Articles

"False Conversion!" article from Herbert W. Armstrong

(Originally Published in the Plain Truth Magazine February 1982 Issue) [caption id="attachment_4397" align="alignleft" width="212"]False Conversion article by Herbert W. Armstrong This article is just one of many published in a NEW magazine called “Recapture True Values” published by wwcg-archives.com staff.[/caption] To download your Free Issue of our NEW magazine “Recapture True Values” – Click here! Millions have been led to think they are “saved,” who are only deceived and don’t know it! Here is a frank, daring article, making the truth PLAIN! IT’S DIFFICULT to believe, but it’s true. In today’s religious confusion millions have supposed they had salvation spiritually — they have believed on Jesus Christ — and are not saved! Would you suppose one could actually worship Christ — and all in vain? Do you know what Jesus himself said of these people who want to worship him without obedience to God’s Commandments? Listen to his words: “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men… Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:7-9). Back to the Faith Once Delivered   But what does GOD tell you in his Word? Through Jude, God says: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares … ungodly men, turning the GRACE of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4). Yes, even before the New Testament was completely written, ungodly men had crept inside the Church to corrupt it — turning GRACE into LASCIVIOUSNESS. And what is “lasciviousness”? It means “license” — unrestrained liberty — abuse of privilege. In other words, license to do that which seems right in human eyes — according to human conscience — though it disobeys God’s LAW! And that is exactly what those ungodly men, even in the first century, did — turned GRACE into unrestrained privilege to disobey God’s law and turned to human conscience as a guide! And once introduced, the practice has persisted and spread over the whole world until today! This is one of the FABLES the apostle Paul warned us men would turn to. Paul said: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. . . . For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts [lasciviousness — human reasoning] shall they … turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto FABLES” (II Tim. 3:13; 4:3, 4). But, one will argue, Jude said these men would deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not the men who teach a “no works” doctrine believe in Christ? Do they deny him? Yes, they DENY him! God says: “They profess that they know God; but IN WORKS they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every GOOD work reprobate” (Titus 1:16). The way of human reason — that seems RIGHT — is often DISOBEDIENCE to God!   What the Savior Himself Taught     These deceived teachers have just one favorite text. They quote Acts 16:31: “BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Now that text from the inspired pen of Paul means what it says. But there are two kinds of BELIEVING — the living faith that brings salvation, and a dead “no works” faith that produces only DEATH! But WHY do they, in their tracts and their sermons, never quote what the Savior himself said in answer to the question? WHY? Jesus was asked: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18.) Some might try to tell you that the SAVIOR himself did not know, or teach, the way of SALVATION — he was teaching Old Testament religion. Well, he was asked HOW to gain ETERNAL LIFE. Is that salvation? It certainly is! Old Testament religion teaching lasted until John — not until the cross — not until “Pentecost.” Just UNTIL JOHN (Luke 16:16). Jesus preached the SAME gospel he commanded his disciples to teach ALL nations — gentiles included — the same gospel Paul preached to gentiles. He preached only the NEW Testament gospel. He revealed the WAY OF SALVATION. Here is his answer — that of the SAVIOR HIMSELF on HOW TO BE SAVED: “IF thou wilt enter into LIFE, keep the commandments.” And he enumerated enough of the Ten Commandments to show it was this particular law that must be obeyed AS A CONDITION to receiving eternal life as God’s GIFT. Jesus said “IF” — (THERE WAS A CONDITION) — “IF” we are to be saved, by God’s grace, WE MUST KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS! God lays down his own terms and conditions. His FREE GIFT is conditional — you get it ONLY if you “keep the commandments.” You can’t EARN it. God GIVES it — but only to those who “KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.” God will not GIVE you eternal life in sin. And what is Sin? “SlN IS THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE LAW” (I John 3:4). Some who pervert God’s truth insist Jesus did not name ALL of the Ten Commandments in the above scripture. Sin is the transgression of THE LAW. It is a COMPLETE LAW. He named enough of its points to designate WHICH LAW he was talking about. And James says that law has “POINTS” — and, if we break any ONE of the 10 points of the Ten Commandments, We BREAK THE LAW, and are sinners (Jas. 2:8-11). The very same day the Holy Spirit came — the very day the NEW TESTAMENT Church commenced — thousands, hearing the inspired Peter’s sermon, which struck straight to their heart, asked, “What shall we do?” — yes, WHAT SHALL WE DO TO BE SAVED? The inspired answer was: “REPENT, and BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts. 2:38). Jesus said, “REPENT YE, and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.” We must BELIEVE not only in Jesus as Savior, but we must believe also THE GOSPEL he brought and preached — the Gospel of the Kingdom of God — the AUTHORITY of God and the WORD of God over our lives — a message not preached today by most organized churches! After his resurrection, in his parting instructions to his disciples for preaching the way of salvation, Jesus said: “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that REPENTANCE and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:46-48). This is the gospel for ALL NATIONS! But what must we repent of? WHAT is SIN? Do you realize that VERY FEW people know? Very few know the BIBLE definition of SIN. God’s inspired definition of sin is this: “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). Paul would not have known what was sin, except by the law. But what law? The very law which says: “Thou shalt not covet” (Rom. 7:7). That law is the Ten Commandments. This law is summed up in the one word — LOVE! It is further defined in the two great Commandments, LOVE to God, and LOVE to neighbor. But the same law is further defined and divided into 10 points, by the Ten Commandments — the first four of which tell us how to love God, the last six of which tell us how to love neighbor. James’ Inspired Answer   And thus it is explained in James: “IF ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well” (Jas. 2:8). Here is the royal law — the whole law — as a general principle. The law is LOVE — and LOVE is the fulfilling of the law. Jesus fulfilled it, setting us an example that we, too, should fulfill the law. We fulfill it with LOVE — not any natural, carnal love in human nature, but “the love of GOD is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5). The Holy Spirit in us is merely GOD’S LAW IN ACTION IN OUR LIVES! And so, if we fulfill this royal law we do well — but if not, we commit sin (Jas. 2:9). Now read verse 10. If we keep the WHOLE LAW — the general principle of LOVE to neighbor — yet offend in one point, we are guilty — we have broken the law — and the penalty is DEATH, not eternal life. Notice, please, the law is divided into points! And it is divided into 10 POINTS — the Ten Commandments. These are merely the 10 points, or subdivisions, of the general royal law, LOVE to God and to neighbor. “For he that said [or, that law which said], Do not commit adultery” said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery” — if you do not break that specific point — “yet if thou kill” — you just break that one point — “thou art become a transgressor of the law” (Jas. 2:11). So you see the TEN COMMANDMENTS is the very law it is sin to transgress. It is a SPIRITUAL law (Rom. 7:14). It is fulfilled by the SPIRITUAL LOVE that is God’s precious gift to us — his love placed within us. “Wherefore the law is HOLY, and the commandment HOLY, AND JUST, AND GOOD” (Rom. 7:12). To REPENT of sin means to turn from sin. It means to QUIT SINNING! And that means to stop transgressing God’s holy law. And the way to stop breaking it is to begin KEEPING God’s Commandments — ALL OF THEM, for if you break only one, you bring on yourself the penalty —ETERNAL DEATH — and you lose salvation. Now Jesus “magnified the law, and made it honourable” (Isaiah 42:21). When we put a spiritual “magnifying glass,” so to speak, on the Ten Commandments, it is enlarged in spirit and principle into many more points. And in a larger aspect the ENTIRE BIBLE is a magnification of God’s law. The law is the basis of all Scripture. It defines THE WAY of life — the way to happiness, joy, eternal life! Notice how like God it is! The law is GOOD (Rom. 7:12). God is good. The law is HOLY (Rom. 7:12). GOD is holy! The law is JUST (Rom. 7:12). GOD is just! The law is SPIRITUAL (Rom. 7:14). GOD is spiritual! The law is PERFECT (Psalm 19:7). GOD is perfect! The law — including all his Commandments — is immutable, ETERNAL, stands fast FOREVER AND EVER (Ps. 111:7-8). And GOD is eternal! Of course — for the law is the very character, the very nature, of God! It is the WILL of God. Conscience Not Your Guide   But in the modern-day Babylon — confusion of conflicting teachings — you have been taught, falsely, that YOUR CONSCIENCE tells you what is sin. But your conscience only troubles you when you do what you THINK is wrong! And what you think is wrong, another may think is right! Your conscience is NO GUIDE! Sin is not the doing of what you think is wrong. Not the transgression of conscience — sin is the transgression of God’s LAW (I John 3:4). Sin is thinking and doing what GOD SAYS is wrong — and he says it in his law. One who does what he thinks is right may be committing a great deal of sin! God says: “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of DEATH”! (Prov. 14:12 and 16:25.) Again, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes” (Prov. 12:15). And: “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes” (Prov. 16:2). The world has been going the WAY that seems right to man for some 6,000 years. But this WAY has brought only unhappiness, emptiness, discontent, poverty, sickness and disease and finally, CHAOS and DESPAIR all over the world! It has produced NOTHING GOOD! God says: “SEEK YE the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake HIS WAY, and the unrighteous man HIS THOUGHTS: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. FOR MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS, NEITHER ARE YOUR WAYS MY WAYS, saith the Lord” (Isa. 55:6-8). And there is THE WAY of salvation! There is THE WAY to find GOD! SEEK HIM, by forsaking — WHAT? Forsaking YOUR WAY — your thoughts! The way you have THOUGHT to be right. The WAY of SALVATION   The first step toward salvation is to REPENT, and that means forsake your way — the customs and traditions you have been following, the ways of man, the ways you have been living. FORSAKE YOUR OWN WAY. Turn to God’s way — the way of HIS LAW! The way of HIS WILL! Yes, the WAY of success, achievement, doing good, of prosperity — the WAY Of ETERNAL LIFE! Since the entire Bible contains the magnified explanation of GOD’S LAW, the Bible becomes OUR GUIDE FOR RIGHTEOUS AND SUCCESSFUL LIVING! That is why Jesus said man shall live by every word of GOD! True repentance means you give your SELF to God. And the only kind of repentance that is prerequisite to the gift of eternal life is COMPLETE AND UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER TO GOD — to his will, which means to HIS LAW. You become HIS, literally, and wholly, with no reservations! Repentance is a COMPLETE CHANGE in your life — in your attitude TOWARD life — your purpose in life — your THOUGHTS and your ACTIONS. It means forsaking some of your old friends and companions — if they are living the worldly life that seems right to MAN. It means turning from and forsaking worldly social and religious customs, interests, pleasures that are contrary to GOD’S WAYS. It means THE BIBLE becomes the SUPREME AUTHORITY over your life — your guide to living — yes, to happy, abundant, gracious living, and SUCCESSFUL and righteous living, henceforth and forever — to live your life from now on with GOD’S HELP, and BY HIS POWER, according to the spirit and principle, as well as the letter and precept of his Commandments. You henceforth STUDY THE BlBLE — not just carelessly read, but STUDY, to learn GOD’S WAYS, and to LIVE BY EVERY WORD OF GOD! Now ask yourself, candidly: How MANY people who profess salvation — who have “accepted Christ” — do you believe have REALLY COME TO THIS KIND OF REAL REPENTANCE? “Except ye REPENT,” warned Jesus, “ye shall all likewise PERISH” (Luke 13:3, 5). And again, “He that SAITH, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4). Yes, MILLIONS ARE DECEIVED! But if millions are deceived about the prior CONDITION of repentance, just as many millions are deceived today as to the KIND OF FAITH that really SAVES! The FAITH That SAVES   Now think a moment! Use your REASON! We are taught, and rightly, that we cannot EARN our salvation — it is the GIFT of God. If is by GRACE — and “grace” means undeserved pardon and free gift. Yet, notice how inconsistent people are! They argue there must be NO WORKS — no OBEDIENCE to the Commandments, or doing GOOD — no recognizing of God’s AUTHORITY over your daily living — because salvation comes by GRACE — God’s free GIFT. And yet they seem to believe that somehow WE must supply the FAITH that brings salvation! If WE work up, or if WE supply this FAITH by which we are saved, would not that, in fact, amount to our producing our own salvation by the very WORKS of supplying this FAITH? So notice, briefly! Notice more CLOSELY than you did before! “For BY GRACE are ye saved through FAITH; and that [that FAITH] not of yourselves; it [this saving FAITH] is the gift Of GOD”! (Eph. 2:8.) The faith that really saves is GIVEN TO us by GOD — it is a GIFT from HIM! You don’t supply it, or work it up. Did you ever notice that before? Well, what then? In Gal. 2:16, Paul explains a man is justified only “by THE FAITH of Jesus Christ.” Notice, he does not say, by the man’s faith IN Jesus Christ — he says by “the faith of Jesus Christ” — which means CHRIST’S FAITH — the faith HE has and uses — the same faith with which he performed all his miracles — the same faith by which he lived — his faith, placed by a miracle, as a gift direct from God, into the man! So, PLEASE UNDERSTAND! Salvation is GOD’S GIFT. You do not, cannot, earn it. God GIVES it. But — and here is where people become mixed up, and stumble — God will GIVE it only on condition! Yes, there are terms and conditions! God has set these terms, and you can’t alter them, and he won’t change them! I want to make this perfectly PLAIN. It is not your faith in Christ — a faith YOU supply by BELIEVING in him as Savior — that saves you. It is CHRIST’S faith, which he supplies and places in you by his Holy Spirit, which actually IMPARTS ETERNAL LIFE. But WHAT, then? Is it not necessary for YOU to believe, with YOUR OWN faith, in Christ? Now let me make this PLAIN! Salvation is GOD’S FREE GIFT — it is by GRACE ALONE. Yet the very purpose of God demands TWO prior CONDITIONS on YOUR part. First, you must REPENT! Second, you must BELIEVE in Christ as Savior. But you cannot believe in Christ unless you also believe his message — the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 16:15-16). But NEITHER your repentance, followed by your obedience, NOR YOUR faith earns any salvation! They are merely prior CONDITIONS. But when you supply these two ingredients, then God STANDS BOUND BY HIS PROMISE to impart to you by his Holy Spirit HIS righteousness, and CHRIST’S faith — and THESE, supplied by GOD, are the ingredients that SAVE AND IMPART ETERNAL LIFE! Paul explains: “Even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified BY THE FAITH OF CHRIST” (Gal. 2:16). You must repent and believe in Christ, as a condition, a prerequisite, IN ORDER THAT you may receive, and be saved by the faith OF Christ — by his faith placed within you! Cut Off From GOD   All have sinned! All have gone the way that seems right in human eyes. And our sins have cut us off from God: “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). Now salvation — eternal life — comes from GOD. But your sins have cut you off from God. The connection is SEVERED. You severed it! God will not GIVE you his gift of eternal life until you are reconciled to him! But he so LOVED you, that he GAVE his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to DIE FOR YOU so that you need not perish — but, through Jesus Christ, be brought into contact with him so he can GIVE you eternal life! The PENALTY of transgressing his law is DEATH! Jesus paid that penalty in your stead. If, and when, you TRULY REPENT, as I have explained at length, and BELIEVE on Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior from sin and from sinning, then by and through HIM you gain access to GOD THE FATHER. The two conditions of turning FROM sin, and accepting Christ (including baptism), YOU must DO YOURSELF! That’s what YOU must do! That is NOT what saves you! It merely reconciles you to GOD — brings you into CONTACT with God, so that God will then GIVE YOU his HOLY SPIRIT — and his SPIRIT imparts the gift of the FAITH that saves — and is also the Spirit of UNDERSTANDING, of knowledge, of the love that FULFILLS the law and imparts GOD’S righteousness. Millions have been deceived and . falsely believe that they have a salvation that they do NOT yet have at all! GOD HELP us, then, to UNDERSTAND. What You Should Do   Now, finally, just HOW shall you go about it? Must you go down the aisle in a church? Must you go to a public altar, and shed tears in front of others, and pray aloud before others? Being converted is not an initiation into a lodge or secret society! It is not a rite or ceremony! It is a matter of turning FROM the old life that was false, yet may have seemed right to you — of turning TO a new and TRUE way of life in Christ Jesus, living by every word of God, in and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit! When you UNDERSTAND the real MEANING and the PURPOSE, you’ll see that it is something that takes place down deep in your HEART and not a matter of THE PLACE or THE SURROUNDINGS, or the presence of other people. What Jesus said about confessing or denying him before men did not refer to a rite, or ceremonial form of being converted. Being converted is the receiving of the Holy Spirit — the very life — of God. You CAN, of course, make this full surrender and consecration to God in front of others, at an altar. You can, also, make it just as sincerely and fully, in a private room at home, all ALONE with God! You can pray in church before others and do it sincerely from the heart. Yet Jesus said, “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet [any private room], and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall, reward thee openly.” WHEN you have really repented — repented of what you are as well as what you have done — WHEN you come to this parting of the ways from the old life — when you come to the place of making this COMPLETE CHANGE — this total unconditional surrender to God — this complete consecration, GIVING your SELF to him, accepting Christ as your personal Savior — turning FROM your sins, and TO GOD’S way of life as you’ll find it in the Bible, you’ll want to PRAY! Yes, you’ll want to throw yourself completely on God’s mercy, and ask him through Jesus Christ to FORGIVE YOU all your past sins and transgressions against him. The apostle Paul reveals how. He confessed: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform “that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Rom. 7:18-19). He saw human nature in its gruesome reality. He struggled with it — fought against it — only to find that it was more powerful than he! What could he do? Paul cried out, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Read the answer to the problem in the Moffatt translation: “Miserable wretch that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? GOD WILL! Thanks be to him through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (verses 24-25). It is not, perhaps, of great consequence where you do it! But the IMPORTANT thing is to DO IT! The longer you put repentance off the harder it will become. WHY it should be difficult to just go and throw yourself on God’s mercy, and ask his forgiveness and give your SELF to him, is hard to understand — yet something in the human nature within you will keep tempting you to PUT IF OFF. That temptation is not of God, you may be sure. If you are sick and tired of the empty, fruitless, materialistic life you have been living — IF in your heart you DO want to turn from it to the FULL and JOYFUL life filled with God’s SPIRIT, then WHY DELAY? This is just the start of the real Christian life. Don’t look for a certain feeling, but repent and believe.  ]]>

