Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Israels 61st birthday

According to Joel Rosenberg, April 28th is when the Jewish people mark their national birthday as apposed to May 14th when the rest of the world does. So I’d like to say a few words in appreciation of the Jewish people to mark the occasion.

Israel is the gift of God to the world. The punishment of Judah and its dispersal throughout the nations of the world, and eventual re-gathering to the holy land, take up a significant portion of the old testament i.e. Zech 8:7 “I will re-gather you”, Zech 8:13 ”So will I save you and you will be a blessing.”

Through the suffering and ubiquitous presence of the Jewish people, no one can truly avoid seeing the reality of the word of God. People may deny and make excuses to disbelieve this monumental sign from God, but every one knows of the Diaspora; and because of the Palestinian conflict, no one can remove the specter from before their eyes and plead ignorance. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is alive, and has plans for this planet.

The Jewish people did not fail, but performed an unprecedented service, through their suffering, to all mankind; to reveal our maker, give us proof of his word by the fulfillment of copiously repeated prophecies, so that we may believe, and through all of this, give us hope.

The fantastical idea of the reality of God relegated to the genre of fairy tails and legends by so many intellectuals, is given reason for reconsideration, and in a snowstorm of contradictory opinions, the reality of Israel breaks through with its crystal clear message: we must keep our eye on Israel.

The Jews are still serving us to this day as a beacon on a hill. They are prevented from accepting their Messiah, and the universe shaking implications that he is, until they have completed their service to the world when in their defense, God will introduce himself to that world in the most spectacular way (Zech 12 and 14), and then the Jews will know their Lord and become his ministers to the nations as the law goes out from Jerusalem, Zech 8:23 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: "In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you’."

For now you could say that Israel is bait to lure the forces of Satan to try ever harder to exterminate them. Ezek 38:4 “I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army--your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. V5 Persia (Iran), Cush (Aria including Ethiopia) and Put (Libia) will be with them, all with shields and helmets,”

The resurrection of Israel is the super sign that God’s victory is at hand. Satan can’t win, but like a child having a tantrum, he will break and deface anything belonging to the one he failed to destroy; this means Israel, but in this he will also fail, and the Messiah will certainly destroy him.



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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

HEBREWS 4: SABBATH OR KINGDOM?

What is Hebrews 4 about? Is it about the Sabbath? What if I  told you it is about the Kingdom of God? What’s interesting is that this is the very thing Paul is trying to clarify. These people think he’s talking about the seventh day Sabbath, and Paul tries to explain that he’s not, but that he’s talking about the Kingdom of God.

So today, we’re going to examine the word “rest” in Hebrews 4. At the bottom of this first section are the Greek word definitions for the various words translated as “rest”.

 

1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his abode (G2663) still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.

[He says the promise of entering His abode. What promise have we received? The promise of the Kingdom through the Holy Spirit, which is a deposit, a guarantee. He’s not speaking of the promise of a Sabbath. Clearly this is his Kingdom that is promised.]

2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.

[Ron Weinland says in his sermon, God’s plan through the Sabbath (3.15.03): “They couldn’t believe it because it wasn’t mixed with the Holy Spirit.” The problem with that statement from God’s supposed “final witness” is that what he says is, again, contrary to the Bible, as are many of his teachings. It’s not required that you have the Holy Spirit before you can believe! You get the Holy Spirit AFTER you believe! Scripture says we believe by faith. It does not say we believe by the Holy Spirit! How can God’s “final witness” be so wrong? Why does he teach a different gospel? Why does he teach a different Jesus?]

3 Now we who have believed enter that abode (G2663), just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my abode’ (G2663). ”Although (G2543) his work has been finished since the creations of the world.

[So what’s going on here? Is God saying they shall never enter his Sabbath, with Paul following up with: although his work has been finished since the creation of the world? Well that doesn’t make sense. Remember what I said about fractals in my Bible Symbology article? That is a helpful tool in understanding scriptures: does it fit the fractal, the symbology? God was talking about the Israelites in verse 3, right? And he was talking about them not being permitted to enter His abode, speaking of the promised land. They wondered the desert for 40 years because of there disobedience, because of their lack of faith. So this statement isn’t about Sabbath. So Paul is saying here that these guys are thinking he is talking about the seventh day, and say he’s not, because God’s work has been finished since the creation of the world, and then in verse 4 reminds them of what that scripture says:]

4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘on the seventh day God ceased (G2664) from all his work.

[He then refers again to the above mentioned verse, pointing out the difference, and that he’s not talking about Sabbath.]

5 And again in the passage above he says “They shall never enter my abode (G2663).Summer

[Now in verse 6 he tries to explain the point: that the promise still remains, that the physical promised land wasn’t all there was.]

6 So it STILL REMAINS that some will enter it [the spiritual promise land], and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in [to the physical promise land], because of their disobedience.

7 God again marks out a certain day, today (G4594) [this day, current or just passed, now, at present]. When he spoke through David: (Ps. 95:7) ‘Today (G4594), if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’

[i.e. whenever you hear his voice. Whatever day it is that you hear his voice.]

[Ron Weinland, in the above mentioned sermon, tells his congregation that this word, ‘today’ G4594, means Sabbath. This is not true. Look it up for yourself. This is one of the reasons I tell people that it’s their responsibility to find out if what someone tells them is true or not.]

8 For if Joshua had given them “THE” settling down to colonize rest (G2664), God would not have spoken later about ANOTHER day.

9 So there STILL remains, a Sabbath-rest, a repose (G4520) of Christianity (as a type of heaven) for the people of God – the spiritual promised land; [not the seventh ‘day’ but, the seventh ‘thousandth year’.]

10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. For Joshua, having entered into His abode (G2663), settled down to colonize, ceased from his occupational work (G2664) (of leading the Israelites). [i.e. it’s not the physical promise land that promised land that he is talking about, but the spiritual promised land,] just as (G5618) God did from His own (work, of creation). [i.e. and it’s not the Sabbath. But rather, the spiritual promised land. This physical promised land isn’t “THE” promise, there remains another].

11 Let us be eager therefore to enter into that abode (G2663) [of rest] [the spiritual promised land], that no one will fall in the same example of disobedience.

GREEK WORD DEFINITIONS ( for the words translated in this chapter as “rest”):

2663: katapausis (noun) reposing down, i.e. abode

2664 kata pauo (verb) settle down, I.e. (literally) to colonize, (figuratively) to (case to) desist

4520 sabatismos (noun) repose of Christianity (as a type of heaven)

4594 semeron    This day, today, current or just passed, now, at present

There is a link on the right to an online Interlinear, one Greek, the other Hebrew. Please take advantage of it.

 

So, essentially, Paul is saying:

I’m not talking about the Sabbath. I’m not talking about the physical promised land. I’m talking about the the fact that there still remains a promised rest: “THE” rest, the spiritual promised land, the Kingdom of God.

1 Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest/kingdom still stands, let us be careful that none of you  be found to have fallen short of it.

2 For we, also, have had the gospel preached to us, just as the Israelites did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard it didn’t have faith.

3 Now we who have believed enter His rest/abode (the promised future spiritual event), just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest/abode (the past promised physical event).’ You’re thinking I’m talking about the “seventh day Sabbath rest”, but I’m not, his work has been finished since the creation of the world.

