Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween and the Church of God Fear Factor



"Objection to Halloween is a reflection of something much broader: an obsession with trivialities, a confusion of priorities, a primitive fear of the unknown, an arrogance that finds “righteousness” in being odd-ball and out-of-step. Fundamentalists can find something offensive or objectionable in almost anything. They have a world view in which virtually everything is “anti-Christian”. They have lost the ability to filter the important from the inconsequential. The traditional COG prohibition against Halloween ignores the facts of history, misrepresents the modern holiday, and demonstrates a woeful lack of spiritual discernment."


HALLOWEEN HYSTERIA
by Keith Stump

October is quickly flying by, meaning it’s time for the traditional Christian hand-wringing over that most “demonic” of holidays, Halloween! In anticipation of the usual anti-Halloween propaganda, I offer the following observations about this alleged “satanic festival of evil”:

First, there’s no need to point out that Halloween is not found in Leviticus 23. (Duh.) Leviticus 23 is obsolete and irrelevant anyway. Second, forget the lengthy dissertation about how the papacy (the alleged “image of the beast” and “great whore”) instituted the Roman Catholic celebrations of “All Hallows Eve” and “All Saints Day”. That, too, is irrelevant. Today’s Halloween has nothing to do with honoring Christian saints. For most, Halloween long ago ceased being viewed as a religious observance—and never was, by Americans.

The Halloween that many of us know today is largely an American phenomenon. And it’s a purely secular observance.

Yet some of Halloween’s customs do have roots in pre-Christian (“pagan”) practices. “Pagan” has long been a popular buzz word among Christians, especially among the COGs. As a Plain Truth and World Tomorrow writer, and occasional GHOSTwriter (how occult!) for the Armstrongs, I used the word liberally for decades. If it’s “pagan” in origin, it MUST be evil (like, I suppose, playing cards, wedding rings, dominoes, medicine, beer, the theater, the names of the days of the week and months of the year, and so on—all of which are scrupulously avoided in the COGs, aren’t they?).

Some of Halloween’s customs can be traced to practices of the Celtic New Year, particularly among the Druids of ancient Britain. The Celts worshipped nature deities and practiced a relatively benign type of witchcraft. (Shame on them for living before the birth of Christ! Why, they must have been as evil as Cyrus the Great, who worshipped Ishtar, the pagan goddess of love and war, and Ahura Mazda, god of light and wisdom. [Oh, wait a minute—God still called Cyrus "that righteous man from the East." Never mind.])

The Celtic festival of Samhain (which means “summer’s end” and marked the Celtic New Year, and is properly pronounced SOW-in, not “Sam Hain”) was considered to be a magical time, when the thin veil between the worlds was lifted, and the dead walked among the living. It was a night of ghosts and fairies, in which bonfires were lit and fortunes were told, and the thoughts of all turned to the afterlife. For some odd reason, the Celts didn’t think that exposing their children to contemplation of death and the afterlife was a problem. And, of course, the “witches” of the time were primarily herbalists and midwives. Witches as evil, devil-worshiping crones were an invention of the medieval Church, perpetuated by modern fundamentalists.

Despite fundamentalist assertions, there were no orgies or human sacrifices or cannibalism or devil-worshipping during Samhain. Anyone who claims otherwise is an incompetent researcher or an outright liar. And—despite all those sermonettes you’ve heard—there was never a Celtic “god of death” named “Samhain”.

The ancient Samhain festival in no way “glorified” the demonic world, nor—except for a relatively few “Satanists”—does Samhain today. Modern pagans who celebrate Samhain regard it as a time to look back on the past year and reflect on how they can become better people, and a time to honor departed loved ones and welcome them into their presence. Modern Halloween is even less focused on “making contact” with the spirit world.

Stop for a moment and consider rationally: Is a six-year-old girl trick-or-treating in a Cinderella costume “fellowshipping with demons”? Is a child covered in a sheet with eye-holes “associating with spirits”? Are employees attending a company costume party “consorting with the devil”? Is hanging a plastic skeleton in your window “paying homage to Satan”? Is carving a jack-o’-lantern “fashioning an idol”? Is bobbing for apples a “wicked revel”? Some who are reading this would reply with a resounding “yes”. And that’s because of the spiritual myopia that warps their thinking, as I’ll discuss in a moment. Goofball notions are de rigueur for the fundamentalist.

Others who are reading this have heartwarming memories of Halloween. It’s a slice of genuine Americana. It was one of the highlights of their childhood calendar—a time of family crafts and costume-making, a time to celebrate creativity and imagination. It was a time for children to dress up and solicit candy from their neighbors. (We were even taught to say “thank you”, which I’m sure irked Satan no end.) Trick-or-treating allowed the entire community to share in the Halloween festivities, as costumes were admired and rewarded with goodies. Halloween reaffirmed social bonds with friends and neighbors. These are hardly the “unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11), unless one is a fanatic who interprets that phrase like, well, a fanatic.

