Friday, April 7, 2017

Passover Musings: But Is It and Does It Have to be Literally True?

"The Exodus (from Greek ἔξοδος exodos, "going out") is the founding, or etiologicalmyth of Israel; its message is that the Israelites were delivered from slavery by Yahweh and therefore belong to him through the Mosaic covenant.[1][Notes 1] It tells of the enslavement of the Israelites in Egypt following the death of Joseph, their departure under the leadership of Moses, the revelations at Sinai (including the Ten Commandments), and their wanderings in the wilderness up to the borders of Canaan.[2] The exodus story is told in the books of ExodusLeviticusNumbers, and Deuteronomy, and their overall intent was to demonstrate God's actions in history, to recall Israel's bondage and salvation, and to demonstrate the fulfillment of Israel's covenant.[3]
The historicity of the story continues to attract popular attention, but the archaeological evidence does not support the historicity of the Book of Exodus.[4] The opinion of the overwhelming majority of modern biblical scholars is that it was shaped into its final present form in the post-Exilic period,[5] although the traditions behind it are older and can be traced in the writings of the 8th century BCE prophets.[6] It is unclear how far beyond that the tradition might stretch: according to historian Carol Redmount, "Presumably an original Exodus story lies hidden somewhere inside all the later revisions and alterations, but centuries of transmission have long obscured its presence, and its substance, accuracy and date are now difficult to determine."[3]
The Exodus has been central to Judaism. It served to orient Jews towards the celebration of God's actions in history, in contrast to polytheistic celebrations of the gods' actions in nature, and even today it is recounted daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated in the festival of Passover. In secular history the exodus has served as inspiration and model for many groups, from early Protestant settlers fleeing persecution in Europe to 19th and 20th century African-Americans striving for freedom and civil rights.[7]
Many of modern biblical scholars hold the opinion that the Torah, or Pentateuch (the series of five books which consist of the Book of Genesis plus the books in which the Exodus story is told) was shaped in the post-exilic period[5] (c. 538–332 BCE). There are currently two important hypotheses explaining the background to this theory:
  1. The first is Persian Imperial authorization, the idea that the post-exilic community needed a legal basis on which to function within the Persian Imperial system
  2. The second relates to the community of citizens organized around the Temple, with the Pentateuch providing the criteria for who would belong to it (the narratives and genealogies in Genesis) and establishing the power structures and relative positions of its various groups.[9]
In either case, the Book of Exodus is a "charter myth" for Israel: Israel was delivered from slavery by Yahweh and therefore belongs to him through the covenant.[1]
The final form of the Pentateuch was based on earlier written and oral traditions.[10][11] These have left traces in over 150 references throughout the Bible.[12]The earliest traces of these earlier traditions are in the books of prophets Amos (possibly) and Hosea (certainly), both active in 8th century BCE Israel. In contrast, Proto-Isaiah and Micah, both of whom were active in Judah at much the same time, show no similar traces. It thus seems reasonable to conclude the Exodus tradition was important in the northern kingdom in the 8th century BCE, but not in Judah.[6]
In a recent work, Stephen C. Russell traces the 8th-century BCE prophetic tradition to three originally separate variants, in the northern Kingdom of Israel, inTransjordan, and in the southern Kingdom of Judah respectively. Russell proposes different hypothetical historical backgrounds to each tradition:[12]
  • The tradition from Israel, which involves a journey from Egypt to the region of Bethel, he suggests is a memory of herders who could move to and from Egypt in times of crisis
  • For the Transjordanian tradition, which focuses on deliverance from Egypt without a journey, he suggests a memory of the withdrawal of Egyptian control at the end of the Late Bronze Age
  • For Judah, whose tradition is preserved in the Song of the Sea, Russell suggests the celebration of a military victory over Egypt, although it is impossible to suggest what this victory may have been.

Cultural significance

Main article: Passover
The exodus is remembered daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated each year at the feast of Passover.[13] The Hebrew name for this festival, Pesach, refers to God's instruction to the Israelites to prepare unleavened bread as they would be leaving Egypt in haste, and to mark their doors with the blood of slaughtered sheep so that the "Angel of Death" or "the destroyer" tasked with killing the first-born of Egypt would "pass over" them. Despite the Exodus story, a majority of scholars do not believe that the Passover festival originated as described in the biblical story.[14]
Jewish tradition has preserved national and personal reminders of this pivotal narrative in daily life. Examples include the wearing of tefillin (phylacteries) on the arm and forehead, the wearing of tzitzit (knotted ritual fringes attached to the four corners of the prayer shawl), the eating of matzot (unleavened bread) during the Pesach, the fasting of the firstborn a day before Pesach, and the redemption of firstborn children and animals.