COMING SOON- The Captivity of the American and British Peoples!

COMING SOON- The Captivity of the American and British Peoples!

On July 11, 2013 Pope Francis gave an Apostolic Letter issued “Motu Proprio”, defining the jurisdiction the Vatican City State has over criminal matters among the “international community”. It begins: [Begin Quote]“In our times, the common good is increasingly threatened by transnational organized crime, the improper use of the markets and of the economy, as well as by terrorism.

It is therefore necessary for the international community to adopt adequate legal instruments to prevent and counter criminal activities, by promoting international judicial cooperation on criminal matters.

In ratifying numerous international conventions in these areas, and acting also on behalf of Vatican City State, the Holy See has constantly maintained that such agreements are effective means to prevent criminal activities that threaten human dignity, the common good and peace.”[End Quote] The leader of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican City State speaks of threats increasing against the “common good”. What is the “common good” according to the Roman Catholic Church? “Social life”, writes Beth Haile the author of “What Is The Common Good?” published by uscatholic.org, “is a lot like being on a sports team. Individual players want to be as successful as possible, perhaps by scoring lots of points. The ultimate goal of each player, however, is the success of the team, a goal more than the sum of every player’s statistics. A team does not win because each player tries to score as many points as possible, but conditions do need to be optimal for each individual player to play well in order for a team to win. The good of both the individual and the team are interdependent.

The common good is a lot like the set of “optimal conditions” that allow both the team and its players to succeed. In theological terms the common good is defined in Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Materet Magistra (On Christianity and Social Progress) as “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.” She continues, “Solidarity encourages us to see one another as each other’s keepers, to make sure that no individual is hogging the ball. Also necessary is the state, which acts a lot like a coach to “guarantee the coherency, unity, and organization of the civil society” (Compendium, 168).” She ends her article, “Because society is always evolving, the concrete demands of the common good will also evolve. This means that the task of creating a good life for all members of society is never perfectly realized. Because of the pervasive temptations of individualism and self-interest, one of the most pressing demands of the common good is the persistent conversion of hearts in the realization that we do not exist for ourselves.”[End of Quote] So “the common good” for the Catholic Church is a unification(solidarity) of all members of society, ruled by a STATE acting as a coach to [Quote]“guarantee the coherency, unity, and organization of the civil society” (Compendium, 168).”[End Quote]. What the Pope is talking about in the first paragraphs of his “Motu Proprio”(meaning “of his own accord”), is how the “international community” is being urged by the Holy See to come together in agreements UNDER, mind you, UNDER the Vatican City State(through legal instruments) to combat the threats on the “common good” or the unification agenda. The Pope has issued an official “legal instrument” in his capacity as supreme sovereign PONTIFF, leader of the Vatican City State(not as apostolic leader and teacher of the Universal Church), declaring [Quote]“THE JURISDICTION OF JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES OF VATICAN CITY STATE IN CRIMINAL MATTERS”[End Quote] So, if you are found guilty of an act declared by the Vatican City State or by someone in the “international community” as a “crime”, you come under the Judicial jurisdiction of the Vatican City State. Herbert W. Armstrong, in a sermon titled “United States of Europe Is Coming!”, given November 27, 1982, said [Begin Quote]“Revelation 17:3-5 I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast (Now the beast is the civil government, the political government. The woman is a church. A “beast…”), full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (4) And the woman was arrayed in purple (That is the color of royalty.) and scarlet (The color of a harlot, or a whore. “And scarlet…”) color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand (A woman is always the symbol of a church. A civil government is spoken of in a masculine gender in symbol in the Bible. “…in her hand”) full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. (5) And upon her forehead (the church’s forehead) was a name written, MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS… “In other words, the Babylonian MYSTERY religion, the ancient PAGAN “BABYLONIAN MYSTERY RELIGION”–now called, falsely, “Christianity” and claiming to be the original Church. And notice that: THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS who came out of her protesting and calling themselves “Protestant,” in protest. And God calls them “harlots,” brethren. Now, they are deceived. They don’t know it. I am not calling them names. I am reading you what God says. It is God who is doing. God has a right to call them names if He wants to. I am not doing it. “Revelation 17:5 …HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. “This thing is FILTHY in God’s sight, and yet we’ve come up among some of that. WE’VE BELIEVED A LOT OF THAT; and Christ has said COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE SEPARATE. Christ has called His Church out from among all of that–to be separate, brethren; and we have to live a different kind of life. “Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints. “You know that she called them… If they kept the Sabbath instead of Sunday, they were declared “heretic,” or “anathema from Christ.” Now the accusation “anathema from Christ” made by the church was considered a capital crime by the government. And the government, the political state, put them to death; and they were martyred. And the woman is drunken on the blood of the saints. The woman says, “Oh, I never killed anybody. Oh, no, we didn’t put anyone to death. No, we just pronounced them ‘anathema from Christ.’ It is the government; the government put them to death.” But the woman sat on top of the beast. “A woman riding a horse is weaker. The horse is much stronger. It carries her, but she makes it go! You know, “gee” or “haw,” turning right or left. And she controls it, and guides it–which way it goes, and what it does. And that’s exactly what happened, a woman riding a beast. Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” [End of Quote] The woman, depicted in Revelation 17, this GREAT & POWERFUL CHURCH, governs a CITY STATE- a political civil government. And so what has been set up, is the jurisdiction of the Vatican City State in criminal matters. The leader of the Vatican is also the leader of the Roman Catholic Church! Pope Francis! This only touches on a small piece of what this “Motu Proprio” is talking about. It is about who is UNDER the jurisdiction of the judicial authority of the Vatican City State. [Begin Quote]With a view to renewing the Apostolic See’s commitment to cooperate to these ends, by means of this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio, I establish that: 1. The competent Judicial Authorities of Vatican City State shall also exercise penal jurisdiction over: a) crimes committed against the security, the fundamental interests or the patrimony of the Holy See; b) crimes referred to: – in Vatican City State Law No. VIII, of 11 July 2013, containing Supplementary Norms on Criminal Law Matters; – in Vatican City State Law No. IX, of 11 July 2013, containing Amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code; when such crimes are committed by the persons referred to in paragraph 3 below, in the exercise of their functions; c) any other crime whose prosecution is required by an international agreement ratified by the Holy See, if the perpetrator is physically present in the territory of Vatican City State and has not been extradited. 2. The crimes referred to in paragraph 1 are to be judged pursuant to the criminal law in force in Vatican City State at the time of their commission, without prejudice to the general principles of the legal system on the temporal application of criminal laws. 3. For the purposes of Vatican criminal law, the following persons are deemed “public officials”: a) members, officials and personnel of the various organs of the Roman Curia and of the Institutions connected to it. b)papal legates and diplomatic personnel of the Holy See. c)those persons who serve as representatives, managers or directors, as well as persons who even de facto manage or exercise control over the entities directly dependent on the Holy See and listed in the registry of canonical juridical persons kept by the Governorate of Vatican City State; d)any other person holding an administrative or judicial mandate in the Holy See, permanent or temporary, paid or unpaid, irrespective of that person’s seniority.” [End of Quote] What this has created, is a PUBLIC TRUST, with “public officials”, placing under the Vatican City State those of the “international community”who are cooperating with the Vatican through “agreement”(legal instruments), which is being urged by the Holy See. The “persons”(fictitious entities) under the Vatican City State are deemed “public officials”. Now in 1979 the State declared Herbert W. Armstrong a “public official”, answerable to the State, and the Worldwide Church of God as a “Public Trust”, answerable to the State. Mr. Armstrong and the WCG proved in court that the State acted illegally, and the WCG was NOT a “Public trust”, and that Herbert W. Armstrong was not a “public official”. In order for the State to take over the Church, they first declared this. Now, if the nation you reside in, signs an agreement and voluntary places themselves under the Vatican City State, they come under the jurisdiction of the Vatican City State. Herbert W. Armstrong continued in his sermon “United States of Europe Is Coming!”(availableo n wwcg-archives.com), saying [Begin Quote] “Revelation 17:12 …the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. The beast will be over the ten nations. Each nation will have a king on its throne. It may be five in Western Europe, five in Eastern Europe… [Continuing]“Revelation 17:13-14 These have one mind, and shall give their power and (their) strength unto the beast (That’s in the military power of their nations.), (14) and these shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings… “That means the Second Coming of Christ! THEY WILL FIGHT AGAINST CHRIST WHEN HE COMES. That gets you down to the very time just before the Second Coming of Christ. (Now, I’m afraid I am going to have to take a little extra time. I’ve still got a little time, and hopefully I can get this without going over time.) “But now next, I want to show you what connection that has with the Great Tribulation, and with the United States, and with us. Isaiah 47 now. Back in Isaiah 47 and beginning in verse one. Now, let me see. I want the first seven verses… “Isaiah 47:1-7 Come down (This is a prophecy. “Come down…”), and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon… “Now remember the ancient Babylon was always a “he,” masculine gender, under King Nebuchadnezzar 604 years before Christ, down to 554 BC. That was in the masculine gender. But this is a DAUGHTER of that Babylon. This is a CHURCH. Remember the “her” is always a church. “Isaiah 47:1-6 Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: (A church that has been riding on top of governments speaking different languages. This ties right in with what I just read you in the book of Revelation): for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate (in female terms). (2)Take the millstones, and grind meal; uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. (3)Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen; (and) I will take vengeance (That’s God speaking. “I will take vengeance…”), and I will not meet thee as a man. (That is, God won’t meet as a man.) (4) As for our redeemer, the (Eternal) of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel (meaning Christ). (5) Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, the lady of kingdoms. (A church riding over governments, “the lady of kingdoms.” God says:) (6) I was wroth with my people. “His people are Israel, and we are Israel. And you have to know ‘who is Israel’ and ‘who is Judah’ to understand this. “I was wroth with My people.” “Isaiah 47:6-7 I have polluted mine inheritance (which is Israel), and given them into thine hand (This church riding over the kingdoms. “And given them into thine hand.”): thou did show them no mercy (Now notice that–“Thou did show them no mercy.”): upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke. (Notice: that yoke is going to be on our people by this very UNITED EUROPE.) (7) And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever (This is the daughter of Babylon.): so that thou didst not lay these things to (thy) heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. “Now there is a great deal more to the prophecy, and I’m just cutting it short to give you the general meat of it as quickly as possible. It’s addressed to the house of Israel. The next chapter starts out, “Hear this, O ye house of Israel” (7) and so on. Now this message, all the way through, is to the house of Israel–which is Britain, and the United States, and the English-speaking people.” [End of Quote] Now, in the United States, we have a particular problem. Since the Great Depression of 1929, the citizens of the United States of America have been used as collateral for the National Debt. The “New Deal” was given to us. Every citizen was required to have a “birth certificate” and a “social security number” registered. Now the United States was in debt to foreign banks. They just experienced a financial crisis this nation never had seen before! Creditors called due the loan the United States had taken out. Now, the United States required MORE collateral in order to float the loan. They came up with an idea, or the idea was given to them. Upon a child’s birth, the State would incorporate a “legal entity” using the child’s name. Little “billy johnson”, would have a D.B.A created for him recorded as “WILLIAM JOHNSON”(all capital letters-signifying a corporation) which is placed on the birth certificate printed on “bond paper”. Now this “treasury bond”, your “birth certificate”, is worth at least 1 million dollars when created. The United States Government measured the average “future energy” created by the child born, to be around 1 million dollars. That is the amount they deemed the average citizen would earn the Creditors in their lifetime.(first the United States indebted to International banks, owned ultimately by the Vatican-thus indebted to Rome- “All roads lead to Rome”.) Through making a D.B.A for it’s citizens, the United States was able to add the citizens as the collateral for the national debt. They took out a greater loan, using the citizens as collateral, using their future earnings to pay off the national debt. The United States has been in perpetul national bankruptcy since before the declaration of independence. The people borrowed money to come to this country and to start it. They’ve been in debt and servitude ever since to Rome through British Throne(that has been taken over by Rome). So everyone(from birth) has a corporation created on their behalf, printed on a “treasury bond” called the birth certificate, showing that this corporation is worth at least a million dollars. This treasury bond, is traded down on Wall Street as a commodity. Now, under the State level, this personal corporation operates. If you reside in the State of Ohio, the citizenship belongs to your “personal corporation” registered on your birth certificate. So, the citizens of the United States are tied in with the National Debt. If such a debt was suddenly called DUE, the American people(the flesh and blood human beings) would be the collateral our creditors would seize as payment for that debt! Much like how a child is seized by the government away from the parents, becoming a ward of the State. Citizens will be plucked away to become wards of another government! If you put up your house as collateral for a loan, and you cannot make the payment, the Bank comes and takes the collateral you used! The Bible prophesies such a thing will happen to the American and British peoples! Herbert W. Armstrong, in his article “Russia in Prophecy”, published in the April 1981 issue of the Plain Truth Magazine, said [Begin Quote]“Notice more of this warning: “A third part of thee [America-Britain] shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds [in captivity being removed from our own land and scattered over the world]…” (verse 12).  “Coming to chapter 6, the local scene of the vision shifts to the mountainous land of ancient Israel, in the Middle East–but the message is for AMERICA AND BRITAIN, today. “Will we heed it? God help us to wake up! “Listen: “Behold I, even I,” says the Eternal God (verse 3), “will bring a sword [invasion] upon you, and I will destroy your high places …. And I will lay the dead carcases of the children of ISRAEL before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars. In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste [nuclear bombing]…. And ye shall know that I am the Lord” (verses 5-7). “Just a small remnant shall escape and be spared (verse 8). These are described in Luke 21:36. “Continue: “Thus saith the Lord God…. Alas for all the evil abominations of [not Judah, but] the house of Israel! for they shall [not did, in the captivity 130 years before Ezekiel wrote, but shall] fall by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence” (verse 11). “The Time Is Yet Future “This is not a popular message. You probably have never heard it before. The preachers and teachers of prophecy almost unanimously will rise up to deny this warning message–to apply it to a different time or people. But the warning is from the Eternal God, and it is sure! The reader will do well to heed.” [End of Quote]   Now, under the State government, are the citizens of the State. Now, filed under the jurisdiction of the State is a “non-profit religious organization”, and such an organization is incorporated in its desired STATE it wants to be filed in. It is also registered with FEDERAL agencies. A 501(c)(3) organization, is a creature of the State, or a corporation under the jurisdiction of the State it is filed in. The people who operate these “organizations” have a ‘hold harmless agreement and indemnity contract” with the organization, protecting themselves with a relative shield. The people who fund, and donate to these “not-for-profit” organizations calling themselves “churches”, are the ones who are really in DANGER! Because the “tax-exemption status” of the organization relies on how well the organization obeys the regulations and restrictions placed on it by the State. If they lose “tax-exemption status”, then all the money received by donors is deemed “taxable income”. Therefore the organization is required to pay all back taxes on such income plus interest. Those who donated to these organizations, wrote off their donation as “tax-deductable”. But when the organization loses its “tax exemption status”, their donations are no longer “tax-deductable” but now TAXABLE. Therefore, they are in danger of owing back taxes, unpaid to the government PLUS INTEREST. This places the organization, and the people in the position of DEBTOR, or SLAVE. So when those of this nation who are left are taken away as slaves/captives by Europe, they are taken away as DEBTORS by their creditors. Jesus Christ through Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong protected the Worldwide Church of God from this sort of thing. The Unincorporated spiritual organism, aka the Worldwide Church of God, was raised up first, and then a “corporation” was created for the benefit of the Worldwide Church of God, in the State of California. This is required by the State to handle large sums of money, property and real estate. Mr. Armstrong, as an official of this “corporation”, declared that the Unincorporated Church was not liable and responsible for the actions of the corporation. The officers of the corporation, including himself, had a Hold harmless agreement and indemnity contract with the corporation. They were protected, and Mr. Armstrong gave protection to the Unincorporated Worldwide Church of God. The “WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD INCORPORATED, a California corporation”, was the corporation OF the Worldwide Church of God. The name belonged to the CHURCH, which was Unincorporated. It was used by the corporation on behalf of the Church. Much like how you set up a bank account for a fundraiser. You must mention who will benefit from the account. For instance this fictitious example: “Fundraiser for the Southern Baptist Church of Houston Texas”. The benefactor was listed in the incorporation. What was recorded on legal paper, is that this corporation(WWC Inc) was the corporation OF the Worldwide Church of God. The corporation was NOT the Church as Mr. Armstrong made very clear. Now Mr. Armstrong as leading official of the CORPORATION, gave “liberty” to the membership who supported the corporation. He acted in the capacity of a head of state. He gave liberty to the members who funded and backed him and the corporation. He protected them. He was essentially a type of Zerubbabel, who was governor of Judah. Mr. Armstrong was the liaison between the Church and the governments of this world. A true Ambassador! What other churches have done, is done the opposite of what Herbert W. Armstrong did. They place their membership in danger of being the surety that will be used to pay off DEBTS incurred by either the organization or the government that governs over the organization. They, like Korah, wanted to go back to Egypt, become slaves once again in order to reap the benefits of being a debtor slave in Egypt! So what the Pope is saying in this legal document of 2013, is that the nations who come under the authority of the Vatican City State, through agreement(legal instruments), are under the jurisdiction of the Vatican. That means, the Federal corporation(government), the State corporation(government), the corporations filed under the State- which is either the 501(c)(3) organization or the citizen themselves! The Bible says our peoples will end up being taken away as SLAVES. Now when the Pope first visited the United States back on September 23, 2015 , he said something very interesting! He said, [Begin Quote]“Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution.   Accepting — Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem [which] can no longer be left to our future generation.   When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of history.  We still have time to make the change needed to bring about a “sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.” “Such — Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition not only of the kind of the world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions of people living under a system which has overlooked them.  Our common home has been part of this group of the excluded, which cries out to heaven and which today powerfully strikes our homes, our cities, our societies.  To use a telling phrase of the Reverend Martin Luther King, we can say that we have “defaulted on” a “promissory note”, and “now is the time” to honor it.” He continues, “Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home” (Laudato Si’, 13). As Christians inspired by this certainty, we wish to commit ourselves to the conscious and responsible care of our common home. “Mr. President, the efforts which were recently made to mend broken relationships and to open new doors to cooperation within our human family represent positive steps along the path of reconciliation, justice and freedom. I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children.” [End Quote] This ties back in with the 2013 document speaking about the “common good”, or the unification of the international community under the Vatican City State. Pope Francis was heard urging the President towards “the change needed to bring about a “sustainable and integral development”. He as leader of the Vatican City State, gave notice to the United States that the Debt is now DUE. Change must happen. HONOR THE DEBT. Where does that place the American people? This is all part of Bible Prophecy and God says our nations will go through this! Now, being a member of one of these “churches” which are just organizations or corporations under the jurisdiction of the State, is voluntarily placing yourself as a DEBTOR under the creditor of this nation- which the Pope seems to believe is HIMSELF! This 2013 “Motu Proprio” is just the groundwork for what is to come! For more information about what the coming Beast Power and what the Roman Catholic Church will be doing, read Mr. Armstrong’s book “Who or What Is The Prophetic Beast?”. Also, what will happen to the American, and British peoples? Who will deliver us from such troubles? The Bible foretells the events that will ROCK YOUR WORLD in the near future! Read Mr. Armstrong’s detailed book “The United States and Britain in Prophecy”. THERE IS GOOD NEWS! In Christ’s Service, Tim Kitchen Sr. Samuel W. Kitchen Timothy Kitchen Jr.]]>