(A parenthetical note to hypocrites: Anyone who condemns Halloween, yet enjoys an occasional Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff film, or reads a Stephen King or Anne Rice thriller, or a Harry Potter novel, or who watches “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “The Wizard of Oz” or Disney’s “Snow White” or “Sleeping Beauty” or the “Lord of the Rings” films or who plays fantasy-based video games or visits Disneyland’s “Haunted Mansion” or watches a stage magician is a hypocrite, pure and simple. It’s like a conscientious objector being a fan of war movies. But hypocrisy is nothing new to the COGs, is it? And, for that matter, is “glorifying violence” any less “sinful” than “glorifying the occult”? (Hmm. I must have been imagining those LCG members sitting in the theater when I saw “Terminator 3″.))



To all COG members out there: Is your children’s Christianity so feeble as to be endangered by a plastic mask and a few candy bars? Are your children so inadequately grounded in their religion as to be tempted into a life of witchcraft by attending a costume party? Are you yourself so poorly rooted in your faith that you fear your children will ask questions to which you have no satisfactory answers?

I have seen no evidence of children being psychologically warped or seduced into a life of witchcraft and perversion as a result of innocent Halloween activities. I HAVE, however, seen many fearful and superstitious COG children who have been conditioned to be abnormally hypersensitive to anything blackened with the feared label “occult”. One child in particular comes to mind, whom I witnessed shrieking in stark terror at the mere sight of a jack-o-lantern. Are you raising fearful children who, like medieval peasants, see Satan lurking behind every tree and demons skulking in every dark corner? Are you raising children who fear they will “open themselves up” to “demonic control” at any moment by the slightest misstep? What a tenuous, precarious and paranoid spirituality! Satan is a defeated enemy! We need not shrink inanimate mortal remains. Explain that fear of black cats is an ancient superstition of the ignorant. Talk to them about the fanciful creations of horror fiction, like werewolves and vampires. It’s healthy to examine the things that frighten us. Tell them about “ghosts” or disembodied spirits. (The dead are relatively safe; it’s the living you need to watch out for!) And talk to them about the subject of life after physical death. Tell them about the Lord of Life who overcame death. Assuage their fears about those who can kill the body but not the soul.

Halloween is also a good time to reconsider our own views about death and the afterlife. The unbiblical doctrine of “soul sleep” would be a good place to start. The Bible clearly teaches (and centuries of experience demonstrate) that death does not interrupt self-awareness; personal identity survives death! By contrast, Herbert Armstrong’s so-called “restored truth” about “What is Man?” is totally without biblical foundation, though his followers blindly accept it. Measuring truth by the teachings of a morally unprincipled deviate who was indisputably unqualified for ministry by biblical standards (i Tim. 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-7) is far scarier than any aspect of Halloween! (A rule of thumb, which I’ll throw in free of charge: The farther an individual or group moves away from the teachings of the so-called Philadelphia era of the Church of God, the closer he moves toward genuine truth and balanced spirituality.)



So here’s my point: Objection to Halloween is a reflection of something much broader: an obsession with trivialities, a confusion of priorities, a primitive fear of the unknown, an arrogance that finds “righteousness” in being odd-ball and out-of-step. Fundamentalists can find something offensive or objectionable in almost anything. They have a world view in which virtually everything is “anti-Christian”. They have lost the ability to filter the important from the inconsequential. The traditional COG prohibition against Halloween ignores the facts of history, misrepresents the modern holiday, and demonstrates a woeful lack of spiritual discernment.

So, in a nutshell, my message to Christians about Halloween is: Lighten up! There is nothing spiritually harmful about this tradition. Sensibly observed, Halloween can be a day of wholesome fun and merriment. Believe it or not, not everything in life has to have some deep spiritual connotation. Halloween is “Satan’s Holiday” only to those who concede it to him or arbitrarily label it as such. Christians have been redeemed from the forces of evil. We don’t have to give credence to Satan’s claimed authority in any area of life. Don’t surrender to the fear, superstition and hypocrisy of the fundamentalist, who wouldn’t recognize a little harmless fun if he tripped over it, who is oblivious to the value of fantasy, who has no idea what “magic” and “witchcraft” really are, to whom everything paranormal is “demonic” and who trembles before the power of Satan and his demons (whether he admits it or not). Don’t fall prey to shady “scholarship” and flawed arguments about this holiday. Don’t let anyone judge you in respect of this or any other occasion. Safe, fun Halloween activities are NOT “of the “devil”.

To believe other wise is just plain silly!

56 comments:

Ralph said...

