Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Babylon the Great

I have wanted to write a post on this topic for some time. I figure I’d better do it now.

After recently discussing at length with several members of various Armstrongist Churches of God on the topic of judgment and condemnation (they weren't talking much about it but I sure was), I spoke with one man who seemed to make a personal crusade of condemning the Catholic Church because he so deeply believes that the Catholic Church is Babylon the Great, as taught by Alexander Hyslop and Herbert Armstrong. Considering my recent posts on True History of the True Church and Who Is the Beast, how deeply and deliberately flawed those teachings were, how they were clever deceptions crafted for no other reason than to bring down the Pope and raise up Herbert Armstrong, I thought it would be appropriate to point out a few flaws in this theory as well.

Mystery

(REV. 17: 5) And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Revelation 17: 5 says the word “mystery” and the word “Babylon” in the same sentence. Mr. Alexander Hyslop concludes, and Herbert Armstrong swallows whole, that it refers to an entity known as a mystery religion. However, we can conclude only one thing: the Bible must interpret this “mystery”.

In 27 places in the New Testament, Strong’s 3466, the Greek “musterion”, is translated as “mystery” or “mysteries”. Including the one in the statement on the forehead of Babylon the Great.

Mystery: Musterion (Strong’s 3466, Greek) from a derivative of ‘Muo’ (to shut the mouth); secret or “mystery” (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites)

The word carries the inference that it is something secret that is only revealed to the initiated. The initiated in this case can only be the saints.

(COL. 1: 26) the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.

Speaking from the perspective of Armstrongists for a moment, Presbyterians are not saints – they are the harlot daughters of the harlot church. [I personally disagree with this, but it is an accurate statement from the Armstrongist perspective.] One must ask, then, how could the mysterious identity of Babylon the Great be revealed to Alexander Hyslop, a Presbyterian Minister, in the 1850’s?? He is the man who wrote “The Two Babylons” in 1853, from which Herbert Armstrong took his interpretation of Babylon the Great. Is he a saint, or is he wrong? Think on that.

Being a Greek word, musterion is found nowhere in the Old Testament. But the idea is there. God revealed secrets to Daniel and others. My point is, the truth must come from God. No man will think his way into the correct understanding of it. God’s word is the Bible. If your understanding comes from somewhere other than the Bible, chances are high that you’re speculation is wrong.

(REV. 17: 7) When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Then the angel said to me: "Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns.

The angel explains the mystery. Not Alexander Hyslop.

A Great City

Herbert Armstrong taught that the woman is a church. Let’s ask the Bible.

(REV. 17: 18) The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.

The woman is “the great city”. She is again described as a city in this and the next chapter. One can scream and cry that it’s a false church, but that’s not what the one who explains the mystery says.

Search the Bible and you will see that a city is not a prophetic symbol of a false church at all but of a city directly and a nation by association and symbolism. In the same way that when we say “Washington D.C.”, we mean it, but we could also mean the whole United States since that city is a symbol of our nation as a whole – and Paris is a symbol of France, and Moscow of Russia, and Jerusalem of Israel. In order to believe this is referring to a church, we would have to ignore the angelic explanation and redefine the Bible’s own symbolism. That isn’t letting the Bible interpret itself!

Reference that in Hosea 2 and 4. Now notice how a nation’s children are her citizens. Thus, God usually refers to the citizens of a nation as “daughters” (eg. daughters of Zion). If that is so, then Babylon the Great being the “mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” actually means her citizens are harlots.

Israel and Babylon

I would like to investigate a few oddities in the Bible. Specifically I will be showing the similarities between Israel/Judah/Jerusalem, and Babylon the Great, and Babylon. Am I doing this to bash Israel? Certainly not! Israel will be brought back to God. I only do this to show that there is an alternative to the speculative interpretation of prophecy pawned as truth by Herbert Armstrong.

1) Adultery and Prostitution

Throughout the Bible idolatry is likened to adultery. Here is a major clue as to the identity of Babylon the Great.

In doing a word search for adultery, I have come across some interesting things. Idolatry is likened to adultery and spoken of more often than actual marital infidelity. Yet more interestingly, there are only two entities who are ever called an adulteress - Israel (including Judah), and Babylon the Great. Both Israel and Babylon the Great are also called prostitutes.