4 You know what I’m talking about…   the scripture that says ‘on the seventh day God ceased from all his work.

5 And then we have the passage above that says “They shall never enter my abode. This is speaking of the ‘physical promised land’, not the ‘Sabbath’.vladstudio_xmasnight2_1280x800

6 See what I mean? Do you see the difference? There is still a promised land, a future promised land, a spiritual promised land. So it STILL REMAINS, that some will enter His abode/rest… that is; the ‘spiritual promised land/rest’ (future), and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in to the ‘physical promised land/rest’, because of their disobedience (past).

7 God again marks out a certain day, today, when he spoke through David: ‘Today, right now, whenever, …if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’

8 I’m not talking about the ‘physical promised land/rest,  for if Joshua had given them '”THE” ‘settling down to colonize’ rest, God would not have spoken later about ANOTHER day; the day we enter the ‘spiritual promised land/rest’.

9 So you see; there is STILL a Sabbath-rest for the people of God – it’s the ‘spiritual promised land’ at the seventh thousandth year; 

10 For Joshua, when he entered into God’s abode/rest, (the physical promised land), rested from his work of leading the Israelites, just as God did from His own work of creation. So I’m not talking about the ‘Sabbath day’ rest, rather the ‘Sabbath millennium’ rest, the ‘spiritual promised land’ rest. This physical promised land isn’t “THE” promise… there remains another… that of the spiritual promised land. God’s Kingdom.

11 Let’s be eager therefore to enter into that spiritual abode of rest, the spiritual promised land, that no one will fall in the same example of disobedience.

 

I hope this helps you to understand what Paul is actually trying to explain here.

I know you see it every time you read an article here, but please, read again my close that I add at the end of each blog, because it IS very important that you are aware of it.

God bless you in your quest for truth.

 

Picture credits: Boat – unknown

planet picture – Vlad Gerasimov of VladStudio - http://www.vladstudio.com/home/

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Prophecy in reflections and types

Prophecy in reflections and types
Prophecy provides a means by which we can become aware of what God is doing. Loving God should stimulate an interest in these things, as love always stimulates interest in the interests of the object of love; and for God to clue us in is a gift. Being in a relationship with God is all important, he is our father. Being in a relationship with Jesus is central to our existence as Christians; otherwise the term Christian is misapplied. To be Jesus follower is to have been called by the father and chosen to be the bride of Christ; and of course, having answered the call in the affirmative.

If prophecy becomes our focus instead of a relationship with Jesus, then even this becomes an idol. Knowing anything about prophecy is not a salvation issue, but it is a courtesy, extended by God, that can promote faith, and it serves as evidence of the validity of Gods word for anyone who is interested. It is a communiqué that tells us that the message that has been delivered, he has maintained in spite of all attempts to bury it in false gospels, and a snowstorm of misinformation composed by its opponents over the centuries.

If knowing what God is doing only promotes fear, then where is the faith in the bridegroom and anticipation of the bride; where is there any relationship at all with the Lord.

The Prophecy in the story of Isaac and Rebekah (Gen 24)

There are an amazing number of prophetic types in scripture; I’m often surprised to learn of a new one in an event that I just took at face value. The reflections in type are always debatable when there is no absolute statement to confirm their meaning, but interestingly the picture of the whole can be seen in the fractals within fragments. Most bible readers catch the clear message in Abraham as being symbolic of the Father, and Isaac as the Lord Jesus, and the implications of Abraham nearly sacrificing Isaac. Isaac must have lay down on that alter without a fight, a strong young man not being able to escape seems unlikely. Correspondingly, Jesus went to his death willingly at his fathers bidding.

The nation of Israel itself is a prophecy of the Kingdom of God in that Israel is the product of the union of Isaac (Christ) and Rebekah (the church, bride of Christ). Rebekah, like the Lords bride, was not Isaacs’s choice, but was the choice of his father. Abraham didn’t go and personally call Rebekah to be his son’s wife, but sent his chief servant to a far away place, just as the father sends the Holy Spirit to call those who should become a part of the Lord’s church. And like Isaac, the Lord remains with the father while his bride is being called.

When Abraham’s servant was shown which young women was Gods choice, it wasn’t a done deal until permission was obtained; the family gave it, but wanted Rebekah to remain for ten days, Rebekah didn’t want to wait and chose to go immediately, demonstrating her willingness. When the Holy Spirit calls some one to come and be the bride of the Lord, those who are willing respond with anticipation, as you could imagine Isaac did, and as Jesus did, Heb 12:2 “Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.”

The bible doesn’t elaborate on what Abraham’s servant had told Rebekah, but I can imagine when he was finished describing Isaac to her, about the kind of person he was, she was convinced that although she had never seen the man, he was the man for her, she was anxious to go and meet him. In the same way, we hear the word of God describe the Lord Jesus, and without seeing him, we love him (1Pet 1:8). Rebekah knew that Isaac was the heir of his father’s estate, and we know that Jesus is the heir of his fathers; the bride becomes a co-heir by marriage.

A wife in the Hebrew custom was property of the husband, and a dowry was paid by the husband, Gen 24:53 tells of gold being given to Rebekah’s family. The metaphor of the dowry was lived by the Hebrews without understanding what it portrayed in how the Lord would purchase his own bride i.e. Rev 5:9 “with your blood you purchased men for God.”

David
King David is an interesting metaphoric type of Jesus. David was rejected and scorned by his brothers, but it was he who was anointed king. Jesus was the stone rejected by the builders that became the capstone (Ps 118:22); and Act 4:11 “He is 'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone”.”

When David was anointed king, he didn’t immediately take his rightful place on the throne, while Saul continued to rule. Jesus is the right full king of the earth, yet Satan remains its ruler. Luk 4:5 “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.v6 And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to”.”

David had only around 600 men who followed him, recognizing him as king (1Sam 23:13) just as in Jesus case, the majority don’t recognize him as the true sovereign. David’s men followed him out into the wilderness just like Jesus church was driven out and persecuted; and one who follows Jesus today must be willing to endure some hardships, and perhaps be looked down upon as a member of a minority of fools, 1Co 1:23 “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”

When David finally became king, there’s no doubt that his men shared in the kingdom, and his enemies were put out. And so shall it be with those who now recognize the true king; and if need be, follow him out into the wilderness and suffer hardship on his account.

Lastly, after David finally became king, it was up to him to conquer the Promised Land just as it will be up to Jesus to subdue the earth for his kingdom when he comes.

In these prophetic reflections, Rebekah and Davids men are the called to Christ; these two illustrate how it can be so 'easy' to qualify for salvation, i.e. say yes and believe Jesus is who he says he is.


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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Shoot us both Mr. Spock

I once was inclined to reject everything HWA said just because he said it; but I eventually came to the place where should I come to a similar conclusion independently, I wouldn’t automatically hit the reset button, and demand another solution. It’s helpful for me to realize that HWAs idea’s were rarely his own; he was just a very good liar, and unashamed when he took credit. One idea is the way of looking at the statement of Jesus: Many will come in my name saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many. Herbert maintained that Jesus was saying that people would be telling the truth, that he Jesus was who he said he was, but they would foist off some other notion as being his teachings that would be untrue. Herbert himself indicted himself by pointing this out, and then misrepresenting Jesus.

Jesus said that if one wanted to be great, that person needed to be a servant, in other words have a heart to serve because of genuine caring for the ones served. Herbert glorified himself, this is not service, and a long way from genuinely seeing the value of others, and a longer distance from actually loving others, which was Jesus command. In the church of Armstrong, he had every one literally wash each others feet; I believe, few ever really got the message. They imitated the act, but the principle went right past them without pausing to say howdy. The principle was that pride, rank and pecking order was an unacceptable barrier to serving. If any one at the old WCG got the principle, it didn’t much show in action. We, the invisible people, can testify to how the high and mighty looked right through us as if we didn’t exist, if they bothered looking our way at all.

