Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dennis Muses: Without Revelation, who can we be?

Revelation Unveiled At Last!
...for the last time
 
File:Saint John on Patmos.jpg - Wikimedia Commons


Growing up Presbyterian, we never heard of the Book of Revelation and I recall no sermon ever given about it.  It was certainly not considered a book for our times and it was not used to make world events "unfold", "become clear," or "revealed."   It was just a strange book that had no place in the Presbyterian view. 
 
 
On the other hand, it's an attention grabber and without the Book of Revelation, all fundamentalist churches and Churches of God would cease to exist.  Revelation is the book that motivates and can certainly be made to mean whatever the need calls for.  It truly is a book for all times.  Whenever you lived you could make it mean whatever you needed it to mean.  You could make your King the Beast and your clergy the False Prophet.  You can find a couple of Witnesses if need be and use the words "soon" and "shortly" to keep the pews filled and the funds flowing for thousands of years. 
 
Bibliotherapy | JAILFIRE


The Book of Revelation has been nothing but a theological pain in the ass since it was written.  While the Church of God claim to unveil or reveal it, they actually don't and know precious little about it's origins or original intent.  I will plainly say that the Book is NOT for our time and was NOT written for our times.  It is a failed first century prophecy or really a book meant to encourage Jews and Christians alike around the chaotic time of the sacking and destruction of Jerusalem , by the Romans, in 70 AD.

407f228348a0dee2baf8d010.L._SY300_.jpg

Revelation was written by a man, not THE man who called himself John.  It may have been written either just before the Fall of 70AD  or just after to encourage the Jews and also, with adaptations, Jewish Christians in the siege or surviving the aftermath  to hang in there.  It promised that the Romans would be gone in three and half years max and the Messiah would come and rout the Romans.  Revelation has a lot of wowisms in it.   With hyperbole and hubris, the author was using the Book of Daniel as the template for his visions of Revelation.  It was not uncommon to go back into the Old Testament to find scriptures that helped explain the new times one found themselves living in.  Daniel was a book written in the 160's BCE (not in the 500'sBCE) by priests trying to encourage the Jews in their struggles back then with the Romans.  The author of Revelation, John (not any  disciple or Apostle John) reasoned that if Daniel was meant to encourage Jews against Romans back then, it could be used to encourage Jewish Christians against Romans in his time.  The author himself may have been greatly traumatized by the fall of Jerusalem or what he saw coming. 


Revelation is a Jewish Christian document.  The book harbors precious little toleration for Gentile Christianity under the "Apostle" Paul.   It is very likely that the Beast was, to the author, Vespasian who had laid siege to Jerusalem and was not going away.  Even more fascinating and in my view as well, the False Prophet of THAT day was our dear Gentile Christian Apostle Paul. 

 
We are all very familiar with the Letter to the Ephesian Church in Revelation .


To the Church in Ephesus

Revelation 2 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
 
 
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary."
 
 
Coupled with and understanding the NT disdain James, Peter and John had for Paul and him for them...
 
 
I Timothy I :15
 
"You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes."
 
 
That's an amazing and stunning statement.  Paul admits that ALL in Asia, where Ephesus is, had forsaken him.  That can be a very nice way for Paul to not admit they kicked him out and did not consider his gentile views of Jewish Christianity to be right.  Paul caused near riots among the Jewish Christians (not the Jews) wherever he went.  He was accused of teaching against the law , which he did, and told to disprove this in Acts 21: 19-36.  Of course, this story is not Paul's story.  It is Luke's story about Paul meant to show the charges were not true.  But they were. 
 
 
19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry

20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”
 

26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them."
 
 
We should all know that in reality, the Apostle Paul did not believe in the Mosaic Law any longer if he ever did.  He did teach Gentiles to shun them and Paul even reneged on his promise in Acts 15 to abide by the Noahide rules which answered the question of how could Gentile Christians become Jewish Christians.  The Noahide rules were originally used to answer the question about how could a gentile become a Jews so it was much like using Daniel to write Revelation.  Same problem, different circumstances.  I Corinthians 8-10 make it very clear that Paul did not teach to abstain from meats sacrificed to idols and it was probably this issue that Peter called Paul out for at dinner in Galatians.  However, Paul wrote Galatians so Peter was confronted by Paul, not Paul by Peter. 
 
 
All this to say that  "Revelation was the swansong of Militant Jewish Christianity.  When Jerusalem was destroyed, when Rome waxed greater and more powerful, when the False Prophet gained more and more followers, when the book itself was proved totally false within two years, when it became evident the Jewish Messiah/Christ would not come, the Hebrew Christians lost their virility and their cult faded under the combined assault of Orthodox Judaism and of Gentile Christianity."   (The Religion of the Occident, pg 479).
 
