This page was to be on another web site , but for economic reasons, I have made it a part of my campaign web site. Like Mrs. Clinton, I am dead broke.
The After Life
The Holy Spirit
God the Father
Why Do Good People Suffer?
New Year's Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
St. Patrick's Day
April Fools Day
New Year's Day 2
Holocaust Memorial Day
Happy Mothers' Day
Happy Father's Day
Sukkot - The Feast of Tabernacles
Love, Marriage & Sex
Husband & Wife Relationship
Evolution vs. Creation
The Seven Churches of Revelation
The United States of America--Who Are We?
The End of the World
From Catholicism to Armstrongism
I was born a Roman Catholic and attended Catholic grammar school, and I attended church services (Mass) every Sunday, and even almost everyday when I was in grammar school.
As a Roman Catholic, I was taught that I belong to the one true church founded by Jesus Christ. We had the seven sacraments of baptism, penance, holy eucharist, matrimony, holy orders, and extreme unction. We had the four marks of the one true church: one, holy, catholic or universal, and apostolic. We believed in the whole Bible. All the Bible is true. Jesus gave Peter, who was our first pope, the authority to change the laws, according to what He said, “Whatever things you bind on earth shall also be bound in heaven.”
In school, we would pray for the reunion of Christendom. Since we were the one true church, that obviously meant only one thing--that the break away churches of Protestantism would return to us and become Catholic again.
As a Catholic, our main goal was to live as sinless a life as possible, so that when we die, we could go straight to heaven filled with sanctifying grace. There, we would be happy and be with God for all eternity. Heaven is suppose to be so beautiful that you can’t even imagine what it is like. What we were taught is that heaven is a big circle with God in the middle. The really good Catholics are the ones who will be closest to God. The ones who were pretty good Catholics will be somewhere in the middle. The ones who were just Catholic and also the Protestants would be farthest from God. There are three other places you might go when you die. One is the bad place known as hell. This is where Satan lives. It is a very hot and fiery place where a soul is punished for all eternity. A person goes to hell if he has mortal sin on his soul before he dies. Mortal sin is any act or omission that is seriously wrong and is considered seriously wrong. And it must be willfully done. Another place we might go is purgatory. This is somewhere near hell where a Catholic who died with venial sins on his / her soul goes to wash them away in fire or something. Then, after that, he / she can go to heaven. Venial sins are less serious sins--not as bad as mortal sins. The last place a departed soul would go is limbo. This is a place for non-Christians who never heard of Jesus, yet led a relatively good life while on earth. They don’t see God, but they are happy nevertheless, but not as happy as those in heaven.
Catholic View of Heaven
As a good Catholic, I could not see myself leaving the church and joining another church. But that’s what happened when I was 19 and 20 back in 1969. Back then, the Vietnam War was raging. The Paris Peace talks convened, and so we were going to negotiate peace with the Communists. I was very pessimistic. I believed what John F. Kennedy once said about the Communists, that the motto of the Communists is: What’s ours is ours; and what’s yours is negotiable. So I looked around for the truth in magazines, newspapers and the TV, and came across a TV Sunday morning show called The World Tomorrow with host speaker Garner Ted Armstrong. His topic was the Vietnam War, and so naturally I was very interested in it. At the end of the show, he offered a free book entitled, The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy. I eagerly sent for it because since I loved America, I was very interested in the future of America. When I got it, I think I read the whole book in one day. It was astonishing. It told about our true roots, that most of the white Europeans came from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. The lost Ten tribes of Israel were taken captive from the Holy Land to Assyria as slaves. Two specific tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh, were to inherit great power and wealth. Ephraim was to become a great company of nations while Manasseh was to become the greatest single nation on earth. It revealed that Great Britain where the eternal Throne of King David sits, along with the British Commonwealth of Nations is Ephraim, and the United States of America is Manasseh. Just as Great Britain has lost its power, the book predicts that the United States would also lose its power because of our sins. We would be punished by God with famine, pestilence, trade war, and finally World War III, in which we would be the losers to a United States of Europe lead by Germany, and be taken as slaves to Europe. Once there, we would repent of our sins and call upon God for forgiveness. Then Jesus will come in his glory in the Second Coming. He will defeat the armies of US of Europe and free our people. He will lead them back to the Holy Land (Israel or Palestine) which is our original home. There, we will become great again and regain our lost possessions. Ephraim would again settle in England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, while Manasseh would return to resettle in America.
Intrigued, I sent for more literature from Garner Ted Armstrong whose father Herbert W. Armstrong was the head of the Worldwide Church of God in Pasadena, California. They sent me a free subscription to The Plain Truth Magazine, a magazine with articles on world events that would lead us to the Second Coming.
Herbert W. Armstrong and Garner Ted Armstrong each had their own story of how they were converted to the true Christian church. Herbert W. Armstrong’s wife had been talking to a Church of God woman who told her about the true Sabbath. His wife started keeping the Jewish Sabbath which made Herbert furious. He read the Bible and studied it carefully to show his wife that Sabbath keeping was not right, and that Sunday observance was commanded in the Bible. He could not prove it. Instead, he converted to the Church of God. His son Garner Ted Armstrong, grew up irreligious. He thought the Church of God was his father’s religion and wanted no part in it. But, eventually, he came around and accepted the truth.
The Armstrong’s told the story of the true church, that it was always to be a small church that was persecuted and despised by the world from the time of the apostles to the Second Coming. In these end times, the Church would be given a little power to broadcast the true gospel to the world. This would be in fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:14, when he said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come.”
As servants of God chosen to carry out the great commission of preaching the Gospel to all nations, Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God relied on tithes and offerings from its members to finance the ministry, publications, and air time on radio and TV stations around the world.
Mr. Armstrong’s former livelihood was an advertising businessman. He said three times God struck down his business until he turned and became a Christian. Then God use him for the great work of preaching the gospel. He built three campuses, one in Pasadena, California, one in Big Sandy, Texas, and one near London, England. Since he was a publisher, he published The Plain Truth Magazine which was sent out to millions of subscribers free of charge.
Tithing means to give one-tenth of your income to the church. The Armstrong church claimed that everything was made by God and so everything belongs to God. No Bible-believing Christian or Jew can argue that. Then Armstrong said that God requires you to pay ten percent of your income. Once you do that, He gives you the 90 per cent to do as you please.
"Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say, 'Wherein have we robbed you?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now says the Lord of hosts if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it."Malachi 3:8-10
Who wants to rob God? Who wants to be cursed with a curse?
There were actually three tithes in the Armstrong church. The first tithe is what I just mentioned. The second tithe is ten percent of your income which you spend on yourself on the church feast days. The third tithe is ten percent of your income which you set aside every three years for the orphans and widows. This money, like the first tithe, was to be sent to the church headquarters in Pasadena, California. That's why, Mr. Armstrong said, the Bible says to bring in ALL the tithes, not just one tithe. In addition to these tithes, the church encourage its members to send in offerings. And, in addition to the tithes and offerings, the church urged its members to sacrifice, sacrifice, and sacrifice. A lot of members gave up this religion because it costs so much money. But God says if you tithe, He will bless you. That’s what it says in Malachi 3:8.
There was a controversy about whether you tithe your gross income or your net income. My parents said that you don't see your gross income, you only see your net income. So a tithe payer should pay 10% of the net income, not your gross income. Mr. Armstrong insisted that you tithe your gross income because your taxes go to an earthly government which they claim is Satan's government.
My parents didn't like me giving all that money to the Armstrong church. They saw the church ministers come to visit me all dressed up in handsome good-looking suits while I was wearing rags.
After seven or eight years of obeying that law, I had enough. I was going from one meager job to another meager job. Most of the time I was on the dole. I thought I wasn't receiving the blessings that I couldn't find room enough to receive. God wasn't keeping his promise. The Armstrong church said it's because I have a bad attitude. That was a terrible fault for a Christian in the Armstrong church to have--to have a bad attitude. But the verses in Malachi 3:8-10 say nothing about a bad attitude. A promise is a promise. No ifs, ands, or buts. I stopped tithing. I stopped giving anymore money to the Armstrong church.
Then I read an article about Garner Ted Armstrong in Time Magazine in which he was disfellowshipped from the church by his own father Herbert W. Armstrong. One reason given was because of his womanizing and his adulteries. Another reason was because he was usurping his father's authority and "destroying the Work of God." In the article, Herbert W. Armstrong's yearly salary was given. It was a half million dollars a year. After reading that, I no longer considered myself as a member of the Worldwide Church of God.
There were articles from ex-church ministers and other Biblical authorities about tithing. The tithing laws were to be enforced only when the temple was on earth. The temple doesn't exist today. Only farmers, herdsmen and fishermen were required to tithe with their produce and catch. Everyone else was exempted. God truly is very generous to us.
We are commanded to support the church. We are commanded to be generous. And we Americans are generous. We give to the church. We give to the poor. We give foreign aid to other countries. We help each other in times of troubles and disasters. We are one of the most caring, generous nations on earth. God blessed us, and we bless God. Jesus also tells us to beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15) Amen to that, Lord Jesus. Amen to that.
The After Life
Unlike the Catholic Church, the Armstrong church did not believe that good Christian souls go to heaven when they die. In fact, Mr. Armstrong’s son, Garner Ted Armstrong, offered a check of $10,000 to anyone who could find anything in the Bible where it says that Christian souls go to heaven when they die. The Armstrong church did not believe in the immortal soul. They said that when a person dies, he dies all over. The only soul we have is our physical bodies with the blood flowing through it and the mind in the brain that receives the spirit of God that allows us to understand spiritual things. We simply cease to exist when we die. Then when Jesus returns in the Second Coming, the dead non-existing Christian souls are restored back to existence. Not only are they restored back to existence, they, along with the Christians still alive, are changed and have spirit bodies just like God the Father and Jesus Christ. They are sons and daughters of God. They are Gods. This is the gospel, the true gospel (The Good News) of Jesus Christ that is to be delivered to all nations before the end of the world.
The Armstrong church explained the kingdom of God this way: there’s the mineral kingdom on the very bottom, then above that there’s the plant kingdom, then above that there’s the animal kingdom, above all the kingdoms on earth is the human kingdom, then above that is the angelic kingdom which includes the good angels, the archangels, the cherubs, the demons, and the devil, and above all the kingdoms of the universe is the kingdom of God, which includes at the present time, God the Father and Jesus Christ. They did not believe that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit is the power of God. This is what I still believe. Sometimes the Bible will show the Holy Spirit to be acting like a person. I believe it means God the Father or Jesus Christ or both of them. If the Holy Spirit were the third person of the Blessed Trinity, then the Holy Spirit would be Jesus Christ’s father where it says in Matthew 1:18 that Mary was found with child of the Holy Ghost. In verse 20, the angel tells Joseph that the child which was conceived in Mary his wife was of the Holy Ghost. If Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and if the Holy Ghost is a person, then the Holy Ghost is the father of Jesus, not God the Father.
For a while, I believed that if and when I die, I would disappear from existence. And then, according to Armstrong, my next moment of consciousness would be somewhere on the earth as a spirit being flying to the clouds to meet Jesus coming down to the earth to Jerusalem to reign over the world. The unconverted people who died would come back into existence a thousand years later in the second resurrection as flesh and blood human beings. They would be given 100 years of human life to learn to live as Christians. Then they would be given salvation and eternal life in the Kingdom of God. One of the Armstrong ministers described what it would be like to die, go into non-existence, and then come back to life or existence again. He said the deceased person would be completely unaware of the passage of time. He imagined what it would be like if a person was clubbed over the head and killed. Let's say that person tried to duck before he was clubbed to avoid being hit. When he comes back into existence one or two thousand years later in the second resurrection, we would see him trying to duck to avoid being clubbed. I don't think that will happen even if Mr. Armstrong is right about going into non-existence at death and then coming back into existence at the second resurrection. When I was hit by a car and ended up in the hospital, two weeks later when I regained consciousness, I did not know anything about the accident. I couldn't remember it. I couldn't remember it until ten years later when I tried imagining in my own eyes what I was doing back then.
But there's something about non-existence that doesn't seem kosher. To my mind, if I go into non-existence, that's it. That's the end of me. If I come back into existence, that would only be a copy of me. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but that's what I believe now.
In Luke 16, Jesus tells a parable about Lazarus and the rich man. They both died and went to hell or hades. Lazarus went to the bosom of Abraham, but the rich man went to a fiery place. And between them was a great gulf so that neither side could go to the other side. The Armstrong church said this had to do with the Final Judgment. They said it was about the rich man coming back to existence after over three thousand years to face Lake of Fire that would put a final end to him for good as the Bible mentions in Revelation 20:14-15. According to Armstrong, the rich man wasn't aware of the passage of time, so when he asked Abraham if he (the rich man) could go to his brothers to warn them of this place, he didn't know that they were long gone. I believe that going to Hades after death is exactly what will happen to me if I see death before the Second Coming. There's some place under the earth or under the ocean called Hades where our souls go after we die. One part of Hades is for the good souls, the other part of Hades is for the bad souls. When Jesus returns at His Second Coming, the saints in Hades will rise up to the clouds to meet the Lord.
The Holy Spirit
It seems like I’m getting a little off topic here. I was discussing the afterlife, and now I’m talking about the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is suppose to be the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, and the Blessed Trinity is suppose to have been forever and it will continue forever to be the Blessed Trinity. The Blessed Trinity always was and always will be according to Catholic theology; and it will never change. But Armstrong said the Holy Spirit is not a person. The Catholic Church says the Holy Spirit is a person. In their Baltimore Catechism, they say, “Is the Holy Ghost God?” and they answer “The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.”
Whenever the Holy Spirit is pictured with the Blessed Trinity, it is pictured as a bird, I mean, a dove. This is not a person. A bird is an animal. The Blessed Trinity is indeed a mystery if it consists of Father, Son, and Bird. We know what a Father is. And we know what a Son is. But what about the Dove? Is he their pet? Another case the Armstrongs made for the Holy Spirit not being a person is that in most of the epistles of Paul, he greets the church in the name of God the Father and his son Jesus Christ, but he leaves out the Holy
Spirit. For example, in Romans 1:7, Paul says, “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” No Holy Spirit.
In I Corinthians 1:3, he says, “Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” No Holy Spirit.
In II Corinthians 1:2-3, Paul says, “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” No Holy Spirit.
In Galatians, he says, “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.” No Holy Spirit.
In Ephesians 1:2, he says, “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” No Holy Spirit.
In Philippians 1:2, he says, “Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” No Holy Spirit.
In Colossians 1:2, he says, “Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” No Holy Spirit.
In Thessalonians 1:1, he says,…to the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ, Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” No Holy Spirit.
In Thessalonians 1:1-2, he says, “…unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” No Holy Spirit.
In II Thessolonians 1:2, he says, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." No Holy Spirit.
In I Timothy 1:2, he says, "Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord," No Holy Spirit.
In II Timothy 1:2, he says, "Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." No Holy Spirit.
In Titus 1:4, he says, "Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior." No Holy Spirit.
And in Philemon 1:3 it’s the same: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." No Holy Spirit.
There is one Christian ministry called the Christian Jew Foundation whose radio show I listen to almost everyday who believe in the Blessed Trinity. I mentioned the last argument to the leader of that group. He said Paul left out the Holy Spirit because he was writing THROUGH the Holy Spirit. Well, that doesn’t sound like a person, it sounds like a power. They have a booklet out on the Holy Trinity in which their main source of proof is the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. They could not give me any scriptures from the Old Testament or New Testament that without a doubt would show me that the Holy Spirit is a person.
The vast majority of the churches of Christendom believe that the Holy Spirit is a person and, thus, in the Blessed Trinity. The only Christian churches who believe that the Holy Spirit is not a person seem to be offshoots of the Armstrong religion. When I discuss my belief on this subject with other Christians, they think I’m committing a sin, perhaps the sin of blasphemy. I am 100% sure the Holy Spirit is not a person. However, if, in the afterlife, I see the Holy Spirit as a separate person, I will tell him, “Sorry about that, Lord Bird.”
I could get into a lot of trouble for doing that--calling the Third Person of God Almighty a bird. That’s what Jesus said, didn’t he? In Matthew 12:31-32, he says, “Wherefore I say to you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven to men. And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him. But whosoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven unto men.“ In Mark 3:29, he says, “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost has never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.“ It’s very strange in that the Catholic Church tells us that each of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity are equal to each other. They are suppose to all be alike. Yet, if you blaspheme against God the Son, you will be forgiven. But God the Pet Bird is more sensitive. If you blaspheme against him, he will never forgive you.
We picture the Holy Spirit as a bird. He’s suppose to look like us, isn’t he? Didn’t God say back in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man after our image and likeness.”? If we look like God the Holy Ghost and he looks like us, then where’s our wings? Where’s our feathers? Where’s our beaks?
God the Father
This is the Big Guy, the Most High God, or as He prefers to be called: Father, or Our Father.
I remember watching the movie Robinson Caruso In Space about an astronaut who was marooned on Mars. He was lonely and long for company. An alien who was fleeing execution by an advanced race became his friend. He taught the alien to speak English. One time, the astronaut took God’s name in vain. The alien wanted to know who’s God. The astronaut explained that God is Father, big Father, big, enormous father who made everything.
There is no Blessed Trinity in which there are three equal persons in God. God the Father is the father of Jesus Christ. We know that because He caused Jesus to be born in Bethlehem of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He is the father of Jesus, and not Joseph. Joseph was the foster father of Jesus. This is what the Catholic Church teaches. This is was the Armstrong church taught. And this is was the Bible teaches. What the Armstrong also taught was that God the Father is reproducing Himself. He is making us first in His image, and then in His likeness. We will become children of God the Father just like Jesus is the Son of God. We will be eternal and powerful just like Jesus Christ is now eternal and powerful. The difference between God the Father and Jesus Christ is that God the Father and only God the Father has the power to reproduce Himself.
Jesus said that, "Without Me you can do nothing. Oh, come now, Lord Jesus. I can move my little finger without the help of God Almighty. What he meant was that there was nothing we can do to save ourselves. When I was a Catholic, I believed that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he taught the people for three years, he was arrested, crucified, and buried in a tomb for three days. His death unlocked the gates of heaven which were shut since the time Adam committed original sin.
The Armstrong church taught that Jesus was the sinless Lamb of God who did not open the gates of heaven, but paid for our sins so that we wouldn’t be destroyed in the Lake of Fire or the Second Death. We are all unworthy before God the Father. All of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. To be justified, we must be perfect. That is the commandment of Jesus: “Be therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) We cannot be perfect. It is impossible. Jesus said, “It is easy for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. His disciples asked him, “Who then can be saved?“ Jesus answered, “With men, this is impossible; but with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:24-26) That is what our faith in Jesus is about. It’s about the life of Jesus substituting for our life. Jesus’ life consists of being born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem as the son of David. He was obedient to his parents. He was obedient to all the laws of God. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” In Hebrews 1:16, Paul says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please him (God the Father). Since Christ is our substitute, and we are Christian, it means that we were born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary; we are descendent of King David, we were circumcised on the eighth day, we were baptized by John the Baptist, we obey always obeyed our parents; we obeyed all the laws of God; we raised the dead; we healed the sick; we gave sight to the blind; and we fed 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and some fishes.
One Bible minister from the Christian Jew Foundation, Gary Hedrick, told how God forgives sin this way: This is a true life story. A man committed murder. His brother took the blame and was executed for the crime. Later, the man became guilt stricken and grief stricken. He confessed to the judge that it was he who committed the murder. He even gave the gory details to prove that he did indeed committed the murder. The judge told him, “You are a free man. The crime was paid for by your brother.” And that’s what Christ did for us. As our Creator God and as the sinless Lamb of God, the six quarts of blood he shed as the Son of Man was more precious than anything in all the universe, and it was more than enough to pay for all of mankind’s sins throughout all time.
"We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes." - Gene Roddenbury, creator of Star Trek
In Matthew 27:14 and Mark 15:5, Jesus is standing before Pilate and his accusers. The chief priests accused him of many things, but he answered them nothing. And Pilate asked him again, saying, “Answer nothing? Behold how many things they witness against you. But Jesus answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.
When I was in Holy Name, the Catholic teaching on this is that Jesus gave us Christians an example of what to do when we are falsely accused of something--we are to remain silent. They even gave an example of a teacher wrongly accusing a student of some terrible deed, but the student was quiet. He did not defend himself. This is what Christ did, so this is what we should do. It’s like what Christ said about turning the other cheek when someone strikes you on one side of the face. But this is not what Paul did when he was on trial. He defended himself. He said, “…since I went up to Jerusalem, …they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues nor in the city. Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me." (Acts 25:11-13)
So Jesus took the blame for all our sins. He is also responsible for all the evil that has occurred on the earth. In the Book of Job, God allows Satan to destroy all of Job’s sheep, all of Job’s cattle, kill all Job’s children, and to smite Job with boils all over his body. Who did Job blame? God. In Job 1:21, he says, “…the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.“ God is the one who is responsible for all the evil that occurs. The Good News is that God is not going to allow evil to exist much longer. God is the God of Love. The earth and the universe are only 6 or 7 thousand years old, not millions and million of years or billions and billions of years as evolutionists say. Several thousand years of evil is not that much evil compared to the supposed theory evolution which claims there has been millions and even billions of years of evil. And those thousands of evil years haven’t been really that evil. Most of us enjoy a moderate life style in which we have enough food to eat, enough clothes to wear, we have a place to sleep, we have families, we care for each other.
