Sunday, September 22, 2013

You SHOULD keep the Feast of Tabernacles!

Indeed, if you are convinced that God commands Christians to observe the Feast of Tabernacles, well then you should keep the Feast of Tabernacles.  

So lets start examining the Feast from the premise that God requires Christians to keep the portion of the Law that contains the Feast of Tabernacles.  Please be patient as we review familiar material and come to a point that every person attending the Feast of Tabernacles right now may wish to consider.

As I write this many of my friends are at designated feast sites keeping the Feast of Tabernacles.   I did the same for 28 years and had many good times and experiences with my family and friends.  In this day and age it is rare for families to be able to travel to different locations every year, some even international, and stay in high-class hotels and resorts together while enjoying the sites, food and activities of the local tourist areas.   Just to name a few, my familys been to Niagara Falls, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Panama City, Hawaii, Bahamas, Tucson, Branson, Palm Springs, Gatlinburg, and even a resort on the Mediterranean sea in Italy.   My family has been able to enjoy the many tourist areas, Disney World (three times), Dolly World, historical sites, mountains, beaches, jet-skis, museums, (we even toured the Vatican), boating, horseback riding, and so on.   We even enjoyed the feast on a cruise ship one year.  So yes, the Feast of Tabernacles has been a great time for the family; it has been like an annual family vacation.

It's true, in many ways keeping the Feast of Tabernacles has been a lot of fun!

And sermons?  Yes, we heard many sermons didnt we?  If you are attending a feast site, then as you read this you are getting a steady diet of spiritual meat as we would say.  But back in the day, the pinnacle of the Feast of Tabernacles was the satellite link-up in which Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong spoke to all of us together.  I remember getting goose bumps believing that I was witnessing Gods apostle speaking the end time message to all of the church at once.  Time was drawing near, we only had a few years left and the end was coming, surely within the next 10 to 20 years!"   We were going to need to tighten our belt and be ready to support the work.   It really was exciting to feel like I was part of something special.  

Things didnt work out the way we thought at the time, but the Feast of Tabernacles continues on because the churches of God teach that true Christians keep Gods commandments.  And many believe sincerely that the Feast of Tabernacles is commanded.   Lets review the passages regarding the Feast and list a few of the commanded instructions.

Four Feast of Tabernacles Instructions

We find in Leviticus the instruction to Israel to observe the Feast of Tabernacles.  Of course, those of us with a history in the Church of God are very familiar with these passages, probably more so than most.   I remember hearing that we were to appear before the Lord in the place that the Lord would choose and that we were to stay in temporary dwellings and have an offering ready to give to the church.    Those instructions are derived from the instructions given to Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 16 and Leviticus chapter 23. 

For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.  Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.  Deut 16:15-17

Lets notice a few things here.  First, we see that they were to keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the place that the Lord would choose.  Where was that?   It was the tabernacle, the tent of testimony.   Gods presence was clearly in the tabernacle; his glory filled the place as the cloud of the Lord covered it during the day and fire at night (Ex 40:34-38).  And once Israel finally crossed the Jordan, Jerusalem became the place that the Lord chose to place his name.

But when you go over the Jordan and live in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and when he gives you rest from all your enemies around, so that you live in safety, then to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord. Deut 12:10-11

So Jerusalem became the place that the Lord chose to place his name, the tabernacle and later more specifically the temple became that place at which the burnt offerings and sacrifices were carried out. 

Deuteronomy chapters 14 and 16 describe the Feast of Tabernacles as one of three pilgrim feasts to which citizens of Israel were to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate and eat of their tithes.  That is why so many people were in Jerusalem for Passover and Unleavened bread when Jesus was arrested.  And that is why so many people had traveled to Jerusalem for that first Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the church.   And that is why so many traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles as described in the gospels.  And yes, this is why the Jews and Hellenistic Jews who became Christians traveled to Jerusalem for these feasts in the early days of the church before the temple was destroyed.

There can be no doubt that the place that the Lord placed his name at that time was Jerusalem and that the people were to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the pilgrim feasts including the Feast of Tabernacles.

1 - The Feast of Tabernacles was to be celebrated where the Lord placed his name in Jerusalem.   