 The Restored Church of God
The False Prophet, as labeled by Jewish Christians, along with the Beast Vespasian, did not get cast into the Lake of Fire.  They actually won.  The Messiah did not come for anyone, Jew or Christian and all resurrections were off. 
 
 Antichrist / False Prophet Defeated
What's the point?  Simply that without the Book of Revelation being "Unveiled at Last" by the Churches of God, they'd probably not survive as long as they have.  I'd say the Adventists would also not survive if Revelation was understood as it actually happened and not as some current events explainer. 
 
 
I asked a non COG minister once what he thought of the Book of Revelation.  He said that it originally was hotly contested as to its worth in the official canon and whoever wrote it had good drugs.  He also understood it was not to be used to explain our day or our circumstances on this planet today.  The author was writing about his trauma and about his experience with his people.  Revelation is a failed prophecy that, like a cat, has multiple lives depending on how one wants to play with it.  Whole religions can be built on it. 
 
The Four-Faced Cherubim
 
The Book of Revelation is full of astrology and astrotheolgy.  You can almost date the writing of the book by reading how the woman was clothed in the sun with the moon under her feet.  On September 29, 75 AD, this is exactly what you would see with the sun in Virgo the Virgin and the full moon under her feet at night.  The Sun is in Virgo, or "Clothes" Virgo in September so it may have been around September the Book of Revelation was written, or began.   In addition, when the author of Revelation says in chapter 4..
 


1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

 

2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
 
 
Looking North, where God's throne is said to be in scripture, you see the "W" of Cassiopeia, "the throne."  It circles the North Star Polaris and never sets as neither does the Big Dipper.
 
 
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
 
 
There are 24 Elders because there are 24 hours in the day
 
 
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
 
Starry Night
The Throne in the Sea of Glass with the Seven Spirits of God in front of .
Cassiopeia/Milky Way/Big Dipper
 
 
These are the seven stars in the Big Dipper which is opposite or "in front" of Cassiopeia the Throne
 
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
 
 
The Sea of Glass is the Milky Way that goes through and in front of Cassiopeia, the Throne in the sky.  The Four Beasts are the four stars Cassiopeia and full of eyes are the background stars. On a summer night, it is spectacular and looks like a sea of glass.  John was looking up to the north in the sky for his descriptions of God's throne. 
 
 
N Summer Milky Way (Sgr to Cas) | Amazing Sky Astrophotography
The Sea of Glass Like Crystal
7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
 
Introductory Q & A - A Modern Guide to Demons and Fallen Angels
 
 
Summer/Leo the Lion-Spring/Taurus the Bull-Winter/Aquarius the Waterman and Fall/Aquila the Eagle.   Descriptions of beasts and Cherubs comes from the signs of the Zodiac , the Mazzaroth as the Bible calls it, through which the Sun passes in one year.  These four signs are exactly 3 months apart and are the signs of the seasons.   (4x3=12) That's how you make a Bible Beast.  Ezekiel did the same thing
 
8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
 
 
Full full of eyes is full of stars.  Six wings times Four Beasts = 24 hours
 
 
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,"
 
 
So why explain the Book of Revelation this way, both historically and astro-theologically? BECAUSE IT MATTERS!   The Book of Revelation has been used to inflict untold misery, speculation, behaviors, loyalties along with financial, moral and psychological tyranny on the ignorant but well meaning folk who want to explain their own world.  Prophets, Priests and even Kings have used it to forward their own agendas.  It is being used today to make the Middle East and all the players seem to fit into Prophecy Comes Alive scenarios.  Materialists use it to keep people coming back and to rope in new members.  The Churches of God would crumble if they had to face the true origins, intent and meaning or not meaning of the Book of Revelation.  The Philadelphia/Restored and Living Churches of God would shake in their boots to realize they must not read the Book of Revelation like a newspaper or a website.  Bob Thiel would have to give up being a prophet as would Ron Weinland and of course the illustrious Mr. Pack.   You can bet the brethren have been soaking in the Book of Revelation over the Fall Holy days.
 
Remove the Book of Revelation as a book for our times, which it was not, and you might have to actually read the New Testament for it's real message.  You'd get more from the Gospels and would understand more fully that the New Testament Players, such as Peter, James, John and Paul did not get along, did not agree with each other, did not believe the same things and probably did not even like each other.  Someone threw Paul out of Ephesus, where John lived and preached and declared him a false prophet and not the friend of Jewish Christianity. 
 
Then someone, traumatized by the fall of Jerusalem and the failed predictions of the Apostle Paul wrote a book that was for that time. It failed to deliver as promised as well. It almost didn't make it into the New Testament.  It has haunted and plagued humankind ever since
 
The Book of Revelation is not a book for our times.  It was not a book ahead of its own time.  It was a book of  THAT time and is not for THIS time.  This is something the Churches of God will never look into or consider.  Too much rides on it being available to explain the unknowable future as if they knew. 
 
