming to pass.’ Now shall we just put this claim under some good common sense reasoning, and we shall see, what if any credence we ought to give to your claim. W.I. prophesied about the Jews and Arabs fighting in the Holy land also the new state of Israel, etc., coming about. Well now it seems to me that W.I. had nothing new in this prophecy, because many recent prophets, have been telling us about it--and much more accurate than W.I. Also the Jews and Arabs have been fighting for hundreds of years anyway.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain) Irvine wrote his sister and husband: “seven years will bring us to his coming with Jesus to reign.” (Wm Irvine's Letter to Gordons, June 21, 1945)
Lew Fountain left the Omega Message group in 1945, and in 1946, he wrote Wm Irvine that he was through with him: “When I officially departed from Wm. Irvine’s so-called ‘Omega Message’ in early 1946, I already had sufficient evidence to establish in my mind, that he was nothing more than a first-class, run of the mill, garden variety, false prophet. I was then just 25 years old, had followed him faithfully for about 16 years. I had heard, you might say, only a one-sided story from William Irvine and his faithful followers of what his so-called, “OMEGA MESSAGE” was all about. Nothing about his some-what checkered past. Some 52 years have past now, and I have become well established in what true Christianity is all about. I know where I am going in my spiritual life.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
Like departing from the 2x2 fellowship, departing from the Omega Message is
also very costly for the person leaving. Lew Fountain wrote: “You will
understand that my departure from W.I. has cost me a great deal. Whereas if
the four remaining members of our family 50 years ago had collectively
departed from his "Message" and not just depart--but seek the truth,
and realizing what a mistake our parents had made, by listening to the many
falsehoods W.I. taught, then our lives would be much different today.
There would have been 50+ years to revel in the grandeur of a Christian
life to say the least. Sad to say, however, with many it has been a case
of many of just kind of half in and half out of W.I. and his Message.
Or just kind of putting their spiritual lives in neutral; or just trying to
sweep all these bad things under the rug, and they will all go away.
This is not what God requires of them at all!” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends
from Lew Fountain)
“At the time of my departure from W.I. and his Message, I felt certain I was making the right move. Those Message people I had known, many of them were kind, friendly, loveable people! Most of them morally had quite high standards. I had enjoyed quite a few years with them, and even though the meetings we had with them were brief, they were still very much a part of my life. However, I could not help but observe, that this fine friendly spirit, you could find in many small Church groups. Even the so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses people, who I certainly do not admire, have a certain kinship. There is an old saying you know, ‘Fowls of a feather, flock together.’ People tell me that even the gangsters feel very much at home with each other, when they are together. And with the ‘Message’ people, I could see it was not so very different. I could see that these people were nice people not because of W.I., but IN SPITE of him. Many of them had in their recent or distant background a fine Christian upbringing. This fine country/s we live in is/are the result of Christian. influence. Our countries are this way because of CHRIST.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends from Lew Fountain)
Of his Father who died in 1963 in Vancouver at age 82, Lew Fountain wrote: “He had followed W.I. just about half of his life. As I remember he was, at the very start, somewhat slower to accept all that W.I. taught, but once started, he was a believer. However, the last 15 years of his life he was full of doubts about 'this great prophet?' He had talked to some of the most faithful in the Message, and he told me, ‘I don't like their cock-sure attitude.’ It followed that one day he visited me alone, and just out of the blue he says these words to me, ‘You were right, Lew, about William Irvine and his followers being wrong!!’ To this day I can't tell you if I made a reply, or if these few spontaneous words would constitute a true conversion. However I do value these words from my Father, and I'm sure he meant what he said.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends from Lew Fountain)
NOTE: 2010, March 8: Lew Fountain passed away in his sleep. His funeral was held March 15, 2011 at the Island Gospel Church in Burns Lake, B.C., Canada.
1936: JOHN HARDIE and COMPANY VISIT WM. IRVINE - "I also enjoyed its flow for 3 days with J. Hardie and Co., which was very much like the Waters of Noah, drowning them in Judgment, no matter how I tried to make it easy to hear, it only spelled death to all their thoughts and ways. For there can be no church--or churches--after the Angel has given the Message and some have heard." (December 19, 1936 Letter to Edwards)
John Hardie wrote Irvine: "I can’t readily forget the kindness and interest you took to make my visit to that part a pleasure. In fact, you have done so ever since our hearts were touched by the Love of Christ. Those cottage meetings we had in Kilsyth that gave the work of God a start in our day often come up before me, and the many other days and nights we spent together, have often been a stimulus to me in my service to God." (Letter to Wm. Irvine, November 2, 1937)
1938: VISIT TO WM. IRVINE BY ED COONEY, ALFRED MAGOWAN & R. IRWIN- In 1938, Alfred Magowan visited William Irvine in Israel for three weeks, along with Ed Cooney and R. Irwin, one of the saints from Enniskillen. "They were on a sea voyage for their health by Doctor's orders." According to Fred Wood, "He (Alfred) professed through Edward, but he was more interested in William Irvine and bothered one of the saints to pay his fare over to Palestine to have a talk with William Irvine."
Alfred wrote: "When I saw Wm. Irvine in Palestine in 1938 and heard
him expound a chapter of Isaiah on Mount Carmel: it was so weak compared with
the mighty expositor of 30 years before, that my heart was moved for him: and
I understood how David felt on hearing of the death of Saul: 'Tell it not in
Gath. Publish it not in the streets of Askelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines
rejoice.' " (Testimony of a Witness for the Defence,
January 13, 1956) During this visit in 1938, William Irvine made his
famous statement to Alfred Magowan:
"IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIMENT"
To which Alfred Magowan replied:
"IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE"
See: (Testimony of a Witness for the Defence, January 13, 1956, p 5) This visit was confirmed by William Irvine in some letters he wrote to My Dear Edwards.