There is no indication that the Israelites ever lived in Ancient Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula shows almost no sign of any occupation for the entire 2nd millennium BCE, and even Kadesh-Barnea, where the Israelites are said to have spent 38 years, was uninhabited prior to the establishment of the Israelite monarchy.[15]Such elements as could be fitted into the 2nd millennium could equally belong to the 1st, and are consistent with a 1st millennium BCE writer trying to set an old story in Egypt.[16] So while a few scholars, notably Kenneth Kitchen and James K. Hoffmeier, continue to discuss the historicity, or at least plausibility, of the story, arguing that the Egyptian records have been lost or suppressed or that the fleeing Israelites left no archaeological trace or that the huge numbers are mistranslated, the majority have abandoned the investigation as "a fruitless pursuit".[17][18]

Numbers and logistics

According to Exodus 12:37–38, the Israelites numbered "about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children," plus many non-Israelites and livestock. Numbers 1:46 gives a more precise total of 603,550 men aged 20 and up. It is difficult to reconcile the idea of 600,000 Israelite fighting men with the information that the Israelites were afraid of the Philistines and Egyptians.[19] The 600,000, plus wives, children, the elderly, and the "mixed multitude" of non-Israelites would have numbered some 2 million people.[20] Marching ten abreast, and without accounting for livestock, they would have formed a line 150 miles long.[21] The entire Egyptian population in 1250 BCE is estimated to have been around 3 to 3.5 million,[22][20] and no evidence has been found that Egypt ever suffered the demographic and economic catastrophe such a loss of population would represent, nor that the Sinai desert ever hosted (or could have hosted) these millions of people and their herds.[23] Some have rationalized the numbers into smaller figures, for example reading the Hebrew as "600 families" rather than 600,000 men, but all such solutions have their own set of problems.[24][Notes 2]


A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has found no evidence which can be directly related to the Exodus captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness,[25] and archaeologists generally agree that the Israelites had Canaanite origins.[26] The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains are in the Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite.[27] Almost the sole marker distinguishing the "Israelite" villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether even this is an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute.[27]


Despite the Bible's internal dating of the Exodus to the 2nd millennium BCE, details point to a 1st millennium date for the composition of the Book of ExodusEzion-Geber, (one of the Stations of the Exodus), for example, dates to a period between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE with possible further occupation into the 4th century BCE,[28] and those place-names on the Exodus route which have been identified – Goshen,  PithomSuccothRamesses and Kadesh Barnea – point to the geography of the 1st millennium rather than the 2nd.[29]
Similarly, the Pharaoh's fear that the Israelites might ally themselves with foreign invaders seems unlikely in the context of the late 2nd millennium, when Canaan was part of an Egyptian empire and Egypt faced no enemies in that direction, but does make sense in a 1st millennium context, when Egypt was considerably weaker and faced invasion first from the Achaemenid Empire and later from the Seleucid Empire.[30]
The mention of the dromedary in Exodus 9:3 also suggests a later date of composition – the widespread domestication of the camel as a herd animal is thought not to have taken place before the late 2nd millennium, after the Israelites had already emerged in Canaan,[31] and they did not become widespread in Egypt until c. 200–100 BCE.[32]


The chronology of the Exodus story likewise underlines its essentially religious rather than historical nature. The number seven was sacred to Yahweh in Judaism, and so the Israelites arrive at the Sinai Peninsula, where they will meet Yahweh, at the beginning of the seventh week after their departure from Egypt,[33] while the erection of the Tabernacle, Yahweh's dwelling-place among his people, occurs in the year 2666 after Yahweh creates the world, two-thirds of the way through a four thousand year era which culminates in or around the re-dedication of the Second Temple in 164 BCE.[34][35][Notes 3]


Main article: Stations of the Exodus
The Torah lists the places where the Israelites rested. A few of the names at the start of the itinerary, including Ra'amsesPithom and Succoth, are reasonably well identified with archaeological sites on the eastern edge of the Nile Delta,

Dating the Exodus

Attempts to date the Exodus to a specific century have been inconclusive. The lack of evidence has led scholars to conclude that it is difficult or even impossible to link the exodus story to any specific point in history.[43]"


DennisCDiehl said...

With all the counting, calculating, contradictions and controversy over the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of the Exodus in the Churches of God, I find the fact that it is most likely the classic "earthly story (myth) with a heavenly meaning" to quote my Presbyterian minister growing up after all.

As a pastor, the Passover Controversies in the church were endless. Some demanded I teach it was on this or that day and not as the church taught. Some demanded we stand up when eating or taking the Passover, "ready to go." Some wanted Passover and Night to be Much Observed to be one and the same. Some demanded we eat lamb on NTBMO (fine with me) and others had variations on the theme galore.