The Face of Jesus
What did Jesus look like? We are pretty sure what he looked like. We have many paintings and statues that show him with a brown beard, a brown mustache, and long brown hair. And his face is quite nice looking. It is a gentle face. The painting of the Last Supper by Leonardo De Vinci is how we think Jesus probably looked.
But Armstrong, the Bible, and now modern expert archaeologists have other ideas. Below is a picture of what experts believe what Jesus looked like.
It agrees with what the Armstrong church taught how Jesus looked. According to the Bible:
1) Isaiah 53:2 prophesies, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground. He has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
2) He was so common and ordinary looking that Judas, one of his twelve disciples, was paid 30 pieces of silver to pick him out from the other 11 disciples so that the chief priests and elders could arrest him. (Matthew 26:15).
3) The Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 11:14 that, “If a man has long hair, it is a shame unto him.” So, since the Armstrong church says Paul was a disciple of Jesus, then Jesus must have had short hair.
4) My eighth grade teacher at Holy Name of Jesus school, Sister Clare Frances, said that Mary probably had jet black hair. If Mary had jet black hair, then her son Jesus would also have jet black hair.
5) One of Garner Ted Armstrong’s favorite Bible verse about Jesus is Hebrews 7:14, which says, “It is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah.” He was a typical, ordinary Jew. Although today you can hardly find a typical Jew. They are spread around the world and come in all kinds of sizes, shapes, and colors.
The Scourging of Jesus
When I was Catholic, the scourging of Jesus wasn’t discussed in detail. We would see pictures of Jesus on the cross with a few scratches on his body. But when I was in the Armstrong church, the scourging of Jesus was covered in depth. This scourging, the Armstrong church said, was done by Pilate to make the Jews pity Jesus so that they would let him go.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
The above picture show the crucifixion scene at Mount Calvary or the Mount of Olives that we are all familiar with. Jesus is in the middle and the two thieves are to either side of him.
The Bible says that the Jewish rulers requested of Pilate that the legs of Jesus and the two thieves be broken to hasten their deaths so that they wouldn't profane the Sabbath that was coming at sunset. "Then came the soldiers and broke the legs of the first and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was dead already, they did not brake his legs." (John 19:32-33) So the soldiers went to the first thief, then they went by Jesus and came to the second thief, then they came back to Jesus. Does that make sense?
According to the Armstrong church, Jesus was nailed to a tree. The two thieves were crucified on the same tree. So when the soldier came to break their legs, he went around in a circle instead of going in a straight line starting on the left, then going by Jesus who was in the middle, and then ending in the middle at the right side of Jesus.
Why Do Good People Suffer?
That’s what Bill O’Reilly asked in the aftermath of the 7.8 earthquake that destroyed much of Nepal and in which the death toll is now (April 29, 2015) over 4,000.
The thing about good people is that there are no good people in God’s eyes. We are all sinners. We have all alike gone astray. As it says in Romans 3:10-11, “There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.” The Bible teaches us that good people suffer bad things. There’s a whole book on this in the Old Testament which is the Book of Job. Job was a rich man. He was righteous in God’s eyes. He was the most righteous man in the whole world. He had a large family of 10 children. He had a large herd of cattle and a large herd of sheep. But God took all that away from him--his cattle, his sheep, and his 10 children. He even took away Job’s health. He smote him with boils all over his body. He was so repulsive his wife didn’t want to go near him. His three friends accused him of doing something terribly evil. But that’s the way God works in us. That’s the way he builds patience and character in us.
Many Biblical scholars agree that the message of the Book of Job is that God is God, that he can do whatever he wants. We are flesh and blood and cannot do whatever we want. We can make plans for the future, but the apostle James makes clear that, in making plans for the future, we shouldn’t be too presumptuous. In chapter 4, verses 13-16, he says, “Go to now, you that say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city and continue there a year, and buy and sells and get gain.’ Whereas you don’t know what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. For you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now you rejoice in your boastings. All such rejoicing is evil”
That’s what I do whenever I talk about doing something in the future. I say, “God willing.” There’s no guarantee that we will be here tomorrow.
But those people died. How can anything good come of death? Death is not a good thing. The Bible says that death is not a good thing. It was a curse that God cursed Adam and Eve with when they disobeyed God. It is a curse that still plagues mankind. Paul says in I Corinthians 15:26 that "the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Death is an enemy.
October 29, 2015 Thursday. This week we are getting ready for one of our fall time favorites--the observance of Halloween. When I was a little Catholic, I would go from door to door with my bag and collect all kinds of candy and goodies from my neighbors. One of my favorite treats was from a neighbor who handed out small bags of popcorn. I love popcorn. And she really gave us some good-tasting popcorn. When I came back for another bag, she said, "Weren't you here already?" The costumes I wore was a bat outfit and then later a spaceman outfit. I always wanted to wear a Bugs Bunny outfit, but my mother would say that it's only for girls. How can a Bugs Bunny outfit be only for girls when Bugs Bunny was a guy rabbit? At school in one class, we had a Halloween party and most of us kids dressed in our Halloween costumes. On November 1st, we observed All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation and a day off from school.
But when I was in the Armstrong religion, things were a lot different. I once greeted my friend Ron with “Happy Halloween!” just before church services began. After the church services, I rued having said that. The elder who gave the sermonette (the first sermon before the main sermon) said that Halloween is despicable, pagan, devilish, as well as an abomination, Everything that the Catholics observe--Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Halloween--is pagan, pagan, pagan, and pagan. We were not suppose to observe pagan holidays. Instead, we were suppose to stay away from them, avoid them, and even teach and discourage others from observing these “pagan” customs. Halloween, in particular, is a day in which we give candy to the kids in the same way the pagans use to put food outside for the spirits of the dead so that they would take them, be happy, go away, and not bother us. Other things that were bad about Halloween: 1) Halloween marks the season of great dying in the northern hemisphere. The leaves on the trees turn brown and fall off the branches. 2) It is devil-centered and not Christ-centered. The colors of Halloween are orange and black which are the devil’s colors. 3) We are instructed in the Bible by God to “Learn not the way of the heathen.” Jeremiah 10:2-4.
Whether Halloween is good or evil depends on how we behave; God will judge. There might be some Christian good in Halloween because we are giving good gifts to little children in their colorful costumes. We teach our children to be grateful and to say, “Thank you.“ Some little children even collect the money they receive and then give it to other less fortunate children overseas through UNICEF or some other organization like that. (Just make sure any organization you donate to does what they say they do. I'm not sure about UNICEF.)
HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY
November 26, 2015 Thursday. This is the day when we nationally thank God for all His blessings. Individually, we need to thank God everyday of our lives and even several times each day of our lives. When I was a Catholic youth, I didn’t have much appreciation for this day. It was a day when we had turkey dinner and two days off from school plus the weekend. We didn’t get any gifts or much of anything like we did on Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. My father would say grace before meal. It was the standard prayer we Catholics prayed. On this occasion, he prayed it with extra meaning and sincerity: “Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ Our Lord. Amen.“
When I was in the Armstrong church, we recognized this need to be grateful to God. This is the one day out of the many pagan holidays we celebrate in America that met our approval and that we could be comfortable with. We lamented the fact that Thanksgiving Day is very unappreciated by Americans. It is observed by watching parades and football games. The one football team that always plays on Thanksgiving Day is the Detroit Lions. I find this puzzling. The city of Detroit wasn’t even around when the first Thanksgiving Day was observed, nor were any other cities in America for that matter. It is not even close to where the first Thanksgiving took place. Not only that, what do Lions have to do with Thanksgiving Day. Weren’t they on the other side of the Roman Coliseums in opposition to the Christians? They were the bad guys. In a Thanksgiving Day parade, who is at the end of the parade? It’s Santa Claus. The end of Thanksgiving Day marks the beginning of the Christmas season.
Most, if not all of our newspapers acknowledge the observance of Thanksgiving Day. However, they scratch their heads and mainly concentrate on wondering what we can be thankful for rather than to Whom we should be thankful. We are thankful to God the Father Most High and to His Son Jesus. Let’s see what we can be thankful about:
1) We can thank Him for life itself. Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?“ Mark 8:36-37. We can be thankful that we are alive, that we exist as human beings, that we have this little bit of life.
2) Most of us can be thankful that we are healthy. Many of us aren’t healthy. Many of us are sick and in the hospital. But most of us are healthy.
3) We are well fed, at least most of us in the US and Canada. We have an abundance of food. I remember in the days of the Cold War, a Soviet citizen fled the Iron Curtain and came to the West. He was shown our supermarkets that were well stocked with all kinds of goodies. He couldn’t believe his eyes. He thought it was a trick. He thought somebody stock everything in one store while all the other stores were empty. He was taken to any food store he wanted to go. He was simply amazed that all the food stores and every grocery store was fully stocked with food. We should so grateful to God for all this food we have.
4) We should be grateful for the freedom we have. Half the world is Muslim. If you’re Muslim, then that’s not too bad. But if you’re a woman or of some other religion, then you don’t have much freedom. If you live in China, you might be happy living there; but you would have less freedom. If you live in North Korea, you won’t have any freedom. We have the freedom to speak our mind. We have the freedom to move around. We have the freedom to think what we what want and believe what we want.
5) We have peace. There is war in the Middle East with ISIS murdering Christians and other people. We should help our Christian brothers. But most of us don’t want to. So we have peace for now. We have peace through strength. One U.S. general said we are more poorly prepared for war now than at any time in our recent history. But we have peace for now. We still have our nuclear deterrent for now.
6) For many Christians, we look forward to the Second Coming and our salvation and our adoption as sons and daughters into God‘s Kingdom. This is a great gift of God beyond our understanding. It is something to be most grateful about.
I mentioned before how we are becoming an unholy people. More and more we are getting worse and worse. We are proud. We are ungrateful. We are too proud to thank God. We think it’s childish to pray. We think God has nothing to do with our success. We think we did it all by ourselves. We think like the ancient Israelites and say, “ My power and the might of my hand has gotten me this wealth.” Deuteronomy 8:17. That’s why our predecessors instituted Thanksgiving Day--because we often forget. We need to be childish or childlike. That’s what Jesus said, “Unless you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of God." So be like little children and pray to God, America, and be thankful.
November 24, 2016 Thursday.
Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone in America!
I always try to be grateful to God for everything he has given me. I am especially thankful to God for giving us Donald Trump as our next president in January. I feel he will help our economy by bringing more jobs back to America and by strengthening our dollar. It remains to be seen how many of his promises he will keep. And it remains to be seen what Congress and the Supreme Court will allow him to accomplish.
Whatever happens or doesn’t happen, it is all according the way God planned it. We should still be thankful for what we have. We should be thankful to God. I am disappointed by the editorials that appeared in last year’s Buffalo News and this year’s Buffalo News. Not once did they mention God. This is not a good way to start the Christmas season which begins tonight at midnight in which we celebrate the birth of His Son Jesus.
THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
Christmas. Bah! Humbug!
I remember my first Christmas when I was a little boy. I got a present for nothing. Unbelievable! I was so surprised. I got something for doing absolutely nothing. I didn’t asked for it. I wasn’t good. My parents gave me a gift at Christmas, and that was it. I LOVED CHRISTMAS!!!
I remember getting a present from my grandmother about one or two months after she had passed away. She had done all her Christmas shopping before she died. So I got a present from someone who wasn't around anymore.
I enjoyed watching a Santa Claus TV program with Santa and Forgetful on Channel 4 presented by Hengerer’s Department Store. At the beginning and ending of the show, they would play Sleigh Ride which I really liked.
My eighth grade teacher at Holy Name of Jesus school, Sister Clare Frances, told the class that we don’t really know when Christ was born. But we think it was around December 25th. And I said to myself, “Yeah, why not? Christ was born on December 25th."
We would exchanged gifts in class. In 3rd grade, I remember getting something really nice. This one guy, Gary Bets, wanted to trade with me. He got a junky present. He said he would be my friend. He gave me his phone number. So we became friends and traded gifts. Later, I called up my new friend Gary Bets. I did all the talking. All he said was, “Yeah." "Yeah." "Yeah." "Yeah." "Okay." "Bye.” Some friend. We never talked to each other after that. He got what he wanted. That's all that mattered to him.
In high school, I had a crush on this really pretty girl named Elizabeth. She would sit next to me in the cafeteria. Shy, quiet Michael Skok never said hi to her and never said a word to her. The day before our Christmas vacation, she got up from her chair, went two tables away and shared a kiss with this guy. And then she came back and sat in her chair. What a bummer! I was so crushed.
My love for Christmas continued to sour over the years. I use to listen to music on the radio a lot. During the Christmas season, they would play all these Christmas carols on the radio. I got so sick of that. The worst of all those Christmas carols is “Silent Night.” I hate Silent Night. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. The song sounds like an alley cat crying after midnight. I hate it. I hate it. I hate Silent Night. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
When I joined the Armstrong religion, it was a blessing. They regarded Christmas as a pagan holiday, and it was not to be observed. They said Christ wasn’t born anywhere near Christmas. He was probably born in late September or early October. Some say Christ was born on the Jewish holy day of the Feast of Trumpets, which is around that time. December 25 actually celebrates Saturnalia, which is a feast in which we are happy in the northern hemisphere that the days are getting longer. Paganism has to do with the worship of life. The sun is the source of energy that we receive here on earth that keeps us alive. The church cited some of the evils of the Christmas holidays. There is more drunkenness during the Christmas season. There is more personal debt. People are spending money they don’t have on gifts that are not needed or appreciated. It is worst time of the year for charitable organizations who depend on donations. This is an irony because the wise men gave gifts to the Lord, not to each other. Our police find it a headache. There is more fighting, more shoplifting, more domestic violence than at any time of the year. There is more depression. Everybody thinks everybody else is happy and enjoying the season except himself or herself.
The Armstrong church really went overboard in its rejection of Christmas. They said when you see your friends and family exchanging gifts on Christmas, you should just turn away and don’t look at it. Armstrong would quote from the Bible the verses that would seem to prohibit the observance of Christmas particularly the Christmas tree. It’s Jeremiah 10:2-5 where it says, “Learn not the way of the heathen… for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not. They must needs be borne because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.” More than likely, this is not the Christmas tree. It is an idol. The axe man is cutting down an ordinary tree, not necessarily a pine tree. And he doesn’t necessarily do this in the winter time. Then he cuts off the branches and the bark, and he carves the wood into some kind of figure or face. And he uses silver and gold. We use tinsels and ornaments to decorate our Christmas trees. Most of us do not use silver and gold.
Many of the church members in the Buffalo church were converts from Catholicism. Many, like me, were lone converts. We joined the church while the rest of our families remained Catholic. It was very difficult for many of the Armstrong followers. This one woman I knew (Florence) said her mother told her that this Christmas was the worst Christmas she ever had.
One story the minister Mr. Sell told was where he was invited into the home of one of the church members. The man was having difficulty with his wife who loved Christmas and didn’t like the fact that her husband was not celebrating it with her. The minister was telling her all the reasons why we don’t celebrate Christmas. When the minister was leaving, the man complained, “YOU‘RE NOT HELPING ME AT ALL!” He wanted Mr. Sell to tell him it was okay to celebrate Christmas with his wife.
We tried not to be too offensive during the Christmas season. One of the elders of the Buffalo church, Mr. Patrick Reegord told the church members that when someone wishes you a Merry Christmas, there’s no need to go into the fact that Christmas is not Christ’s birthday, that it’s a pagan holiday, that we don’t celebrate Christmas, and all that. Whenever someone wishes him a Merry Christmas, Mr. Reegord simply replies, “Don’t drink too much.” And we shouldn’t get too worked up when we receive a Christmas card. It’s just a card. It’s really nothing. It's not really nothing for the post office. For the post office, too, the Christmas season is a big headache. Sometimes they wish they could throw all those Christmas cards in the garbage, said Armstrong.
Garner Ted Armstrong knew of the advantages of celebrating Christmas. He said that all that gift buying stimulates the economy. So he tells America to go out and buy all those Christmas presents and to go out and stimulate the economy.
Today, I’m not too sure whose economy we are stimulating. Almost everything we buy is made in Communist Red China. So we are actually helping China’s economy so that they can destroy our economy. Have a Merry Christmas, America. Just don’t buy anything made in Communist Red China.
I really don’t bother buying any presents for my folks because we agreed not to exchange. We have to ask each other what we want. We have to think of what we want. Then we have to go out and look for the items. It’s really a big hassle especially with all the many other Christmas shoppers around.
I am still rather respectful of Christmas because it still represents the birthday of Christ the King. Christmas is a Federal holiday. Therefore, in a sense, we recognize that Jesus Christ the Son of God is our king--the king of the United States of America. So, Happy Federal Holiday, America! And don't drink too much!
The Armstrong religion took a dim view of Santa Claus. Originally Santa Claus was St. Nicholas or somebody who was a bishop in Turkey who committed adultery. The ex-ministers of the church said he’s not that bad of a guy. Santa Claus is American fiction. He is no worse than Paul Bunyan, Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, Superman, Batman, Bugs Bunny, and The Hulk. In my mind, Santa Claus is God. He is someone who is good and gives gifts to children all over the world. He can deliver all those presents in one night. Who but God can climb down the chimney of every house on earth in a few hours time? And who but God can travel through the air in a snow sled pulled by a team of reindeer? The trouble is that we’ve outsourced Santa Claus to another country just like we’ve outsourced all our jobs to Communist Red China. A few years ago, we officially placed Santa’s North Pole workshop in Norway instead of Alaska somewhere. What a bummer! We’ve gave away Santa Claus to Norway. Actually, Santa Claus is Danish. His workshop is near the North Pole. The closest land mass near the North Pole is Greenland. Greenland belongs to Denmark. The colors of Denmark’s flag are red and white. That’s why Santa’s suit is red and white. Never mind the black boots and belt. The Danish flag is a Christian flag. It has a white cross on a red field. The red symbolizes the blood that needs to be shed to pay for our sins. The white is the purity that results from the shedding of blood to make clean our souls before God, as it states in Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow (like the snow at the North Pole); though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Sometimes Santa is pictured wearing glasses. God (Santa) doesn’t need glasses. We bought him those glasses. We think God doesn’t see things the way he should see things. So we bought him those glasses in order for him to see better. That’s why he laughs so much.
The Meaning of Christmas
Rather than end on a sour note, perhaps we should remember the true meaning of Christmas. The word “Christmas” comes from two words, “Christ” and “Mass”. We know who Christ is and what he stands for. “Mass” is a Catholic term. It is their Sunday worship. So “Christmas” is the worship of Christ. I told my one neighbor that Christ wasn’t born on Christmas. She said that may be true; but we OBSERVE the birthday of Christ on that day. All right. We can do that. That’s what we do on the Fourth of July. We celebrate our Independence on that day. It was not written on the Fourth of July; and all the signers of the Declaration of Independence didn’t sign it on the Fourth of July. Some of them signed it as late as September. And we really didn’t gain our independence until after we fought Great Britain for eight long years. Christmas is the same way. It commemorates a time period from the birth of John the Baptist to the visit of the Wise Men, the slaughter of the innocents, the flight into Egypt, and the return of the Holy Family to Nazareth. That’s a period of close to five years. In Matthew 2:1-2 it says that the Wise Men traveled from the east and asked King Herod, “Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him." They said Jesus was a king and since they came to worship him, that meant he was also God. They presented their gifts of gold because he was born to be king. They also presented gifts of incense and myrrh to Jesus. Some Bible ministers say the gifts of frankincense and myrrh are items for the dead. Which means Jesus was born to die for our sins. And so that is the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is King and God, and he was born to die for our sins. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. “The one who does not love does not know God because God is love.” I John 4:8. Christmas is about love--God‘s love for us.
HAPPY NEW YEAR'S DAY!
When I was a young boy, I use to watch my parents, aunts, uncles, and even older cousins sit around the table and play cards whenever there was a birthday, or a special holiday like New Year’s Eve. I was left to watch TV or play with my toys. New Year’s Eve wasn’t too enjoyable. I didn’t get any presents, only a noise maker. Big deal. Actually, it was a big deal. Instead of my parents telling me to be quiet, I was told to be noisy that one time. I remember a movie that was on TV on New Year’s Eve called Crazy House. I thought it was a monster picture; but it was only a movie about young adults having a wild party.
