In the Sep/Oct 2012 issue of the LCN, Mr. Ames has an article entitled
"The Saints Will Stand Before God's Throne In Heaven
<http://www.lcg.org/cgi-bin/lcg/sermons/lcg-sermons.cgi?category=Sermon1&item=1351231201>",
and he also presented a sermon with the same title. We have been looking
in depth into this topic for well over a year,ever since we heard this
presented by Mario Hernandez in a sermon entitled "A Love Story in Seven
Chapters" that had been recorded in June 2011, just before Pentecost.
From that time we have been looking into the teaching very closely to
see if it has any merit Biblically. And actually we began to look into
it at least a year prior to that when various sermons from headquarters
hinted that a change in our teaching about the wedding feast may be
forthcoming. As detailed in this letter, after going over and over this
topic for the past year, we cannot accept the new teaching because we
see no evidence of it bearing true in Scripture. We are troubled over
the way this teaching is being adopted into the Living Church of God
organization. We believe that the conclusions Mr. Ames has made in both
the article and sermon are arrived at through the method of trying to
fit one's own ideas into the Bible, rather than putting the Bible first.
One point of evidence that this method is being used is Mr. Ames'
statement from his sermon, "Will you stand before God's throne in
Heaven?Will you see your Heavenly Father face to face? By the end of the
sermon I hope that you will be able to answer that question with
confidence, assurance, joy, and enthusiasm." In reality what follows in
the rest of the sermon is an attempt to force the preferred answer into
the Scriptures. We've always been taught not to use this method.

Mr. Ames presents the following statements and questions that are
further evidence of the common way that false religion invents their
teachings- the way of forcing one's own concepts into scripture.

"It would seem obvious and natural that God's newborn children, made in
His image, would be able to see Him,but there is a paradox. The teaching
of many Church of God groups would say that since the resurrected saints
will have a job to do on earth, and since God the Father will not come
to this earth until after the White Throne Judgment when the New
Jerusalem comes to Earth (1,100 years), and we will not be able to see
Him in that time. How does God's Word reveal the answer to this apparent
paradox?"

We believe that there is no such paradox. But answering this
non-existent paradox is the basis of the entire sermon and article, and
the establishment of the new teaching. These are human reasoning’s that
are not based on the approach of "what does the Bible say," but rather,
"Let's make the Bible fit my assumptions," or in this case, "Let's make
the Bible solve my paradox." Who said that God cannot see His children
while they are on the earth? Does God not see us now; does he not have
the hairs of our head numbered? One could speculate that we, as
resurrected God beings, will be able to see God while we are on the
earth in the Kingdom as He sees us from Heaven now. Remember that God
was able to give Stephen a vision of the throne when he was filled with
the Holy Spirit, "But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into
heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of
God, and said, Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God!' (Acts 7:55-56).

When Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, he indicated the same
sentiment and desire that Mr. Ames seems to have. But what was Jesus's
answer: "Philip said to Him, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it
issufficient for us.' Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long,
and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Mehas seen the
Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father"'? (Jn 14:8-9). In
seeing Jesus Christ are we not seeing God?