Now for those who believe Jesus to be an imaginary friend of those with a predisposition to believe in leprechauns and fairies, most would still agree that the golden rule is a wonderfully simple ideal that could supplant a mountain of do’s and don’ts which fill law libraries, and that reduce human relations to impersonal avoidance of stepping across boundaries instead of what could exist with the more proactive principle of treating some one how you would like to be treated.

I don’t want to be treated impersonally, like a thing. Anyone who has been processed by the legal system has a whole different view of that term “impersonal” than those who haven’t. The Indigenous people of the Yukon meted out justice in a circle of justice where the community and the victims could confront the offender; a personal relationship was maintained and restitution and sanctions would be agreed upon, and forgiveness may be extended to one who was repentant, depending on the offenders attitude, which could be more accurately determined because the judgment would be rendered by those who knew the individual. I would rather be treated like that. I would rather be ruled by that one principle reputed to be the teaching of Jesus: treating others the way we would want to be treated, and being treated in that manner. It is interesting that some people know this without it being taught, and a few cultures have employed it because it just seemed logical to them. I should try to do a mental walk in some one else’s shoes because I’d like them to do this for me.

Some who know not the Lord obey him anyway. To bad that some claiming to know what Jesus taught, busy themselves with do’s and don’ts, regulations and requirements, and never attend to the weightier matter; the heart of the matter. The fact that some just do the right thing by nature is pointed out by the apostle Paul in Rom 2:14 (which is clearly referring to intent, not keeping of days and seasons) “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, v15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. V 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets.” What fulfills the law? Rom 13:8 “let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

So many go on and on about Jesus, and likely saying things that are true; and many make Jesus look stupid hopping on one foot screaming Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, or some other ridiculous antic using the name to make a buck. With others the deception is more subtle, and it occurred to me that the situation is like one from the old Star Trek series in which captain Kirk has an evil double. Spock knows one of them is the evil fake, both Kirks are saying I’m the real one, shoot the other. Spock keeps them both covered with his phaser until one of the Kirks finally says: shoot us both Mr. Spock; save the ship. Mr. Spock immediately shoots the other knowing that only the good captain would be willing to sacrifice himself. I say that a true follower of Jesus is at least willing to attempt putting the interests of others ahead of his own, and to make a sacrifice; I say that the proof of the believer is in actions and attitude. What Jesus taught is an ideal to shoot for, but pretenses of measuring up look phony and drag Jesus name through the mud.

The apostle Paul demonstrated an attitude of self sacrifice which should serve as an example: Rom 9:3 “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race,” So when confronted with multiple claims of legitimacy as being of Christ, this is the identifier to look for.

Jesus said that the day would come when some unspecified ‘they’ would kill you (his disciples) and think they do God service (Joh 16:2). It doesn’t matter who they is. The principle thing is that people would do bad things thinking that they are doing something for God. People have done evil in the name of God, people have done evil in the name of Jesus, to hold that up as legitimate examples of what must be in the heart of every believer or Christian doesn’t really logically follow.

I have met African Americans who hate every white person because: "they’ve been responsible for every evil on the planet for the last 500 years, every major war has been perpetrated by white people; the kidnapping and slavery of the Africans is the greatest of holocausts and was perpetrated by white people. African culture didn’t employ corporal punishment; white slave masters beat their slaves and taught them to beat their children which resulted in the current culture of violence. To top it off, it was white people who invented the atomic bomb, and as if that wasn’t enough, the hydrogen bomb; it is white people that threaten the very existence of the planet!” You know what? The arguments they make hold a lot of water; but I also know that there are white people with a great deal of compassion and humanity. Some people stinging from their own legitimate experience with racism don’t believe it. And you know what? I couldn’t convince them otherwise regardless of any evidence I might offer.

Jesus never told a certain ‘Christian’ to keep me, for the most part, isolated for the first 6 years of my life; or to make every break from isolation a “privilege” contingent upon earning it through “proper behavior”, a line that I somehow rarely seemed to be able to reach in spite of church people always praising her for “the most well behaved child they had ever seen.” My ears still ring with the smack, smack, smack of the strap lashing my bear flesh leaving bruises all the way up the back of my thighs to the small of my back; so not only did this “Christian” deny me my socialization period, but applied torture that an adult would find difficult to bear. You have to understand something here, this “Christian” wouldn’t let me cry, she’d be screaming: “I guess you want more, just keep it up, the more you cry, the more you get.”This “Christian” wouldn’t allow flinching, or it would result in the same.

To top it off, these sessions would only end after she stood there looking at my face, for however long it took, to note any sign of resentment, or any other resistant emotion, and the pounding and lecturing would continue until I could look like I had enjoyed it. Years later, commenting on how I had run him out of my life, my dad said that she was better at brain washing than the North Koreans, this is legitimized by the fact that I never told anyone; and never even admitted (even to myself) that anyone had ever done anything to me that I didn’t deserve until many, many years later.

Neither this, nor any other impropriety by people taking the name of Jesus Christ need be white washed. I have reason to hate if any body does. I have to be medicated daily to help me deal with the results of what a “Christian” did; but I know one thing: Jesus didn’t tell her to do this, nor advocate it in any writings reporting his teachings. Jesus taught something quite opposite of what I might have believed if my example of a “Christian” was taken as true.

Historically, many atrocities have been committed by people claiming to be followers of Jesus, and not everyone in the supposedly civilized US have experienced it to the extent that I have; but the evil duplicate is the culprit; the one who is true would at least try to follow Jesus example of self sacrifice, of putting others needs ahead of his or her own, and would at least recognize their error, and apologize upon some critical self introspection.

Personally, that one “Christian” example has never owned up to what was done in the slightest, even after the abuse of another child resulted in international news coverage; Conversely my dad who supposedly was the ‘devil’ (because he took the mark of the beast and went to church on Sunday), lived a clean productive life, served his country and his community his entire life. All I can say is: even though Star Trek is only a story, one who was following Jesus example would have done what captain Kirk did.

I read this to my wife, and she said: yup, Claiming to be captain Kirk doesn’t mean you are captain Kirk.





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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Common Legalist Arguments - Part I

I am going to start a series where I attempt, in my own flawed way, to answer common arguments that have been posed to me by legalists.
I am only addressing one argument at a time, and I will only answer that one particular argument. Anyone who expects me to answer all possible tangents will be disappointed. I ask for patience on the part of the reader. Thank you!

Argument #1
"The law is harder to keep; the Spirit helps you to keep it, grace makes up for your failures."

OK. If I were to ask "where does it say that?" one would no doubt reply "it's a summary of many things." But I would implore one to consider a few things that appear to have been left out of that.

The law cannot save, it only condemns (ROM. 4: 15; GAL. 3: 10), and without mercy (HEB. 10: 28). That is, after all, why Jesus had to come. So I am to believe, after all mankind was already made guilty, that Jesus then made it far easier to be made guilty? We are already guilty!

