Once Herbert had established in the minds of his follower the Idea that the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and others, are Israel, he could begin to introduce alleged prophesies of destruction as, pertaining to the present, and to these countries.
Deut 28 is called the blessings and curses chapter. And if you read it you might note that once the curses part starts, there is nothing about a mid punishment reprieve. As a matter of fact the text repeats that the curses continue until Israel is destroyed. Example; Deut 28:48 “therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty; you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.”
I recall hearing this next verse in church as a kid; it and others created a profound dread of the future, and a sense of utter hopelessness. Deut 28:64 “Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. 65 Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. 66 You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.” I was taught that these things would be in my future; that the USA was going to go into national captivity.
Elevating ones speculation to the level of dogma seems to be a legacy of Herbert, now being carried on by his disciples, such as; Ron Weinland, Rod Meredith, Gerald Flurry, etc.
Israel went into captivity, and according to Herbert they were blessed again 2500 years later in a whole new land, only to sin and be cursed all over again. Ho.11:8 disagrees, 8 “My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. 9 I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man— the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath. 10 They will follow the LORD; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west. 11 They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, like doves from Assyria. I will settle them in their homes," declares the LORD.” After the captivity God has compassion, and does what? Bless them on the North American continent? No, he settles them in their home. Again notice Jer30:3 “The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,' says the LORD.”
Herbert used every prophecy sent to Israel and applied them to the USA and Britain, admitting that they had been fulfilled in what historically happened to Israel (both the Northern Kingdom and Judah). He continually hammered on the biblical principle of duality, which is entirely extra-biblical, so there are no references to refute. Yes, there are two comings of Jesus; there’s the physical house of Israel and the church. But a principle that prophecy is fulfilled twice, that’s unsupported supposition.
After reading “Every Prophecy of the Bible,” by John F. Walvoord, I came away unequivocally aware that; prophecy is usually very straight forward; its symbolism, when used, is explained; or when not explained, metaphoric material is essentially clearly evident.
Clarity doesn’t provide a basis for a cult to draw a following where gnosis does. Inserting arcane meanings into everything, cultivating suspense, makes for a better story. Herbert was a conspiracy theorist. Herbert spun such a captivating tale, always nurturing a sense of mystery that appeals to the suspicion and cynicism lurking in peoples’ minds.
The pushing forward of prophecy claiming 90 percent of it applies to the end time is based on shallow arguments like; “The prophets prophesied after Israel went into captivity, so the prophecies couldn’t have been for them in their day.” Josephus the Jewish historian said in the first century, “Yet the Ten Tribes who are beyond the Euphrates till now, are an immense multitude, whose numbers cannot be estimated." (Antiquities 11:5:2:133)
I’m confident Ezekiel knew where Israel was, and could deliver the message he wrote, when God told him to; Ez2:3 “He said: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me.” It’s pure conjecture to presume the prophets message was waiting for the “end times, but to Herbert, it was fact.
It’s almost amusing how the ones who read Ezekiel 5 claiming it’s referring to the USA don’t mention that God is no longer addressing Israel (Northern Kingdom) .By their theory, The USA is Israel, but this is addressed to Jerusalem. They say the USA is first in punishment, but this says it’s Jerusalem, and Israel thereafter. Ez5:11 "Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber's razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. 2 When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair with fire inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. 3 But take a few strands of hair and tuck them away in the folds of your garment. 4 Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to the whole house of Israel.” God is speaking to the people of Jerusalem. Just read Josephus’ horror story of the fall of the city (Wars of the Jews – Books 5 & 6); these things have already occurred. The only way one could apply this to a latter day Israel is via the so called “principle of duality,” which again is a fabrication. There is one punishment. Ez5:8 “I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. 9 Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again.”
The preceding verse was addressed to Judah, but earlier I quoted Ho 11:8-11 which addresses Israel, and the following addresses both; Ez34:11 “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains (This is referring to geography not governments, note; ravines and grazing) of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.” The bible has set a precedence of being straight forward, but Herbert’s disciples create confusion by claiming such verses to be entirely metaphoric, thus “spiritualizing” clear meaning into the netherworld of ambiguity.
These doom and gloom promulgators rarely dwell long on the verses showing that the next appearance of God is to save. There is one punishment and then God saves; Micah5:3 “Therefore Israel will be abandoned (no recess) until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites 4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. 5 And he will be their peace.” Again, I repeat, nowhere is there any verse that speaks of a reprieve in the middle of the punishment. It lasts until Jesus comes.
I have vivid memories of the silent sober audience hearing from the pulpit about the death that shall befall us, quoting Isa6:10 “Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.” (‘See how true this is’, says Armstrong’s disciples, ‘very few hear our true gospel.’) “Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn” (turn to disciples of Herbert, according to them) “and be healed." 11 Then I said, "For how long, O Lord?" And he answered: "Until the (“US?”) cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, 12 until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. 13 And though a tenth remains in the land (What we call Palestine), it will again be laid waste, (the ‘again’ is still in this time frame, not in the distant future). But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land."
The land is Israel (Palestine), and nothing says the stump grows back into a tree just to be cut back down again. After a tenth is all that remains in Palestine, they’re whittled down again until they become a stump. The word “again” doesn’t mean 2600+ years later, but until there is nothing left but a stump. History records this all to have occurred. Also the calloused state of mind remains until their punishment is complete. But today’s prophets of Armstrong are still crying out; “God’s word says the USA and Britain will be destroyed leaving only a tenth alive.” How many more kids have to grow up like I did, living in fear or terror of shadows, because their parents buy into this kind of claptrap.
From my earliest years I heard, “the great tribulation is coming; Israel will be destroyed, and Israel is us.” Whether the purpose of the preachers of this darkness is to create terror or not; the indiscriminate spreading of their errors has that effect.
Even the “tribulation” is something other than what was always presented. It has more to do with the following; Zech12:9 “On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.” The fact is that even God’s wrath is an act of salvation, but this is a whole other study.
Take a peek at pictures we grew up with; Armstrongism: Beware Of False Prophets
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