The "How to keep the Passover" controversy got so out of control when I was in my 20's as minister in my first church area that I was threatened to be put on 60 minutes for asking the fellow (a really fine friend at one time) to calm down and quite disrupting everyone over it all. I even had to call the police to Sabbath Services. That should have been my first hint of many this Church thing was not going to be a pleasant and hope filled career.

The working definition of being a pastor for WCG in so many areas as I experienced it, and this was one of them, was "One damn thing after another."

Exiting the Church was my best application of "The Exodus" I ever came up with.

DennisCDiehl said...

I got tired of hearing members tell me that "This is not to keep the Lord's Supper" meant the church is not keeping the worldly Christian "Lord's Supper" but the PASSOVER!

I could not get it into some heads that what was not "The Lord's Supper" was the ridiculous conduct of the congregation in Corinth that was why it was not a supper or practice associated with the Lord, and was not saying "we are not to call it THE LORD's SUPPER"! I don't miss it! lol

1 Corinthians 11:17-34English Standard Version (ESV)

The Lord's Supper
17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,[a] 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, IT IS NOT THE LORD"S SUPPER THAT YOU EAT. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not."

PS Paul got his instructions for the Lord's Supper in his typical Jesus revealed it to me , hallucinatory way and not from any Jesus of the Gospels who he never met and whose story was not yet brought down to earth in his lifetime. Nuther issue.....

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, the science deniers aren't going to like this one. "The archaeological record be damned! It must have been tampered with by satan! I still go with teh werd of gawd!"

Thank you for posting, Dennis.

DennisCDiehl said...

Well you know what they say about the truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.

I'm still waiting for Mr. Face to Face to call.

"Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dennis, You clearly are de-evolving into monkey. A theory is nothing more than guess work and has little to no facts. You apparently have A low IQ.

April 6, 2017 at 7:43 PM Delete
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dennis, I would be willing to talk to you face to face and we could discuss your beliefs like a real man. Oh that's right you can't because you are not man enough."

"Blogger DennisCDiehl said...
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dennis, I would be willing to talk to you face to face and we could discuss your beliefs like a real man. Oh that's right you can't because you are not man enough.

Home all day tomorrow and Saturday from work. Email is Drop me a note, I"ll send you my number and you can call me for an initial chat. You have til Saturday evening.

I'm a real man just fine and you diminish yourself with your childish wisecracks . Perhaps it is you that is not the man and can't communicate like one?

I'll expect an email and then your call. I'd be happy to report the outcome of our initial talk here on Banned.

Talk soon..."

Byker Bob said...

One of a handfull of root problems inherent in Armstrongism is the frenzied drive towards hard set legalism which forms the basis for a Christian to "pass" or "fail". The basic fallacy behind this is that there is not sufficient foundational material on which to build iron clad legalism. When you see and hear all the evidence and become aware of various gaps and voids, Phariseeism is simply not possible. The only basis for the legalism in WCG was "Mr. Armstrong says ............, and he is God's Apostle!" He somehow had developed a level of power to motivate people to selectively ignore and disbelieve the factors which invalidated his teachings. Herbie proclaimed the basic package of latter day gnosticism, and members either bought the entire package, or were alleged to be on what Bon Scott sang about as the "Highway to Hell". In so many ways, it's sad that HWA wasn't the vomit gargler instead of ol' Bon.

I happen to believe that there was some sort of exodus from Egypt, just as I believe Noah's flood was a smaller scale Mesopotamian event. But, these are things which at this late date may have passed beyond any ability to definitively verify or belie what is recorded in Torah. I suspect that the people who are most bothered by the absence of evidence are the ones on either side of the spectrum: Those who want to use it to support one true church, and those who would like to totally obliterate it once and for all. There really isn't enough to accomplish either with 100% certainty.

And by the way, it is absolutely disgraceful any time the police have to be summoned to mediate some sort of dispute amongst Christians, both of whom believe themselves to be the real deal. Some kind of love crisis in that!


Anonymous said...

Dennis said: Exiting the Church was my best application of "The Exodus" I ever came up with.
I agree it was one of the best things you could do and beneficial to any church to have an individual like you leave. A Church that believes in God and Jesus Christ has more to offer than you seem to have. The biblical writings have a greater value to the human race than you seem to draw from them.
Whether you believe it of not a person that has a faith, hope, and charity relationship with God and Jesus Christ is a better human being than a person who is focused on destroying this faith and hope.
I speak from 86 years of living with believing families.

Anonymous said...

"your are only a real man if...." has to be the most manipulative comment in history. Real men ignore it or refute it (there we go again).

It's what people say to push your buttons, strike you where they think you are weakest. Plenty of examples.