REDEFINITION OF GNOSTICIMS AND PELAGIANISM- How this can affect YOU and God's Church!

POPE REDEFINES GNOSTICISM AND PELAGIANISM A recent article written by Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese titled: “Pope Francis warns of two paths to holiness” was published this month concerning “gnosticism” & “pelagianism”. This article states:

As a spiritual guide to those seeking to be better Christians, Pope Francis recognizes that many are tempted to follow the wrong paths to holiness. These are not bad people following the path of sin, but good people getting lost in the woods without a map. Francis believes that it is especially important to warn Christians of two false paths to holiness. In Chapter 2 of Gaudete et Exsultate, an apostolic exhortation released in March, Francis explains that these are not new temptations. Christians through the centuries have been so tempted, and spiritual writers have labeled these false paths Gnosticism and Pelagianism. These are old temptations repackaged for a new age.
In Gnosticism, perfection is measured by information and knowledge or by some special experience, not by one’s charity. The Gnostic takes pride in understanding everything, in having special knowledge. “Gnostics think that their explanations can make the entirety of the faith and the Gospel perfectly comprehensible,” explains Francis. “They absolutize their own theories and force others to submit to their way of thinking.” They “reduce Jesus’ teaching to a cold and harsh logic that seeks to dominate everything.”
Notice, Pope Francis is RE-defining what a Gnostic is. If someone, let’s say a man with God’s Holy Spirit, teaches what the Bible says and makes it easy to understand for the reader or listener(as Herbert W. Armstrong was used by Christ in doing), the Pope here is labeling such a man of God a “Gnostic”. If such a man of God says that Jesus’ teaching is “everything”, he is labeled by the Pope as “Gnostic”. This is RE-defining by the Pope.
Francis considers Gnosticism one of the most sinister ideologies because, “while unduly exalting knowledge or a specific experience, it considers its own vision of reality to be perfect.” Gnostics “domesticate mystery” and think they know everything.
I am reminded of “The Mystery of the Ages” book written by Herbert W. Armstrong. In this book, Mr. Armstrong goes to the Bible to make plain the “Seven Mysteries” that so many do not understand! It is an astounding book, unlike any other! Now, many dissenters have argued, that when they struggle to disprove the teachings of God’s apostle, that Mr. Armstrong and those of the Worldwide Church of God(called by enemies: “Armstrongites”) “think they know everything” and that “they think their teachings are perfect”. So who is the Pope, leader of the Catholic Church, speaking against? Things begin to add up as you progress through this article, and there is no doubt whom they are talking about and against.
“When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road,” according to Francis. “God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises,” explains Francis. “Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence.”
God’s Word says: “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”(1 Peter 3:15). Pope Francis says that if someone has an answer, and wants everything to be clear and “sure” is sharing a character trait of a “Gnostic” So those like Peter and Paul, are like Gnostics? “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”(2 Tim. 2:19) “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”(2 Peter 1:10-11) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”( 2 Peter 1:19-21)
The Gnostics’ conviction that they alone have the truth leads them to claim that their way of understanding the truth authorizes them to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives.
“No one on earth has this truth but this Church.” (Herbert W. Armstrong, “Congress of Leading Ministers” Worldwide News Special Issue, March 6, 1981)   Study what the original apostles, and the apostle Paul wrote to the brethren concerning WHO had the truth and was preaching it.   “Mr. Armstrong, it becomes clearer with every passing month what an enormous debt we owe you!” (He owes it to GOD.)  “When I reflect on the precious truths of God’s Word – the knowledge of what man’s future is, the coming Kingdom of God, the spirit in man, the history of the angels, the origin of human nature, what God is, and on and on, then I am truly grateful that God has called me into HIS Church – the only church on this earth that has the truth.  “But, Mr. Armstrong, this Church- has the truth only because” Christ gave it to us through you. You are Christ’s chosen and ordained apostle, and it is through you that I have learned and understood all these things.” (Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong’s article: “How Did You Come To Know The Truth”, Good News Magazine Oct. 1979) The argument from the Pope sounds familiar as God’s apostle and the Worldwide Church of God has received similar accusations from dissidents and enemies. This is similar to the accusation of Korah and his 250 ministers against Moses and Aaron, the servants of God. “And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?”(Numbers 16:3) His argument is “You think because you have the truth, and preach your “way of understanding” you have authority to govern the Church”. Notice the Pope is speaking against “the way” the apostles of Christ taught! THE WAY OF GOD IS A WAY OF LIFE! The unconverted Saul persecuted those who were walking in the “way” of God, until Jesus Christ struck him down on Damascus road and showed him what he was doing-persecuting Jesus Christ! What the Pope is saying is not far from Korah’s accusation! Notice, the Pope is saying that the Gnostic believes that “his understanding” is the basis for authority to govern the lives of others. And that is true of a Gnostic but not of God’s true Church. This is what is being mixed. The enemies of the Church accuse God’s apostle and God’s true Church of teaching “their way of understanding”, saying that there is “many ways” to Christ. Notice what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote: “God’s Word alone is truth “That is why I have said the experience I was painfully subjected to in this six-months’ intensive study was UNIQUE in human life and conduct. I know of no world religious leader who arrived at his teachings in such manner. Perhaps that is why GOD’S INSPIRED WORD alone – as I proved – is TRUTH. Only GOD is infallibly correct! “I was brought, by the spring of 1927, to a complete MIND-SWEEPING – my mind swept clean of previous assumptions and beliefs – surrendered to the WORD OF GOD, which by then I had proved TRUE, and the SUPREME AUTHORITY. “More, I had been brought to realize my own inadequacy and nothingness. I had been brought to a real repentance – CONQUERED by the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD – and with a solid rock-based FAITH in Jesus Christ. I was baptized, and the infilling of God’s Spirit opened my mind to the Joy UNSPEAKABLE of knowing God and Jesus Christ – of knowing TRUTH and the warmth of God’s divine LOVE! “What I once hated I now LOVED. I found the greatest and most absorbing joy of my life in continuing to dig out those gold nuggets of TRUTH from God’s Word.”…”Seeking an obedient Church I knew now that when I found the one and only true Church, I would find a Church obedient to God – keeping His commandments – having the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the TRUTH of the Scriptures. “I had been much impressed by a description of the true Church, as it is to be found in our time just before the second coming of Christ. It is found in Revelation 12. It is the time when Satan is filled with wrath against God’s Church, “because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12). Satan is making war with “the remnant of her seed.” The remnant means the very last generation in this age. The Church is definitely described. It is those “…which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12: 17). “My intensive study had revealed one thing plainly: “The commandments of God” mean “Sabbath keeping” to most traditional denominations. They say, “The commandments are done away!” They reject “the commandments of God.” “That automatically ruled out all churches observing Sunday. So far as I could learn, it reduced the search to three small groups – the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Seventh-Day Baptists, and a little, almost unheard-of church called the Church of God, which maintained a small publishing-house headquarters at Stanberry, Mo. So I examined Seventh-Day Adventist teachings – just as I did those of many other denominations. I obtained their magazines, their booklets and pamphlets, their large book of Bible readings or Bible “home instructor.” “The true Church is the one that lives by EVERY WORD of God – the words of the BIBLE!” (Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong, “HOW THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD CAME INTO BEING”, Good News Magazine November 6, 1978)
Francis, on the other hand, believes that “in the church there legitimately coexist different ways of interpreting many aspects of doctrine and Christian life.” Our understanding and expression of doctrine “is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries.” He cites Pope John Paul II, who warned of the temptation on the part of those in the church who are more highly educated “to feel somehow superior to other members of the faithful.” Gnostics can think that because they know something, or are able to explain it in certain terms, that they are already saints, perfect and better than the “ignorant masses.”
Now, doesn’t this sound familiar? When we come into contact with people propagating “different doctrines”, “heresies”, trying to sway members of the Church(while claiming to be Church members themselves), we confront what they say with God’s Word and with quotes from God’s apostle(who has authority from Christ). They often will accuse us, when we show them how their “strange teaching” is in fact wrong and heresy, of “feeling superior” and “filled with self-righteousness”. All we did was direct them to the instructions and teachings of God’s Word and God’s true apostle Herbert W. Armstrong. We don’t believe we are “superior” in knowing a truth that someone else doesn’t have. The very reason we share the truths that God’s apostle taught, is to help the other person(claiming to be a member of the Church). So this false accusation does ring familiar.
While Gnostics take pride in their knowledge, Pelagians take pride in their personal efforts. Gnostics stress the intellect, while Pelagians stress the will.
Remember, one of the accusations against God’s apostle and God’s true Church, is that “they believe they only have the truth”, and God’s Church does. The Holy Spirit is only given to a relative few now. The rest of the world is blinded by Satan the Devil, unable to understand the spiritual knowledge of God. The few God has called today has been called to become teachers of “the way” of God in the World Tomorrow, after Christ has returned to establish the Government of God on this Earth. A thousand years after this establishing of the Government of God on this Earth, All who has ever lived will have their eyes opened to the TRUTH, and will be given a second chance to live the way of God. Those who seek their “own way”, contrary to scripture, contrary to God’s way, seek to accuse those who stay faithful and true to Christ and God’s Law, angry with them because they will not “compromise”.
Pelagians “ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style,” reports Francis.
“Certain rules”? What is law? It is the “rules of conduct”. The laws of a basketball game are the “rules” of the game. Now, those who “observe certain rules”, or God’s law,  are added to the accusation.
While Pelagians speak of grace, it is often just an add-on to the all-powerful human will. “When some of them tell the weak that all things can be accomplished with God’s grace,” writes Francis, “deep down they tend to give the idea that all things are possible by the human will, as if it were something pure, perfect, all-powerful, to which grace is then added.”
Rather, “in this life human weaknesses are not healed completely and once for all by grace,” Francis explains. “Grace, precisely because it builds on nature, does not make us superhuman all at once.” Not acknowledging our limitations “prevents grace from working more effectively within us,” he writes. “Unless we can acknowledge our concrete and limited situation, we will not be able to see the real and possible steps that the Lord demands of us at every moment, once we are attracted and empowered by his gift.” Francis reminds us that “The Church has repeatedly taught that we are justified not by our own works or efforts, but by the grace of the Lord, who always takes the initiative.” We cannot buy God’s friendship with our works, “it can only be a gift born of his loving initiative.”
James 2:17-26 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” What the Pope says is contrary to scripture.
This truth should affect the way we live. It invites us “to live in joyful gratitude for this completely unmerited gift” of his friendship. We can only celebrate this free gift if we realize that our earthly life and natural abilities are his gifts.
“This Truth” he speaks is contrary to scripture, and a “lie”. It does affect the way that they live. They believe that they are the friends of God, without obeying God. This is the Gnostic teaching of Simon Magus, the first Pope, of giving a “license to sin”. They believe the more this life gives you, God is giving you “His gifts”. So they take unto themselves, believing the more they “GET” & “RECEIVE” the more God loves them. This is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which was the belief that the more you “sinned” the greater God’s grace was in forgiving such sin. So their belief is, if you seek to GET more in this earthly life and receive more abilities, you receive God’s gifts, and God’s grace abounds greater in you.
Yet some Christians today seek justification through their own efforts. “The result is a self-centered and elitist complacency, bereft of true love,” writes Francis. “This finds expression in a variety of apparently unconnected ways of thinking and acting: an obsession with the law, an absorption with social and political advantages, a punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige, a vanity about the ability to manage practical matters, and an excessive concern with programs of self-help and personal fulfilment.”
“An obsession with the law”? You mean, submitting to God’s Law in every aspect of our lives, and being careful and diligent in not breaking that law- you know…the Christian walk? Remember what Tkach and others accused God’s Church of being! “Obsessed with the law”. “fundamentalism” etc. A  “punctilious concern for the Church’s liturgy, doctrine and prestige”??? What does “punctilious” mean? It means: “showing great attention to detail or correct behavior.” What does “Liturgy” mean? From Wikipedia- “Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group, according to its beliefs, customs and traditions. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy is a communal response to and participation in, the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. Ritualization may be associated with life events such as birth, coming of age, marriage, sex and death. It thus forms the basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy. Methods of dress, preparation of food, application of cosmetics or other hygienic practices are all considered liturgical activities.” So according to the Pope, if someone pays great attention to Church doctrines they are “Pelagian”. If someone pays great attention to certain things, like on “makeup”, or proper dress, or length of hair,  they have a trait of “Pelagianism” the Pope says. Now, a Liturgy is essentially a ritualistic practice, used by and associated mainly with the Catholic Church. God’s true Church has had to deal with problems concerning proper dress, hair lengths of women and men, “make-up”, even smoking etc, and had to make official decisions on what is “proper” according to God and His Word. This argument from the Pope, strengthens those who opposed God’s apostle and God’s Church and their decision on these things, and is a false accusation against the Church of which the Catholic Church is in fact guilty of. Because if you argue what God’s Church teaches on these “doctrines & teachings”, then you’ll be accused of “paying greater attention to Church liturgy & doctrine & prestige(placing these teachings above other teachings)” and therefore a “Pelagian”, and therefore must be removed. I wonder who he is speaking against? Those who are staying faithful to God, Christ, His Truth which was preached by His apostle Herbert W. Armstrong.
Rather than spending their time and energy on these things, Christians should let themselves be led by the Spirit in the way of love. If the church does not follow the promptings of the Spirit, it “can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few,” says Francis. “This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting. The Gospel then tends to be reduced and constricted, deprived of its simplicity, allure and savor.”