Since I was Catholic, I would go to Mass in the morning because New Year’s Day is a holy day of obligation. The Catholic Church calls New Year’s Day the Feast of Circumcision. I didn’t know what that meant until I was 19 or 20 years old and in the Armstrong church. That’s when I started reading the Bible from cover to cover. God commanded Abraham to circumcise all the males in his household. God commanded that all Israelites should be circumcised, and that this was an everlasting convenant. Being a God-fearing Christian, I told one of my Worldwide Church of God ministers Joe Mills that I wanted to be circumcised. He gave me a long lecture that we Christians do not have to be circumcised. My mother told me that I’m already circumcised because it is required under New York State law. I tried to check that out on the Internet, but I can’t find any NYS law that requires male babies to be circumcised. Anyway, the New Testament says that there was a controversy over circumcision back in the days of Paul and the other Apostles. Some of the Jewish Christians said the Gentile Christians had to be circumcised. Paul was telling them already that the Gentile Christians did not have to be circumcised. A council of the Apostles took place in Jerusalem where it was agreed to send letters to the Christian Gentiles, writing that certain of those “saying, ’You must be circumcised and keep the law,’ to whom we gave no such commandment.” And, “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things, that you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication from which if you keep yourselves, you should do well.” (Acts 15:24, 28 & 29)
Paul says further, “For circumcision truly profits if you keep the law. But if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfills the law, judge you who by the letter and circumcision transgress the law? For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit and not in the letter whose praise is not of men but of God.” (Romans 2:25-29)
This use to be so boring to read whenever I was doing my daily Bible reading and I would come across that scripture. But there it is, right in front of our eyes. All those millions and millions of Muslims around the world who are circumcised--it means nothing if they hate Jesus and go murdering the infidel. And all those millions of Jews who are a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Twelve Patriarchs, and even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Jerusalem, Israel is not a Jew unless they believe in and obey Jesus. Circumcision of the heart is our faith in Jesus. We Christians are the true Jews. Paul says, “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him." (Hebrews 11:5) Our faith is truly worth celebrating.
Like Halloween and Christmas, the Armstrong church considered New Year’s Day celebration to be pagan. The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus. Janus is pictured with a head that has two faces--one that is pointing backwards and the other that is pointing forwards. He symbolizes the end of the old year and the beginning of a new year. He is pagan because the pagans worship life, sex, and the sun. Janus is the god of birth--the beginning of human life. On the Jewish calendar, which for the most part we in the Armstrong church recognized because we observed the Jewish holy days in the Bible, there are two days that could be observed as New Years Day. The first is in the spring in either March or April, fourteen days before Passover. That day is the day of the new moon which marks the first day of the first month called Nisan. The other day is usually in September and is the first day of the seventh month called Tishri. This is the day, if I’m not mistaken, which the Jews use to count 40 weeks back in order to find the 1st day of the year, Nisan the 1st. It may also be the day when Adam was created over five thousand years ago. Regardless, the Armstrong church observed neither of those days other than as ordinary days.
New Year’s Resolutions
For the New Year, it is a typical custom to make a resolution. I often do that. Some of my resolutions are negative resolutions. I try to break a bad habit. This year, I am more concerned about keeping positive resolutions. I am trying to make up my mind to finish this web site. There are many loose ends I did not finish. I would like to spend at least 5 minutes on my web site. I have presented a lot of topics in my web site. What I usually do is write about a certain subject about all the things I already know. And what I don’t know, what needs to be researched, I usually leave that go until later.
I also wish to take up a musical instrument. I use to play the guitar. I still have my guitar; so naturally, I will take up the guitar again and reapply myself to the goal of being an accomplished guitar player.
Resolutions are hard to keep. I think this is especially true at my age when I will turn 67 in April. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” is the old saying. From my education at Erie Community College, I learned that when confronting a giant task, the best course of action is to divide the work into several parts and then do a little bit at a time.
Resolutions usually end up in failure. I think that’s why Armstrong was against resolutions. But the Bible says we should never give up, and to always pray to God for His help. If I meet with failure, then there’s always the next day, or the next week, or the next month to make a brand new resolution.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY
January 15, 2017 Sunday. Today and tomorrow we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Dr. King’s greatest moment was at the Civil Right March on Washington DC where he gave his “I Have A Dream” speech.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal".
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all the flesh shall see it together.
Dr. King was no perfect man. Even King David had his ups and downs. But what words! What dreams! It is the hope and dream of every Christian that God the Father will send the Lord Jesus down to this earth soon to rid us of the errors and miseries we now suffer from.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
Valentine’s Day is supposedly in honor of St. Valentine who would write letters encouraging other Christians to be strong in their faith.
When I was in Holy Name of Jesus grammar school, most of the classes would celebrate Valentine’s Day by exchanging cards with each other. I would give a card to each student in the class. I’ve heard that one or two girls in the classroom would only give a card to the ones they liked. They weren’t giving any to the wise guys in the classroom. I received a card from each girl, so they must have liked me.
When I went to Genesee Humboldt Junior High School for my freshman year, we didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day at all, nor did any of the schools I’ve went to since then. Nobody gave anything to each other, and I didn’t give anything to anyone. I wish I did because I was really in love with this one pretty girl named Marsha. It would have been a great idea if I had given her a Valentine’s Day present. We might have gotten married. It’s too bad I thought of it 40 or 50 years later. I did give Valentine presents to sweethearts in my past--Margaret and Amy were two of them.
Valentine’s Day is another day that the Armstrong church did not celebrate. According to our leader, Herbert W, Armstrong, Valentine’s Day is an old Roman custom celebrated by a sex orgy in which married couples would draw lots to choose their new partner for the day--somebody else’s mate, which is adultery. So, not only did we not celebrate Valentine’s Day, we hated it and had nothing to do with it. I remember when I was in the Armstrong church, the lady who lived in the upstairs apartment above us wanted to give me a Valentine card, but I refused to take it. I feel so guilty now when I think about that.
Below is a video of the song “To All The Girls I Use To Know.,” by Julio Inglesias and Willie Nelson. The song includes the words, “who came in and out my door.” Very few girls came in and out my door. Those who did were mostly my relatives. My mother was one of them. She liked this song very much. Most people give Valentine’s Day presents to our mothers, and so did I. So this song is from me and all us guys to all you ladies who made our lives so much better.
SAINT PATRICK’S DAY
On March 17th, everybody is Irish, including St. Patrick.
If you didn’t read a book on St. Patrick or know next to nothing about him, you would think that St. Patrick was an Irishman. But the truth is, he was British. He was taken captive by Irish sea raiders and made a slave. He learned their language after living as a slave with them. Somehow he made it back to England where he became a priest. He came back to Ireland and converted the Irish to Christianity.
Today, there is a great division between the Irish and the Northern Irish. They hate each other. In some communities in Northern Ireland there are walls to separate the Protestants from the Catholics. This is not what Christianity is about. Christianity is about love, not hate.
HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY (Easter)
This week and this Sunday (April 16th) we celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday. When I was a Catholic boy, I didn’t understand why we call the day that Christ was crucified “Good Friday.” That seems insulting and offensive to Jesus. Does anyone call anyone else’s day of death “good”? And what about the word “Easter”? What does the word “Easter” mean? Jesus said he would be in the tomb for three days and three nights. How can you count three days and three nights between Good Friday late afternoon and Easter Sunday morning? What do eggs and chocolate rabbits have to do with Christ’s resurrection?
Mr. Armstrong had all the answers. Easter is another pagan holiday, he said, The word “Easter” is the way we spell “Ishtar” which is a Babylonia goddess, and it is pronounced the same way as “Easter.” He even wrote an article in one of his magazines comparing Ishtar sunrise services in Babylon over 500 years ago to Easter sunrise services today in the modern U.S.A. He wrote about you, awaking before dawn; you, putting on your Sunday clothes; you, going out to a high hill and gathering with your friends who are just as sleepy eyed as you are; you, facing the east; and you, bowing your head to the rising sun.
Jesus said he would be in the tomb three days and three nights. “…for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40) Armstrong was emphatic and insistent about this. He even said your salvation depended on this. If Jesus did not spend 72 hours in the grave, then you have no hope, no salvation. We in the Armstrong church believed that the crucifixion of Jesus took place on Wednesday; and the resurrection of Jesus took place late Saturday evening. According to Mark 15:42, “And now when the evening was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath…” The next day was a Sabbath. It would be Thursday, the First Day of Unleavened Bread, which was a Sabbath, a day in which no work could be done. Wednesday was Passover. It was not a Sabbath Day. Work is allowed on Passover. In fact, you could even execute a criminal on Passover. On Sunday morning, the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, went to the tomb of Jesus, according to Mark 16:1. But the grave of Jesus was open and his body was gone. Jesus had already risen from the dead 12 hours earlier.
Answers In Genesis says it happened the way most Protestants and Catholics believe--that Jesus died on Good Friday and was resurrected on Sunday morning. They say that Good Friday may not have been a full day, but the people in those times would count Good Friday as the First Day; Saturday would be the Second Day; and Sunday morning would be the Third Day. I am more inclined to believe what Armstrong said on this point.
So why do we eat fish on Good Fridays; and why do we color Easter eggs for Easter Sunday? And what do rabbits have to do with Easter Sunday? Since Easter Sunday is a pagan holiday, life is worshipped through symbols that bring about life, which is sex. Rabbits and fish multiply rapidly and are good symbols (as are also the eggs) of life and sex. Easter Sunday morning services are held to worship the sun which sustains life here on earth.
The main course on Easter Sunday is ham. According to Armstrong or someone else, ham was chosen because it is an anti-Jewish symbol. The Jews do not eat pork. The Armstrong church did not eat pork either. It was an unclean meat that we were to avoid. We could eat lamb and beef. Those were from animals that were divided in the hoof and chewed the cud. For fish, we could only eat those fish with fins and scales. We could not eat shrimp, crab, or lobster. One Worldwide Church of God minister said that in order not to offend his host and hostess who invited him to an Easter ham dinner, he would take the ham off his plate and hide it in his pocket. Then he would say, “Mmmm boy! Was that good ham!”
Christians and the rest of the world are not required to abstain from unclean meat. After the Flood, God allowed mankind to eat any meat they wanted. It says in Genesis 9:3, “Every moving thing that lives shall be meat for you;” And in I Corinthians 10:25, Paul says, “Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience; for ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”
April 1, 2016 Friday--April Fool’s Day
The biggest prankster on April Fool’s day was my mother. For example, she would tell me I had a call on the phone. (This was in the days before we each had our own cell phones.) I would walk to the phone, and the receiver was on the hook. There was no phone call. My mother would then say, “April Fool!“ Every year at this time, I had my guard up so as to be careful whatever she told me on that day.
The two biggest April Fools jokes I remember were: 1) my Fourth Grade teacher at Holy Name of Jesus School. She told the class on Friday, April 1st, that we were naughty boys and girls yesterday, and for that reason, for our punishment, she was making us do a lot of homework over the weekend. She told us not to write down the homework assignment she was writing on the chalkboard until we were ready to leave. Then she wrote on the chalk board the tons and tons of homework we were to hand in on Monday. She gave us homework in every subject. One assignment was to copy an entire short story from our reading book. I remember thinking of how I was going to divide up the assignment over the next two and a half days--I would copy the short story tonight, and also do the math. I would do the English and Geography on Saturday. I would do the Spelling and History homework on Sunday. One girl (Mary Lynn) was sick and was crying. The teacher let her go home. Another girl (Kathy Wild, one of the smart pretty girls) was lamenting to the teacher about all homework they had to do. The teacher couldn’t wait to the very last minute. We were all close to the point of tears. So around noon, she told the class that it was an April’s Fools Joke.
2) The second biggest April Fools joke was from Superman comics. Each Superman story began with an introductory paragraph. The editor said strange things were happening and it all began on “The Night of March 31st,” (the title of the story). The story contained all kinds of errors. In one panel, Superman was changing from his secret identity of Clark Kent into his Superman uniform while two guys were watching him. Another panel showed Superman flying with one boot off; he was barefooted in one foot. At the end of the story came the explanation. The title of the story was, “The Night of March 31st.” So then the next day was April 1st--April Fools Day. It was an April Fool’s Day’s Joke. Then they said they were having a contest for the readers to write in and tell how many errors they could find in the story. The one who found the most errors won a prize.
I suppose the Armstrong church frowned on its members celebrating April Fool’s Day. It had to do with lying, which is breaking of one of the Ten Commandments--Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Everyone enjoys a joke now and then. I try not to joke around too much because then my neighbors won’t take me seriously whenever I say something. My one neighbor kids around a lot; so it’s hard to tell when he’s speaking the truth.
Another scripture in the Bible found in one of Paul’s epistles is, “Neither filthiness nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks…” (Ephesians 5:4). Some versions of the Bible interpret “jesting” or “jokes” as dirty jokes. I don’t know what the precise meaning is. It’s a long Greek word. It could mean all jokes: Christians are not to tell any jokes(?).
When I was in the Worldwide Church of God and attended Sabbath services (Saturday mornings), the ministers would tell a joke that was usually based on the Bible and sometimes appropriate to the sermon they gave. One joke went like this: An evil man went to hell and stood before Satan who showed him three doors he was to enter where he would spend all eternity in punishment. He went to the first door and heard screaming and crying. And he said, “No, I don’t want to go in that door.” Then he went to the second door and heard nothing. And he said, “That’s much better; but that utter silence has me worried. I’d better not go in that door.” Then he went to the third door. There he heard quiet conversation. He thought that was all right. So he tells Satan that this third door is where he wants to go in to spend the rest of his eternity in punishment. The Devil then opens the door, picks him up and throws inside. Immediately he is up to his nose in pig’s blood and excrement. And everyone around him is saying, “Don’t make waves. Don’t make waves. Don’t make waves.”
Another joke one of the Worldwide Church of God ministers told was about Noah and the Flood. It touches on the evolution theory that what is now in the present is the result of what happened in the distant past. The story begins with a small leak in the Ark during the Flood. They didn’t have any repair material, so Noah’s dog stuck his nose in the hole to keep the water from leaking into the Ark. The water was cold, but Noah’s dog and its nose helped for a while until the hole got bigger. So Noah’s wife and three daughters-in-law put their feet in the hole to plug it up and keep the cold water from coming in. But the hole got bigger, so Noah and his three sons took turns sitting on the hole to keep the cold water out of the Ark. That did the trick until the Ark landed on the mountains of Ararat. So that’s why to this very day, dogs have cold noses, women have cold feel, and men stand around with the back of their hands down on their behinds.
A third joke I remember was about two guys. The 1st guy asked the 2nd where was Jesus born. The 2nd guy says, “Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.” The 1st guy says, “No.” The 2nd guy says, “Birmingham, Alabama.” The 1st guy says, “No.” The 2nd guys says, “Gary, Indiana.” The 1st guy says, “No.” The 2nd guy says, “I give up.” The 1st guy says, “Bethlehem.” And the 2nd guy says, “Oh, yeah! I knew it was one of those steel cities.”
The jokes came to an end when one church ladies brought up the fact that we were suppose to keep the Sabbath holy. We weren’t doing that by telling jokes.
HAPPY NEW YEAR'S DAY 2!
April 9, 2016 Saturday. Happy New Year to everyone in the United States, and to all our friends throughout the world.
In Exodus 12: 2, it says, “This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you.” According to the Jewish calendar, this is the 1st day of Nisan.
On this day, back when Moses and the children of Israel were still in Egypt, God told them to take a lamb and keep it in their household for two weeks. One of the ministers of the Worldwide Church of God said that when you bring a lamb into your house, you start to fall in love with it; you give it a name; and you treat it like a member of the family. Then the Lord instructs the Israelites after two weeks, “Now, I want you to kill it.” That’s just like killing a member of the family because you love that lamb so much. God told the Israelites to sprinkle the blood of that lamb on their doorway so that the death angel would pass over their house and not kill their firstborn child. The Armstrong church taught that Jesus is the Lamb of God, and that his blood takes away our sins so that the death angel doesn’t destroy us in the Lake of Fire that is mentioned in Revelation 20:14 & 15, the second death.
On this first day of the year, as well as every day of the year, I pray for this country, the good old USA, that God will protect us from our enemies and that He will help us solve our problems. The national debt is one big monumental problem that is now threatening to destroy our dollar, our economy, and our way of life. We are going through the election process for selecting our next president. We need to pray about that; and I mean we really need to pray about that because God promises us he will set up the basest or the worst candidate to be our next president as it says in Daniel 5:17. We need to ask for God’s mercy so that he will give us a good leader who will solve the national debt crisis and heal the wounds of so many of our jobs going overseas, especially to Communist Red China.
April 11, 2017 Tuesday is Passover. It starts at Monday sundown, April 10, 2017, and it ends Tuesday sundown April 11. It commemorates the 7th and last plague of Egypt by God in which the firstborn throughout the land were struck dead. The Israelites escaped this plague by smearing lamb’s blood over their door posts so that the death angel would pass over that house and spare the firstborn.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin.” (Hebrews 10:22) The Armstrong church preached that Egypt is a type of sin. Israel escaped from the death angel because of the blood; and they escaped from Egypt by the power of God.
The Israelites were instructed to wear their sandals and have their cloak ready. On that night, the death angel swept over the land of Egypt and killed the firstborn of every family. The anguish and outcry of the Egyptian people when this tragedy struck was to thrust the nation of Israel out of their land that same night. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Lamb of God and that He washes away all of our sins through His shed blood. (“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29) The Old Covenant required the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb at Passover every year. The New Covenant fulfilled the Old Covenant with Christ dying on the cross as our Passover lamb once and for all. Because "it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (Hebrews 10:4) In remembrance of His death, we partake of the Last Supper as He commanded us. Bread is symbolized as His body while wine is symbolized as his blood. No longer is sacrificing a lamb necessary.
Passover (the Last Supper) was observed by the Armstrong church as a solemn night. Before we ate a piece of unleavened bread (matzos crackers) and a little bit of wine, we “examined our consciences” (I Corinthians 11:28-30) and confessed to God that we are sinners and are worthy of death. We confessed to God that only by the shed blood of Jesus and his broken body are we saved from eternal death.
God is deadly serious that we observe the Passover properly. It says in verse 30 that, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (have died)."
In Exodus 12:14, God told the Israelites that the Passover was to be kept as a memorial. A memorial is the observance of a certain day once a year. According to Armstrong, the Passover should be taken only once a year. That is what I still believe today. Yet, we have churches that partake of the Passover supper (Holy Communion) everyday, every week, and every month of the year. Some churches distribute the bread in round wafers. When I was Catholic, I never drank of the fruit of the vine from a cup. I only ate the round wafers.
I use to be a listener of Harold Camping. One time he was talking about the bread and wine that is symbolically the body and blood of Our Lord. He said there is no “wine” mentioned. The scriptures in both the Gospels and the Epistles only mention “the cup” and “the fruit of the vine.” I found that hard to believe. Yet, when I looked up the verses, I saw that he was right. Maybe he’s wrong. Maybe we do have to drink wine at Passover observance. But I’ve been drinking grape juice ever since then whenever I observe the Passover Last Supper.
Foot Washing - Ugh!!! No wonder Peter said to Jesus, “You shall never wash my feet.” (John 13:9) But Jesus answered, “If I wash you not, you have no part with me.” Then he said, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
Those are strong words. It seems that foot washing is necessary for one’s salvation. Is that true?
Foot washing is mentioned only once in the Bible in John 13. It mentioned nowhere else in the Bible--not in the Old Testament, not in the other three gospels, and not in any of the epistles. (Correction: It’s mentioned in I Timothy 5:10) Maybe it only has to be done once. There is also that possibility that Christ was only talking to his Twelve Apostles. Only THEY were required to wash each other’s feet. Perhaps it’s one of those things that Middle Eastern people are accustomed to doing. Perhaps it was necessary it those days when people only wore sandals.
Mr. Sell was telling us that married couples could wash each other’s feet; and that there is no rule against it. That’s nice. He was saying that women should wear socks and not stockings.
National Day of Prayer
May 5, 2016 Thursday. Today is our National Day of Prayer. I looked at some web sites to see what this National Day of Prayer is all about. It seems the only thing they say is that it’s nice to have a National Day of Prayer, and that it’s nice to come together and pray together. When I went to Mass at Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church several years ago, a woman gave a sermon who said we pray more when we are at peace-- like when we’re sitting beside a quiet stream with not a care in the world. I knew at the time that this was wrong. We seldom pray when we are contented. The Bible says we tend to forget God and pat ourselves on the back believing that our own strength and our own brilliant talent has made all the wealth we enjoy possible. We only pray when we are in trouble. And we are in big trouble, which is why we should take time out to ask God to help us out down here. We have the greatest national debt in the history of the world. Presidential candidate Donald Trump predicts a major recession will hit us soon. The economy is already in poor shape with high unemployment for blacks and no improvement for whites. We have a crazy Muslim president in the White House and a woman running for president who believe that the answer to Muslims shooting and killing us like in Paris, Ft. Hood, and San Bernardino is to bring more Muslims into the country and take away our 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms. We need to pray to God that he will give us good leaders and that he will bless them with wisdom and courage to help solve our problems.
