Frequently Asked Questions

To make finding answers to basic questions easier, we've added this frequently asked questions page. Look up your question and read our brief summary of the answer. The answers provided will by necessity be brief overview summations. We fully expect the reader to make use of the Categories page to find posts on the subject which will provide far more detail.
Don't see an answer here? Send us an email.

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 yourselfit is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.
Acts 17:11


What is the Gospel?
“Gospel” means “good news.” The following is the good news Paul preached. Paul recorded for us what is believed to be the oldest creed in Christianity:
(I COR. 15: 1-5) 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.

This same theme of Jesus becoming a man, dying, and being resurrected to glory is repeated elsewhere:
(PHP. 2: 5-9) 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name
(ROM. 1: 3-4) 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
(HEB. 12: 1-2) 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(I TIM. 3: 16) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
(I PET. 3: 18, 21-22) 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, … 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

If one were to ask us at ABD how we would summarize the Gospel, we would say it is thus:
“Jesus was a literal man as well as literally God. The second person of the godhead became a man, lived to fulfill the law and the prophets, died as a propitiation for our sins, and was resurrected in fulfillment of scripture on the third day. This was planned before the foundation of the world. His death destroyed the Old Covenant and ratified the New Covenant. He now lives in Heaven as the executor of the promises of God towards us, the undeserving beneficiaries. Man was hopelessly condemned to death, and the Gentiles disinherited from any participation with God and given over to the rule of idolatrous gods. Israel was called as a means to bring the Messiah into the world. Jesus the Messiah paid the ransom in full to redeem mankind from death and idolatrous gods, tear down all that separates Jew from Gentile, fulfill God's justice, offer God's mercy and grace, and finish the work of salvation. The Gentiles are at long last again invited to participate with God. By humble faith in Jesus Christ, a Christian receives absolute forgiveness of sin as well as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and with the Holy Spirit comes participation in the body of Christ, and with participation in Christ comes inheritance with Christ in such things as the promise God made to Abraham. The proof of the Spirit's involvement is fruitful Christian growth throughout our lifetime; we will never come near to perfection in this flesh. Therefore, salvation is absolutely guaranteed, for the faithful who remain in faith, by the life, death, and life of Jesus Christ our Savior, and nothing besides. It is by promise, not by law. This is God's good pleasure. Glory to God!”

Has the real Gospel been hidden, and a false gospel preached by so-called Christianity?
No. Were this to be true, the church would have died out and God’s promise in Matthew 16: 18 would be broken. Since this is undeniable, those who make such a claim must invent a history to show there was a small remnant of faithful believers somewhere who kept the “true gospel.” Herbert Armstrong’s version of this history is grossly distorted, often deceitfully untrue, and completely unreliable. Not to mention plagiarized from A. N. Dugger and C. O. Dodd of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Instead, what has been preached for nearly 2,000 years matches what Paul taught:
(ROM. 10: 9) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Doesn’t the New Testament clearly say that the Gospel is of the Kingdom of God?
Yes. However, Herbert Armstrong taught “Kingdom of God” means the second coming of Christ and the rule of God from a literal throne in Jerusalem beginning in the Millennial period. The Bible nowhere defines Gospel this way. The second coming is a portion of the Gospel, but not the most important portion. The Jews expected a Kingdom. If this were the Gospel, then the good news is “Keep on waiting.” More important is our redemption, salvation, and glorification through the life, death, and life of Christ. 
The phrase “gospel of the Kingdom of God” appears only once, in Mark 1: 14. But we also see “gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (MARK. 1: 1), “gospel of the grace of God” (ACT. 20: 24), “gospel of God” (ROM. 1: 1; 15: 16; II COR. 11: 7; I THS. 2: 8-9; I PET. 4: 17), “gospel of the blessed God” (I TIM. 1: 11), “gospel of His Son” (ROM. 1: 9), “gospel of Christ” (ROM. 1: 16; 15: 19, 29; I COR. 9: 12, 18; II COR. 9: 13; 10: 14; GAL. 1: 7; PHP. 1: 27; I THS. 3: 2; ), “gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II THS. 1: 8), “gospel of the glory of Christ” (II COR. 4: 4), and “gospel of peace” (ROM. 10: 15; EPH. 6: 15). Out of the 101 appearances of the word “gospel”, the phrase “gospel of the Kingdom” only appears 4 times. None of these include any indication that this phrase exclusively means the second coming. This understanding is read into the text because this is what HWA taught. For comparison, “gospel of Christ” appears over twice as often at 10 times. As a matter of fact, the oft-used phrase, “gospel of the coming Kingdom of God” appears nowhere in the Bible.

But I was taught the Gospel isn’t about Christ Himself but the things that Christ taught?
This depends on what we think Christ taught. If Christ taught the law to people who already had the law, then what good news was that? But if Christ came to fulfill the law and the prophets and prove that He is the Christ, then He taught the message of the cross. That truly is good news!
Now, If the preceding information didn’t convince you, let’s explore a little farther.
What greatly disturbed the leaders of the Jews in Acts 4: 1-2? "...That they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead." Why were the philosophers confounded in Acts 17: 18? “..Because he [Paul] preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.” In Acts 8, Philip preaches Christ. An Acts 9: 20 we see that the very first thing Paul ever preached was that Jesus is the Son of God. Paul was set apart to preach Jesus to the Gentiles (GAL. 1: 15-16). In Philippians 1, Paul was rejoicing that Christ was preached. Elsewhere, Paul calls the Gospel the “message of the cross” (I COR. 1: 17-18). Why would he do that if the Gospel was only about the future Kingdom or the law? He would not. It is not at the law that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, but at the name of Christ (PHP. 2: 10-11). When asked what brings salvation, Paul responds, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (ACT. 16: 31). Notice again, “Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.” (ACT. 18: 8). Crispus obviously had the law. He needed only to believe in the Lord and he was saved and his household with him. The Gentile Corinthians believed and they were also saved, even without the law being mentioned. And again, in Acts 11: 13-17, Peter tells how Cornelius believed on the Lord and he was saved and his household with him. And not only Cornelius, but Peter relates that believing on the Lord is what brought the Holy Spirit to Cornelius and the others present. So, was a message about Christ Himself preached? Most definitely!


What exactly is the Old Covenant?
The Old Covenant is an agreement between God and the Israelites alone.
The 10 Commandments form the foundation of the Old Covenant.
(EXO. 34: 28) So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
(DEU. 4: 13) So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.
(DEU. 5: 1-21) … 2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive. 4 The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire. 5 I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain. He said… [lists the Ten Commandments].
(DEU. 9: 9) When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.
(DEU. 9: 11) And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.
(DEU. 9: 15) So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire; and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.
Built upon this foundation is a list of 603 (613 in total) laws covering all aspects of Jewish life.

Is the New Covenant a continuation of the Old?
No. The New Covenant is not like the Old.
(JER. 31: 31-32) 31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.
(HEB. 8: 13) In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Jesus did not give up eternity and Godhood to come here as a man, suffer, die and on the third day experience resurrection only to get rid of circumcision and animal sacrifice.

What are some of the differences between the Covenants?
For one example, the Old was death:
(II COR. 3: 7) But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones...
(ROM. 4: 15) because the law brings about wrath
(ROM. 7: 10) And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.
(GAL. 3: 10) For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”
(II COR. 3: 6) ...for the letter kills...

The New is life:
(II COR. 3: 6) ...not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(II TIM. 1: 10) but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel
(I JOHN 2: 25) And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.
(I JOHN 5: 11-13) 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Here is a far better comparison for you: Old Covenant vs New Covenant

Which is the better Covenant?
The New Covenant is better!
(HEB. 7: 22) by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
(HEB. 8: 6) But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
(HEB. 12: 24) to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Are we still under the Old Covenant?
This is not possible. When Jesus died, according to the law regarding covenants, the Old Covenant was nullified. Gone. Removed completely. The blood of Jesus shed on the cross was the blood that sealed the New Covenant. We see this in the Last Supper; the cup was the blood of the New Covenant (MAT. 26: 28; MAR. 14: 24; LUK. 22: 20; I COR. 11: 25). We are now ministers of the New Covenant (II COR. 3: 6) – the New Covenant is even contrasted against the Old in verses 7-11. Can’t be a minister of a covenant that isn’t in place. Jesus can’t be the Mediator of a covenant that isn’t in place (HEB. 12: 24). Paul again contrasts the covenants in Galatians 4: 21-31. Hebrews talks over and again about the superiority of the New Covenant over the Old; even stating Jesus has made the old Obsolete [past tense] and it was ready in that day to pass away completely. (Taking into account history and Hebrews 9: 8, we believe this was completed at the destruction of the Temple.)
The Old Covenant was never meant to last, as the New Covenant was planned from before creation. The Old and its shadowy symbols merely pointed us to a form of righteousness until the substance arrived, and that substance is Christ (COL. 2: 16-17). It is clear that this refers to His first coming.