Don’t spend time and energy on these things says the Pope! Don’t HOLD FAST, let go, and LOVE LOVE LOVE! He talks about the Church being led and prompted by “the Spirit”. Which Spirit? We must discern the spirits! He says if you don’t allow yourself to be  SWAYED by this “spirit” he is speaking of, such teachings will be the possession of a select few, a museum piece to be looked at.(Remember, wwcg-archives.com is an archive of the publications of God’s true Church and God’s true apostle. “museum”? You go to a museum to LEARN of past teachings. Who is he really speaking about? “This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs or ways of acting.”, Francis says. There is that “certain rules”, or God’s Law again! And that WAY of life the Bible talks so much about! It’s becoming clearer about whom he is talking about!
This form of Pelagianism explains why groups, movements and communities so often “begin with an intense life in the Spirit, only to end up fossilized or corrupt,” writes Francis. “Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channeled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace.”
Let’s put this in a more relatable way. The Worldwide Church of God was raised up, and look at how God was working through those who were led by God’s Holy Spirit! Look at the WORLDWIDE WORK that was done! AMAZING! Now, after Mr. Armstrong’s death, a different Church rose up among the membership of the Worldwide Church of God. They seized control of the WWC INC organization, and began installing NEW doctrines and teachings, contrary to God’s Word, heresies, and began building a NEW membership, kicking out and persecuting the true membership of the Worldwide Church of God. Soon, the recognizable work which showed so much “intense life in the Spirit”, became “corrupt”. This is the story against the Worldwide Church of God. These “splinter groups”, these COG churches are teaching their congregations the same thing. They teach “The Worldwide Church of God apostatized, left Christ, was destroyed!”  Sound familiar? It is the same thing Pope Francis is saying. Pope Francis says, “Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channeled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace.” So, if you or me consider that obeying God, keeping faithful and true to God and His truth as taught by His apostle and Church, is “everything”, we complicate the Gospel and become “enslaved to a blueprint that leave few openings”. You mean, if you don’t compromise you can’t be led astray or deceived!!! They are saying that if you don’t compromise with God’s Truth you are a slave, and they are “promising liberty” from such enslavement! The first time I heard about a “blueprint” concerning the Church, was from a minister of the UCG. He was teaching that God didn’t have “one blueprint” for His Government, but had several government structures He worked through. That is diabolical and demoniac and comes from Satan the great deceiver!
The way to avoid these wrong paths, says Francis, is by reminding ourselves of the primacy of the theological virtues, the center of which is charity. What truly counts, according to St. Paul, is “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). Or as Paul says elsewhere, “The one who loves another has fulfilled the law … for love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8, 10).
Talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Francis reminds us how Jesus showed us the face of God “in every one of our brothers and sisters, especially the least, the most vulnerable, the defenseless and those in need.” Loving our Lord and our neighbor is what Christianity is all about, a point missed by Gnostics and Pelagians alike.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! If you LOVE your neighbor, you “permit” their sin, and so in order to LOVE those who speak contrary to God’s Word and contrary to the doctrine we have learned from Christ through His apostles, WE HAVE TO PERMIT, ALLOW these people to continue inside God’s Church with these contrary and demoniac teachings! That is what this Pope and others who have left God’s Church are crying out! God says man of himself cannot love His neighbor as God loves. In order to Love your neighbor as God loves, you must FIRST obey God and show love towards God through obedience to His Law! Then God gives His love through His Holy Spirit, and with that love in us, we are then able to pass that love onto our neighbor, and love our neighbor and brethren as God loves. His twisting of Jesus’ teaching when He blessed the children, is a perversion, a half-truth. Yes, if you don’t show love towards the weak, the defenseless, the widow, the orphan, the children etc, not clothing the naked, the starving, those within need, you are doing the same against Christ. But this is in relation to what he has been talking prior to this. If you keep God’s Law, and are concerned with Church doctrine, and such, are won’t allow compromise to God’s Truth, Pope Francis is saying you don’t love your brethren or neighbors! That is straight from the Devil, mind you! Now, this article ends with this “directive”. I say “directive” because it appears to be an order the Pope  telling His fellow Jesuits and Catholics what must be done. They must DO this, and they believe they do God a service in doing this. Notice:
Francis ends Chapter 2 with a prayer: “May the Lord set the Church free from these new forms of Gnosticism and Pelagianism that weigh her down and block her progress along the path to holiness!” He asks each of us to reflect and discern how these aberrations may be present in our lives.
THAT IS AGAINST GOD’S TRUE CHURCH! He is issuing out an order to “set the Church free from these NEW forms of Gnosticism and Pelagianism [He is redefining them]” He says such people are WEIGHING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOWN and BLOCKING HER PROGRESS! That shows God’s people have been doing a WONDERFUL JOB in staying FAITHFUL, and now the Pope is sending out an order to GET RID OF THEM! Since this directive, we personally have seen a greater initiative of attacks against this website and against us personally. Remember in Revelation 12. “And to the woman[The True Church of God who have been FAITHFUL] were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent [the DEVIL] cast out of his mouth water [armies] as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. Satan issued out an order, worked through the military armies under his control, to GET RID OF GOD’S TRUE CHURCH- to “set the church free” from such people whom they say are weighing the Catholic Church down and blocking their progress! Remember, as Mr. Armstrong taught, this coming UNITED STATES OF EUROPE will STOP THE PHILADELPHIAN WORK! Could this be the orders being sent out from the Pope to do just that? Notice God’s Promise!  It is SURE TO HAPPEN! Yes we may see this happen very shortly! ARE YOU READY BRETHREN? Below are quotes from Mr. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God on Gnosticism, and things being talked about above in the article about the Pope.
“Now in the actual history of the first two centuries of the professing church, we saw it was divided into many different sects, many denominations, in one division, the Gnostics alone, there were more than fifty divisions, fifty different sects. But now let’s look into the history of the true Church. Remember that the largest book of prophecy in the New Testament, the book of Revelation, the one great prophetic book in the New Testament pictures the church in the future and it shows TWO CHURCHES, not one. I’ve explained to you that the word church comes from the Greek word, since the New Testament was written in the Greek language, the Greek word ecclesia and it means a crowd, a group, an assembly of people, that’s all. There’s no sanctity in the word church. And so if you have a world church, of this world, that’s not the Church of God. Then there is the Church of God mentioned in the Bible. Now we find in the book of Revelation is a great world church pictured here, and it is not the Church of God at all. This is the FALSE church, the DECEIVING church, the FALLEN church, and this pictures what we saw beginning in the history that we’ve read to you, and I have read to you from various histories, various encyclopedias, but primarily from Gibbon’s Rome in the past several broadcasts.” -Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong, World Tomorrow Radio                                                                Program titled: “I Will Build My Church”(True Church 4)  
“THE CONCEPT OF GNOSTICISM Simon Magus was the first Gnostic teacher of Christian times. The religious philosophy of Gnosticism became common during this time. Gnostics, from the Greek word Gnosis, which means “to know,” had a religion based on an esoteric form of knowledge. Gnostic religions existed well before the time of Christ, but during the first century A.D., they adopted many Christian titles and blended them with their existing religion. They taught that matter was evil and spirit good and that salvation was attained through secret knowledge. It is possible that the Apostles Paul, Peter and John were inspired to write some of their letters in response to the influence of this false teaching and pagan heresy. The Apostle Paul warned about gnosticism. Summarize Colossians 2:18-23 on the lines below. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Just how powerful these false groups were is demonstrated by what the Apostle John wrote in the 90s A.D. “I wrote unto the Church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not … and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church” (III John 9-10). Some of these false teachers had become so influential that they put God’s true people out of the Church. Yet they called themselves “Christian” and claimed to be ministers of Jesus Christ. In actuality, they were Gnostics who unobtrusively came into the Church of God, and subtly introduced the elements of Simon’s teachings. At approximately the same time, Jude wrote, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Jude also admonished the Church: “______ ye the words which were _____ before of the _______of our Lord _________ __________; How that they told you there should be _______ in the _______, who should _________ after their _______ ungodly ________”(verses 17-18). Paul wrote in A.D. 52: “Let no man deceive you by any means…. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (II Thessalonians 2:3,7). About a year later, Paul wrote the Galatians, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” (Galatians 1:6). Teachers, claiming to be sent from Christ, preached a “gospel.” But it was not the same Gospel Christ brought. It was not the same Gospel Peter, Paul, James, John and Jude taught. It was a false gospel that used Christian names but was not the same message. It blended the Babylonian mystery religion, Gnostic philosophy and Christian-sounding names into a false religion. It gained so much influence that by the 50s A.D., Paul had to warn against it. By the 90s A.D., John and Jude spoke out against it. By the second century A.D., it had more adherents than the true faith had. For more information about the Gospel message that Christ brought, write for our free booklet What Is the True Gospel? “                                                                       -Quote from “Youth Bible Lesson, Level 9, Lesson 9” Published by the Worldwide Church of God  
  “Early writers often referred to Simon as “the father of the Gnostics” and Gnostic writings mention that in order to become “all things to all men” he claimed to be God the Father, in Samaria; God the Son, in Judea; and God the Holy Spirit among the Gentile peoples. Simon, it seemed, really believed in a “holy trinity.”   Perhaps the most damaging and far reaching of Simon’s new “Christian” doctrines was that the grace or free pardon of God gave a person the license to continue in sin.   The epistle of Jude speaks of “certain men” who “crept in unawares” and turned “the grace of our God into lasciviousness …” (Jude 4). Simon had been dead for some time when this was written, but Jude almost certainly had in mind Simon’s followers when he wrote this, who were attempting to introduce this doctrine into the true church.   “At the head of all the sects, which disturbed the peace of the church, stand the Gnostics, who claimed ability to restore to mankind the lost knowledge of the true and supreme God… even in the first century, in various places, men infected with the Gnostic leprosy began to erect societies distinct from the other Christians.”5   William Cave gives further details concerning the progress of this insidious attempt to subvert the true Church:   “The first ringleader of this heretical crew was Simon Magus, who not being able to attain his ends of the apostles, by getting a power to confer miraculous gifts, whereby he designed to greatly and enrich himself, resolved to be revenged of them, scattered the most poisonous tares among the good wheat they had sown, bringing in the most pernicious principles; and as the natural consequence of that patronizing the most debauched villainous practices; and this under a pretense of still being Christians.   “But besides this, Simon and his followers made the gate yet wider, maintaining a universal license to sin; that men were free to do whatever they had a mind to; that to press the observance of good works was a bondage inconsistent with the liberty of the gospel; that so men did but believe in him and his dear Helen.”6   Helen was Simon’s mistress, and it was said that his relationship with her was used by his followers as an example, which they followed in their own grossly immoral lifestyles.   Justin Martyr says of her that “A certain Helen, also, is of this class, who had before been a public prostitute in Tyre of Phoenicia, and at that time attached herself to Simon, and was called, the first idea that proceeded from him.”7   The second century writer Iranaeus adds that “they lived in all lust and filthiness, as indeed whoever will take the pains to peruse the account that is given of them, will find that they wallowed in the most horrible and unheard of bestialities.”   These obscene orgies of Simon and his followers soon attracted the attention of the Romans, who rarely took the trouble to distinguish between the true Christians and the false. Tacitus and other writers of the period relate that Christians brought to trial were often accused by the authorities of taking part in secret orgies.   Peter seems to have had this in mind when he wrote that “many will follow their impurities; on account of whom the way of truth will be reviled” (II Pet. 2:2).” -Quote from “Incredible History of God’s True Church                                                                                          by Ivor C. Fletcher(1984 Edition)  