No man could keep it perfectly before, so how do you make it harder? You can't make "slip up once and you're dead" harder. If you have no hope then you have no hope. There can't be extra EXTRA no hope. A purpose of the law was to bring men under condemnation (ROM. 5: 20). The law did that perfectly. So why make it harder AFTER salvation has come in? Another purpose of the law was to bring us to the time of Jesus (GAL. 3: 24). Well, that has come. Why couldn't grace just make up for the law as it was? Think about that.
That's as if God said, "I'm going to make it super easy to be condemned, but don't worry about that, you can't be condemned because you're under grace." So, I have to keep the law, but it's OK because I don't actually have to keep the law that I have to keep. That's just a fancy way of saying I don't have to keep the law. Plus it's just confusion.

How much do I have to try to keep in order for it to add grace to me? 1%? 46%? 73%? If the answer is 100%, then I ask, why don't Armstrongists do that? I have shown multiple times how the COGs don't even recognize the whole law, the reasoning given to me was "Herbert Armstrong changed the law out of necessity." So what is the difference, then, between those who fail to keep a certain selection of the laws, and, say, a Protestant who just tries his best to believe in Jesus and be a good person? The hopeless attempt? Really? This is a great place to ask "where does it say that?"

So, the Spirit helps you keep your selection of the law? People in the Old Testament are said to have had the Spirit (Joseph, David, etc). The Spirit didn't cause them to keep the law perfectly at that time. If the Spirit helps you to keep the newer, harder law, then why can't any man do it even today? Is God not able to complete a task?

(ROM. 2: 23) You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?

For one who demands law, breaking the law dishonors God. The little bit that you keep does not honor Him! This is the curse of law.

(ROM. 2: 25-27) 25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? 27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?

(GAL. 3: 10) ...“Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”

You know and will admit that you often break the law. But you expect Christ to make up for that fact. Notice how the uncircumcised (the one without the written code) can fulfill "the righteous requirements of the law". How? What fulfills that? Love! (ROM. 13: 8, 10; GAL. 5: 14) Love fulfills the righteous requirements of the law. Not the Sabbath. Not the 10 Commandments. But love.

(ROM. 2: 29) but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter...

We have determined legalists will readily admit that they have not kept the law. Armstrong taught certain select parts, yet mankind cannot help but fail. No one has succeeded (but Christ), and no one can. In that, we see that it is the hopeless attempt that counts -- but not an attempt at the whole thing, only the select parts that are recognized.
Then why didn't the attempt at select parts count in the Old Covenant? Because the law was easier and the penalty much harder, but now the law is much harder but the penalty much easier? Interesting.
So, let me get this straight... We both have faith in Jesus Christ, I'm condemned if I don't keep the law, but no one can keep the law anyhow so you're condemned too even if you try to keep the law, but it's OK for you because there's no penalty at failing to keep that select portion of the law? So, both have faith, both fail, but in order for it not to matter you have to at least try to do something no one can possibly do? So the hopeless attempt at keeping the law counts as righteousness?
That's not what God says:

(ROM. 4: 5) But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness

Faith is accounted for righteousness! Is our hopeless and failed attempt actual righteousness? No. But faith is credited as such. Failure is implied as each of us have already failed, but trying to earn is not. It's a gift. It cannot be earned in any sense, so even the beginning of a keeping of the law is moot.

(EPH. 2: 8-9) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

One must ask, how does any good come if we are such failures, then? And Paul says, "by promise".

(ROM. 4: 13) For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Jesus Christ was the promise. But we are one body and one bread with Christ (I COR. 10: 16-17) through faith (ROM. 4: 13), and thus heirs to this same promise (GAL. 3: 29). The law is not supplementary to that, but is in all actuality contrary to it!

(ROM. 4: 14-15) For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath...

The law does not bring the grace you seek at all, but wrath. The law voids faith and harms the promise. Is that really what you want? But faith establishes it!

(ROM. 4: 23-25) 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

We are not justified by the law, righteousness is not of law, we are not called to the law, the law is not the gospel, the law can only condemn us.. what good is it, then? What good does anyone hope to gain from it?

(GAL. 2: 16) knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

(GAL. 2: 21) I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

(ROM. 5: 1-2) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Final conclusion:
All evidence points to justification by faith, not by the law. I ask people to not fall into the false impression that "works" = "law". The law (even though the law itself is righteous) is contrary to this gift of faith. The gift is by grace so that no one can boast.

Loved by God, I hope we can clearly see why Argument #1 is simply not feasible. God bless you and prosper you in your studies and prayers into this. I pray He graces you with a clear understanding of the New Covenant to which all Christians hope to attain.

[Also see Part II, Part III, Part IV, & Part V]

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

OUT OF HAND

Thank you Bill. Thank you Russell.

Much better... because this is NOT what ABD is about.

We are here to present our understanding of truth and to reach out to others in LOVE.

Armstrongism DOES NOT REPRESENT GOD.

We have come from there and we all still carry some of that with us (Christians and atheists alike). It's difficult to shed it all when it has been hammered into our heads for a lifetime. 
But we need to recognize it when it shows it's ugly head.

We are ALL a team fighting armstrongism. We are Christian. We are atheist. Now lets get back to the business at hand and share some quality friendly debates.

 

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

I pushed the Jesus button, nothing happened

I was reading Russell Millers post for today (4-19-09) Why I'm so hard on Christians, all I can say is wow, but I relate to what he says. I too tried to attend churches many times, and failed. It made me think of my own story, and it's conclusion.

I didn’t finish seventh grade because there was to be a parade that the school band was to play in, and seeing that it was on a Saturday, I couldn’t go. The band instructor was kind enough to announce in class that a few Seventh day Adventists were allowed to come, he pointed out me and my brother and said, “well I guess if your church wont let you come, far be it from me to fight God.” This of course resulted in getting ambushed after school over the next week or so with the finale being my brother attacking one of the animals that was trying to kick me in the kidneys.

My brother was that way, pent up rage burst out, but the guy was too big and threw him to the ground and had a thumb in each eye apparently trying to poke them out. I snapped at that point and kicked him in the ribs, and in the flurry, that guy disappeared and this 9th grader was all over me, my shirt was soaked in blood, and tears were streaming down my face, some girl was laughing and handed me a tissue, then we were at it again, all in slow mo, until In the process of falling backwards, a lucky kick under the chin knocked him out, and I landed on him with both knees. One of his buddies began wailing on me screaming, “you don’t hit them when their down.” Fortunately an adult showed up at that point.

I got kicked out of school the next year when I was 13, for “behavior problems” that in actual fact was me trying to mask my descent into nervous break down. Hostility could keep me from disintegrating, and yeh, I got into some running battles with some freaks that my pride wouldn’t let me back down to. These were some jocks that literally got rid of the English teacher by coordinated foot stomping on queue from the ringleader who was a jock, and therefore an untouchable, who was not disciplined period. I, however, was expelled for returning a punch to the face of one who had attacked me in the classroom, and as the final straw, disrespect to the librarian, who had said something rude, and judgmental to me. I liked the English teacher because she had read one of my compositions to the class, and praised it as excellent, a rare taste of approval. The juvenile mafia didn’t like this, which was a root of the developing conflict.

After I was expelled I never went back to school. My nerves were fried. I just wondered around, and prayed for help. No help was forthcoming. I survived, my mother became afraid of me and never again laid a hand on me, even though I was programmed to where if she had told me to kill some one, I might very well have done it, since in my mind, she was part of the chain of command from God on down. She had me do some sick things that violated scripture, but in my mind, a command over rides principle.