When did the Old Covenant begin?
The Old Covenant began at Sinai when Moses received the law from God and all Israel agreed to keep the law (EXO. 24: 3-8). It was then sealed in the blood of animals.

When did the Old Covenant end?
The Old Covenant ended when Christ died. Covenants are no longer binding after the death of the main party. Paul uses the example of a husband and wife (ROM. 7: 1-4). The New Covenant was then sealed in Jesus’ blood.
It appears that there was a period of time after the death of Christ where the Old Covenant was “winding down” so to speak. Taking into account history and Hebrews 9: 8, most people consider the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem to be the marker of the final end of the Old Covenant period.

Was the Old Covenant binding upon all mankind?
No. Due to the nature of covenants, this is not possible; only Israel was offered the Old Covenant and only Israel accepted the Old Covenant. There was a stipulation that the covenant also included the descendants of Israel (DEU. 29: 14). If you wished to participate in the Old Covenant, you had to become a member of the nation of Israel through marriage or circumcision. Israel did not “represent all of mankind” as the Gentiles were “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise” (EPH. 2: 11-13). If all were represented, let alone fully included, they would not have been strangers. The Jews were separate, set apart, a special people, peculiar. Mixing between Jew and Gentile was strictly forbidden.
Because of this, many have invented elaborate scenarios to paint us all as physical descendants of Israel, and thus get us into the Covenant through a “back door” so to speak. A very popular “back door” is called British-Israelism, or Anglo-Israelism, which states that many are physically descended from the mythical “lost ten tribes of Israel” without their knowledge - and it is absolutely false. There are also some who twist Paul’s words from places like Galatians 3: 7, claiming that all Christians are “Spiritual Israel” (a phrase not found in the Bible), and therefore the Old Covenant pertains to us. But this is also false. If all Christians are “Spiritual Israel” then this is only under the New Covenant; it cannot be retroactive and rip us from the New that made us in order to deposit us again in the Old that excluded us. This thinking defeats itself.
The Old Covenant having been replaced in its entirety at the death of Christ, these things cannot be changed now. A major tenet of the New Covenant is the acceptance of the Gentiles.

Why would God create a Covenant and a law only to remove it?
The Old Covenant and its terms had a specific purpose, and when that purpose was completed it was no longer necessary. Understand that at three different periods - expulsion from Eden, Noah's Flood, and the Tower of Babel - mankind rejected God and were summarily punished. At the third event, God finally had enough. He disowned mankind, gave them over to their fate, subjected them to worship of lesser beings, and began building one nation to be His own people. One people in one land would be His out of all the whole earth: Israel. The very next thing we see after Babel fell was the calling of Abraham. God designed the Old Covenant and the law to keep Israel separate and distinct from the rest of the world until Messiah could come and heal the breach. Israel was God's only and chosen people on the whole earth. They absolutely needed to remain distinct. This is also why God was so hard on them for their idolatry. God never fully abandoned the Gentiles, however. He had a plan to heal the breach men caused between themselves and Him. That plan was Jesus. The Old Covenant and its laws were no longer necessary to keep Israel distinct after Jesus finished His goal. The New Covenant includes the Gentiles once again as God's people. The New Covenant was always the goal. It took a while for the Apostles to accept Israel was no longer distinct from the rest of the world. God needed to directly intervene (for example, see Peter's sheet vision). 
This is why He instituted a Covenant and a law only to remove it later. 
But we aren't done yet! The ultimate goal is to return the whole world to the paradise of Eden and heal even the breach caused at that time. 
The Gentiles may no longer being foreigners to God, but Israel will always have the honor of being the special people through whom God brought the Messiah and saved the world.


Since God does not change, doesn’t that mean the law does not change?
No. God is not the law, and the law is not God. It is God’s eternal nature of love and faithfulness that does not change. The law is merely an expression of His nature. Expressions can change. Hebrews 7: 12 clearly states the law has changed. The Bible never makes the connection that God doesn't change therefore the law doesn't change. We know it has changed. How can we continue to claim it has not when the Bible specifically tells us it has?
God Himself can also change. We can see this in that the Logos changed from timeless Godhood and took on temporal manhood, changed from inherent possession of all things to having no place to rest His head, changed from mortal living man to dead man, changed from dead man to eternally living glorified-man, and changed from poverty to inheritor of all things. God can change; His nature does not change – therefore we are not destroyed.

Didn’t Jesus say, “not one jot or tittle will pass from the law until all are fulfilled”?
He did say that. And then He fulfilled all things. The very verses referenced, Matthew 5: 17-18, tell us that Jesus came to fulfill, and He did not fail. If not, then literally until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle can pass from the law, and all 613 Torah laws are completely in force – including animal sacrifice. In fact, it would be easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the law to be changed, because what is required to fulfill all is the death of God. Good thing God is not afraid to take the hard road, or none of us would be saved.
Many challenge that the law was changed by saying “Show me even one law that was done away with.” OK. The law of the Levitical priesthood (
HEB. 7: 12). If you believe the law has not changed one iota, then what of the law in Deuteronomy 18: 20 which says that false prophets shall die? Do you believe that is still in force? By the way, have you read our articles on Herbert Armstrong’s false prophecies [go here and look for the phrase “Failed Prophecies”]? The Painful Truth website has a list of 209 false prophecies made by Herbert Armstrong. Have you read our article about Gerald Flurry’s false prophecies? Or Mike’s website dedicated to Ron Weinland’s false prophecies? Know that Armstrongism itself is a branch of false prophetess Ellen G White’s Seventh Day Adventism, which itself was a continuation of false prophet William Miller’s Adventism. If the law of Deuteronomy 18 is still in effect, and you are in a COG group, you have a serious problem on your hands.
Hebrews 7: 12 says the law was changed. It has to be changed or Jesus, who was of Judah and not Levi, is not our High Priest. We cannot both say “the law cannot be changed” and “the law has been changed” at the same time. Please note the many times Jesus changes the law in this selfsame chapter. Herbert Armstrong taught that Jesus “magnified” the law; made it harder. Well, that’s a change. If the law cannot be changed one whit, then neither is it “magnified.”
It should not be overlooked that most often the people who make this claim are referring to the weekly Sabbath being removed. These ones see Jesus revealing the spirit of the law, and see the Commandments in Matthew 5 and elsewhere, but they demand the Sabbath must never be likewise magnified. ABD does not believe the Sabbath is gone, per se, but magnified in the New Covenant to a perpetual rest for the soul in Christ rather than the Old Covenant weekly rest for the rear. Please refer to the Sabbath section for more detail.

Does the New Covenant have no law?
The New Covenant has law, and its faithful members are not antinomian rebels. The law is faith and love. John describes the laws for us.
(I JON. 3: 23) And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
Faith and love are what the New Testament is referring to when we see the word “commandments.” Many people think it refers back to the Ten Commandments of the Old Covenant, but that is incorrect [for more, refer to our series on the Law]. Faith and love are provided by the Holy Spirit in us. They do not come by our own effort at law keeping. Our job as Christians is merely to tend these things and make them grow.
For all of the talk about keeping law, if you aren’t practicing faith and love - and this is in no way restricted only towards the people in your church, but love to all mankind - then you are in reality the lawless one in the equation (I JON. 4: 7-8). Remember.. love fulfills the law, not the other way around.

Doesn’t the New Testament say we must keep the law to be righteous?
No. Righteousness is not of the law (GAL. 2: 21). Both the Old and New Testaments make it clear that only a perfect keeping of the Old law, without interruption in perfection, will be regarded by God. Have you done that? Well, neither has anyone else but One. The Old Covenant law, as good as it was, was given by God even though He knew no man would actually obey it perfectly. God predicted Israel’s failure up front (DEU. 31: 16-18). All have fallen short. Not only that, but along comes Jesus in Matthew 5 and opens our eyes to the fact that the law as written is only the beginning of the righteousness of God. Even if we kept the letter of the law, which only Jesus has ever done, we would still be of no profit to God (LUK. 17: 10). The point, you see, is for you confront your inability to achieve your own righteousness and, in humility, to go before the Mercy Seat to obtain mercy. Thus, righteousness is by faith only. It is God’s righteousness, not ours, that is counted to us through faith in Jesus (ROM. 3: 21-22). Christ in us. It is completely undeserved. Knowing this, the love you extend to God and the mercy you extend to others will be greatly magnified!