Friday, October 30, 2015
HALLOWEEN HYSTERIA
by Keith Stump
writes:-
"Leviticus 23 is obsolete and irrelevant anyway."

I ask, as might Professor Julius Sumner Miller, how is it so?

cheers
ralph.f

Anonymous said...

So you love Halloween. Just another example of this websites infatuation with pagan practises and any excuse it can use to cut down any who refuse to accept it's unchristian ways.

You think you're a law unto yourselves agreeing with any pagan practise that's clearly unbiblical and if any disagree...lets cut them down.

This website is nothing more than a tool against every christian that believes Gods word the bible.

Thankfully most people see right through your "confused state of mind" and this site as nothing more than a platform of finger pointing, accusations, lies and deception.

Anonymous said...

4:20, most atheists and humanists I know express more reasoned perspectives than you did.

"Unchristian ways?" Countless people who say they are Christian post here.

"Law unto yourselves?" Exposing hypocrisy, whether among lawkeepers or anarchists, does not mean the author, or the commenters, claim a law unto themselves.

"A tool against every christian." I won't wait for you to define christian. I can guess.

"Lies and deception?" Not so fast -- much of what I've read here has been truthful, or at least honest. Case in point: The number of Herbert Armstrong's grandchildren who have verified that the family knew of his incest with his daughter for decades. You may not like it, or its implications for the validity of his branch of the COG movement, but that doesn't nullify the veracity of their testimony.

Keith Stump expressed an opinion in his Halloween article. He explained why. He offered background. He shared knowledge gained from his many years of research and writing. He's a smart man, a kind man, and a reasonable man. From what I read, it sounds like he had grown tired of the hyperbole on which Armstrong proponents, of which he had been one, came to rely as evidence to vilify most things they oppose.

That doesn't constitute "loving Halloween." So even your opening salvo is negated.

Opinions other than your own, or my own, are not automatically evil. It's your right to disagree, but geez, think a little.

Anonymous said...

Aren't there many types of laws in the Bible, just as we have today? There are ceremonial laws, contract laws, traffic laws, moral laws, etc. There is the Law of Noah that the Jewish scholars refer to and some think are implied in Acts 15. There is the Law of Moses which were given to the Israelites but not to the Gentiles. There is the Law that Paul says that we all have, "written on our hearts" (I don't think he refers here to the Law of Moses, but the Moral Law); The Royal Law of James 2. Don't we have to be careful and not assume that when the term "law" is referred to that we don't always think it refers to the Law of Moses?

Mark said...

Good points, Keith.

Sweetblood777 said...

Keith Stump is a liar and a Satanist. Anyone paying much attention to him is a fool.

DennisCDiehl said...

"They have lost the ability to filter the important from the inconsequential."

....or even to recognize how all biblical injunctions came to be and who actually is demanding obedience and why.

When we say "God says" we sometimes have to ask "Really?" What we mean is that someone long ago, hearing voices or speaking as a priest with their own views says "God says" a if they would know. "God says" is equated with what we read in the Bible, but one can never get beyond their emotional religious feelings into the light of day without admitting the Bible is not actually written by a god or God. It is a purely man, mostly priestly written, document. Long soliloquies in Job or words put into the mouth of a God are not actually words written down by someone listening to a god speak them. It is what they imagine God might say to write their story or book.

It is crowd control and tale weaving for effect at its best. It is nation building and creating the specialness and choseness of one people over all others. God may have made "all men of one blood" but when it comes to priests and ministers, some blood is more special than others so their are rules of engagement with the unchosen, uncalled and non-royal priesthood types.

The long winded sermon in John 13-17 are not the actual words of Jesus. They are what "John" in his view wanted his Jesus to say. No one told Jesus to slow down so they could write it down accurately. Matthew, Mark and Luke heard or recorded nothing of these important sayings of Jesus because they did not make them up for their own story. They are doctrinal statements by early christian writers. No one actually heard or wrote down what Jesus said alone in the garden praying with the crew all asleep in the story. The author is making it up to tell his story. Pilot's wife did not tell any disciple to write of her dream she shared with her husband. It is literary license. Mary did not actually break into song in the "Magnificant" in Luke 1: 46-55. It is a rewrite of the words of Hannah in the OT to make a point. Actually the words better fit Elizabeth, but that is another story.

The Pentateuch was not really written by any Moses. It was put together , probably in the captivity, by priests to give Israel its pedigree and story. It's no coincidence we know so and so's grandmother's name but not one of the many Pharaoh's throughout the OT. The author did not know who to name in his story so they are left very vague. Besides it would date the writings which was not the goal.

The NT is full of speeches put into the mouths of celebrities by authors who imagine what they would have said in their story and not what they actually said in real space and time. It's just the way it is in the Bible and of course I'd not expect many here to either understand or accept that fact of Biblical origins and construct.