In his article Mr. Ames promotes the idea of a two-phased return of
Christ, during the first of which He will come "for" the saints, and
carry them back to Heaven, only to return to the earth "with" His saints
nine days later. This is common rapture language, with only the variable
of the time we spend in Heaven being different from most Protestant
interpretations of the rapture doctrine. There is not just one rapture
doctrine, and in fact one of the characteristics of the primary points
of variation among the rapture doctrines are many theories that present
different ideas for how much time the saints will spend in Heaven. There
are "pre-trib" theories of the rapture, which commonly have the saints
in Heaven for seven years, with the idea that the tribulation will be a
seven year period of time. There are "mid-trib" theories of the rapture
which have Christ's return for the saints happening in the middle of the
tribulation, some saying that they will then spend 3112 years in Heaven,
before returning "with" Christ. There are also "post-trib" theories and
"pre-wrath" theories. Some "post-trib" theories merely teach that the
church will rise in the air to meet Christ as He is on His way back to
the earth with all the angels. (Matthew 25:31) This of course would most
closely adhere to the church’s former teaching on this subject, and many
would not consider this a rapture at all, as the saints are not then
carried off to the third Heaven. Other post-trib and pre-wrath theories
teach much about the saints being carried off to Heaven, and to return
with Christ at a later time. A very common teaching included with the
idea of a two­ phased return of Christ and the saints being taken to the
third Heaven, is the idea that while the saints are in Heaven, a
marriage ceremony will take place. This is a widespread Protestant idea,
and one that Mr. Ames a lsopromotes both in his article and in the
sermon. As mentioned earlier, Mr. Ames also seems fond of the
phraseology that Christ is coming _for __us_, then He is coming _with
us_. For example, in his article Mr. Ames wrote, ". . . Scripture
appears to show Christ coming *for *His saints on the Day of Trumpets,
and that He will be present on the earth *with *His saints on or just
before the Day of Atonement" (bold text is in article). This language is
popular with rapture adherents, and can readily be found on many rapture
websites and sources. For example, an article entitled "25 Bible Reasons
ForA Pre-Tribulation Rapture" by Dr. Dan Cheatham (www.devotional.net)
uses this same turn of words: "Many scriptures reveal two separate
events that we mistakenly combine into one event. Christ's coming begins
with Him coming 'for us' (the rapture) and i s culminated, of course,
with Him coming 'with us' (the second advent)." A simple Google search
will bear these things out, and we have included just a few examples for
your convenience.

While Mr. Ames calls the pre-tribulation rapture theory false, he does
not take into account that there are many variations of the rapture
theory floating about, most of which teach precisely the same thing he
promotesin his own article and sermon. First, a two-phased return of
Christ, the idea that Christ comes "for" the saints,and then later comes
"with" the saints, and the very common teaching that Christ will "marry"
the-saints while in Heaven. Some teach that only a marriage "ceremony"
will take place in Heaven, with a "marriage supper" or "celebration"
then taking place on the earth. Others use the terms interchangeably, or
say that both events will occur in Heaven prior to the second phase of
Christ's return to the earth, or as one could call it, His third return
to the earth. We have included several examples of printouts from the
web sites of organizations which hold these various permutations of the
rapture, including some that seem extremely similar to the new teaching
from LCG. This just shows that the ideas are not new, but are part of
the tangled world of rapture theorists.

Mr. Ames speaks of Mr. Armstrong, and implies that God did not reveal
certain things about the second coming to him. We would like to know
exactly what is it that Mr. Armstrong could not have understood? This
idea of a multiphase coming of Christ has been floating around in the
church for many years. We have heard from multiple sources that Mr.
Armstrong was indeed acquainted with the idea of a "marriage supper" in
Heaven from Harold Smith, and we have been told that Mr. Armstrong
rejected the idea. We understand that during the early days of the
Global Church of God, Mr. Smith also promoted this idea, and at that
time Mr. Meredith and others also rejected the theory. Mr. Smith from
our understanding now runs his own church group and still teaches this
concept.