Jesus kept the law, shouldn’t we do what Jesus did?
Jesus is our example, but this must be kept in context. Jesus was a Jew born under the Old Covenant law during the time of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant is abolished now. To say we must do what Jesus did is a clever way to try and bring the Old Covenant back but it won't work. Do people really do as He did, though? He kept Hanukah, but no Church of God has ever added that as an observance. According to this argument, we are beholden to do so. Jesus kept all of the Jewish traditions, but that isn’t demanded either. He also had no home, was an itinerant preacher, wore a robe and sandals, and died on the cross. Why are we bound to “do as Jesus did” in law-keeping but not these other things? This arbitrary claim is just another search for a “back door” to extend the Old Covenant in opposition to the New. The fact is that there are many things Jesus did as an example for us, but that doesn’t mean we must copy everything exactly.  Jesus, a Jew, lived a perfect life and fulfilled the Old Covenant, then He died, and His death ended the Old Covenant. We are no longer bound to that way of life. 
Finally, Jesus is the only human being who ever kept the law perfectly, thus satisfying the demands of the law. None of us have done this. So, in the true understanding of the law, which is perfection uninterrupted, none of us can follow Christ in law-keeping. The very attempt itself is futile.

The law tells us how God wants us to live, doesn’t it?
In the Old Covenant, yes; in the New Covenant, no. In the New Covenant, God’s Spirit in us teaches us how to live, produces the fruit, and guides us to maturity in Christ. None of the things in the following list comes from the law:
Justification (GAL. 2: 16)
Righteousness (GAL. 2: 21)
The Spirit (GAL. 3: 2)
Perfection (GAL. 3: 3; HEB. 7: 19)
Miracles (GAL. 3: 5)
Inheritance (GAL. 3: 18)
Life (GAL. 3: 21)
Grace (GAL. 5: 4)
Faith (GAL. 3: 12)
Since this is the case, which of these things are you seeking to get from the law?

If all of this is true, what was the purpose of the law?
In short, the law kept Israel distinct from the Gentiles until Messiah could come:
(GAL. 3: 19-25) 19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

A tutor isn’t a schoolmaster, as the KJV translates it, and as we might understand it. The word “tutor” in verse 24 comes from “pedagogos”. In the society of Paul’s day, wealthy families would assign a slave or servant to rear their very young sons. The idea is not that the pedagogos was the schoolmaster, but a sort of nanny who oversaw the child. The pedagogos would accompany the child to school, but was not the school teacher. Once the child was mature, the nanny was no longer needed.
The law had other goals, too.
(ROM. 5: 20-21) 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 it worked! We are all sinners. Romans 3: 23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." But why would a loving God design a system to bring us all under sin?

(ROM. 3: 25-26) ..to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

And that brings everything into focus if we know that everything is for God's glory (ROM. 11: 36).

Is it true that only Herbert W Armstrong taught the whole law?
No. At no time did HWA teach even most of the law. For example, DEU. 16 and EXO. 34 plainly show there were three Holy Days where travel is required: Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. HWA started out teaching these, but soon changed and taught travel only once per year. This is why the Church of God splinters only travel at Tabernacles even to this day.
Burned offerings were to be given to God at these three Feasts. Armstrong, even though he taught all burned offerings were removed in the New Covenant, changed the burned offerings to money offerings and changed the three times a year to seven times a year. 
The travel was to the one place where the Lord placed His name (meaning, the Tabernacle of God). Armstrong taught travel was to assigned Feast sites around the world which He determined. 
At the Feast of Tabernacles, aka Feast of Booths, booths are to be made of sticks. Armstrong never taught booths should be made, instead he taught people to stay in tents which later changed to hotels. 
The law says there must be no cooking on the Sabbath. Armstrong taught it is OK to have pot-lucks on the Sabbath. The law says even servants must rest on the Sabbath. Armstrong taught it is OK to go out to eat and cause someone else to serve you on the Sabbath. They were already working anyway, he reasoned.
These few examples should sufficiently illustrate that even though Herbert Armstrong said that he taught the law, he never really did, and his followers, although they say they keep the law, never really have. Let alone the fact that no one keeps the law with uninterrupted perfection as is demanded by the law.

Didn’t Jesus save us only from the penalty of the law?
No. This not only misunderstands the nature of covenants, but it makes no sense in practical application. If Christ removed the penalty of the law, then there is no penalty in the law. If there is no penalty in the law, then there is no consequence for breaking the law. If there is no consequence for breaking the law, then there is no reason for following the law – you get the same result whether you do or don’t. And this is where the thinking falls apart. We have to ask ourselves two questions: 1) If there is no penalty in the law, why follow it? 2) If we follow the law, what do we get? None of the things in the following list comes from the law:
Justification (GAL. 2: 16)
Righteousness (GAL. 2: 21)
The Spirit (GAL. 3: 2)
Perfection (GAL. 3: 3; HEB. 7: 19)
Miracles (GAL. 3: 5)
Inheritance (GAL. 3: 18)
Life (GAL. 3: 21)
Grace (GAL. 5: 4)
Faith (GAL. 3: 12)
So, not only do we get no penalty for breaking it, we get no benefit for keeping it. Of what value is it, then? 
Because removing the penalty of the law removes the teeth of the law, Armstrong had to somehow put the teeth back into the law. Therefore he abuses the poor KJV translation of I John 3: 4 to show how “sin is the transgression of the law”, and thus he un-does what He claims Christ died to do. The ramification of this thinking is that if sin is a violation of the law, then righteousness is of the law, and if righteousness is of the law, then Christ died in vain (GAL. 2: 21). Ergo, this thinking invalidates Christ’s sacrifice.
But, more importantly, this thinking completely misses the point of why the Old Covenant and its law was established in the first place - to keep Israel distinct from the Gentiles until Messiah comes. Since this is the main purpose of it all, it makes no sense whatsoever to say the penalty of the law was removed but the law remains after the entire point of the law was fulfilled.

How can you claim that Jesus did away with His Father’s laws?
This question refers to MATT. 5: 17-20, and is another attempt to reason away the New Covenant. Herbert Armstrong often caricaturized mainstream Christianity as teaching that Jesus was, “a smart-alec young man who came to do away with His Father’s law.” Yet it fails to explain the multiple, manifold changes in the law after Jesus’ death. The idea in this argument is to pit Jesus against the Father and split the Godhead against itself. Is this not among the highest blasphemy possible? However, it fails to account for the fact that it was God the Father Himself who tore the veil at the Holy of Holies in two. That act can be seen in no other way than the way to the Throne was open, and all laws preventing all mankind from approaching that Throne are abolished. Ergo, the Father Himself had a part in the removal of the Old laws. 

Doesn’t Romans 3: 31 say we uphold the law?
It does say that, but we need context, context, context. Look at the surrounding verses and chapters. It is the acme of irresponsibility to take one sliver out of the whole and attempt to twist it to build a doctrine. Two verses prior, Paul says this, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” So where is the demand for law here? It is missing.
So, what is Paul attempting to say? Until Christ came, the law was our method to know righteousness (or rather, our unrighteousness). Paul calls it "the righteous requirements of the law." But now that Christ has come, we no longer need the law. Our righteousness comes by faith, not by law; by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, not our effort. But even though the letter of the law is gone, the righteousness the law pointed Israel towards remains. So, in all reality, we uphold the spirit and purpose of the law.
The letter of the law was removed, but we still have righteousness. Paul wants to make a distinction here so that people don't get the hair-brained idea that we can throw righteousness out with the law. And people do get that crazy notion!
Or we can look at this through the eyes of love rather than faith. Love fulfills the law. If we love, we fulfill the whole point of the law. So, even though we no longer need a law that says "Thou shalt not kill" or "Thou shalt not steal", none of us will be killing or stealing if we are busy loving. So love fulfills the law. In fact, love goes beyond the letter and fulfills the very spirit of the law.
Know this – you can violate the letter of the law yet fulfill the spirit of the law (MAT. 12: 3-7); you can keep the letter of the law yet violate the spirit of the law (MAT. 23: 1-30).
God is love. The two great commands, as Jesus pointed out, are love to God and love to fellow man. The Ten Commandments are divisions of those 2. So what God did was raise our eyes higher, towards Him, and above those 10 lower sub-divisions. God is the source. If we have Him, we have all the rest. His presence makes holy. If He is in us, we are holy because of Him. So, in all reality, love also upholds the purpose of the law because love is the purpose of the law.