All this to note that when one reads "learn not the way of the heathen" or "don't look up at the sky for your stories" it is the priestcraft demanding this in the name of what they believe their god would want and say. It is really all about purity and control by the ruling elite and priests and not so much what some Deity finds offensive and puts one at the risk of its wrath.

Those who see no problem with some things will enjoy them guilt and condemnation free. Those who see a problem with not enjoy them nor keep them. Each to their own. No God is making a list and checking it twice to find out who has been naughty and who has been nice, according to their own ideas of it all.

Enjoy or don't! No one here will convince the other of their views. I have never seen it once here lol :)

DennisCDiehl said...

PS We see hints of even "God's" tolerance for lesser gods in Israelite beliefs before they were eradicated in "You shall have no other gods before me.." which really said, "You shall bring no other gods into my presence...for I the Lord, THY GOD, am a jealous God."

Here we have a God that tolerates but doesn't want them other lesser gods around him or hear of them because of his own jealousy over and for Israel's loyalty and affection. BTW...a jealous God is a petty cultic god. It is not, "because we all know there aren't really any other gods." There were then and everyone believed it including the priests who wrote the Decalogue. This polytheistic time in scripture precedes the monotheism that came later after much housecleaning.

So even in scripture. God evolves in what He tolerates and doesn't. In the NT most of the OT goes down the drain as irrelevant depending on how you want to read it , Paul, James , Peter and John who didn't agree with each other on it all either.

Anonymous said...

I always love reading the comments when this is posted every year. Armstrongism is filled with human interpreted beliefs just like Halloween is. Armstrongism holds beliefs that came straight out of paganism.

They cry and moan over kids dressing up as Cinderella or some other hero but refuse the address the gross immorality that plagues the COG. From pedophila, rapes, sexual assaults, theft, alcoholism, gluttony and much more, these sins are convieniently ignored while proclaiming "we are the only true Christians on the entire planet." Clean you own perverted churches up before you start condemning your neighbors for their actions.

DennisCDiehl said...

Sweetblood777 said...
Keith Stump is a liar and a Satanist. Anyone paying much attention to him is a fool.

Ever have lunch with Keith? Ever sit and talk with him personally? Classic self righteous and ignorant judgmental bullshit SB. Keep your personal attacks to yourself and sit home in the dark when the little children come unto thee for a treat and a smile.

DennisCDiehl said...

Even Paul gave wiggle room in Romans 14:5 for such issues which he must have at least had the wisdom to leave well enough alone and know everyone can't really "all speak the same thing" an have a conscience about to practice or not this or that.


"In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable"

DennisCDiehl said...

and Keith can't be a follower of Satan as there really isn't such a being in reality ("Ohhhh...that's EXACTLY what Satan wants you to believe!") :)

Anonymous said...


Keith Stump seems like the sort of writer who could write against Halloween if he was being paid by Herbert W. Armstrong, but who is flexible enough to write in favor of Halloween if he is being paid by Joseph Tkach, Jr.

The brief summary of it all is that whether or not you should observe Halloween depends entirely on who is currently paying Keith Stump to write about it.

Anonymous said...


“They have lost the ability to filter the important from the inconsequential.”--Keith Stump


Keith Stump's filtering criteria: His paycheck is “the important,” and God's words in the Bible are “the inconsequential.”

Mark said...

I was never in WWCG back in the day...but I've heard stories of how they would have a costume party, ironically it was usually right around Christmas time. I was always thought that was a contradiction..anyone remember that?

Miller Jones said...

As with Scripture, Herbert Armstrong was fond of sharing his own unique (and often wrong) reading/interpretation of history. For those who are willing to take the time to study history in an objective fashion and THINK about what they are studying, the truth of Mr. Stump's analysis of the modern observance of Halloween will be apparent. In similar fashion, I would say that our current celebration of Christmas owes much more to the last two hundred years than all of the years prior to that put together (and over 99 percent of it can be traced to the Christian Era). Jesus was right: They strain at a gnat and swallow a camel! Happy Halloween!!!!

Anonymous said...


Keith Stump's (current) message seems to be: DO NOT THINK, do not worry, just mindlessly do whatever I (now) tell you to do and observe Halloween, and forget all about God's festivals. God's festivals listed in Leviticus 23 in the Bible were temporary things that are now obsolete, irrelevant, meaningless, useless, bad, and still observed by ignorant and judgemental kooks who actually, seriously believe in the God of the Bible even more than in their paychecks. But Halloween, in direct contrast, was obviously established forever, is current, very relevant, good, fun, and necessary to observe, as all sophisticated, highly-intelligent, spiritual, Tkach-paid writers now know (if they don't want to get fired).


Byker Bob said...

