Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Few Thoughts for Those Leaving A COG


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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.

Acts 17:11

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I was thinking about comments by gracefullyfree, and I thought I’d post the results.

I was convinced by my mother concerning the truth of Armstrong's view. My dad was a Sunday going "so called Christian"(as we referred to him) and we froze him out, so to speak. The relationship was permanently ended. He died before I could repair the damage.

Thinking back, I realize that he didn't know what to do, how he should respond. He could have done something by virtually doing nothing. We kids were looking for him to do something; and we were ready for 'his tricks'. We had been well coached as to how to respond, and were prepared to resist.

In retrospect I realize that all he needed to do was to stay accessible, form relationships with people who could show the joyfulness of one redeemed. If he had left his door open, and provided a pressureless environment, where he and others could simply shine, at some point I would have been drawn to it because joy was something foreign to me.

The darkness of dwelling on the wrath of God haunted me, and the gospel wasn't so much good news as it was that God's kingdom would come laying it's foundation upon the dead bodies of every one I ever laid eye upon.

My dad needed to be a light, and have others around him that could do the same, with no 'witnessing. ‘No telling them "Jesus loves you."We were well familiar with how "so called Christians" witnessed, and we had our responses mapped out and ready.

For those with children in one of the COGs, I recommend that you build your life on the true gospel of redemption, pray for your loved ones and don't be seen by your children as trying to draw them in; as flailing in an attempt to include them in something that would expose them to other examples. We were expecting that "little trick" too.

If you have Christian friends flowing through your life, in and out of your door in a natural way, the light will be seen as normally as one is aware of the events that go on around them. Don't stress out about what your children believe. Again, be a light, and know that without Jesus, we would all be left in darkness. Think on this and let yourself have joy.

If you focus on the problem, you will squelch your own flame, and you will have no light. If you have any power to do anything, it comes from God, rest securely in his hands and do what he gives you to do without flinching.

It's hard to form relationships with Christian believers after believing so much of what is normally believed to be in gross error. That’s where sticking close to the trunk of the tree helps. We don't have to except everything. We should believe God's word not men’s. The bible is our primary authority. The Apostle Paul reasoned out of the scriptures and gained converts to Christ. Things that are not salvation issues don't need to be quibbled over; but to cut one’s self off from believers, and going it alone won’t create much light. Imagine trying to start a campfire with one stick. A campfire gains enough heat to sustain combustion when many sticks burn together. Of course the analogy breaks down as we aren't sticks that burn, perhaps thinking of it as a critical mass required for a nuclear reaction is better.

We can't be offended by some differences of opinion. We need instead to nurture our commonalities; and these commonalities are found at the trunk of the tree. The scriptures speaks of great power in belief e.g. John 5:24 (NIV)"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. This message is repeated often, and is rejected by Armstrong ‘s followers. They will point out James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. And they would be right in a sense; that is that the knowing that God is real is belief, but is it the belief Jesus was talking about?

Armstrongs view isn’t taking into account that the multiple shades and meaning of a word is determined by its context. James 2:19 is misapplied to those who have the belief of John 5:24. Those who believe that Jesus alone is the door to salvation are called by the father . The kind of belief that Jesus was talking about is defined in Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. This faith is based on believing in the goodness of God toward you i.e. that he loves you. The proof of this is in the cross as John 3:16 points out.

Do you think a demon cares to earnestly seek God? If they did, they wouldn’t be demons. Clearly the belief Jesus speaks of is not the belief demons have. The faith described in Heb 11:6 speaks of the faith that God rewards those who earnestly seek him, so this attitude (of seeking him) would preclude willfully doing what displeases God.

We can’t create this faith in ourselves. The implications of John 6:44 back this up: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.Do you believe that God would call any one whose heart he has not planted with a seed of love for him? Notice what Rom 8:7 says “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.”

We cannot create our own nature no more than we can create something out of nothing. All we can do is admit to the nature we already possess. God creates goodness and the ability to love, (and love is his true eternal law). For we know that the law was given because of transgression of something that pre existed the law given at Sinai. Gal 3:19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.

We know when this law was given. Gal 3:16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed Gal 3:17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later…… The law wasn’t reintroduced at Sinai, but originally at Sinai (even though a few provisions of it began to be introduced as Israel left Egypt), it was in fact introduced.

Yet sin existed long before. The oft abused 1Jn 3:4 “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. “ says (in the Greek) that sin is [G458 anomia an-om-ee'-ah from G459;illegality, i.e. violation of law or (genitive case) wickedness.]

The exact form of this word is used 3 times in scripture, all forms 15 times, and never refers to the law given at Sinai. It is virtually always translated as ‘iniquity’. The King James Version of 1John 3:4 has it translated as ‘law’. This is wrong, and Herbert got a lot of milage out of saying: “sin is transgression of the law.” Noice Jas 2:8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. This is speaking of the true royalty which is God, this is not a human ‘royal law’. The law of the New Covenant that God writes on a believer’s heart is not the law given at Sinai. True righteousness comes by faith, and in this we can agree with most bible oriented Christians.

It is God who creates righteousness notice Rom 8:8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. Rom 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

God does in fact form a new nature in us by his spirit; 2Pe 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.2Pe 1:4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature

Those who will say that Jesus was leaving something out in the statement in John 5:24 are missing the depth of meaning in his statement (NIV)"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. It’s clear from Rom 8:9 and 2Pe 1:3-4 that even for one to believe is a creative act of God, and it is his spirit in you that displaces evil and controls internally as opposed to a written external code of conduct; Which is not to say that the written code doesn’t have value as a point of reference, which explains why Paul said “we establish the law.” It is a tool that leads us to Christ; Gal 3:24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

We, as Christians, are to obey the same Law Abraham obeyed ( Gal 3:6 Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.) ;and because of what God did in the person of Jesus, we have access to the throne of grace and to his spirit that makes it possible. It is Jesus that is our righteousness in every sense. In this we can agree with the body of Christ at large, and we can have fellowship with others to where we can together acquire that critical mass needed to shine; and to shine will be the best witness to those who will try to cut us off, shut us out, turn their backs on us, roll their eyes and shrug us off as those destined for the wrath of God.