I survived, educated myself as best I could. My bible studies began to cause me to see contradictions in what I had been taught, particularly starting with church authority. The local minister was a tyrant, who was both demeaning and a taskmaster who assigned fasting and set hours of knee time with regular written reports to be turned in. Every church member became his spy, and I frequently had to park my old van many blocks from the people’s place who let me sleep in their garage to prevent the minister from finding out.

After I left WCG around 1990, I was cut off from every one I knew, since WCGers were the only people in my world; even though to them, I was a pariah, actually called me to my face, “the church outcast.” I had no way of getting a job, and no where to go. I had met the black sheep brother of a social misfit bachelor church member. He took pity on me and invited me to come over to his place in the country and stay in an old trailer parked there. This guy was a rude crude outlaw; a wonderfully kind man who grew marijuana, cussed like a sailor, said every thing that was on his mind with unabashed bluntness, and seemed to support a host of people, gave dope to cancer patients, and even kept his mother happily stoned while she was dying with what his mother only knew as “sleepy time tea.” This mans kindness far exceeded any kindness ever shown to me by one bearing the name of Jesus. I wanted to do something for him in return, so I began watering his babies, and essentially was doing this for four years while I rethought everything.

To make a long story short, I watched preachers on TV, and heard the message that Jesus will come and do all these wonderful things which never materialized regardless of my diligence. After this four year period, which was full of sometimes terrifying events impertinent to the point, after a little police intervention, I again found myself with nowhere to go, and alone, and wondering where was God. And why did my life have to be like this. It’s hard for some one with a chronic anxiety disorder to function in any normal capacity.

I had done enormous amounts of reading, and had followed many paths, but the only solid thing I could find was the prophecies that were accurate, so I returned to excepting scripture as true, but the disconnection between what the preachers said and reality was beyond being rationalized; so I dumped any further expectations from Christians, and looked to see if their message was some how a misrepresentation. I’m going to tell about my answer, which I’ll not represent as ‘the‘ answer, but an answer none the less. I read Jacobs words as anomalous to the candy coated come-ons I was being fed.

Gen 47:9 “And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been,”

If God left Jacob in his troubles, how can Christian preachers tell every one that all you need to do is follow some little formula and be freed of the world’s sorrows? Jesus said in parables that bad things would happen, and he wasn’t going to stop them.

Jesus is speaking of himself in this parable, and of the fact that he was going to leave here, but while he is gone… Mat 24:48 “But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'My master is staying away a long time,’ Mat 24:49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. Mat 24:50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. Mat 24:51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Here again Jesus portrays the scenario of his going away during which things happen according to the will of men… Luk 19:12 "There was once a man of high rank who was going to a country far away to be made king, after which he planned to come back home.” In between verses men invest talents without interference. Luk 19:15 “He was made king, however, and returned home.”

Here Jesus tells his disciples that they may well be poor, hungry, hated, excluded and insulted, and with reason to shed tears, It all sounds quite familiar to me.
Luk 6:20 Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Luk 6:21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Luk 6:22 Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
Luk 6:23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
Luk 6:24 But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.

Here, as I see it, Jesus is speaking of himself : Mar 12:1 “He then began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey.”

Now while Jesus is away, In between Jesus going and coming, I will insert something written about Israel, but that illustrates Gods attitude, and also speaks to the fact that evil will be allowed during this time where God essentially steps aside while the evil men do reaches it’s full measure… Eze 34:18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?
Eze 34:19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?
Eze 34:20 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
Eze 34:21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away,
Eze 34:22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another.

Mar 12:7 But the tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
Mar 12:8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.
Mar 12:9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.

There is more, but I’ll leave it here for now. Bob Marley when asked about how he handled poverty said that it all depends on your expectations, when I quit expecting what the preachers were saying, I quit feeling like some thing was extraordinarily bad about me, and that I was being personally rejected. I see enormous deception going on with a motive to gain a following, and offering money from churches at large; but out of all of them, I expect there are some individuals who are genuine; but as for me, I have no desire for organized religion, and I can see why Jesus hung out with the prostitutes and the tax collectors.



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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm not a Christian because(An open letter to Russell)

Personally, I’m, not a Christian because I have seen wonderful examples of goodness from Christians. The only one I ever knew was my dad who I treated with utter contempt for his trouble of trying to alert me to the nature of the beast holding me captive. I wish a “Bill” to have penetrated my force field of memorized Armstrongisms to cast some light through my paranoid defensiveness. Because my dad was the “devil” I drove him away. Yes, even a 9 year old can be a dyed in the wool Armstrongite.

I grew up in the WCG, and ended up completely non functional. I mean, like needing to be locked up in a mental hospital non functional; both suicidal and with an anxiety disorder that remains and requires constant meds to ameliorate. I was unemployable since I could never know when my nerves were going to send my brain buzzing, jamming up and shutting me down.
Years ago, in church, my left leg would quit working, and I’d have to drag it with my hand to get across the floor. I can’t remember a single attempt by a single WCGer to find out why I was the way I was. They would have opened quite a can of worms of years of extreme child abuse. I only received ostracism.

I’m not a Christian because I expect to find goodness in Christians, but rather that I find no real goodness in myself, therefore I find a need to be re-created. I really don’t care to convert anybody, but I do aspire to return good for all the evil I have endured, but the ability doesn’t exist. There were years of just wondering around the gray dreary streets of an impersonal ugly city in utter despair, with no friends, money, or way to escape; couldn’t think, couldn’t remember, no energy, just a black pit with no light. My anger has been more like an endless wave of rage that I can’t cure.

Only because of prophecy and painstaking research for verification, do I believe, and have some hope. I have tested with pessimism in the attempt to filter out the results of wishful thinking, because yes, it is good to be able to believe a wasted life can be salvaged; that “life is a bitch, and then you die,” isn’t the only reality as I had concluded, and there after saw no point in continuing. I’d rather face the truth than delude myself, although deluded is exactly how I’m regarded by my own brother who has lacked for nothing, but seems more vehement than I because of his suffering. Without this hope, I would have none at all, and no hope for the cure for the rage that has possessed me. I’m thankful that it’s not like it was, but I’ve got a long way to go.

I’m not Christian because I see myself as good; it’s because I see that I am not; for all the abuse I’ve endured resulted in hatred. My mettle has been tested, and it was insufficient. I seek goodness that must be created within me, that I can’t produce no more than I can make a hand or an eye.

I can’t condescend to anyone. I tested many Ideas, philosophies and religions, including the occult. I would like those without hope, to find some; and my experience is that OWCG type cults could lock people into a state of hopelessness; and I wish that some one could have shown me that Armstrongism was a lie, and spared me the mental anguish and carrot and stick parental modal (mostly stick) that instilled in me a view of reality as being tantamount to an ongoing horror picture.

Russell, I wish for you to find peace. What you believe or don’t believe doesn’t cause me to rate you on any scale. I don’t rate high enough to presume to rate any one, although I make an exception for spiritual terrorists. I have no wish to attack anybody. I wish for freedom for those whose minds are in bondage simply as a reaction, to revulsion from my own bondage. You’ve read a few snippets of my story from when Seeker just called me CW (contributing writer) because I said : “I’m nobody, I don’t need a name.”

You were writing about Bill, but we too might strike some one in the same way, so it’s worth addressing. Frankly, if you should disapprove of something I say, and turned loose on me a hurricane of invectives, it wouldn’t bother me much. I’m way beyond that. Friends I have not; not being approved of is quite the norm, so if it makes you feel better to cut loose, feel free.