"Alfie and Co. are having a taste of these same things I write to you as
we show them kindness and hospitality in seeing with their eyes the Idols of
the Idolatry of Babylon, and probably they are hearing what is the only chance
they ever had of sharing what you have so plentifully had offered for your salvation
and escape of wrath to come." (May 18, 1938 Letter to Edwards).
"We have Alfie and Co. with all the Dog, Hog, Goat and Wolf marks.
So we have had rather a busy time taking them around, while troubles have been
multiplied all over. We expect to go to Transjordan tomorrow. He
does not like to hear the regenerate and unregenerate marks clearly revealed
from the Book. When we walk and talk he pretends to get interested in
the various thorns and briers of Palestine. He is physically strong, but
he has had a nervous breakdown. He likes to talk [about] all the scandals
of the various Testimony people. He was asking what of all the good people
who have lived before the Message for the end of the days, so the answer was:
the regenerate go to Heaven and the unregenerate to Hell. 99 of the latter
and one of the prodigal, which simply means 99 to 1, very much like we expect
in these days. I said, 'One Son of God is more value than a world full
of Cains.' I notice a great struggle going on in him and the Ego drives
him on, taking notes of all that’s material, though I don’t know
what his notes contain. I encourage him to think that it was a hopeful mark
to have Testimony people put him and Eddie out. The dead Whale rotting and smelling,
that got sick of the Prophet and vomited the Prophet out, is often referred
to, and is like a parable of the producing of the Prophet for the Message of
Judgment to Ninevah, who knew not their right hand from their left."
(May 28, 1938 Letter to Edwards)
"Alfie went on 1st June, after 19 days under my care and protection with all the marks of Devil-possessed Goat and Wolf, but I did not give him but the best I had and sent them off without a grudge or cause for it...I gave them in small convenient doses, the Truth or Message of the Spirit for today, and a welcome back to Palestine when John comes to all who are honest hearted to God and all who are His." (June 2, 1938 Letter to Edwards).
1938 (Approximately): Reportedly, before World War II, about 150 workers were present at a large special meeting held in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Among those who attended were George Walker, Andrew Abernathy and Horace Burgess.
1937-38: GEORGE LINN and PERCY ABBOTT VISIT WM. IRVINE - Irvine had an old friend about his age, George Linn, also a Scot, who lived in Vancouver, B.C. George was also a follower of Wm. Irvine before 1914. Early in 1937, George Linn had some sort of a vision or message “from God” that he was to be the Apostle “JOHN” Irvine was waiting to return from heaven; and that Percy Abbott (a former Testimony worker) was “The Woman” who would bring forth the Man child of Rev. 12.
For George Linn to presume to take John’s place grossly displeased Irvine. He warned George that he was full of deceit and conceit and needed to repent, but George did not heed his warning. Upon hearing about the two men’s plans to travel to Jerusalem, Irvine wrote:
“George Linn and Percy seem to be anxious to complete their long planned journey and mission on a one-way ticket, proving that their light and leading is not mine, but theirs; and so a return ticket would show wisdom on their part. Many seem to have lost sight of the great fact that what they are to ME, they are to Him, and are to God. So they are all up against something worse than a stone wall.” (March 18, 1938 Letter to Edwards)
“George Linn writes me about coming here to be my companion,
John. Surely, he has fallen into the soup, for he or any other man of the earth,
either to aspire or presume to be John from Heaven could only have such
inspiration from the old Serpent the Devil and Satan. John is the most honored
man in Heaven, Jew, fisherman on the lake of Galilee, disciple
of John Baptist, and first disciple of Jesus and last of the Apostles to die,
after 66 years of apostolic service Jesus told him he was not to be a
martyr till Jesus’ second coming...For anyone on the Earth to fool
themselves into being John, shows they have neither valued MY writing and Reading
or what's written in the Book. There is only ONE John the disciple and
Apostle, and who can be more valuable witness than he who was the first,
and has known all the abomination called Christian all the years since Jesus
was crucified and exalted to the Right, and who could be such a seal
on MY witness these 44 years as John.” (September 30, 1937
Letter to Fladungs)
“They waylaid me outside the Post Office the first time. George came up and put his arm around me and said, 'You are William Irvine; I am George Linn.' I said you have made an awful mistake and no hope for you, and to let me alone and not to trouble me. Then he wanted to give me my sisters' photos, and I refused it, so then he said they thought I was dead. Then he sent photo and some letters which I destroyed, and Percy sent by post some which I never looked at. Next time George came slipping up behind me, and I talked for a minute or so to him...The next time he followed me out of the Post Office to walk with me and I sent him to Hell and called him a damned fool and turned off. The last time I saw him in Post Office, I told him to go home. Percy had gone and he was not looking so well." (January 5, 1939 Letter by Wm Irvine to Edwards)George said, “I have no home to go to.” He had signed his home over to one of his daughters. (December 31, 1938 Letter to Edwards)
The two men who arrived in August, continued to stay in Jerusalem up into December. However, George had a bad heart and was living on borrowed time. Irvine wrote: "George Linn died in Hospital at 1:30 P.M. on Dec. 30th, and is to be buried on Mt. Zion cemetery...they phoned me from Hotel in A.M., but I was not in, and did not suspect it was more than a call to speak to him. In evening, I had phone call telling of his death; so I did not have any chance to hear from him directly. Percy went home 3 weeks ago." (December 31, 1938 Letter to Edwards)
"My sister died on Dec. 7, 1938 [Agnes Irvine Freebairn] from the same heart trouble as George died from in Dec. 30, 1938 at 1:30 P.M. after attack at 8 A.M. He died in Hospital so there was no need for inquest; was buried on Mt. Zion at 2:30 on Dec. 31st; Police guard of eight in a truck, four standing up on either side of coffin draped in the British flag. Government took charge of his effects and money in Bank...I did not answer phone as I was out, and only thought it was more of their attempts to get in touch with me...Next and last time was when he was laid in the grave, and the Presbyterian Minister reading out of the Prayer Book and saying 'Dust to dust,' etc., etc., twelve Police looking on and the man who had been his roommate." (January 5, 1939 Letter to Edwards & Co.)