"Someone has to be a man here and admit they were wrong"--used by PCG tyrant Wayne Turgeon--who is not man enough to admit HIS mistakes--to try to manipulate people to false confessions.

"Real men defend their country"--used to trick 19 year old kids to die for some cause they do not really understand. In the West its usually for fake democracy, the interests of the hyper rich, or the fifth column--the real causes of the war.

"Real men don't speak French."

"Real men defend women no matter what"--used to subjugate men to defend even those women who despise them and treat them like crap, steal their jobs, drive them to dire poverty, while they sit in the lap of luxury with dual hyper-rich incomes.

Here's my version: real men don't let other people tell them how to be a man.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dennis said: Exiting the Church was my best application of "The Exodus" I ever came up with.
I agree it was one of the best things you could do and beneficial to any church to have an individual like you leave

I understand your perspective and faith. What has always puzzled me is why me or anyone who questions the actual origins, background, history of anything contrary to what most just assume to be true, or were told as a child in Sunday School, especially if it is in the Bible and taken literally as Westerners are wont to do, but with excellent scientific inquiry as well, gets accused of wanting to destroy people's faith? There is no such thought or intent in that.

The Bible itself says "It is the glory of a King ( I guess not the peasants) to search out a matter," yet does that mean as long as it doesn't upset cherished beliefs which are NOT the same as actual truths or reality very often? Is it so bad to be dis-illusioned for a time or does living in an illusion and delusion what we're going for in life?

I deeply understand the loss of faith over reason and inquiry. I understand the concept from first hand experience of the "Dark Night of the Soul" Maybe I think too much. Maybe I ask too many questions of others who have a track record of not being all that correct in hindsight. Maybe I am just a kind of human being who actually would make a better geologist, paleontologist or cosmologist than a theologian. Believe me if I had it to do again, I'd not make that mistake twice.

So please , at least give me some credit for not having an agenda to destroy faith. If facts destroy someone's wrongly held faith topics, then so be it. Thousands of well read and educated in all things not Bible do that every day and I have found that those who were the most sincere in the Bible, in the Church, in the calling so to speak , often dig the deepest when they see lights at the end of other tunnels besides Church views, traditions and dogma. Many a great geologist and evolutionist started out in religion and theology because they are naturally curious and willing to think outside boxes and explore.

Those like a Dave Pack are lost in their own heads and while attempting to sound wise in areas outside their actual study and then only to refute and buttress their faith, make fools of themselves in a time when more information is available on the actual history, origins, intent and authorship of the scriptures.

There is nothing wrong with questioning the Bible when it presents things in such a way that provoke nothing but questions .

I am not and never have been with the Sunday School/literalist version of the Bible . And while most go along to get along in the church and faith of their choice, people such as myself are also a part of the picture and separating facts from faith, which if put in the wrong things and people can be very dangerous to family, finances and self.

More to the posting. Either the Exodus happened in real time and history or it didn't and the story had another purpose lost on Westerners. I simply ask we think about that.

DennisCDiehl said...

"Here's my version: real men don't let other people tell them how to be a man."

I don't intend to. He offered to talk about my beliefs face to face but then let himself off the hook because I'm not man enough. I set it up so he could email me and then call. Have yet to hear from the man but will wait patiently.

DennisCDiehl said...

Whether you believe it of not a person that has a faith, hope, and charity relationship with God and Jesus Christ is a better human being than a person who is focused on destroying this faith and hope.
I speak from 86 years of living with believing families.

I honor that in you. There is no focus on destroying faith and hope. Faith and hope are simply that, not subject to inquiry it seems nor indeed can be.

Hebrews 11:1New International Version (NIV)

Faith in Action
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

To paraphrase. "Now faith is confidence in what we hope is so and the assurance we are right based on absolutely no evidence."

How does one compete with that? That simple does not work for me and those who search out a matter in real life.

Michael said...

"The 600,000, plus wives, children, the elderly, and the "mixed multitude" of non-Israelites would have numbered some 2 million people.[20] Marching ten abreast, and without accounting for livestock, they would have formed a line 150 miles long"

Not to mention, the entire Sinai peninsula is barely the size of the state of South Carolina, and they were supposed to have wandered around in that region for 40 yrs?

Actually, because of all the non-navigable mountainous parts, the area they could have wandered was much smaller, more comparable to the state of New Jersey...

DennisCDiehl said...

I always thought it odd that Moses got so pissed when the 2 million plus said , while in the waste howling desert, "we're thirsty, not to mention my million or so cattle."
And hunger? Pfffft....complainers!

Anonymous said...