Holocaust Memorial Day
May 4-5, 2016 Wednesday and Thursday. The Holocaust was one of the most monstrous deeds done by humanity against humanity. When the death camps were liberated by the Allies during World War II, General Paton ordered that pictures be taken because otherwise the evil that took place in those camps would not be believed. The Holocaust was so unreal, that when American newspapers first reported it, they put it on page 18 in a tiny corner because they didn’t believe it was true. One sad thing about the Holocaust was America’s refusal to help the Jewish refugees to escape Hitler’s Germany. This was because American Jews were divided against each other: the German Jews against the Russian Jews. The Russian Jews persuaded FDR not to allow the German Jews into America. They sent the ship of Jewish refugees back to their doom.
There’s no accurate statistics of just how many people were killed in the Holocaust. The statistics below were taken from web site
Number of Deaths
Jews: up to 6 million
Soviet civilians: around 7 million (including 1.3 Soviet Jewish civilians, who are included in the 6 million figure for Jews)
Soviet prisoners of war: around 3 million (including about 50,000 Jewish soldiers)
Non-Jewish Polish civilians: around 1.8 million (including between 50,000 and 100,000 members of the Polish elites)
Serb civilians (on the territory of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina): 312,000
People with disabilities living in institutions: up to 250,000
Roma (Gypsies): 196,000–220,000
Jehovah's Witnesses: Around 1,900
Repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials: at least 70,000
German political opponents and resistance activists in Axis-occupied territory: undetermined
Homosexuals: hundreds, possibly thousands (possibly also counted in part under the 70,000 repeat criminal offenders and so-called asocials noted above)
Adding up the numbers gives us some understanding of how many lives were lost:
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
May 14, 2017 Sunday. Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mothers throughout the United States and Canada. I almost forgot about Mothers’ Day simply because I don’t have a mother anymore. She passed away in December of 2008, almost 8 years ago. The Bible commands us to “Honor thy mother (as well as our father).” Today’s society doesn’t want to honor motherhood. Women’s lib prefers the right to abortion to allow women the freedom from the child bearing and child rearing. A woman’s career and independence seems more important to them than bringing children into the world.
On this day, most of our families treat our mothers out to dinner. That makes them happy. A happy mother is a very important member of the family. It’s been said that the father is the head of the family, but the mother is the heart of the family--when Mother is happy, everybody is happy; when Mother is not happy, nobody is happy.
May 30, 2016 Monday is when we celebrate Memorial Day. The first Memorial Day was first observed in the Old South after the Civil War in remembrance of the Confederate soldiers who died in that war. Now, it is a day when we honor all those American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and air men who have fallen in battle defending this country.
We observe Memorial Day with Memorial Day parades, picnics, and barbecues, and maybe doing a little Memorial Day shopping and checking out the sales. I was watching a video about an Israeli who commented on the difference between our way of remembering our fallen warriors. He said in Israel, they find that strange. What they do is close all the store and offices; then they have a moment of silence.
Thankfully, I do not have any relatives who died in any of our wars. My father served in the Navy aboard a merchant marine vessel during World War II. He visited Pearl Harbor and said there were a lot of sunken ships still in the water. My uncle served in the Army. My other uncle stayed home because he had a family. My mother only had a brother who died when she was a young girl. Of the friends I knew who served in Vietnam, one friend was drafted into the Army. He was stationed in Arizona and Germany; so he was lucky. One friend served in Vietnam. He was a good mechanic. The Army wanted to make him a sergeant if he would go out to service the helicopters that were shot down as the enemy was shooting at him. He turned down the offer. One friend served in Vietnam. Then he came home and died in an auto accident. The worst story was my high school chemistry teacher’s son. He came into our classroom at Kensington High School while Mr. Lipsius was taking attendance. He was a nice-looking young man, stocky, about an inch shorter than his father. He had a light brown crew cut. They were both over six feet tall. He smiled most of the time as he talked to his father. He had beautiful white teeth. He gave his father a strong handshake when he said goodbye. When he left, Mr. Lipsius said he wasn’t too concerned that his son was going to Vietnam. He said the odds are 20 to 1 that he will be all right. I said to myself at the time, “Well, that’s how a scientist thinks. They go with the odds.” The next year, a friend of mine told me Mr. Lipsius’s son was killed in the Ashau Valley, and that Mr. Lipsius was taking it very hard. His loss is my loss.
Obama is suppose to be making a speech at Arlington Cemetery. He has just finished his trip to Hiroshima, Japan where the first atomic bomb from an American plane was dropped.
Some people such as yours truly would think that such a visit to Japan and then to Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day is outrageous and another way Obama is embarrassing the United States of America. But, in all fairness, Ronald Reagan made a terrible error in laying wreaths on the graves of Nazi leaders when he visited Germany for the sake of reconciliation between our two countries. But two wrongs don’t make a right. Reagan tried to do what was good for this country. In many people’s mind, including my own, and in some of Obama’s own books, writings and videos, Obama wants to destroy this country. He sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church listening to him for 20 years saying, “God damn America.” Incidentally, we Christians (if that’s what Jeremiah Wright and Barak Obama call themselves) are forbidden to curse anyone, especially our own country. The presence of Obama at a Memorial Day event to make a speech on our sacred holiday is nothing but profanity. Having Obama give a speech at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day is like spitting on their graves. Let us resolved that a such a such man (or woman) is never again elected to serve in the White House.
Here is a scripture that will come true a thousand years after the Second Coming of Our Jesus not just for Israel but for America and all the world:
The hand of the Lord was upon me and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones. And caused me to pass by them round about; and behold there were very many in the open valley and lo, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Again he said to me, “Prophesy upon these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you and will bring up flesh upon you and cover you with skin and put breath in you and you shall live and you shall know that I am the Lord.” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied there was a noise and behold a shaking and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them and the skin covered them above. But there was no breath in them. Then said he to me, “Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet--an exceeding great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, “Our bones are dried and our hope is lost. We are cut off for our parts.” Therefore prophesy and say to them, “Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, O my people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves; and shall put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land. Then shall you know that I the Lord have spoken it and performed it, says the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:1-14
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY
June 19, 2016 Sunday. The last Father’s Day I observe was back in 1977. It was the year my father passed away. May mother and I gave him his Father’s Day presents; and he was confused. He thought he already got his presents. That’s because in the last year of his life, he slept about 20 hours a day. So it seemed like a short time ago when we celebrated his birthday which is in June.
The Armstrong church celebrated Father’s Day because it was in accordance with the Fifth Commandment, which is: "Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you.” Exodus 20:12. They recognized that fathers play an important role in giving love, direction, and balance to each and every family. Fathers should try to spend at least one hour with their families.
On one web site that I read yesterday, fathers even play an important role helping their children to be born. Seventy-nine (79%) of women said their husband’s (the father of the child) support was a big factor in giving birth to their baby rather than having an abortion.
September 9, 2016 Friday. Last Monday was Labor Day. For me, is was nothing more than another day without any mail in my mailbox. For the rest of the nation, it was the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of the school year (the next day). It was also the end of repeats on TV, and (the next day) the start of the new TV season. It is also the start of a new season of NFL football.
On this day, we honor some of our workers and we dishonor many of our workers. For the lucky few, it was a paid holiday. For the unlucky many (the unemployed, and the temp workers) it was an unpaid holiday or a work day with no benefits.
The Bible has a few things to say about labor. In Matthew 20:1-19, Jesus told a parable of a vineyard owner who sent some workers into his vineyard early in the morning. He went into town at various times of the day to hire more workers--even up to the eleventh hour when there was only one hour of work to do. He said to them, “Whatever is right, that you shall receive.” What is the right wage we should receive from our employers? For us little guys, it’s what will put food on the table, pay our bills, buy a car, feed and cloth our kids, traveling, going out, and having a few nice things. But this is a very highly competitive world we live in. Businesses struggle to provide us with goods and services at the least expense to them. One way they do this is to spent as little as they can on labor. Unfortunately, this means exporting our jobs to countries where the labor is much cheaper--like in Communist Red China. We should have never recognize Communist Red China. That was Jimmy Carter’s biggest mistake. Now China is destroying us with their cheap labor.
When I went to Catholic school, we were taught that Adam was punished by God after he ate of the forbidden fruit. He had to work by the sweat of his brow for the rest of his life. We were therefore told that work is a curse. However, when I was in the Armstrong church, the reverse was true. One of the Ten Commandments says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work.” Exodus 20:9. In II Thessalonians 3:10, Paul says, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” In disputing about the Sabbath, Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day; and I too am working.” (Bible Gateway version). So work is not a curse. Most work is Godly because our God is a Creator God, a God who loves to create, a God who loves to do things. Only for Him work is easy. (“Is anything too hard for the Lord?“ Genesis 18:14) Jesus told his followers, “Come to me, all of you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30) In Psalm 16:11, it says, “..at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” In one of his radio broadcasts, Garner Ted Armstrong said he was learning to be obedient to God so that when he is in the Kingdom of God after the Second Coming, and the Lord tells him to do something, he will say, “Yes, Sir.” I also would say that to My Maker, And I might add, “With pleasure!”
March 26, 2017 Sunday. I missed last week’s 60 Minutes, but I was able to watch it on the Internet today. The first segment was about the HB-1 program which allows American companies to bring in workers from India, make the American workers train them, and then fire the American workers so that the workers from India can take over their jobs.
October 3, 2016 Monday. This day was Rosh Hashanah throughout the Jewish world. In English, it means “Feast of Trumpets.” In the Armstrong church, we learned that the trumpet, which was a ram’s horn, was a symbol of war--a call to battle. The Armstrong church celebrated this day as an event that is yet to occur, which is the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus. The second coming of Jesus will be at a time when the Gentile armies of the world will have taken over Jerusalem. They will then go after the remnant of the people of Israel. They will surround them; and they will be on the verge of doing away with them. Then Jesus will come down from heaven and will melt the armies surrounding them with just a word. The blood from those armies will be enough to fill a stadium up to the height of a horse’s bridle.
Not only did the Armstrong church believe that this day pictures the Second Coming, we also believed that this Feast of Trumpets holy day may be the actual day when Jesus would return to the earth. Also, through the careful study of the Bible, we supposed that Jesus was born on Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets). I still believe that’s the day when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. So,
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!
The Jews celebrate this holy day twice, as they do all the other holy days except the Day of Atonement, according to what the Armstrong church told us. The reason they do this is because they are not sure of the exact time when they are suppose to celebrate their holy days. One group of Jews say it’s suppose to be celebrated on this day while another group of Jews say its suppose to be celebrated the next day. So they celebrate each holy day both days. The reason why they don’t observe the Day of Atonement is because it is a fast day. They don’t want to observe the fast day for 48 hours. Twenty four hours is enough.
The Feast of Trumpets and the other holy days were truly a battle for me when I first became a member of the Armstrong religion. I was working at Wonder Bread where they have a seven-day-24-hour work week. Which means, they do not allow time off for religious observance. The only way they would let you take off that day is if you found someone in the company to work that day for you. He would come in on the holy day and punch your time card in for you. At the end of the day, he would punch your time card out. Then you pay him out of your own pocket for coming in and having worked that day for you. The Armstrong church would not allow this. They said to pay someone to work for you on the Sabbath is still breaking the Sabbath, just like when Jesus threw out the buyers and the sellers and the money changers from the temple in Jerusalem. Or I think there’s commandment in the Old Testament that the Israelites could not buy or sell on the Sabbath. I started out working at Wonder Bread on the third shift, which meant that, even though I had Saturdays off, I was working on Friday nights when the weekly Sabbath would start. I didn’t feel good about doing that. Eventually, enough guilt built up within me so I resolved to quit my job. Fortunately, had a friend named Bob who was one of the supervisors. He was like a step cousin or an almost relative. He was able to change my working hours to second shift so that I wouldn’t be working on Friday nights or Saturdays. And he tried to help me so that I could have the holy days off. I was able to observe the Feast of Trumpets. Unfortunately, the main supervisor overruled him and told me I could not have the other three days off. I was at the point where I refused to disobey the Ten Commandments of God. I quit my job. Ironically, Mr. Sell, the Worldwide Church of God minister, said I shouldn’t have quit my job.
I applied for unemployment benefits; and I was qualified. The company contested my unemployment benefits saying that they were a 7 day week 24 hour business. But, I won my case, and I was allowed to keep my benefits. Ron, my friend, and even my father, suggested that put in a claim at the New York State Human Right Division. I did. My father went with me on the day of the hearing. No one from Wonder Bread showed up. I showed the judge some papers that I saved from the hearing with the unemployment people. It stated that I was terminated--or fired--from my job. I used that information to make my case that I was fired from my job because of my religion. I thought I would win. My case was even printed in the Buffalo News. But the company argued that I already had a second job, and that I was not suffering any hardship by losing my job at Wonder Bread. This was not true. I had tried out as a cab driver in downtown Buffalo after I lost my job at Wonder Bread. But I didn’t like, and I gave that up.
My father tried to help me out. He looked all over Buffalo to find a lawyer or legal group that would fight for me. He finally found help from, of all places, the American Civil Liberties Union, which is actually an anti-Christian group, and which also was aiding draft resisters from being inducted into the army during the Vietnam War. I didn’t want to be allied with such a group. That’s what I told my father.
Things went from bad to worse after my unemployment benefits ran out. I was offered one or two jobs here and there, but I was required to work on the Sabbath (Saturday). I had to apply for public assistance. While on public assistance, I took two courses in color TV repair--one a home study course, and the other at a local electronics school. I was offered two TV repair jobs. At one of them, I had to work on Friday nights; and at the other, I had to work on Saturdays. Frustrated, I took up office work because office workers seemed to have Friday nights and Saturdays off. The year 1978 was when I started to give up the Armstrong religion. That’s when I read about Herbert W. Armstrong’s half million dollar yearly salary.
October 12, 2016 Wednesday. Today is the Jewish holy day called Yom Kimpur, or The Day of Atonement. It is one of the holy days that the Armstrong church observed. We observed it according to what the Bible said. We afflicted our souls from sunset to sunset--a 24-hour complete fast from food and water. The reason why the Armstrong church observed The Day of Atonement is for the sake of the world. The Armstrong church said the word “atonement” can be broken up to (almost) three words, “at-one-ment.” We Christians are already “at one” with God. We were then fasting for the day when the rest of the world will be at one with God.
Fasting can be healthy. When you are sick with a cold or a stomach ache, fasting allows the body’s immune system to focus on fighting the problem that is making you sick.
When you are in distress, fasting is sometimes a natural course of action (or inaction). You don’t feel like eating. Such was the case when Jesus was fasting in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. The Armstrong church said the reason he did this is because He knew that when He began His ministry, after three years He would die a horrible death.
A 24-hour fast is not pleasant at all. The last six hours of fasting are very painful because your body is thirsty, hungry, and weak. Time just doesn’t go by fast enough when you are in a lot of pain like that--and you‘re waiting for sunset. During the days when Terry Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed on March 18, 2005 to when she finally died on March 31, 2005, thirteen days or almost two weeks, people all across America were debating whether that was the right thing to do. Some were saying that Terry’s condition was irreversible, and that the only thing to do is to let her go. I am telling you from some very painful personal experiences that Terry Shiavo was not simply “let go.” She was murdered through starvation--which is slow torture. When my friend Ron who was in the Armstrong church came to visit me, I was telling my mother how painful going without food or water (fasting) can be, especially for days and days and days. I said to Ron, “You remember when you had to fast (for one day) when you were in the (Armstrong) church.” He said, “I’ll never do that again.”
Spiritually, the Armstrong church would liken fasting to a telephone line to God. The church minister would tell the congregation that you shouldn’t be just sitting around or lying around waiting for sundown. You should be praying to God. You have this telephone line to God, and yet you’re not using it; you’re not praying to God.
Besides fasting, the Israelites were commanded by God to take two kids of goats: one goat was for an atonement while the other was to be a scapegoat that was to be let go in the wilderness. The Armstrong church said this a prophecy that was fulfilled when Jesus died for our sins on the cross. It is also a prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled when Satan, the scapegoat, is taken far outside the universe a thousand years after the Second Coming where he will be alone and unable to do anything. Whoever comes to visit him will see a pathetic-looking little creature, and will say, “Is this the man who made the earth to tremble; that did shake kingdoms?" (Isaiah 14:16) It will be so hard to believe that this one little creature did all that evil back on earth long ago.
Often, Herbert W. Armstrong would send out letters to the congregation informing them of a current crisis that the church is experiencing. He would urge the members not only to pray, but to fast. On several occasions, he would proclaim a certain Sabbath when all the members were to fast. I remember during the last days as a church member that I refused to obey the order given by “God’s Only Apostle” and head of the church. I asked Ron if he was fasting. He gave me an emphatic “NO!” I went to Sabbath service on that one Saturday that Herbert Armstrong declared to be a fast day. And I watch this one elderly gentleman slowly walk passed me. He looked like he was weak and in pain. He was obviously fasting. I thought to myself, “How foolish! How unnecessary!”
The Yom Kippur War was started on October 6th, 1973 when Egypt and the Arab forces attacked Israel while the Israelis were fasting. This shows how treacherous and evil Hillary’s “peaceful” Muslims are who take advantage of their enemy’s weakness in order gain victory over, and even the destruction of, the Jewish homeland--while they are observing their holiest day through a sacred fast. Mr. Sell, our minister at that time, was saying that Satan is unable to destroy God’s church on earth, so instead he tries to destroy the State of Israel.
The last word on this topic is from Jesus: “When you fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to fast. Verily I say to you: they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that you appear not unto men to fast, but unto your Father which is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly." (Matthew 6:16-18)
SUKKOT - THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
October 16, 2016 Sunday. Today is the first day of the Jewish Holy Day of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles. It says in Leviticus 23:34-36, “Speak to the children of Israel saying, ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feat of tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do you servile work on it.”
“…on the eighth day shall be a holy convocation to you;…and you shall do no servile work in it.” In verse 42, it says, “You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths.”
The Living Bible tells it this way: “On the first day, take boughs of fruit trees laden with fruit, and palm fronds, and the boughs of leafy trees--such as willows that grow by the brooks--and build shelters with them, rejoicing before the Lord your God for seven days." Leviticus 24:40.
At the beginning of this Religion page, I told you that the Catholic Church has the right to change the laws of the Bible ever since Jesus told Peter, “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18 New International Version) The Armstrong church said this is wrong. The Church does not have the right or power to change God’s laws. The correct translation of that verse should be: …whatever you bind on earth, having already been bound in heaven, shall be bound on earth. And whatever you loose on earth, having already been loosed in heaven, shall be loosed on earth…or something like that. So the Catholic Church, according to the Armstrong religion, had no right to change the Sabbath from Friday night / Saturday to Sunday. And it had no right to change Passover to Easter Sunday. And there are many other changes that the Catholic Church made which they weren’t suppose to make.
Yet, after all that explanation on what “binding and loosening” means and doesn’t mean, the Armstrong church said it has the right to change the rules about building booths or shelters out of leaves and branches. They had several feast sites where the church members were to travel to in order to observe the Feast of Tabernacles. One was in Big Sandy, Texas; another one was in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania; another one was in Wisconsin; and there were many others sites around the country and around the world. The Armstrongs said it would be impractical to bring leaves and branches to the feast site, and to make booths or shelters out of them. So they changed the law according to what Jesus said to Peter about “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” They said the new law is to use your second tithe money to reserve a room in an inn, or motel, or hotel, or lodge; and to also use your second tithe money to buy food at the supermarkets or restaurants, to go horseback riding, or canoeing, or hiking.
I went to two of those feasts. The first one was at Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania in 1973. That is the year the Yom Kippur War broke out. I went with a guy name Cliff and also an elderly guy. I stayed in a lodge with two other guys (Ron and Ben). Every day we would go to the Tabernacle Building. It looked like one of those Acme Supermarket buildings which were like large one-story square buildings with lots of floor space. The members would sit in these metal fold-up chairs facing the speaker. Some of the speakers were from the church headquarters in Pasadena, California including Garner Ted Armstrong and Herbert W. Armstrong. One of things I did there was go for a ride in a private plane. It was the first time in my life that I flew in a plane.
The second time I attended the Feast of Tabernacles was the next year when one was held in Niagara Falls at the Convention Center. We were allowed to stay home rather than spend our money on a motel room. So I drove from my home in Buffalo to the Convention Center in Niagara Falls. I remember going to lunch with my friend Ron and his family to Niagara Falls, Ontario. I also remember walking out during services and going home because there was so much bad mouthing of the USA.