In the NIV, Revelation 17: 2, 4; 18: 3; 19: 2 all translate the Greek word “porneia” as “adultery” in reference to Babylon the Great. Other versions use “fornication” instead of “adultery”. Porneia can refer to adultery. Figuratively, it refers to idolatry.

If adultery is violating a marriage contract, and Babylon the Great commits adultery, then Babylon the Great was in a marriage contract. Only Israel was ever said to be in a marital relationship with God. Only Israel can commit adultery against God. How, then, can this Babylon the Great be something other than Israelite? She commits spiritual adultery against God, therefore she had to be in the marriage relationship.

Israel’s sin was abandoning its marriage contract with God to rebel against Him, lusting after idolatry and sin, and preferring friendship with the world over devotion to God (adultery and prostitution). These are the only definitions given for ‘spiritual’ adultery and prostitution. What, then, could possibly be different about Babylon the Great’s adultery and prostitution? If prostitution is leaving God to love the world and its idols, then Babylon the Great left God to love the world.

Personally, I feel this going on about adultery is mere details and much ado about semantics. I included it anyway simply to make a point.

2) Tender and Delicate

(ISA 47: 1) about Babylon

1 Go down, sit in the dust, Virgin Daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, Daughter of the Babylonians. No more will you be called tender or delicate [Str. 6028: luxurious].

(JER 6: 2) about Jerualem

2 I will destroy the Daughter of Zion, so beautiful and delicate [Str. 6026: luxurious].

3) Receives Double

(REV. 18: 6) about Babylon the Great

6 Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup.

(JER. 16: 18) about Israel

18 I will repay them double for their wickedness and their sin, because they have defiled my land with the lifeless forms of their vile images and have filled my inheritance with their detestable idols."

(ISA. 40: 2) about Jerusalem

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.

(ISA. 51: 19) about Jerusalem

19 These double calamities have come upon you- who can comfort you? - ruin and destruction, famine and sword - who can console you?

4) Queen

(REV. 18: 7) about Babylon the Great

In her heart she boasts, 'I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.'

(ISA. 47: 5) about Babylon

5 Sit in silence, go into darkness, Daughter of the Babylonians; no more will you be called queen of kingdoms.

(LAM. 1: 1) about Jerusalem

1 How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces [nations] has now become a slave.

(EZE. 16: 13) about Israel

13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen.

5) Widowhood

(REV. 18: 7) about Babylon the Great

7 Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, 'I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.'

(ISA. 47: 8-10) about Babylon

8 Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.' 9 Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells. 10 You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, 'No one sees me.' Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me.'

(ISA 54: 4) about Jerusalem

4 Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.

6) Scarlet, Gold, & Jewels

(REV. 17: 4) about Babylon the Great

4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.

(REV. 18: 16) about Babylon the Great

16 and cry out: " 'Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! 17 In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!'

(JER. 4: 30) about Jerusalem

30 What are you doing, O devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why shade your eyes with paint? You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life.

7) Sorceries

(ISA. 47: 12) about Babylon

12 Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries,

(ISA. 57: 3) about Israel

3 But you-come here, you sons of a sorceress, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes!

8) Swift Destruction; One Hour

(REV. 18: 10) about Babylon the Great

10 'Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!'

(REV. 18: 17) about Babylon the Great

17 In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!'

(REV. 18: 19) about Babylon the Great

In one hour she has been brought to ruin!

(ISA. 47: 9) about Babylon

9 Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day

(JER. 4: 20) about Israel

20 Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.

9) Blood of the Saints

(REV. 17: 6) about Babylon the Great

6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

(REV. 18: 24) about Babylon the Great

24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth."

(ACTS 26: 9-11) about Jerusalem

9 I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.

(REV. 11: 9) about Jerusalem

8 Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

(I KING 18: 4) about Judah

4 While Jezebel was killing off the LORD's prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)

(I KING 19: 10) about Israel

10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

(NEH. 9: 26) about Israel

26 But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put your law behind their backs. They killed your prophets, who had admonished them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies.

