Thursday, April 9, 2015

Our God Is Going To Be Kicking Ass And Taking Names!

Guest  posting:

Our God is going to be kicking ass and taking names!

"Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle...And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth." --Zechariah 14:3, 12

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war...And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." --Revelation 19:11, 21

"What a DIVINE RETRIBUTION against armies that will fight against Christ! What a demonstration of the Divine Power with which the glorified Christ will rule all nations! REBELLION against God's LAW and God's RULE must, and speedily will be put down!" --The Wonderful World Tomorrow: What It Will Be Like by Herbert W. and Garner Ted Armstrong (1973)

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works...And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." --Revelation 20:12, 15

Those who are familiar with the Armstrong Church of God culture can probably remember a sermon or two where the speaker would work himself up almost to the point of orgasm describing just how horrible God's wrath was going to be when Christ returned to this earth. There was a gleam in their eyes as they described God's justice, and how wicked mankind will finally get his just deserts. I remember Herbert Armstrong thundering from his desk: "This world is rotten, it's corrupt, it's damnable; and it's going to go!" Wiped out by Divine retribution. Of course, all of this was based on a very literal interpretation of the prophecies being quoted. There could be no doubt that God intended a real blood bath, and it was absolutely certain that it was going to happen in the near future.

For the sake of argument, let's say they were right about that literal interpretation of these passages. They were still wrong! It is now clear to me that they made the same mistake that the prophet Jonah made (along with many others). They had their own notions about fairness - about what was just and what was not just. However, unlike Jonah, they projected their own anger and thirst for vengeance onto God. Jonah ran away from his assignment to prophesy against Nineveh; because he knew that God was gracious, merciful, slow to anger and prone to great kindness. (Jonah 4:2) In other words, he knew that God wouldn't do all of the horrible things which he had prophesied against the citizens of Nineveh if they repented of their sins. In modern language, "God doesn't have enough backbone - He's too soft on these sinners - He's too quick to forgive - Kill them God! Give those miserable b-st-rds what they deserve!"

Hmmm, maybe it's a very good thing that "His" thoughts are not our thoughts, and "His" ways are not our ways. (Isaiah 55:8) What do you think? God Cannot Be Contained blog 


Anonymous said...

I think that you are missing the point. The scriptures do say what you wrote about. Some believe them, others don't. So why bash those that believe them? Those that preach what the Word says, are giving stern warnings of what can happen if there isn't repentance.

Do you have children? Have you ever been forced to give them stern warnings against doing something that will hurt them?

To bash people who believe in the Word of Yahweh, is taking the focus off why this site was set up, and that is to warn and rebuke those that rob the flock amongst other evils.

To rant against the Christians that you claim to be trying to protect, will lose you all the credibility that you have earned.

Black Ops Mikey said...


These false prophets with murder in their hearts have discovered that God isn't punishing them so they go on with their evil abuses having long abandoned any fear of God, becoming de facto atheists dedicated to utterly selfish pursuits living off blood money.

Byker Bob said...

The title of this entry took me back about ten years, at which time I was quite amazed when I was visiting one of the blogs of some former Armstrongites who had gotten involved with the sacred names people. There was discussion of news which some of the people considered to be signs of the end times, and one of the younger, gung ho people commented that "Wow! Yahweh is really going to start kicking some butt!" It was also a sad blog, because when people learned of some of the Halliburton camps that were allegedly secretly being built for terrorists, they assumed international conspiracy, and speculated that they themselves might be waiting out the tribulation at some of these camps. And, of course, here we are, nearing the end of a completely different president's presidency, and none of their speculations have come to fruition. That's a pretty big chunk of some peoples' lives!

This stuff just never seems to go away. Armstrongism has been permanently superimposed over some peoples' world view and concept of the afterlife, and regardless of the lack of fulfillment, and facts to the contrary, some are still allowing their lives to be dominated by one man's anthropomorphism, and his co-opting of Revelation's apocalypse. You'd think that lack of fulfillment would diminish the fervor, and the fact is that this is all appealing to fewer and fewer individuals, but the teachings of William Miller, the Whites, and Charles Taze Russell all still have influence today, so why not HWA?

There are always going to be some people who delight in the merciless punishment of others.


Anonymous said...

It's because Biblegod is an anthropomorphic dude.

The Bible is not a book which is "The Word of God", but rather a book assembled by human (and very fallible) men who had delusions of superpowers and uber-rightness, much as the purveyors of modern religions like Scientology and Mormonism have also had.

Scroller said...