We need to follow the Apostle Paul’s advice in Php 4:6; and you can be certain that this is something I need to repeat often to myself v6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Php 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

I know, easier said than done. It can be trying when we are loaded down, and when we reach out for some help, all we hear is something that strikes us as a lame platitude. There is no escaping that we will sometimes see things that way when we are in pain; but try to see things from Gods eternal perspective. Imagine an eternity with the most exciting and magnificent personality in the Universe, and the fact that he was willing to get down in the trenches with us, and suffer our pain. To say we should suffer, picking up our cross and follow Jesus’ example is no platitude; Jas 1:3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Jas 1:4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I am encouraged when I hear of people coming out of the darkness of Armstrongism, or any other ism, and of their becoming aware of the completed work of Jesus, so that they may discover the true Sabbath rest in Christ.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Is The Sabbath Fulfilled?

Very high on the list of things that trips up people and directs them towards law-keeping, I would say, is a deep misunderstanding of the 4th Commandment.

Herbert Armstrong used to say the only Commandment the world has a problem with is the 4th. I say the only Commandment Herbert Armstrong had a problem with is the 4th.
All the law was magnified, and the 4th Commandment is no exception. Even so, Sabbatarians treat it as an exception. I would like to go into this 4th Commandment and explore how it was magnified.
But I'm going to do that in a round-about way. I'm going to build a case. If you will be so kind to bear with my rambling, we will get there together eventually.

God prophesied that Old Covenant would not be kept. I would go so far as to say that in our time the Old Covenant cannot be kept by man... and God knew it before He instituted it; He designed it that way.

See how Hebrews says it was only a shadow of things to come (HEB. 10: 1); even the Sabbath and Holy days were but shadows of things to come (COL. 2: 16-17). See how II COR. 3: 7-8 claims the glory of the Old Covenant was passing away even as Moses descended Mt. Sinai with the tablets in hand. See how even Deuteronomy 30: 1-6 preaches the New Covenant while it prophecies the failure of the Old. See how even Genesis itself is packed with prophecies of Christ, starting with 3: 15. None of these things came as a surprise to God. The Old was destined to fail - it was designed to be temporary!

We are always taught, "the Lord changes not, and therefore the law is not changed." But here's the thing about that.... since the Lord's plan was the New Covenant all along, it isn't the Old law that "changes not". One reason why people think the law is unchanged is because they perceive it to have come first. But that is simply not the case, as we can see God's intention all along was the New Covenant.

To follow up on a few details in this regard, if the Lord changes not, then the Logos could not divest Himself of divine privilege and possession of all things, change to become a man with no place to rest His head, change to become a dead man, and finally change to become a resurrected man who now possesses all things through inheritance. Even if you don't believe Jesus is the Logos and eternally existed, the Father was once not a Father and now has Jesus as His only begotten Son. But even still this is not really a direct answer to how the Lord changes not. Let's look at what is.

Malachi 3: 6 actually says this, "For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob." This verse has been abducted from its context and abused by many groups. It regards the hope of the Jews, not some eternal continuation of the Old Covenant law.
It is evident that it is the Lord's eternal nature that does not change. And by that I mean His eternal loving nature which includes His patience. Read Malachi 3: 1-6, these are verses about the coming of the Messiah. Who could stand His refinement? We know now the only ones who could were the ones who poured out their trust into Jesus the Christ. Yet even those Jews who rejected Him will not be utterly consumed. As we see to this day there are still Jews; religious and racial. There is still immense love from God towards the Jews. There is still coming much more prophetically to be fulfilled regarding the Jews. Since we have these promises from Him, and since He is love and His patience is beyond our understanding, God will not change His mind regarding the Jews, He will never relent, therefore they are not altogether consumed, nor will they ever be. This is the meaning of Malachi 3: 6 - in its proper context!

Perhaps the unchanging nature of God is not what we should focus on right now. Perhaps I should address this supposed unchanging nature of the law instead. I have heard from so very many seventh-day Sabbath keepers that the God's law is unchanging. Let's focus on that a bit.

If the law is unchanging, what about circumcision? Circumcision is the gateway to entering into the Covenant and thus was mandatory before entering into the law. Circumcision was given to Abraham (GEN. 17: 10) four hundred and thirty years before the law was given to Moses (GAL. 3: 17), Paul even had Timothy circumcised to avoid offending the Jewish converts (ACT. 16: 3), yet circumcision is not at all commanded for us, especially the Gentile converts (ROM. 2: 28-29; ROM. 4: 9-12; GAL. 5: 2-6; GAL. 6: 12-15). This is but one example yet it proves the law is changeable after all and has been changed.

"But the 10 Commandments are different. The Sabbath was from creation, and it also appears in prophecy," I am told. Thus, all Armstrongists that I speak with will have qualified what law they believe by saying something like, "At least we should be keeping the 10 Commandments."
I remind the reader that meats laws, tithes, and Holy Days are not of the 10 Commandments. So, even if the weekly Sabbath law was from creation - which it is not - none of those other things are implied. And thus, all Armstrongists that I speak with then begin once again to expand upon the law beyond the 10 Commandments to include these other items, thus proving statements like "At least we should be keeping the 10 Commandments" carry no weight even within Armstrongism.
The inconsistency in Armstrongism never ceases to amaze me.

Let's get a real good look at the root argument that if something predates the Exodus then it is in force today. Let's look at animal sacrifice.