Dennis can write as many anti Christian posts as he likes. But it doesn't change the reality that some are qualifying for the kingdom, while Dennis obviously isn't. Joining Satan in crown stealing is a despicable thing to do.

Michael said...

"And hunger? Pfffft....complainers!"

But after two years of desert manna, which any normal human being would get tired of 3 times a day, and request some variety, any variety, well, a loving God did provide them with quail, no?
"Here are your quail, millions of them..."
And then struck them with a plaque for eating the quail he sent.

That OT Yahweh dude is quite the character...

anonymous63 said...

Critical thinking is the first casualty of the COg's and splinters and independents. The declaration that they are the only ones that teach "the truth" omits any right or possibility to question or reason things out to "prove all things". The followers of such men and organizations are not to question the validity or interpretation of "the truth". If one does question they are "treading on dangerous ground".

The sheep are certainly are not permitted to reason among themselves. In UCg, prior to the split with COgWA, only gossip and trivial matters were discussed on the Sabbath. Bible studies were not permitted unless an overseer (minister or elder) was present and even then, a lowly elder had to get permission from a higher up.

Self righteousness coupled with 'I'm the boss' and you do what I tell you because I have the 'truth' and you don't you stupid little sniveling brat/silly sheep, so sit down and shut-up. Isn't that often the way "fathers provoke their children to wrath"? I guess it's permitted in dis-functional church families. Is that how some got to calling their overseers 'father' or the overseer's took the position of 'father', going against the biblical instruction to call no man father? Oh, so many thoughts and questions.

anonymous63 said...

Anonymous 12:07 AM

So, are you God? Do you make the determination of who is "qualifying" and who isn't? Are you without sin? Are you so weak in faith that you cannot reason with another? How come you are here if you feel this site is anti-Christian? Can you not be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove? It seems that if anyone is "crown stealing" it is you for you have judged and condemned Dennis in saying he isn't gonna 'be there'. You, nor I, nor any other human being knows *for sure* who will and who won't be in the kingdom. Is that truth or not? God is not willing that any should perish. Why do you seem so quick to 'perish' another human being?

Anonymous said...

Thousands of well read and educated in all things not Bible do that every day and I have found that those who were the most sincere in the Bible, in the Church, in the calling so to speak , often dig the deepest when they see lights at the end of other tunnels besides Church views, traditions and dogma.

Well put, if you believe in the Bible, then you should at least do as the "Bereans" did, and check out the facts given by our modern "Apostles, Elijah's, Joshua's, Prophet's, etc. But they count on the fact that most in the Church do not actually read their Bibles, just as we always hear preached. Because if they did, it would be obvious that these splinter leaders are false, and are inventing their own doctrines, just as the Bible said would happen.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is believing a set of events that took place written in a book written 900 to 2 or 3 thousand years ago requires supporting historic evidence. This evidence is lacking at best or not even in existence. The story of the exodus and the story of Jesus are devoid of anything close to substantial historical evidence. Who wrote each of the individual books of the bible? No one knows many just guess. This begs the question, If we don't even know who wrote the bible then how can we say it is divinely inspired? How can we believe that anything recorded in its pages actually happened?

Anonymous said...

I see a number of people attacking Dennis instead of showing us the content is wrong (in other words, presenting actual finds that belong to the Exodus). Looks like an admission of the post's point to me.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
I see a number of people attacking Dennis instead of showing us the content is wrong (in other words, presenting actual finds that belong to the Exodus). Looks like an admission of the post's point to me.

It has always been my observation here that few if any actually refer to the particular posting or even more, would take up the invitation to post their own view on topics presented as an offering and break to the Church of God drama and trauma. I'd rather comment on someones thought out perspective than their snark and insecurities. Many comments are just emotional reactions with some simply reverting to insult and shallow judgments of a person but that is often the nature of religious and theological discussion with those given to literalism , creationism and prophecy.

Side note: Prophecy is not history prophecied, it is prophecy historized in most cases, when not outright failed and hopeful speculation set to "thus saith" and the ever present "Behold...." to give it ring of authority

Anonymous said...

My bible tells me that 'you shall know them by their fruit.' In Dennis's case, there is a body of evidence, plus his own confession of rejecting the existence of God and the bible. So no, it is not a shallow judgment and yes, Dennis won't 'be there.' What a waste. God groans at the thought of sentencing anyone to eternal death, but it is the reality.
'Don't condemn' means people have a right to due process. Hence it must a role of government rather than people taking the law into their own hands.

Byker Bob said...

It never ceases to amaze me that regardless of the topic of discussion, some Armstrong shill, or manure stirring troll thinks the solution to the discussion is to dump Armstrongism cliches into the mix, like "evilution", "qualifying for the kingdom", or about the Holy Spirit supposedly confirming the false prophecies of Armstrongism for them in their prayers. Even if these were not so abysmally ignorant, they do nothing to advance the discussion. They are the blog equivalent of catcalls.