Mr. Ames also refers to the late John Ogwyn, and selectively quotes from
his booklet on the Book of Revelation, implying that Mr. Ogwyn would
support his theory of a two-phased return of Christ. However, just two
paragraphs prior to the quote Mr. Ames used, Mr. Ogwyn wrote, "this
final stage of the wedding ceremony parallels the Feast of Tabernacles-
seven days of feasting that represent the millennia] reign of the
Messiah, when He will make a "feast of choice pieces" to the whole world
(Isaiah 25:6)." We have included the pages of the booklet which contain
these quotations. Furthermore, we have found multiple additional sources
from the late Mr. Ogwyn that clearly demonstrate his opposition to the
things that Mr. Ames is now teaching. One such source is in the text of
a Bible Study given by Mr. Ogwyn on the book of Revelation. It his Bible
Study number 95, which was presented in Louisiana, Mr. Ogwyn has this to
say, "You know there are various groups, particularly a number of
Protestants, who teach the doctrine of the rapture, which is the idea
that the second coming really isn't the second coming. It is sort of the
second 'almost' coming, sort of a near miss. The doctrine of the rapture
of course, is not found in the Bible." Mr. Ogwyn then goes on to say a
couple of paragraphs later, "The doctrine of the rapture is the idea
that Christ doesn't really come all the way back. He only comes as far
as the clouds and He catches up the church. He takes them up to Heaven;"
Mr. Ogwyn then goes on to describe the most popular teaching of the
rapture doctrine which has the saints sitting up in Heaven and watching
while the tribulation goes on. In a later article which Mr. Ogwyn wrote
on the subject of the rapture itself, he stated this about the doctrine
of the secret rapture "Simply put, it is the teaching that Jesus Christ
will return twice!" We would submit that even the doctrine of a
non-secret rapture is also the teaching that Jesus Christ will return
twice. Secret or not secret, seven years, three and a half years, a
thousand years, forty- five days, nine days, or merely a couple of
seconds, doesn't really matter, if you teach Christ is returning to the
clouds, going back up to Heaven with the saints, then return with them
to earth at a future point, then it is a rapture doctrine. These issues
are only variables of the core doctrine and issue. Even Mr. Meredith, in
a telecast given on the subject several years ago made the statement
that "The Bible never speaks of Christ coming back to this earth
twice... " andin the context of the whole telecast, he was referring to
Christ coming in the clouds and on terra firma.

*_Other Points and Questions:_*

Using the passage in Revelation 14 to support the idea of a formal
wedding ceremony standing before the Father in heaven presents a number
of issues. First of all, to simply assume that this passageis referring
to a "heavenly" Mt. Zion introduces a concept to the scripture that
isn't clearly stated. One must ask that if John was speaking of a scene
occurring in heaven, why didn't he state this more clearly as he has
done in other passages in Revelation? Instead, he states that he is
looking upon this scene of the Lamb with the 144,000, and then he hears
"a voice FROM heaven". Why would he say that he heard a voice "from"
heaven if the scene he was observing was already in heaven? Secondly, to
state that the "elders" who are mentioned in verse 3 are only found in
heaven is problematic. Assuming the said elders are angelic beings, we
could point to Matthew 25: 31 which states "When the Son of Man comes in
His glory, and *all *the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the
throne of His glory." This verse would indicate that the "elders" would
also be coming to the earth, assuming that they are also angelic beings.
Isaiah 24:23 would seem to back this up, for it plainly states "... For
the Lord of Hosts will reign on Mt. Zion and in Jerusalem and before
*His elders *gloriously."

Another issue presents itself when studying this passage of scripture.
To take the phrase in verse 4 that the 144,000 (whomever they may be)
"follow the Lamb wherever He goes" to mean that they must always be
bodily present with Christ presents a number is issues. If we are to
take this verse completely literally then we would also have to surmise
that the 144,000 are male (redeemed from among men), and "virgins" which
means that they have never been married, for they have also "not been
defiled by women". For why would we only take a single phrase of this
verse literally while interpreting the rest of it symbolically? It is
interesting to note that a literal interpretation of this entire verse
would come very close to describing a Catholic priesthood.

Secondly, there are numerous scriptures throughout the New Testament
that refer to people "following" Christ. For instance we could go to I
Cor. 11:1 where Paul states "Follow me as I follow Christ." Paul was
obviously a human being on the earth at the time he made this statement,
and his ability to "follow Christ" didn't seem to be hampered by the
fact that he was unable to be bodily present with Him. Also in several
places throughout the Gospels when Christ was choosing His disciples, He
used the term "Follow Me." Matt. 4:4, Matt. 9:9, Matt. 16:24, Mark 2:14
and Luke 9:59 to name a few. If one must always be bodily present with
Christ to follow Him, are we to suppose that when Christ ascended to
heaven and His human disciples could not at that time "follow" Him there
that they ceased to "follow" Him? What then does this line of reasoning
do to the meaning of verses like John 10:27?, "My sheep hear My voice,
and I know them, and they follow Me." OrJohn 12:26?, "If anyone serves
Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If
anyone serves Me, him /My /Father will honor." Will we only be able to
"follow Christ" after we are resurrected or changed at the last trump?
If this is true then why do we have the Holy Spirit now? Could following
Christ actually have a deeper meaning than just being His shadow? Might
it refer to following His leadership, direction, laws, and government?
Might it also refer to staying faithful to His truth?