We also see the instructions to bring the tithe, but Im not going to go down that path in this review.  Lets just focus on the command to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and how they were instructed to keep that festival.

These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord food offerings, burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, each on its proper day.  Lev 23:37

We read here in Leviticus that each day of the feast there were specific offerings, daily there were to be food offerings and the first and eighth day were to be holy convocations (verse 36).  So lets list our next basic instructions for the Feast.

2 There were specific offerings required each day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

3 There were holy convocations on the first and the eighth days of the feast.

Lets take a look into the instruction for dwelling in booths.

And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. You shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days.  Lev 23:40-42

So here we see that they were to dwell in booths made from the branches of specific trees.   The Jews built these booths on the flat roofs of houses, in the streets or in the fields.  And it is commonly understood that these four trees were the citron, the palm, the myrtle, and the willow.   Nehemiah chapter 8 also addresses this and specifically identifies the trees and instruction to dwell in booths.

The Hebrew word for booth is sukkâ, which means a crude temporary shelter made of woven branches.  They were to construct these crude shelters to be reminded of when they had to dwell in crude shelters following their exit from Egypt.

that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt Lev 23:43

4 God instructs his people to dwell in booths made of the branches of four specific trees.

Once again, the purpose stated in the Law for these booths was to remind Israel of the time that God brought them from Egypt.  They were to be annually reminded that they dwelt in crudely constructed booths when they left Egypt on their way to the Promised Land.  There is no mention of the Messiahs coming or the future fulfillment of the Kingdom of God in these instructions.    However we are not questioning the Church of God interpretation of imagery here, simply looking at the instruction in the law to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

To those with a history in the Armstrong churches of God, none if this is new.  So lets summarize our four instructions:

The Feast of Tabernacles was to be celebrated where the Lord placed his name in Jerusalem.   

There were specific offerings required each day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

There were holy convocations on the first and the eighth days of the feast.

God instructs his people to dwell in booths made of the branches of four specific trees. 

I wrote earlier that if you believe that a Christian needs to observe the commandment to keep the Feast of Tabernacles then you should keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 

But after reviewing the commandment that we are all so familiar with, I ask you plainly, are you actually keeping the Feast of Tabernacles?   Are you really observing the Law as it was instructed?

If the answer is yes then great, consciences are clear.  But if the answer is no, or uncertain, then could you be judged by our own words?   If you believe that true Christians keep Gods Law including all the Holy Days of the Old Testament, then you need to be certain that you are indeed keeping the Feast of Tabernacles, right?

Lets look at the commands in the Law that we have just reviewed.  First, lets just make the assumption that any offerings and sacrifices are no longer required as they have been fulfilled in Christ.   This is the assumption that all the Armstrong Churches of God make.   But how do we know where the Lord has placed his name?  According to the Bible that place was Jerusalem.   If you are keeping the Feast of Tabernacles then ask yourself:

Why dont the Churches of God go to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles?

That is what the Law instructs.  So how do you know where God has placed His name for the feast if it is not in scripture?  Each Church of God organization has its own feast sites in different locations; did God choose all these places to put his name?  I attended the feast in Panama City one year during which there were concurrently feast sites from eight different Church of God organizations in the same general area. Think about it, does this make sense to you?  

One might argue that in todays society it is not possible to go to Jerusalem.  Well, why not?  I traveled to Italy for the feast.  Besides, the Law is the Law and if God says to go to Jerusalem then we should do it, right?  Let me remind you of a favorite scripture of the Churches of God.  It is the proof, they say, that the Christian church should observe the feast because the Feast of Tabernacles is identified as being observed after the return of Jesus to the earth.

Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. Zech 14:16

But notice that they are keeping the feast in Jerusalem.  It is so important to travel to Jerusalem that the surviving people of the nations who do not come to Jerusalem at that time will not receive rain.   If these verses prove that the church should be keeping the Feast of Tabernacles today, then why do not the Churches of God observe it in Jerusalem as commanded?

And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. Zech 14:17

The Law commands that the Feast of Tabernacles be observed where the Lord has placed his name.  The scriptures identify Jerusalem clearly to be that location.  And yet, the Armstrong churches observe their feasts in various cities that they choose.  I recall being in meetings in which we discussed which cities would be chosen based on special rates given to the church, activities for families, cost and size of convention centers, parking, and so forth.  That is how feast sites are chosen and there is no biblical authority for doing so.