Russell's post




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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Cui Bono?

For some time, I have been under the impression that the issues with various churches and even cults in regards to doctrinal beliefs revolved around, for the most part, different interpretations of Scripture that results from pre-conceived beliefs. As one theologian put it, “Our beliefs tend to drive our interpretation and translation of the Scriptures.”

But another motive is what drives doctrine when it comes to cults and cult-meisters.

What is the motivation of a wolf in sheep’s clothing (read, wool suit)? To feed his own belly; to use religion as a means of personal gain. And the personality type who does this are those who are narcissistic megalomaniacs. It does not hurt their conscience to take advantage of, and destroy the lives of other people.

This is what drives their “interpretation” of Scripture; to achieve personal gain, and the only people who matter to him are those who can help him achieve this end. All others are expendable and not worthy of his (or her) attention.

We can give these people any number of labels; “Christian Guru” comes to mind, even though there is nothing Christian about them outside their own claims.

The old covenant makes for a convenient and ready-made system for accomplishing what these gurus want most; money and power over others. All one needs do is play to people’s egos, and play to one’s fears.

One’s ego is stroked by convincing them that God has taken a personal interest in them, opening up hence unknown “truths” to them that are not being revealed to mankind in general, while warning these same people of the dreadful consequences of rejecting that “truth” that they are privileged to be receiving should they reject it. It is a hard combination for many people to ignore.

From there, it is merely a matter of “modifying” their understanding of Scripture so that the guru; the cult-meister profits as a result. Tithing serves the guru’s purpose perfectly, and, with just a little modification of the interpretation of Scripture, the people are convinced they are to send him their monetary tithes.

But the gospel as found in Scripture does not serve the needs of the guru cult-meister. No problem though, the gospel can be altered by him also, so as to serve again his aims and end. Simply make tithing obligatory as a part of your gospel. Seeing though that it would be difficult to justify one modified point of old covenant law, other points of that law have to be accepted as being required for salvation also – as long as those points also somehow benefit the guru cult-meister.

The true irony in this whole process is that anyone from within the group that recovers from their involvement in the group and the control of the guru ends up being seen as, in some instances, attempting to undo the now accepted theology for their own benefit! I have been accused of doing what I do for the purpose of personal gain so many times I have long since lost count.

I show people tithing is not required in the new covenant. How on earth do I personally gain from pointing that out? I have never taken one dime from anyone for the work I put into teaching and counseling people out of the teachings of “Armstrongism.” I even turned down $15,000 from one individual who had been saving up his tithes, thinking he had to give it to a true representative who was doing God’s work. I told him it would be better for him to give it to the poor; the fatherless and widow.

Those unfortunate people who are in religious cults have everything backwards and upside down. They impoverish themselves giving their money to a cult-meister while accusing anyone who would dare point out they are wrong as those with personal motives of self-aggrandizement. The latest such accusation brought against myself was an Armstrongite claiming I was trying to make myself one of the two witnesses of Revelation! Believe you me, that is one position I have no desire to fulfill! It’s bad enough having Armstongites and Seventh Day Adventists breathing down your neck nearly everyday, but at least you are reasonably sure you are not going to be put to death tomorrow.

There is no personal gain in what I do, besides the occasional satisfaction of knowing that I have managed to help rescue a person from the grips of tyranny and freed their minds so that they can logically and rationally go about the rest of their lives. I’ve had people call me up in the middle of the night to thank me for helping them out of their involvement in a cult and from the brain-washed state they were in as a result.

On the flip side, hardly a day doesn’t go by I don’t get an email from someone, somewhere, telling me what an evil, rotten person I am.

Here’s a sampling from just today:

You are one-dimentional in your thinking.

You cannot reason beyond your own pride
and make-believe.

You have chosen a verse or two and twisted
their meaning to suit yourselves, rather than
looking into their true meaning as a whole.

You have lost your way. You witness lies.

You perhaps have even lost eternal life (?)

You therefore must assuredly be a law-breaker.
Break one law and you break them all.

This proves you liars, and self-serving old men.

What is wrong is that you commit the unforgiveable sin and turn God's Spirit of grace into a falsehood. You condemn the unchangeable law of God. You lead other foolish people astray with your lies.

That was from today. Care to see a sampling from yesterday?

Remember that when you blatantly attack the Holy Sabbath that you are not attacking Sabbath keeping Christians. God is the author my friend "LEST YOU FORGET". You might want to tone down your rhetoric. Christian Sabbath keepers are really trying to help and deliver you from the Mark of the Beast. Be thankful before you mount your next attack against the Holy Sabbath. Friend you know the truth. Stop kicking against the pricks.

The Old Covenant was a good Covenant but the people were sinful, faulty, messed up, rebellious, cantankerous and biligerent as you have demonstrated . . . toward the Sabbath truth.

Here’s from the day before yesterday, April 15th:

The Ten Commandments apply to all mankind. ... you are obligated to keep the Sabbath day holy. Stop kicking against the pricks. Get your theology together. You are so confused. You don't understand Old Covenant vs New Covenant theology. You are way off base. Take your time and do proper exegesis. Your isogesis has messed up your confused mind. Why are you so bitter? Who hurt your feelings? What happen in your former Church that caused such bitterness in your heart toward the Sabbath? Why are you attacking God's Holy Law? Are you aware that you are only hurting yourself and giving atheists fuel for their fire?

Your allegiance will be either to God or Man. You can't serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other. Your constant attacks on God's sacred Sabbath suggests that you have already made your choice quite clear. You will be judge for your blatant disobedience, disrespect and disregard of God's Holy Law and his Holy Sabbath day unless you repent(James 2:10-13). This is a nondebatable issue. . .

There have been even more colorful emails in the past. Here’s one of my recent favorites:


You Bear the mark of the beast.
6666666666666666666666666
6666666666666666666666666
6666666666666666666666666
6666666666666666666666666
6666666666666666666666666

This was all done in large, red letters. My reply was thus:

May God forgive you for being so quick to judge and condemn.

Followed with a response:

“Say this to me at judgement day Satan.”

Also done in large, red letters.

Those who would deceive; those who are not interested in truth, are motivated by greed and the self.

Those who seek to help others are not out to deceive, and are not motivated by greed and the self. Their motivations are selfless in nature, and they are in receipt of persecution from the very ones they are trying to help.

And yet, there are those who read these blogs who have brought accusations against me, accusing me of being self-motivated after all. I guess now those of you who have done this will have to change your accusations to accusing me of wanting and desiring persecution and that I must enjoy being reviled.

You know... it would be so much easier to just quit doing what I do, and let those comparatively few I am able to help suffer through their fate for the rest of their lives, and maybe into the next one.

Cui bono. What do I have to personally gain? Neither wealth nor control or power over others. I gain a “thank you” from those people and a feeling of satisfaction knowing they have now been exposed to the true gospel as found in Scripture.

I’m such a terrible person...

Bill Hohmann

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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One Year Today

It looks like Mike & I were kind of in the same mind set. I wrote this post on the 14th and scheduled it to post today, the one year anniversary of this blog. I noticed that Mike, too, is noting his one year anniversary (April 13, 2008). Wow Mike, I hadn't relized that we had begun our blogs so close together, just four days apart. Happy anniversary.


It doesn't seem that long ago, but I started this blog one year ago today, April 17, 2008.

I couldn't imagine where I would be right now, with new friends & co-authors, hearing from people who have been helped by this blogs postings.