(MATT. 23: 34-35) about Israel

34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

(MATT.23: 37; LUKE 13: 34) about Jerusalem

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

(LUKE 11: 47-51) about Israel

47 Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.' 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.

(ACTS 7: 52) about Israel

52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him

(I THS. 2: 14-15) about the Jews

14 For you, brothers, became imitators of God's churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men

10) Great City

(REV. 18: 21) about Babylon the Great

21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: "With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.

(REV. 14: 8) KJV about Babylon the Great

8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

(REV. 11: 9) about Jerusalem

8 Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.

(REV. 16: 19) about some city, probably Jerusalem because of the context

19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.

(JER. 22: 8-9) about Jerusalem

8 People from many nations will pass by this city and will ask one another, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this great city?' 9 And the answer will be: 'Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God and have worshiped and served other gods.'

(LAM. 1: 1) about Jerusalem

1 How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.

The Seven Hills

(REV. 17: 9) Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.

At this point, some may be wondering about the seven hills of Rome.

First off, these are symbolic hills, they are not real hills. They represent nations and their leaders. I find it convenient that we spend so much time demanding that a woman is a symbol for a church, but we immediately forget what hills and mountains are symbols of. Second, they don't belong to the "woman in Rome", they belong to the beast she rides. From an Armstrongist perspective - that would be the seven German hills of the 10-nation European combine. Makes no sense when you look at it like that, does it? This whole teaching from HWA is full of such holes.

I did a quick internet study on the cities of the world which are built on 7 hills. I found 7 other cities around the world that are listed as being built on 7 hills: Tallahassee, Florida; Seven Hills City, Ohio; Nevada City, Nevada; Cincinnati, Ohio (this is just a nickname, it is not literally on 7 hills); Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Istanbul, Turkey (formerly Byzantium and Constantinople); and finally Jerusalem, Israel.

That’s right, Jerusalem was a city on seven hills before Rome was built. It is not hard to find more information about this. Byzantium was the capitol city of the eastern Roman Empire. Emperor Constantine chose the area specifically because it has seven hills. It was a tradition with origins in superstitious religious beliefs that the number seven made something sacred. But the name “city on seven hills” is not exclusively a Roman title!

Something to Think About

At one time or the other, Herbert Armstrong claimed the Pope was the "little horn", Babylon the Great, the False Prophet, and the Image of the Beast. How can the Catholic Church be Babylon the Great who rides the Beast -and- the little horn of the Beast -and- the Image of the Beast that is besides the Beast -and- the False Prophet that empowers the Beast?

(REV. 17: 16) And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

So let me get this straight... The Pope is the "little horn" of the Beast that comes up among the other 10, the Pope plucks up three of those horns, yet all 10 join with him to burn his own church with fire? Not possible under HWA's timeline. Not possible under HWA's interpretation. Yet there it is in the Bible, plain as day. And then we see this:

(REV. 19: 20) Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

So, the Catholic Church rides the Beast, is hated and killed by the Beast, yet it works false wonders for the Beast and creates the mark of the Beast, and is later thrown alive with the Beast into the lake of fire? If the Pope is killed by the Beast, how can he make war with Christ at His return? These things cannot be!

Conclusion

Certainly this is exciting and dreadful. Who could Babylon the Great be? Odds are she is Israelite in nature. The similarities between Jerusalem and Babylon are dumbfounding. Jerusalem is a city, symbolically representing Israel and Judah; Babylon the Great is a city, symbolically representing some heretofore unrevealed nation. But from what we’ve read, one would think “Babylon” is a Biblical nickname (so to speak) of Jerusalem - along with Egypt and Sodom. Only the Bible can interpret the Bible, and this study comes straight from it. But I make no claims of knowing for sure.

I am in awe at the sheer volume of information linking Israel to Babylon the Great which has been overlooked by Herbert Armstrong. I overlooked it for the majority of my life because I followed him. I was at fault for not proving what I heard, as the Bereans did!

When I point these things out to people, they do not want to hear it because they love what they already accept – even though it is based on the ravings of a 19th century fraud and not on the Bible itself. They swear it’s true! They boldly proclaim the next Pope will fight Christ. They continue to point out problems with the Catholic Church as if they themselves have none to worry about. They judge and condemn a billion of God’s hand-crafted children with nothing more than speculative interpretation. It appears that they love to judge and condemn. Is this right? Is this Godly? We should be comparing ourselves to Christ and letting Him judge! Ask yourself - what if I am wrong?