Seekers of truth welcome different viewpoints. They may not embrace them and make them their own, but at least they consider and evaluate them. HWA redefined the phrase "truth seeker" to mean those who recognized him as being the sole arbiter of truth in the alleged endtimes. Stalwarts still remaining in Armstrongism do not believe that any further research is appropriate, or necessary. They've stopped looking, and believe that those who are still addressing a series of nagging questions that Armstrongism did not satisfactorily answer have "left the truth".


Byker Bob said...

All the legalism! The problem comes into play when someone like an HWA or back in the day, GTA, issues an edict that you must take every word your minister speaks as if it came directly from Jesus Christ.

First of all, we recognize that there have been differences of opinion in different regions by different ministers. Secondly, how many times have there been ministers who have been booted or left, and post mortem remarks were made to the effect that they never were converted? If you can't rely on the conversion of your minister, how can you take his every word as if it came directly from Jesus Christ?

Armstrongism has historically mandated zero tolerance, as if attitude and grace were not factors in one's relationship with God. So you end up with ridiculous pronouncements about wearing your sabbath attire while listening to or watching the broadcast, or edicts surrounding micro-management of hair. Measurement of character based on actively consulting with and unquestioning obedience to every detail of what your minister says to you.

Could this be something they orchestrated deliberately? Is this why most members have never pondered in detail Bible events that were most likely modified as they were translated from (actually paraphrased) ancient languages, or repeated in oral tradition for many years before they were recorded? The so-called doublets, dual reports in both Chronicles and Kings, which differ substantially from one another, should tip us off that the exact minutiae have been lost to antiquity. I'd like to know how ACOG members rationalize these doublets alone and by themselves, and how that informs their Bible study and affects their beliefs.

Tinfoil hats are available for the extremists who center their lives around either of two opposing poles. Safety, and balance, are found somewhere in between. Fanaticism and extremism become a crippling weakness at some point. They affect ability to conduct loving relationships with either God or man.


Anonymous said...

Yes it's embarrassing that people challenge Dennis by condemning him and attacking him instead of attempting to tear apart his argument Christ silenced many critics of God with his wisdom and understanding. I believe in the bible and the creator anyway I saw a debate between atheists and a creationist regarding the Flood whether or not it happened and it was embarrassing to see the creationist destroyed he literally choked while the otherside brought fact after fact. And these atheist were very nice and not aggressive towards his faith. There is still much evidence in archaeology that support many bible stories. Once the bible was mocked over the lack of external evidence for the kingdom of Assyria but today we have evidence that it existed, the samething with the hittites, it is very often more sensational for the media to publicize critics calling the bible fiction but not so much so when evidence is found that supports the biblical record.

Hoss said...

This article probably wouldn't bother the Swedenborgians. I remember when their local church had a radio program around the same time as GTA, and just about every OT account their speaker read was explained as an allegory.

Anonymous said...

Thats wonderful, 8:28a. And completely irrelevant.
Who was the Pharoah of the Exodus?
Were coins and camels in use at that time?
Which building projects did the enslaved Hebrews participate in?
How many people were involved, and what happened in Egypt after the departure of their conscripted workforce?
Which mountain peak did they call Mount Sinai?
Which contemporary Egyptians records can we use to confirm the answers to the questions above?

Anonymous said...

I'm always entertained by the number of people who say that the Hebrews "built the pyramids". The famous pyramids at Giza, the Step Pyramid of Zoser and the pyramids of Sneferu at Dashour are all imposing monuments, but they are earlier in history than the Hebrews.
Now, with a large chronology adjustment, it is remotely possible that Hebrew slaves built at least some of the Middle Kingdom mudbrick pyramids, most of which survive today as shapeless lumps and ruined foundations. But the biblical account has them building cities, not pyramids.

Byker Bob said...

We'll never know the answers to your questions, 3:13, because Yul Brynner died years ago!


Anonymous said...

Regarding you rejecting 'qualifying for the kingdom,' there are people both inside and outside the church, who every time they open their mouths, poison and murder comes out. I have even had ministers like that.
Do you honesty believe God will allow such people into His kingdom?

Your comment about GTA demanding that members regard every word from ministers as words from Gods mouth, is not unique to Armstrongism. It is a lower working class belief which I frequently experience. In fact, most Herbie culture is lower working class 'morality' (I regard it as bully morality) with Pharisaic biblical window dressing. Observe school yard and workplace bullies, and compare it to Herbie ministers behaviour. They are identical.

Anonymous said...