Irvine made a big deal over the fact that George was buried close to the spot Judas hung himself, "How differently we felt about Mr Spaulding's burial and that of George Linn--buried by the Police and Presbyterian clergy--near where Judas hanged himself.” (February 11, 1939 Letter to Edwards) Interesting that Wm Irvine would be buried in the very same cemetery that George Linn was buried in; and that BOTH were buried by the clergy.
Percy returned to California with stories of the trip’s success, (February 11, 1939 Letter to Edwards), and was in Irvine’s Black Book thereafter. Irvine’s followers were encouraged by Irvine to despise the two men. Irvine wrote: “But both (George & Percy) have been well revealed in their deceit and fraud in claiming to be The Woman and John.”
Percy had quite a few Omega Message followers in California convinced of the idea that George Linn was to become John, one of the two witnesses in Revelation. Irvine wrote: “Leon finished his letter by saying, 'Love in Him till George Linn becomes John." (March 18, 1938 Letter to Edwards)
It would seem that Wm expected to ascend to heaven, as he wrote: "You can be quite sure I will never be in California, or out of Palestine til I go up with John when my work is finished as in Rev 11." (Dec. 14, 1934 Letter to Mrs. Weis)
1940-41 - IRVINE DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER - Apparently Irvine was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth or throat around 1940-41, for Mr. Coussin wrote that “Mr. Irvine had cancer of the mouth, which had been slowly working on him for about six years, and for which he took treatment at the Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, where you no doubt know, they have some of the world’s best specialist at the radium Institute. Incidentally, they all loved him up there and did all they possibly could to help him. They even offered to take him and make him comfortable during his last days, but he steadfastly refused and told me that his trysting place was where he resided. His illness progressed rapidly in the last two or three weeks and this coupled with his venerable 84 years took him away from us on Sunday the 9th March, 1947.” (May 28, 1947 Letter to Mrs. Westlund)
Lew Fountain wrote: “I am slowly after all these years 'putting the puzzle' together. During the 30s & 40s, I read just about all his (W.I.) letters, which were certainly in the hundreds. There was NO mention of him being treated for cancer of the throat, which Mr. Coussin said started about 1941. Any mention re his health was always ‘UPBEAT’ or the strong and healthy Scot he claimed to be. One letter he told how ‘The Dr. had examined him, and had told him: YOU HAVE A HEART LIKE A BULL.’ Now it seems to me--- at this very time the ‘BULL’ had cancer! I'll leave it for you to decide. There was only one slight clue of his failing health--and that was about the year 1941, he told everyone that he would only write Willie Edwards in order to take the great load off him of writing everyone. Edwards would copy the letters and send them to all the faithful, which he (or his daughter did) until the time of his death. This was done so that all the faithful Message People could share in ‘THE MEAT IN DUE SEASON’ from ‘THE THRONE.' You can read what I write about his death, and how he made the young British soldier ‘SWEAR THAT HE WOULD TELL NO ONE’ of him being on his deathbed. The young man’s surname was Noble; his family were one of the very few in England to support W.I. after 1914. This keeping it a secret (his cancer) til the very last supports my claim that: He wanted to play the part of ‘THE GREAT PROPHET RAISED UP’ til the very last!!” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
1943: WILLIE EDWARDS had been a worker in the Alpha Days. Prior to 1919, Willie left the work and in 1916, he married Rose. He and Robert (Bob) Skerritt were the first two to let Wm Irvine know they were on his side. Rose heard Wm Irvine for the first time in Chicago in 1907 (Rose Edward Letter to Berglinds, May 27, 1935).
In the United States and Canada, “In the early 1940's, W. Edwards was, you might say, a deputy of W.I." (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain) In 1943, Wm. Irvine wrote Willie Edwards urging for some followers to go forth in the USA in the manner Jesus and the apostles did and preach the Revelation Message. William (Willie or W. E.) Edwards was the man to whom Irvine sent his letters for distribution.
"If Jesus as Omega has been growing up in you these 29 years past,
(1914 to 1943) and such great need in unsealing the words of the
prophecy of Revelation, surely you have a wonderful opportunity and message
if six of you can and will go forth as He and company did, and whose sacrificed
lives put them around the Throne from which He is now controlling all that’s
going on on the earth in avenging their death in proof of who He was,
is, and ever shall be… My heart will be greatly rejoiced to hear that
you have purposed to give Him a chance to lead you as He was led and
led the disciples into giving deliverance to many by their apostolic ministry.”