(MAT. 12: 7) But if ye had known what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless.

(LUK. 6: 37) Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

(ROM. 2: 1) Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

(ROM. 14: 4) Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

Concentrate on your own walk with Christ!

Am I concluding Israel or the Jews certainly are Babylon the Great? Absolutely not! Then what on earth am I doing? This and this alone: offering an alternative. What if you are wrong?

God calls for us to wake up and watch! Does a watchman stare off in one fixed direction? What if the enemy sneaks in from behind? Was he, then, actually watching? No! If we stare in one fixed direction, the one people have been staring in for over 150 years, we are not living up to what God expects of us. What if you are wrong?

By all means, keep looking at churches to fulfill this symbolic Babylon the Great. Look at other things as well. But stop all the judgment and condemnation because you don’t know it to be sure! There are convincing alternatives. What if you are wrong? What, then, comes of your judgment and condemnation?

I personally believe Alexander Hislop’s conclusion was dead, dead wrong; he couldn’t understand the mystery; his motivation was clearly slanderous accusation and condemnation. His was a cleverly crafted deception. Read “The Babylon Connection” by Ralph Woodrow for a detailed and easy to understand look into Alexander Hyslop’s folly. What we’ve been taught was incorrect. We must look to God by His Spirit through the Bible to clue us in as to who she is because nothing and no one else can. When the time comes, it will all become clear.

15 comments:

xHWA said...

This may even be my last post.

I am so tired of it all. I am so sick of dealing with people who refuse to look at what they are doing - to look at how they are judging and condemning the whole world. I have news.. you are only judging and condemning yourself!!

How they love to point out Revelation 17, but ignore the weightier matters in the Bible, like mercy and forgiveness. That is reserved for their friends alone.

I am tired of it. I offer this information for posterity to read. I desire to move on; wash my hands of this whole nonsense. I have accepted grace, the grace of Jesus Christ, and it is high time I put the past in the past. If people refuse to listen, let their blood be on their own heads. I have given my testimony. I have little else to say. From now on, I go to the Gentiles, so to speak.

Byker Bob said...

I think you've reached the same conclusion which I have, xHWA. By the way, I believe you have done some incredible research, and have made that research very accessable to others. But, the bottom line is this: People get stuck in their beliefs, much the same as the antiquated broken needle gets stuck on an old vinyl record. Often it takes one of life's earthquakes to cause people to reconsider their particular rut or groove.

I'm at a loss as to what to do with much of the knowledge which I've accumulated since leaving Armstrongism, and have come to the conclusion that this knowledge, at best, has only personal value in furthering the eternal relationship which I've initiated or been called into with Father God. There really aren't a heck of a lot of truth seeker types walking the face of planet Earth.

Several years ago, as an agnostic, I realized that the only way to really prove that God doesn't exist would be to take the challenge, and ask Him to walk with me. I was somewhat frightened with all of that, because I realized that if it turned out that there was a noticeable difference in the essence of my existence, meaning that God did in fact exist, I would need to make a sincere effort to determine what He expected of me. Life has not been the same since then. People on these forums and blogs all have a vested interest in certain philosophies and before they will even consider alternative views, will attack on multiple and seemingly ridiculous or even infantile levels. There have sometimes been mini-miracles, such as the time we succeeded in getting a group of people to read and comment on Bob George's book "Classic Christianity", but for the most part people with roots in the Armstrong movement are still very much self-censoring.

For me, we obtain quite a bit of insight into the value of beliefs by the impact that such beliefs have on individual practitioners' lives. Is there healing? Purpose to life? Are we seeing all of God's children as He sees them? Do we experience joy? Tranquility? Obviously all of us have much room for growth in these areas, but if we are truly in a relationship with God, and are receiving guidance, we should see some very pronounced trends towards them in our daily lives.