The Feast of Booze: A member of the Worldwide Church of God could always be trusted to drink liquor in moderation. We were aware of what Paul said in I Corinthians 6:10 that drunkards shall not enter the kingdom of God. I remember going into a liquor store when I was in Pennsylvania. I noticed that they did not have a tax on their liquor. I am sure that many members from New York State noticed that, too. In one of his sermon messages, either Mr. Sell or Mr. Beer told of members using their 3rd tithe money to stock up on so much liquor that the bottles would fill a whole shelf. The locals would see that and would rename our feast to what could also be called The Feast of Booths to “The Feast of Booze.” The minister told the congregation to be careful.
Girls: When I was first attending my first Sabbath services back in 1969, I was disappointed that there were hardy any young women there. After a while, I wrote to Ambassador College to let them know of my frustration. One of the ministers wrote back to me and assured me that when I attend the Feast of Tabernacles, I would see some young women. I don’t remember seeing very many young women at the Feast of Tabernacles when I was in Mount Pocono. There was one local girl, Sue Bee, from the Buffalo church who was only 14 years old. Though she was only 14 years old, she looked old for her age mainly because she was 5’8” tall. I was still a bit shy about talking to girls at that time when I was 24. But I took courage and went up to her and said hi to her after services were over. I was happy that we had a little talk.
After I took a trip on a small airplane, I noticed two or three pretty girls who were around 18 years old standing nearby. I assumed that they were non-church members, so I didn’t talk to them. The next day, in the tabernacle building after services, I noticed the three pretty girls standing around. So they were church members after all. But I didn’t talk to them. On the last day of the Feast, Cliff, Ben and I went to this restaurant for breakfast before services. One of those pretty girls walked by and went into the ladies room. She kept the door of the ladies’ room opened as she was standing by the mirror and brushing her hair. Ben was looking kind of sick as any red-blooded American guy might be when he sees a drop dead gorgeous girl. She had long brown hair and brown eyes. She wore a knee-length black skirt. I wish I had introduced myself to her, but I never said a word to her.
At the Niagara Falls Convention Center the following year, I saw this young, slender teenage girl who resembled Sue Bee--only she had blue eyes. We seemed to like each other, but I didn’t talk to her. I did say hello and talk for awhile with Sue Bee.
When I was in eighth grade at Holy Name of Jesus school, we were studying how we observe Sunday as the Lord’s Day because Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday morning. Sister Clare Frances said the Jews observe Saturday as the Lord’s Day. She asked, “Does anybody know why?” Nobody raised their hand. Nobody knew the answer.
Eventually, I read the Ten Commandments in the Bible, which said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle nor the stranger that is within your gates.” Exodus 20:8-10. I also looked at the calendar. The seventh day is Saturday.
I do not keep the Sabbaths anymore. However, I usually try to take it easy on Friday nights and Saturdays. I’ve learned that Sabbath observance is not necessary, The following is what I went through:
When I read about what Armstrong said about keeping the Sabbath, I was in full agreement. He told about his own first encounter with the Sabbath. He said his wife was observing the Sabbath, and that made him furious. He was determined to prove her wrong. He carefully read the Bible from cover to cover, but found nothing that says that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday observance. He, therefore, started observing the Sabbath. He later wrote in a book what James Cardinal Gibbons, Catholic educator and archbishop of Baltimore in the late 1800s and early 1900s, once said: “You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify. The Catholic Church correctly teaches that our Lord and His Apostles inculcated certain important duties of religion which are not recorded by the inspired writers…We must, therefore, conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of faith” ( The Faith of Our Fathers, 1917, p. 89). Herbert Armstrong not only started observing the Sabbath, he said in the first book that I received from him, The United States and the British Commonwealth In Prophecy, that America and the English-speaking countries will be punished by God for not keeping the true Sabbath.
I would go to Sabbath services on Saturday mornings. And when I would get home, I would see my mother vacuum cleaning the carpet. My father would be doing something. My neighbors would be mowing the lawn. Everyone would be working on what the Armstrongs and the Bible said Is the Sabbath. They were doing something that was in direct violation of the Sabbath Commandment which was one of the Ten Commandments. I was angry. This was the supposed reason why Armstrong said the American and the British people would be punished by God and would be conquered and be taken captive by the soon coming United States of Europe. My mother would often say to me that I always come home from those Armstrong Sabbath services grabbier than usual.
I never liked the Sabbath or those Sabbath services. I kept the Sabbath and I went to Sabbath services because that’s what God told us to do. When the Sabbath came on Friday evening, I would read the Bible and read the Bible and read the Bible. I would say some prayers.
There’s a scripture in Isaiah in which God tells his people that they should not do their own pleasure on the Sabbath--not merely abstain from work. It in Isaiah 58:13, “If you will turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord, honorable, and shall honor him not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words; then shall you delight yourself in the Lord…”
So there were a lot of things we couldn’t do on the Sabbath. We couldn’t watch TV. However, the local minister Dan Beer said married couples could have sex on the Sabbath. Bachelors like me couldn’t watch TV on the Sabbath, but married couples could have sex on the Sabbath. How do you like that!
My parents were angry that I couldn’t do this, while it was okay to do that. My mother wanted me to ask the minister to give me a list of the things I could or couldn’t do. I did ask church minister Mr. Sell about that one time. I asked him if we could shovel the snow. He said it’s all right to shovel the snow on the Sabbath, but only enough snow to allow you to go to your car and drive off to Sabbath services.
I asked Mr. Sell about exercising on the Sabbath. He said it was okay to do calisthenics. I asked him about weight lifting. His answer was more like a reply to a stupid question. He said, “That’s WORK!!!” I didn’t think it was work. Work, according to some body builders, tears the muscles down, while weight lifting builds the muscles up. Maybe that’s a sly way of putting it. After all, weight lifting does tear down the old muscles down so that new stronger muscles can grow back in its place.
I was invited to dinner by Ron one time. He was telling his guests that he and his wife use to play a Bible quiz game on the Sabbath. Then he said after a while, they knew they couldn’t do that. They weren’t suppose to play a Bible quiz game on the Sabbath.
We couldn’t do any homework on the Sabbath. When I first came to Sabbath services, I was enrolled in a correspondence course and was taking electronics and TV Repair. I was having difficulty understanding series and parallel resonance. There was a fellow at the meeting who understood electronic theory. When I asked he if he could help me with that, he exclaimed, “ON THE SABBATH??!!!” That meant no.
A few years later, I was going to a business school to take up accounting. There were two Sabbaths in a row one time--the regular Sabbath and Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost Sunday is in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is one of the high days that God commanded to be observed. I was falling behind in my studies, yet I was not allowed to do any studying during all that weekend. I even asked one of the church girls who was in high school about that. She smiled at me and shook her head. Needless to say, my grades weren’t too good when I was taking that course.
A few years later, I was going to a business school to take up accounting. There were two Sabbaths in a row one time--the regular Sabbath and Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost Sunday is in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is one of the high days that God commanded to be observed. I was falling behind in my studies, yet I was not allowed to do any studying during all that weekend. I even asked one of the church girls who was in high school about that. She smiled at me and shook her head. Needless to say, my grades weren’t too good when I was taking that course.
The Preparation of Food On The Sabbath - One of the exceptions to the abstinence work on the Sabbath is the preparation of food. As it says in Exodus 12:16 “…no work shall be done in them save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.“ It’s okay to cook a dinner on the Sabbath, at least it was so in the Armstrong religion.
But it wasn’t okay for your children to buy candy on the Sabbath. When I first attended Sabbath services, they were held in a rented hall (The Buffalo Lodge). After a few years, the Buffalo Lodge wanted us out, so we held our services at the Showcase Theater on Union Road in Cheektowaga for a few weeks until we could find another hall to rent. Some of the children were buying candy at the candy counter in the lobby. The minister told us they were not allowed to do this. When I think about that now, wouldn’t some church families go out to a restaurant for lunch and dinner after Sabbath services? And wouldn’t dinner for these families include dessert? Isn’t dessert much like candy? Don’t you have to pay for the dessert just like those children had to pay for their candy at the candy counter?
On the other side of the fence, it would be breaking the Sabbath if any of the Armstrong members was working behind the counter or waiting on tables at a restaurant. Yet, that is what I saw when I attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Mount Pocono. There was a guy I recognized as one who was attending our services. I saw him waiting on tables at a restaurant where I was having lunch on a no-work Sabbath day. Was he breaking the Sabbath or was he allowed to break the Sabbath. I think he was breaking the Sabbath.
That’s what I thought back then. But a few years later, I was talking to my ex-Armstrong church friend Don Roberts on the phone. He was telling me about a baseball player who observed the Sabbath and refused to play baseball on Saturday afternoons. I was arguing with him if he really was doing that much work. You hardly do much work playing baseball unless you’re the pitcher. You don’t do much work much work if you are the batter until you hit the ball. You don’t do much work as a baseman or an outfielder until the ball comes towards you. Most of the time you’re just standing out there enjoying the sunshine. Don Roberts didn’t have an answer. Perhaps that Armstrong church brother was just like the baseball players who not really engaged in a labor intensive job: No big deal. No sweat. But the answer is what we already know. We may not do our own pleasure.
Don Roberts left the church about a year before I did. After I had just quite the Armstrong religion, I still observed the Ten Commandments including Sabbath keeping. One summer day I was over at Don Robert’s house and we were outside. He was sitting in his wheelchair with a lawn mower nearby. He took one arm and put his hand on the handle grip of the lawn mower. Then moved the lawn mower back and forth mowing the lawn. This was on a Saturday afternoon. He was deliberately breaking the Sabbath right before my eyes. Another thing he did was that he told me he did not believe that the United States and Great Britain were Lost Israel. What changed his mind? He introduce me to ex-ministers of the Worldwide Church of God; he introduced me to the writings of Ernest L. Martin and the Foundation for Biblical Research. (Ernest L. Martin had left Foundation of Biblical Research to found his own organization Association for Scriptural Knowledge). Ernest L. Martin was one of Herbert W. Armstrong’s staff members at church headquarters at Ambassador College in Pasadena, California who was given a special project to do He was to study the Bible and to present the full truth about the Sabbath to Mr. Armstrong. Instead of receiving a blessing for his efforts, he was fired.
According to the Armstrong teaching on the Sabbath, the Sabbath was almost eternal. It was established after the creation of Adam and Eve. It was carved in stone by the very finger of God Himself as part of the Ten Commandments that he gave to Moses and the Israelites. Our Lord Jesus Himself kept the Sabbath when he was on the earth 2000 years ago. He showed that it is all right to do acts of mercy on the Sabbath. He said, “You hypocrite, does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall and lead him away t watering?” (Luke13:15). And also, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 14:5) The Armstrong church said that we Christians are to keep the Sabbath by pointing out to Hebrews 4:9&10 which says, “So then there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his.” The Armstrong church said that in the future, the world will be required to keep the Sabbaths. One example of this is in Zachariah 14:16-19 which is in the Old Testament, but refers to the days after the Second Coming: “Then every one that survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain upon them. And if the family of Egypt do not go up and present themselves, then upon them shall come the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the feast of booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the feast of booths.”
Some may argue that the Sabbaths are only for the Jews or the Israelites to observe. But Armstrong insisted that the American and British people were of the Lost Tribe of Joseph, and are truly Israelites along with much of the other people in northwestern Europe. Therefore, our Western nations (the rest of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel--France, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, and Iceland-- according to Armstrong) have an obligation to keep the Sabbath. There is also a scripture in the Gospels in which Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) Not just the Twelve Tribes of Israel are to keep the Sabbath, but all of mankind is suppose to keep the Sabbath, according to Armstrong.
Ernest Martin argues that Sabbath keeping is not necessary because it was part of the Old Covenant that was done away with at the death of Jesus on the cross. Paul likens this to a marriage covenant between a man and woman. The woman is bound to her husband and must be faithful to him until death. At the death of her husband, the wife is free from the matrimonial bound and whatever commands and rules he has placed over her, and is allowed to marry someone else.
Another point Ernest Martin made about not be required to observe the Sabbath in in John 5:18 where it says after Jesus made a man whole on the Sabbath that “the Jews lusted to kill him because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” Ernest Martin says the word for “broken” is destroyed. He says Jesus destroyed the Sabbath. I tried to check that out. I am unable to prove that Jesus “destroyed” the Sabbath using a Greek-English dictionary.
There are reasons why I am skeptical that Jesus “destroyed” the Sabbath. In Numbers 15:32-36, the Bible tells us about a man who was gathering sticks on the Sabbath. He was executed for breaking the Sabbath. If God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, how could he condemn a man a man for breaking the Sabbath, and then a few thousand years later, he destroyed the Sabbath for which that man died?
Regardless, this is not the only reason why Mr. Martin and others like him believe that it is no longer necessary to observe the Sabbath. He believes in what he calls, “Progressive Revelation,” in that there is more to learn from the Bible than the Ten Commandments. And much of that revelation is found in the epistles of Paul to the Galatians and the Ephesians.
Paul says in Galatians 4:10-11 “You observe days and months and times and years. I am afraid of you lest I have labored over you in vain.”
What or where is Heaven? There are three heavens. The first heaven is the air that surrounds the earth with the clouds that bring rain to the ground. The second heaven is the rest of the universe outside our atmosphere. This includes the moon, the sun, the planets, the meteors, the asteroids, the stars, the galaxies, and the vacuum of space. The third heaven is God’s throne. The apostle Paul mentions the third heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:2 & 4 where he says, “…such a one caught up to the third heaven, …how he was caught up into paradise and heard unspeakable words…” Not only did he hear unspeakable words, but he also saw unseeable light because Paul says in I Timothy 6:16, “Who only has immortality, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see…” It says in Isaiah 40:22, “It is he that sits upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers….” So heaven is just above the earth’s atmosphere. Some Bible ministers say it is invisible because God lives in eternity where there is no time, only spirit. We live in another dimension where there is time, space, and matter. Garner Ted Armstrong often quoted Acts 2:34 after the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles on Pentecost Day, “For David is not ascended into the heavens,…” He was telling his listeners that if anyone deserved to be in Heaven it would be King David who was a man after God’s own heart. He was also saying that Jesus rose from the dead several weeks later and supposedly opened the gates of heaven. So, all the saints who deserve to be in heaven should have been in heaven by then. In Revelation 15:8, it says, “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.” So that’s when we are allowed to go to heaven--after the Seventh Trumpet sounds and after the seven last plagues are finished.
"The earth is the LORD'S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."Psalm 24:1
This is a big beautiful earth. And as we build bigger and more powerful telescopes, and reach farther and farther out with our space probes, we are finding out that this is a big, beautiful universe.
On Bill O’Reilly’s show The O’Reilly Factor, he has a young man named Jason Watters going around different places asking different people simple grade school questions. At the end of his segment, he says, “I’m Watters, and this is my world.” Each time he says that, I say to myself, “It’s not your world, Watters. It’s Satan’s world.
When I was in the Worldwide Church of God, the Armstrongs would tell us that this is Satan’s world. They pointed to Matthew 4:8-9 where Satan is tempting Jesus after Jesus had fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. It says, “Again, the devil takes him up into an exceedingly high mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. And he says to him, “All these things will I give you if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus did not dispute him or correct him. The devil is the ruler of the earth. He does not rule in hell as most churches teach. He rules on earth and all the kingdoms of the earth belong to him and his demons. Armstrong said that God gave Satan rulership over the earth when he was Lucifer, a shining bright angel. When Lucifer rebelled against God, God repulsed him and threw him back down to the earth. From that time, Lucifer was known as Satan, and he still rules over the earth. God did not remove him from rulership over the earth. That will not happen until the Second Coming of Our Lord. Until then, this is Satan’s world. Armstrong said we are not to seek office nor even vote in the elections. Even if we would make a good, honest office holder, and even if we do our duty as good American citizens who would try to always vote for the best man (or woman), we are serving Satan. We do not try to make Satan’s world better. It is rather futile to do so as they pointed out to a conversation the one-time Speaker of the House John McCormick had with a visiting journalist. He pointed to an invisible sign above the doorway and said, “Nothing for nothing.” Our politicians do not serve the people as they should. Their votes go to the lobbyist who pays them the most money and who give them the most perks. Some of the biggest spending lobbyists are those of the pharmaceutical industry, the drug companies, or Big Pharma. They are the reason why we still have no cure for cancer, for arthritis, for heart disease, or for any other disease. Another of the big spending lobbyists are the tobacco companies. They are the reason why cigarettes are still being sold in the market place even after smoking has been proven to cause cancer.
Not only does the Bible say that this is Satan’s world, it also says through Jesus Christ and John the Apostle where Satan’s capital city is located. In Revelation 2:12, Jesus says, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword - I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is…” The capital of Satan’s world-government on earth is Pergamum, or Pergamos, in Turkey.
Though Satan rules the world, we Christians do not fear him. Jesus commands us not to, and instead tells us who we should fear. “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Satan is only able to kill the body and not the soul; while God can do both.
In John 8:44, Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.” Jesus says that the ruler of this world was a murderer from the beginning of time, and that he also is not only a liar, but the father of lies. So what can we expect in a world with a ruler such as this but one that is filled with lies and murder.
Love, Marriage and Sex
The institution of marriage goes back all the way to the time of Adam and Eve. In Genesis 1:31, it says, "And God saw every thing that he had made and behold it was very good." That is what he said at the end of the sixth day. That includes the land animals, and man. And he made man male and female; he made sex. Afterwards, he said everything he made was VERY GOOD. In Hebrews 13:4, the apostle Paul says, "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled."
When I was in Catholic grammar school, marriage was taught as one of the seven sacraments which was known as Holy Matrimony. Our nun teacher said most likely 80% of the class would get married. The Bible says marriage is until death due us part. The nun teacher told us when we get to heaven, every married couple will have an angel over us who will lead us to worship God. From what I understand, it use to be taught in the Catholic Church that sex is a sin even in marriage except in the procreation children. We often heard the phrase in our classrooms, "The family that works together, plays together, and prays together, stays together."
In the Armstrong church, they taught what is in the Bible, that marriage is very good and holy. Sex is actually commanded by God in marriage, not just to produce children, but for the couple to express love with each other. They said that marriage is blissful. One guy in the church said it's like another world. His friend agreed with him; it's like another world. I heard two guys say that once you've have sex, you can't live without it. Sex and love are very powerful.
Jesus said that "in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Does that mean there will be no sex in the after life? My friend who said making love was like another world also said that it's hard to believe that there will be no sex in the after life. In Psalm 16:11, David says of God that "at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore." Isn't sex one of the greatest, if not the greatest, pleasures God has given mankind to enjoy? When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, he appeared before his disciples and made them afraid. He said to them, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. handle me and see , for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see me have." Then he ate some food. Jesus manifested himself as a flesh and blood and bones human being who could eat food. If we are going to be like Jesus in the after life after the resurrection, then we, too, will be able to manifest ourselves as flesh and blood human beings.
Did Jesus say a man must not look lustfully at a woman, as Jimmy Carter confessed to doing one time? In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said by them of old time, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you, that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with already in his heart." This would be true if the woman were married, but an unmarried man cannot commit adultery by looking lustfully at an unmarried woman.
Self Pleasure - I don't want to write about this subject because I don't think it's important. But it is important because there are religious beliefs that say this is a sin and even a really bad sin. It is not. When I was a Catholic, I read in the Catholic newspaper a story about a woman who saw her next door teenage neighbor playing with his wiener outside at night. The priest wrote that this is a venial sin. That's all I remember from that news item. When I was in the Armstrong religion, it was considered a terrible sin. Herbert Armstrong in his book God Speaks Out On The New Morality even said it was a sin that would keep a person from inheriting the kingdom of God. He said it is a counterfeit or imitation of an act. He quoted I Corinthians 6:9 which says, "Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived--neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, NOR ABUSERS OF THEMSELVES WITH MANKIND,....shall inherit the kingdom of God." I've read the Bible many times over, from 1970 to the present (2015), which is 45 years. The only reference the Bible makes to this act is Leviticus 15:16, which says, "And if any man's seed of copulation go from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water and be unclean until the evening." There's another verse like it in the Book of Deuteronomy.The verse Armstrong quoted in I Corinthians has to do with homosexuality. Being the super hypocrite that he was, as reported in Ambassador Report, Herbert Armstrong often played with himself and even bragged about it. He even flew to England on his jets one time to buy himself a sex toy. I checked the Internet to see what other Christians say on this subject. I was surprised to see that the Catholic Church considers this to be a mortal sin. After further reading, I've found their stand is that it could be either a mortal sin or a venial sin. It depends on the individual's attitude. It does not depend on the individual's attitude. It depends on what God says is a sin. My own opinion is what is written in I Corinthians 10:31, which says, "Whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." It does not seem to glorify God.