(September 26, 1943 Letter
Willie Edwards, a man highly trusted by Irvine who distributed Irvine's letters far and wide for him for years, apparently misunderstood Irvine’s meaning. He influenced some husbands and wives to go on the road living in travel trailers to witness. Edwards, his wife, children and travel trailer went on the road also. Irvine found this particularly objectionable, and he did not consider this to be following apostolic methods. He was also displeased that Edwards was mixing the Alpha Message with the Omega Message. Much of the content of his letters written in 1944 relate to this matter.
"So cars, trailers and wife and children with the Apostle seems like
a comedy or joke when we read the new Testament; no matter what excuse we may
seem to have…Bob Skerritt at least showed he had fear of His name in what
he did in refusing Minnie, who was left as a guide to other wives...”
(March 28, 1944 Letter to
“Taking wives out to do apostolic work and leaving the children seems a very flagrant mistake, and a wife can in her home and around her home, do very valuable apostolic work, such as Minnie has been doing, which gave me great pleasure and joy. Taking a home on wheels and a car, seems also a dangerous provision. My car and tent experience was that it kept me away from the closer contact, useful and essential for reaching people.” (February 7, 1944 Letter to Edwards)
Wm. Irvine’s Letter to: W. Edwards dated March 28, 1944 and May 18, 1944.
W. Edward’s Letter to: Wm Irvine dated April 29, 1944 (replying to March 28, 1944 letter)
Lew Fountain wrote the author: “About the middle of World War II days (1939—1945) or about the time he was taking treatment for cancer, he had another great urge/message from God, or DREAM TO SEND OUT ONCE again men and women together as ’APOSTLES’ all over, and especially in the West part of U.S.A. To give people ‘THE OMEGA MESSAGE.’ This being sort of a 1940s version of what the 2x2s did at the turn of the century. This he thought would expedite the great work. He was however, not too explicit how this work was to be done. The faithful tried their best to 'do it his way.' There were, of course, no bicycles or one suit of clothing. Many of the faithful, after selling their homes etc. went out self supporting themselves, especially in the western part of U.S.A. living in house trailers, and tarried for a time in many areas. It seems to me this did not last very long. About this time I was departing from the group. The way the faithful had attempted to do the 'going out' did not please W.I. This resulted in scathing letters being written with huge amounts of his venom in his letters, he wrote to some of his most faithful. Many of them--his own contemporaries!! They were ‘TOO MUCH YIELDING TO THE FLESH;’ they were ’PUFFED UP.’ Not the kind of people that he or God wanted…Unknown to us W.I. did not have many years left to live. The battle he was having with these people was at its peak in the years 1944-1946. At this time many of those trying their best to please him, were losing their zeal. It made them very confused. Just about this time, the War was ending, and a number of other people besides myself were not taking him too serious. It followed that this last try--this kind of a ‘LAST DITCH STAND’ faded out. His letters to people for a whole year before his death were not very many.” (April 25, 2001 Letter to Cherie Kropp)
Reportedly, Willie Edwards started writing and distributing his own letters, arranging marriages and divorces, and, in general, attempted to become a leader in the USA. When this came to Wm Irvine's attention, Irvine wrote Edwards to stop, and also notified others that Edwards did not have Irvine’s approval in what he was doing
"Thanks for yours and many others which shows that Edwards and Co.,
have reached the end of their delusion as you can see in Rev. 11…You saw
Percy and George, and how it ended; and now Willie, Minnie and Co. revealed
in their unjust treatment of Bob (Skerritt), and many others in scandalizing
and persecuting...” (June 12, 1945 Letter to
“I remember Willie and Minnie got the little I had in 1919, and have got all the help I could give by letter. But since they went to Montana, I have noticed injustice and scandal, which I warned them of when first I got it by letter, and I saw it increase in place of benefiting by my warning and guidance. At Easter, when I got letters from many encouraged by Willie and Minnie, I saw it had come to the crisis. When it was more wolves in sheep's clothing than bearing any likeness to Jesus.” (June 18, 1945 Letter to Bob Skerritt)
Understandably, a lot of people were hurt during this experience. It would seem Wm Irvine and Wm Edwards parted ways permanently about this time, as no more letters have surfaced after mid-1945 by Wm Irvine to Willie Edwards. Willie Edwards reportedly went to Denver, and nothing further is known about him by the Author. For the two remaining years of his life, Irvine wrote letters to particular individuals, and not collective letters which were distributed. Wm. Irvine died soon after their separation, in March of 1947.
For more details about Willie Edwards, see Chapters 11 and 12
1946, JANUARY: IRVINE NOBLE - An English soldier by this name was stationed in Palestine for a time. Wm. Irvine corresponded with his father, Walter Noble and his mother Ruth (Gerow) Noble. Irvine wrote: I had a letter from Irvine Noble today along with your letter. He is now in Jerusalem and some Kilsyth boys also in the Highland Bridade, so I will be seeing some day soon." (March 31, 1946 Letter to: Laughlins)
Irvine Noble was the last known Omega Message follower to see William Irvine alive. “I had Irvine Noble for half a day and with a companion, and enjoyed them.” (January 6, 1946 Letter to Everitts; Oct. 28, 1945 Letter to Irvine Noble) Lew Fountain wrote: “There was a young British soldier visiting him. This young man was supposed to be a follower of W. I.’s Message. However, W.I. at that time, knowing that the cancer in his throat was terminal made the young soldier ‘SWEAR THAT HE WOULD TELL NO ONE’ (Those people in the Message, I presume) of his condition and approaching death. Now this information all came to us shortly after W.I.’s death. Now, you dear people who still follow him (in death), why would this great prophet want to keep it a secret?” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain) Soldier Irvine Noble wrote an article regarding Wm Irvine's death that was published in the The Sunday (Palestine) Post (now The Jerusalem Post) dated March 16, 1947, which was reprinted in the Impartial Reporter, copied below.