To 7:44, as I read it the rant is against those today who seem to relish and love ideas of violence coming on those they deem as unheeding or sinful. Anyone who has been in COG groups for any period of time knows exactly what this post is talking about--of the seeming gleam in the eye of the preacher, the lust or relishing of how God is going to SMASH the wicked… Scripture is like a Rorschach inkblot--it has many stories, many images, sometimes-contradictory themes, multiple authors and contexts. Out of this mix people draw out all sorts of things, sometimes monstrous things.

Part of maturity is learning to talk back to texts, engage texts and stories critically. For example, you personally may not believe in eternal torment in hell, maybe you just believe dead reprobate people will be brought back to life to be roasted in fire for a few seconds before returning back to death--but either way, if you really believe that is what God has in store for reprobate family members or friends--or anyone--why would you not pray day and night to God, both in this life and in the hereafter, as long as it takes, to appeal to God to change that doctrine, to get those people out of eternal torment, or not resurrect them to horribly execute them again, however you believe it works? How could you be happy in the Kingdom of God if you did not do this? How could you be happy with the knowledge of fellow human beings, some of whom you may have known and loved, being tortured forever, or destined at the end of the millennium to be raised to be briefly tortured and executed again, whichever it is? Why would you not beseech God to find a way to save everyone, even the worst among us? And keep beseeching God for as long as it took until God got that changed? The Bible is filled with honorable arguing with God (Abraham, Moses, Jacob wrestling with God, etc.), and the Bible also has God changing his mind in response to the earnest prayer of a righteous person, so there is no theological reason in principle why God could not change sending people to hell or the third resurrection or whatever your version of fiery fate for the wicked is, if you prayed and God decided to do so. Think of the mothers in Argentina of the "disappeared" who showed up peacefully at that plaza, every Friday, week in and week out, for years, asking to know where their disappeared sons were, never giving up. If you respond that God would never heed such a prayer--how could you know that? Who are you to say you know that? If you respond that God would punish or eject from the kingdom anyone who would plead for the non-torment of their lost loved ones--then you essentially have an image of God as an abusive parent. Is that the true nature of God, or is that humans' distorted images of God? I think the comment to which you object was making a point somewhat similar to this.

As for the citing of scriptural passages of wrath and applying them to peoples and societies of today, perhaps the premise ought to be examined that texts written 2000+ years ago were intended literally for today. Perhaps any minister who tries to tell you that is just doing Rorschach inkblot reading, and it is up to you whether you wish to buy into his hallucinations or not. Perhaps such Rorschach inkblot readings of the Bible function to derail true analysis and appropriate responses to the issues facing us as societies and individuals, and interfere with a true relationship with eternal things which goes beyond the power of any text or human on earth. gld

Sweetblood777 said...

It would not surprise me if any of these ministers do not believe, but punishment is coming for them, and when it finally arrives, they will be crying and gashing their teeth.

Yahweh is not mocked.

Anonymous said...

Actually, 7:44, here's why the site was set up:

"Exposing the underbelly of Armstrongism in all of it's wacky glory! Nothing you read here is made up! Every crazy, weird and wacky quote is straight from the pens of Armstrongite leaders or members who think they possess some insight into God and the Bible. What you read here is the up to date face of Herbert W Armstrong's legacy. It's the gritty and dirty behind the scenes look at Armstrongism as you have never seen it before!"

Not exactly a lovefest among COGers, there.

Anonymous said...

"Yahweh is not mocked.

Why yahweh and not el?

El occupied the top tier of an originally four-tiered hierarchy and his seventy sons occupied the second tier. Yahweh and Lucifer as "sons of El" were part of the second tier. Craftsmen deities occupied the third. The Hebrew Bible rarely references these deities. The bottom tier was angels, seraphim, cherubim, and so on. During the 8th century BCE these tiers were collapsed. Yahweh and El were conflated, and everyone else was demoted to the bottom tier and conflated with angels. This is why Lucifer, originally presented as one of the "sons of El," is described as an angel in the Second Temple Period literature, and why "rebellious" angels were such a large part of that literature despite their utter absence from earlier literature.

Mock 'em all you want. They're both just ancient pagan Canaanite gods who were plucked out of their pantheon beginning around the time of Hezekiah, Josiah, the exile and post-exilic times by the Canaanites we now call Jews.

Scroller said...