The Heart of Innovation: How Many Dancers Does It Take to Screw in
 
 How many failed prophecies does it take to screw in a light bulb.  Lots.....  And while I don't actually expect many lights to actually go on, I thought you should know I have hope.
 
 
 

 

32 comments:

Allen C. Dexter said...

You make it so clear, Dennis. I've long known that Revelation was a crock. It's nice to now know where much of it originated -- in astrology.

Sweetblood777 said...

Well Dennis, as your own words have stated: 'And you know this....'

When one gets right down to it, all that we say or think, is nothing more than opinion, so to make outright statements as if they are fact, is to fall in the same ball field as Pack, Flurry, and the rest of them.

This, however, is only my opinion.

Tia Tita said...

I did not see prophecy being preached in the Evangelical Churches I attended, nor was fear instilled in us. This is Armstrongism (pulpit pimps) and many others looking to attract numbers and pull more money in by selling their books, etc. They are adding to the word when told not to. Funny how David Con Pack states that the bible contains 1/3 prophecy, yet he teaches it 90% or more.

Revelation is full of symbolism. Leave it alone and just wait for it. Instead they should preach like those in the bible.

Psa 40:9
I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.

Mat 11:5
The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.




Anonymous said...

It's all opinion Sweetblood. The writings of the Bible are opinions. They are differing opinions within the NT as written by competing authors. All reasonings are human reasonings and is nothing else, presenting an equally valid opinion on origins and intent along with the educated views of others is a safer way to play Theology.

All statements are "outright statements" I suppose I could sprinkle in more "perhaps" , "I suppose," "It could be," "Maybe..." but after doing homework, I don't write that way. I can always update something or even retract it, but I won't write mushy.

Now, what part of what I suspect can you explain in other ways that suit yourself? What is your view of Revelation and of Paul versus James, Peter and John who Paul calls "reputed pillars," and says "who they are makes no difference to me, I learne nothing from them?" (Galatians 1-2)

Do you think the Jewish Christian Church loved Paul or they all spoke the same thing? Show me this please.

Dennis Diehl
(I am at work, no clients, but Ipad won't let me post normally for some reason)

Corky said...

Whoever wrote "Revelation" leaned heavily on the book of Enoch (the part written @ 200-150 BC). The war between Azazeel and the Son of Man, the valley (lake) of fire, the casting down of the Devil/Satan/Azazeel etc. Which is really an astrological story of the god of light (day) vs the god of darkness (night) known by different names in every culture of the ancient world. Yin and Yang in China - Horus and Set in Egypt.

In all the wars of good vs evil gods, in the Bible and mythology, humans are only just the bystanders that get killed by collateral damage and have no choice in the matter at all.

According to the story, this war has been going on since before there were any humans but we finally get to see the end of it when light finally conquers darkness and there is no more night.

Little did they know that the earth is a sphere and there will always be hours of darkness and hours of light as long as the earth revolves on its axis.

Allen C. Dexter said...

Dennis, if you wrote mushy, I wouldn't pay any attention to you. Neither of us write that way and for good reasons. We stand where we stand until proven wrong. So far, we're batting a pretty high average.

DennisCDiehl said...

Ok, home now.

I am not going to write anytning I don't feel has believability or is at least something that will stimulate thinking on other ways to look at things we think we know all we need to know about.

Revelation has been such a pesky book in human history that it deserves attention and to be understood in the context of its times and meaning to those who wrote it. I still say "Prophets" don't write for thousands of years into the future. That goes against human need for encouragement in the times in which they actually find themselves.

Many prophetic type books end with grand themes of Messianic proportions. It is just another way of saying, "so see, it all works out just great." Over analyzing the Bible has been one of the biggest mistakes good folk make. After all, it is one of the most overstudied books on the planet.

Anyone, please feel free to tell me if you think the Beasts around the throne etc are something else besides astrotheological constructs based on the four seasons. Is that a coincidence? Is it far fetched. If so, why?

Is it far fetched to see Paul as the False Prophet to Jewish Christians who kicked him out of Ephesus? If so, why? Why did "all Asia" forsake him? If all something forsook you, would it still mean you were all correct and they were just all wrong? Paul asked God to forgive them all for their all leaving Paul in the dirt. Ever wonder why the man didn't wonder just why they all forsook him?

My point is that the Churches of God use Revelation probably every week to motivate and instruct. I believe they get the context and intent wrong and make it serve purposes now it never was meant to serve. What do you think?