Another question for feast goers to ask themselves:

Why do we have church services every day of the Feast of Tabernacles?

Over the decades that I attended and taught in the Armstrong Church and its splinter churches, I many times heard it stated that a holy convocation was a gathering of the church; a church service if you will.   Not that I necessarily agree with that interpretation, but lets assume that to be the case.  According to the Law there is a holy convocation on the first day and the eighth day.   So why do the churches of God have church services every day of the feast?   Dont misunderstand, we could have church services every day and that would be just fine, theres nothing wrong with that.  But I distinctly remember the feelings of shame and guilt if I were to miss a service due to any reason other than extreme illness.  If you are a feast goer you must admit that missing a church service is tantamount to not properly keeping the Feast of Tabernacles.  No doubt we were made to feel like we were sinning if we missed church.  And missing opening night, that was really frowned upon too.  A lot of judging goes on regarding church attendance.   But why is that?   A church service every day is nowhere to be found in the Law even if we accept the Church of God interpretation of a holy convocation.   If you are attending the feast this year try telling your pastor that you are only going to attend on the first day and the eighth day since that is what the Bible commands.  I doubt they will find humor in that statement.

The final and perhaps most important question for feast goers to ask themselves:

Why do we not dwell in booths when we keep the Feast of Booths? 

Dwelling in booths made of the four trees was central to the commandment to keep the Feast of Tabernacles; there is no way around that fact.   Please read this excerpt from a blog appearing on the United Church of God website. 

In 2013, United Church of God members and families will travel to dozens of Festival of Tabernacles sites around the world to take part in this biblical assembly However, proper biblical observance of the Festival of Tabernacles requires that members reside in temporary quarters as outlined in Leviticus 23:42 (Peter Eddington, United Church of God to Celebrate Coming Kingdom of God in Eight-Day Christian Festival of Tabernacles, September 16, 2013)

Mr. Eddington explains that the proper biblical observance of the feast requires that one dwell in booths.  We know that the leaders of these churches understand what the Law states.   That is why he carefully changes the wording to temporary quarters in order to make hotels and resorts appear to be equivalent to the booths commanded in the Law.  Please do your own research into the word for booth, its meaning, and how it is used.  Do expensive hotels and resorts fulfill the instruction in the Law to dwell in crudely built booths of woven branches?  Do hotels somehow remind us of being brought out of Egypt?

No.  There is no biblical authority for this change or for the imagery used to support the change.

In the same blog article, we read the following explanation,

members typically stay in nearby hotels to fulfill the temporary nature required by the biblical command. "Staying in a temporary dwelling such as a hotel underscores the transitory nature of this present world and illustrates how it will be replaced by the prophesied Kingdom of God," noted Mr. Kubik.

Where does the Bible give the authority change booths to hotels, rented houses, cruise ships, cabins on the lake, and so on?  Where is transitory nature of this present world identified in scripture with booths?  There is no biblical authority for this change in the Law.

Church of God members often like to quote Matthew Chapter 5 in which Jesus states, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.  Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.    Ah but you must be intellectually consistent.  If nothing in the Law can be changed, and that is your argument for requiring Christians to observe the Old Covenant Holy Days, then how can you change the Law that instructs us in how to keep those Holy Days?  

Okay?  Let me ask that again.  

If nothing in the Law can be changed, and that is your argument for requiring Christians to observe the Old Covenant Holy Days, then how can you change the Law that instructs us in how to keep those Holy Days?  

This is cognitive dissonance!  The reasoning goes like this: "The Law cannot be changed. You must keep the Law.  The Law instructs us to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.  But weve changed the Law in order to keep the feast in the church age according to the direction of a man.  But the Law cannot be changed.  Therefore we keep the holy days because they are commanded in the Law.  Other churches are false because they do not keep the Law like we do…"

You who observe the feast claim to be keeping the commandments.  And yet you do not observe the feast in Jerusalem, you go to church every day when this is never mentioned in the Law and make people feel guilty if they miss a service, and you do not dwell in the booths instructed very clearly in the Law you claim to keep. 