Unfortunately, some people don't just masquerade for one evening of macabre theatre. They do it all year round, taking on titles that are so laughably inappropriate for them, such as "Apostles" and "prophets", and frankly, even " ministers". And, they do much more damage in people's lives than those who dress up as vampires, nuns, or perhaps as Justin Bieber.

Over my years in recovery from Armstrongism, I've both "done" and "not done" Halloween. People hung up on legalism are most generally I-O thinkers, who never grasp the shades and vast middle ground between two extremes. Is there an opportunity to raise the bar, and impact the culture positively during Halloween? Yes. It is not forbidden to dress up as inspiring characters, or to provide clean candy in safe environments for the children in the neighborhood. It can become a teaching opportunity for parents with their young, impressionable children, and an opportunity to be an active part of one's neighborhood. Unless you live on the family farm, and never watch TV or get on the internet, it is virtually impossible to shut Halloween out.

But in the minds of some, celebrating Halloween would be about like following the old addage "When in Soddom, do as the Soddomites do."

BB

Anonymous said...

Here we go again as dennis diehl aka "gods gift to every cog member", gives us his boring multi line philosophical response that takes half an hour to read ( and just so as he's clear, adds another 4 ) to anything that even hints of disagreeing with what he feels is accurate in his own eyes or "the world according to dennis". It really shows how you have this self urgency to be liked. You need to get out more, find yourself a partner and enjoy life a little.

Also as some have posted to justify themselves, you can accuse a man of multiple sins all you like, especially when his dead (and by the way it's the accusers who have many hidden sins themselves but still point the finger at others, hypocrites ) but when will you get it through your pumpkins, just to stay on theme, that it's not the man we worship, but Jesus Christ and God the father.

So when you continually accuse the people who honour and try to live by whats contained in God's word in a false way, by accusing them of worshiping a man for example, you dishonour God.

Connie Schmidt said...

Stump has me stumped. What a bunch of rationalization and idiocy he wrote here.

Miller Jones said...

Connie, a rationalization has been defined as "Offering false or inauthentic excuses for our claim because we know the real reasons are much less persuasive or more embarrassing to share, or more harsh than the manufactured ones given." http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/150-rationalization I'm curious as to which of Mr. Stump's statements you are characterizing in that way? Likewise, could you please identify which statements are indicative of extreme folly and/or stupidity?
It seems to me that one could easily make the case that the ACOG's have been rationalizing their avoidance of Halloween. They claim that they want to please God by avoiding pagan practices, but doesn't the real reason that they scorn Halloween/Christmas/Easter have more to do with being able to say they are better than other Christians? - That they are special and apart because their avoidance makes them somehow cleaner in God's sight than all of those folks who celebrate them?

Byker Bob said...

AnonACOG 8:49: Your second paragraph is a Pollyannaish retrospective on a man who failed to lead by example. On so many levels, he was simply incapable of walking the talk. He also had his entire church believing that the Germans were coming in 1972, and Jesus was coming in 1975. Then he was wrong, and backpedalled. Do you have any idea the damage he did in peoples' lives? How can we not discuss it and attempt to hold him accountable? I would rather have had my understandings of God and Jesus come straight from the Bible, rather than having been filtered through HWA. I know a whole lot of people whose lives are much better having learned scriptural principles without what HWA brought to the party.

I wish my daughter were in town. We'd dress up as HWA and Dorothy and trick or treat at the ACOGs this sabbath.

BB

Ralph said...

What part of the words "for ever" is it that Keith Stump does not understand. viz:

"Lev_23:14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Lev_23:21 And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.
Lev_23:31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Lev_23:41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month."

cheers
ralph.f

Anonymous said...

Happy Halloween, everybody! :)

Whether you're dressing up and partying, helping kids get ready for trick or treat, chilling with a beer and a scary flick or hiding in the basement with the porch lights off and blinds pulled down, I hope everybody enjoys whatever they're doing this great fall weekend :)

Byker Bob said...

Ralph, (and anyone else who might be interested): Check out this dissertation on olam (forever), and l'olam va'ed (forever and ever).

This is not the only site that explains the nuances of ancient Hebrew, but it is a good one.

http://jewishroots.net/library/anti_missionary_objections/how_long_is_forever.html

Had HWA only had better understanding of what the ancient Hebrew language meant by forever, it would have saved us all a load of grief.

BB

Miller Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph said...

on October 30, 2015 at 3:29 PM
Byker Bob also said...

"Had HWA only had better understanding of what the ancient Hebrew language meant by forever, it would have saved us all a load of grief."

and I ask: How would it have saved us a lot of grief? I don't seem to have any.

cheers
ralph.f

Anonymous said...

oh man...as time gets short, you guys get freakier and freakier....

"Leviticus 23 is obsolete and irrelevant anyway."

yeah, you just keep on believing that......

Anonymous said...