10 Commandments

Are the 10 Commandments part of the Old Covenant?
            They are the very foundation of it! The two cannot be separated easily.
(EXO. 34: 28) So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
(DEU. 4: 13) So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.
(DEU. 9: 9) When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.
(DEU. 9: 11) And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.
(DEU. 9: 15) So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire; and the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands.

Have the 10 Commandments been “brought forward” into the New Covenant?
No. This is the same error of Darwinian Evolution: Just because certain points appear similar does not mean they have a common origin, it just means they have a common creator. The entire Old Covenant was destroyed, and a New Covenant has come in. The 10 Commandments are ten divisions of the two great commandments which come from the one eternal principle of love. If some things in the 10 Commandments appear to have come forward, for example the prohibitions against adultery or murder, that is because God is love and love is eternal, not because the 10 Commandments are eternal. We avoid committing adultery or theft or murder because they violate love, not because they violate the 10 Commandments.

Do the 10 Commandments include Holy Days and the tithe and meats laws?
No. They do not. All of those things are separate from the 10 Commandments. If one says the 10 Commandments are binding today, that does not include those other points of Old Covenant law. This is why many other excuses must be found to expand beyond the 10 Commandments, and that is why there is so much confusion and mixing of the two Covenants. It would appear that starting with a legalistic view of the 10 Commandments almost always leads to more and more piling on of Old Covenant law.

God created the seventh day of creation and hallowed it, isn’t that the weekly Sabbath?
No. The two are linked, but not the same. God chose the seventh day to be the weekly Sabbath because it was on the seventh day that He rested (EXO. 20: 11; 31: 17). But that only speaks to the timing (the “when”). Because God rested on the seventh day of creation, He chose the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath rest. The reason He chose to create a Sabbath day at all was as a remembrance of the Exodus (DEU. 5: 15). That is the reason (the “why”). Because God took Israel out of Egypt, therefore He commanded a weekly Sabbath for Israel.
Now, we must not forget to observe the nature of the rest that began on 7th day of creation. That rest was perpetual. Adam had communion with God. Adam lived in paradise. He had no real labor. He had no sin. What did he rest from, then? The rest was spiritual. No one knows how long this rest lasted, but no way was it merely one day. When Adam and Eve sinned, it all ended. Out went spiritual rest and in came spiritual death. This perpetual spiritual rest is precisely like what we have in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. That means the Sabbath day rest is not in fact the same as the creation rest (HEB. 4: 4-8). It is merely a shadow of the creation rest – a shadow that points to Christ (COL. 2: 16-17; MAT. 11: 25-30).

Aren’t the 10 Commandments the eternal principles of God?
No. God is timeless, and in the Spirit realm there is no marriage or gender or day or night. How then can the Commandments regarding weekly worship and adultery be eternal? They could neither predate creation, nor continue beyond it. Love is the eternal principle of God.

Isn’t the Kingdom going to go to those who keep God’s Commandments?
This question implies “commandments” means the 10 Commandments and it relies heavily on a technique known as proof-texting (taking a small chunk of text out of context in order to build a new, false context around it and use as evidence for an improper conclusion.) We must take all of the evidence together – in context!
Understand that when the English-language Bible says “commands” or “commandments” (or something similar) it is an assumption to read “10 Commandments” into that. There is another set of commands given in the New Covenant (I JON. 3: 23; 4:21). The former commandments were annulled (HEB. 7: 18). A new commandment is given, yet it is not “new”, it is the very oldest command (I JON. 2: 7-8). Paul tells us in I Corinthians 14: 37 that the things he writes are God’s commandments for us, now – not the things Moses wrote. Again in I Thessalonians 4: 2 he mentions the commands Jesus gave through the Apostles – not Moses. Jesus says it is love if we keep what He commands – not Moses - and then He gives us His command that we love one another (JON. 13: 34; 15: 12). Paul states that all else is summed up in one word, “love” (ROM. 13: 9); from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith (I TIM. 1: 5). John, throughout his first and second epistle, clearly and plainly tells us love is the commandment, and the commandment is love. Love fulfills all of the law (ROM. 13: 8, 10; JAS. 2: 8).
Try to recognize the times when you assume that “commandments” means “10 Commandments”, and resist it.

Didn’t Jesus tell the rich man that keeping the 10 Commandments was required?
As we’ve already shown, the 10 Commandments are the foundation of the abolished Old Covenant. Given that Jesus lived and operated under the Old Covenant, He one time spoke of most of the 10 Commandments to a Jewish man. When asked specifically which ones, Jesus answers specifically which ones (the 4th was omitted). We see in Matthew 19: 16-20 a rich Jewish man who is told to keep most of the Commandments in order to enter into life. However, when the rich man states that he has been doing that all of his life, Jesus reveals how it is nowhere near sufficient to grant him entry into the Kingdom. It can only be concluded that this was Jesus’ point all along, and the student was not the rich man but His disciples. Proof of this is the unqualified statement Jesus makes next:
(MAT. 19: 25-26) 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Jesus tells us unequivocally that it is impossible for following the 10 Commandments to bring us anything from God. Yet people turn right around and say “Oh yes it can!” Does Jesus not know better than they? Jesus wanted the rich man to trust Him. The rich man would not. Trust is what is needed. Trust in God to accomplish what we cannot, no matter how many commandments we keep. This is evidenced when the exact same question was put to Paul and Silas by the Phillipian jailer:
(ACT. 16: 30-31) 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
You must trust Jesus to be saved!
Nowhere will you ever see anyone being saved over law-keeping, nowhere in the New Covenant will you find Christians commanded to keep the 10 Commandments, and nowhere in the New Testament will you see all of the 10 Commandments listed together – the 4th Commandment is always omitted.
Why is it that the one which is always omitted is the one that is stressed the most?

Won’t we be the least in the Kingdom if we teach against the 10 Commandments?
This question is misleading. It misunderstands the differences between the Old and New covenants and relies on proof-texting. Paul said in Romans 13: 8 & 10 and Galatians 5: 14 that love is the fulfillment of the law. This is echoed in James 2: 8 and I John 4: 21. We certainly do not recommend anyone view the 10 Commandments as being gone without understanding what replaced them. Higher than the 10 Commandments are the two great commandments of faithful worship to God and love to fellow man (MAT. 22: 35-40). Higher still is the one principle of love (I JON. 4: 7-8). Jesus takes our eyes from the lowly, shadowy letter and points us to the fullness and substance of the Most High God. God is love. Love fulfills the law. Therefore, if we love, we fulfill the whole law. Even though the 10 Commandments of the Old Covenant are gone, the moral requirements of the law are upheld rather than destroyed. The Holy Spirit in us provides this fruit. This is what Christ means in Matthew 5: 17-20. To misuse these three verses to undo the entire New Covenant is a gross distortion of scripture.


Did Constantine change Saturday to Sunday?
No. That is false. The earliest extant documents we have that discuss the topic show us Sunday, called the Lord’s Day, was the day for what we would call “church services” during the times of the Apostles and afterward. This was not a “Sabbath”, as Sabbath entails a rest day. The early Christians understood that the Sabbath day was given to the Jews (and due to their hard hearts) thus it was not necessary for those upon whom God’s grace had come. The Lord’s Day was seen as the eighth day, a new day, and not merely the first day. Constantine set aside a day of the week for rest from business (farmers were exempt). It was not set aside for worship services. This takes away from Christ as our Sabbath, but it does not make Sunday into a new Sabbath.

Didn’t the early Christians begin observing Sunday to avoid persecution by the Romans under Emperor Hadrian?
No. That is a patently ridiculous statement to make about a group of people who had suffered persecution from 67 A.D. to 321 A.D. The noble way Christians faced persecution helped spread the gospel as few other things could. Hadrian (emperor 117 – 138 A.D.) mainly persecuted the Jews. The Romans were fully capable of distinguishing between the two. The earliest documents show the Christians were keeping the Lord’s Day long before Hadrian. So this theory is based on a false premise.
If we look carefully and honestly at this, we see it is a pre-conclusion searching for evidence. The idea that Sunday somehow snuck in improperly was decided before the start. Then we go in search of something, anything, that might support the pre-conclusion.

What day is the “Christian Sabbath”?
This question is misleading, much like asking “How many animals did Moses bring onto the Ark?” It is designed to confuse a person into thinking the “Christian Sabbath” is a day of the week. The “Christian Sabbath” is not a day of the week at all. The Christian Sabbath is a spiritual rest in Christ – a perpetual spiritual rest, like the one in Eden originally, not physical rest in a week day. There is no “Christian weekly Sabbath.” Some people (usually those whose traditions trace back to a Puritan origin) choose to treat Sunday as a Sabbath, but that is their own tradition. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, not the Sabbath Day.