I believe that you have made a difference, xHWA. I hope people will save the materials which you have presented. Only someone who had been on the inside of the Armstrong movement is equipped to perform a deconstruct, exposing all of the error, and assisting others towards the light. I hope that what you have written have a "creeping" effect on a whole lot of people!

BB

PurpleHymnal said...

"Israel will be brought back to God."

... but Jews believe in a different god ...

Your study reminds me of a similar one Corky posted on Shadows, although from an atheist perspective. He drew the same conclusions, that "Babylon" in the text referred to the city of Jerusalem after the fact of the destruction of the Jewish Temple.

Best of luck, and best wishes!

xHWA said...

"...after the fact of the destruction of the Jewish Temple."

Wouldn't it be interesting if the only reason we think this stuff hasn't been fulfilled is because of Herbert "the W. doesn't stand for anything" Armstrong and his Adventist roots.
Something for me to ponder.

xHWA said...

Thank you so much, Bob. I appreciate the kind words. You've been a support to me from the start.

Unfortunately, I deserve no credit. Well, I deserve credit for the mess-ups. I'll pass your praise on to the One who does deserve it, though. :-)

Seeker Of Truth said...

xHWA,

(1)
You have raised some very interesting questions and quite possible ideas here.
It's true, we cannot be very good watchmen if we only look in one direction.

We may hear or discover something that seems to make sense, but we must always keep our eyes open! We must search the Bible for proof.
I must point out that even RW makes claims that he has gained information from God that was not before revealed. So even if one believes RW has the truth... keep that in mind. e.g., He said Christ would return on September 29, 2011. You believed him. You knew it was true! But then he stated later that the correct date is May 27, 2012. So what you were so sure of turned out to be wrong (according to RW's teaching). So what does that tell you? Doesn't it tell you that you that what you know to be the truth... just might not be? Doesn't it tell you that in order to be a good watchman, you must look in all directions.

You know, when my daughter was just a little girl, preschool, Kindergarten and later, I always told her, "When we cross the street, never trust that I have looked both ways... you need to make sure that you look both ways, even if you're holding my hand. You must take responsibility for your safety, don't leave it in someone else's hands."
That is true for us as well. Our trust should be in God alone. Who did the Bereans put their trust in? Was it Paul, or God? They listened to what Paul said and then they went home and searched the scriptures to see if what he said was true... meaning they put their trust in God.

When one takes your hand before crossing the street and tells you that the car you see down the road isn't moving toward you... you better be sure that it's true.

(2)
"I am so tired of it all. I am so sick of dealing with people who refuse to look at what they are doing - to look at how they are judging and condemning the whole world. I have news.. you are only judging and condemning yourself!!

...(ROM. 2: 1) Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things."


That's the thing... we cannot see our ugliness past our self-righteousness!
Something we need to keep in mind.

authorphilipkledzik said...

My wife read this post and really enjoyed it. She thought you hit it right on. Too often do we look at Israel with love sick puppy dog eyes because they are the chosen people of God. We need to remember that currently they are the "stiff necked" people of God that have turned away from their groom. And until the end when those that are the remnant turn back to their first love, their nation will not the beautiful bride that they were called to be.
Israel right now is similar to Hosea's wife. Not when she was with him, but during the time that she had run away playing the harlot. That is where we are in history. She will be brought back one day, with Christ's return.
Thanks for the post, don't let this be your last.

Philip Kledzik
"Painted Rooms"
www.authorphilipkledzik.books.officelive.com
"An Issue of the Heart"

xHWA said...

"Doesn't it tell you that you that what you know to be the truth... just might not be?"

Sure does. It tells me precisely that.
The true Armstrong believers, OTOH, I don't think it tells them that.

Perhaps some people can't relate to that. When they're through calling me a liar and unsaved, and recommending I read my Bible, they'll call Ron Weinland an obvious deceiver and all his followers are misled. They're above all that sort of thing, you know. So they'll simply toss aside your example.
Perhaps they haven't experienced anything like this in their own lives to where they can relate. Or they won't admit to it.

I would hope these people search for more articles that describe the myriad changes in what has been taught and proclaimed SURE! and TRUE! and ON AUTHORITY OF ALMIGHTY GOD! over the years. (AsBereansDid has plenty!)