It is the source of much fear and can be used badly by uneducated clergy, which most COG ministers are.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on... Everybody knows that God's throne is on a planet (or star system) called Kolob, according to Mormon founder and prophet Joseph Smith!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolob

They even wrote a hymn about it called "If You Could Hie to Kolob".
Hie means to hasten. Here are the lyrics:

http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2004/03/if-you-could-hie-to-kolob-lyrics/

Now, sit back and enjoy this legendary Mormon Tabernacle
choir rendering.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADX-He30_PA


Maybe it's just me, but I can't imagine the God of the Bible stuck on some distant star...

Ronco

Head Usher said...

In addition to what you've written here, Dennis, I think it needs to be pointed out that the convenient fairytale of the bible being canonized by the Apostle John circa 95CE on the Isle of Patmos, though it's currency in COG spheres has been near exclusive in my experience, needs to be debunked. We have writings of Irenaus, Clement, Eusebius, etc. who record some of the behind-the-scenes thinking and disputations between early church fathers in the fourth century in sorting out the canon which, not coincidentally, is the same one COG people use.

While at a shooting range I once saw an obviously observant Jew sporting a T-shirt that said, "Messiach NOW!" over a stylized raised fist. It’s one thing if you see someone on the street wearing that shirt. You just think that activism is probably not going to bait his messiach to come out of hiding. But it is a little unsettling to realize that this guy probably does think that activism could do just this, and to wonder just how far this guy, and his associates are willing to go to bait their messiach. Seeing him at a shooting range suggests a whole spectrum of educated, yet unpleasant, guesses.

That which underpins this obviously militant Jew is not the Apocalypse of "John" however, but the apocalyptic visions canonized in the Tanach, much of which was almost certainly not written when or by whom those documents internally claim. So when someone later comes along and begins riffing on theme of Daniel, writing sacred fanfiction but this time for xian Jews, and then trying to pass it off as having been written by the apostle John, what’s he really doing? He’s heaping forgery on top of forgery.

We know that xianity, such as it was at the turn of the fourth century was literally awash in religious texts, some of which were the obvious "fictions of heretics," some of which were widely accepted as genuine, and a whole raft of disputed gospels, acts, epistles, and apocalypses (revelations) that existed in a textual no-man's land in between. This mess was clearly NOT sorted out by the end of the first century, as COG people like to tell themselves. I have no clue the provenance of this myth, but I wouldn't be surprised to find it's an old and common revivalist myth that HWA picked up prior to starting his own cult and saw no benefit to ever verifying. If you've been hoodwinked into going along with the first, second, third, or fourth great revival movements and hence subscribe to inerrancy, that's the sort of thing you have to have rattling around in your brain, whether explicitly or implicitly.

Bart Ehrman makes no bones about the fact that in early xianity, people were regularly creating "sacred" works of fiction that contained points of view they wanted to sell, and putting a false attribution to a disciple of christ, Paul, or some other authoritative name, in order to sell it. He also doesn't mince words in pointing out that early church fathers considered this a form of deceit, and as such considered such practices to be immoral, and that we today should call them, what they are "forgeries."

And so it was, that different men, and different sects began to make collections of "sacred" writings they liked, and disposing of those they didn’t like. The trouble is all these different emerging canons were at odds with each other. Different canons will eventually produce different religions. Something had to be done to head off the schism. It became necessary to organize a centralized, authoritative, ecumenical council to at least try to sort out this confounded mess of what the original documents of xianity might have been if xianity was to not immediately fragment into a hundred different religions. If xianity was to survive, it needed a single authoritative canon.

Continued...

Head Usher said...

Continued...

But by this time, it's already very late to try to figure out what might be legitimate statements and stories of Jesus and his disciples, from the many heretical fictions that had arisen to compete with them. As you can see, it isn't hard to make a case that since John obviously did NOT canonize the bible when the COGs like to think he did, which he probably should have if the xian religion were to have a good claim to legitimacy. It's obvious and troubling for xians that the primary documents of their faith had already become confounded among hundreds of bastard writings, which, in the absence of modern forensic techniques, couldn't have been sorted out by anything other than a divine miracle. Thank goodness for divine miracles!

But what if you suspect that the early church fathers were fallible men, just like people today are, and were not miraculously assisted by god? Even if you think god does exist, what if he chose not to become involved, and that perhaps the early church fathers made some mistakes? In that case you have to assume that the truth about Jesus, if he was an historical figure, as well as the truth about his disciples, was quickly lost, or at least heavily diluted by the presence of many clever forgeries which might not have been divinely sorted out.

So you have the first two epistles of Paul to the Corinthians being canonized, but not the third. You have a close vote between two disputed apocalypses, that of "John" and that of "Peter." Ultimately, the Apocalypse of "John" was included while that of "Peter" was rejected. How much different would the beast of xianity be if BOTH had been rejected as the forgeries that they almost certainly both are? Quite a bit different.