3.13 PM
On technical blogs, it is easy to compartmentalize topics. Hence a sailing blog will have articles on sail rigging, anchors, tacking etc. I agree that it would be inappropriate to post a comment on mast rake, if the topic is gybing.
However, when it comes to religion or mortality, compartmentalisation is difficult since morality is interrelated. Concepts are not free floating. Which is why there is drift on most posts. Many people will read this post, and ask themselves what is Dennis's motive in doing so? Why criticise me for vocalising what many are thinking? Are his motives really 'completely irrelevant?'

Byker Bob said...

OK, 4:02, I believe that one qualifies for the kingdom by accepting Jesus Christ as one's personal savior, not by using will power to apply the tenets of Armstrongism on one's own. Jesus then produces the good fruits (works) in the Christian's life, by transforming and sanctifying His followers. To arrogantly state that you are "qualifying" is to take credit yourself, and to diminish the work that Jesus did for us on the cross at Calvary, and the work He is performing in our minds and lives.

When people make statements to the effect that Dennis isn't qualifying for the kingdom, they may not see the big picture that God sees. That not qualifying thing is not even a judgment that we humans are permitted to make! Clearly, someone is being presumptuous here, and making some very stupid statements. No surprise, though. These are probably people who still think the Germans are coming!


Anonymous said...

Never said his motives were irrelevant. Your attempt to deflect from the topic was. Want to say there's no evidence and take it on faith? Cool. No shame in that. Ad hominem out of the gate, yes, quite shameful.

anonymous63 said...

Anonymous 12:07 AM and 8:28 AM

I never called it "a shallow judgement" in fact I consider your "judgement" quite the opposite. It is harsh and condemning and, I think, out of line. It's also not your place or mine or anyone else's to make. We are not God. That is God's domain and decision after all is said and done.

You didn't answer my question. I said, 'You, nor I, nor any other human being knows *for sure* who will or won't be in the kingdom. Is that the truth or not?" There are several other questions that you also avoided answering. Why is that?

Anonymous 11:46 AM brought up some very valid points to consider in regard to being able to "tear apart the arguments of the critics". Are you, anon. 12:07 am., ever going to be able to teach in the kingdom if all you do is carry a big stick and beat your "subjects" into submission?

Using the example of the atheist and the creationist discussing the flood, if the creationist doesn't study and prove and DISPROVE what is being discussed, they cannot make valid or rational points to shoot down 'error' or get another to consider their viewpoint. Condemning someone to hell-fire because you think what they believe is wrong without pointing out what is wrong and why, is well, wrong.

If you are in a COg why are you on this site if you feel this way? Aren't you "commanded to stay away from such people"?

Anonymous said...

It was Dennis who first introduced the term 'shallow judgment' and I responded. Sometimes we can know 'for sure' whether someone did not qualify for the kingdom. There have been many cases of people of a poor character who have given up trying to live by Gods laws in the church. They have fallen by the wayside, and sometimes admit it. If a Christian is very old, (next to no time left to build the character for the kingdom) and has reverted to 'crown stealing,' I put that person in the 'practical certainty' category of not having qualified for the kingdom.
'Give honor to whom honor is due' means a duty of care in assessing people. I say this in response to harassing statements about assessing others.
I have had no response about God letting people into the kingdom who have a poison, murderous mouth, so join the club about unanswered questions.

Anonymous said...

"If you are in a COg why are you on this site if you feel this way? Aren't you "commanded to stay away from such people"?"

This point comes up now and then. Not everyone shares your own map of reality. There are differences of opinion among 'dissidents.' If you feel that only this site is the 'True dissident Church of God, and dissenters should be excommunicated, I will start of site called Banned by BannedByHWA. Those who disagree with me, will start another site called 'Banned by Banned by BannedByHWA.'

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, on second thought, I might start my own blog. I will call it 'The Restored BannedByHWA,' or 'The Continuing BannedByHWA,' or 'The United BannedByHWA.'

Anonymous said...

This article claims that the Sinai desert could not support 2 million people and their animals. I watched a documentary hosted by the late Charlton Heaton on the Sphinx. It pointed out that the erosion patterns on its lower parts could only be the result of heavy rains. In the NT it mentions Christ telling people to sit on the grass. Meaning that weather patterns at that time, were very different to todays. In fact, North Africa was the bread basket of the a Roman empire, but faulty (greedy) farming practises ruined the land. This resulted in a change in the weather patterns.
There is also another natural phenomenon at work. Watching a YouTube documentary on the Sahara, it pointed out that there is a slight wobble in the Earth, which causes the monsoon rains to shift from north to south and back again. From memory, this shift takes place every 2000 years. So the Sahara (and by implication the Sinai) received heavy rainfalls during that earlier period.