God "sacrificed" a couple of animals to make clothes for Adam and Eve (GEN. 3: 21). This foreshadowed the blood of animals being unable to properly cover mankind's sin. Abel sacrificed animals (GEN. 4: 4; HEB. 11: 4). Noah sacrificed animals (GEN. 8: 20). Abraham sacrificed animals (GEN. 22: 13). Israel practiced animal sacrifice prior to the Exodus (EXO. 5: 3). Ergo, animal sacrifice was from the beginning. But is it still commanded today? No.
Now, let’s go farther.
Read Ezekiel 40-46 and see the description of a future temple in prophecy. See all of the places where animal sacrifice, and sacrifices of other kinds, will again occur. I’ll give you a few specific verses (EZE. 40: 38-43; EZE. 44: 10-11, 30; EZE. 46: 19-24). According to Armstrongist interpretation of prophecy, animal sacrifice has a place in out future. But is animal sacrifice commanded for us today? No.
What have we demonstrated, then? If something predates the Exodus, even if it also appears in prophecy, it does not necessarily mean it is in force for us today. And therefore that root argument is wiped out. To say, "the Sabbath was from the beginning" (even though it was not) proves nothing.

We are always taught Jesus promised us the law cannot change until the New Heaven and New Earth. We got that from misreading two verses:

(MATT. 5: 17-18) 17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Now, what do these verses say? "One jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." Right? Nothing may change from the law until all are fulfilled, right? Not so much as one jot or tittle, not one iota or keraia; not the slightest stroke of the pen. Right?
Here is where we missed the mark: "till heaven and earth pass away." We concluded that this is not an idiomatic expression at all, but a direct statement of time - in other words, we said, "Heaven and Earth have not passed, so the law is not fulfilled." We followed that up with, "Tithing, meats laws, the 10 Commandments, and the Holy Days will not be changed in the least until the New Heaven and the New Earth." But it doesn't say just those things, it says not one jot or one tittle of the entire law. Not one thing! Now look:

(HEB. 7: 12) For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.

A change in the law? But I was under the impression that not one jot or tittle could in any way pass from the law - not one jot or one tittle! But the law was changed, ergo, all must already be fulfilled. And most assuredly, if all was not fulfilled, not one jot or one tittle would in any way be changed in the law until literally Heaven and Earth pass away. But there it is, right there in Hebrews 7: 12. There is no other conclusion possible but that all were fulfilled - even the laws regarding meats, tithes, Holy Days, and the 10 Commandments... including the weekly Sabbath.

We do not have the luxury of saying "the law was changed," and also saying "the law was not changed!" If the law was not changed, then Jesus Christ is not our High Priest and we are still dead in our sins. Then the laws mandating three pilgrimages to the place where the Lord places His name are still 100% binding, as is building booths at the Feast of Booths (though few reading this, who bound themselves to the law, have ever kept these mandates.) Also the laws regarding animal sacrifices and circumcision are still binding. As well as other such laws, like cleanliness regulations, New Moons, land Sabbaths, Jubilee Years, separation of Jew and Gentile, Levitical and Aaronic Priesthoods and the Temple regulations, even not suffering a witch to live - all 613 laws in the Torah - are still very much binding.
If the law was not changed, then our righteousness is in our own efforts at law-keeping and not in the righteousness of Christ attributed to us by faith, the law is still our only route to a relationship with God which defies Christ's as that route, and thus we have all fallen from grace and made His sacrifice of no effect!
God forbid!!

We are always taught Jesus only came to preach against the man-made additions to the law - in other words, we said He came to remove the Talmud - but by this point you should be abundantly aware that Jesus changed much more than just the Talmud. Circumcision is not Talmud. The Levitical Priesthood is not Talmud. Tearing down the wall of separation between Jew and Gentile is not Talmud.
Please look with me at the whole evidence.

The people to whom the law was given didn't keep it in the raw state when it was first given, and Saul was blameless in the keeping of it when towards the end they had heaped and piled regulation upon regulation onto it - yet neither way was acceptable to God. Why didn't God correct people immediately? Ah!
Because they were doing what He intended them to do all along.
And He intended them to fail so that we could learn a lesson that no man can possibly match God's righteousness, so that in the failure of the Old Covenant people others could be grafted in (ROM. 11: 18-24), to show a pattern for all to follow (I TIM. 1: 16), so that no man could boast in His presence except about Christ (ROM. 4: 2; EPH. 2: 9; GAL. 6: 14), and so that He could have mercy on us all (ROM. 11: 30-32; TIT. 2: 14; I TIM. 4: 10) according to the promise given to Abraham (ROM. 4: 16) that we inherit through faith in Christ (HEB. 6: 13-18; GAL. 3: 14, 22; EPH. 3: 6; 2 TIM. 1: 1).
The Jews were not destroyed in spite of the law because the Lord changes not (MAL. 3: 6). The Gentiles are saved apart from the law because law cannot nullify the promise (GAL. 3: 17-19), as the promise is not of the law (ROM. 4: 13-16).

You see, the New Covenant was always intended. In order to understand anything at all we must first and foremost realize that this is all for God's glory (ROM. 11: 36). Not ours! And this leads us farther into the substance of how the Sabbath was fulfilled.

Ask yourself, what is the substance that the Sabbath was a shadow of (COL. 2: 16-17)? Jesus Christ! And He has been glorified, and He will glorify Himself again. The whole law and prophets were both fulfilled in Christ Jesus!
I still believe what I wrote in an earlier post titled "Common Legalist Arguments part IV":

(MATT. 17: 1-8) 1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

Why do I quote these verses? Well, you may not have had these verses explained to you in quite this way before (and why would you; these verses were always read as part of a prescribed manner of prophetic interpretation as taught by HWA), but in tradition Moses represents the law and Elijah represents the prophets. Here we have a vision of Jesus being glorified greatly beyond the law and the prophets. Our Lord speaks with them, and the scene is covered up by a cloud. From that cloud comes a powerful and commanding voice from the Father who says, "This is My beloved Son... Hear Him!" Not, "Hear the law". Not, "Hear the prophets". But hear Christ! When the cloud dissipated, there was Jesus standing alone; the law and the prophets gone. They were a shadow of Him. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets!