Man, is time getting short again already? Ah well doesn't matter, we always get an extension because God is too broke to get the word out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:49; I couldn't agree with you more, I thought it was only me who felt that way, and Connie, Stump has me stumped too, what a bunch of nonsense talk while trying to justify something else that is nonsense like Halloween. Anyone who might think Halloween is okay in Gods eyes are far away from him.

Ralph said...

on October 30, 2015 at 8:00 PM
Miller Jones said...

"Do refrain from eating bread, parched grain and raw grain until after your offering has been made at the feast?"

Yo whom 9on earth) should I give an offering and to what feast do you refer?

cheers
ralph.f

Miller Jones said...

Ralph, Byker Bob's comments about the original Hebrew word being indicative of an undetermined or indefinite amount of time should be noted by everyone wishing to fully understand these passages. Nevertheless, for the sake of argument, let's say that the meaning was intended to be "perpetual" or "forever." My question for you is this: Do YOU refrain from eating bread, parched grain and raw grain until after your offering has been made at the feast? - See more at: http://armstrongismlibrary.blogspot.com/2015/10/halloween-and-church-of-god-fear-factor.html#sthash.WSvCmMH1.dpuf

I left out the "YOU" in my question the first time I posted this, but the question is legitimate for everyone who claims to be observing the festival in accordance with God's instructions. Also, please check out my comments regarding the festivals on the post about attendance numbers. No one has been willing/able to answer those points either.

Anonymous said...

It is funny how armstrongites point out the evil nature of Halloween but almost look forward to the tribulation when there will be a lot of death and destruction on this earth. That would be far more evil then the relative harmless holiday of Halloween. You wonder if the tribulation was made a holiday if the armstrongites would celebrate that. Oops, I forgot,I think they already have days for that!

Ralph said...

on October 30, 2015 at 3:29 PM
Byker Bob said...

"Ralph, (and anyone else who might be interested): Check out this dissertation on olam (forever), and l'olam va'ed (forever and ever)."

My response:
Ha Olam
I began reading your referenced dissertation with some suspicion realizing that the words were coming from a Jewish writer. The dissertation could also be considered as a teaching and I associate that with the Jewish word rabbi or, teacher.
I say suspicion because having read Nehemia Gordon’s book “The Hebrew Yeshua vs.The Greek Jesus” I always exercise caution when reading such material as you have referred.
To qualify what I have just said let me quote from Nehemia’s book as follows:
From page 14: Iniquity #2: Authority of the Rabbis
“…….the belief that the Rabbis have absolute authority to interpret scripture.
From page 15:
“Rabbi Eliezer was at his wits’ end and finally shouted out, “If the law agrees with me, let it be proved from Heaven!” At that moment all those present in the academy heard a voice call out from heaven saying: “Why do you dispute with Rabbi Eliezer , seeing that in all matters the law agrees with him!” The Rabbis were again impressed but turned to Rabi Eliezer and said, “Sorry, we do not listen to heaven”
[Has anything changed?]

Finally, in the future Kingdom of Jehovah we find:
“Zec 14:17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
Zec 14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles”

The only conclusion I can draw is that Ha Olam means what it says, forever, regardless of what the Rabbis say.

cheers
ralph.f

Anonymous said...

Leviticus 23 is both relevant and obsolete!

To the Christian, Leviticus is the word of God – so it is relevant and has worth in understanding the rigor of the Old Covenant and why the New Covenant is superior. However, because it belongs to the Old Covenant – which has been replaced with a new, better covenant – it is obsolete as law. Proof of COGlodyte ignorance can be seen in their unwillingness to discuss the New Covenant and their inability to define it.

Sweetblood777 said...

Dennis, it is obvious that you have emotional problems due to your experience in the WCG. What exactly turned you into a poisoned well is beyond me, but whatever it is, you need to truly repent.

One can see quite clearly that Keith is also affected in a negative way. When one lies through their teeth and denies Yahweh in their writings, it is evidence that a spirit/demon is influencing them. For you to tell me to more or less, shut the Fuck up, then I have to say that you are mentally unbalanced, as you cannot stand others that think differently than you.

Kind of cultish don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Wow, real evidence of spirits and demons right here on this little blog! It's too bad James Randi retired from taking applications for the $1,000,000 challenge to prove the paranormal. What a missed opportunity, you coulda been a contender. :(

Sweetblood777 said...

Just came across this. Funny but true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UelTBhS5GtE

DennisCDiehl said...

I apologize for the reaction to the labels and such towards Keith. Personally attacking someone instead of explaining from one' view what it is the person talks about is a problem for another seems the more mature route. Commenting on the commenter is not the same as commenting on the comments.