There is a correlation between these toxic ideas of God's coming wrath on the nations and world, and COG ideas of child-rearing. To all of the children reared in the culture of such toxic preaching, my heart goes out to you, and I can only say: find older adults who believe in you, who are not part of this toxic culture, and resolve to break this cycle of abuse. To begin with, resolve that when you have children you will never intentionally strike them or intentionally cause them physical suffering. Over forty nations in the world and growing have now outlawed corporal punishment, and like slavery, this is something that has existed from time immemorial and will be defended by fundamentalists quoting the Bible, whose time has come to be ended.

Anonymous said...

Lucifer is a Latin name, not Semitic.

Miller Jones said...

Anonymous 4/10/2015 @ 7:44 AM: Actually, it appears that you have missed my point. The point of this piece was to underscore the absurdity of the notion that God is/was an angry, vindictive entity that is/was looking forward to an opportunity to punish those whom WE regard as not being in accordance with "His" laws, will and purpose(s). This view was advanced and taught by the two principal leaders (HWA and GTA) of the WCOG (along with most of the evangelists and ministers who were a part of that organization). The piece was intended to "bash" this view/notion of God, and the interpretation of prophetic Scripture than underpins it. Yes, I have children, and I have had to warn them against destructive behaviors in the past; but I have never threatened them with wholesale violence and destruction! Finally, I believe that any credibility that I "have earned" should be attributed to my unwavering support for a less human and more expansive view of God.

Anonymous said...

There is a correlation between these toxic ideas of God's coming wrath on the nations and world, and COG ideas of child-rearing.

Only because psychotic ministers made the correlation. It's not automatic...

To all of the children reared in the culture of such toxic preaching, my heart goes out to you, and I can only say: find older adults who believe in you, who are not part of this toxic culture, and resolve to break this cycle of abuse.

I was one of those kids. I was beaten for the most minor infraction. And I know many others were. And yes, we have changed, and the cycle ends with us.

To begin with, resolve that when you have children you will never intentionally strike them or intentionally cause them physical suffering.

Perhaps I will disagree here. Everyone one of my children has had moments of absolute rebelion in the most henous way. And the slightest spanking corrects this instantly. The child knows something is wrong with their behvaior instantly.

I found, that I have had to spank my kids maybe 5 times total in their life, and all before 5 years old. And that was it. I only needed a hand.

And, as a wise relative once told me, the world has it backwards, they are easy on their kids when they are young, and get more strict as they get older. This is backwards. I tested the idea, and it's true. Be strict with your kids when they are little, give the very distinct boundries and rules, and as they grow older, give them more room, more responsibility. Encourage them to do the right thing. And most importantly, do it yourself first.

This means, as a parent, you say you are sorry when you are wrong, even to your kids. You admit your mistakes, in front of the entire family. And then, when you have done this, you can expect everyone to do what you do. And it works.

You will have teenagers that respect you and each other. They will be helpful, they will have peace in their life, they will be happy, and will not worry about the future.

Over forty nations in the world and growing have now outlawed corporal punishment, and like slavery,

You stepped over from a reasonable argument to exaggeration for effect by equating a pat on the butt to slavery.

Also, some of those nations are deeply regreting this decision. Not being strict with kids leads to lazy and unhappy adults.

And to be clear, I think you should discipline your kids less and less as they get older. When they are adults, you have to appeal to them, so as they get closer to this age, that is how parenting should be. But if they have never respected you when they were young (and tantrum throw children do _not_ respect their parents) they will more likely not respect you when they are older.

No parent wants their kids to lose in life, and not having discipline will cause you to be a failure.

We learn what we are taught, if we are taught it's ok to to scream and yell to get our way, and that is ok, why would ever stop? Because we won't have friends? BS, our friends will be winy selfish adults too.

...this is something that has existed from time immemorial and will be defended by fundamentalists quoting the Bible, whose time has come to be ended.

I agree, that psychotic child beating lunatics should be punished, and their time has ended. But to say this means we should turn into fools, and not discipline our children, then you are not seeing the long term consequences of a world where every can do whatever they want, to whom ever they want, without any recourse. (anarchy)

Children should want to treat others with respect, starting with their parents, and this is an easy thing to teach, and can be done softly and caringly.

The scripture says God corrects those he loves, if you feel you are beyond correction and are perfect, you deceive yourself. We all need correction.

Homer said...