“Fading Back Into Normalcy Under such circumstances something was bound to give. As the early apostles passed from the scene, the visible church began to accommodate itself to many of the Hellenistic philosophies and doctrines then in vogue. Some felt such a maneuver was essential for the future survival of Christianity. According to Arnold Toynbee: “Even Christianity might have found it hard to make headway in the Hellenic world if it had not, like its competitors, presented itself in Hellenic dress” (Hellenism, p. 277). Toynbee went on to say: “The Christian propagandists of the second century sought to commend Christianity to the educated minority of the Hellenic public by presenting it as the crown of all known philosophic systems. And this minority could not be won for Christianity without translating Christian beliefs into Hellenic philosophy’s technical terminology…” (ibid., p. 228). Edwin Hatch, author of The Influence of Greek Ideas on Christianity, also described this process: “It was impossible for Greeks, educated as they were with an education which penetrated their whole nature, to receive or to retain Christianity in its primitive simplicity” (p. 49). So the process of Hellenization began in earnest. Visible Christianity took on a completely different form as Greek elements flooded into the visible church. James Shiel explains what happened: “On their [the Greek’s] conversion many of them retained current preoccupation with the religious concept of ‘salvation,’ mingled with a host of similar concepts from the Oriental mystery religions. Salvation was to be achieved by perfect knowledge (gnosis). They insisted that there were hidden truths in the Scriptures which only the true Gnostic could discern” (op. cit., p. 51). The heavy influence of Greek philosophical concepts on Christianity was also apparent from the writings of the post-apostolic fathers. Origen, for instance, even urged that Hellenistic philosophy be used as a basic primer for Christianity: “I am therefore very desirous that you should accept such parts even of Greek philosophy as may serve for the ordinary elementary instruction of our schools, and be a kind of preparation for Christianity” (Philocalia of Origen, p. 57). Clement of Alexandria echoed these sentiments: “The philosophy of the Greeks, partial and particular though it is, contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human, which is engaged upon purely intellectual objects, even upon those spiritual objects which eye has not seen…. until they were made plain to us Christians by our Great Teacher…” (Shiel, op. cit., p. 3). Compromise and Defeat Visible Christianity was well on the way to becoming just another version of a modern, updated Oriental mystery religion. Elaborate ceremonies were instituted, an intellectual priestly caste began to assert itself, and esoteric doctrines were kept back from the multitudes. Many of the major tenets of competing pagan religions readily found a safe haven within the walls of a changing Christianity. Pagan divinities were transformed into Christian saints, martyrs and angels. The cult of the Oriental mother goddess was revitalized in the veneration of the Virgin Mary. And pagan temples were often transformed into “Christian” houses of worship. Hellenistic dualism centered around the concept of an immortal soul; and an evil, corrupt material creation loomed large in post-apostolic thinking. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas also drew deeply from these same philosophical wells. Augustine was probably the staunchest advocate of Greek otherworldly concepts since the Stoics. Writing in The City of God, he was quick to eulogize ascetic ideals: “For that vision of God is the beauty of a vision so great and is so infinitely desirable that Plotinus does not hesitate to say that he who enjoys all other blessings in abundance and has not this is supremely miserable” (book X, chapter 16). Aquinas, for instance, took a dim view of earthly pleasure. In his monumental Summa Theologica, he wrote: “The religious state requires the removal of whatever hinders man from devoting himself entirely to God’s service. Now the use of sexual union hinders the mind from giving itself wholly to the service of God” (p. 655). He continued: “First, as regards the practice of perfection, a man is required to remove from himself whatever may hinder his affections from tending wholly to God… Such hindrances are…. First, the attachment to external goods, which is removed by a vow of poverty; secondly, the concupiscence of sensible pleasures, chief among which are sexual pleasures, and these are removed by the vow of continence…” (p. 659).” -Quote from “The White Horse- False Religion”                                                                                         Published by the Worldwide Church of God  
“Eusebius claims they rejected the virgin birth and pre-existence of Christ, and the writings of Paul. But this was not true of all. The next age of God’s True Church-revived in the place where migrating Ebionites disappear – accepted these truths! Their very distinguishing name became Paulician! It was the elaborate theology of Catholicism and Gnosticism which most “Ebionites” rejected! The interminable arguments whether God is one Person or three-whether Jesus Christ was God or man (He was both-God in the Flesh)! And a false version of “Pauline” theology which claims the Law was abolished! (Using Paul’s name to put over false doctrine began early – II Thes. 2:2.) A rigid splinter group, also called Ebionite, was indeed antagonistic to Paul. It was composed of carnal-minded Jews who could plainly perceive Jesus was no ordinary man. But they could never forgive Paul for having put Gentiles on the level of Jews by offering them salvation. Irenaeus (about A. D. 180,in the area of modern France) wrote they used only the Gospel of Matthew. A third group labeled “Ebionites” had accepted some Gnostic doctrines. As the second century ended a considerable number had exchanged the simple creed of Jesus Christ for a strange blend of Christianity and Essenism. Some of these became Elchasaites, so called after their leader, a false prophet led astray by demon visions. About A. D. 220. Alciabides propagated their false doctrine at Rome. Quite possibly this was the real origin of the “pseudo-Clementine” Homilies (composed about 170 A.D.) and Recognitions – (written later, but based on the former) -whose perverted ramblings betray knowledge that Simon Magus, not Simon Peter, founded a church at Rome! All these were carnal-minded sects labeled by the same name in church history as God’s church. In every age the Church has its unconverted “members.” But there were a few faithful, who really constituted the Church. “                                                         -Quote from “Ambassador Bible Correspondence Course (58 Lesson version) Lesson 49”
“That VISIBLE organization calling itself “Christian” and ruling over the nations during the Middle Ages was not God’s Church. It was the church of Satan.   The True Church continued all those years, a tiny “little flock,” unnoticed by the world, almost unknown to later historians. It was composed of the few who were led by God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:14). Now understand, in this lesson, HOW God’s Church survived the Middle Ages.   1. Does the sure word of prophecy tell us some among — and pretending to be part of — God’s people would depart from the faith and accept doctrines taught by demons? I Tim. 4:1.   COMMENT: This is a prophecy for “the latter times” — not of Paul’s own day when the original apostacy occurred. In era after era of God’s Church, it is a repeated fact that after a few generations the local congregations are no longer generally composed of truly converted brethren, but of unconverted children and halfhearted believers of whom many go astray into error.   Such were those among the Paulicians in the eighth century who began to accept demon-inspired visions they called “the new prophecy.” Some were also in touch with Gnostic sects.   Why were such heretical sects found associated with (and often confused with) God’s people? Because God’s Church can only exist where there is a significant measure of religious freedom, including freedom for all kinds of heresy to exist also. For example, today, God’s Church is mainly in countries where no state religion is in absolute control.   Thus the Paulicians of the Pergamos Era of the True Church, and their Slavic-speaking brethren called Bogomils, included, at a later time, several groups with a medley of doctrine. All these false opinions migrated where religious freedom was allowed. And there, too, God’s Church found freedom to preach. This spirit of religious freedom spread into western Europe, where those who fell away from the truth became known as Cathars.   2. Why does God allow such heresies to tempt the weak of His people? I Cor. 11:19.   3. Do those who teach the doctrines of demons really know better — as a result of their association with God’s faithful? I Tim. 4:2.   4. What are the demon doctrines Paul mentions? I Tim. 4:3.   COMMENT: Cathar “PERFECTS” did not marry though their “HEARERS” did. The result, of course, was rampant fornication (I Cor. 6:18; 7:2). Neither would they eat meat, milk or eggs. In our day OTHER, and false, churches teach these same demon-inspired doctrines. “   -Quote from “Ambassador Bible Correspondence Course                                                                                      (58 Lesson Version) Lesson 51″  
True Christians Forced Out   Although numerous deceivers, called Gnostics, left the Church, drawing away disciples after them, there was an even more dangerous apostasy which infiltrated the true Church.   In instructing the Evangelist Timothy, the apostle to the Gentiles instructed him to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts” — the congregations wanting to do what they please — “shall they heap to themselves teachers” — elect ministers who will preach what they want to hear — “…and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:2-4).   This was in the days of the apostles and evangelists. MANY who fellowshipped in the local congregations of the early Church, after about two generations, did not endure sound doctrine because they had not repented and received the Holy Spirit. They elected teachers who, for the sake of money, pleased their wishes by preaching fables — the enticing fables of mysticism and sun-worship that were engulfing the Roman Empire. The letters of Paul were twisted by them to give another meaning than intended (II Peter 3:15-16).   But instead of leaving the local congregations and forming their own sects, as some Gentiles did at first, the false preachers remained within the congregations and soon began to expel the true Christians.   In the letter of the Apostle John to Gaius, we read: “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, AND CASTETH THEM OUT OF THE CHURCH” (III John 9 and 10).   The true Christians, who alone comprised the true Church, were being put out of the visible, organized congregations. They were the SCATTERED ones of whom John said: “Therefore the world knoweth us not” (I John 3:1). In the Western Roman Empire, where Paul died, the state of Christianity was even more advanced along the paths of error. The name Christian was being borne away by leaders who crept into the fellowship of the Church of God and who, in the name of Christ, deceived the MANY into following their false teachings. “ -Quote from “WHY SO MANY DENOMINATIONS?                                                                       by Herman Hoeh, Good News Magazine May 1985    
Who Taught Celibacy?  If early Christians were mainly married folk, where did the tradition of “Christian” celibacy come from? Who regarded sex as evil and marriage as merely the lesser of two sex evils? Scholars admit that the Judeo-Christian ethic of the Bible is a “naturalistic” mode of right sexual expression WITHIN MARRIAGE. This contrasts to pagan “dualism,” the belief that an evil body is inhabited by a righteous immortal soul, and that all works of the body (including sex) are to be rejected by the “soul.”  The Gnostics of Greece borrowed this concept of dualism from Egypt. The Gnostics had various conflicting beliefs about marriage, all negative. Some indulged in extramarital sex to the extreme, believing that this made marriage unnecessary. Others abstained from all forms of sex.  The Essenes of Qumram segregated men and women strictly, allowing no physical contact. Some mistakenly believe this sect was the ancestor of modern Christianity. Another philosophical sect of the first century housed men and women in a commune together, but they kept “hands off” to devote themselves totally to philosophy, unencumbered by “baser carnal drives” (Philo of Alexander, On the Contemplative Life).  The church fathers (few of whom were physical fathers!) were noted for their tormented sex lives. The doctrine of celibacy was actually an outcome of their personal repression. Origen (c. 220 A.D.) had severe hang-ups about sex, extreme guilt pangs, and he eventually castrated himself to avoid temptation — or perhaps to avoid fatherhood. Jerome (c. 400) led a monastic life, yet always stayed around women — whom he never touched apparently. He had wildly erotic dreams, the details of which he related to his women, glorying in how he had been “delivered.” Augustine of Hippo (c. 400) lived with a mistress early in life, later had extreme guilt pangs, and eventually heavily influenced church ideas on celibacy. Later doctrinaires, such as Thomas Aquinas, basically repeated these earlier church fathers in matters of sexual morality.  Amazingly enough, many of the Protestant “reformers” continued to teach the dualistic approach to sex and marriage, even though they allowed their ministers and laity to marry. Sexual intercourse was still considered at least partially “evil,” even within marriage.  But Christ and His Apostles NEVER taught celibacy, nor did they denigrate marriage. Enforced celibacy was a “doctrine of demons” to these apostles, and in God’s eyes it remains so. Nevertheless there are sometimes physical, psychological, environmental, and even religious reasons for postponing or refraining from marriage. Jesus referred to “eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” in Matthew 19:12.  Some few have the need AND the ability to abstain from marriage, but Paul added, “It is better to marry than to burn” with desire (I Cor. 7:9). In most cases, however, stubborn, purposeful denial of a pure, clean first marriage of a compatible couple who love each other, solely based on a “religious” belief in celibacy is a doctrine promulgated by a god who cannot marry, a sexless spirit named SATAN the devil.  Again, sex in marriage is NOT a sin. It is the wrong use of sex that is a sin. And to get married is right and good in the sight of God. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). “… And a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov. 19:14).” -Quote from “Is Sex Sin” booklet, published by the Worldwide Church of God  
In such a world is it any wonder that the great minds doubt whether there is any real Higher Power working out His intelligent PURPOSE? Is it any wonder that some dim-brains gave the world a fresh shock with the ridiculous slogan “God is dead!” To state that God is dead is to confess there really was a God—and if God was, God still is—for unless He is the Eternal—the Ever-living—He never was GOD!   In the second and third centuries we had gnosticism—meaning “we know.” Today most educators, scientists and great minds are AGNOSTIC, meaning “we don’t know—we are IGNORANT”! And this IGNORANCE they glorify in the guise of “KNOWLEDGE”!   As a BASIS for knowledge—as a FOUNDATION for education, we start with two alternatives. Right here is the CHOICE between fact and fancy; between true knowledge and ignorance; between TRUTH and error. Is there a Higher Power with design working out intelligent PURPOSE, or are we mere accidents of the blind, unintelligent, purposeless force of nature, descended from a single-celled amoeba sparked to life by “spontaneous generation,” “electrochemical action,” or other unknown accidental process?   The only truly scientific method is to PROVE a proposition before accepting it as scientific FACT. But has either science or education PROVED the evolutionary theory? Emphatically they have not! By its very nature it is a theory not subject to proof. Has either science or education PROVED the nonexistence of a personal Supreme God, of supreme intelligence, wisdom, and POWER to create? Emphatically they have not! WHY, then, do so many great minds who profess knowledge and wisdom doubt or deny God’s existence? Simply because of something inherent in human nature—something of which they are ignorant—a spirit of vanity, coupled with hostility and rebellion against their Maker and His authority!   Is it, after all, rational or intellectual to willfully assume fables, unproved and unprovable, to be fact, while ridiculing provable truth, branding it folklore?   But what of the other two basic ALTERNATIVES as one’s approach to knowledge?   There is a Higher Power! And at Ambassador College this is not carelessly assumed, but definitely, rationally, scientifically PROVED! And there is PURPOSE! Humanity was put here for a PURPOSE of such transcendent magnitude that even the great minds, in their carnality, cannot grasp it! And there is A WAY to peace between individuals, groups and nations, but tragically none of this world’s leaders were taught it! There is A WAY to happiness and abundant well-being, but modern education does not teach it.   So it all boils down to this crucial point: There are the two alternatives as a starting point—a BASIS—a FOUNDATION for knowledge. This world and its education have adopted the fictional, false foundation. And this erroneous foundation is the concept which becomes its approach to knowledge. It got off on a false start. Hence it is axiomatic that this world and its leaders are not being taught the true values, but pursue the false. The world is left without knowledge of life’s PURPOSE and meaning and is devoid of right goals, in utter ignorance of THE WAY to every desired blessing!   What an indictment against a complicated, highly organized, monumental system of education that has become DECADENT!   This gigantic system is ready to topple! It will soon fall, along with the civilization it has spawned! But a better day is soon coming! The happy is soon to dawn! It will be a world of PEACE, of PLENTY, of HAPPINESS. “ -Quote from Herbert W. Armstrong, “FOUNDATIONAL POLICY                                            RESTORED TO AMBASSADOR COLLEGE, Plain Truth Magazine                                            (September 1978 Issue)   GOD SPEED THE DAY WHEN IT WILL BE FINALLY SAID: BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN! The first Pope, was Simon Magus, who was a Gnostic! Today, Satan through the Pope redefines a Gnostic and Pelagian to mean God’s people and accuses God’s people of being something they are not! The successor to that man, is Pope Francis. Is it any wonder why the redefinition? And while Satan is accusing God’s true Church(as he always has done), and is stirring up a deceived mankind through RELIGION, those of God’s Church rejoice in its sufferings with Christ, and have FAITH that Christ will fulfill His promises which is written in the Holy Bible. IT IS SURER THAN SURE! We shall see the WORLD TOMORROW!]]>