What exactly is the “Lord’s Day”?
From the first century A.D., the term “Lord’s Day” has referred to Sunday. “Lord’s Day” in the Greek is “kyriake hemera.” It was soon shortened to just “kyriake.” It is not to be confused with the phrase “Day of the Lord", which is a completely separate Greek phrase “hemera tou kyriou.” They are never interchanged.
The Lord’s Day is a symbolic eighth day of the week, which also remains the first of all days. It is a day of worship and remembrance of Jesus Christ, not a day of Sabbath rest.
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has this to say:
The term was used generally by the early Christians to denote the first day of the week. It occurs twice in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians (about 101 a.d.), who calls the Lord’s day ‘the queen and prince of all days.’ Chrysostom (on Ps. 119) says, ‘It was called the Lord’s day because the Lord rose from the dead on that day.’ Later fathers make a marked distinction between the ‘Sabbath’ and the ‘Lord’s day’; meaning by the former the Jewish ‘Sabbath,’ or the seventh day of the week, and by the latter the first day of the week, kept holy by Christians.

Was the Sabbath magnified?
From a certain point of view, yes. Some say the law was not magnified but replaced entirely with brand new law based on love. The Sabbath, being ceremonial, is not renewed but is replaced by Christ. Others say the law was magnified to its proper fullness. If one sees the law as being magnified, as Herbert Armstrong taught, then one cannot exempt the weekly Sabbath. Either all the law was magnified or none was. And if it was, then we must find what became of the weekly Sabbath. Certainly, it was not left unchanged. The Sabbath was merely a shadow, and that shadow points to Christ (COL. 2: 16-17). Therefore a perpetual spiritual rest in Christ is the magnification of the Sabbath.

If I stop observing the Sabbath, may I also commit adultery?
You most certainly may not. This is a false dilemma. The choice between keeping all of the Ten Commandments or living a life of debauchery is not proper; there is another option. If the Sabbath is perpetual in Christ, then it is not gone per se but rather it is put in its proper context – as the rest of the Commandments were. Besides that, adultery, theft, murder, covetousness, and idolatry are clearly condemned in the New Testament after the resurrection of Christ. Why, because the law is still in effect? No. Because they are a violation of the Royal Law of love.

If “the Sabbath was made for man,” doesn’t that mean it is for all men?
No. This is an improper leap of logic stemming from taking Mark 2: 27 out of context. If Jesus said the Sabbath was for all men, the Pharisees would have stoned Him. All involved understood the Sabbath was for the Jews only. The Pharisees were condemning Jesus and His disciples for picking grain and eating, because the Pharisees had raised the importance of the law to a height God never intended. (They over-corrected for the lawlessness of their ancestors.) In response, Jesus was putting the Sabbath into its proper context. A key to this comes from the parallel account in Matthew 12: 7 “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” The life of men is more important than the regulations in the law – even the 4th Commandment. 
Speculate for a moment with me. If He was indeed saying the Sabbath was binding on all mankind, that would have been agreeing with the Pharisees point that He was violating the law, and thus He would have indicted Himself. Think about it. If the Pharisees were accusing Jesus, and His defense was “The Sabbath is binding on all mankind,” what sense would that make?
[Pharisees] "Jesus, you're breaking the law!
[Jesus] "And so is the whole world."
I refuse to believe that Jesus would employ the “They’re doing it too!” defense.

If Jesus is the “Lord of the Sabbath,” doesn’t that mean it remains?
Please refer to the previous question about “Sabbath was made for man.” Jesus was in no way attempting to bind the Sabbath on Gentiles who were strangers to the Covenant. That is completely out of context here. This conversation happened during the Old Covenant period. He was correcting the Pharisees who had a grossly elevated view of the Sabbath. With this statement He displays His authority to do so. His authority existed even before He was crucified. The Pharisees were in Moses’ seat, but He was Lord. His authority trumps theirs. 
In fact, being Lord, and therefore the source of the law, He is above the law. The legal terms of the Covenant were never binding on God, only on the Israelites. He freely chose to submit Himself to the law in order to fulfill the law so that He could redeem us from the law (GAL. 4: 4-5).

Hebrews says, “there remains a rest for the people of God,” isn’t that the weekly Sabbath?
Context, context, context. Proper exegesis is of utmost importance. Hebrews 3 & 4 clearly indicate when that rest is, and that is “today”(HEB. 3: 7, 15; 4: 7), not the seventh day. To make a stark contrast, Hebrews 4: 6 plainly indicates that those to whom the weekly Sabbath was given did not enter into this rest. Ergo, the weekly Sabbath, which they observed, cannot be the rest spoken of.
The rest is the perpetual spiritual rest in Christ.

Shouldn’t we go to church on Saturday?
The Jews do go to synagogue on Saturday, this is true, but the 4th Commandment and its related laws do not deal with when to assemble in worship, it only deals with physical rest. The Sabbath law didn't tell anyone when to go to church. The oldest writings all agree that Gentile Christians mainly assembled on Sunday for worship. But they also assembled on many other days and times – including Saturdays. Frankly, it doesn’t really matter to your salvation when you go to church. Do what your faith in Jesus leads you to do, and be the best you can be according to what you currently understand.

What does “keeping the Sabbath” entail?
The word “Sabbath” comes from a root word meaning “to cease.” The Sabbath regulations mainly entailed cessation of regular, assigned work. There is no command to “go to church” on the Sabbath. Rest mainly included no farming (except for what was mandatory to keep animals from suffering), no business, and no cooking. But not all work was included. Priests and guards were exempt to perform their regular assigned duties.

Have I fallen from grace if I observe a Saturday Sabbath?
Not necessarily. There were many Jewish converts that kept a Saturday Sabbath, and they were not condemned. They were converted Jews and were doing what their people had done for centuries. Nothing was wrong with it. However, the danger comes in if one is set on a pedestal above other Christians because of Sabbath observance, or if one treats the Sabbath as mandatory for all and thus faith is taken from Christ and placed back in the law and our own efforts. The dirty words here are merit and pride. Grace is about what God does, not what we do. 
Here is a good litmus test: if you are beating yourself or others up with the law, then you have crossed the line.

How did Herbert W Armstrong first come to believe in the Sabbath?
According to several accounts including HWA’s autobiography - in the fall of 1926 HWA’s wife, Loma, was convinced of the Sabbath by a neighbor of HWA’s parents, Mrs. Ora Runcorn, who was a member of the COG7. HWA studied to prove his wife wrong, and wound up convincing himself.

Hasn’t the Sabbath been kept since the time of the Apostles?
Yes and no. There were two groups of converts in the earliest days of the New Covenant: the Jews and the Gentiles. It is clear that the Jews were allowed to continue following their Old Covenant traditions, at least while the Temple in Jerusalem stood. There was a problem, however, when the Jewish converts began demanding that the Gentile converts must also keep the law in order to be saved. The first Council at Jerusalem came together to answer the question of whether or not Gentiles had to follow the Jews’ Old Covenant traditions in order to be Christian. The clear and decisive conclusion was NO. There have been two schools of thought ever since: those who accept the decision, and those who reject it. 
There was still a contingent of Jewish converts who hounded Paul and annoyed him no end (GAL. 5: 12). It was this very controversy that caused Paul to write the Epistle to the Galatians, where he calls them foolish for turning back to the law (GAL. 3: 1, 3).
In summary, yes the Sabbath was being kept – by the Jewish converts; and no, the Sabbath was not being kept – by the Gentile converts.
I would be neglectful if I failed to mention that many cities in the early Gentile church regularly fasted and assembled on Saturday (as well as Sunday). They did not avoid Saturday worship the way modern Sabbatarians avoid Sunday worship. But none of them felt Sabbath-keeping was mandatory. You will come across many Sabbatarians who see examples of early churches gathering or fasting on Saturday and they will hold that up as an example of Sabbatarianism, but this is improper. That's not what they were doing.