The New Testament writers make it clear that if one is going to keep a point of the Law then they must keep all of the Law.  Why put out leaven during the Feast of Unleavened bread but not dwell in booths during the Feast of booths?   Why do you fast on the Day of Atonement but do not blow trumpets or shout on the Feast of Trumpets?

So if you believe that you should be keeping the Feast of Tabernacles, then by all means go to Jerusalem, build a booth, and keep the festival as it is commanded.  But what the Worldwide Church of God splinter churches are doing is keeping a tradition unique to that church.  And the sole authority for making these changes to the Law of God is none other than Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.    Are you sure that Herbert Armstrong was given authority by God to redefine these festivals and change the Law of God?  

There simply is not one passage in scripture that connects the Feast of Tabernacles with Jesus millennial rule on earth.  There is not one scripture that states that crudely made booths should be replaced with hotels and resorts that picture quality living in the millennium.  There is not one passage in the Bible that indicates that Christians should spend large amounts of money on themselves and their own entertainment and send the rest in to their corporate organization leadership.  And there is not one passage of scripture that grants the authority to the church to annually decide where God has placed his name for their own rendition of the Feast of Tabernacles. 

I have a business associate whose father is a rabbi.  Back when I was a faithful follower of Herbert Armstrong I explained to this friend that I kept the Feast of Tabernacles just as he did.  When I explained that we went to hotels, beaches and amusement parks while attending church every day in a convention center he looked at me bewildered.  I thought we had something in common, but we didn’t. The Feast of Tabernacles “observed” by the churches of God has absolutely nothing in common with the Feast of Tabernacles commanded in the Law.  Really.  It is common for the Churches of God to claim that the early church kept the feast just as they do.  But the Church of God feast tradition would not be recognizable by any of the apostles. 

No, the Feast of Tabernacles tradition in the churches of God is a creation of Herbert W. Armstrong.  It is a tradition of men, if you will.  If you believe that Mr. Armstrong was given the sole authority by God to change the law then your conscience is clear.  But if youre not so sure, then I suggest you look into the Law that you claim to be observing to make sure that you are indeed keeping the feast and the other holy days according to Gods instruction.   I'm confident that such a study done honestly will lead you to God's grace.

Those of you who are convicted to keep the Old Testament holy days, you really should keep the Feast of Tabernacles according to the commandment.   

But are you really keeping it?    

************ 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 ************


Dillon said...

Excellent points Caleb. I am surprised as to why UCG and WCG members stay in buildings (which is forbidden) during the F.O.T. Why don't they make their dwellings out of palms and stay in it as the Law instructs?

Byker Bob said...

Yep. That's why we call it "Armstrongism". The only proof ever offered as to why certain elements were authorized to be changed was always "Mr. Armstrong says....."


Caleb said...

Yes, it seems that the Law cannot be changed ... except when they want to change it. There is just no way to avoid the fact that the Feast of Tabernacles was all about remembering their deliverance from Egypt. If we look at all the customs that took place during that week long festival...they all point back to their exodus. Those customs could be another article in the future, now that I think of it.

Dillon said...

Hi again, Caleb and Byker Bob,
Even the Assemblies of Yahweh do the same thing. If we ask them,"why do you not live in a palm booth during the Feast of Tabernacles?", they will probably answer, "Well, the blood of Christ changed the law and that's why we don't need to make booths of palms or go to Jerusalem to keep the feast. When Christ died, Jerusalem no longer had central authority to the Law, therefore, we are free to keep the Law anywhere we choose." I would respond,"Really? That would contradict Matthew 5 and Deuteronomy 12:29-31 which clearly says that not a jot, nor a dot, shall pass away from the Law. So if the Law has not been changed then neither has the location of worship and neither has the command for booths of palms. Palm branches are PALM BRANCHES, NOT concrete! What authority do you have to change the location of worship? NONE!!!! What authority do you have to take away from the rituals of this feast and replacing it with fancy stuff? NONE!!!! Did Jesus stay in a hotel during the Feast of Tabernacles? NO!!!! He would have built a booth and lived in it for eight days in JERUSALEM, NOT the Bahamas. Yet at the same time you claim to "follow Christ." How ironic, these very people claim to keep the Law and yet they take away from the Law, which Deuteronomy 12 forbids. I only hope anyone reading these points, would wake up and smell the coffee.