Dating is the social process in which young men and women get together to select the one they like the most and spend time to know each other and eventually marry each other. This is how it is or was usually done in the United States. In some countries, there is no dating. Parents decide who their children will marry; and when they become of age, the two children get married. In the Bible, there was one instance when God took part in choosing Rebekah to be the wife of Isaac. In the Armstrong religion, we were taught that teenagers were to get to know each other through parent-supervised parties to have dances and play games. There were also be school activities like dancing and sports. Later on, the field would narrow down to include a few young men and women with more dancing and dinner dating. Then the process would conclude when each young man and woman decided who they really love and want to marry. They would spend more time with each other. But Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong told us they would still not have much physical contact. They may share a small goodnight kiss that wouldn't get them sexually aroused. Then they would get married soon after that. This whole process would take several years. At the very least, it should take about a year.
Husband and Wife Relationship
Catholic Wedding Vows
"I, ___, take you, ___, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part."
"I, ___, take you, ___, to be my husband/wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love and honor you all the days of my life."
When I was in eighth grade, our nun teacher Sister Clare Frances said that Eve was taken from the side of Adam, not from his head so that she rules over him, nor from his foot so that he steps all over her. They are equal.
In the Armstrong religion, they were more male dominant. They pointed to where Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and to where God said to Adam, "Because you have harkened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree..." (Genesis 3:17). According to Armstrong, Adam didn't just commit one sin but two sins. The eating of the forbidden fruit was the second sin. The first sin was when Adam harkened to his wife.
I don't know what part of the Bible the Armstrong church got this from, but there are male chores that men perform and there are female chores that women perform. On a feast day one time, the women did all the cooking, setting the table, clearing off the table, and washing and drying the dishes while we men sat down on the couches.
One time when I was in a business school and still in that Armstrong religion, the woman teacher told me, "Bring me the stapler." I was shocked! A woman was telling me, a man, what to do. After a few seconds, I answered her in a rather sarcastic voice, "Yes, ma'am." My teacher said to me, "Oh, you're teasing me, Michael."
After I came out of that church, I was a subscriber to Ambassador Report, which was an anti-Armstrong church newsletter. One story they told was about a church minister, his wife and two other church members riding in a car. The wife was driving the car and made a wrong turn. The church minister yelled at her and yelled at her until they finally got out at the meeting place. By that time, the poor wife was a nervous wreck. No doubt she had a terrific ear ache, too. When the minister got out of the car, he put on his happy face and cheerfully greeted the other members of the church.
Yelling and screaming seem to common be in marriages. In my family, my father would yell at my mother and make her cry. One time, for good measure, he threw the chairs down on the floor and broke them. I took a screwdriver and put them back together. That was when I was a little kid. I promised myself at that young age that if I ever got married, I would never treat my wife the way my father treated my mother.
Another case of yelling is when a former classmate of mine got stuck in the snow on my street in the winter time. The guy was yelling at his wife because she didn't know how to rock the car with the gas pedal to move the car forward.
The Bible would seem to be against a husband yelling at his wife. There's the familiar scripture that says, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12) There is also what the apostle Paul says, "Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it." And, "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church." (Ephesus 5:25, 28) The scripture that I think forbids a husband from yelling at his wife is this one: "Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them." Colossians 3:19. A husband yelling and screaming at his wife is not sweet; it's bitter. Other versions of the Bible use the word "harsh." "Husbands, love your wives and be not harsh with them." New International version and also the Revised Standard Version.
Cussing - No one should be cussing at another person. In Colossians 3:8, Paul says, "But now you also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."
Obedience - In the Catholic wedding vow I listed, there is no mention of the word "obey." That was the case in the old days. That's what God wants now as well. Paul says in Colossians 3:18, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as it is fit in the Lord." Peter says in I Peter 3:6, "Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord..." The Armstrong church said obedience is not something a husband should make her do. He never forces her to obey him. It's something a wife must learn to do for her husband. Another Bible minister tells us that a wife would be willing to obey her husband if she knew her husband would give his life for her as Christ gave his life for the church. How many husbands are willing to give their lives for their wives?
Obedience is not a dirty word. Disobedience is a dirty word. Samuel said to King Saul, "Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." I Samuel 15:22-23. Witchcraft, by the way, according to the Armstrong religion, is wishing that someone were dead. It's hard to obey anybody. We have a natural tendency to despise authority. It says in Romans 8:7, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
Garner Ted Armstrong once did a radio show in which he was telling about a divorced woman with children. She was taken to court because it was believed she didn't have the training or expertise to rear her two children. To impress the court, the woman told them that she rears her children according to the teachings of the Bible. To her shock, for saying that, the court ordered her to undergo psychiatric examination. Apparently, modern society does not trust the Bible to give us proper knowledge of how we should rear our children.
The Armstrong's knew what to do about disobedient children and so instructed their members. They said that when a child misbehaves, you give them a swat on the behind as soon as the child disobeys your command. You do it right away. You don't give the order again and again and again each time the child says no or ignores you or runs away. You punish him the first time and you punish him immediately. And you have to be diligent about that. You always have to punish the child immediately and the first time when he disobeys. After punishment, you comfort the child in love to show him this is for his own good and that you are still his loving, caring parent. Punishment should never be carried out in anger.
I tried doing that with my two pet German shepherds and it seemed to work. The only trouble is that you really have to hit those big dogs hard so that they won't bite back, and so they will learn to fear you and mind you. I would comfort them after punishment by petting them and shaking their paw. Another problem is that when a neighbor saw me do that, she got upset with me for treating the dog so cruelly. "I hope he bites you!" she told me. The first dog was really smart. Before I would lower the boom, he would offer me his paw so that I wouldn't hit him.
Some members of the church employed the Armstrong discipline method with their children. Some of them were accused of horse whipping their children by their neighbors. In some cases, this was true. My church member friend Ron said he never hit his children. He would yell at them whenever they did something wrong. Garner Ted Armstrong was horse whipped by his father Herbert W. Armstrong when Garner Ted was a child as he related one time. After that beating, he was afraid to ever misbehave again.
My dad would slap me on the shoulders or use his pants belt* to give me a whipping whenever he didn't like something I did. A lot of times he would whack me at the dinner table if I sat next to him. I learned to sit next to my mother with her in between my father and me. She didn't hit me nearly half as much as my father did. He would often quote his favorite part of the Bible to me, "Honor thy father." Whenever my father hit me, I would say to myself, "Someday, when I'm bigger and stronger than him, I going to beat the shit out of him." When I was eighteen years old, I started hitting him back. That's when he stopped hitting me. When I was nineteen years old, I joined the Armstrong religion. The Bible says it's wrong for a child to strike his parent. I believe the penalty for doing that is death. So I gave up my plan for beating the crap out of my father. My mother said he hit his father when he turned eighteen. So a word to the wise for you young fathers out there: Don't make your own sons hate you. That's what it says in the Bible, "Do not provoke your children to wrath." (Ephesians 6:4) The Living Bible version says, "Don't keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful." My father often scolded me and criticized me but seldom complimented me.
* he folded the belt so that the "whip" was half size; the buckle and the tip would be together in his hand; the middle part where it was folded would be the other end which is the part he struck me with
Television is a big influence in our lives. Most experts say it's a bad influence. The more television you watch, the dumber you become. When I was a little boy, TV was in black and white, and we only had two channels. Today, TV is in color. We have over a hundred channels using cable. It can be very addicting. Even the commercials are attractive. One time, I was with friends and we were watching TV. The children were busy playing around in the room. All of sudden, one of them shouts, "A commercial!" All the children stopped playing and stared at the TV watching the commercial. It was like they were in a hypnotic trance. I think cartoons are also a bad influence--more than we like to think. One young boy I was riding bicycles with kept letting out this villainous laugh. Where did he get that crazy laugh from? He probably got it watching a cartoon show.
Along with TV, there also the video games. I played this one video game called "King's Quest 8: Mask of Eternity." I didn't solve the puzzle. I was stuck at the bridge in the Barren Region. I got a cheat book and finished the game. It took over a week to play it. Then I would play it again, and then play it again and again. I must have played it about 50 times. I would spend about 5 hours a day playing that game. That is a lot of wasted time which I could have used for constructive purposes.
One Christian friend of mine named Joe said that wasting time is a sin. I don't see that anywhere in the Bible. What I do see is what scares me every once in a while. It's "wasting soil." Jesus told the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:7-8, in which he said, "And some (seed) fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up and choked them." In Matthew 13:22, Jesus tells what he meant when he said, "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word, and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word and he becomes unfruitful."
Evolution Vs. Creation
When I was in Holy Name of Jesus Catholic school, we believed in the Bible as to how we got here. In public school --Genesee Humboldlt Jr. H.S. and Kensington H.S.,--we learned that evolution is how we got here. I tried to imagine what it would be like to see Adam and Eve in Heaven when we died. Would they look apish with their fingers and hands dragging along the floor. And how about our immortal souls? Since animals don't have immortal souls, how would God decide which animal is animal with no immortal soul and which animal is human with an immortal soul. If we have been around here for millions of years, then we had parents who had children, and then they had children, and they had children. So, wouldn't Adam and Eve's parents be left without an immortal soul and be lost to nothingness when they die. Is that what God did? Did he arbitrarily decide at some point in the long evolution of man that one generation would not have an immortal soul (animal), but that the next generation would have an immortal soul (because they are human--Adam and Eve)?
And what about the missing link? There's always the missing link. One year we are looking for the missing link. The next year we are still looking for the missing link. The next year we are still looking for the missing link. Four years later we are still looking for the missing link? When are they ever going to find that darn missing link?
Well, according to the Armstrong church, there is no evolution and there is no missing link. The missing link a more of a missing gap. When paleontologists try to bridge the connection between two different species, there is a wide gap with only two, three, or more bones.
The Armstrong religion believed in what one evangelist calls "the gap theory." They believed that God created the heavens and the earth according to Genesis 1:1; and that this happened perhaps millions or even billions of years according to what our scientists know today. Satan was the ruler over the earth. His name at this time was called Lucifer. Lucifer revolted against God because he knew that Jesus would take over the earth, or something like that. So he destroyed the earth and all life on it, which included the dinosaurs. This is what it means in Genesis 1:2 where it says, "And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep." So in the rest of Genesis 1, verses 3-31, according to Armstrong, God was RE-creating the earth until he made man. According to Armstrong, a person would view the earth standing on the surface. The 1st day is where God clears most of the smoke that surrounds the earth so that he can see a little bit of light coming from the sun. Then on the 2nd day, there would be clouds in the sky. On the 3rd day, the land would be piled up to form the continents. On the 4th day, God would remove the haziness that still surrounds the earth so that now we can see clearly the moon and the stars in the sky. On the 5th day, we would see God again creating fish in the seas and birds in the air. Lastly, on the 6th day, we would see land animals being created again, and also Adam and Eve.
After I left the Armstrong religion, I learned about a different Bible ministry headed by a guy from Australia, Mr. Jack Ham, who founded AnswersInGenesis who can be found at www.answersingenesis.org . And still another Bible ministry from Australia which can be found at www.creation.org . Both of these ministries have moved to the United States. They teach that the earth and the universe are less that 6,000 years old. I keep an open mind, so I say, "All right, the earth and the universe are 6,000 years old. Let's see you prove it." And they do prove it.
Scripturally, they argue that:
1) the revolt of Lucifer / Satan could not have taken place millions of years ago, but only after the seventh day when God pronounced everything to be very good up to that point.
2) death reigned after Adam, not before Adam. The dinosaur fossils, the saber tooth tiger fossils, and other fossil bones could not exist before Adam's sin because there was no death before Adam's sin. This brings up one of their philosophical reasons why the earth is not millions and millions of years old, which is that God is a God of Love. As a God of Love, God would not allow millions and millions of years of pain, suffering, and death.
3) God wrote it stone in the Fourth of the Ten Commandments in which He says "Remember to keep holy the Sabbath Day. Six days shall you labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall not do any work nor your son nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, the stranger within your gate. FOR IN SIX DAYS THE LORD MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH, THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, and rested the seventh day." (Exodus 20:8-11)
Another point they argue is stated in the first of the two great commandments of love: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and WITH ALL YOUR MIND." (Matthew 22:37) How can you love God with all your mind if you don't believe that one part of the Bible is true? If one part of the Bible is untrue, then maybe another part of the Bible is untrue.
God says in the Bible through Paul, "Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good." (I Thessalonians 5:21) We just don't accept things just because it's in the Bible. God commands us to prove what is written in the Bible.
Scientifically, they argue that:
1) there's not enough salt in the oceans - If the earth were 3 billion years old, there should be 70 times more salt in the oceans than there is today.
2) the moon is receding from the earth due to tidal forces and is drifting away from us at a rate of 1 1/2 inches per year; which means that 1.37 million years ago, the moon would have been touching the earth.
3) dinosaur bones have blood and soft tissues in them which means that dinosaurs are not millions of years old but only thousands of years old. This story was told on 60 Minutes a few months ago in a laboratory. The only thing the young scientists could do was laugh at what they were seeing in their microscopes. That's all they could do. They offered no explanation. All they could do was laugh.
4) if mankind has been over 50,000 years on the earth, there would be 1 followed by 100 zeros people today assuming the earth's population doubles every 150 years. That is more atoms that exist in the entire universe.
The Speed of Light
The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, the speed of light is constant. Or, is it? The speed of light in water is slower. And some claim that in a laboratory the speed of light can be reduced to zero. But we're not talking about water or a laboratory, we are talking the beginning of the universe. If light travels 186,000 miles a second in a vacuum, and if it takes light from the nearest star over four years to reach us, how could Adam see all the stars in the sky if it takes several thousand years for the light of some stars to reach earth? And with today's telescopes, including Hubble, how can we see distant galaxies if takes light from those galaxies millions and even billions and billions of years to reach earth? To believe that the universe is only 5 or 6 thousand years old when it takes light millions and billions of years to travel from distant galaxies seems preposterous. It's like trying to pour the Pacific Ocean into a teacup.
But creationists say they have an answer. And that is, time is not constant. There are two factors that can effect time. One is speed and the other is gravity. When a person travels near the speed of light, time is slowing down. When he is traveling at the speed of light, time is standing still. When a person is standing in a valley, his time is slightly faster than a person who is standing on a mountain top. Creationists says the Milky Way galaxy is the center of the universe as far as scientists tell us. If that is true, and if the universe is finite, which means it is not endless but stops after a certain point, then we are at the bottom of a gravity well. Time is faster here in the Milky Way galaxy than anywhere else.
Back to the speed of light again: according to Einstein's theory, it is impossible to measure the speed of light going in one direction. So we don't know what the speed of light really is.
June 26, 2015 Friday, the day the United State of America died. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 today that gay marriage is now legal in all 50 states.
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 13,33 in which he said, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven which a woman took and hid in three measure of meal till the whole was leavened." And in Galatians 5:9, Paul says, "A little leaven leavens the whole lump." The Catholic Church interprets this parable to mean that the whole world will be Christian or Catholic someday. The Christian Jew Foundation says that it means the opposite. Why? Because God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Leaven means sin or death in the Old Testament. But now, for this one parable, leaven means truth? The Christian Jew Foundation. We have the right to marry someone of the same sex. But as one homosexual put it, gays do not care for the right to marry, they want to destroy marriage.
“It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. …"
And gay marriage does destroy marriage. Why would heterosexual couples want to bother entering the state of marriage when it is on the same plane as homosexuality?
Herbert Armstrong made a prediction back in the 1970s about the super sexy styles leading to homosexuality. Other Christian leaders predict that with the gay marriage barrier broken down, we will now have legalized polygamy, legalized child marriages and even legalized bestiality. It is believed that the gay rights movement will want their rights protected under the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 to force Christian bakers to bake a gay wedding cake and to the Catholic Church to perform gay weddings.
Most Americans seem to approve of gays having the right to marry. This is proof that Christianity is nearly dead in the USA. Jesus rebuked the Seventh and last church in the Book of Revelation, the Church of the Laodiceans, that they were lukewarm. Like ancient Israel when they were prosperous, we like to eat, drink and be merry, and don't rock the boat, and don't leave our comfort zone. As such Christians, we are wrenched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17). We are good for puke (verse 16). We don't fear God. We don't care that he says homosexuality is an abomination to him (Leviticus 18:22). We have forgotten that homosexuality invites the death penalty (Leviticus 20:13). The cities and people of Sodom and Gomorrah practiced homosexuality. The Bible called them wicked and great sinners against the Lord (Genesis 13:13). When the angels came to Sodom, they looked like men, and the entire population of Sodom, both young and old, surrounded Lot's house and ordered the angels to come out so that they could have sex with them (Genesis 19:5). Lot tried to protect the angels. He told the people of Sodom, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly." Instead of the angels, he offered them his daughters. This is amazing. Peter called Lot a righteous man in II Peter 2:8. Yet, Lot was willing to give this mob his very own daughters to have sex with them rather than let them do wickedness against the men who were angels. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with brimstone and fire. The apostle Peter says in II Peter 2:6 that he made them an example to the rest of us. Jude says in Jude 1:7 that God made an example of them for us that we ought not give ourselves over to fornication and strange flesh. This verse is interesting. The last six words are, "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." This might mean that there will be no second chance for them. They may not be resurrected again to physical life a thousand years after the return of Jesus. Their souls as well as their bodies have been forever destroyed. It is possible, however, for homosexuals to repent and live a normal Christian life and to inherit the kingdom of God as it says in I Corinthians 6:11, "And such were some of you; but you are washed; you are sanctified, you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
Jesus predicted that the end of the world his Second Coming would come suddenly, "And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all." He also said, "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot, they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built. But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroy them all." It also seems to suggest that the world will be violent like it was in Noah's day and sexually immoral like it was in Lot's days.
I mentioned that God demands the death penalty for homosexuality in Leviticus 20:13. Why? I use to wonder why God is so mean to homosexuals. Why can't he just let them live they way they want to? They don't seem to be hurting anybody. But they are hurting people, especially themselves. Here are some major medical reasons why homosexuality is unhealthy:
1) A homosexual couple is 50 times more likely to have anal cancer than a normal heterosexual couple.
2) Because lining around anal region is thinner than the lining around the female vagina region, homosexuals have a high risk of HIV infection.
3) They are 60 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than heterosexuals.
4) 80% of syphilitic patients are homosexual.
5) One-third of homosexuals are infected with active anorectal herpes simplex viruses.
6) A host of parasites, bacterial, viral, and protozoan are all rampant in the homosexual population.
7) Lesbians have higher breast cancer rates.
8) Lesbians have four times as many sex partners than straight women.
9) Homosexual men have been barred from donating blood since 1977 because it is so contaminated with various viruses and bacteria.
10) Drugs and alcohol are very popular among homosexuals, and so is promiscuity.
11) Homosexuality is estimated to lower a man's life expectancy by 20 years to somewhere in the lower 40s.
They are also so intolerant of religious and medical criticism of their lifestyle that they reactions are much like terrorists:
1) They will spit on you. They will break your window , damage your property, and / or steal something from you.
2) They will threaten your family.
3) They will take away your job.
4) They will close down your business.
5) And so they are against free speech, which is the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Murders are common among homosexuals. Often brutal murders like multiple stabbings and strangulations.
Some are homosexuals are really depraved murderers who resort to cannibalism--they cook and eat their dead victims body parts.
There are some gays who practice sadomasochistic sex which is nothing less than torture.
July 1, 2015 Wednesday. On Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor, he questioned one of the pretty women lawyers about the difference between a baker baking a cake for a Nazi guy and a gay couple. She said the Nazi is a Nazi by choice while gay persons are born that way. O'Reilly said nothing; no argument. The next day, Bill O'Reilly was reading some of the letters he got that corrected him about what the woman lawyer said, that it's not a choice for gays to be gay. O'Reilly defended the woman lawyer saying something like the response from the letters was religious, or something like that. The letters said that evidence shows there is no gay gene; and O'Reilly said this was a religious statement. That's like going to Mars; finding no Martians; and then saying that's a religious statement.
It might be interesting to find out what the cause or causes of homosexuality are. One cause that I learned either from the Armstrong church or from some other Bible ministry is the father factor. An absent, abusive, or indifferent father will contribute to the homosexual problem in the son according to one theory. I mentioned this in class when I was at Erie Community College. The teacher said that theory was disproven. About an hour later, I was missing my set of keys. I looked everywhere I was that day and checked with the campus security. I could not find my set of keys. If my answer about the cause of homosexuality was wrong, and some homosexual stole my keys, why would he do that?
The Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation
When you read about the seven churches in Asia in the beginning of the book of Revelation, it doesn't seem interesting or relevant. But Bible experts say these churches represent different eras in the future. The first church is the one at the time of the apostles. The last or seventh church is the one that will be on earth at the time of Christ's Second Coming. Armstrong taught his church members this explanation. He said his church, the Worldwide Church of God, was the sixth church, or the church of Philadelphia. The seventh church, the church of Laodicea, would arise later in time and would co-exist with Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. But according to the Christian Jew Foundation, The church of Philadelphia era took place quite a while ago--sometime in the 19th century during the reign of the British Empire when Christianity was spread to Africa, Asia, Australia and North America. We are now in the church of Laodicea era. Also, according to the Christian Jew Foundation, each of the churches exist throughout the world in some form or another at this present time.