1947, MARCH 9: DEATH OF WM IRVINE - He died in the Almazi Hotel in Jerusalem at age 84 from cancer of the throat. When his followers had not heard from Irvine in some time, Mr. Orris Mills sent a telegram to the Jerusalem police inquiring about him. Mr. Thomas Coussin replied with a letter dated March 17, 1947, conveying the news of William Irvine’s death. (See: Letters from Thomas Coussin) Mr. Coussin was “a civil servant employed at Police Headquarters here in Jerusalem, and I have known Mr. Irvine on and off for the past twenty years.” He wrote:
“I am indeed sorry to have to convey to you the sad news that Mr. William
Irvine passed away on Sunday, 9th March, 1947. You were no doubt aware that
he had been ailing for the past six years. He had nevertheless been able to
get about in the ordinary way and it was only in recent months that his condition
worsened and he was not able to leave his hotel. He took to his bed towards
the end of February, where he remained until he left us peacefully, at approximately
11:50 hours a week ago yesterday…At the beginning of November, when he
began to feel really ill he sent for me, since when I had been with him almost
every day, until he passed away…(See: Letters from Thomas Coussin)
NOTE: Some accounts say Wm Irvine died on March 3, 1947; while Mr. Coussin gives March 9, 1947 as the date. His funeral was March 10, 1947.
FUNERAL & BURIAL: It was Mr. Coussin who arranged Irvine’s funeral: “William entrusted me with the last rites, and I am moved when I think of the complete serenity in which every one made it possible for me to arrange these solemn matters. I did not mention, and it may give you peace to learn that his coffin draped with the Union Jack was conveyed to Mount Zion in one of our Police tenders with six stalwart British Constables acting as pall bearers. It was indeed an impressive cortege with all the honors he so richly deserved.” (See: Letters from Thomas Coussin)
The funeral took place at 2 P.M. on the 10th March, 1947, on a bright warm Sunday afternoon. He now lies at peace on Mount Zion from where the view across the Jordan Valley to the mountains of Moab frames his resting place and seems befitting with his faith in a better heaven and better earth.” (See: Letters from Thomas Coussin)
William Irvine is buried in Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem, Israel. Presently, there is no tombstone for his grave. There could have been a tombstone that was destroyed in the years between 1948 and 1967. During World War II, much destruction took place in the area of No-Man's Land, between the Arabs and Israelis, where the cemetery was located. Numerous unmarked graves are found in this cemetery, and William Irvine's grave is likely one of them. Cemetery records positively show that he was buried in Zion Cemetery. Newspaper reports confirm Zion Cemetery is his burial location. The cemetery still exists, however, and it is a lovely area. A map of the city will show the cemetery lies to the south of the old city walls on the slope which falls into the Hinnom Valley. Mr. George Giacumakis, Executive Director/Dean of The Institute of Holy Land Studies, Jerusalem, Israel, stated in a letter dated July 6, 1984:
"Checking the cemetery records and the tombstone listings,
we found a Mr. William Irvine (no middle initial) who was buried on 10
March 1947. He either died that day or the day before since they
do not embalm in this country. In all probability his death was
day before to give them time for the digging of the grave.
his name does not appear in our tombstone records, since only those
actual tombstones are standing today are listed. During the 1948
War and the period of time that the cemetery was in "no-man's land"
destruction took place. We do have a number of unmarked graves in
the cemetery in which he, no doubt, is buried."
A copy of William Irvine's Death and Burial Certificate No. 463 dated September 12, 1991, was certified by the The Jerusalem Diocese of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, where such records are maintained.
Apparently, his will and death certificate were not registered in Scotland. Ms. Morna Gerrard of the Scottish Record Office, The National Archives of Scotland, HM General Register House, Edinburgh EH1 3YY advised by letter dated March 3, 1995: "I have searched our Calendar of Confirmation (which are indexes to wills and inventories) for the years 1947-51, but sadly found no reference to William Irvine."
Mr. Coussin asked Mr. Mills to let Irvine’s friends know of his death, and provided a correspondent list. He wrote: “During the last two or three weeks Mr. Irvine had been unable to deal with his mail, which steadily accumulated. All unopened letters have consequently been returned to senders. As I am, however, unable to write to all his correspondents, I am enclosing a list of the addresses of letters to the U.S.A. that have so far been returned and I would ask you Mr. Mills to pass the news around. I chose you Mr. Mills merely for the fact that you appear to have corresponded with him regularly in recent times and (are) apparently quite interested.” (See: Letters from Thomas Coussin) He was survived by two sisters:
Mrs. Nellie Cleland
Mrs. Jennie Cleland
Glan Ebbu House
Victoria, Monmouthshire, S. Wales
According to Doug Parker, William's son Archibald was informed of his father's death by a New Zealand evangelist named Mr. Beattie (possibly Ralph Beatty, married brother worker wo labored with his wife Rene in NZ Read Ralph & Rene Beatty's story) . He also received notice by mail from Mrs. Slater from Kilsyth.
Mrs. Slater was probably Margaret Clelland Slater, wife of Robert Slater; and she was the daughter of David and Helen (Nellie) Irvine Clelland. Helen (Nellie) was one of the two surviving sisters of William, listed above. (The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker, p. 67). From the following statements it would seem William Irvine did not leave his son anything in his will.