"With Psaltery" | Answers to Questions

THE BIBLE ANSWERS Short Questions FROM OUR READERS

The Plain Truth  Magazine -July, 1967 Issue

  You define “psalteries” in The Bible Story by parenthetic expression as “bagpipes.” I don’t find this definition current among the dictionaries at my command. I would be gratefully pleased for the elucidation of this point. Robert L. D., Tulsa, Okla.   Dictionaries are not perfect! The English word “psaltery” comes from the Hebrew word “nebel.” “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible” — available in most public libraries — defines “nebel” as “a skin-bag for liquids (from COLLAPSING when empty).” What musical instrument is made of a skin-bag that collapses when empty? Only the bagpipe! If we take Strong’s definition of the word, the meaning appears very clear. But if one reads further, his explanation becomes muddled. The author apparently doesn’t believe his own definition. The definition in “Peloubet’s Bible Dictionary” is typical of most dictionaries. It is inaccurate. Peloubet dogmatically states at the outset of his definition of the psaltery: “This was a stringed instrument of music to accompany the voice … This instrument resembled the guitar …” The definition purports to have the ring of certainty. But notice several lines further down when Peloubet actually starts defining the word “nebel”. “It is impossible to say positively with what instrument the “nebel” of the Hebrew exactly corresponded. From the fact that “nebel” in Hebrew also signifies a wine bottle or skin, it has been conjectured that the term when applied to a musical instrument denotes a kind of BAGPIPE.” Why couldn’t theologians believe their own definition of the Hebrew word “nebel”? Possibly because it goes contrary to opinions they already had. A careful scrutiny of the definition of the Hebrew word and its 21 occurrences in the Old Testament makes it impossible to define the “psaltery” as a type of guitar. It is impossible to deduce anything so rigid as a guitar from a Hebrew word that specifically connotes collapsing when empty. Theologians know that the term “nebel” clearly means an instrument that collapses when empty — as a bagpipe does when the air is let out. But they still can’t believe it. So they reason around it. To associate the Hebrew “nebel” with the Greek “psalterium” required a theological and grammatical distortion. Why can’t modern theologians believe the “nebel” or “psaltery” was a bagpipe? Very likely they reasoned that “this ‘nebel’ was a Hebrew instrument and the bagpipe is a Scottish instrument and the Scots are not Jews.” They just couldn’t bring themselves to render this term “bagpipe” 21 times in the Bible. If they had, it would become rather clear that the bagpipe was rather prominent in ancient Israel. And that David, the sweet psalmist, had a high regard for the bagpipe, as well as the harp, as an instrument to be used in praising God. Someone might then deduce that since the Scots, who are among the most traditional of Celtic, Gaelic, Anglo-Saxon peoples, perpetuated the bagpipe in its finest form, they may be Israelites! And if the Scots are Israelites, it would not be too difficult to conclude that other related nationalities in Northwestern Europe are also Israelites. Since this would make us related to the Jews, the scholars had to conclude that the “nebel” or “psaltery” was anything but a bagpipe. Thus the “skin-bag” became a kind of guitar. One would not call a guitar by any term that connotes collapsing when not in use. But the Hebrew word “nebel” perfectly fits the Scottish and Irish bagpipes. Just how logical is the theologians’ decision to discard the apparent meaning of “nebel” and arbitrarily select a new meaning that violated the natural connotation of the term? In the scriptures that tell us the characteristics of the “psaltery” or “nebel” what do we find? Do these verses describe the bagpipe? or the guitar? In I Chronicles 15:20 the Levites were commanded to play “with psalteries on ‘Alamoth’.” This term ‘alamoth’ means “soprano” or “falsetto.” The bagpipe emits a high-pitched falsetto sound. But would this description fit the guitar-type instruments? Hardly. In Psalm 33 we find the command to “play skillfully with a loud noise” (verse 3). Verse 2 reads: “Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.” It would have been difficult to get a loud noise out of this combination if the psaltery were a guitar. But with the psaltery as a bagpipe, there would have been no difficulty. Some assume that in Psalm 33 the term “an instrument of ten strings” is meant to DEFINE a psaltery, rather than being a third instrument in the group. But in Psalm 92:3, in which the same grouping is mentioned, the wording is absolutely clear. Read it: “Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.” This wording indicates three different instruments. The “nebel” — translated “psaltery” — appears to have been commonly accompanied by the harp and by a little-known instrument of ten strings. Old drawings have pictured instruments with ten strings of equal length. This may have been simply a rhythm instrument. Such an instrument would go well with bagpipes. Who is more likely to have preserved the instruments and melodies of David’s Israelite surroundings than the traditional Israelites, such as the Scots, Welsh and Irish, who colonized Britain in the days of ancient Israel and preserved much of the form of Hebrew music? With bagpipes in his band, it is no wonder David was inspired to dance a “Highland fling” as he brought the ark to Jerusalem (II Sam. 6:5). Bagpipes, rightly used, generate feelings of exuberance and make people want to EXPRESS proper emotion. ]]>

Are You Worthy to Take the Passover?

Are You Worthy to Take the Passover?

What does the Passover mean to you? Do you really know why Jesus had to suffer and die — and what is required of us?

  By Allen L. Stout  The Good News Magazine, March 1984    Paul wrote to Christians: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (I Cor. 11:26-27). Paul was writing about the Passover, the annual memorial of the death of Jesus Christ, which God commands His people to observe. How few professing Christians understand! If you have not been aware of God’s annual festivals, write immediately for our free booklet Pagan Holidays — or God’s Holy Days — Which? Many have not fully comprehended the significance of Paul’s warning. Some, feeling they were not worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice, have not taken the Passover. Others have taken the Passover in a casual or ritualistic manner. It’s time we all understand! The Passover is the first of the Christian festivals commanded by God (Lev. 23:5). It is not to be taken lightly.   Purpose of the Passover   The Passover originally represented the turning point in the separation of Israel, God’s chosen people, from Egypt, which symbolized sin. The blood of the Passover lamb, sprinkled on the doorposts, distinguished those whom God was sparing (Ex. 12:13-14). The Passover for Christians today is a memorial, an annual reminder or renewal of our spiritual covenant with God. It reminds us not only of when God called ancient Israel out of Egypt, but, more important, of God calling us today out of sin. Let’s make the meaning of Passover clear by examining what the Bible says. What was required to free us from the bondage of sin? God’s sacrifice of His firstborn, Jesus — the blood of the Lamb. Why? Why couldn’t God just forgive our sins without a sacrifice? Why did Jesus have to give up His glory with God, take upon Himself the form of a servant, become a human being and suffer and die for our sins (Phil. 2:7-8)? Because there was no other way to save man from the consequence of sin.   God will not compromise His law   God can do all things, but God will not compromise His law (Matt. 19:26, 5:18). God’s law is perfect (Ps. 19:7). It would, if kept, produce and maintain a peaceful and happy society. Tragically, no human has kept God’s law perfectly — all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). The Bible likens sin to leaven — if sin is not disposed of, it grows and spreads rapidly (I Cor. 5:6). The whole world is suffering under the curse of sin (Gal. 3:10)! Death is the penalty for sin — breaking God’s law (Ezek. 18:4, 20, Rom. 6:23). God will not allow anyone into His holy Family and Kingdom who will compromise His law (Gal. 5:19-21, I Cor. 6:9-10, Rev. 22:14-15). God’s law requires that blood be shed for the remission of sin (Heb. 9:22). Thus blood had to be shed in order that the sins of every human might be forgiven, upon repentance.   The sacrifice of Jesus   The only way God could redeem humanity — all of us! — from the death penalty without compromising His law was to have our penalty paid. Enter Jesus Christ. Notice what God’s Word says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…. when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son … through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Rom. 5:8, 10-11). Our sins had separated us from God (Isa. 59:1-2). We had the death penalty hanging over us. But Jesus’ sacrifice paid the death penalty for sin in our stead (Rom. 3:24-25). Does Jesus’ death save us, then? Let’s see what the Bible tells us.   What is required of us?   What is our responsibility, given Jesus’ sacrifice, in God’s plan of salvation? Notice Acts 2:38: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus’ sacrifice does not redeem us from the death penalty until we have repented of breaking God’s law, turned from sin and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master. We must submit to God’s government over our lives and begin to live God’s way. Then what happens? Notice Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Jesus actually lives His life in us (verse 10). We strive to follow Jesus’ example as revealed in the Bible (I Pet. 2:21). We shall, then, be saved by Jesus Christ’s life (Rom. 5:10)! By obeying God’s law with the help of God’s Holy Spirit and by submitting to God’s government, we actually begin to take on God’s very nature. We gradually overcome sin — sin no longer has power over us. We are God’s servants rather than the servants of sin (Rom. 6:12-16). We have embarked upon a new way of life that leads to every blessing and joy for eternity. To turn back from it — to reject God’s way and Jesus’ sacrifice, which paid our death penalty — brings the death penalty on us again, this time with no chance for redemption (Heb. 10:26-29). Now what about observing the Passover?   Are you worthy?   God’s redeemed people are commanded to observe the Passover annually, in its New Testament symbolism, as a memorial of Jesus’ death and to picture what God has done in our lives (Matt. 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:14-20, John 13:2-5). And we are to do so in a “worthy” manner, as we have seen from I Corinthians 11:26-27. What, exactly, does it mean to be worthy? Paul warned, “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup” (I Cor. 11:28). What is your attitude? John wrote: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:15-17). As long as we live in this evil, Satan-ruled society, there will be tests and temptations to break God’s law. We are tempted through our own lusts (Jas. 1:14) to cheat, to lie in business, to boast, to swear, to gossip, to commit adultery (Matt. 5:28) and to put other things before God. And we as Christians — yes, as truly called and redeemed Christians — will slip occasionally and sin! But, as long as we are repentant, striving to overcome sin, God accepts us, applying Jesus’ sacrifice (I John 1:9). God continues to lead us. We live under grace (Eph. 2:8). No one is worthy of Christ’s sacrifice, but not to take the Passover is to deny Christ. To take the Passover in a worthy manner, we must repent of our evil desires and ways, come to hate the sin that Jesus had to suffer and die for and set our will not to compromise God’s law. “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned [judged] with the world” (I Cor. 11:29-32). Our goal, as Jesus commanded in Matthew 5:48, is to become perfect, as God the Father is perfect. Keeping the Passover and understanding all it pictures, as well as striving to keep all of God’s other laws, is vital to attaining that perfection. So, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:8, “Let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth”!]]>

DESPITE TROUBLES TODAY- PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD TOMORROW!

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DESPITE TROUBLES TODAY- PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD TOMORROW!

Personal  by Herbert W. Armstrong [The Good News Magazine, May 1982]

How did you come to be here on earth? Did you just happen, an accident of blind, unintelligent, unknowing, lifeless EVOLUTION? Or were you put here and given life by an all-knowing, all-intelligent, purposeful, living, supreme God, who designed and created the human mind and body? Let me tell you and I can prove it, and so can you if you are willing – that the great Creator brought YOU into existence on this earth FOR A GREAT AND MIGHTY PURPOSE! You were born into a world that has developed a certain type civilization. The instant you were born you knew – NOTHING! But your eyes opened, you looked about and knowledge of what you saw began registering in your memory – began putting knowledge into your mind. Your ears heard sounds, and thus additional knowledge entered through the sense of hearing. Very elementary at first, but gradually, each bit of new knowledge, entering your mind through your senses of taste, smell, feel, sight and hearing, was added to what had previously been stored there. Gradually you came to know, and take up with, the customs, ways, generally accepted ideas and beliefs of this world. You accepted them, took them for granted without question. Some of them were good – many of them were BAD. But you took them for granted without realizing they were bad. Human nature, you see, wants to BE good – that is, to believe it is good – to be considered good. It just doesn’t want to DO good. Because GOOD is the WAY of God’s invisible, inexorable, spiritual LAW. That LAW is, simply, LOVE. It is love toward God in the form of trusting and willing OBEDIENCE to God’s every command and direction, knowing it is for our highest good. It is love toward God in the form of being GOD-centered – having the mind continually (consciously or subconsciously) in contact with God, relying on God, seeking guidance from God, worshipful in the sense of gratitude, obedience, faith and complete trust. It is love toward fellowMAN – in the sense of outgoing concern, equal to love and concern for self. Now NO MAN exercises that kind of love naturally. You simply were not born with that kind of love. You DON’T HAVE IT! That is, not unless you have received it from God through His GIFT of His Holy Spirit. THAT love – God’s love – that of His Holy Spirit – travels a certain road. It is the road that leads to peace, to happiness, to confident assurance, security, well-being, ENJOYMENT without kickbacks, prosperity – every good thing the heart desires. Everyone wants that result. That is to say, everyone wants to have the RESULT of doing good. But no one, it seems, naturally wants to GO that way to DO good. That WAY – doing good – is the WAY of God’s law. This world is not FULL of happiness, peace, joy and universal prosperity. It is pretty well filled with strife in the home, in business, in politics, in war between nations. It is pretty well filled with unhappiness, frustrations, insecurity. It is pretty well filled with crime and violence, with broken homes and unhappy, quarreling homes, with sickness and disease, with frustrations, failures, tragedies. Now God is not the author of all these troubles in the world. God has, FOR A GREAT PURPOSE, made humans free moral agents, and allotted 6,000 years for mankind to make a choice – whether to accept God’s government over him, to be ruled by God’s law of LOVE, or whether to set up his own ideas of man-made government, following what comes naturally – HUMAN NATURE. That 6,000 years is about up. When it is – a very few more years, perhaps less than 10 – God Almighty is going to step in, intervene supernaturally and in divine POWER abolish governments and ways of society – rule all nations with GOD’s laws – and BRING PEACE AND HAPPINESS TO HUMANITY! HOW can that be done? It’s simple! There is A WAY of personal, group and organized living that will automatically produce that utopia. And there is A WAY that has, for 6,000 years, produced curses, war, strife and violence, frustration, failure – everything this world has. God is simply going to enforce, with divine power, HIS WAY. He is going to take over all governments, in a super WORLD GOVERNMENT ruled by the very CREATOR. It will rule by GOD’S LAWS – the WAY of love! Why do some people – even college professors and some who are intellectually inclined – become Communists? Because they see many things WRONG in this world – they want to BE right – they grasp communism as a last straw and only hope, under the delusion that THEY CAN HAVE A PART IN MAKING THIS A BETTER WORLD! They want to BE right – but they don’t want to DO right. So they grasp the straw that makes the lying and false PROMISES of producing the solution. But communism is only another IDEA OF MAN BASED ON HUMAN NATURE. It is a theoretical WAY that would destroy what little good there might be in this world’s society. It is the most false of false hopes. But YOU can have a part in actually bringing PEACE, happiness, joy and abundance to humanity. God Almighty is going to do it – whether or not you have a part in it! But He is not going to do it alone. He is going to take certain human beings, born in the very LIKENESS of God, who REPENT of their carnal human nature – who cry out to God to CHANGE that nature and give them the matchless supreme GIFT of His divine LOVE that will travel THE WAY toward peace, happiness and joy. These are they who, through real repentance of what they are as well as what they have done, through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as well as in His resurrected LIFE and POWER, are forgiven their guilty past, given contact with God, changed, converted, receiving HIS HOLY SPIRIT, being begotten as HIS CHILDREN, receiving the DIVINE nature. In other words, they REPENT of human nature – they REPENT of hostility to authority, of resentment against God’s law. They SURRENDER unconditionally to GOD, and wholeheartedly WANT Him to rule in their lives. They CHANGE (through God’s power given by His grace) from rebellion to submission – from SELF-centeredness to GOD-centeredness. They let Jesus Christ (in Spirit) come into their lives and actually live their lives for them (Gal. 2:20). They change from THE WAY that has brought all the curses upon this unhappy world to THE WAY that will bring a brilliant, joyous UTOPIA to earth in a very few years when God sends the living Jesus Christ in all power and glory to RULE ALL NATIONS and bring the happy, peaceful WORLD TOMORROW! This CHANGE is conversion. This is what it means to become a Christian. A Christian is NOT merely one who PROFESSES Christ. God’s own instruction to us – the Bible – says that if one has not received God’s Holy Spirit, he is NONE of His – he is NOT a Christian (Rom. 8:9). God gives His Holy Spirit ONLY to them who OBEY Him (Acts 5:32). This implants within the mind the divine nature – it means a CHANGED MIND! But it does not remove the HUMAN nature. The mind governs whether the converted Christian now follows the pulls, the impulses, the desires of human nature, or whether he resists them and is LED BY the newly received divine nature. “As many as are LED BY the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). But one’s human nature cries out to be satisfied – does not like to be repressed. Just receiving God’s Spirit is not enough. One must be LED by God’s Spirit. His Spirit opens the mind to UNDERSTANDING of spiritual truth, and the KNOWLEDGE of God’s law. It opens the mind to THE WAY one should follow. God’s Spirit also is the love of God – God’s own divine love – flooding into the human heart, and flowing on out in love to God and love to neighbor. One must therefore GROW in spiritual knowledge and in God’s grace (II Pet. 3:18). He must become a DOER of God’s law – actually LIVING in THE WAY of peace and happiness and joy. This means he must OVERCOME his own carnal nature, his old habits, the temptations of the world – HE MUST BE CHANGED! He must develop toward perfect spiritual and righteous CHARACTER. The real Christian is undergoing a life of TRAINING to become a RULER in God’s Kingdom – in the happy and peaceful WORLD TOMORROW. One cannot learn everything in a minute, a day or a year. One does not become perfect at one jump. It is a continuous PROCESS. No Christian becomes perfect at the very beginning. He does not overcome or root out all the sins, the wrong habits, all at once. He must do it little by little. But, “he that overcometh, and keepeth MY WORKS unto the end,” says Jesus Christ, “to him will I give power over THE NATIONS: AND HE SHALL RULE THEM” (Rev. 2:26-27). WHY do THE NATIONS of this earth need ruling by Christ and those trained under a Christian life? Because all the unhappiness – everything WRONG with this world – has come from living THE WAY of hostility to God’s law and God’s government. Because the only way this world can have PEACE, PROSPERITY, HAPPINESS is to be forced to build a society based on THE WAY that produces these desired blessings. If you have started on THAT RIGHT WAY, don’t get discouraged because you have slipped and fallen down along the road a few times. Get up and KEEP GOING. Even if you have sinned and are truly sorry, you can repent and Christ is your High Priest to forgive. Read and study I John 1:7-10 and 2:1-2. This is written to converted CHRISTIANS. At the time of Christ’s coming, the dead in Christ will be resurrected and rise to meet the descending Christ in the air. At that instant those living who have been thus changed, begotten by God’s Spirit, will be changed in composition, from mortal to immortal – from matter to spirit – from human to divine. THEY are then to RULE with and under the all-powerful, living Christ, until ALL NATIONS beat their swords into plowshares and PEACE shines forth on this war-weary earth! Jesus Christ taught His followers to PRAY: “THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH” (Matt. 6:10)! How about it? Shall we pray that prayer? I DO!]]>