The cynic in me thinks they will just say, "The true Church admits when it's wrong. NOW we have the real truth. Oops! NOW we really have the truth. Oops! NOW we for really real have the really real real double-dog truth." and on and on it will go. Never stopping to ask "Well, if all those other things were proclaimed as true, and they turned out to be wrong, what about this? Where did all that previous untruth come from?"

Why not ask that? Because! It's simple! In their minds, compared to the evil Catholics, they're still doing fine. I don't think Jesus will accept "But look at how bad THEY are!" as an excuse.

And the reasons the cynic in me thinks this is A) experience - I've lived it; B) "we cannot see our ugliness past our self-righteousness!" You are dead on correct.
Pride. I think it all boils down to pride. It's one of the two guaranteed outcomes of legalism (false pride and frustrated failure).

The legalistic method robs people of surety in Christ. They are self-reliant. I am always asked "Without the law, how will I know how I am to follow Christ?" THEY want to be the ones to do it THEMSELVES. Unfortunately, Christ said "with men it is impossible." So, to gain the illusion of confidence again they have to raise the self up in pride. They literally lift themselves up on the beams in other people's eyes.
That's my take on it.

I pray God have mercy on them and for His name's sake bring them to His salvation and the New Covenant in His blood.

xHWA said...

Thank you, Philip. Beautiful family you have there. What a blessing!

angel said...

xHWA,

What an incredible article! If it had been a book I'd say I couldn't put it down! I love it when someone can give a reasonable explanation for things in the book of Rev. that aren't easily discerned, and can support it with so many scriptures AND without the prideful assertion that it HAS to be true! It feels so great to have something like this presented as something to consider by someone whose dedication to the study of the Bible has proved to be thoughtful and thorough.

I'm not trying to embarrass you, but I hope you are encouraged; rather I'm thinking of how different it is when you're dealing with a Christian who rightly gives credit to Jesus than people who worship HWA's teachings. They didn't have the luxury of deciding whether or not his teachings had merit, they were expected to accept everything he taught as coming from God; and they are still trapped in that spiritual prison. How sad that even now that he's gone, they don't know that the prison door isn't locked and they could walk out into the sunlight if only they would get up and get out.

I can understand you feeling the way you do after dealing with people like that; it's mentally and spiritually exhausting. Take a break if you need to, you may feel different after you have a chance to recharge.

Thanks for all your wonderful articles!

xHWA said...

Thank you so much, Angel. I do feel drained and exhausted. Your encouragement is much appreciated. Very refreshing.

If there was any comfort or blessing in that article, I give all credit to God. I am but a sinner. A man with unclean lips. Unworthy.

God bless you, my sister in Christ.

xHWA said...

Certainly there is much that I've missed. I hope people find those parts and post them here in the comments.

Byker Bob said...

XHWA,

As I've been thinking of our favorite phenomenon over the past several days, it occurred to me that in many cases God has done some really fantastic things right after I myself became worn out, and gave up! It's almost uncanny how He lets us all know that despite our own best efforts on His behalf, really only He can open peoples' minds.

Still, I must continue to believe that God does want us to take part in His plan, and to care deeply about the eternal plight of our friends and loved ones. It's just that our persuasive powers and intellect are not going to be what finally gets the job done. Only God Himself can do that.

BB

xHWA said...

Because it suits me I will mention that Purple Hymnal finds authorphilipkledzik's 10-29-09 5:28 AM comments about the Jews to be offensive.

For reasons that are my own, I have declined to authorize PH's comments.

Nuff said.

Judith said...

Elija was man like you. He was sick and tired and tired and sick because he had convinced himself that he was the only one on God's side. However, God always has a remnant of believers, so don't get discouraged to the point of disgust. Those seeking the truth will find it. Most of the organized religions are not seeking and ostracize anyone who is. I can't find a single teacher/pastor/evangelist on TV who is teaching the truth concerning Revelation. If they did, they would lose their credibility and their funds. Tell
the modern day church that tithing is legalism and see where it gets you. Tell them to get out of their comfort zone because the saints are already being persecuted and see if your face smarts.

Thanks for this great article. I have posted a link to it at
http://heavenawaits.wordpress.com/?page_id=712#comments