Modern scholarship continues the same debates that began in the fourth century and not surprisingly, most modern scholars think that the early church fathers, while they might have voted their conscience, made a lot of mistakes. Half of the Pauline epistles (including 1 & 2 Timothy) the epistles of Jude, Peter, John, and the accepted Apocalypse are almost certainly the "fictions of heretics," and not written by the people those documents claimed to have been written by, even though the early church fathers weren't able to figure that out.

But then, the early church fathers were trying to sort out these things using some very inadequate as well as biased criteria. You have to take into account that the bona fide documents might not have said what the early church fathers wanted to hear. It remains a highly likely fact that some apocryphal books are, in fact, authentic, but have never been accepted because they said things other than what early xians, or indeed, what modern xians, need their canonized bible to say.

If you go down this road, swallowing that the bible is the "word of god" becomes difficult. But then, it doesn't seem right to think about the "word of god" descending into anarchy before being rescued, perfectly or imperfectly, out a barrel full of lies. God always does things "decently and in order," doesn't he? ~Whatever!

The bible, canonized either perfectly or imperfectly, has been the source of divinely sanctioned misogyny, pogroms, unjust wars, and a litany of other atrocities, and it isn't necessarily obvious whether the passages in any particular case that have inspired these atrocities were authentic or forged. An atrocity is an atrocity. How good our case for the authenticity of the "good book" almost seems superseded by how good our case is for the empirical goodness of our "good book." Whether or not any messiach comes or doesn't come, I think the elevation of a text, authentic or fake, to the status of the "word of god" is detrimental to the future of real things, such as civilization.

Head Usher said...

Not just COG people, but fundamentalists of all stripes have a vested interest in turning a blind eye to the uncertainties, the complexities, and frankly, the distastefulness of the realities surrounding anything they want to consider sacred. It is a fact that all sacred things have less than squeaky-clean origins at least some of which must be inevitably downplayed. They need to think of the sacred as being certain, simple, and pretty. So they do.

So, all I want to know is The Truth of God ("rescued" after 1900 years out of a barrel of interpretive Protestant lies by HWA).

Whatever you do, don't read me the documents relating how the canon (identical to the canon in your bible) was almost certainly not rescued out of a barrel of lies by Eusebius et.al. after 300 years (because it almost certainly was too late to be rescuable by then, if indeed there ever was anything to rescue to begin with.)

Lalalalalala...

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what it is, and I'm not sure what it isn't. So much has been written about it that a person could spend his or her entire life reading and studying it. There are some educated opinions, and some clueless ones. I try to sift through them bit by bit as my interest becomes stirred.

HWA's package of doctrines was so repulsive (Even he called them repulsive at several Friday night Bible Studies in the AC Gym in the '60s and '70s) that the only way he could "sell" them to the point where people would actually drink the Kool Aid was to scare them into believing that for their own personal safety, his way was the only way. He wove together a fabric consisting of the book of Revelation, British Israelism, and the near apocalypse of World War II which was still fresh on everybody's mind. He would periodically amplify this, using the latest existential threat from the daily news, such as the bomb, weather conditions, declining social trends, disease, and financial misfortunes. Revelation provided HWA with his boogey man, or paddle.

HWA also took what many learned theologians believe is a terribly flawed approach. He based doctrines upon prophecy, or at the very least used the imagery and metaphors from prophetic writings to support some of his twilight zonish doctrines.

Finally, he took Revelation's conquering, warlike messiah (which is what the Jews of Jesus' day were anticipating in the messiah they expected to rescue them from Roman domination) and overwrote or back wrote the entire New Testament with it. This is a critical error because the Jesus of Revelation is dealing with the people who have willfully chosen to be His enemies, while the Jesus of the gospels is teaching and ministering to unsaved humanity and actually dies as a sacrifice which God counts as payment for their sins. Armstrongites make it a monochrome picture, not realizing the many facets of Jesus' personality. Many Armstrongites over the years have admitted they had a mental picture of God as HWA on steroids.

The main teaching of a church with regard to the end times should be what Jesus said. 1) We can't know when it will be, and, 2) Look to the Father for protection, not the gnosticism of a failed ad man, or that of his imitator/successors. If Revelation was not already partial fulfillment, partial failure towards the end of the early Jewish Christian era, then we probably won't know what it was all about until after it actually has been fulfilled. A wiser person than I once commented that prophecy is not given so that we might know events before they happen, it simply serves as a testimony to the power of God after the foretold events have occurred. That's why all of the guess work we've witnessed, and all of this aspiring to be a great prophet or interpreter is so completely vain and useless. This stuff is for God's glory, not man's.

BB

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what it is, and I'm not sure what it isn't. So much has been written about it that a person could spend his or her entire life reading and studying it. There are some educated opinions, and some clueless ones. I try to sift through them bit by bit as my interest becomes stirred.