So again a misleading article by Dennis.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, what you dont remember from that documentary, or chose to omit, is that the erosion patterns on the Great Sphinx, its enclosure, and local excavations allow for a conservative dating of maybe 3000 BC, maybe 2500 if you reeeeeally want to push.

The Exodus comes way later.

Anonymous said...

Besides, with heavy rainfall, did Moses really need to bring water out from a rock?

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia says the great sphinx was built 2558-2532 BC. Moses was born 1393 BE.
So we are looking at about 1200-1300 year difference. And there was no ruinous African farming practises changing the weather pattern. I recall reading that it was a red cross study that blamed the changed weather pattern in north Africa on the destructive farming in Roman times.

Heavy rainfall doesn't mean that it rains everyday or that there is are pools of water every two days journey.

anonymous63 said...

April 9 2017 12:17 AM

Maybe I need to add something for clarity as it *sounds like* you might be getting the wrong impression of what I said.

I was addressing anonymous 12:07 AM and 8:28 AM, not anyone else and I wasn't condemning this blog. . I confess to being snarky by nature and anon's comment about Dennis not being in the kingdom pushed my buttons. None of us knows what the final score will be for anyone until the final 'touchdown'. Calling the game before it's over really stinks in my not so humble opinion. The "commanded to stay away from such people" part is in quotes as that is one of the COg's top 10 "commandments". With the COg's it seems, at times, that if you blow your nose the wrong way your out the door and shunned.

Maybe I'm obtuse and misunderstanding your comment. Could you clarify?

nck said...

april 7 4:28

I am with BB on this one. Didn't read all the comments.

Regarding ancient manuscripts I am a believer in localized events that over time garnered greater meaning. Regarding the numbers in ancient manuscripts. They are a rhetorical device just meaning "large group" or "small group". They are not to be taken literally.

For instance in the bello gallico Julius Ceasar uses ridiculous numbers talking about the Celtic Tribes he defeats. Of course for political purposes, but moreso as an art form or device to enhance the significance of his deeds. They all happened albeit the numbers were not as recorded.

On the other hand, Mesopotamian clay tablets have quite accurate numbers on trade and storage. Including the swear words, if someone is not paying the bill.

Ah, those funny ancients.


nck said...

Oh I forgot,

I was going to comment on BB's comment on the fighting christians.

A day after I visited the "Nativity Church" in Behtlehem fighting broke out between the cleaning monks of the different christian faiths. Apparantly they devided the church in half in order to clean it and not cross each others area/line/faith. Disorder broke out and everyone was hitting each other with broom sticks until the palestinian police came in and stopped the hostilities.

Just recently they opened the "grave of christ" for restoration. I believe this was possible because 3 of the 5 christian faiths agreed on the restoration. The muslim key holder opened it up for them.

I still cannot find what HWA 's decoration offered by the patriarch of jerusalem, "the cross of constantine" means in terms of "diplomatic or other significance to the greek orthodox". But I guess the 4 other christian groups controlling the sites in Jerusalem would hold such decoration in contempt anyway.


Anonymous said...

The "breadbasket" in Roman times was Algeria, Tunisia, and parts of Libya. That is well after the youngest possible Sphinx-building era and has nothing to do, in any event, with the Sinai desert. (Thutmose IVs Dream Stele already has the Sphinx covered in sand up to its neck as of c. 1380 BC.)

Of course, you could always reference Jeremiah 2:6's retelling...

Anonymous said...

This is 7.08AM and 8.28 AM. Both are my posts. I thought I already answered the comment about not knowing 'for sure' about peoples eternal fate. It seems many people have a problem wit basic reality, which is common in the COGs. Let me break it down. You have the law of gradualness. It takes times to mature as a people. Your 'final touchdown' is not meaningful in this context. It is not like s football game. Think of developing technical or sporting skills, it takes time. There comes a time when time has run out, no matter how hard one might try. The 'grey area' here is people going through the 'great tribulation.' But even then, this will only 'work' with people who have a good foundation in character, and have grown to a point. Others lacking this, will be destroyed in the tribulation, like the house built on sand.
Basic reality number two, the mind polarizes toward Gods or Satan way. Dennis ongoing articles trying to discredit God and the bible proves he has polarized to Satans way, the 'you shall know them by their fruits' thingy.
Sometimes the body of evidence is overwhelming. He has failed to qualify for eternal life. Christ did say that many will try, but fail to qualify. You seem to be a war with this painful, ugly reality.
I stopped attending services decades ago, so church (often idiotic) rules are meaningless to me.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, the Israelites complained to Moses about lack of water for their herds. They did not complain about lack of feed for their herd. Meaning, grass was abundant. It wasn't just sand and rock as assumed by Dennis.