Continuing with chapter 15 of the book of Revelation, we arrive at more
questions and issues. In Revelation 15 we see a scene with "those who
have victory over the beast" standing on "something like a sea of glass
mingled with fire". They have harps of God and sing the song of Moses.
First of all, this scene nowhere describes anything that sounds like
what we would think of as a wedding ceremony, or a meal. Mr. Ames has
dismissed the notion that this could picture Christ's portable throne as
mentioned in Ezekiel based on the assumption that the "elders" would not
be found on the earth, but we have already called that assumption into
question. Also Ezekiel is not the only place that describes Christ's
throne. In Exodus 24:9-11, we also have this description: "Then Moses
went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of
Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as
it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens
in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not
Jay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank." It is
interesting to note that under Christ's feet (for He is the God of the
Old Testament) Moses describes a paved work of sapphire, which was like
the "very heavens in its clarity". This sounds remarkably similar to the
description of John of "something like" a sea of glass mingled with
fire. It is also instructive to note that while these men were in the
presence of God on the earth that they had a meal.

Another question we could bring up concerning Revelation 15 is what is
the context of this scene? In verse I John plainly stated that he was
describing "another sign in heaven". Mr. Armstrong, in his booklet
entitled The Key to the Book of Revelation explains that "in vision,
John is taken into heaven where events TO OCCUR ON THE EARTH are
revealed." (pg. 5) In Mr. Armstrong's other booklet on Revelation
entitled The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last! He says that "Most of
the actual PROPHECY of the Book is contained in the things that John
SAW, in VISION--- and most of these things are SYMBOLS"(pg. 10). Later
he has this to say "And right HERE begins the real MYSTERY. What is this
white horse (He of course is referring to the white horse in Revelation
6)? It is merely a SYMBOL. And mark well this fact!--- SYMBOLS are
susceptible of MANY DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS! For generations men have
been putting their own HUMAN interpretation s on these SYMBOLS."
(pg.l7). Now with these words in mind let's consider the fact that John
is seeing a "sign" in heaven, "great and marvelous". The concept of a
"sign in heaven" is also found in otherpassages in the Book of
Revelation. For example Revelation 12:1 states "Now a great sign
appeared in heaven". There then follows a description of a "woman
clothed with the sun, with the moon on her feet, and on her head a
garland of twelve stars." Is there really a woman in heaven? If this
were so, then we might have to reconsider our ideas of pagan gods and
goddesses. It is interesting to note that the Catholic Church firmly
believes that the re i s a woman in heaven, and they use this passage in
Revelation to "prove" that their beloved virgin Mary is indeed this
woman, because after all in verse 5 it states that "She bore a male
child who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was
caught up to God and His throne." If we believe that they are mistaken,
then how are we to interpret these and other passages of scripture such
as Revelation 15 where John is describing a "sign in heaven"?

We ought to look into Mr. Armstrong's explanation of these chapters as
food for thought. You can find his explanation in the above mentioned
booklet about Revelation Unveiled. He doesn't spend an extraordinary
amount of time on these scriptures but he does address them on pages 42
and 43 of his booklet. He explains chapter twelve as an inset chapter
picturing the story of the True Church. He explains that the church
referred to in Revelation 17 is the great false church. From these
explanations we could surmise that the women in these chapters are
symbolic of these two very different churches. On page 43 Mr. Armstrong
has this to say about Revelation 15, "Chapters 15, 16 describe THE SEVEN
LAST PLAGUES, which are the third woe or the seventh trumpet. These are
God's judgments against this world's false system, 'Babylon ' (Rev.
18:4, I 0)".