He filled the law and the prophets up to the full. Even the Sabbath.

(MATT. 11: 28-29) 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

(COL. 2: 10) and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

To further fill in how the weekly Sabbath was magnified, let us read a quote from Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho [emphasis mine]:
The new law requires you to keep perpetual sabbath, and you [Jews], because you are idle for one day, suppose you are pious, not discerning why this has been commanded you: and if you eat unleavened bread, you say the will of God has been fulfilled. The Lord our God does not take pleasure in such observances: if there is any perjured person or a thief among you, let him cease to be so; if any adulterer, let him repent; then he has kept the sweet and true sabbaths of God.”
From the very beginning this was understood, but we have lost it because of error stemming from lack of faith. Don't you see what Jesus did? Don't you see how He fulfills the weekly Sabbath of temporary physical rest (if physical exercise avails only a little, then what of physical rest?) with a perpetual Sabbath of true, lasting, beneficial spiritual rest?
He finished the work of salvation, then He sat down [on His throne].
He sat down.
We can sit down with Him. We can rest in Him from working to earn salvation.

The argument that the weekly Sabbath was from creation is false. But on the seventh day there was a rest, hallowed and sanctified, and until sin entered in that rest was perpetual! If Jesus brought us back to creation, it was not to the weekly Sabbath that we come, but to a perpetual rest - with and in Him -- by faith.
Genesis 1 ends like this: "So the evening and the morning were the sixth day." But Genesis 2 does not! There is no such statement for the seventh day. The rest outlasted merely one day of the week. There was no sin yet to rest from, there was no curse of hard labor as of yet to rest from... this is true and perpetual spiritual rest. Man walked with God daily and talked with God and learned from God in beautiful, perpetual communion. Not even clothes separated man from God. It was interrupted by the first Adam, but restored again in the second Adam. Paul confirms this in Romans:

(ROM. 5: 18-21) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And this is precisely how God knew it would be! These things were finished before the foundation of the world (HEB 4: 3). If we go back to the beginning, we only arrive again at Christ. It was interrupted, but it has again returned full circle to Christ. All things find their fullness in Christ Jesus.
The creation rest, our "Promised Land", remains for us to enter into, as we see in Hebrews 3 & 4. The anonymous author of Hebrews tells us when we should rest:

(HEB. 3: 13) but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
(HEB. 4: 6-7) 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

This is the day that the Lord has made (PSA 118: 24). Today! Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Now. Always.
Therefore, Paul says this:

(COL. 2: 16-17) 16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

So, long story short, God planned the New Covenant all along. The seventh day of creation began a perpetual rest in a "Promised Land" paradise of Eden. Man ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so God implemented a system based on that. He implemented the Old Covenant, a system of discerning good from evil, as a tutor to point to Christ until the time for fulfillment came. He overlooked in times past because it was time to overlook. He was making a point. Christ the Fulfillment had to come before there could be fulfillment. Those things of the Old Covenant were true at that time, but only as true as a shadow is true. So, the prophets of old did not lie when they preached. Each one of them expected a fulfillment, so they did not lie and then learn the truth, rather they spoke as they understood and they knew that things were incomplete. Just as incomplete as expecting a temporary, physical salvation at the time of the first coming is incomplete when compared to the eternal, spiritual salvation we receive through faith in Christ. Just as incomplete as a weekly physical rest is incomplete when compared to a perpetual spiritual rest in Christ. When Christ came, a system based on the Tree of Life was implemented. It was planned this way. And it is all to His glory.
...If you will accept it.
I pray God blesses you with a heart to accept it, and speeds you into His New Covenant in Christ.

In closing, I want to give you a short, real-life story about the difference between grace and the law. This is a true story.
This past weekend at the church I attend, the Pastor brought an older woman and her adult son on stage. She had spent years of her life with kidney disease and had to suffer through dialysis 3 times a week. It is painful. It is repetitive. But when the kidneys cannot filter the blood, there is no alternative; even with dialysis the end is early death. The Pastor asked her to describe the process. She said the day of dialysis she would be exhausted to uselessness. The day after dialysis, she would feel like she was going to be alright. The third day, it started again. But without it she would die painfully.
The Pastor turned to her son. Earlier last year he donated one of his kidneys to his mother so she could live and spend her golden years in hope without dialysis. It was a hard decision. He faced death; he faced complications from the procedure; he faced a change of life from having only one kidney. He did it anyway. She was worth it. No greatler love could he find in himself than to give part of his life for the woman that gave him that life. It worked. She no longer needs dialysis. Both of them are now healthy.
The woman, smiling from ear to ear, related how, for the first time in her life, she had the time and energy to go and participate in Christian missionary work. She broke into tears speaking about it. The freedom which that one act of kindness from her son afforded her had changed every single aspect of her life. One donation, once, changed everything and freed her from that repetitive process that could never bring her real health. Her thankfullness was without question.
There was not a dry eye in the audience. The Pastor, barely able to contain his own flood of emotion, turned to the congregation and explained that this is a metaphor for the grace we receive from God's giving of His only begotten Son for us. The Pastor then asked, how can we possibly believe that after all He has done for us, God still demands we return to dialysis [the law]?

He does not.

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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.
Acts 17:11
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Seven Thousand Year Plan

I've been wondering about the 7 annual Holy Days (as recognized by Armstrongism) and the teaching regarding "the 7,000 year plan of God." I plan on chewing on this subject a bit over the next several weeks, just in time for the Spring Holy Days. First, I had a few questions.

The seven Holy Days represent the 7,000 year plan of God? Why? Because, "7 Holy Days; 7 days in the week; 7,000 years"? Where does it say that in the Bible?

What are the seven Holy Days?

Passover is not a Holy Day; it is a memorial (according to Armstrongism). A memorial of what? There are really two ways to look at this.

1) A memorial of the Exodus and not Christ. Because in the Old Testament we see it was a memorial of the Exodus. The Sabbath is the same way.