The acts of killing one’s enemies, either by the Old Testament God or by the Israelites who were commanded to kill them, including all men, women, children and livestock may not be literal history after all. These acts are contrary to the sayings of Jesus in the New Testament as quoted in Mat 5:44 and Luke 6:27- 35, i.e, love your enemies and do good to those who hate you. Either the God of the Old Testament (i.e., Jesus, as taught by the ACOGs) changed his mind or the God of the OT is not Jesus, - OR - the commands have a meaning that are not literal but have a more personal meaning for the individual that is generally not understood. Is it more important for an individual to have a “pure heart” (Matt 5:8, & others) or bow to the interpretations and dictates of an organization that treats its members as subjects and chattel. The following quote is from a COG “minister” a few years ago, “We have men who have studied all these things [in the Bible], just believe what we tell you.”

Someone please inform the rest of us, the difference between what is happening in the middle east concerning those who are killing in the name of Allah and those of the OT who killed in the name of their God.

Parables are evident in the NT. There are also parables and “dark sayings” in the OT which may not be evident but may be there none the less. Is it possible the majority of the Bible is allegory, parable, metaphor and “dark sayings”? What are the “dark sayings” of the Bible? Maybe one should look it up for oneself. If one considers the Bible and the instructions therein as something to apply to oneself rather than as a literal history of some events which are less than logical and reasonable, then maybe it would begin to make better sense. One may consider this quote by Galileo, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

If one considers the commands of the OT as an allegory for us as individuals to obey as a personal, individual obligation, not to kill another human being, but to kill the unclean thoughts and actions that are generated by the carnal mind and heart. Could the enemies to be destroyed be our own personal egos, negative attitudes. selfish desires and hates? Could it be that ALL the instructions in the Bible are for us as individuals and not for any particular group of people?

Could it be that the Bible is not necessarily a history of a “chosen” clan of people or a “true church of God”, but an allegorical guide for all mankind to follow as individuals? Maybe no group or “church” is chosen of God. [Actually, the word “church” is not a valid word to explain the use of the Greek word “ekklesia” unless one thinks King James was chosen of God.] Maybe the important thing is for the individual to understand the important personal obligations and do good things, not evil. “Psa 34:14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” This certainly is not happening between nations of this world and definitely not among the ACOGs.

It is realized that not many (maybe most or maybe none) will consider the things suggested in this comment. None of us need a “church” as a link between us and God. However, there is one thing we all could use much more. That is, better understanding as an individual, not the understanding and dictates of what an organization requires.

Anonymous said...

The comparison to Jonah is interesting. Perhaps enough people have "repented" from the COG gospel message for God to hold off on the last plagues for the moments - as opposed to the theory that the "church wasn't ready."

BTW, I heard a UCG preacher use that seven-letter "B-word" during a service on the 7th day of Unleavened Bread yesterday - with no apology at all.

Byker Bob said...

The current form of the anthology known as The Bible is such a large book, that there are a huge number of facets, and concepts. When reading, when watching a movie, or just in taking in life, it is the human propensity to pull, identify with, eternalize, and emphasize those things which appeal to our particular type of personality, the things which speak to our souls. That does not mean that the other concepts are invalid, or do not exist. They do, and might in fact speak to the souls of other, fellow individuals with different personality types.

Radio/Worldwide Church of God was accurately described as a "personality cult". In part, what we were taught was a reflection of what appealed to the personality type of Herbert W. Armstrong. The angry, salivating over an opportunity to swoop down and punish you God that was preached to all of us was a mirror of HWA's soul. It conflicts directly with the loving passages describing God's nature and character throughout the Psalms, and the teachings of Jesus.

The problem is, WCG/HWA did not have a sense of the word "appropriate". Did God punish in the OT? Did he instruct and assist the Israelites in a manner so that they would win military conflicts? Did He punish? Of course! But, God is complex. Unfortunately, for the most part, Armstrongites have lifted the attributes that were appropriate to these situations, and presumed that that is the universality of or totality of God's character. In their minds, "let the dead bury the dead" trumps "the good Samaritan". Entry into WCG for most people was even based on fear of what this type of God was soon going to do to our own contemporary world, after HWA got through incorrectly making us into the descendants of the Israelites!

Others read the Bible and extract a great sense of love, trustworthiness, and social justice as integral attibutes of God's character. One who rains on the just and the unjust. One who is anxious over a lost sheep, or prodigal son, allowing and giving room for u-turns. One who limits permissable retaliation to an eye for an eye, as opposed to massive, angry, and overwhelming retribution. One who repents, and does not always punish to the full extent or as promised, even when He begins seeing encouraging signs of partial obedience. One who mandates that the corners of a field not be harvested by farmers so that the homeless and disadvantaged might also have sustenance.