I started this blog because I was so angry with RW & I wanted to share the truths of the Bible that I had discovered when I began investigating RW's teachings.

I can't help but wonder if RW wasn't placed in my life by God, because before he came on the scene in my family's lives, I was NC mostly by faith, but I really didn't know a whole lot, and couldn't even hold a good NC conversation without getting lost... until RW came on the scene AND ensnared three of my family members.

I had gone to the FOT with my Mother in 2005 where he announced that he had some big revelation or something along that line. So everyone was attentive and held in suspense waiting for him to reveal this big thing.

I can remember sitting there for what seemed a painfully long time trying to understand what he was saying, because really, he wasn't saying anything. He was beating around the bush... I guess testing the waters or something before he spilled it. And finally it came, but he hadn't said it outright yet. I asked myself: "Is he saying what I think he's saying? Is he saying that Jesus was created? Should I get up and walk out on this blasphemy?!" I didn't. I sat there in shock for the remainder of the "service".

I can remember later that evening calling my spouse about what I had heard. I was very concerned about the whole thing, and most disturbing was that my Mother was willing to buy it! It seemed everyone was willing to buy it! My Mother kept asking me questions and saying things as if in hopes that I was believing it too. Like it was some great new truth that had been revealed. Of course, I didn't, not for a nano-second.

When I returned home, I  continued to listen to RW every Saturday, but I also began to investigate everything he was teaching. I asked my spouse, who had been NC before we even got involved, questions about scriptures and the answers sounded logical. Then I would ask my Mother about the same scriptures, and her answers sounded logical. This went on for a week, maybe two, when I realized I was getting nowhere and that I was going to the wrong place for answers.

I started telling God that I wanted to know the truth, and I wanted him to understand that I had no preferences. I told him that if we are to keep holy days, no problem. I told him that if we aren’t to keep holy days, again, no problem. I told him that all I wanted was HIS truth. I prayed that most every day for the entire length of my investigation.

I studied, literally, every single day for ten months long into the night and when it was over, I had learned more than I had in all my years. I was amazed at God’s NC! I was amazed at how I hadn’t seen it before. I was amazed at how simple it was to understand – sure some things are confusing, but pretty much, it’s straight-forward. But I guess when you’ve been spoon fed what the scriptures “actually mean” by deceivers, you look at scriptures with the wrong pair of glasses.

I can remember asking my three family members about two scriptures (Is. 48:12, 13 & 16 and Jer. 23:5-6). I only got a response from two. I wanted to know what these scriptures said  to them. One brother needed time before he could get back to me. Why would it be so difficult to understand? I’ll tell you. It’s because it said the opposite of what he was taught, and it’s difficult to make a scripture say something it doesn’t. So when Jer. 23 says that Jesus is called Yahweh, (so The Father and the Son are called Yahweh), and Is. 48 says Jesus is the Creator, how do you explain the “true” meaning of the scripture when RW has told you that only the Father is Yahweh and that Jesus had a beginning. All of a sudden, a simple scriptures becomes complicated and confusing.

So I took a lot of the papers I had written in my quest for truth and started this blog on the very day in which RW had said was the beginning of the Final Great Tribulation… in his first time-line, beginning with the one that seems to bother me most: Did Jesus Have A Beginning? Jesus is the center of everything and RW took away His identity, took away His Self-Existence, and turned Him into a created God, when clearly Is. 43:10 says that no God has or ever will be created, and when 1 Tim. 3:16 says that God was manifested in flesh. Of course, you will have to look to your interlinear to see those words (there’s a link on the right to an online one).

And here I am one year later. I’ve since been trying to deal with my anger. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with my anger other than that I have used it incorrectly. Rather that striking out, I can simply present God’s truth with love and kindness. I am, and have been, working on that, and my friend xHWA has been a huge help (I think God sent him my way). He has set the example that I am attempting to incorporate. So, thank you for that xHWA, and thank you God for sending him my way. I can only hope that in some way I have helped him in his journey as well.

I want to say thank you to those of you who have commented and/or e-mailed me to let me know that you have been helped by this blog. I’ve often struggled, wondering if I was doing anyone any good at all, and each time one of you contacted me, I was encouraged. I want to serve God. I want Him to be pleased with me. I hope that in some small way, He is.

I am thankful, grateful,  for the help of my blog team, and I pray we will continue to help others in their quest for God’s truth.

 

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Divisions, Citizens, and the Born Again (was the WCG like the KKK?)

There’s all kind of divisions that people find themselves categorized by. Rather we like it or not we’re forced into controversy by not being able to be on both sides of these divides. Fortunately some of these divides break down over time, or on account of increased understanding.

Racial divisions have polarized people on the most foolish of basis: skin color. I’m glad that Martin Luther King’s criterion for evaluating a person’s respectability is becoming more prevalent; this criterion being: the content of a person’s character. This is an example where knowledge is wining over presumption. I’d like a little less presumption about the Kingdom of God among Christians.

I’ve been labeled a pre millennialist or a post Millennialist depending on which scriptures I quote out of two select collections that it seems have been considered artillery for two opposed groups to hurl at each other across their own divide. Do the scriptures truly not agree?
Well I’m a pre millennialist; but if I quote Luke 17:21 which says the Kingdom of God comes in a persons heart, it’s as if I’ve said that the Millennium has come, and if I say: no, I didn’t say that, I can expect sighs and expressions of perplexity as if I’m advocating beliefs in polar opposition to one another.

The bible is clear about Jesus coming with an army, and establishing a kingdom in which he is literally present in body, and in direct command; but the bible says the Kingdom comes in your heart; you can’t just sweep that under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist. Or, I suppose, you can join the cherry pickers club and just ignore what doesn’t fit some preconceived notion.

How often I have presented evidence of the errors of legalism, and pointed out the Old Covenant contaminant within one’s version of New Covenant Christianity, only to see the eyes glaze over and spasmodic seizures of venerable leader quotations erupt from mouths running on auto pilot replaying well rehearsed warn out dictums virtually word for word, exactly as I’ve heard them since before I could understand what the words meant. They might just scrawl across their forehead in permanent marker: this is a reasoning free zone.

I lived with a Herbert Armstrong wanna be back in the 80”s. He had the head bobbing thing down pat, the booming voice, and GTA’s talent for mockery. Mocking the followers of “churchianity” was a standard post Sabbath service fixture, and woe to those fools who believed such tripe as: “the Kingdom of God comes in your heart.” I guess you’ve noticed that this is a pet peeve of mine.

I was just a young guy, but I was corrupted by all those venerable old goats that I thought were so much smarter than I. We Armstrongist were the religious version of the ultra right wing (urw) redneck spouting vulgarities and venom at pinkos, punks, comies, spics, wet backs and hippies; only the objects of denigration were Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Pentecostals, and revival meeting evangelists.

The urw rednecks, after tacking a label onto somebody, whose unorthodoxy (by urw redneck standards) could only be symptomatic of chronic communism, could be expected to have at least one bright soul among them remark that: “some one should line those bleep bleep sons of bleeps up against a wall and shoot them. This was not too different from what you might hear from certain segments of the Armstrong ditto heads during their Saturday evening bull sessions. It would be quite normal to hear some one exclaim: I can’t wait for Jesus to return, he’ll have those Catholics and Protestant loonies hiding under the rocks like rats running in terror from God’s righteous wrath. Won’t that be wonderful?