Irvine’s funeral was not in keeping with method his followers were usually buried. Willie Edwards wrote Frank Fountain, when his wife's death was imminent: "In the matter of a funeral, I don't know what your plans are, nor am I giving you any advice, but thought my own experience might be helpful. I looked after things at my sister's funeral and Mrs. Skerritt's. There was no Undertaker at the latter, so just ordered the casket and said it was going to be a private funeral and no ceremony of any kind to take place at a certain time so that if any friends might wish to attend alright. We had no speaking, singing or prayer at either the house or cemetery, and cared nothing about what people said or thought. At my sisters, we had an Undertaker, but made clear that she was not to be taken into Chapel and no ceremony at either the funeral parlors or the grave, and found many opportunities for giving the Message in explaining to them my reason for same." (Willie Edwards June 27, 1937* Letter to Frank Fountain)
Lew Fountain asked: “…at his funeral, why didn’t he leave previous to his death, explicit instructions that ‘no clergy (man of the 'cloth') is going to officiate at my funeral!!' Instead, what happened? One might say he had 'THE WHOLE WORKS.' The British Military buried him, with Chaplin, and I imagine all the trumpets tooting. And the British Flag waving. Now if some of you followers of the late William Irvine follow his example of a funeral, and how to do it, you also will have 'THE WORKS'--but instead, as per instructions from the Message people, you have no service at all.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
One worker reported that he "had heard that William had requested that his body NOT be buried, as he was to be 'taken up' by God, as he believed he was one of the two prophets spoken about in Revelations. Apparently the neighbours had complained about the odor after a little while and forced a burial."
DISPOSITION OF IRVINE'S POSSESSIONS: The amounts and beneficiaries do not match on the various documents providing details of Irvine's Will. Mr. Coussin wrote: “William left a properly drawn up will in which, after making a few personal bequests, willed some £2,000 to named hospitals and charities and the residue, which will be in the region of approximately £1,000 to the poor. His personal effects and chattels, etc., he also left to the poor, and as we had to give up his room, these articles have been distributed as required, via the Department of Social Welfare. He left no writings, but it is curious that you should mention his bibles, magnifying glasses and a filigree cigarette holder.” (See: Letters from Thomas Coussin)
The following information is from England and Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, Record for:
Irvine William of Jerusalem Palestine died 9 March 1947
Administration (with Will) (limited) London 25 March to Barclays Bank Dominion Colonial and Overseas attorney of Theodore Krikorian. Effects £1410 5s 11d in England.
Doug Parker personally interviewed some of Wm Irvine's relatives in 1954. His younger two sisters, Janet (aka Jennie) who married Peter Cleland/Clelland and Helen (Nellie) who married David Cleland/Clelland were both still living at the time, as was a brother-in- law named Peter Comrie who had been married to Irvine's sister Jane (aka Jeanie) who died in 1937. Parker wrote: "He died a very wealthy man, as he left £500 to one of his nieces, and a Miss Freebrian received £500; he sent £500 to the Old Kilsyth Cottage Hospital, and £200 to his sisters." (Secret Sect by Doug Parker, pp. 65-66).
NOTE: This adds up to £1700 (or £1900 if he gave his two surviving sisters £200 EACH.) Miss. Freebrian (mispelling of Freebairn) is probably a niece, the daughter of Irvine's sister Agnes who married John Freebairn. They had 12 children, 6 sons and 6 daughters. All the daughters married except the oldest child and daughter, Elizabeth Freebairn. Therefore, this could be the "Miss Freebairn" or "the niece" that Irvine left a bequest to. However, Irvine had numerous nieces by his sisters and brothers.
As can be seen above, Parker's and Coussin's statements and the England & Wales Probate records do not match--not in amounts or beneficiaries. Miss Freebrian could have been a niece (or one and the same person as "the" niece), daughter of Irvine's sister Agnes (Irvine) Freebairn. He may have left £200 each to his 2 surviving sisters; and £500 to the Freebairn niece, and £500 to the Kilsyth hospital. That would total £1410. In either case, it is interesting that fifty years later, Irvine left behind more than Edward Cooney gave up (£1300) when he entered the work in 1901, which was considered a small fortune.
William Irvine's sister consented for Mr. Coussin to send Irvine’s small
personal articles to Orris Mills, who had requested them. Mr. Coussin wrote: “The main package will be enclosed in an old cigar box that William
used to keep his unanswered letters in, as well as some snap shots. In the bottom
you will find his own original list of correspondents and some photographs
and snaps of himself and some of his friends…The contents of the box,
apart from the snaps are: Cigarette holder (filigree); Magnifying glass, small
(in case); Magnifying glass (composite handle); Fountain pens (2); Watch
pocket (Genie metal); Whistle Blast; Change Purse (old); Note Wallet (new).
The two other packages will comprise the bibles, one together with a book on ‘Life Chemistry.’” (See: Letters from Thomas Coussin)
These personal items of Wm Irvine have been passed down in families, and are in the possession of some of the current-day Omega Message followers living in California.
The Sunday (Palestine) Post, (now The Jerusalem Post)
"WILLIAM IRVINE is dead. His name means nothing to the younger generation, but those who can recall the great ‘Pilgrims’ or ‘Dipper’ conventions in Co. Fermanagh of about 30 years ago, will recall the tall, hatless figure of Wm. Irvine, who was at that time the ‘teacher’ and leader of the ‘Pilgrims.’ His rugged face, his dynamic personality, his strong and impressive address, swayed the thousands who gathered from all parts to hear him. The women folk adored him as a saint, and listened to him with rapt attention as if they were hypnotised. He was a lovable man and a real Christian.