Mr. Ames advises that we "skip" Revelation chapters 17 and 18,however
doing so would skip over some relevant information. Considering that the
seven last plagues are aimed particularly at "Babylon'' it might be
interesting to study the scriptures referring to the plagues of
Revelation 18. In verse 8 it states "Therefore her plagues will come in
*one day--- *death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly
burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her." Verse 10
further states "standing at a distance for fear of her torment,saying,
Alas, Alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in *one hour
*your judgment has come." Dropping down to verse 17... "For in *one hour
*such great riches came to nothing...." Verse 19 "... For in *one hour
*she is made desolate." These scriptures seem to imply that Babylon's
destruction will be sudden and quick. No mention of any nine day period
of time is found in these verses. We could also refer to Jeremiah /S
/1:8 "Babylon has *suddenly *fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her!"
And "But these two /things /shall come to you *in a **moment, **in one
day: *The loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in
their fullness Because of the multitude of your sorceries, For the great
abundance of your enchantments" (Isa 47:9). So the Old Testament
verifies that Babylon's fall will happen in one day or less.

In mentioning Zechariah 14, Mr. Ames said that the day that Christ sets
foot on the Mount of Olives will not occur at the last trumpet. This is
a clear change in our past understanding and changes part of the
meaningof the Feast of Trumpets (Christ intervening in world affairs)
from what we currently teach in our literature and other sermons. For
example, in his Trumpets sermon that was sent to the congregations this
year (2012) Scott Winnail states, "As He returns to the earth, as that
seventh trumpet sounds, as the first fruits are resurrected, changed in
a moment in a twinkling of an eye seven more plagues begin to happen."
Dr. S. Winnail also states, "When will Christ return? Christ likely will
return on the Feast of Trumpets. What better day? The seventh trumpet
will sound ... it will announce seven more plagues, but it will also
announce the return of Christ. We'll be changed in a moment in the
twinkling of an eye *at *the last trumpet." We are not this adamant
about the teaching that Ch1ist's return would likely happen on a
specific Feast of Trumpets- we do believe that Trumpets definitely
pictures this event, but the Bible also says that no man knows the day
norhour, not even the angels. (Mt 24:36). Dr. S. Winnail also states,
"... the saints who came before us, they will rise first. And those of
us who live on and remain and hold fast to the truth will rise to follow
them and meet Christ in the air. And then He'll return to the earth, the
rest of Scripture says, and will rule and reign on the earth." This
seems to contradict the new teaching from Mr. Ames -is there a
contradiction or not?

There can only be one "last trump" is this correct?  In 2 Thess 1:6-10
the Apostle Paul describes both the glorification of the saints and the
punishment of the disobedient as happening on the same day, 6 "since /it
is /a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who
trouble you,7 and to /give /you who are troubled rest with us when the
Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming
fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God , and on those who do
not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished
with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the
glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in
His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our
testimony among you was believed" (2Th 1:6-10).

The passage in Matthew 25:31-34,41 is a concise depiction of Jesus
returning with all the holy angels, then sitting on His throne of glory
(:31 ); then all nations gathered before Him and separated (:32-33).
This cannot occur in Heaven, it must be on the earth since the "goats"
obviously will not be taken to Heaven, 3 1 "When the Son of Man comes in
His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, thenHe will sit on the
throne of His glory. 32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him,
and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides /his
/sheep from the goats. 33 "And He will set the sheep on His right hand,
but the goats on the 34 left.  "Then the King will say to those on His
right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world ....41 "Then He will
also say to those on the left hand ,'Depart from Me, you cursed , into
the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt 25:31-
34, 41 ). This is further evidence that the resurrection and the descent
to terra firma is going to happen on the same day.

None of the prophecies about Christ's return state that He will go back
up to Heaven.  Rather the prophecies depict:

1.       Jesus returning in power and glory.

2.       All of His angels will come with Him.

3.       Everyone will see the return of Christ. No mention of them
seeing Him go back to Heaven, or leaving the atmosphere.

4.       The saints glorified.

5.       Punishment to the unbelievers.

Why would there be such a powerful spiritual force of the Messiah and
angels coming from Heaven just to go right back up?  If there is no
mention of an ascent back to Heaven, why is Mr. Ames stating that the
Bible does say this?