HWA's package of doctrines was so repulsive (Even he called them repulsive at several Friday night Bible Studies in the AC Gym in the '60s and '70s) that the only way he could "sell" them to the point where people would actually drink the Kool Aid was to scare them into believing that for their own personal safety, his way was the only way. He wove together a fabric consisting of the book of Revelation, British Israelism, and the near apocalypse of World War II which was still fresh on everybody's mind. He would periodically amplify this, using the latest existential threat from the daily news, such as the bomb, weather conditions, declining social trends, disease, and financial misfortunes. Revelation provided HWA with his boogey man, or paddle.

HWA also took what many learned theologians believe is a terribly flawed approach. He based doctrines upon prophecy, or at the very least used the imagery and metaphors from prophetic writings to support some of his twilight zonish doctrines.

Finally, he took Revelation's conquering, warlike messiah (which is what the Jews of Jesus' day were anticipating in the messiah they expected to rescue them from Roman domination) and overwrote or back wrote the entire New Testament with it. This is a critical error because the Jesus of Revelation is dealing with the people who have willfully chosen to be His enemies, while the Jesus of the gospels is teaching and ministering to unsaved humanity and actually dies as a sacrifice which God counts as payment for their sins. Armstrongites make it a monochrome picture, not realizing the many facets of Jesus' personality. Many Armstrongites over the years have admitted they had a mental picture of God as HWA on steroids.

The main teaching of a church with regard to the end times should be what Jesus said. 1) We can't know when it will be, and, 2) Look to the Father for protection, not the gnosticism of a failed ad man, or that of his imitator/successors. If Revelation was not already partial fulfillment, partial failure towards the end of the early Jewish Christian era, then we probably won't know what it was all about until after it actually has been fulfilled. A wiser person than I once commented that prophecy is not given so that we might know events before they happen, it simply serves as a testimony to the power of God after the foretold events have occurred. That's why all of the guess work we've witnessed, and all of this aspiring to be a great prophet or interpreter is so completely vain and useless. This stuff is for God's glory, not man's.

BB

Anonymous said...

Hmm fascinating reading that post Dennis! Then again I remember coming across a similar viewpoint re the astronomical aspects to the book of Revelation in Harold Hemenway's booklets (ex-WCG he is).
Look, personally, I believe that the book of Revelation is yet to be fulfilled. Was there a partial fulfilment back in 70CE? I believe so just as I believe there was even further back in 167 BCE. I believe these were types of the antitype that is to come. So I don't see any problem per se in holding on to an eschatological belief about the Beast, False Prophet, mark of the Beast, Great Tribulation, 2 Witnesses, etc. which may not be fulfilled for another 50 or 100 years--by which time I'll be long dead unless God willing He wants me to stick around like the "wandering Jew" archetype. ;-)
And if I'm completely WRONG about my Christian beliefs then I can only hope that God is far more merciful to us all than the religions of the world would have us believe so if the Bible is actually a false book created by ancients Jews & thus a tool of the devil (just like I believe the Quran promotes a false religion or the New Age beliefs of UFO abductees is a false religion too, etc.) well then I hope He'll unveil the true reality to us all after we die and somehow we'll all be with Him in the end....

DennisCDiehl said...

Usher said:

"Bart Ehrman makes no bones about the fact that in early xianity, people were regularly creating "sacred" works of fiction that contained points of view they wanted to sell, and putting a false attribution to a disciple of christ, Paul, or some other authoritative name, in order to sell it. He also doesn't mince words in pointing out that early church fathers considered this a form of deceit, and as such considered such practices to be immoral, and that we today should call them, what they are "forgeries."

Ehrman makes excellent points in showing how who we think wrote the New Testament books are not the names affixed in many cases. Forgeries were an industry when the Bible first came out and the canon selected and finalized. It's why it had to be finalized. There was no end to "the Gospels of" in those days. What we have are merely those that made the cut.

The Gospel authors names were not original as you know. The Gospels were anonymouos works that needed disciple names to give them credibility. They do not match and are not four eyewitnesses with different points of view. They are four differing and contradictory accounts.

Forgery is proved in that 94% of Matthew is direct copy of Mark and Luke is over 50% direct copy of Mark. Inspiration does not have to copy.

It's not unlike today where if in the future you found Flurry booklets, Pack Booklets and HWA Booklets you could determine common origins , copying and little evolution of thought. You'd conclude these three "church leaders" knew each other and copied each other with variations. The chore would be to figure out who wrote first and who copied who. Scholars would get it right in finding HWA wrote first and the others copied him with some changes.

Of course they'd not be able to determine what dictators and narcissists these men were or how they lived . In the future some scholar will stumble onto "The Clarion Call" and run it through a computer to determine "This must be Apostle Joshua C Packstrong.