Ralph said...

In the light of "Lev 23:39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a(nother) sabbath."
I sometimes wonder why people refer to the "eighth day" as the last great day" of a seven day feast.

Caleb said...

Ralph, Great question regarding "Last Great Day".

Please check back with ABD tomorrow for my answer!


Byker Bob said...

Good discussion, all. What is very interesting is the inconsistency in the ways with which Armstrongism treats different elements of Old Covenant law. If, as an example, you were to apply the logic they use to support the changes they make to the F/T, Kashrut, and the mikvahs to any sort of perceived changes to their sabbath, you would see a double standard emerge.

Armstrongites can stay in fine hotels at their Feast of Tabernacles in the Bahamas, but first century Christians just couldn't possibly have "taken communion" as they gathered on Sunday, the weekly anniversary of Jesus' resurrection, because "there are no scriptural commands to change the day on which the sabbath is kept".

There are also nuances of the ancient Hebrew language which are clear to scholars today, but of which neither Armstrong theologians nor the translators who compiled the King James version of the Bible were aware. Atheists have cited for years Biblical instances where "all" members of certain tribes or nationalities were described as having been killed, and then chapters later, we read narratives about their survivors. The Hebrew connotation of their word for "all" doesn't involve absolute totality. It implies "for the most part". Same way with the Hebrew word translated into our "forever". That word really means for as long as certain conditions prevail. Yet, how many times were the words "all" and "forever" drilled into our heads in connection with various subjects, as if they were absolute?

There are so many red flags that we all ignored or failed to challenge. Sometimes, it really becomes embarrassing!


Jonathan said...

I just read your post now Caleb & couldn't agree more! Actually a lot of your arguments were the reasons for my own decision to leave UCG a few years back & re-study everything--& I mean everything!--HWA/WCG taught even though I had fervently believed in Armstrongism for about 20 years.

Your comments re Zech 14:16 are spot on! After I observed FOT in my 1st year with UCG I chose to look more objectively at the Biblical references about it & I recall when I read Zech 14:17 & finally noticed the location of its observance i.e. Jerusalem it demolished the entire HWA/WCG tradition of sponsored international feast sites for me! Jerusalem was, is and (if this is a prophecy about the future) will be again "the place God places His name." Not Washington or London or Rome or any other metropolitan or exotic place on earth! I seriously can imagine it'll be like the Muslim Hajj!

Your comments re church services on each day of FOT & the feelings of shame or guilt if you failed to turn up made me think of a FOT trip I made & there was this guy who was obviously unwell coughing & sneezing & he was sitting in a row ahead of me! I'm OCD when it comes to being around sick people so I was furious that he didn't consider the health of others & didn't quarantine himself! Of course I think the feelings of shame & guilt you mentioned is symptomatic of OCD as well, which is probably why this guy couldn't bear to stay away! This whole emphasis of having church services on the entire 8 days of FOT & not on the week long FOUB (which I believe HWA originally mandated in the early years of RCG/WCG) made me see the utter inconsistency in this belief system!

Your observation re the subtle change from the Biblical "booths" to "temporary shelters" was another reason why I chose to leave UCG. I reasoned it'd be far more Biblical (and I thought rather romantic too) if I observed FOT in my own backyard under my vine-covered arbor! It's much cheaper & I think more like how some contemporary Jews observe it!

Besides your final comment re Xians spending large sums of money on themselves & their own entertainment & send in the rest to corporate HQ was another reason I chose to end my association with UCG. I thought that compelling members to observe FOT the way HWA taught was so self-indulgent especially in light of the mess the whole world economy is in & so many people without a job & homeless.

xHWA said...

Thanks for reading, Jonathan! Thanks also for the comments.

God bless!

Caleb said...

Jonathan - Thanks for your comments. The backyard vine-covered arbor feast would indeed be at least as biblical as the WCG feast, especially if you have a pool in your backyard;)

OrthodoxApologia92 said...

Since the Armstrogites have no problem changing the sukkah ritual to staying in hotels, then shouldn't they also rename the feast of sukkahs to The Feast of Hotels?

Unknown said...