The language, "that day and hour" is used several times in Scripture to
describe the return of Christ and the resurrection of the saints, for
example Matthew 24:29-31, 36. Yet in verses 48-51, the fate of the
wicked servant also is depicted as occurring in what is described as the
return of the master on that day and hour, "the master of that servant
will come on a day when he is not looking for /him /and at an hour that
he i s not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint /him /his
portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of
teeth" (Mt 24:50-51).

If Mr. Ames was truly looking to see what is meant by Marriage of the
Lamb, why did he ignore the parables which liken the Kingdom of God to a
wedding feast (Mt 22:2-14; Mt 25:1-13)? Scripture describes marriage to
God as figurative. In addressing a question of literal marriage, Jesus
Christ said that the resurrected saints do not marry nor are given in
marriage (Mk 12:23-25). Mr. Ames,however is portraying a literal
marriage, and even applying modern western marriage ceremony customs to
God. If this were true then the ceremony would also include to swearing
of vows at the ceremony. But this cannot be so since we have stated our
vows to Christ at baptism. Christ married ancient Israel, and this was a
figurative marriage. If it were a literal marriage then the Israelites
would have been committing adultery by marrying each other. But the
symbol of marriage is very effective in describing Israel's relationship
to God- a relationship of devotion and exclusion of other gods.
Committing harlotry against God is symbolic language of partaking in
idolatry. Here are some passages that bear out the point that Christ
married Israel:

·       "Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel
had committed adultery, I h ad put her away and given her a certificate
of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and
played the harlotalso.... 'Return, O backsliding children, says the
LORD; 'for 1am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two
from a family, and I will bring you to Zion."' (Jeremiah 3:8, 14)

·       "Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, 'Thus says the
LORD: "I remember you, The kindness of your youth, The love of your
betrothal, When you went after Me in the wilderness, In a land not
sown.""'(Jeremiah 2:2)

·       "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. "But this /is /the covenant that I will make with the
house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in
their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and
they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:32-33). Note that this gives us an
indication that we become married to God by the indwelling of the
HolySpirit.

·       For your Maker /is /your husband, The LORD of hosts /is /His
name; And your Redeemer /is /the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth. For the LORD has called you
Likea woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when
you were refused," Says your God. (Isaiah 54:5-6). Note that this
passage uses both metaphor ("your Maker is your husband") and simile
("has called you *Like***a woman ... *Like *a youthful wife"), whereas
the previous examples use metaphor.

·       "I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice, In loving kindness
and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know
the LORD." (Hosea 2: 19-20)

The numerous above examples are given to illustrate how common this
symbol of marriage is used. The Church of God understands the use of
symbols in scripture and normally does not make the mistake of taking
these symbols literally. Hence, the Lamb of God is understood not to
mean that the Messiah is covered in wool and emits sounds of bleating.
It is understood that when we are instructed to drink the blood of
Christ and eat His flesh, that this is not cannibalism. We understand
that the Beast of Revelation will not be a real dinosaur with a woman
riding on it, etc. So why do we have a problem seeing that marriage to
God is not literal. If it were literal, then where does reproduction
come into play? Are we literally marrying our Elder Brother (that sounds
incestuous)? Why is it difficult to see that our commitment to Christ,
our unity to Christ through the Holy Spirit is likened to a Husband and
wife commitment?

Many problems thus arise with the new teaching (which is not really new,
as illustrated by the accompanying examples from other religious
groups.) For instance, Mr. Ames is forced to separate a marriage
ceremony in Heaven from the Wedding Feast depicted by the Feast of
Tabernacles. The Jewish traditional marriage customs are valid in regard
to picturing the conversion process and is also paralleled in the Holy
Days as follows:

·       Stage 1 of Jewish wedding ceremony= bride price= Passover season
(Christ's sacrifice)

·       Stage 2 of Jewish wedding ceremony= espousal/covenant= Pentecost
(Our covenant)

·       Stage 3 of Jewish wedding ceremony= marriage feast= Tabernacles
season (meeting Christ, millennia!
reign )

The new teaching attempts to insert a modern wedding ceremony officiated
by God the Father in Heaven.