LOL

Forgery--Why the New Testament Authors may not be who you think they are, by Ehrman is a great and thoughtful book.

Douglas Becker said...

Another opinion piece. Nobody can much prove anything. Science is as close as it gets, and this isn't science, rocket or otherwise.

Herbert Armstrong didn't really need Revelation. All he needed was British Israelism. Revelation is just the candy store. British Israelism is the core.

Revelation isn't just unnecessary, it actually doesn't add much: Herbert Armstrong has invented a purely fictional Bronze Age religion with physical rituals. It's what the moronic understand. All he really needed after that in the Cold War Era in America was Matthew 24 to ca$h in on people's fears -- dump only the physical sacrifices and keep the rest for Olde Testament Christianity to make people they were exclusive and special to imbue them with hubris.

Herbert Armstrong was a con man. He didn't need Revelation. He simply made use of it for a more full body product of delusions and lies for fun and profit.

Of course, his idea of fun differs significantly from mine....

Anonymous said...

Do your books bring you hope and peace, or offer everlasting life? My point of view is that the bible does not contradict, it flows with the same spirit. It is all about Salvation, whether you like it or not, all Israel will be saved! It's not a "church" either, it is a people of the creator who are connected to the same vine.

Rom 14:11
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Ecc 12:12
And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Agnostic Scholar Bart Ehrman who has read many books written decades later of people with agendas of their own. I am sure you helped him get rich quick. Please, open your heart when you read the scriptures. Everyone follows someone, sometime. Why not the Creator!

"Forgery is proved in that 94% of Matthew is direct copy of Mark and Luke is over 50% direct copy of Mark. Inspiration does not have to copy."

Come on! If four of you walked in those times as the Apostles walked and were told to write of the experience, what you you all write? I do not see your point of view!

DennisCDiehl said...

anon said:

"Do your books bring you peace and hope?

Please, open your heart when you read the scriptures. Everyone follows someone, sometime. Why not the Creator!

"Forgery is proved in that 94% of Matthew is direct copy of Mark and Luke is over 50% direct copy of Mark. Inspiration does not have to copy."

Come on! If four of you walked in those times as the Apostles walked and were told to write of the experience, what you you all write? I do not see your point of view!"

All people look for peace and hope. I don't find peace in fairy tales or do I wish to have false hopes. I simply wish to know what is and what isn't. I am not inspired by that which I have no confidence in. Most would not be.

My heart was wide open when I read the scriptures for 40 years. WIDE OPEN. Besides, what is an open heart? Is it one that accepts what is unacceptable and believes what is unbelievable? That is what most fundamentalists would say. "Just have faith" does not work in reality and faith is ususally what one has before the facts challenge it.

The old idea of the Gospels being four eyewitness accounts , not unlike the telling of what happened in an accident. Each having their own view of the same event. Sorry to burst your bubble but, while I know you have not done your homework, I have. The Gospels were not written by the men whose names were attached decades later nor were they eyewitness accounts.

Show me scriptures in the Gospels that start with, "And then Jesus and I went to..." or "Then Jesus said to me...." The birth stories of Jesus are two different accounts with neither author having read the other. The Gospels clean up the mistakes of previous writers as they evolved and the Resurrection accounts vary from book to book with glaring contradictions which cannot be reconciled by eyewitness accounts.

If you mean "That car hit that car." "Um no, that car was hit by that bus." "Um no, that bus was hit by that truck..." "Um, what accident?" Then we are on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Please pinpoint the contradictions, give me the verses! You have a following here on your blog, just as do those false teachers, only there is no money involved. It's nice that you expose those men, but not nice to bash the bible.

May God above renew your mind/heart.

Anonymous said...

The chapters might not start the way you like, but I see many times the phrases you mentioned.

John 20:21
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Mat 17:17
Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

Mat 15:32
Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

My heart goes out to all of you that suffered by Armstrongism, but the word warns us to take heed so many times.

Mar 4:24
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

Corky said...

Anonymous said...

Please pinpoint the contradictions, give me the verses!

If you've never seen any contradictions then you have closed your eyes to them.

Mar 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
Mar 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

Matt 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

If you can't see at least 2 contradictions it's because you are blind.

Head Usher said...

Anon11:49AM

How's this for a contradiction. It's an internal contradiction.

In first century Judea, the people, including Jesus and the disciples, all would have spoken and conversed in Aramaic, not Hebrew or Greek. But the New Testament is written down in Greek, which means that all the conversations in the gospels had to have taken place in Aramaic, and then translated into Greek.

In John 3:3 it says, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

The Greek word translated into the English "again" is "anothen" which actually means "from above," and by extension, it can also mean "anew" or "again." So there's a double-entendre going on here. Jesus was trying to communicate, "born from above," but Nicodemus selects the wrong meaning, prompting him to ask a silly question:

John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

And Jesus replies, basically, No, silly, a man must be born from above, of the spirit, rather than of the flesh a second time.