Keith and I talk a bit. He is recovering from a stroke and at the moment in a wheelchair from what I understand. I find Keith a very interesting person who is plainly a "seeker" as we say and like myself, just wants to know what is really what. Of course my WCG experience was traumatic. I didn't invent that concept. I don't have emotional "problems" over it all. It has provoked me to regroup and rethink the many religious memes and "truths" served up to me from childhood to now. Growing through foolishness is nothing to repent of.

Byker Bob said...

Ralph, I am not sure that the passages you cited from Zechariah are the be all and end all for this topic. Egypt gets its main fertility not from rain, but from the Nile River. In the Kingdom, spirit beings would not be affected by lack of rain or physical plagues. Spirit beings are not affected by matter, energy, space, or time. Also, Matt. 5:44 indicates that God's character is that He rains on the just and the unjust alike.

Zechariah, not having been exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ, could be using elements from his day to symbolize an attitude of obedience or disobedience to God, willingness or unwillingness to be present at commanded assemblies whether they be the feasts from the law of Moses, or whatever. Prophecy is known for its liberal use of symbolism, as opposed to literalism. Most of it outlines potential punishment for people who don't have a godly attitude. The Bible also tells us that it is God Himself who softens and hardens hearts.

The commentaries have many takes on these verses, going back hundreds of years. But, the verses can also be made to fit into and support Armstrongism, or Judaism if a person doesn't subject them to too many rigors.

BB

Anonymous said...

Every year this seems to be the topic with the most ill behaved, foul mouthed individuals showing up to this blog to post their drivel about how they do or do not observe the holiday.

I hate to break it to you guys, but that behavior does not cause anyone to "see thy deeds and praise your Father", as Jesus Christ said.

Ralph said...

on October 31, 2015 at 6:50 AM
Anonymous said...

"Proof of COGlodyte ignorance can be seen in their unwillingness to discuss the New Covenant and their inability to define it."

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by COGlodyte but I guess you mean something similar to troglodyte ie. "b. A person considered to be reclusive, reactionary, out of date, or brutish." found "HERE"
I don't see myself as having most of those characteristics but I will admit to being somewhat reclusive in the 'solitary' sense.
In any case I am always willing to discuss the "new covenant" together with its scriptural definition.

cheers
ralph.f

Anonymous said...

But the Jews still keep Sukkot.

Ralph said...

on October 31, 2015 at 4:53 PM
Anonymous said...

"But the Jews still keep Sukkot."

So do I, see "HERE", and as far as I am aware I am not a Jew.

Ralph said...

on October 31, 2015 at 10:05 AM
Byker Bob said...

"Ralph, I am not sure that the passages you cited from Zechariah are the be all and end all for this topic. Egypt gets its main fertility not from rain, but from the Nile River."

Byker Bob, surely the Nile river is the result of falling rain, be it in Egypt or elsewhere.
also:
"In the Kingdom, spirit beings would not be affected by lack of rain or physical plagues."

Is there evidence to suggest that the Egyptians referred to are spirit beings? I propose that if they were there would be no hesitation in "Coming up to Jerusalem" to 'Keep the Feast'.
also:
"Spirit beings are not affected by matter, energy, space, or time."

Couldn't agree more!
also:
"Also, Matt. 5:44 indicates that God's character is that He rains on the just and the unjust alike."

So indicating that He has complete control.

cheers
ralph.f

Ralph said...

Byker Bob
in addition to my comment of October 31, 2015 at 6:06 AM:

I don't think that spirit beings would be classed as 'heathen'!

cheers
ralph.f

Miller Jones said...

Ralph,
I was referring to your own citation of Leviticus 23:14 in your challenge to Mr. Stump about "forever." Which feast does that verse refer to? And, once again, are you observing the elements referenced there (refraining from eating bread, parched grain or raw grain until your offering is made)? If you're not, you're not keeping the festival in the manner prescribed in Leviticus 23!
Moreover, in your response to Byker Bob about Zechariah 14:17-18, you fail to account for the law of the central sanctuary still being in full force. Notice that the ONLY acceptable feast site is in JERUSALEM. The Egyptians are not permitted to have a feast site in Cairo or Alexandria! If ACOG folks are truly observing the FOT, why isn't everyone making the commanded journey to JERUSALEM? It seems to me that folks are cherry-picking which parts of these instructions that they want to obey. And, if you're not obeying every jot and tittle, how can you accuse anyone else of not being in conformity with God's will regarding the festivals?

Ralph said...

on November 1, 2015 at 4:00 AM
Miller Jones said...

" And, once again, are you observing the elements referenced there (refraining from eating bread, parched grain or raw grain until your offering is made)?"

Would you give me a scriptural reference to your claim?
also

"Notice that the ONLY acceptable feast site is in JERUSALEM."
Would you give me a scriptural reference for that statement? In addition to that would you give me the address of the Temple where the Feast may be celebrated?
also

"....... how can you accuse anyone else........"