What we see, what we believe about God is guided by what our own anthropomorphic tendencies do to what we read in the Bible. We do it, and members of the ministry do it, influencing others. We can become vain to the point of actually calling our own perspective "truth", and then accusing others who are inclined towards the love and mercy of disagreeing with "God's Truth" as taught by "God's Apostle". But the bottom line is that what we believe of God is more of a reflection of our own personality, character, and state of spiritual development than most of us were permitted to imagine. I've probably said this half a million times, but most people who were ever involved in Armstrongism, if they have a mental picture of God, imagine a spiritual being who looks mighty like HWA himself! A white haired, totalitarian dictator in a perpetual state of 'roid rage.

Now, what does that tell you?


Anonymous said...

"Lucifer is a Latin name, not Semitic."

Wow. Obtuse, aren't we?

"Lucifer" only occurs once in the KJV of the bible, in Isaiah 14, where the KJV translators followed the lead of the Vulgate in translating H1966:

H1966 הֵילֵל heylel (hay-lale') n-m.
1. the morning-star
[from H1984 (in the sense of brightness)]
KJV: lucifer.
Root(s): H1984

Nevertheless, starting with the early church fathers, Origen, Eusebius, and Tertullian, the traditional christian interpretion of this passage has been as a veiled reference to the fall of Satan.

And technically, according to this passage he's the son of Shachar, which would make him a grandson of El. But these things tend to be fluid from one myth cycle to the next. At any rate, he's part of the second tier.

Scroller said...

Anonymous 6:13 AM, your story is heartening in resolving not to perpetuate the abusiveness that you experienced as a child (and I am very sorry to hear that), and certainly you sound as if you succeeded. Nevertheless I would like to ask you to reflect further on several points you raise. First, you equate an end to corporal punishment as meaning no discipline or anarchy or wild children, which is a false premise or assumption. There are other ways of establishing boundaries for children without the downsides of physical violence. The nations which have criminalized--completely banned and outlawed--corporal punishment include Germany, New Zealand, and Israel, as well as Sweden and Denmark and about three dozen other nations. Most of these nations have lower crime rates than the U.S., lower indices of social problems for juveniles, etc. in metric after metric to the extent these things can be measured. You assume abolition of corporal punishment gives bad results which simply are not reflected in actual statistics of those countries which have legally banned--criminalized, in defense of the dignity of children--the use of violence or intentional infliction of pain upon children's bodies. The fact that some of us have loving parents who also spanked might be analogized to loving parents who used to not have child safety seats before laws mandated these basic safety protections for children—even though most parents in those days meant well.

Which nations are you referring to that are regretting having criminalized corporal punishment? Unfortunately the strongest and most fanatical opponents of the growing worldwide movement to abolish corporal punishment are right-wing Christian evangelical groups, more in America than anywhere else on earth, who distort facts and claim the Bible in support, as if something sacred is at stake. To get a different picture read other points of view on this, such as the works of the thoughtful Alice Miller. As for the Bible (to the extent that that is an issue here), Samuel Martin (son of Ernest Martin) has an interesting and convincing analysis that the Bible never speaks of corporal punishment of SMALL CHILDREN at ALL. The only corporal punishment in the Bible and in ancient Jewish tradition was of teenage young men and was believed to be a helpful pedagogical method--when teaching young men, if they got the answer wrong, beat the daylights out of them and that would encourage them to improve their memories and get the answer right next time--at least that was the ancient theory of how to enhance the learning process. Nothing to do with striking small children which Samuel Martin argues is not in the Bible at all. Also, this ancient theory of improving the learning process for teenage young men is not right even if that is biblical.

There does seem to be a causal correlation between the COG culture of many of the leading ministers therein--the Merediths, the Flurrys, the Packs, etc. and their ilk--with their violent hearts projected into the scriptures they seem to love to quote about divine wrath and punishment--and the severe and damaging corporal punishment of children which everyone knows is all too prevalent in COG culture, as ideas and rhetoric play out in reality, warping future generations in cycle after cycle. Sociologists have also established from studies that evangelical Christian belief (which in the USA is maybe 90% Christian evangelical right vs. maybe 10% Christian evangelical left or social gospel/civil rights movement evangelicals) correlates with support for torture--of the literal kind, inflicted by the state. Political support for torture … corporal punishment … fundamentalism … sermons focusing on the wrath of a punishing God … these are dots to be connected and reflected upon as part of the process of detoxification from COG culture, and learning new and better "habits of the heart".
I see just now "Byker Bob's" insightful comment above, which says much of this better than me.