So this a little bit of a joke, here, because this passage turns around the double-entendre. It's an attempt at humor in the Greek.

The only problem is there is no analogue to this double-entendre in Aramaic. So it must be original to the Greek, in written not spoken form, and it could not have originated as a spoken exchange in Aramaic, as the text purports. That means this passage was invented. Might the same hold true for the rest of the book?

DennisCDiehl said...

Anon said:

"Anonymous said...
Please pinpoint the contradictions, give me the verses! "

I cannot conduct such a "give me the verses" study here. It is not about just verses and you'd not believe though one rose from the dead.

I would suggest, which I am pretty sure you wont do, a good read of any of the following. They will give you the verses.

Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism by John Spong

Paul the Mythmaker, by Hyam Maccoby

The Birth of the Messiah- Raymond Brown

The Death of the Messiah- Raymond Brown

Forged-Bart Ehrman

Jesus Misquoted-Bart Ehrman

Introduction to NT Christology by Raymond Brown

and a hundred websites that deal with Bible contradictions and historical impossibilities.

We live in an age where because "knowledge is increased" there is no excuse for ignorance and turning away from the good studies of others to consider.

I completely understand the psychological and spiritual need for the Bible to be true in every way for many. It is threatening and daunting to face the facts on many things. Apologetics was invented to keep the Bible on track even if the train was going to the wrong station. I don't expect you to consider any of these things because it totally depends on where you are in your own story and life at this moment. It depends on what you need and facing reality in things Biblical and theological can be very scary.

Everyone says "I just want the truth" but what we want is convenient and comforting ones even if they are not true.

IMHO

Anonymous said...

Sweetblood777 said...
Well Dennis, as your own words have stated: 'And you know this....'

When one gets right down to it, all that we say or think, is nothing more than opinion, so to make outright statements as if they are fact, is to fall in the same ball field as Pack, Flurry, and the rest of them.

Worth repeating, also my opinion.
You are correct, I will not read those books. I refuse to be persuaded by double minded men. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

RSK said...

"Double minded men" and the leaven analogy! Got to add that to my glossary.

RSK said...

Of course, those who say, essentially, "My faith is so weak I refuse to read any book that doesn't agree with my views" are of interest to me...

Anonymous said...

Corky, I do not see your point. I must be blind to dig deep into it.
So, one saw a young man, the other said an angel. One did not mention the earthquake. One mention him sitting on the stone, the other said on the right. Why does that matter? The story is still the same.

I know that Mark 16:9-20 is missing in the earliest manuscripts like many other verses. You should really look into the RSB study bible, where many man made errors are explained.

Head Husher...RE: John 3:3

https://bible.org/question/what-language-did-conversation-between-jesus-and-nicodemus-happen

"Second, it is not at all impossible that the conversation actually took place in Greek. More and more NT scholars are coming to the conclusion that Jesus often taught in Greek. And there is significant evidence that even in Jerusalem--even among the Pharisees, which Nicodemus was--Greek was the only language spoken by them. Thus, we really can't say that this conversation did not occur in Greek. What we can say is that John has accurately, if selectively, portrayed it and that the double meaning he uses was most likely intended to have its full force on the readers. That is, Nicodemus needed to be born again AND born from above."

Look into our funny language, okay. I present the present to you. I refuse to put out refuse. The Dove dove into the bushes. Try having a non English person translate this just using a dictionary without anyone helping. I think many will have a problem understanding. Get the point? Same, if not worse with the Greek language. They had no "SH" sound, that is why Jesus was given instead of Yahshua.

Anonymous said...

Head usher quoted Jon 3, "You must be born again." In the time of Jesus there were several ways one could be "born again." When you got married, became a priest, made king, etc. It meant that from that day on, your life would never be the same, (having kids would probably be another). Nicodemus had been "born again" in every way that he knew. Jesus gave him another way, "from above, by the Spirit."

Anonymous said...

When I recount the events of a day in which an earthquake happened, I often forget to mention the earthquake.

LOL!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:23 PM

Yeah the earthquake is more important to mention than the reality of Christ being raised from the dead...

Anonymous said...

LOL!

That's a caption for the Dos Equis Man.

"I don't always recount the events of a day in which an earthquake happened, but when I do, I leave out the earthquake.

Anonymous said...

Very enlightening piece.

Good stuff from Head Usher also.

Of course HWA would steal wholesale the Adventist sabbatarian view of "the mark of the beast"- fantastical stuff, heady wine, but unsustainable as it would all come crashing down in a few short decades when his own denomination would capitulate, admitting that the NT canon really is contradictory as they admit 'Paul' really was anti sabbatarian/antinomian