How did the modern Sabbatarian movement get started?
We at ABD theorize that the modern Sabbatarian movement is an unfortunate consequence of the Protestant Reformation. Common people had been prevented by the Catholic Church from reading the Bible. Bible’s were only in Latin by law, Bibles in local languages were rare, all Bibles were expensive, and most people, including many Priests, could barely read them. Once the Protestant Reformation gained momentum, the Bible was secretly printed in common languages. People were now reading their Bibles on their own for the first time. A small fraction of those people were trained or experienced. Couple the Biblical illiteracy with a desire to distance themselves from all things Catholic and many strange theories result. One such teaching was that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath. Springing from the false notion that there is still a Sabbath Day for Christians is the idea that Saturday must be this Christian Sabbath.
It appears that a small group of Baptists from England reached this conclusion around 1650. The names involved included William Saller, Peter Chaimberlain, Francis Bampfield, and Edward and Joseph Stennett. These men were Baptists, or in other words they were reformers of Protestantism. It was this group that influenced Steven Mumford to travel to America and preach the seventh-day Sabbath to the Baptists in Connecticut. In 1671, after the first church split (ROM. 16: 17-18), the Seventh Day Baptist Church was born
This is what we conclude is the birth of the modern Sabbatarian movement.

Can the Worldwide Church of God be traced to the Seventh Day Adventist Church?
Yes. And then some. They can all be traced back to the Seventh Day Baptists … a wholly Protestant organization in every respect, but with an observance of a Saturday Sabbath. According to record, it was one member of the Seventh Day Baptist congregation in Verona, New York, by the name of Rachel Oakes Preston, that introduced the Sabbath doctrine to Adventism. She moved her family to Washington, New Hampshire where she met a group of William Miller’s Adventists. It was between March 1843 and the autumn of 1844, immediately after the “Great Disappointment”, that Rachel’s Sabbatarian influence bore its fruit. John and Ellen G. White accepted the Sabbath in 1846. After years of disagreements with Ellen White’s prophecies, an Elder named Gilbert Cranmer officially split from the Adventists in 1860 and proceeded to form what became the Church of God (Seventh Day). It was this group which first awarded Herbert W Armstrong his ministerial credentials in 1931. And the rest, as they say, is history.


Has Tithing been “brought forward” into the New Covenant?
No. The entire Old Covenant system with its Levitical Priesthood were removed along with the tithe system that supported them. The New Testament gives no command to tithe. If it were commanded, Paul would have been in violation of that command by working for a living. Not only has it not been “brought forward,” but 10% is too small for a Christian who is expected to be a living sacrifice.

What income may be tithed upon?
The Old Testament law is precise in showing that only these following three things may be tithed upon: produce of the field, orchard, and flock.
Notice carefully that the law never commands tithing money. The tithe was allowed to be changed into money  under certain circumstances (DEU. 14: 24) but it was not of money originally. 
We recommend sending your Minister some nice tomatoes next time he asks you for tithes.

Is a tithe 10% of your income?
No. A tithe is not 10%, neither is it 1/10th. A tithe is one-in-ten.
Wondering what the difference is? Allow me to illustrate. I will use sheep in this example but it works the same no matter what you have.
Imagine a poor Israelite had two sheep. If the tithe were 10% or 1/10th, he would have to kill one and give 20% of that sheep to the temple. Now he is left with one live sheep and 90% of a dead one. That is not a very considerate system! Good thing that's not how it worked. Instead, they would pass all sheep under a rod to count them (LEV. 27: 32). Every tenth item being counted would be taken. If you don't have ten, you don't give anything. If you passed nine sheep under the rod, you kept all nine. If you passed ten, one sheep would be given. If you passed nineteen, you would still only give one. If you passed twenty sheep, you gave two and kept eighteen. And so forth.
This is the difference between 10% and one-in-ten. It might not seem like much at first, but as you can see there is a pretty important difference.

Who is legally qualified to receive tithes?
Only the Levites and the very poor could receive of the tithes. The Levites were then commanded to give 10% of what they received to the Aaronic Priests (who were also of the Tribe of Levi.)
Even if one were to attempt to reason out a larger point of this, that a non-descript “priesthood” receives the tithes, we see in the New Covenant there is but one Priest, so how can we tithe? So this line of reasoning falls apart. Some would conclude (without Biblical support) that we would tithe to the church leadership, but Ministers are not “priests.” I can’t find the office of “Minister” in the Bible anyway. Deacon, yes. Elder, yes. But not Minister. So, again, this line of reasoning falls apart. Symbolically speaking, the entire body are priests (I PET. 2: 9). So we are forced to allow the Bible to interpret itself, which brings us again to the first statement – only the Levites could receive tithes.

The ministry are the modern Levites, are they not?
No. This position is entirely unbiblical. This is only taught in Armstrongism to validate the ministry’s taking of tithes contrary to the law. Look at the slippery slope of this thinking: If there is a Levitical Priesthood, then there is no Priesthood of Melchizedek, and then Hebrews is wrong, Jesus is not our High Priest, the law is not changed, we are beholden to all 613 laws of the Torah, and we are not saved. But most interesting of all, the ministry would then be beholden to wear the priestly garb commanded of the Levites, and to live as Levites in every other respect. They are unwilling to do this. Thus, we hear, “The law! The law! Just not that law.”

Isn’t it a Christian’s duty to support the ministry through tithing?
No. This is precisely what HWA said was the entire duty of a Christian, but early writings make it clear that it was the policy of the earliest Christians not to give money in support of the ministry because of the corrupting influence. Preachers who demanded money were declared to be false, unless that money was for the poor. Money could be contributed to a fund for the poor. Preaching was “paid for” in the form of food, shelter, clothing and other basic necessities.


Did Noah follow meats laws?
Noah was aware of clean and unclean animals, but this is obviously for the purpose of sacrifice and not food. The very first thing Noah did after leaving the Ark was to sacrifice of the clean animals (GEN. 8: 20). God specifically gave Noah all things to eat immediately after this (GEN. 9: 1-3). The phrase “moving thing” also translated “creeping thing” specifically includes reptiles. Noah could eat anything and everything, including reptiles, yet, he sacrificed clean animals. Clean and unclean were for sacrifice.

Have meats laws been “brought forward” into the New Covenant?
No. The cleanliness was only ceremonial. The root meaning of meats laws was a separation of Jew (clean) and Gentile (unclean). This is evident in Peter's sheet vision, where Peter saw unclean animals and was commanded to kill and eat unclean beasts. Peter correctly concluded the Gentiles were represented (ACT. 10: 28). God made it clear there was no longer such a distinction between Jew and Gentile. Jesus made it clear that nothing from the outside can defile us (MAR. 7: 15). Paul is exactingly specific that nothing is unclean of itself (ROM. 14: 14). With the intent of the law now gone (Gentiles cleansed and Jew no longer separated from Gentile), what is the use of it? There is no command in the New Covenant for Christians to abstain from unclean meats.

Peter said he never ate anything unclean, wasn’t that years after the resurrection?
Peter was of a Jewish background at a time before it was made clear that Gentiles were called to participate in the New Covenant. All preaching at that time was to Jews only (ACT. 11: 19). It had to be this way since the gospel was to the Jews first, then to the Gentiles. Paul continued this pattern in his preaching by going to the Jews first, then when he was rejected he went to the Gentiles. The thinking behind this argument is, “if Peter didn’t know that he could eat all things 4 to 10 years after Jesus’ resurrection, then meats laws must still be in effect.” This thinking is wrong. If that were the case, Gentiles are not called to participate in the New Covenant, because 4 to 10 years after Jesus’ resurrection the gospel had gone only to the Jews because the Apostles didn’t know the Gentiles were cleansed.
Besides, that's not how covenants work. When covenants end, they end. Period. Terms do not automatically carry from covenant into covenant. Each is its own thing. Saying, "Peter wasn't fully aware of the implications of the end of the Old Covenant therefore it didn't end," is simply not reasonable.

How can the sheet vision clean meats when it was about cleansing the Gentiles?
The clean or unclean status of the meats was only ever a ceremonial thing. Nothing in the entire Bible indicates otherwise. Never is clean or unclean associated with health. Armstrong began his ministry teaching this very thing. He taught that because he was in a system descended from Ellen G White's Adventism and their particular focus on foods. With clean and unclean being nothing but ceremonial, now that the object which the meats symbolized has been cleansed, what possible purpose can there be for the symbol of uncleanness to remain? Why keep a shadow when the fullness has come? If we must keep these things, then the ramifications include that we must also keep the unbreakable separation between Jew and Gentile, since this is what the meats truly represented. And what is implied by that is that a part of Christ’s Body is unclean. God forbid!