"A recent issue of the ‘Sunday Post’ contained an appreciation of Wm. Irvine which will be read with interest by those who remember him. It was as follows:
"I was a soldier in Jerusalem. Maybe that makes you think of armed combats, of Arabs and Jews, and strange scenes and customs. But my most vivid memory is of a tall Scotsman with a great head of white hair. Every morning I saw him striding out of the Holy City towards the Garden of Gethsemane. He wore a deerstalker’s cap, heavy jacket, shorts, and suede sandals. He greeted nearly everyone he met with a smile and a word of encouragement. And they felt the better for meeting him. You knew at once there was something remarkable about the man.
"He was William Irvine. Sixty years ago, at 35 years of age, he was general manager of William Baird and Company’s Boswell Collieries in Lanarkshire. He was only in his twenties then, and on the way to the top of his profession—a directorship. But he felt a higher call. He gave up his job. He founded in his native Kilsyth a movement, which is still active. He did not believe in churches of stone. A tent, or the open air, was all he wanted. He told his message with simple earnestness. Having founded his church in his native village, he felt he had to go with his message to foreign lands. He set out as a free-lance missionary. He went to Ireland, United States, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Colonies. He became known all over the world as ‘The Man with the Mission. He lived frugally. His needs were slight. Money had no value for him. ‘I have nothing,’ he said. ‘Yet—I lack nothing.’ He quoted from Luke, ‘Go your way. Behold, I send you forth, as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse nor scrip nor shoes, and salute no man by the way.’ Between the two great wars he settled in Palestine. He received letters from all corners of the earth where his message was still remembered. During the second World War he became a favourite of the British troops. They called him 'Jock.'
"Then last Sunday I learned that in Jerusalem, William Irvine had
to the end of his pilgrimage. He died, a single man, aged 84."
NOTE: Reportedly, the above article was written by the young soldier named Irvine Noble. Noble was living in England in 1997.
The Palestine Post, page 2
Monday, March 10, 1947
Mr. William Irvine
A correspondent writes:
A well known figure in Jerusalem passed away with the death yesterday after a long illness, of Mr. William Irvine of Kilsyth, Scotland. Mr. Irvine died in his 84th year after having resided in Palestine since 1919, where he came in pursuit of his beliefs. He will be remembered by many who knew him as the kindly old white-haired gentleman seen on his daily walk between the Post Office and the Old City walls. He died with the full faith of better things to come. The interment will take place at the Zion Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. today.
The Palestine Post, page 2
March 20, 1947
In the District Court of Jerusalem, Probate application No. 51___. Citation for Probate in the matter of The Will of William Irvine, deceased. Petitioner Theodore Krikorian, represented by B. Geichman, Advocate, Zion Bldg, Jaffa Road, Jerusalem. In virtue of an order of the District Court of Jerusalem, bearing date of this day, I do hereby cite all and all manner of persons to appear in the said court in 10 days from date hereof and show cause, if any, they have why the last will of William Irvine, deceased, should not be proved, approved and registerd to Theodore Krikorian, the executor named therein, as in default thereof the Court will proceed to grant the same accordingly. Dated this 15th day of March, 1947. (Sgnd) F. Saadeb, A/Registrar.
1947 - AFTER WM IRVINE’S DEATH- Things changed for the Omega
Message followers after William Irvine died. His death came as quite a
shock to them, as they were not expecting Irvine to die until after the
Apostle John returned to earth, and the two became the two
in Revelation 11. Irvine's unexpected death forced them to
their confidence in his claims to be a prophet, as well as his claim to
be one of the two witnesses and also his interpretations. Donald
told Lew Fountain, "Wm never said he was NOT going to die." While some lost their confidence and turned aside; yet others found a
to reconcile his death so they could retain their confidence and
on. When current followers are questioned about Irvine's death,
say Irvine and John will both be resurrected. Lew Fountain wrote:
“He was NOT supposed to die!! He (W.I.) was supposed to ‘meet’ John when he returned from Heaven, etc. One letter he wrote to Fountains said, ‘Next year at this time, JOHN WILL HAVE COME.’ Don’t we all remember the last few months of 1946--his letters ceased to arrive…I have thought to myself many times. All those letters, all those false claims, all that pseudo power!! Then at the end, he just goes the way of all men. He has been dead over 50 years now, and nothing has happened the way he prophesied. I can tell you why W.I. desired to keep his death a secret. In a word, he had run short of tricks to pull out of the hat. He could no longer put his finger on something in the Bible to twist, and attempt to explain his soon going to the grave. At the end he had nothing to tell his followers. So I can understand why his followers want to run away from all these difficult questions I am asking.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
“As for the Message people, after March 3, 1947, well it was much the same…The people were more relaxed. Many young people were getting married, and not feeling guilty about doing it. Also they were building their homes. One person remarked how they used to enjoy singing some of the old church hymns in secret, but now they felt it was alright, now that Wm. Irvine was dead. They did not feel guilty. Many little things gave the signal that the 'TRANCE' was somewhat over. In this year 1998, over 50 years later, I am quite sure, that those of you who profess to follow W.I. very faithfully---well, it is only kind of a quasi-sort of following him, not even a shadow of what he would have required over 50 years ago.” (July 5, 1998 Letter to Dear Friends by Lew Fountain)
Upon hearing of Irvine's death, Alfred Magowan recalled his last personal visit with Irvine in Jerusalem, and wrote the following poetic tribute. (Testimony of a Witness for the Defence, January 13, 1956)
It grieved me when I heard that he was dead;
And I recalled days of heart-movings, when
We heard his thunder: saw his regal head;
A king who towered above his fellow men.