(DEU. 5: 15) And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

2) Or we can see Passover as a memorial of Christ and not the Exodus. Because He said it should be a memorial of Him (LUK. 22: 19; I COR. 11: 26). What does the Exodus have to do with Gentiles? After all, the Sabbath and Holy Days were just shadows anyway, and the substance casting the shadow is Christ (COL. 2: 16-17; HEB. 10: 1, 11-14). Why chase after the shadow when you now have the substance? In fact, if you cast off the Old to participate in the New, then you are one body and blood with the substance!

(I COR. 10: 16-17) 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

I don't know about in your church, but in mine we spent the Passover (carefully avoiding the term "Lord's Supper") in memorial of Jesus' sacrifice and death. A fine thing! No real complaints about that. However, for the rest of the following week, we concentrated on the Exodus. Am I opposed to remembering the Exodus? No! Not at all. But it must be kept in perspective that it is a shadow and not the substance. We got a bi-annual Holy Day sermon about the symbolism of the Exodus and how it related to us. I don't have a real problem with that either. We were at least mostly keeping things in perspective.
My point is to emphasize that according to Armstrongism Passover was not one of the seven Holy Days; it was a memorial. If it were a Holy Day, it would not be called the Day of Preparation (MAT. 27: 62; MAR. 15: 42; LUK. 23: 54; JOH. 19: 14, 31, 42) and Christ would not have been crucified on it.
[We at ABD have much to disagree with about the Armstrongist timing of Passover. Please see our article History of Easter - part I for more.]
Nevertheless, if it isn't a Holy Day to them then we must discount it here.

So what are the seven Holy Days?

1&2) The First and Last days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (LEV. 23: 5-8; DEU. 16: 1-8).
3) Pentecost (aka the Feast of Weeks, also Feast of First Fruits) (LEV. 23: 15-22; DEU. 16: 9-12).
4) The Feast of Trumpets (LEV. 23: 23-25).
5) The Day of Atonement (LEV. 23: 26-32).
6) The first day of the Feast of Tabernacles (aka Feast of Booths, also Feast of Ingathering) (LEV. 23: 33-43; DEU. 16: 13-15).
7) And lastly, the Last Great Day (aka. Last Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles) (LEV. 23: 39; JOH. 7: 37).

There we are. Seven days.

Now, let's do a cursory review of what Herbert Armstrong taught that these days mean according to his version of prophecy:

-Passover & Unleavened Bread: Our being taken out of sin (Egypt), experiencing baptism (Red Sea), and our journey through this life and towards the coming Kingdom (40 year wandering & Promised Land).

-Pentecost: The start of the Church of God and the giving of the Holy Spirit.

-Trumpets: Armstrongism had very little to say about this day. To the Jews it's their New Year and a time to prepare for Atonement, but Armstrong never really cared about that. Originally it was taught to be the day Christ would return. The main thrust of why was taught was because Christ would return at the seventh trumpet blast, and this day was named "The Feast of Trumpets."

A controversy arose after the death of Herbert Armstrong regarding the timing of the return of Jesus Christ. This weighs heavily on Trumpets.
Armstrong taught that Jesus would return on Trumpets, but after his death people have started teaching that Pentecost will be the day when Jesus will return.
This controversy robs Trumpets of its Armstrongist meaning. To put meaning back in, people have speculated that Trumpets will be the day of the first trumpet blast. Others speculate that Jesus will return to gether His saints on Pentecost, have the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (REV. 19: 7-9) while the vials of God's wrath are poured out on the world (REV. 15: 5-7, and following chapters), and then He will return to earth yet again to fulfill Rev. 19: 19-21.

In my opinion, this all just demonstrates that Armstrongism really has no deep understanding of the Feast of Trumpets at all.

-Atonement: The Beast and False Prophet would be destroyed, Satan would be imprisoned, and mankind would begin to experience the Millennial reign of Christ.

-Tabernacles: Pictures both the 7,000 year plan of God as well as the Millennial reign of Christ on Earth.

-Last Great Day: Pictures the time after the Millennial reign of Christ on Earth, when the Great White Throne Judgment would occur (REV. 20: 11), and the sum total of humanity that are saved will become part of God's Kingdom.

Now, with that background in place, I would like to move on to a few observations.

These explanations picture the 7,000 year plan? Where is Genesis in there? No fall of man. No Noah. No Abraham. According to the two dominant dating theories, the Exodus occurred around and abouts the year 1440 B.C. or 1290 B.C. That's a bit late for the start of the picture, wouldn't you say?
Or does the Exodus really mark the start of what was pictured in the Holy Days? Let us never forget that the Sabbaths and Holy Days were merely shadows pointing to Christ. And by this it is clear the Bible is referring mainly to His first Advent (HEB. 9: 9). Even Armstrongism accepts that the Passover pointed to Christ's death, Pentecost was fulfilled at that same time, and the majority of Atonement was fulfilled at that same time. So, depending on how we want to look at it, Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread do not point to the 1400's B.C. at all, but to the 30's A.D. This puts the beginning of the picturing of the plan ahead considerably.
If they picture a 7,000 year plan, I would suppose they would picture the whole thing. But as it stands, do the Holy Days picture the 3,000 year plan, beginning in the 30's A.D. and continuing on through the end of the Millennium?
Now let's move closer and take a better look at each of the Holy Days again. Let's look at them with a critical eye this time.

On to the First and Last days of Unleavened Bread.

They picture putting sin our of your life. This will happen for your lifespan, not 7,000 years. Problem is, these days are supposed to point to Christ, not us. But let's just say this refers to the bigger picture.
Did mankind possess any ability to truly put sin out of their life before the death and resurrection of Christ? No. Nothing in man's power, nothing in the blood of goats, nothing in any of the world's many religions, is there anything remotely like the cross that takes away the sins of the world. Each and every one of the world's religious systems either denies sin, or employs a works-based system where a person is to earn their own way out of their past indiscretions. Christ and Christ alone is the propitiation that opens the way to the complete forgiveness and removal of sin. Thus, they do point to Christ.
So, once again, we see the picture starts in the 30's A.D. Where are the first 4,000 years??