Does Isaiah condemn people who eat pork?
This is yet another pre-conclusion looking for evidence. Isaiah 66 is a prophecy referring to idolatry given in Old Covenant terms to Old Covenant readers. All prophetic interpretation is speculation. It cannot undo the clear teachings of the New Covenant. The assumption behind this argument is, “If we see something in prophecy, then it is valid today.” This thinking is wrong. Ezekiel states that in the future temple there will be Levites, animal sacrifices, and various other things we know are not valid in this time. The better course of action would be to re-think the speculation and determine why it doesn’t match with the New Covenant.

By avoiding pork and seafood, am I keeping the meats laws?
Meats laws entail much more than avoiding the meats listed as unclean. Fat was also prohibited (LEV. 3: 17; 7: 23). Eating with Gentiles was prohibited (ACT. 10: 28; 11: 3). Anything the unclean substances touched became unclean, so cook-surfaces that have touched unclean foods are unclean, and all food cooked on an unclean cook-surface is also unclean, as are the storage bins. There is a whole lot more to meats laws than simply avoiding certain meats. And as James indicates, if you’re not following it all then you’re not following any of it (JAS. 2: 10).

Holy Days

Is it a sin to observe a Holy Day at the wrong time?
According to the Old Covenant law, yes. So, if one feels obliged to keep the Old Covenant law, one had better get the timing right. Unfortunately, without the timekeeping of the Jews, with whom Armstrongism disagrees more often then it agrees, the process breaks down into a series of “calendar controversies” – and there are few things so absolutely guaranteed to cause division and conflict as calendar controversies.

Did Herbert W Armstrong have the correct timing of Holy Days?
No. For 40 years HWA (supposedly an Apostle taught directly by God) taught that Pentecost falls on Monday. According to this reasoning, everyone who lived and died observing the wrong date/time were terrible sinners awaiting condemnation. RedFox of Living Armstrongism, in the post “What Was WCG Before 1970 Like?” adds this:
Around 1948-9 a controversy erupted in RCG. It has been described as traumatic. Anyone who disagreed with HWA's Monday Pentecost was cast out of the church, only to learn 25 years later that they were right.
In Armstrongism, to be cast out of the church means eternal death. One cannot overstate the gravity of convicting people of an offense worthy of eternal death… only to completely about face 25 years later. In 1974, Pentecost was changed to Sunday. Incidentally, this change in dating caused a huge split in the church and prompted Raymond Cole to establish the Church of God the Eternal. To this day they observe Pentecost on Monday, citing as authority Armstrong’s claims that God revealed the truth to him at the beginning. Both cannot be right.
Timing issues appear in other areas as well. The Church of the Great God calculates Pentecost differently than other groups in years when the First Day of Unleavened Bread falls on a weekly Sabbath. And there has been an ongoing argument for decades among various Armstrongists about whether Passover should be observed on the night of the 14th or the night of the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nissan. Recently, the high holy day called "The Last Great Day" was demoted and changed to "The Eighth Day". And don't get us started on the "Night To Be Much Remembered" (aka "Night To Be Much Observed"). That is entirely made up due to a misunderstanding of the timing of Passover.
All of these conflicting ideas (and these aren’t the only ones) cannot possibly be right, thus proving conclusively that the Armstrong's interpretation of timing is neither plain nor inspired.


What is legalism?
Legalism is a condition of the heart. There are at least three pieces to legalism.
1) Legalism is most often seen as requiring adherence to some set of law as a condition for obtaining or retaining salvation. You can call this, “works-based salvation.” Armstrongists are often told they must “qualify” for entry into God’s Kingdom. Even though a person practicing legalism would say, “the law is not required for salvation,” the idea is that God will revoke salvation if the law is not kept. First, this is a gross misunderstanding of God’s grace in the New Covenant. Second, This takes away from Christ’s finished work, and causes people to earn their own way, putting emphasis on man and not Christ.
2) Legalism also has a component of condemnation. Anyone who is not earning their salvational upkeep is condemned as a non-Christian, a pagan, a deceiver, an agent of Satan, or some other wicked thing. The combination of failure to keep the legalist standards, and the judgment & condemnation towards others, almost invariably leads a legalist to false pride and frustrated failure. These are the fruits of legalism.
3) The third component of legalism is self-worship. C. J. Mahaney, in his book "Cross Centered Life" on pages 112-113, quotes Mr. Thomas Schreiner's book, "The Law and Its Fulfillment: A Pauline theology of Law". Here is the quote: "legalism has its origin in self-worship. If people are justified through their obedience to the law, then they merit praise, honor, and glory. Legalism, in other words, means glory goes to people rather than God."

It is unfortunate but necessary that I point out an insidious form of legalism. Remember, legalism is a condition of the heart. Legalism is not just requiring adherence to some set of law. The opposite is also true. Legalism can be demanding that there be no laws whatsoever. Demanding that we have no law can be every bit as legalistic as demanding that we adhere to laws. Condemning someone for observing Pentecost, for example, is just as legalistic as condemning someone for not observing it. Many people are so upset when they leave a works-based salvation system that they go immediately into the opposite ditch and demand all works are evil. Beware of this. Legalism is of the heart!

If certain things predated Sinai, are they still in force on us today?
Not necessarily. Animal sacrifice and circumcision both predated Sinai. Neither are binding on us today.

If certain things are found in prophecy, are they still in force on us today?
Not necessarily. Animal sacrifice, a temple in Jerusalem, and the Levitical Priesthood are all found in Ezekiel’s prophecy. None of these are binding on us today.

Doesn’t God demand our obedience?
This question is misleading. The question approaches the New Covenant from a legalist (and frankly mistaken) perspective. This can be conclusively proved when we look at precisely what thing we are supposedly commanded to obey – the list is always cherry picked from the Old Covenant. In the Old Covenant we were nothing more than servants at our Master’s house; in the New Covenant we are sons in our Father’s house. The perspective is completely different. It is impossible to blend the Covenants. Do fathers still command obedience? Yes. But what a poor comparison it is indeed to base our relation with our Heavenly Father upon that of our earthly fathers. God is superior without comparison. Our obedience to God is from God.
(PHP. 2: 13) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
All things are from God, through God, and to God.
(ROM. 11: 36) For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Obedience exists, certainly. The obedience of faith! God is not looking for an attitude of legal adherence to somehow originate from and us. He wants His righteousness to shine through us. If there is anything in us at all, it is because God put it there. We follow the Spirit out of gratitude.

Is keeping the Sabbath or Holy Days always legalistic?
No. There is freedom in Christ. Observing a day of rest, be it Saturday or Sunday, is neither here nor there. Observing Holy Days or Holidays is neither here nor there. Whatever is in a person’s faith is between them and God. Let all things be done with thanksgiving! To the Lord observe, or to the Lord do not observe. Something becomes legalistic if it is done in a certain attitude, which we’ve already described above in “what is legalism”.


What is British-Israelism?
British-Israelism, aka. Anglo-Israelism, is the erroneous belief that the Caucasian nations are the modern descendants of what are called "The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.” These “lost 10 tribes” are supposedly the 10 northern tribes of Israel who were carried away into captivity by Assyria and then lost to history. They supposedly worked their way north through the Caucasus mountains and into Europe. Great Britain along with Canada, South Africa, and Australia are supposedly the major part of Ephraim, the United States is supposedly the major part of Menasseh, and various Northern European nations (minus Germany) consist of the remaining 8 tribes (eg. France is supposedly Reuben, Denmark is supposedly Dan, etc). This theory was started several hundred years ago (supposedly first by one John Saddler in 1649) in an effort to glorify Great Britain as the people of God, and the British Royal Family as the direct descendants of King David. There is no mystery to where this theory came from and why it was first conjured up. 
Modern genetics proves this entire theory wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt. A little thinking can also show it to be deeply flawed. If the Germans are Assyria, then who founded England? The Anglo-Saxons. They were German! English is a Germanic language. How can the same people be Assyria and Ephraim? They cannot.
A fundamentalist spin-off from this theory is the “Identity Movement.” Armstrongism is not part of the Identity Movement.

Are the English-speaking nations “modern Israel”?
No. As difficult as this may be to many, there is no real evidence whatsoever that the English-speaking nations are the modern descendants of the “lost 10 tribes of Israel.” Even though there are many people who have “studied” it (I use that term loosely) this theory is a bust.
While the Anglo-Saxons are supposedly Ephraim and the Germans are supposedly the evil Assyrians, reality shows that the Anglo-Saxons are without question a Germanic people and English is a Germanic language. The Angles and Saxons came to England from Germany after the fall of the Roman Empire. Odd that the true Israelites would be the people who speak a German dialect, no?