I definitely can imagine the influence of members of the KKK on young minds. I can’t see OWCG as being much better. There was a local elder’s wife who stated during a conversation something one wouldn’t anticipate from your average diminutive, seemingly sweet house wife. The conversation rolled around to politics and race to where she found it appropriate to add a “biblical” observation. She said: “God told Israel to exterminate the evil residents of the land he gave them. The United States has disobeyed God by not destroying all the American Indians living here, and because of that, God is punishing us.” Wow, what a statement, rendered in the sweet mellow timbre of an apparently classy civilized educated woman. You might expect such table talk among members of the Arian Nation, or between Heinrich Himmler and Herman Goering. This kind of attitude would have been right in tune with Hitler’s final solution, yet such talk could be bandied about without raising an eyebrow.

Of course, I don’t know of any nation born out of any other crucible but that of unjust war of conquest, so our world is beastly. We can’t change the past, but approval in the present strikes me as being an accomplice after the fact.

The church member I lived with (I’ll call him JJ) gave regular sermonettes; was considered a pillar of the local congregation, and yet could say of the “so called Christians,” however euphemistically, “kill um, kill um all,” without the slightest glimmer of shame, and why? Partly because they believed such “ridiculous clearly pagan ideas” as that of Luke 17:21: “the kingdom of God dwelling in your heart? Give me a break!

Particularly vile to the Sabbath evening Bull session guys (all unmarried social misfits) was anyone who might claimed to be born again, after all, John 2:6 says “that which is born flesh, is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit;” and Luke 24:39 says “a spirit has no flesh and bone as you see me have;” and Rom 8:23 says “we groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption of our body.” The spiritual RPG’s are launched at the “pagan born again Christian” liberally with contemptuous smiles of self satisfaction, over the divide, with unshakable confidence that the enemy has been mortally wounded.

JJ had put on display, on a stately wooden plaque, a very large darning needle mounted horizontally with an inscription below in large letters reading: “Born Again Checker.” JJ would often proudly proclaim that anybody who walked through his door, and made the ridiculous claim of being “born again,” would be immediately probed with this handily available test instrument to discover if this is so, since according to John 3:8 "the wind blows wherever it pleases, you hear the sound, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit.” Notice the phrase “born spirit,” and compare that to 1Pet 1:23, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living enduring word of God.” What did that verse say? We’ve gotta cherry pick that one out right now. Can’t be the bible talking. Sorry, it is.

Born again is from “anagenenn emenoi” (G313): having been regenerated. It’s the same basic word as in 1 Pet1:3 “… according to his abundant mercy has begotten us. Begotten (G313) here translated in the interlinear as “up-generating.” Jesus appeared as a man, if you don’t admit that Jesus was God, there are plenty of other manifestation of God in the flesh in the Old Testament. Jacob reported that he wrestled with God manifest in flesh (Gen 32:30), “for I have seen the face of God and lived.” The question is: was God ‘down generated’? Or perhaps the body is not the criterion for reckoning if one is of corruptible seed or eternal. If God reckons the re-generation of a man to be at the point of reception of the incorruptible seed, then the born again checker will not determine the truth; it might only lead to an emergency visit to the local proctologist.

It appears that some people have jumped to the conclusion that to be born again (G313) ‘up-generated’, is the same thing as “born of the spirit”, where the word born is (G1080) Gennao. If this is so, than a running controversy has been the result of a simple error. ‘Born again’ and ‘born of the spirit’ must be different, or the bible is contradicting itself.

In parallel to the inability to physically test for the state of ‘up-generating’, is the ability to physically determine ones citizenship. The patriarchs of old admitted to being alien residents of planet earth (Heb 11:13) “all these… they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth.” Can there be a vacuum of citizenship? And why can’t a Christian be a citizen of the world? Eph 2:1-2, “ As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, v2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient." To be a citizen of a country is to owe allegiance to its ruler, is the prince of this world the ruler we want to recognize? So it should be clear why a Christian can’t be a citizen of the world.

If you are not a citizen of a country that you live in, you still must obey its laws, but allegiance is another matter. Can some one be a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven and a citizen who owes allegiance to the prince of this world? Dual citizenship may be permitted to people who, as an example, were born in Canada, but have at least one parent with a US citizenship; but these nations are not at war. Can you imagine this kind of arrangement between mortal enemies? Jas 4:4 “You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

I need to point out that the above verse, miss-applied, has been responsible for enormous suffering. There’s a great deal of difference between being a friend of the world and being friends of people living in the world. This verse made my childhood a living hell. To be ‘friends of the world’ is to be friends of the prince that is its personification i.e. Queen Victoria stating: “I am England.”

Some people may be so in tune with this spirit, and hostile to the King of Heaven, that being a friend may be difficult. Fortunately Jesus didn’t shun folks who weren’t on the same page as himself, or who lacked Godly love or Godly faith, which results from Gods spirit. He went to those he characterized as being in need of a physician, and certainly suffered the cross for all of us yet in our sins. How’s that for not shunning the “worldly.” OWCG made an art out of shunning people. I have to observe that if OWCG was judged by the criteria of “fruits of the spirit”, not many would have proved acceptable. Fortunately we don’t need to be accepted based on our own righteousness.

Peter repeats three times that Christians are strangers in the world. 1Peter 2:11 "Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and strangers in the world;" 1Pet 1:1 “To God’s elect strangers in the world;” 1Pet 1:7 “live your lives as strangers in reverent fear.” How can we be strangers? We were born in this world, and in this world we remain.

If some one were, for example, born to military personnel in Japan, the child is not given dual citizenship status. The child is a US citizen regardless of never having set foot on US soil. So why is it hard to imagine that a person born in this world could not be a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.

There are certainly noticeable earmarks of citizenship incumbent upon a Christian. A citizen is required to pay taxes, and the citizen of heaven is required to: (Matt 6:20) “store up for your selves’ treasures in heaven." Just like paying Social Security, but a much better investment.

A citizen of a nation has an obligation to resist that nations enemies; to sacrifice themselves for the good of the whole; and in times of peril, to serve in whatever way the government may require. The citizen of heaven, in like fashion, is also required to sacrifice ones self (Rom 12:1 The KJV most accurately matches the interlinear) “present your bodies as living sacrifices;” and as I said earlier, a citizen is obligated to obey the laws of their country.

In the times of the supremacy of earthly kings, the king was frequently the personification of law. He or she was the state. So is it any wonder that the law of written codes is not forwarded as a requirement of the New Testament; but instead, belief, faith and obedience to the single person of Jesus, the Eternal King, is the focus; so every word out of Jesus mouth is the Christian law. And what did Jesus command: John 15:17 “This is my command, love each other.”

The New Testament says in 1Cor 13:4-8 “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. V5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. V6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. V7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." V8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

This is the law of the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s a law I don’t keep very well, so I’m thankful for the Lord (yup, I can say the word now without it catching in my throat) allowing his children to be a ‘work in progress’.

This is the law that is incumbent upon the citizens of heaven, whose document of citizenship is printed on their hearts. This is a law which describes the character of the Kingdoms King, and a good law that the citizens of heaven recognize as paramount and supreme, and the familiar quality by which its citizens recognize the Sheppard’s voice.

This rambled around a bit, I just went with the flow, but I hope I actually got to the main issue.

A final note to xHWA, in response to the question: "what does “my kingdom is not of this world” mean to me?” My thought is: neither are its citizens, we’re just kicking it here for awhile.




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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

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