Here we are 2 Holy Days and a memorial down, and we only have 7 total. 5 holy days remain to picture the 7,000 year plan.

On to Pentecost.

Any person who reads the Bible can plainly see that Pentecost is the memorial of the giving of the Holy Spirit. Christ fulfilled the wave loaves ceremony and man was accepted by God. Proof is none other than the giving of the Holy Spirit - the indwelling of God within man. And, again, we have time focused on the 30's A.D. Where does this leave us for end-time prophecy?

Some say Jesus will return on Pentecost. Why? Does Revelation say that? Does Daniel say that? Does Jesus say that? No, no, and no. So it's pure speculation regarding timing. Nothing more. There is no substance to it other than some interesting idea we conjure up in our own minds. I'll readily admit it's an interesting thing to ponder. But I'm not going to base my doctrine on speculation.

I'm going to be proactive and discount this day since the New Testament already gives us a perfectly fine fulfillment. That's 3 down, 4 Holy Days left to picture 7,000 years of plan.

On to the Feast of Trumpets.

Trumpets is just that kind of day where it's hard to nail down. It's the Jewish New Year celebration, and it's a memorial of blowing the shofar. A memorial - not a looking forward.

Judaism 101 says this about the Feast of Trumpets:

"The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday. The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar)."
It would appear that Herbert Armstrong simply invented whatever he needed regarding the day. I do not personally subscribe to this treatment of scripture, and I won't affirm it. To make up anything you want in order to buttress your prophetic speculation? It's irresponsible. Even the Jews can't tell you what the Biblical significance of the blowing of the shofar is. Not a single thing of what Herbert Armstrong taught matches Jewish tradition. We never so much as owned a shofar, let alone sounded one. One time only in my life do I recall a brass trumpet being blown. Where did HWA get his teachings, then? Not from the scriptures, that's for certain! It's pure speculation based on a preconceived idea. I will discount the Armstrongist meaning of the day until someone gives me something more scriptural than "It's the day Jesus returns because it has the word 'trumpet' in the name."
Where are we at now? Three Holy Days and a Memorial that picture the 30's A.D., and one Holy Day that pictures the second coming immediately prior to the Millennium (for no better reason than because we say it does.)
4 down, 3 to go. Three Holy Days to tell the missing portions scattered throughout this 7,000 year plan.

On to the Day of Atonement.

Did you know that at various points of my time in Armstrongism I was taught that the Azazel goat (scapegoat of Leviticus 16) represented Satan? It's true! Let's look so closely at this teaching.
We will break into the middle of Leviticus 16, a chapter which gives the details about the two sacrificial goats offered by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.

(LEV. 16: 29-22) 20 “And when he [the High Priest] has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar [with the blood of the first goat], he shall bring the live goat [the scapegoat aka Azazel]. 21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

Notice how the High Priest and first goat relate according to Hebrews:

(HEB. 9: 11-14) 11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The High Priest is fulfilled by Christ. The first goat is fulfilled by Christ. These two things were not in dispute in Armstrongism. But the second goat, the live goat, the scapegoat/Azazel, was that Satan? It was taught that the fulfillment of the live goat could not come until either the beginning of the Millennium because that is when Satan will be imprisoned, or the end of the Millennium because that is when Satan will be destroyed. It was reasoned that Satan was the cause of the sins, and he will be rightfully blamed, and therefore he is the live goat. The live goat had all of the sins of the people confessed onto it, and it was sent away. But it was not rightfully blamed. I want you to call to mind one of the most profound verses in all of the Bible.

(II COR. 5: 21) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Does that sound like Satan to you? Jesus Christ and none besides was made sin for us. Precisely as the sins of Israel were placed on the scapegoat, the sins of the world were placed on Christ. Jesus Christ, our Savior, is the One and only propitiation for our sins. God be praised!! I am going to take John the Baptist slightly out of context to make a point about who carries away the sins of the world:

(JOHN 1: 29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

And since that was the case, since Jesus became sin for us, He quoted Psalm 22: 1 when He cried out in His agony, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken Me!" (MAT. 27: 46). Those sins were laid on Him, but not rightfully laid on Him. Even so, it pleased God to save us in this way. The scapegoat of Leviticus 16 is Jesus, and none besides. The very notion that the sins of the world will be placed on Satan's head - thus giving him a part in the salvation of mankind along with Jesus - is nigh blasphemous.

So, the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is past. Christ has fulfilled it all. What more does it look forward to? Not to Satan. Will you say it looks forward to Satan simply because Atonement falls after Trumpets? God forbid! Thus we have a gaping hole in the middle of the "7,000 year plan pictured by the Holy Days" theory. We made it to Trumpets which pictures the second coming, and went right back to the 30's A.D.

What's our tally thus far? Four Holy Days and a Memorial that picture the 30's A.D., one Holy Day wedged in out of order that supposedly pictures the second coming ('cause we say it does), and 2 Holy Days to go.

On to Tabernacles.

Tabernacles can be seen as picturing the Millennium. Each year, while we feasted before the Lord and drank wine or similar drink (I allude to Deuteronomy 14: 26), we were told this is what the Millennium would be like. The whole 7 day festival pictured the Millennium. Tabernacles was 7 days of Christmas and then some. I still think it cannot be rivalled for sheer enjoyment - if the daily church services were removed, that is. Some people like that part, too. At any rate, the Feast of Tabernacles was the culmination of the whole year. Not enough good could be heaped on it from the podium. Not only did it picture the entire Millennium in 7 days, it re-pictured the 7,000 year plan... all by itself. What a time!

But then cracks in the theory start to emerge.