Did Herbert W Armstrong really plagiarize J. H. Allen’s book?
All available evidence points to yes, he did. He changed a few areas to fit his own personal interpretations, and put things in his own words, but for the most part HWA’s book “The United States and the British Commonwealth In Prophecy”, is an obvious plagiarizing of J. H. Allen’s “Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright.” According to record, Allen’s book was first published in 1902, whereas HWA didn’t even learn of British-Israelism until 1927.

Did Herbert Armsrtong claim British Israelism was critical to understanding prophecy?
Yes. Earlier versions of “The United States and the British Commonwealth In Prophecy” began with this statement, “THE prophecies of the Bible have been grievously misunderstood. And no wonder! For the vital KEY, needed to unlock the doors to understanding, had become lost. That KEY is a definite knowledge of the true identity of the American and British peoples in Bible prophecy.
Armstrong made similar claims about other issues as well, including the necessity of an understanding regarding “The Times of the Gentiles.” He describes this as, “a prophetic time allotted by God to the Gentile nations, of 2520 years.” In the Plain Truth magazine Jan. 1938, p. 1, he said, "An understanding of the ‘Times of the Gentiles’ is vital and fundamental. It is the frame-work of the whole structure of Bible prophecy. It is a KEY to unlock the doors to understanding…” In the Plain Truth Magazine June/July 1934 edition, pp.4-5, he claimed these times ended in 1936 and would usher in the return of Christ in 1936 (p. 3). Herman Hoeh came 19 years later and, in the Plain Truth magazine June 1953, p.13, claimed these times ended in 1982 and would usher in the return of Christ between 1972 and 1975.
It is evident there was little real understanding of any issue Armstrong claimed was vital to understanding prophecy.

If we aren’t modern Israel, what becomes of the prophecies in Genesis regarding Joseph?
These prophecies are not for the time period of the second coming of Christ, but for the time of the first coming. The symbols do not represent modern nations, but rather the Old and New Covenant peoples. This symbolic procession appears many times in Genesis. Cain represents the older, faithless Old Covenant; Abel represents the younger, faithful New Covenant. Abel is granted God’s grace. Ishmael represents the servant-son Old Covenant; Isaac represents the promised-son New Covenant. Isaac is symbolically tied with Jesus. Esau represents the Old Covenant; Jacob represents the New Covenant. Jacob receives the inheritance even though he doesn’t deserve it. Israel bears 12 sons which are the Old Covenant; Joseph represents the faithful remnant brought into the New Covenant. Joseph will save his brothers. Notice the conflict between each of these sets of siblings; this represents the initial conflict between the Old and New Covenant peoples. Joseph bears two sons: Manasseh is the first-born and is called to be a single nation - this is the Jews; Ephraim the younger and is called to be a company of nations – this is the Gentiles. Regarding Israel’s blessing of Ephraim before Manasseh, it is God’s intention that the Jews will be blessed above the Gentiles. Our Savior came from the Jews, as did all of the Apostles, and the Gospel is to the Jews first.

Herbert W Armstrong (HWA)

Are those nasty things we’ve read about HWA true?
Most of them are. But we don’t like to talk about that here.

Did HWA ever work for the COG7 Church?
Yes. According to John Kiesz, HWA was once a paid and credentialed minister of the Stanberry, Missouri branch of the General Conference of the Church of God – Seventh Day (COG7). He was selected to be a member of “The Seventy,” which was a second-tier of church government. And he was eventually fired.

Did HWA restore “18 truths” to the church?
According to A. N. Dugger’s report in the 1936 Census on the Salem group's doctrinal beliefs, most of the “truths” attributed to HWA were already accepted by the COG7. These beliefs must predate HWA, who began the Radio Church of God in 1934.
We at ABD dispute these "truths" are even true in the first place.

HWA is not a part of my faith, why should I care about him?
HWA was the founder of the Radio Church of God, which changed its name to the Worldwide Church of God. He was its “founder, Pastor General, and spiritual and temporal leader.” If you are in a splinter group that split off of the Worldwide Church of God, then almost everything you believe depends on the perceived authority of HWA. It was HWA that ordained the people who teach his doctrines. Without him, the entire structure falls apart. HWA is a large part of your faith whether you recognize that or not.

What does the “W” in Herbert W Armstrong stand for?
Nothing. It stands for absolutely nothing. He has no middle name. He added it because it was fashionable. ABD doesn’t see this as being important. It’s merely a curiosity.

Didn’t HWA specifically say he was not a prophet?
This is correct. He did this in the Tomorrow’s World publication in February 1972, after a cataclysmic series of prophetic failures stretching back to 1953, and these were built on prophetic failures going back to 1934. But what a man says is of little value compared to what a man does. He prophesied regularly, brazenly, and did so “on authority of God Almighty” ("1975 In Prophecy", p. 31.) It was his bread and butter. Making semantics issues between whether or not he “prophesied” or “predicted” is moot. Saying he is not a prophet is akin to robbing a bank and saying you’re not a thief.

Did HWA ever predict the future and claim it was by God’s authority?
Often. He made bold claims such as "absolutely SURE!", "TRUE MESSAGE FROM GOD", “you can read what God says to me”, and on the "on authority of God Almighty” (eg. "1975 In Prophecy", pp. 20 & 24 & 31.), and those things failed to come to pass. Deuteronomy 18: 20-22 absolutely applies in this case.

Has HWA ever predicted the return of Christ?
Several times. The most blatant examples include a claim that Christ would return in 1936, a claim that Christ would return in 1972-1975, and a claim towards the end of his life that Christ would return by 2005.

Has HWA ever prophesied anything that failed to come true?
Almost everything he said would come to pass has not done so. There are over 209 failed prophetic utterances recorded. To his credit, he did accurately predict that the nations of Europe would try to unite. Unfortunately, the conditions HWA claimed would surround, cause, and result from this unity are all incorrect. He also predicted that the U.S.S.R. would never attack the United States. But, again, the conditions HWA claimed would surround and cause this are all incorrect.

How did HWA begin his journey to greatness?
HWA’s wife, Loma, converted to Sabbatarianism after contact with a member of the COG7. HWA studied to prove her wrong, but He also became convinced. Somehow, HWA got the notion that he was being specially called by God for greatness. Shortly thereafter, during a very rough period in his life, an old woman came to his door offering to give him some wood to cook with if he would help her stack wood at her house. HWA took this as a sign from God that his beliefs about himself were confirmed.

Did HWA claim to be the “end-time Elijah”?
Yes. It is said that Herman Hoeh started this, and it eventually caught on. By the end of his life, HWA took on a large number of titles and offices.
Several of the ministers that trained under HWA perpetuate these claims to this day. Some claim special titles for themselves. Gerald Flurry claims to be Elisha, the “inkhorn”, the “voice in the wilderness”, and many other things. Ron Weinland claims to be the spokesman of the Two Witnesses of Revelation, Zerubbabel, the real and final Elijah, an Apostle, and a prophet. Dave Pack claims to be an Apostle, and the one who will train the Two Witnesses of Revelation. Rod Merideth claims that these other splinter leaders are influenced by Satan and “skilled at attacking,” and that they are an “accuser” and a “divider” [most of these comments were specifically aimed at Dave Pack], while anyone who leaves his church to join another is “confused” and “turned aside.” Wade Cox refers to himself as “head of the Church of God in the Last Days.” What a cloud of confusion!

History of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG)

Is the WCG really descended from the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church?
Yes. It is well documented that Herbert Armstrong was a credentialed minister of the COG7 church, whose founder is Gilbert Cranmer. Gilbert Cranmer was a member of the Adventist group led by Ellen G. White. Gilbert Cranmer permanently broke from the SDA church at the very meeting where they decided upon the name “Seventh Day Adventist.” His reason was that he could no longer follow after Ellen G. White’s false visions. Even though Cranmer disavowed Ellen G. White, he did not disavow most of that church's teachings.

Is the Worldwide Church of God under Herbert W Armstrong the Philadelphia Era of God’s True Church?
No. There is absolutely no reason to believe this to be the case. Armstrong claimed an unbroken line of “true believers” existed from the Apostles. This was a belief copied from A. N. Dugger and C. O. Dodd of the COG7. Herbert Armstrong and Herman Hoeh, the official WCG historian, wrote a book titled “The True History of the True Church.” Much of the information in the book was plagiarized from Dugger and Dodd’s book “A History of the True Religion Traced From 33 A.D. to Date.” Most of the people these books claim as Sabbatarian ancestors of their church were actually practicing Catholics who were only trying to reform the excesses of the Catholic Church. Armstrong’s book is so grossly in error, the conclusion here at ABD is that it could not possibly have been so without forethought and intent.

Last updated: 12/21/2023