GOD COMMANDS THAT WE AVOID CERTAIN ONES

 

GOD COMMANDS THAT WE AVOID CERTAIN ONES

By Herbert W. Armstrong

[Worldwide News, 25th Feb 1980]

    IS GOD HARSH? Does call on us to mistreat those disfellowshipped for sowing the seeds of discord in God’s Church?   NOT AT ALL! Let us UNDERSTAND THIS!   Do we expect Jesus Christ to have friendly fellowship with SATAN? Do you think Christ is unjust in not treating Satan with what you might call LOVE?   WHY – yes WHY do some of our brethren feel we are unkind toward those doing Satan’s bidding, if we OBEY Christ’s following COMMANDMENTS?   God says, through the apostle Paul, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and AVOID THEM”. (Romans 16:17)   Many of you brethren have deliberately DISOBEYED that commandment of God by attending “out of curiosity,” a meeting of one disfellowshipped for that very thing! ARE YOU MORE RIGHTEOUS THAN GOD? ARE YOU ABOVE GOD, so that you need not heed what he says in the above paragraph?   You are going soon, to be called before the judgment seat of JESUS CHRIST. Will you say to His Majesty, “But Lord, I only wanted to hear what he had to say!” WHAT DO YOU THINK THE JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH WILL SAY BACK TO YOU, who make excuse for DISOBEYING his positive COMMAND?   Let’s UNDERSTAND this! What doctrine have you learned? Where did you learn the doctrine? Answer? In or through the WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD! How did the Church receive its doctrine – its beliefs – its teachings – when the Church first started, A.D. 31? The Church from the start received its doctrine from the APOSTLES!   Jesus is the personal Word of God. The Bible is the written word of God. Both are the same!   In our day, Jesus Christ taught His chosen apostle through the written Word of God. The Worldwide Church of God – the same Church as founded in A.D. 31 – received its DOCTRINE through God’s chosen Apostles!   Now back to Romans 16:17. Why have some leaders had to be disfellowshipped – MARKED? Because of causing divisions and offenses CONTRARY to the doctrine which you have learned!   God’s Church is UNITED. We are commanded (I Corinthians 1:10) that we must ALL SPEAK THE SAME THING! Those put out were splitting the Church speaking DIFFERENT THINGS!   Now notice the next verse: “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:18)   And some of YOU brethren have wanted to hear those good words and fair speeches coming from persons of charisma, even though YOU WERE DISOBEYING GOD!   Notice FURTHER THE COMMANDS OF GOD!   God’s message through Paul, “Now we COMMAND YOU, brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly… And if by any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed” (II Thessalonians 3:6,14)   Those ministers who have gone out, or been put out, of the Worldwide Church of God, often come to your town or city to speak. Many of them come to you in the form of a tape or cassettes, to preach their perverted doctrine, or to try to turn you AGAINST God’s Church – even as they are AGAINST it! They do NOT come to you with the doctrine which JESUS CHRIST put into His one and only Church. WHAT DOES GOD COMMAND YOU? LISTEN, and OBEY!   “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (II John 10)   In the very beginning of the Church of God, in the first century, there were false apostles, and there were those who went out from the Church for selfish gain or for revenge – even as today.   The apostle Paul, speaking to the elders – the ministers – of the Church at Ephesus, said, “Also of your own selves [you MINISTERS] shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:30)   To the church at Corinth, Paul wrote: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted…(II Corinthians 11:4) Now WHO was trying to turn these members of God’s Church to some watered down doctrine or other teaching? Paul says they were men serving SATAN, and therefore SATAN’S MINISTERS! Notice, same chapter, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into” [that is, professing to be] apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers [actually SATAN’S ministers, perhaps even themselves deceived into believing they are serving Christ] “also be transformed into the ministers of righteousness” (verses 13-15)   Brethren, STUDY THAT! If Paul had said to one of those ministers opposing God’s true Church, “You are a minister of SATAN,” he would have sharply said back, “I am not a minister of Satan, you are falsely accusing me!”   What about these minister who have gone out – or been PUT OUT – from the Worldwide Church of God today? They would be INDIGNANT if I should call them ministers of Satan. They would be ANGRY! They would say, as one was publicly quoted “I let go of coattails, and clasped the hand of Christ!”   Yes, they LOUDLY and indignantly say “SATAN COULD NEVER DECEIVE ME!” But Satan has deceived the whole world! He had deceived ALL OF US – but thankfully God called some of us, opened our minds to our former ways following Satan and brought us to HIM!   Perhaps these ministers now opposing God’s TRUTH and HIS CHURCH are themselves now deceived. Perhaps they are sincere – BUT THEY ARE SINCERELY WRONG AND IN THE CLUTCH OF SATAN!   Well then, you may say, “Should we not show them KINDNESS and LOVE?” Well, should Christ himself show kindness and love toward Satan?   These people, even if sincere and deceived, are in SATAN’S service doing what SATAN WANTS DONE – helping Satan try to DESTROY God’s one and only TRUE CHURCH!   Let’s not REASON our way to DISOBEY GOD! God COMMANDS “AVOID THEM!” “AVOID THEM” does not mean to go hear them out of curiosity! You who do that are DISOBEYING GOD. You are trying to be more righteous than GOD!   Now brethren, we have not wanted to act harshly. If we follow God’s instructions strictly we should DISFELLOWSHIP and MARK you who go to hear these ministers, or listen to their tapes or cassettes. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE US DO THAT BY YOUR CONTINUED DISOBEDIENCE and continued going to hear them or hear their recorded messages which are AGAINST Christ’s CHURCH, and therefore AGAINST CHRIST! But there is GOVERNMENT in God’s CHURCH. Just as there shall be GOVERNMENT in the Kingdom of God. It is the same government now in the Church – based on LOVE – but do not mistake GOD’S LOVE, and DISOBEY HIM!   Let me give you MORE that God says about these false ministers, seeking to draw disciples after them.   God says of them through Peter “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam who loved the wages of unrighteousness. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty [as some of these very former ministers did when they secretly prepared and distributed to the ministry the “STP”] they themselves are the servants of corruption. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world [as these former ministers did when first in God’s Church] through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (II Peter 2:15-20)   God says of them through John: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have no doubt continued with us” (I John 2:19)   Through Jude GOD says: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core” (Jude 11) What was the gainsaying of Core? This is spelled Korah in the Old Testament. Read of it in Numbers 16. Korah led a group to challenge Moses, whom GOD had chosen to be the LEADER over Israel. For opposing the one GOD chose to lead His people, God had the earth open and swallowed them up. Yet men today oppose Christ’s chosen apostle!   There is MUCH MORE in the Bible about those who go out OPPOSING the PEOPLE OF GOD.   Brethren, if I as Christ’s apostle COMMAND YOU not to go to hear one of these or to receive one of his tape or cassette into your home, WHAT WOULD YOU THINK? Would you be angry at me? Well, that is PRECISELY WHAT GOD COMMANDS YOU. Are you angry with HIM? Some of you have been disobeying Him!   Are we a COMMANDMENT KEEPING CHURCH? If we are, then let’s OBEY. If you DON’T obey God or Jesus Christ, YOU ARE RIGHT NOW BEING JUDGED. IT IS JUST THAT SERIOUS. And it’s time we all begin to take it seriously.  

We haven’t much time left. It’s time now to COMPLETELY CLEAN UP GOD’S CHURCH, and to make His Church READY FOR CHRIST’S COMING!

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The Worldwide Church Of God is NOT a "charitable trust." It is not a public CHARITY! It is a CHURCH!

July 28, 1980 Dear Co-Workers and Brethren in Christ: Last night on TV Channel 4, Los Angeles, during the evening news, the newscaster held up, so the viewing audience could read the large-type headlines, my full-page ad. These full-page ads are appearing weekly in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other metropolitan newspapers over the United States. The newscaster, Jess Marlow of NBC, was interviewing the attorney general of California. The advertisement headline was addressed: “MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA.” Mr. Marlow asked the attorney general (as reported to me by telephone) WHY he had picked on the Worldwide Church of God in the state’s massive lawsuit to gain control, ownership and operation of all churches in California. The attorney general gave his stock answer to this question: his contention that “all charitable trusts ought to be supervised to protect the public.” There is no one else, he contends, to protect the public on how the public’s money is being handled. Therefore he says it is the duty of the attorney general to manage and supervise the expenditures of all funds of public charitable trusts. Mr. Marlow then asked if the attorney general thought expenditures for this advertising in the nation’s leading mass- circulation newspapers was mishandling public funds. The attorney general, I was told by telephone, was then a little confused and had no direct reply. I reply, first of all, the Worldwide Church Of God is NOT a “charitable trust.” It is not a public CHARITY! It is a CHURCH! Second, we do not handle the PUBLIC’S money! We never do — NEVER DID — solicit the public for money. We do not solicit or receive the public’s money. Therefore we are not responsible TO the public. We ask nothing from the public. We receive nothing from the public. We do not have, receive or handle and expend the PUBLIC money. Therefore we owe NOTHING to the public except love, and upstanding law-abiding individual citizenship and good neighborliness! WHAT IS a CHARITY — in the public sense? Webster’s dictionary defines it: “Charity: an institution engaged in relief of the poor; public provision for the relief of the needy.” WHAT IS a CHURCH? Jesus Christ said, “I will build my Church.” The CHURCH was built by JESUS CHRIST — not by the public! The first place the word “church” appears in the Bible is quoted above from Matthew 16:18. In Acts 2:47, “The Lord added to the church daily.” It is that Body of believers to which THE LORD adds members! The Church is the spiritual organism (NOT a secular or political or public ORGANIZATION). The CHURCH is subject to Christ — not to the political attorney general of California! WHO is the HEAD of the Church? Your Bible says CHRIST is the Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23) — not the California attorney general. The Church is SUBJECT UNTO CHRIST (Eph. 5:24) — NOT to the California attorney general! Jesus Christ built His CHURCH on the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST Himself being the chief corner stone (Eph. 2:20). What is the function, PURPOSE, great commission of the Church? Jesus said, “Go ye into ALL THE WORLD and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). The CHURCH is NOT a public CHARITY or a “CHARITABLE TRUST.” The California attorney general — in a political and elective office by vote of the people of ONE STATE ONLY — contends he ought to own, possess, direct, manage the CHURCH — ALL CHURCHES IN CALIFORNIA — supervise their expenditures of money. Now suppose the California attorney general had been managing this Church and its Work from the foundation of the present era of it — now called the Worldwide Church of God. What would have happened? It started in Eugene and Lane County, Oregon. It started with 19 members — mostly new converts from a six-weeks’ six-nights-a- week series of services I held in a 36-seat one-room country schoolhouse 8 miles outside Eugene. But, had the California attorney general been managing and directing it and all financial expenditures, he would have delegated just as he tried to do on January 3, 1979 — the actual management and expenditure of funds to the Honorable ex-Judge Steven Wiseman — appointed receiver of the Worldwide Church of God. Immediately — January 7, 1934 — Jesus Christ opened the door of radio for me to start going into all the world proclaiming Christ’s Gospel ON RADIO. The cost was then $2.50 per weekly broadcast. But Judge Wiseman would have had to decide whether to spend that $2.50 per week. Now actually we in that fledgling church did not have the $2.50 per week to allocate. The very little membership in 1934, at the very depth of the century’s worst depression, was able to pledge only $1.35 per week for the broadcast. The other $1.15 per week had to be allocated ON SHEER FAITH. And it was contrary to our Church policy to REQUEST FUNDS ON THE AIR or in any way to solicit the public for that $1.15 per week! Now the Honorable Judge Wiseman was reared in the Jewish faith, certainly not to his discredit. However, those reared in Judaism KNOW NOTHING OF PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. That religion, respected though it is, has never accepted Jesus Christ nor His Gospel message! Would, then, the living Jesus Christ, the HEAD of this new fledgling rebirth of God’s Church, have entrusted decisions and management of His great commission to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD and proclaim that Gospel to a man who by life-long religious training does not BELIEVE in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Work grew. By traveling to Des Moines, Iowa, I was able, almost 10 years later, to buy time on 50,000-watt Radio WHO. Would the attorney general’s receiver, Judge Wiseman, have approved and allowed that expenditure? We received requests for free literature from ALL 48 states of the continental United States from that station. The Work grew. In due time we were purchasing more wattage of radio time than any program on earth. Would that expenditure have been approved? Meanwhile, the income for this rapidly growing worldwide Work obeying Jesus Christ’s commission was increasing as its needed expenditures mounted. WHERE DID THAT MONEY COME FROM? We never solicited the public. We never charged for anything. We GAVE one of the world’s finest mass-circulation magazines (published in five languages), with NO SUBSCRIPTION PRICE — and we sold NO ADVERTISING! The Work growing WORLDWIDE was all GIVE! God did, as in the first century, continually “add to the Church such as should be saved.” And, as the Bible commands, these members paid their first tithe (10% of income) to GOD through His Church. That money is GOD’S money — not public money. In addition, a small percentage of listeners to the broadcast and subscribers to the “no-subscription-price” PLAIN TRUTH began — unsolicited — sending regularly tithes or freewill offerings. But these STARTED CONTRIBUTING VOLUNTARILY of their own free will! It was GOD’S MONEY — not public money. God had built this great worldwide Work through me as His chosen Apostle. I OBEYED HIS COMMAND TO GO INTO ALL THE WORLD WITH HIS GOSPEL MESSAGE. It was HIS money that came — without solicitation or charging — and I was accountable to HIM, not the California attorney general for the way HE directed it to be handled. We have through the years made continual reports to the Church of the operations of its Work, the expenditures of God’s money and direction of God’s Work. We have made full and regular reports, submitted to regular audit and examination and scrutiny of receipt and disbursement of funds of GOD’S MONEY to the Internal Revenue Service of the federal government, and to the Franchise Tax Board of the State of California, who usually have accepted the IRS audits as official. I just felt that our co-workers, members and occasional voluntary donors would be interested in this explanation of the financial operations of this large world-encompassing Work of GOD. All finances are handled by one of the finest, most advanced systems of accounting anywhere in the world. In addition to our own auditors and the federal IRS, we employ one of the largest and most reputable firms of certified public accountants in the nation, Arthur Andersen & Co., who regularly audit our books. It’s time the PEOPLE know the TRUTH about this political attack against the CHURCH in violation of the Constitution of the U.S.A. It’s true, we have to ASK GOD, in prayer, as Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” There is ALWAYS a NEED in this great Work of the GREAT GOD! But He does not supply tomorrow’s need — nor next year’s need — today. I know you will join me in prayer that GOD will supply current needs as He has done these past 53 years. For Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you!” He never has! With grateful love, in Jesus’ name, Herbert W. Armstrong]]>