No man of our time spoke with so great power;
And we had listened to him, rapt, enthralled,
As time rolled on unnoticed by the hour;
And when he ceased, we back to earth were called!
The world of vain desire he made to seem
A shadow by the substance of his thought;
And in the months that followed, we might dream
Of worlds to come in light of what he taught.
I walked beside him in Jerusalem;
An old man well beyond the allotted span;
But embers now remained of the hot flame
That had consumed him as a younger man.
We climbed the mount to get a Moab view,
On heartsome evenings in the month of May;
I can still hear his 'saida' greetings to
The Arabs that we met upon the way.
His steps were still as light, and short, and quick
As when I met him forty years ago.
Anon he'd stop to point out with his stick
Historic landmarks in the vales below.
The final view was of his bared white head,
As with his hat he waved our moving train;
'Tis hard for me to think that he is dead;
And I shall not look on his face again.
The friends of former years had whispered 'sin';
But I prefer to think God had him where
He could his heart and spirit discipline,
That he the crown of life at length might wear.
I like to dwell upon his days of power,
When we had lit our tapers at his torch;
And at his fire we warmed us by the hour,
Before it was extinguished by `the church.'
He was a king who walked with common men;
And here we shall not see his like again.
1952, JUNE 14 - DEATH OF ARCHIBALD (Archie) GRASSOM IRVINE, SON OF WM. IRVINE.
Archibald G. Irvine and his wife, Mary Jamieson (Murray) Irvine,.are buried in Bromley Cemetery, Keighleys Rd, Christchurch, NZ. Their joint tombstone reads:
Loving Memory of
Rev. Archibald Grassam Irvine
Dearly Loved Husband of
Mary J. Irvine
Died 14th June 1952 Aged 66 Years.
Also Mary Jamieson Irvine
Loved Wife of Above
Died 19th Dec. 1982 Aged 93 years.
With the Lord.
Rev Archibald (Archie) Grassam Irvine's Obituary, printed in The Press (Christchurch, NZ) on June 16, 1952, stated:
"The death occurred in Christchurch, on Saturday morning of the Rev. A. G. Irvine, for nine years a Presbyterian minister at Ashburton. He was aged 66. Mr. Irvine came to New Zealand from Glasgow in 1900, when he was aged 14, and received a business training with the Union Steam Ship Company. He was at this period keenly interested in the work of the Y.M.C.A. and the Sailor's Rest. He later studied at the University of Otago, where he took the degree of Master of Arts and began his training for the Presbyterian ministry. In the First World War he served with the New Zealand Army as a chaplain. After the war he was a minister in North Otago for eight years, in Ashburton for nine years, and in Hawera for 18 years. Two years ago he retired to Christchurch, where he maintained his interest in church affairs, assisting at St. Stephen's Church at Bryndwr. Mr. Irvine was very popular with young people and specialised in Bible class work. He is survived by his wife."
Archie's Death Certificate and the funeral director both give the names of Archie's parents to be John and Elizabeth Irvine (not William Irvine and his mother). These are actually the names of William Irvine's parents. John and Elizabeth did not have a son named Archibald. Archie gave his Grandparents' name for his parents on legal documents. Possibly they adopted him, and raised him until he left home at age 14. Archie's Death Certificate states he was 30 years old when he married his wife Mary Jamieson Murray in Milton, New Zealand; and that he was ill for six months and died of angina pectoris (coronary arterial occlusion).
The History of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand by J. R. Elder (Christchurch: Presbyterian Bookroom, 1940, p. 435) lists the following details about Archie Irvine:
Master of Arts (M. A.) degree, University of Otago
Knox Theological Hall, Dunedin, NZ 1914-16
Ordained Waiareka, 1916
Chaplain, NZ Expeditionary Force (WWI)
Minister of Codford, NZ 1919
Minister of Ashburton, NZ 1924
Minister of Hawera, NZ 1933
1982, DECEMBER 19: MARY JAMIESON IRVINE DIED - Wife of Archibald (Archie) Grassam Irvine, William Irvine's son died. She is buried in Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, New Zealand, and shares a tombstone with her husband. Her obituary in The Press, December 20, 1981 stated:
"IRVINE, Mary Jamieson (nee Murray) - On December 19, 1982, at Windermere Hospital, loved wife of the late Rev. Archibald Irvine, loved sister of the late Donald, Murdoch, John, Catherine and Minnie, and loved aunt of her nieces and nephews; in her 94th year. Messages to 115A Highsted Road, Christchurch 5. Funeral service tomorrow (Tuesday). Details later. J. Lamb and Son, Ltd. F.D.A.N.Z. (Inc.)"
The funeral director for both burials was J. Lamb, Trotter & Son of 297 Ferry Road, Christchurch, New Zealand (Phone: (03) 389-7999). They stated in a letter dated February 21, 1996, that their records indicated Mary J. Irvine was born in Milton, New Zealand. Her father was Murdoch Murray (Occupation: Farmer), and her mother was Margaret Murray, whose maiden name was Fletcher. Mary J. married Archibald Grassam Irvine age 28 years at Milton. A niece was given as next of kin for Mary Irvine from Christchurch, New Zealand.
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