Would you give me a reference as to where I have accused anybody of anything? If you can I will apologize for it and immediately withdraw any such accusation.

cheers
ralph.f

Anonymous said...

ralph,

Try seeing the festivals in Jesus, instead of the other way around. That was the whole point, you know.

cheers!

Miller Jones said...


Ralph,

The scripture is the one that you referenced in your earlier comment (Leviticus 23: 14) Are you doing what is commanded there? If not, does your observance of this feast conform to the Lord's "eternal" instructions given there?
As for the Law of the Central Sanctuary, notice the following scriptural references:
Deuteronomy 12:1-14, 14:23-24, 16:2,6 and 26:2 And, if there is any doubt about where God intended that place to be, notice I Kings 9:3 and 11:36.
Finally, your indictment of Mr. Stump's stance on Leviticus 23 implied that you were accusing him of not being in compliance with God's instructions there.

Cheers (I'm not being cute - I'm assuming your closing was sincere),
Lonnie

Ralph said...

on November 1, 2015 at 3:34 PM
Miller Jones said...

"The scripture is the one that you referenced in your earlier comment (Leviticus 23: 14)

Thanks for that reference Lonnie(?) I didn't think it had anything to do with the Feast of Tabernacles which was the topic being discussed. Your reference is to do with the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Azumos)
Firstly WRT ULB I am not a grain farmer and am unable to reap a sheaf to present to a non existent Levitical priesthood. I don't believe Yehovah expects us to do the impossible.
Secondly I do not breed sheep that would enable me to present a lamb without blemish to a non existent Levitical priesthood. Once again I don't believe Yehovah expects us to do the impossible.
Do you get my drift?

WRT to any offerings I do make, that is between Yehovah and me.

Zeroing in on Deut.12:1-14 it is noted in "Deu 12:14 But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee."
then
"1Ki 9:3 And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually."

Can you then direct me to the location of this house?
In any case, because of my very limited physical mobility, there would be no prospect of my undertaking international travel again. Once again Jehovah does not expect us to do the impossible.

Lacking a Levitical priesthood I rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit that resides within, according to the promises of Yehovah.
also:
"..your indictment of Mr. Stump's stance on Leviticus 23 implied that you were accusing him....."

A criticism is not necessarily an accusation, "implied"? perhaps in your mind only, for no accusation was intended.

As an aside, what do you think of the following short dissertation?:

SPIRIT
What does that word conjure up in your mind?
Eg. The Spirit of Progress
Apart from being the name of a diesel electric locomotive
see ”HERE”
Can it also mean the attitude ‘Let’s move on, we need to make progress.
Can it also mean the attitude of a ‘Spirit of Adventure’? ie. let’s go out and see what’s happening in other places.
Or the attitude of a ‘Spirit of Peace’? eg. Let’s be content with what we have.
Or even the attitude of a ‘Spirit of Rebellion’ eg. I don’t like you! You need to change your attitude!
And if we use the term ‘Holy Spirit’ can this mean the ‘Attitude of Yehovah’
So, if we have the ‘Holy Spirit’ dwelling within us doesn’t this mean we have the Attitude of Yehovah?
Such a blessing!
That’s the Spirit, the Holy Spirit!

Mar 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Luk 11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Luk 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
Luk 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

cheers
ralph.f

Ralph said...

on November 1, 2015 at 11:48 AM
Anonymous said...

"That was the whole point, you know."

The whole point of what?

cheers
ralph.f

Miller Jones said...

Thank you Ralph for acknowledging the fact that God does not expect us to do that which is impossible to do. I'm sure God honors your sincere attempt to keep the festivals, and I'm sure that God honors Mr. Stump's decision not to attempt to do something that is impossible to comply with in the prescribed manner. I guess that's why Paul said not to allow anyone to judge us in these matters.

Ralph said...

on November 1, 2015 at 9:20 PM
Miller Jones said...

".......and I'm sure that God honors Mr. Stump's decision not to attempt to do something that is impossible to comply with in the prescribed manner."

Surely the thrust of Keith Stump's article is as he states: "Leviticus 23 is obsolete and irrelevant anyway."

In other words 'done away'. I suppose he means all of it, including the weekly Sabbath. The weekly Sabbath "impossible to comply with"? I guess it would be for those who lack the attitude of Yehovah, ie. the Holy Spirit!

And just as surely his statement is contrary to:-
"Deu 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."

Miller Jones, I ask with sincerity, are you associated with GCI? No response would be understandable as it's none of my business with whom you are associated, just curious.

cheers
ralph.f
in addition to that, my usual e-mail sign off:-

TRUST IN YEHOVAH
"Eph_6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

Anonymous said...

Actually...the COG's are aware of the days of the week/months. That's why they follow the Biblical calendar for Holy Days'