Here's the Plain Truth About OLD TESTAMENT POLYGAMY

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Here’s the Plain Truth About

OLD TESTAMENT POLYGAMY

 

By Herbert W. Armstrong [The Plain Truth Magazine – October, 1963]


You may be surprised to learn that Abraham was not a polygamist — that David completely repented of it — that God’s legal statutes made polygamy illegal in ancient Israel!
GOD DID NOT sanction polygamy in Old Testament times. Contrary to the suppositions many have accepted, God FORBADE IT — and PUNISHED for it!
Abraham Was NOT a Polygamist
Many people recall at once a few Old Testament instances of plural wives, and ASSUME that God sanctioned polygamy. That assumption is absolutely false! God has NEVER approved, nor made lawful more than one living wife for any man. Quite the contrary, He FORBADE IT, even to the kings of Israel, and that by written STATUTE! Abraham WAS NOT A POLYGAMIST. While Sarah, his wife, lived, he never married any other woman. Abraham had an illegitimate son by Hagar. But that was an adulterous SIN. Although it renders it nonetheless a SIN, I think we can recognize extenuating circumstances. Sarah was barren. For a wife in ancient times to go childless was felt to be a disgrace. It was Sarah, Abraham’s own wife, who brought to Abraham her servant handmaid, asking him to produce a child for Sarah by this servant woman. We can imagine Hagar to have been attractive, and not necessarily lacking in voluptuous charms simply because she was a servant. The temptation, under these circumstances, at Sarah’s instigation, might have been great. Certainly the very invitation coming from Sarah would have made it harder to resist. Abraham was a strong man. But the temptation appears to have been STRONGER. ALL humans have sinned. Abraham was human. Abraham lied when he twice claimed Sarah was his sister, fearing for his own life. Abraham was not without sin. But neither this adultery, nor the two lies were sins of the nature that springs from a wrong attitude of mind or heart. Abraham, in his heart, was always OBEDIENT to GOD. There was no spirit of hostility or rebellion. These sins were of the FLESH, under temptation — not malicious or rebellious sins of the heart. But THEY WERE SINS! God FORGAVE Abraham’s sins of spiritual weakness, committed under heavy temptation. Nevertheless, we all must REAP what we sow — even though God forgives our sins upon repentance. God refused to approve this adulterous act of Abraham’s. He rejected the illegitimate son, Ishmael, from the birthright. This transgression produced jealousy between the women. It resulted in trouble, controversy, suffering. How many realize that even the Arab-Jewish strife over Palestine, today, was brought on by this very THREE-CORNERED TRIANGLE, and the ensuing jealousy of the two women, Sarah and Hagar, over the one man, Abraham? The Jews are the children of Sarah, through Isaac, born later by a miracle. The Arabs are the children of Ishmael. In Genesis 21:8-21 is the record of Hagar’s departure from Sarah and Abraham. God ordered Abraham to send away the concubine Hagar and her son, and Abraham OBEYED. This was at the time Isaac was weaned. Abraham had, after this, no more relations with Hagar, or his other concubine, Susanna, who is mentioned in the ancient Austrian Chronicle — see Genesis 25:6 where you will read that Abraham’s COCUBINES’ sons were sent away. Sarah’s death is recorded in Genesis 23:1-2. It was after that (Gen. 25), that Abraham married Keturah. This, of course, was a perfectly legal marriage. THERE WAS NO POLYGAMY — NO DIVORCE. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are termed, in both Old and New Testaments, “the Fathers.” Jesus Christ came to confirm the PROMISES made to “the Fathers.” The unconditional promises God made to Abraham were repeated to both Isaac and Jacob.
Isaac Had Only One Wife
Isaac WAS NO POLYGAMIST! There is no mention whatever of any wife for Isaac other than Rebekah. There is no mention of any concubines, or of any act of adultery. In Old Testament TYPES Abraham is the HUMAN type of God the Father. He is called, in the human sense, the father of the faithful. In this same system of types, Isaac is the type of Christ, the Son of God. And Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, is the type of the CHURCH, which is to marry Christ. Did you ever realize this type similarity? Just as Rebekah had to become the affianced bride of Isaac, and in a sense come to LOVE HIM, before she ever saw him — while he was still off in another land, so must we in God’s true CHURCH come to LOVE CHRIST, who is in a far country — heaven — without ever having seen Him! Now CHRIST will never have but the ONE WIFE. And, Isaac, being a type of Christ, had only one wife. Apparently Isaac was spotless from sins of lust or sex. Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, like her mother-in-law, Sarah, was barren. But Isaac did not take things into his own hands and have children by her handmaids, or by concubines. Neither did Rebekah do as Sarah had done, and resort to bringing a servant girl to Isaac to produce a son for Rebekah in this proxy manner. Instead of using human reason, taking things into his own hands, Isaac TRUSTED GOD! “And Isaac entreated the Eternal for his wife, because she was barren: and the Eternal was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived” (Gen. 25:21). If only we could learn to TRUST GOD to work out our problems!
JACOB: One Wife After Conversion
Jacob is a name that means “Supplanter”. It was God’s will that Jacob receive the birthright instead of his older brother Esau. But in his earlier life Jacob did not rely on God. He took the matter in his own hands, aided and abetted by his mother. As he stole the Birthright from Esau by unfair means, and received Isaac’s blessing by a lying deception, so his father-in-law, Laban, deceived Jacob. Laban supplanted Jacob’s PROMISED and LOVED wife, Rachel, with his elder daughter Leah. Leah was foisted on Jacob by fraud. According to God’s marriage laws, Jacob could have rejected her — put her away as soon as he discovered the deception. In that event, he would never have been truly married to Leah — God would not have bound them as one flesh. But when Jacob accepted her as his wife, she became his ONLY true wife, in God’s sight, as long as they both lived. But Jacob was not yet converted. He leaned to his own understanding. He did not seek wisdom from God, nor did he seek to OBEY God. He did what seemed right to him, in his own selfish interest. So Jacob lived in polygamy with two wives, and also had children by their two personal maids. But you read of Jacob’s conversion in Genesis 32:24-30. He then put idolatry out of his household (Gen. 35:2-4). God appeared to him, changed his name to ISRAEL (“Overcomer”, or “Prevailer with God”), and re-confirmed the PROMISES. Then God took Rachel, his second wife (Gen. 35:19), leaving only his first and true wife, Leah. So, following his conversion, Jacob had but his one original wife. Jacob had repented. He lived no more in polygamy after his conversion.
A Worldly Custom
It is of course true that it was a worldly custom, in patriarchal times, and in the days of the Kingdom of Israel, for kings and wealthy men to take plural wives. A harem was one of the symbols of royalty. But God FORBADE polygamy for the kings of Israel. Here is God’s LAW respecting polygamy by Israel’s kings: “When thou art come unto the land which the Eternal thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me …. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away” (Deut. 17:14, 17). It is spoken of as “THIS LAW” in verses 18 and 19. Israel’s first king, Saul, had plural wives. But in this he disobeyed God and followed the custom of the kings of the worldly nations around Israel. It was SIN. It was not approved by God.
David REPENTED of Polygamy
David had several wives. But after his tremendous sin of taking Bathsheba and having her husband murdered, David repented, in real heart-rending repentance. And he never repeated the sin. Very few seem to realize what actually happened. See II Samuel 12:9-12. “Now therefore,” said God (Verse 10), “the sword shall never depart from thine house; BECAUSE THOU HAST DESPISED ME, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.” Notice, David despised GOD — not merely the commandment of God, as in Verse 9, but also the very PERSON of God! He did it by taking this woman as his wife. Therefore the sword was never to depart from his HOUSE. The HOUSE OF DAVID, at that time consisted solely of these plural WIVES, and his children. This was a tremendous, super SIN. God was meteing out tremendous superpunishment. Now notice the next verse: “Thus saith the Eternal, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of THINE OWN HOUSE ….” His own house included his wives and children. WHAT evil? God has just said the SWORD will now come upon his house his family. God continues: “…. and I will take thy wives before thine eyes and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.” Notice this was to be done in the sight of THIS sun — before that very day’s sunset. God continues: “For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.” The Septuagent Version translates it “THIS sun” here, as in the preceding verse. So a neighbor or neighbors defiled David’s wives publicly, in the open sun that very day — ravished them. God said “I will take thy wives before thine eyes and give them unto thy neighbor.” This was done publicly that very day. But at that point, David repented. All that is mentioned, in this particular text, is: “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Eternal” (Verse 14). But you will read of David’s private prayer of repentance to God in the 51st Psalm — the prayer of a really broken and contrite heart. It was REAL repentance. David TURNED FROM polygamy. The next words in this text in II Samuel 12 are: “And Nathan said unto David, The Eternal also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” However, the son to be born of this adultery was to die.
Even Concubines Put Away
Do you see what God did? He meted out to David a tremendous punishment — God took all his wives, leaving Bathsheba only. With David’s first and only legitimate wife, Michal, probably dead (see II Sam. 6:23), God also had cleared the way for Bathsheba to become the legal wife of David. Apparently this was done, that she might be the mother of Solomon, through whom God was to keep His unconditional, dynastic promise to David — a forefather of Jesus Christ — and a prophet used in writing thee Bible. After that David was away from Jerusalem. But, returning there were ten concubines (his former harem). Here is what David did with them: “And David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten women his concubines, WHOM HE HAD LEFT TO KEEP THE HOUSE, and put them in ward, and fed them, but WENT NOT IN UNTO THEM. So they were shut up unto the day of their death, living in widowhood” (II Sam. 20:3). Just as David kept the ten concubines “in widowhood” — that is, he had no relations with them, for they had been defiled — so he put away his other wives (II Sam. 19:6) BECAUSE THEY TOO HAD BEEN DEFILED by a neighbor (II Sam. 12). David had truly repented. He practised polygamy NO MORE! When David was becoming old, he went “fully after the Eternal” (I Kings 11:6). He was “a man after God’s own heart,” because his heart was right. He did repent. He had been a warrior. In his younger life he went after many women. He had sown his wild oats. BUT HE REPENTED! His heart turned to GOD. His life’s race ENDED in victory — he “went fully after the Eternal.” It is not the one who starts out with the biggest burst of speed, but the one who finishes first AT the END of the race who wins it. His son, Solomon, started out righteously, unselfishly, relying on God. But, “when Solomon was old,” he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines it must have been a record harem. And his wives turned away his heart from God, and to their idols. It was SIN! Regarding it, God’s Word says: “Solomon did EVIL in the sight of the Eternal” (I Kings 11:6). There was polygamy in ancient Israel. But it was SIN! God CONDEMNED it — He never condoned or sanctioned it. They reaped what they sowed.
What GOD Joins in Marriage
Also Israelites practiced what God had forbidden — divorce and remarriage. On this, Jesus said: “Moses (NOT GOD) because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt. 19:8-9) GOD has NEVER legalized divorce and remarriage. It is not allowable today. Jesus said, in this same connection: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?” Notice, Jesus was dating this from the BEGINNING. And God NEVER CHANGES! “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” Notice, a man shall cleave to his WIFE — NOT WIVES. And they TWO — not he and several wives — shall be one flesh. “What therefore GOD hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6). It is what GOD joins together. That is the definition of MARRIAGE. God does not join together one man with plural women! Any woman a man may “marry” according to man’s codes, in addition to the wife GOD joined him to, is NOT his wife, so long as his real wife lives. Any additional women, whether in polygamy, or by divorce one at a time, is plain ADULTERY! GOD never joins the second, let alone the additional “wives.” They are NOT truly wives — they are adulteresses, and the man becomes an adulterer. THIS BREAKS GOD’S LAW. IT IS SIN. Jesus thus put us straight on monogamous marriage. God made ONE wife for Adam — not a harem! He started the human family out as He ordained they SHOULD go — a family of ONE man and ONE wife! And, remember, God gave this absolute COMMAND regarding future kings of Israel — telling them they must not do as the pagan nations around them (whose kings had their harems): “NEITHER SHALL HE MULTIPLY WIVES TO HIMSELF!” Saul, Israel’s first king, DISOBEYED that command. He let demons take hold of him. God deposed him, and put David in his place. David started out in polygamy, but God punished him. HE REPENTED thoroughly, and he finished his reign with his ONLY living wife. Solomon finished his life in polygamy and idolatry — and God, in punishment, rended the KINGDOM away from his son, Rehoboam. GOD DID NOT CONDONE POLYGAMY! He PUNISHED those who practised it! It was ALWAYS SIN! It is SIN today! Hosea and other prophets constantly dwell upon the thought of monogamous marriage as being a symbol of the union of God and His people, and denounce idolatry as unfaithfulness to this spiritual marriage-tie.
Christ to Marry ONE Church
The marriage relationship, in the New Testament, is the type of the relationship between Christ and God’s Church. The worldly churches are MANY. Those who claim the NAME Christian — Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox Catholic, hundreds of Protestant churches — all claim to be, combined, the Church which Christ started. They seem to believe, somehow, that when Christ returns to earth to marry His church, that Jesus Christ will be a POLYGAMIST — that He will marry HUNDREDS of Churches — have HUNDREDS of WIVES! THEY ARE WRONG! Jesus Christ will marry but ONE Church — the True Church of GOD — and all these worldly churches will be on the outside looking in! Listen! “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His WIFE (NOT WIVES) hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). One of the qualifications for a Minister in GOD’S Church is that he have only ONE wife! No POLYGAMIST may be a Minister of Jesus Christ in His True Church! Here it is: “A bishop (elder, overseer, preacher, minister), must be blameless, the husband of ONE wife” (I Tim. 3:2). Likewise, a man may not even be a deacon if he has more than one wife (Verse 12). Let us, then, understand it once and for all! Polygamy is a SIN. God condemns it! It is ADULTERY! IT HAS NEVER BEEN APPROVED OR CONDONED BY GOD AT ANY TIME, IN PATRIARCHAL DAYS — IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES — OR NOW, TODAY!]]>