As already mentioned, why is Mr. Ames selective regarding which parts of
Revelation are literal? Does he not need to be consistent with the other
parts of Revelation? For instance,

·       Does Rev 5:13 prove that all creatures on earth will speak, "And
every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth
and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
"Blessing and honor and glory and power /Be /to Him who sits on the
throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"

·       In Rev 6:9-10, when the fifth seal is opened (well before the
last trumpet) will the martyred saints literally awaken under the altar,
cry out, and receive their robes, "When He opened the fifth seal, I saw
under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of
God and for the testimony which they held.  And they cried with a loud
voice, saying, "How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, until You judge and
avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

In his sermon Mr. Ames said, "As we've seen from the scriptures, we will
be standing on the sea of glass, we will be able to see our Father in
Heaven, we will be able to see Him face to face." We certainly have not
seen this from the scriptures, so why characterize it this way? This
distracts from the fact that we have not seen this from scriptures. The
same tactic is used when he said, "The scriptures demonstrate that we
will not have to wait 1100 years to see our Father in Heaven." Again,
the scriptures do not demonstrate this, but saying they do is a tactic
of distraction from this fact. Early in his sermon Mr. Ames did this as
well: "How do we answer that apparent paradox? 1) We believe the
scriptures. This may be a test for some who *will not want to believe
what they read." *this last statement is a psychological bully tactic in
which the listener is being prepped and warned. He is stating that if
you don't believe what is said in this sermon, then you don't want to
believe. If one is confident in a teaching, then there is no need to set
up an adversarial tone such as this. This quote indicated to me that
what was to follow was probably not going to be very scriptural, and it
wasn't. I've seen this type of tactic used in other types of
presentations when the presenter was going to attempt to prove something
questionable, and he prefaces the presentation by saying something along
the lines of, ''I'm going to prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt. .
. ", or "When we are finished you will be 100% convinced." Well, this
kind of statement is used to convince the listener before the
presentation is even given. Again, if you are on solid ground, there is
no need for these tactics, just prove the facts.

Mr. Ames said, "... we anticipate meeting Christ in the air at the
seventh trumpet _and go to God's throne __from __there. We will see our
Father in Heaven; we will be one with Him and with the Lamb as we read
in John 17_/_."_///The underlined text is a human reasoning. This alters
and undermines what Christ taught about being onewith God. Mr. Ames' new
teaching implies that in order to be at one with God we must be bodily
in His presence. So according to the new teaching does this mean that we
will only be at one with God for nine days, while in His presence?
Doesn't this present its own paradox? This highlights a problem with
bringing in error and teaching it authoritatively- that when you tell a
falsehood you have a domino effect and have to tell other falsehoods to
support the first. While Christ was on the earth as a human, was He not
at one with the Father? Haven't we always understood that we can become
one with Christ and the Father when they make Their home with us through
the Holy Spirit? "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me,
he will keep My word;and My Father will love him, and We will come to
him and make Our home with him' (Job 14:23).

Mr. Ames said, "The Bible is not a problem of exclusion or subtraction,
it's an exercise in addition s, so you add information." This is a
treacherous exercise to be partaking in. The sermon has indeed added
information to the prophecies of Bible. There is not a verse that
depicts The Father officiating at a marriage ceremony. And there is not
a verse stating that Christ is coming for the saints in order to take
them back up to Heaven. Is this no big deal? "For I testify to everyone
who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to
these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this
book; and if anyone takes away from the wordsof the book of this
prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the
holy city, and /from/the things which are written in this book" (Rev
22:18-19). We have often been told to prove all things and hold fast to
that which is good. To us there is no proof in the Bible of this new
teaching. Mr. Ames' statement, "Godthe Father will conduct His own Son's
wedding" is another human devised idea that is not stated in the
scripture. We cannot accept this, and we would not accept it from anyone
else- it is simply not in the Bible.