The United States of America - Who Are We?
According to the Armstrongs, we are the Tribe of Manasseh or one of the two tribes of Joseph, the Lost House of Israel. We, along with the British Commonwealth of Nations, are the recipient of the Birthright handed down from Abraham to Isaac, to Jacob and to Ephraim and Manasseh, That is why we became the greatest nation in the world. Our flag started out with 13 stars and 13 strips. Was this just a coincidence, asked Mr. Armstrong? But is it true that we are the Tribe of Manasseh?
When I obtained my copy of The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy from Herbert Armstrong back in 1969, it was roughly 300 pages. When I saw a copy of the book in 1985, it was somewhat smaller. It was about 200 pages. Some of Armstrong's own ministers questioned the British-Israelite theory as it was called. Why is it that there is less information on the U.S. and Britain being Lost Israel in 1986 than there was 20 years ago? One minister,
One minister, Ernest L. Martin, called the British-Israelite Theory “ridiculous and absolute nonsense.” Mr. Armstrong stated in his book that one the keys to understanding the Bible is the one-year-for-one-day principle. He said that just like ancient Israel sinned in the desert after they left Egypt for 40 days, so God punished Israel for 40 years by delaying their entry into the Promised Land for 40 years. He said God never gave Israel the great promises he made to Abraham that Israel was to inherit. Israel sinned after the death of Solomon by committing idolatry.Mr. Armstrong stated in his book that one the keys to understanding the Bible is the one-year-for-one-day principle.
God delayed bestowing the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) seven times one year (360 days) which is 2520. This brings us to the year 1800 AD when Great Britain started acquiring her empire, and it was also the time the United States began its ascent to greatness through the acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase. But Ernest Martin says this is all wrong. The Twelve Tribes of Israel did receive their blessings that they inherited from Abraham when they took over the Holy Land under Joshua. It says in the forth last chapter of the Book of Joshua, “And the Lord gave them rest round about according to all that he sware unto their fathers; and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them. The Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed none of the good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.” (Joshua 21:44-45)
Yet the British-Israelite theory was still with me after I left the Armstrong church. It made sense. We were strong and rich because we were the lost tribe of Joseph which received the blessings God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We were, in fact, the richest and the strongest nation on earth. I still like to think that is the reason why we are so rich and strong.
We are rich and strong for other reasons. We have a large Jewish population. Forty percent of the world's Jews live in the United States. God blesses the nation that blesses the Jews. We were founded on Christian principles. God blesses the nation that obeys His laws.
One Bible source says we are one of the ten toes that King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about in Daniel 2:41 is the United States and Canada at the end of the world. The rest of the ten pieces are 2) Latin America, 3) black Africa, the Middle East, 4) India and Pakistan, 5) Russia, 6) China, 7) Europe, 8) Japan, 9) the rest of Asia, 10) Australia and New Zealand. There are negotiations about setting up a world government with the world divided into these ten sections.
The End of the World
Garner Ted Armstrong insisted that the end of the world did not mean the total destruction of the earth, but only the end of the age. The word that is translated "world" from the Greek language should be translated "age." In Matthew 24, Jesus was shown the beautiful buildings by his apostles, particularly the temple. He said not one stone will be laid upon another; all will be thrown down. Then his apostles asked him, "When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of your coming and the end of the world?" (King James Version) The Living Bible also says about the same thing, "What events will signal your return, and the end of the world?" But they also note at the bottom of the page that this word "world" would literally be translated as "age." The New International Version has it, "...when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" The Revised Standard Version has it, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" The Pocket Interlinear New Testament is a direct translation of the Greek language which the New Testament was written into English. It says, "Tell us , when will these things be and what is the sign of your presence and of the termination of the age?"
Matthew 24 is the chronological outline for the future after the end of Jesus' life on earth. It is also the outline for the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation says that the prophecies come from God the Father and the interpretation of it come from Jesus. (Revelation 5:1-7) Only Jesus can interpret the Book of Revelation and He does that in Matthew 24.
Jesus predicted there would be religious deceptions, wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and persecutions. In Matthew 24:8, He said, "All these are the beginning sorrows," in the King James Version. In the New International Verision, is says, "All these are the beginning of birth pangs." In the Living Bible, it says, "But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come." In the Revised Standard Version, it says, "All this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs." In the Pocket Interlinear New Testament, it says, "But all these are a beginning of throes." it would be like a woman in labor These troubles would keep on repeating itself and growing greater and occurring more frequently until the Second Coming.
What "age" are we talking about? There are two good answers. One is the answer which we were taught in the Armstrong church which is the Age of Man. It is the time period God gave mankind to rule over himself without God's help. It is actually the time Satan the Devil rules over the earth. This is from the time Adam sinned until six thousand years later. It goes according to the 7-day week. The first six days are for man to do all his work. But the seventh day is the Lord's Day. God will intervene on the earth and will rule the world for a thousand years. There's not much to back up this idea in the Bible. One scripture is in II Peter 3:8, which says, "But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day." According to the Jewish calendar, this is the year 5775 going on the year 5776. There's less than 225 years before the year 6000. According to Armstrong's theory, 6000 is the end of man's rule, which would be the year 2230 AD. Jesus said in Matthew 24:22 that, "...those days will be shortened."
The She Generation
In Matthew 24:34, Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, in no way will THIS generation pass away until all these things have occurred." It seems like Jesus was saying to his disciples that within the next 40 years of their time, the end of the world, or the end of the age, the Second Coming of Jesus, will happen in their time. I looked up the Greek word for the what was translated into English as "this." This Greek word could also be translated as "she." We seem to be in the She Generation world. Almost all the teachers in our grammar schools are women. Most of the teachers in our high schools are women. Almost all nurses are women. Most of the people who work in the office are women. Many legislators , senators, and governors are women. The next president of the United States may be a woman. The world of advertising is geared towards luring women into our stores since they do most of the purchasing.
In the Bible, a generation is counted as 40 years. It is hard to determine when the She Generation started or will start without running out of time before the Second Coming of Our Lord. Is there something else that is suppose to happen as part of the She Generation? Will the leaders of Israel be all women? There's a prophecy back in Isaiah that says, "As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them." (Isaiah 3:12) Will the leaders of the coming world empire be women?
I think it is appropriate that God made this last generation, the she generation, as a world dominated by women since he described the trials and tribulations we are having as a woman in labor who is about to deliver the new age, the Messianic Millennium.
Anti-Semitism or Jewish Holocaust II
One Bible ministry whose radio show I sometimes listen to is Gary Hendricks of The Christian Jew Foundation. He did a sermon one time on a future persecution of the Jews. I found it disturbing as well as a bit far fetched, especially since a Jewish Holocaust is not mentioned in Matthew 24. There's not much , if any, Jewish persecution mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Mr. Hendricks get his prophecy from Jeremiah 16:14-16, which says, "Therefore the days come, says the Lord, that it shall no more be said, 'The Lord lives, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' but 'The Lord lives that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where he had driven them.' And I will bring them again into their land that I gave to their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, says the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks." According to this prophecy, and according to what Mr. Hendricks says, there will be such Jew hatred, that most if not all of the Jews will move back to their ancestor's home, the Holy Land of Israel, to make it the greatest nation on earth. This is coming to pass. In one email that received, there was a video which showed angry crowds in Germany , France and even Britain shouting, "Hitler was right," and other anti-Semitic chants.
Actually there a mention of a holocaust by Jesus in Matthew 24. He says in verses 40 & 41, "Then shall two be in the field. The one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill. The one shall be taken and the other left.
When I was in the Armstrong religion, we were taught that the ten toes of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar dreamt about and the ten-horned beast that Daniel saw represented the ten-nation world empire of the last days before the Second Coming. This ten-nation empire, we were told, was the emerging United States of Europe that would be formed from the present European Economic Community, or simply, the Common Market. Even at that time, Europe was exercising it’s economic might by eliminating tariffs between the partner nations and having high tariffs with outside nations like Great Britain and the United States. They would defeat the United States and Great Britain first economically, or through trade war. The scripture where this is to be found is Daniel 8:25, where it says, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand, and he shall magnify himself in his heart, AND BY PEACE SHALL DESTROY MANY…” “Destroy by peace” is trade war according to Armstrong. After that, according to Armstrong, World War III would break out between the English-speaking nations (the Tribe of Joseph / Lost Israel according to Armstrong) and the United States of Europe. We would be defeated with nuclear weapons. The survivors of the English-speaking nations would be taken as slaves. Then Jesus would return in the Second Coming and rescue them. We don’t see too many items in the store with the Made in USE label. But we do see plenty of items with the Made In China label. Right now, it seems like Red China is the economic powerhouse--the world’s number one economic power.
No Middle Class
One prophecy that I heard Herbert Armstrong tell is that before the Second Coming, there will be no middle class. He got his prophecy from Revelation 6: 15, where it says, "And the kings of the earth, and the great, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. And said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.'" He appears to be right about that. Because of free trade and cheap Chinese labor, many good paying manufacturing jobs have been outsourced from the United States and most other countries so that the middle class has vanished. Not only that, we are coming to full automation. In one story done by 60 Minutes, a factory was shown where only robots were employed. Even floor cleaning was done by a robot that was speeding up and down the production area. We have driverless cars and trucks which will put an end to cab drivers, bus drivers, and truck drivers. So there is now only the rich and the poor.
The United States of America is still the greatest nation on earth despite the fact that we have a $18,000,000,000 debt. After the Cold War, we were the world's only super power. We send men on the moon. Yet, there seems to be no mention of us in the Book of Revelation. Some Bible scholars believe that something drastic will happen to us; or else we will become so isolationist that we will no longer be an influence in the world.
Conquest of the Middle East
Ridicule And Sarcasm
The Apostle Peter said, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers walking after their own lusts and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.’” II Peter 3:3-4
Loss of Faith
Jesus said in Luke 18:8, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Jesus said in Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
The Drug Culture
One of Bernie Sander’s campaign promises is that when he becomes president, he will make the smoking of marijuana a right. This seems like one of the signs of the end of the world. The Bible predicts that before the Second Coming of Jesus, the world will be one that is filled with drug users. Armstrong said there were two words in the Book of Revelation that come from the Greek word for pharmaceutical which has been translated as “sorcery.” In Revelation 9:21, John says that after God punishments through the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth angels, the people on earth will still refuse to repent “of their murders, sorceries (drugs), their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
The other verse in the Book of Revelation having to do with drugs is Revelation 18:23 where it says, “…for by your sorceries (drugs) were all nations deceived.”
Drug addiction is a serious problem in the United States, especially to heroin. The August 2016 issue of Newsmax magazine tells us that the rate of heroin use has increased from 2002 to 2013 by 286 per cent. In 2014, more people died from heroin overdose (over 47,000) than either from auto accidents or gun shot wounds. The large increase in heroin usage has also resulted in an increase in crime.
In Revelation 11:18, it says, “And the nations were angry and your wrath is come and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets and to the saints and them that fear your name small and great, and should destroy them which destroy the earth.”
Since the Industrial Revolution, we have been doing just that more and more--we have been destroying the earth.
Temple In Jerusalem To Be Rebuilt
In Matthew 24:15, Jesus said, “When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso reads, let him understand) …” The Holy Place is part of the Temple of Jerusalem. Right now, there is no temple in Jerusalem.
In II Thessalonians 2:2, Paul is telling the Christians in his day about the day of Christ being at hand. He was telling them that the day of Christ is NOT at hand because there first has to be a falling away and then the revealing of the man of perdition. This individual “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he as God sits in the temple of God showing himself that he is God.” (II Thessalonians 2:4) This never happened yet. Paul said it must happen before the Second Coming: there is to be a temple in Jerusalem. And there is going to be a man who will claim to be God. Paul continues in verse 8 about what happens the real God shows up, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."
A rebuilt temple in Jerusalem would be extremely exciting for a Christian like myself. It would mean the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus in only a few short years. But what do our Jewish brothers in Israel think about rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem? Here's an article I found on the "Breaking Israel News" web site from August 4, 2014:
Despite the tragic war Israel is currently entangled in, our generation has been blessed with the fulfillment of numerous Biblical promises. We have seen the rebirth of the State of Israel and continue to witness the Ingathering of the Exiles from the four corners of the world. For the first time in centuries Jerusalem is in Jewish hands, yet once a year, on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, Jews fast, cry and mourn for the destruction of our Holy Temple. How can we ignore all these great blessings and why do we mourn for a building that was destroyed 2,000 years ago?
The Bible repeatedly describes the Temple as the spiritual center of the world and the source for peace and prosperity. In Isaiah’s famous vision the prophet describes, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares…for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The absence of the Temple is seen in the stories reported on the nightly news and its void adversely affects nations, geo-politics and global peace. Director of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, Rabbi Chaim Richman explains that the 9th of Av “is not about bemoaning the Temple. It’s about bemoaning the world without the Temple. A world that has lost its light, its color and its direction.”
Indeed, there is a growing “Temple Movement” in Israel today with thousands of Jews working to rebuild the Temple. According to a poll taken last year in a leading newspaper Ha’aretz, one third of Israelis believe that Israel should erect the Temple on the Temple Mount. Israel’s Housing Minister called publicly for the rebuilding of the Temple, “We’ve built many little, little temples,” MK Uri Ariel said, referring to synagogues, “but we need to build a real Temple on the Temple Mount.”
Schools throughout Israel are diligently studying the intricate laws of the Temple and Jews of all backgrounds visit the Temple Mount each month. The Jerusalem Post quoted Sarit Berko, a non-observant Israeli who came to the Western Wall to observe the 9th of Av from her home in Tel Aviv, an annual pilgrimage she has made since the Six Day War in 1967. “During Passover, most Jews say ‘Next year in Jerusalem’,” explained Berko, “As an Israeli I pray, ‘Next year may the Third Temple be built and last for eternity.’
The Temple is such a central theme in the Bible that one third of all its commandments deal with laws carried out in it. Rabbi Richman explains that far from being an extremist, “our desire to see a rebuilt Temple is an expression of healthy, normative Judaism.” To further their advocacy, the Temple Institute recently released a short video “The Children are Ready” which dramatically portrays young Jewish kids dragging their fathers from synagogue services in order to join them in the rebuilding of the Temple.
While it is true that our generation has much to be grateful for and that our return to Israel is nothing short of miraculous, the golden dome sitting atop the Temple Mount provides a constant reminder that the Torah cannot be fulfilled perfectly and Judaism cannot be expressed fully until the Third Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem.
May God quickly end this ugly war Israel is entangled in and bring a lasting and eternal peace to Zion so that this 9th of Av is the last sorrowful day and we all rejoice together in the streets of Jerusalem with the arrival of the Messiah and the redemption of the world.
Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/19539/ready-rebuild-temple/#dtWkWMc5AZjBSLd2.99
Here is the latest (August 29, 2016 Monday) news about the Third Temple in Jerusalem.
The people of Israel are getting ready to establish Temple worship services without the Temple first being built. They have been busy building the instruments that are needed for the temple services such as gold-plated candle holders. They have found the red heifer which needed for the temple sacrifices. They have been practicing temple worship services. And now they have selected a high priest to lead those temple worship services.
The Preaching of the Gospel
In Matthew 24:14, Jesus says, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.” When I was a Catholic, I was confused. I couldn’t figure that one verse out. If the Catholics and the Protestants have been preaching the gospel of Jesus for the past 20 centuries to the world, what was Jesus talking about? Armstrong said that the Christians of the past were preaching a gospel about Jesus. They didn’t preach the message about the kingdom of God. Armstrong said the gospel of the kingdom is about mankind entering into the kingdom of God to inherit eternal life as spirit beings who are the very sons and daughters of God the Father as Jesus Christ is. Jesus Christ is God; and so will we be God. Like Jesus, we will have mighty powers to do anything; we will live forever; we will have rulership over the earth and over the universe. The Armstrongs amassed a great fortune and spread the true gospel with their publications, with their radio and television broadcasts, with their three college campuses, and with their worldwide ministry. But the Worldwide Church of God has come and gone. Ambassador College has come and gone. The Armstrongs have come and gone. So what happened? Where is the end of the world? Where is the Lord Jesus and the world of peace and harmony he promised to bring us? For one thing, the gospel of the kingdom hasn’t gone into China, nor into North Korea, nor into Saudi Arabia, nor to many other places. In fact, the gospel wasn’t even mentioned in places where Herbert W. Armstrong personally went to, like Thailand and Japan. Armstrong simply had himself a good time at those places. The most he ever did was preach the difference between give and get. So the gospel of the kingdom is yet to be preached to all nations in all the world.
The Gospel can first be found in Genesis 1:26 where God continues creating the sixth day. It says, “And God said ‘Let us make man in our image after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’”
This is similar to what we would find in a Roman Catholic Catechism. The question would be asked: What is man? And the answer given in the Catechism is: Man is a creature composed of body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God. That is only half right. In the next verse, Genesis 1:27, it says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.” It doesn’t say anything about God having created man in his likeness.
Asteroid To Hit The Earth
In Revelation 8:8, it says, "And the second angel sounded and, as it were, a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea. And the part of the sea became blood. And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea and had life died, and the third part of the ships were destroyed." It is my guess that this asteroid will crash into the Pacific Ocean since the Pacific Ocean covers more than half the globe.
This video I am using has already been seen by almost 4 million people. It is different from the one I had here before. It concerns the asteroid Apophis 99942 in which there is a slight chance that it may hit the earth in the years 2029 and 2039. Apophis is not a very big asteroid. It is a little over 100 feet long which makes it about the size of two 2-family homes next to each other about 4 stories high. This is still something you don’t want falling out of the sky. The video shows several possibilities that could occur. We don’t know if this asteroid is going to hit earth, so naturally, we don’t know where it will hit if it hits us. One scenario shows the asteroid smashing into Lake Maracaibo in northwestern South America and causing destruction to northern South America and all of Central America. Another scenario shows the asteroid smashing into Paris and obliterating that city. A third scenario shows the asteroid having broken up into smaller pieces and bombarding New York City. The fourth and last scenario shows the asteroid falling in the Atlantic Ocean and creating a gigantic tsunami that buries New York City and Virginia Beach under millions of tons of water.
This video is about an asteroid that is too big. The asteroid that the Bible says will crash into the earth is the size of a great mountain. The size of this asteroid is 500 kilometers, or 310.68 miles, almost equal to the distance between Rochester and New York City. If such an asteroid hits the earth, it would destroy the entire world. I am showing this video because this is what the earth will look like, or worse, over a thousand years from now when God creates a new heaven and a new earth as it says in Revelation 21:1. The Apostle Peter tells us, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (II Peter 3:10)
Oh, dear. How do you like that? My video is gone
again. Excuse me while I find another video.
This video is about a comet hitting earth. A comet is mostly made of ice, while an asteroid is made of iron and other metals. The meteor that exploded over Tunguska, Russia in 1918 because it blew up before it hit the ground.
Near the very beginning of the video, they talk about mega tsunami. This part I agree with. This is what Jesus mentioned in Luke 21:25-26 (Pocket Interlinear New Testament) in which he said, “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars. And on the earth will be anxiety of nations with bewilderment, ROARING OF SEA AND SURF--men fainting at heart from fear, and expecting of the things which have come on the earth. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
They use a different time line, which is apparent. They are talking about the beginning of the universe and the earth millions and billions of years ago; and that asteroids and comets having been hitting the earth for all those billions of years. The Bible says the earth and the universe are only six thousand years old.
(Correction: Make that almost 10 thousand years old. Armstrong had his church believe that God gave mankind 6 thousand years to rule the earth, while the 7th millennium would be ruled by Jesus starting with his Second Coming.)
These asteroids bombarded the earth mainly in Noah’s time, which caused the Flood and wiped out all air-breathing animals except those in the Ark over four thousand years ago.
Time frame (3:28): “Scientists think that such impacts may have caused two of the five global extinctions.” There was only one global extinction; and that was from Noah’s Flood. There were some regional extinctions that were caused by the Ice Age which came after the Flood (according Answers In Genesis and Creation dot com).
Time frame (3:38): “The most recent, 65 million years ago…” Like I said before, asteroid bombardment took place a little over four thousand years ago.
Time frame (6:20): “They believe that its catastrophic effect may have inspired….” We now seem to be on the same tract that an asteroid caused the global Flood. But they still call it a "myth.”
Time frame (6:25) They show the earth as it looks today being bombarded with asteroids and comets which caused Noah’s Flood. Jack Ham and the people at AnswersInGenesis.com tell us that the earth looked very different before the Flood.