John 4:20-26 I believe this will help you in your search for the truth.
Also, remember what Jesus said, "where two or three are gathered in my name there I am". That very well 'puts His name there'.
We must try to (if possible) to get out of the physical, and in the 'spiritual'.

Yah'sChild said...

Those verses still do not justify keeping Sukkot anywhere you choose. No it doesn't "put His Name there" the place where God still places His Name is still Jerusalem, which is why Jesus instructed His Apostles to stay there on the first Pentecost and Paul also went to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost in Acts. Also Jesus wasn't talking about feasts, He was talking about prayer in general. If you are an Armstrongist I have questions for you. You say to focus on the spiritual not the physical. Well let's take your argument to its logical conclusion, why don't you stay in your hometown to celebrate Sukkot? And why do you stay in a hotel? Why do you not build a sukkah as modern Jews and Messianics continue to do? Sukkot is not about quality living in the new world, it is more of a "Hardship in the wilderness" scenario not a merry go round. It is a reminder of what our Jewish brethren went through during their departure from Egypt. The spiritual action is not made in effect if physical one isn't carried out. For example, Cain offered God his produce but God rejected it. Abel's sacrifice of a lamb was pleasing to God and God accepted it. Nadab and Abihu offered "any kind of place" to God (strange fire) and were consumed. Did the intent of their hearts matter? No. Praying is a physical action, not a thought. Zech 14:17 says that if you don't go up to Jerusalem during the end times you cannot receive blessing (rain). Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. Zech 14:16

Unknown said...

Today I'm keeping the Day of Atonement. I do so, not because Armstrong(s) or any of their protégés told me to do so. I do so because it makes sense. To me. If it doesn't make sense to you, don't do it. I'll never enter into any dispute with you as to why you "should" (or "shouldn't" for that matter). It's totally a personal choice.

I must admit that when I first learned of it -- now nearly 60 years ago -- I began keeping it because Armstrong and "The-Ministry" told me I must do it. Not eating or drinking for an entire day was a pain in the back side. But I did it because the church "ministry" said it was what we must do. We had the truth. Nobody else did. And that was that.

In 1974 I was disfellowshipped from WWCG (recently name-changed from "Radio Church of God"). Every year since that time I've kept the Day of Atonement, although I haven't darkened the door of a church in many decades.

Various levels of management training have given me to understand that practicing specific rest at specific times is a valuable tool for men and women who wish to achieve success in whatever they do. The seven "holy" days are decent times to assure that practice is kept -- even though there is much bickering and infighting and coercive argumentation among cog's and their splits and splinters and splits of splinters as to exactly when, how, etc etc etc.

The Hebrew Book is written in such a manner that apparently only a small child will ever understand It's principles. I don't. But this principle makes sense. To me, as I said. If not to you, keep your peace. I don't know for certain -- I'm agnostic in that manner.

But naysayers abound. Isn't that the way of it? Religion -- along with rulership ("politics" et al.) -- is fraught with naysayers. None seem to just want to make good sense.

I'm writing this on this little old worn-out blog because it's something that needed to be said. If anyone chances upon it, all the better. I have no expectations of that, since this webspace appears to now be officially fallow.

Best regards,


xHWA said...

We're not completely fallow quite yet, but the head days are more in the yore position.

I like your approach, Bogey. Keep a day if that's what you feel is best, but don't condemn others for not. So I personally hope you find the beneficial rest you're seeking.

Unknown said...


A quote from my friend, Larken Rose:

"...There is no shortcut to determining truth, about
morality or anything else. All too often,
the basis of people’s belief system boils
down to this: “To know what is true, all I have
to do is ask my infallible authority;
and I know my authority is always right,
because it tells me that it is always right.”
Of course, countless competing, contradictory
“authorities”will always exist, and each will
declare itself to be the source of truth.
It is, therefore, not merely a good idea for
people to judge for themselves what is true
and what is not; it is completely unavoidable.
Even those who consider it a great virtue to
have a belief system – political, religious,
or otherwise – based upon “faith” fail to
realize that only an individual can decide
what to have faith in. Whether he wants to
admit it or not, he is always the ultimate
decider; he always uses his own judgment to
decide what to believe
and what to do..."

From "The Most Dangerous Superstition", end of Part 2 (p 47 of the pdf on my screen).