Tabernacles cannot truly picture the entire 7,000 year plan because most of it would be about sin. Is it dual, then? We are partying while we should be remembering Noah's Flood or the death of Christ? What of the 1,900 years where the gospel supposedly wasn't preached until God supposedly sent Herbert Armstrong to preach it and usher in His return? That's almost two full days. Yet tabernacles was 7 days of fun for us.

Everyone understood it was the Millennium that the Feast of Tabernacles pictured, not those other times. We tossed the 7,000 year picture onto it because there were 7 days. After all, how can you have 7 days picture 1,000 years?
But on the other hand, Tabernacles is towards the end of the Holy Days. It is the only one that pictured the Millennium. Does it really picture the Millennium, then? We'll find out, I guess. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The Feast of Tabernacles is a 7 day long festival, but it has only 1 Holy Day, and that being the very first day. If the Millennium is pictured on the Holy Day, what then of the following 6 days? We must discount them. Remember, it's the Holy Days that picture the 7,000 year plan, not the regular days. 
If we are to say "the Holy Days picture the 7,000 year plan because there are 7 Holy Days", then we can't count every day of the Feast of Tabernacles or there would be 13 days (7 days of Tabernacles plus the 6 other Holy Days). And then we would also have to count all 7 days of Unleavened Bread too! Then we would have 18 (the previous 13 plus the 5 uncounted days of Unleavened Bread). So, 18 days picture the 7,000 year plan? 

See some of those cracks yet? We're not even through.

To recap ... Four Holy Days (First and Last days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Atonement) and a Memorial (Passover) that picture the 30's A.D., one Holy Day out of order that even though it is a memorial looking backwards most people would say it is part of the Millennium which is forwards (Trumpets), and one Holy Day that pictures the Millennium (first day of Tabernacles), with one left to go.
Nothing so far has pictured the time from creation to the Exodus, from the Judges to Jesus, or from the Apostles to the second Advent. This last Holy Day has a lot of gaps to cover!

On to the Last Great Day.

Here is something that I knew and even taught during my time in Armstrongism, but I never grasped the full effect of it: the Last Great Day does not picture the Millennial period.

Confused? Let us reason together.

The Millennium is done and gone by the time the Great White Throne Judgment period would arrive. Tabernacles is over, the Millennium it pictured has ended, the time of mankind is over, Satan has come to his end, the dead small and great have been resurrected to judgment, and the elements are soon to melt with fervent heat (this is according to Armstrongist understanding). Is not the Last Great Day another Holy Day entirely apart from Tabernacles? Were there not 7 days in the Feast of Tabernacles, and now the Last Great Day is an eighth day? It is a different day! It does not belong to the seven previous days. It is the eighth. Are we to understand that there is an 8,000 year plan? Not exactly. This day will never end. A new thing. A new day.

The Millennium isn't the most important part of our future anyhow. It is an important part, yes, but not the most important part. During the Millennium there is still death, there is still need and frailty, there is still a war to come, there is still judgment to come and all sorts of things. The new Heaven and new Earth are not made yet. It would appear to me that all of these years leading up to that recreation point are just an introduction. Yet we made a massive deal about the Millennium. Why? Because! Wasn't it obvious? The followers of Herbert Armstrong were to rule the Earth at that time. We were to be the stars of the show. Tabernacles was all about us! It's the carrot on the stick. That's why we emphasized it so heavily.
But according to our understanding, the Last Great Day pictured the time after the Millennium; the time after the seven thousand years.

So, what then of the seven Holy Days picturing 7,000 years? The fulfillment of the seventh Holy Day is not even during the 7,000 year span of time. Kinda blows the theory all to pieces, doesn't it?

Unless! Unless we rearrange things yet again and teach that the Great White Throne Judgment period must fall within the Millennium because the resurrected people who have never known God must get a shot at obedience before the end of a thousand years of Christ's reign. 
According to Herbert Armstrong there is supposed to be a 100 year period right at the end of the Millennium. But where do we get that? Do you really not know where Herbert Armstrong got that teaching?

(ISA. 65: 20) No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.

That's it. There's the evidence for this teaching. Nothing more. Isaiah 65: 20 mentions "one hundred years." Not a lot to build a doctrine on, wouldn't you agree?

Now think about it a little..

Here is how most people think of the Holy Days. 7 Holy Days = 7,000 years.
0-1,000
2,000
3,000
4,000
5,000
6,000
7,000
1xDoUB
1xDoUB
Pentecost
Trumpets
Atonement
FOT
LGD
MILENNIUM

But, as you can quite see already, this makes no sense if we look at the meanings and fulfillments of the Holy Days. What does the second Holy Day of Unleavened Bread have to do with Noah? Instead, according to the original and traditional Armstrongist view, an even better view would be if we have three Holy Days to picture the last 1,000 years (Atonement, Tabernacles, and Last Great Day), and probably a fourth Holy Day as well depending on your personal opinion (Trumpets), and three Holy Days that picture the first 6,000 years (2xUB & Pentecost).
0-1,000
2,000
3,000
4,000
5,000
6,000
7,000
2xDoUB
Pentecost
2xDoUB
Pentecost
2xDoUB
Pentecost
2xDoUB
Pentecost
2xDoUB Pentecost
2xDoUB
Pentecost
Trumpets?
Atonement
FOT
LGD
Trumpets?
MILENNIUM

But Pentecost and Unleavened Bread still don’t fit that way if we pay attention to what we taught regarding the meanings of these days. Now we're left with a choice..