All the continents were joined together as one giant land mass or super continent. The asteroids and comets not only caused the Flood, but also cracked the earth and cause the giant land mass to break up into the six continents we have today. In fact, our continents look like some kind of cosmic jigsaw puzzle in which you can fit certain parts of the earth like South America, Central America, North America, Europe and Africa into one piece.
Time frame (7:44): The development of the advanced civilization of Egypt is talked about. This is what we would find after the Flood. Noah and his family preserved over 1,000 years of science and art since the time of Adam and Eve. When the waters receded, they would leave the Ark and start rebuilding the civilization that was destroyed by the Flood.
Time frame (7:58): The earth becomes cooler. Answers In Genesis says this is the dawn of the Ice Age that followed the Flood. Volcanic activity under the oceans lessened so that the water was no longer heated.
Time frame (9:00) “We are looking at multiple different things that suggests to us that we’re looking at a single event, at 48 hundred years ago that has a causal explanation for all of these myths--an oceanic comet impact.” He notices all the cultures that have “myths” of a great flood. He sees a pattern that extends from equatorial Africa up through Egypt through the Holy Land and into India. He assumes the center of this pattern, which lies in the middle of the Indian Ocean, is where the comet of 4,800 years ago hit the earth. We could also assume that the Ice Age limited the migration of mankind to the areas of Africa and southern Asia until the climate in the northern latitudes became more hospitable for human settlement.
Time frame (10:50): They believe that by locating all the cultures that have some history of The Flood, they can pinpoint the exact location of the asteroid impact, which is in the Indian Ocean 930 miles off the coast of Madagascar. I rather believe that the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, and that Noah’s children settled in the Mesopotamia valley. After God confused their language at the Tower of Babel, they spread out to all parts of the globe as God first commanded them to. It has nothing to do with finding the location of an asteroid’s point of impact in the Indian Ocean. It has nothing to do with finding the location of an asteroid’s point of impact in the Indian Ocean. Most likely, there were several asteroid or comet impacts. There’s a theory that one of them crashed near the Yucatan Peninsula. There’s Meteor Crater in Arizona which Wikipedia says occurred 50,000 years ago. Since there was no 50,000 years ago, it is likely it occurred 4,800 years ago at the time of Noah’s Flood.
Time frame (11:52): “Based on the mythology and based on the archeology record, I would suggest that 50% of all people died.” The Bible says they all died except for the eight persons inside the Ark.
Time frame (12:00): “Either directly as a consequence of the impact or impact related events, or from starvation in the months that followed.” They either drowned or were buried by tons of sediment.
Time frame (12:16): “Mythology by itself cannot really prove anything when it comes to looking at natural events. We need physical evidence itself.” Fine. The Bible says to prove all things; hold fast that which is good. So they are searching around under the Indian Ocean for an asteroid crater to support their wild theory that one asteroid reduced the human population by fifty percent.
Time frame (13:02): “Ironically, many experts believe that comets may have brought to earth the basic elements to make life possible. During the time it was being formed, the earth was very hot and very dry.” No, it wasn’t. Genesis 1:6 says that the earth was covered with water on Day 1 and Day 2.
Time frame (14:32): “From the time they were formed 4.6 billion years ago…” Comets were not formed 4.6 billion years ago. There was no billions and billions of years ago. There was 6,000 to 10,000 years ago when the earth and the universe were created; and there was 4,000 years ago when God probably used comets and asteroids to destroy the earth during Noah’s time. Some creationists speculate that perhaps an earthlike planet that orbited between Mars and Jupiter which was composed of water, iron, nickel and other elements that broke up or exploded. It’s pieces were scattered throughout the solar system and bombarded the planets, the moon, and the earth as meteors, asteroids, and comets. This explosion may have happened after Day 7 during Satan’s revolt. God may have used some of these meteors, asteroids and comets to create The Flood during Noah’s time. We don’t know for sure. These are only educated guesses. But these are good guesses. Meteor and asteroid craters are found all over the solar system--on Mercury, on Venus, on the moon, on Mars, and on the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Time frame (26:26): “The second source of comets is the Ort Cloud.” There is no Ort Cloud. The Ort Cloud is only a theory. It has not been observed. This is what you would find in Wikipedia if you type “ort cloud” into your search engine.
Time frame 30:28: “But before we can identify which comets may pose a threat to our planet, we have to find them.” I agree. I believe we should spend more resources building wide-field telescopes--not just one or two, but a dozen to give us a panoramic view of the entire sky all over the globe. I also believe we should build such telescope and place them in orbit around the earth and also on the moon and wherever else they are needed to ensure that no asteroid escapes detection, and so that we may keep tract of them.
Time frame (33:25): “In the unlikely event that we do find a comet that is on a earth-threatening trajectory, and it’s large, say two miles or larger, there’s not a great deal we can do, frankly. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s not very likely to happen.” But it will happen. Jesus, through his prophet John the Apostle, told us it will happen. And there’s nothing we can do about it. I think we should do something about it. As someone (I think it was JFK) once may or may not have said, “We’ve got to try. We’ve got to try.” The trouble is--if God knows we are going to try, then he will send something bigger. Or maybe he will send two of them; so that even though we get rid of the one, we will still have the second one to contend with. This is what Jesus told us to do, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)
One guy argued with me that Revelations 8:8 is merely symbolism, yet he believed in the Second Coming. How do you know if the asteroid is mere symbolism while the Second Coming is a future event? You believe what you want to believe. That's why this page is Religion. You believe what you want to believe--for now. Just watch the sky every once in a while.
Time frame (35:05): “A three-mile wide comet strike could kill millions of people.” Back to Revelation 8:8, a “great mountain” shall strike the earth. If we assume that this “great mountain” is about the size of Mt. McKinley / Denali of Alaska, then that comet or asteroid would be 3.846 miles in diameter, which about is what we are seeing in this video.
Time frame (38:26): “There is not enough time to prepare and launch such a mission.” Why not prepare for the mission now, just as we have prepared ourselves for a possible missile attack from an enemy country in the future? We have missiles sitting in silos waiting to be used in a counter attack. Why can’t we have one or more rockets or missiles ready for use in destroying or diverting an approaching asteroid?
Giant Earthquake Destroys All Cities
Time frame (40:40): A 9.0 earthquake caused by the comet’s impact shatters buildings and structures all over San Francisco.” But what if this 3-mile object were an asteroid made of iron and other metals instead of ice? This asteroid slamming into the earth would create an earthquake much greater than 9.0, to say the least. Revelation 16:18-19 says, “And there were voices and thunders and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell….”
What Goes Up Must Come Down
Matthew 24:29 says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. “
Time frame (41:07): As the minutes tick by, 3-inch fragments and debris from the seafloor pummel the defenseless city.” Time frame (36:16) shows a diagram of a great splash of salt water and ocean floor being blasted into space.
Time frame (44:25): “As we did 4 thousand, 800 years ago, humankind would probably survive this global disaster, but the world would never be the same.” The only reason why humankind would survive this global disaster is because of the Second Coming. Jesus Christ is going to save us from this cosmic catastrophe. Otherwise, “no flesh will be save.” (Matthew 24:22)
The Armstrong church did not seem to be disturbed by Revelation 8:8 -- the “great mountain” that was cast into the sea. We were instead concerned about the resurrected Roman Empire of 10 Catholic nations led by Germany that will conquer most of the world, including the USA, Great Britain, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. We were concerned about the growing power of Japan, China and Russia. We were certain there would be atomic war. This collision of a comet or asteroid with the earth was only one of seven plagues of the great tribulation that God was using to punish the anti-Christ and his armies just before the Second Coming. It wasn’t until around 1988 or 1990, over ten years since I left the Armstrong church, that I realized that this was something really big. An asteroid is going to hit the earth!
THE ERRUPTION OF SUPER VOLCANOE YELLOWSTONE
In Revelation 6:14, it says, “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” This verse could be part of a brief summary of the events just prior to the Second Coming. It could include the aftermath of the impact of the asteroid that will hit the earth. Regardless, there is another certainty that we can expect besides giant tsunamis and giant earthquakes, and that is super volcanic eruptions--namely the eruption of the super volcano that located 3 to 6 miles beneath the surface of Yellowstone National Park.
I have known about this super volcano for several years now. I believe I first heard of it on the History Channel or maybe the Discovery Channel. We don’t know when the Yellowstone super volcano will erupt. We do have instruments and sensors that are constantly watching the super volcano. Eruption could happen soon, or it may take up to several hundred years.
What we can be sure of is that when the asteroid hits the earth, it will cause the Yellowstone super volcano to erupt. According to one of the TV documentaries I’ve watched, this will cause all of the world’s volcanoes to erupt.
One video site on the Internet asks if anyone has any suggestions as to what we can do to prevent the eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano. I have two ideas. The first is that we should remove all the coal and oil resources in the area that would be burned up and totally wasted in the eruption; and we should store it somewhere to be used later. The second is perhaps we could build tunnels, pipes, or shafts to relieve the pressures inside the super volcano gradually in order so that it may kept under control. If that’s not possible, we should plan for an evacuation to Canada, with their cooperation and permission.
This seems to be a technological solution to what should be a spiritual solution on a religious page. But God shows us that there are sometimes a technological solution to future prophecies. One example is the Noah’s Ark. God instructed Noah to built a huge ark to save himself, his family, a pair of unclean animals, and seven pairs of clean animals from a worldwide flood.
Jesus said, "And I say to you my friends, be not afraid of them who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear; fear Him, who after He has killed has power to cast into hell. Yes, I say to you, fear Him." (Luke 12:5) That's easier said than done. Jesus himself was born to die for our sins. Yet he prayed three times to his Father that He would take that cup away from him. When Jesus told the apostles that they would run away after Judas betrayed him, they all said they would rather go to prison and die with him. Yet they all ran away. The Apostle Paul was brave. He told his disciples when he was going to Jerusalem, "for I am ready not to be bound only but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." My opinion as to why Paul was so brave and fearless is that he had guilt feelings about persecuting the Christians before his conversion. My opinion as to why Paul was so brave and fearless is that he had guilt feelings about persecuting the Christians before his conversion. Paul says in I Corinthians 15:9, “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not fit to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God.” I bet Paul wrote those words with a tremendous amount of guilt and remorse. Most of us are not stricken with such remorse and guilt. It won’t be easy to die for the Lord. We will probably be like the apostles at the time of Jesus’ arrest and run away. But Jesus told the Church of Smyrna, “Be faithful unto death.” And, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.” (Revelation 2:10) So it would seem that God wants each and every Christian to be faithful unto death. That’s not a comfortable feeling that God wants us to die for our faith. But we may not be asked to do that. Because in Luke 21:36, Jesus says, “Watch therefore and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Paul says in I Corinthians 10:13 that “There has no temptation taken you but as is common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,”
Hebrews 12:4, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.”
In Revelation 6:9-11, God’s people ask Him, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, do you not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” That’s a fair question. How long is God going to allow us Christians to suffer and die for their faith?
A PLACE OF SAFETY
Armstrong taught that his church, the Worldwide Church of God, was the 6th church mentioned in Revelation 3:7-13. In verse 10, God says, “Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Armstrong said that his church will somehow be whisked away to a certain place on the earth where they will be safe from the global persecution and martyrdom of the Christian church. From certain verses in the Book of Daniel, he said that place would be Petra in the country of Jordan. The Armstrong church ministers mentioned Petra in their sermons at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles which pictures the future just before the Second Coming. One minister quoted Luke 21:36 where Jesus said, “Pray that you will be counted worthy to escape.” The minister said they checked out Petra and he wants to add to that pray with, “Pray that your escape won’t be to Petra." He explained that much of the city has been damaged by earthquakes. The water supply system is not adequate to meet the needs several thousand newcomers of the Armstrong church. If Petra’s water supply system is susceptible to damage by earthquakes, then Petra is not much of a place of safety--especially at a time when there will be great earthquakes.
Another Bible minister who teaches that there is a place of safety is Gary Hendricks of the Christian Jew Foundation. He quotes the Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 4:17, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Gary says that the Christians may somehow be transferred to some asteroid where we will be safe while wars are raging and devastation is occurring on the earth.
When you read the Book of Revelation from beginning to end, you come away with the impression that no one will be alive at the end of the world. The good people will be persecuted and martyred by the wicked people. Then the wicked people will be punished and destroyed by God. Even one of the Armstrong ministers resigned to the fact that the way God will protect his people from the sufferings and tribulations that will be coming on the earth is to allow them to die peacefully.
Mr. Sell once spoke about how God can save a person who are thrown to their deaths--like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Mr. Sell said the furnace was made seven times hotter than it usually was. Yet those three Jewish captives were saved. He took that as an example back in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar and asked, “Can God save you from a hydrogren bomb blast?” He answered his question, “Yes, God can save you from a hydrogen bomb blast.”
The best way to save your life is to pray. That’s what Jesus said. In Luke 21:36, he said, “Watch, therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” That is not a good suggestion or a good idea. That is a commandment. God commands that you pray always for your own safety.
Before Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the furnace, they told King Nebuchadnezzar, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods nor worship the golden image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-17) Mr. Sell said Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could have died in the furnace because God gave them no promise the he would save them. But since the time of Jesus, God has told us that he would save some of us alive.
When will the Second Coming occur? There have been many guesses and attempts to figure out the time when Jesus will return to the earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords. One radio personality was joking around and said that would not happen for at least several billion years from now when the sun blows up. I suppose he said this because it says in the Bible that the end of the world will come about by fire, and that the sun will be seven times hotter than it usual is. But that would be the natural end of the sun, as well as the earth. At the beginning of my topic “The End of the World,” I said the Bible is discussing the end of age of Satan’s rulership over the earth and the beginning of Christ’s reign over the earth after his Second Coming.
The Armstrong church tried not to set dates. Yet, they thought they had a system in which they could determine when Jesus would come. And that system was the 19-year lunar cycle. The Hebrew calendar is based on the moon’s orbit around the earth. The moon completes an orbit every 27 1/3 days. Therefore, every nineteen years, the Hebrew calendar must add an extra month, a 13th month, to the calendar every three years per 19 years. So the Armstrong church saw 19 years as significant and even calculated Christ’s return based on 19 years starting with the first year of Armstrong’s ministry. So, according to Armstrong, as he published in his books and magazines, the year 1972 was suppose to be significant. Our minister at the time, Mr. Sell, even put the question to the congregation at a service on one of the Jewish holydays. He asked us back in 1970 if we looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ in two years. Some of the guys who read their Bibles shook their heads. It was simply too early for Jesus to return at that time. And sure enough, nothing really happened in regards to that event.
I had my own guess which proved to be wrong. I thought the Lord Jesus would return in 1980. Events in the world seemed to point to that date. The United States had suffered a defeat in Vietnam. We were entering an age of isolationism. Western Europe would have to unite to face the Soviet Union. Western Europe would become the powerful United States of Europe. It would compete against the USA in the global markets. Its currency would replace the dollar. The tensions between the USA and the USE would lead to war, as Mr. Armstrong and the Bible said it would. We would be conquered. Our people would be taken as slaves and captives to Europe. Then Jesus would return and destroy the armies of USE and the Soviet Union. However, that’s not what happened. We did not retreat into isolationism. Europe has not united into a great superpower. The Soviet Union has broken up into its individual nations. And so there remains much to look forward to.
Soon after that, I read from an ex-minister of the Armstrong church, Ernest L. Martin, that the Second Coming of the Lord won’t happened until the year 2026. I don’t remember how he figured that out, but if that is true, I will be 77 years old by the time the Lord Jesus returns again.
There’s one source of prophecy which is non-Biblical. It has to do with the popes in the Catholic Church. An Irish saint, St. Malachy, has prophesied about every pope.
He mentions that the last pope will be Peter the Roman, and that Pope Francis of Argentina is, indeed, Peter the Roman, the last pope.
THE BIBLE CODE
Another source of prophesy I like to look at are the Bible Codes. Sir Isaac Newton, who is famous for formulating the Law of Gravity, noticed that certain phrases in adjacent lines could be found in the Bible. Using the computer, we have found many phrases in the Bible including those that tell of future events. One such example is the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin which was discovered in the Bible Code one year before this horrible tragedy occurred. Even though the Bible Code was right about this one event, it does not seem to be reliable in foretelling other events. One instance is a prophecy about the United States fighting a war against Russia and China over Syria. The year 2006 was given as the time when an atomic bomb would destroy Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would die, the whole world would be at war, an asteroid would crash to the earth, and a powerful earthquake would destroy Japan.
I have two books on this subject. One is The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin, and the other one is Decoding the Bible Code. Can We Trust the Message? by John Weldon.
The first book was written by secularist or atheist who wanted to disprove the Bible Code along with other secular scientists. He, his friends, and all the smart people of the world applied the scientific method in order to disprove the Bible Code. But they had to come to the conclusion that the Bible Code is true.
One interesting question that was asked in the book is how can someone know events that will happen in the future if the future is a time that doesn’t exist yet? That question is easy to answer. If God is the author of the Bible Code, then God Almighty can PLAN these events and MAKE it happen.
Another question the Bible Coders had was, “Can we do anything to change a disaster that the Bible Code says will occur?” There are instances where the Bible Code asks a question such as, “Will you change?” It is inviting its readers to do something to prevent a tragedy from happening. The author Michael Drosnin also tells us about the word “delayed.” He says there are five years when these prophesies events can be delayed. The latest of the years he shows us is the year 2012. That year has come and gone. So there are other years in the future that we must be concerned about.
The second book I am reading (Decoding the Bible Code. Can We Trust the Message) is difficult to read. There is a lot of verbiage that makes it hard to understand. The author starts with the fact that the Bible Code has been proven to give the correct information about people and places from our recent history. But then he talks about numerology and says that this has been disproven. He disagrees with Michael Drosnin about the “delay” word that he (Michael) finds in the Bible Code. There are still many skeptics of the Bible Code, especially concerning the messages that are suppose to be about the future. One critic said that without the punctuation marks (comma, period) you can make a string of words mean anything you want. Another criticism is that the Bible Code gives us several possibilities for the future, while in the book of Deuteronomy, God says His prophesies have only one outcome, that He will not change His plans. I do not think this is completely true. Even though God says in the Book of Revelation that the prophecies in it MUST all come to pass, He gives His seven churches the choice to change or repent (do this), or else He will punish them (or I will do that).
Still another criticism is that the Bible Code could be taken from the Hebrew Bible without vowels. If we use Hebrew Bible with vowels, then the spacing would be incorrect, and we would read a different message. There also seems to be different types of Hebrew that were used down through the ages. My opinion is that we should use the Hebrew Bible in which was found the warning about Prime Minister Rabin being shot one year before it happened. That makes sense, doesn’t it? The Rabin assassination should be our point of reference.
In one paragraph, the author says the Bible Code contradicts the Bible. The Bible Code should not contradict the Bible. That is why I am skeptical when the Bible Code says Jerusalem will be destroyed by an atomic explosion. The Book of Revelation shows that there will be the Two Witnesses who will preach and cause great terrors from God such as fire coming out of their mouths to destroy their enemies. They will be preaching in Jerusalem for three years up to three days before the Second Coming. The Bible says they will be killed and the world will refuse to bury their bodies. A large portion of Jerusalem will be destroyed by an earthquake; but there is no indication that all of Jerusalem will be destroyed by an atomic explosion.
BARRACK HUSSEIN OBAMA
Why am I putting Obama on my Religion page? Because there are indications, particularly in the Bible Code, that Obama may be the False Christ, the Anti-Christ, or the Man of Perdition who will sit in the future Third Temple, and he will proclaim himself God. This is a frightening piece of revelation. I don’t even want to believe it, and I’m hoping that it’s untrue. He’s bad enough now. But in the future, he will be much worse. This is the information I found when I was trying to see if the Bible Code gives the date for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.
The speaker in this video uses the Bible Code to tell us that the third temple will be complete in this Jewish year of 5776--the end of which is October 2016. That seems very unlikely. Construction of the building hasn’t even started, and yet, the temple is going to be completed two months from now?
November 1, 2016 Tuesday. October 2016 has come and gone, and not a single brick has been laid for the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. There has been one step backward and one step forward. The United Nations has declared, or has been trying to declare, the holy site of the temple mount to be Muslim. While on the other side, Jews are now permitted to pray at the temple mount.
I have mentioned that my present guess as to when the Lord Jesus will return is 2026. From my understanding, the temple is to be built seven years before that time. So doing the math, 2026 minus 7 years equals 2019. I would say that the temple will be rebuilt three years from now. That is my best guess.
This web site shows us another incredible things--Obama wants the temple to be rebuild:
It’s hard to believe. But what isn’t hard to believe is Obama’s lust for power and his willingness to achieve power at any cost. For example, he won election to the Illinois State Assembly by invalidating his opponents' qualifications to run against him; so that he ran against no one--unopposed. When he ran for president of the U.S., the Clinton’s were going to expose him and have him disqualified as a candidate because (supposedly) he was born in Kenya. From what I understand, Obama threatened their daughter if thy did that.