I don't berate the Armstrongs, wacky as they might have been. I walked in with my eyes wide open, and I could have left at any time. I chose to stay until I was no longer welcome. I gained from the experience. Sam

J & K said...

So where can a person find a group of believers to gather with during the feast, who also take it literally and dwell in booths? We did the backyard thing for a few years while trying to learn. No we attend a church that goes to hotels. I love them all but disagree. Looking for info.

xHWA said...

Well.... Israel ... With the Jews?

Unknown said...

J & K said...

"...So where can a person find a group of believers to gather with during the
feast, who also take it literally and dwell in booths? We did the backyard thing for a few years while trying to learn. No we attend a church that goes to hotels. I love them all but disagree. Looking for info..."
(December 30, 2015 at 12:59 PM)

Sam responds:

If you're looking to find fellowship with FT observers, simply google "feast sites, feast of tabernacles, 2016" (or similar key words). You'll come up with a host of them. Then you can seek one close to your area and attend. Usually these days you can merely "drop in" and will be welcomed.

Back in the old RCG/WWCG days they tried to envelope "the work" in rather of an esoteric mystery (accompanied by virulent authoritarianism). Deacons and Elders were posted to bar all but those who had qualified -- through a sort of COG litmus test -- to withstand "strong meat". Outsiders and/or guests or visitors were definitely not welcome.

For years I traveled to Sedalia, MO, stayed alone in a motel, and biked up and down the Katy trail during the feast. Of course I had to take the word of one or more "shmexperts" as to whether I had the dates and times correct, because by that time there were a dozen or so interpretations as to "new moons", etc etc etc. Confusion abounded with the diaspora.

I'm an 81 year-old biker (the pedaling kind -- not motorcycles). A couple times I visited with a group around Rocheport, MO. I experienced a rather eerie feeling both times, however, that I was definitely "out of my element". These were a split of "Sacred Namers" -- nice folks all, and made me feel quite welcome. But I ceased trying to lie to myself -- I'm not a churchman. Never was, never will be.

Funny. It's now been nearly 60 years since I left in the dust all these relentlessly inculcated and conventionally accepted public winter solstice celebrations. But this year I've been working a part time job at Wal Mart. With very long hours to pay 'em back for my having taken two weeks off for "my" holidays that they don't (and can't at this time) comprehend.

Which in itself is hilarious (and foreboding), since I always explain the "holy days" in terms of good and fundamental management practices (management practices which Wal Mart execs have in short supply if their current stock indicators have meaning). They know that I have no affinity with any religion of any type or description. "My" doctrine goes in one ear and out the other (I'm assuming) since the likes of Sam Walton have long disappeared.

What's funny is the incessant innovations to bring additional humor in to shore up and sustain this phenomenon. They never wane. And the piped music. If you work 8 hour shifts at Wally-World you're gonna hear WM's version of Muzak attempt wall-to-wall versions of at least two dozen or more "I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Clause" and "It-Came-Upon-A-Midnight-Clear" songs; "White X-Mass", "Rum a Dumb Dumb" ("Drummer Boy"???); etc etc etc.

Piped music and piped joyousness in a time of economic trauma and angst.

The enormity of the truth is incredible.


Ken Nagy said...

This is the wildest stuff I've ever read. I write a devotional blog that would seem totally outrageous to you as well. We come from different backgrounds. I was raised Methodist, which is like Christian light I guess. You were in an entirely different thing. I haven't gone to church in decades. I just can't get into the doctrine and dogma. Makes me want to vomit. So many laws and lines in the sand. Didn't Jesus hate that?

I found this looking for something on the booths. I 'm writing as I go along, and sometimes God makes me search things out, and I stumble on stuff. I was wondering if people ever did live in the booths, or if they just stayed in hotels, and some locals maybe had booths 'for the feel of it.' Then I see this entire mini culture doing The Tabernacles in grand fashion! God is funny like that. My take on the feast is that is mostly symbolic, and it has to do with the entire cycle of the feasts, culminating with the Trumpet, and the Tabernacles. I've had dreams of walking the earth after complete destruction with a few others who appear as technicolor people in a grey-white landscape. If we have a feast after that, we will have to scramble to build booths!

It is very hard to explain those kinds of feelings, but it doesn't sound like Club Med.