So, was that three Holy Days that picture the Millennium (LGD, Tabernacles, Atonement), one Holy Day that pictures the second coming immediately prior to the Millennium (Trumpets), and three Holy Days to picture the 30's A.D. rather than the past 6,000 years (2xUB & Pentecost)?
0-1,000
2,000
3,000
4,000
5,000
6,000
7,000
8,000+




2xDoUB Pentecost
Trumpets
Atonement
FOT
LGD

MILENNIUM

Or was that two and a half Holy Days that picture the Millennium (LGD, Tabernacles, 1/2 Atonement), one and a half Holy Days that pictures the second coming immediately prior to the Millennium (1/2 Pentecost & Trumpets), and two and two halves Holy Days to picture the 30's A.D. (1/2 Atonement, 1/2 Pentecost & 2xUB)?
0-1,000
2,000
3,000
4,000
5,000
6,000
7,000
8,000+




(½ Atonement)
2xDoUB (½
 Pentecost)
Trumpets
(½ Pentecost)

FOT
LGD
(½ Atonement)


MILENNIUM

Or was that one Holy Day that pictures a time after the 7,000 year plan (LGD), two that picture the Millennium (Atonement & Tabernacles), one that could be part of the Millennium or a few days before (Trumpets), and three that picture the 30's A.D. (2xUB & Pentecost)? Now is it an 8,000 year plan??
0-1,000
2,000
3,000
4,000
5,000
6,000
7,000
8,000+




2xDoUB Pentecost
Trumpets?
Atonement
FOT
Trumpets?
LGD

MILENNIUM

If you want an extra kick in the seat, according to traditional Armstrongist understanding, Passover as well was not supposedly fulfilled until the Millennium because we were told these three verses (Mat. 26: 29; MAR. 14: 25; LUK. 22: 18) indicated Passover would not be fulfilled until we were with Christ in the Millennium. How's that for a mind bender!

At any rate, none of this fits! Look at the empty millennia. The teaching about the Holy Days doesn't fit the teaching about the 7,000 year plan!

I bring this up to emphasize the titanic leaps of human reasoning, the disfiguring contortion of scripture, the wild and unconstrained speculation that must occur to force the Holy Days to fit this theory.

Now do you see any of those cracks?

What's the big deal about this topic anyway? I will tell you that my reason for this post is because there are a lot of Armstrongists out there feeling confident enough in this teaching that they are judging and condemning people who do not adhere to it. "Those people don't keep the Sabbath and Holy Days because they have forgotten God's 7,000 year plan." It has become a convenient excuse to bring other God-fearing people down (the unavoidable converse of that is setting one's self up.) It has transitioned from prophetic speculation to doctrine to doctrine required for salvation. It's not just "God's 7,000 year plan." No sir. It's "God's 7,000 year plan for salvation." This is incredibly dangerous territory!

Am I saying there is no 7,000 year plan at all? I'm not saying that. There has been talk of a 7,000 year plan since Irenaeus. Irenaeus never used the Holy Days as evidence for it, though. (Armstrongists call him the "heretic Irenaeus" because nearly everything else he says contradicts their beliefs - but since he agrees here, they're more than happy to quote a heretic.) I'm saying it's all speculation - even interesting speculation - but speculation none the less. 

I would like to caution people to pay close attention to those cracks in the theory. Notice how unsteady the foundation is. It's definitely not built on Christ. Interesting, yes, but please reject the temptation to make this a salvational issue.

As an aside, what about the seasons?

We were taught that there are three "Holy Day seasons." This was nothing else besides an attempt to turn Deuteronomy 16: 16 into an excuse to extract money from the congregation on all seven Holy Days. 

Rather than reading the Bible and letting it interpret itself, Herbert Armstrong changed the meaning of the verse. Deuteronomy 16 works with Exodus 34 and tells us that three pilgrimages were to be made every year to the place where the Lord puts His name, which can be shown to mean the tabernacle (which most of the time was the Temple in Jerusalem, but is not any longer.) It does not in any way tell us there are three "Holy Day seasons" during which people were commanded to give 7 Holy Day offerings.

Two things resulted from this reinterpretation: 1) We unaware of any command to travel three times a year as opposed to just once at Tabernacles, 2) The congregation was obligated to give "Holy Day offerings" in the form of money at each of the seven Holy Days. The seven Holy Days all fell within the three Holy Day seasons, you see.

Now, let me ask you this: which is the summer Holy Day?
Pentecost comes in May or early June. Summer doesn't start until June 21st. Technicality? I think not. Trumpets usually falls in mid to late September. Summer ends September 21st, so technically Trumpets falls in the summer months some of the time. BUT some of the time it does not. It fluctuates from year to year. In 2013 even the Feast of Tabernacles will begin before the end of summer, but the majority of the time it falls after the beginning of Autumn. It was a harvest festival after all. 
There is no definitively "Summer Holy Day." Even when we referred to the Holy Days in our own vernacular it was "Spring Holy Days" and "Fall Holy Days." It was obvious to all that there is no "Summer Holy Day." That didn't stop us from redefining Deuteronomy 16: 16.

As I type this, I recall another question. What year is it anyway?
MikeDDTFA reminds us that, according to the Hebrew Calendar (which many Armstrongists refer to as "God's Sacred Calendar") it is only the year 5770. In a 7,000 year plan, do we really even know what year it is?

The inconsistency in Armstrongism never ceases to amaze me. In one breath they proclaim the accuracy of the Jewish keeping of the seventh day. "They were given the oracles of God," we would say. But in the next breath, we proclaim how nearly every other detail about Jewish timekeeping was incorrect. Well, were they correct or not? Can they be depended upon or not? On one hand, we proclaimed the accuracy of Herbert Armstrong’s Biblical predictions (that’s “predict” as in fortune-telling, not “prophesy” as in speaking under inspiration of God). On the other hand, we ignored the legions of his predictions that failed. In excess of 200 failed predictions.
At any rate, one thing is for certain - these teachings of Armstrongism are inconsistent when we closely investigate them.

Does all of this speculation and droning on about calendars glorify God? If not, then it isn't part of His plan. I pray God blesses you with His love through faith. Not in speculation, but in His only begotten Son Jesus - our only salvation, our only propitiation, our only redemption, our only substance, our only way and truth and life. God speed you into His New Covenant and His wonderful eternal promises.

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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.
Acts 17:11
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