Note: Please read Dixon Cartwright's comment below in the comments section about the original article. While it was apparently satire, Armstrongism is filled with people who actually believe and say this kind of silliness as fact. It is no wonder so many took it at face value because of our history, which truly speaks volumes about the state of mind of many in the church.
This issue has a story by Bernie Mansalvo, from the Church of God Big Sandy. He believes he has traveled back in time to be the faithful scribe to Ezekiel.
Is time travel possible? Can events in the future be perceived by mere mortals? Conversely, can the the past be relived?
I believe it is not only possible but has happened. I have vividly imagined a conversation of thousands of years ago with one of my mentors in the ways of the Lord.
At the time there was no English language, only Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Babylonian, and yet we were able to communicate.
Ezekiel ben Buzi ben Adam did indeed time-travel, and I think I did too by picking up his first impressions. I was at the time Barnabas ben Monsalvo, Ezekiel’s faithful amanuensis.
Are there other events in the future waiting to be witnessed in our time? Can the past be probed?
Please, dear reader, you decide
He then goes on to describe floating in a chariot through the sky of the land of the Chaldean's until he arrived at the valley of the dry bones. There, his chariot flew the distance of the valley, 30-40 miles, at about 15 feet above the bones. The entire valley, through that entire distance, was all bones.
Then the "Lord" decides to speak to Bernie and calls him "The Son of Man." This "Lord" asks Bernie, The Son of Man, "can these bones live?" Bernie thought it was particularly cool that the "Lord" would speak so endearingly as to call him the Son of Man.
Bernie is then instructed to prophesy to the dried up bones:
“Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.”
Bernie, by being the Son of Man, was able to bring the bones back to life. The only problem was that they were Zombies. I kid you not!
Zombies for only a moment
The bones, now whole skeletons, began growing sinews and flesh. Skeletons became hideous zombie like creatures.
Then the zombies, in a twinkling of an eye, morphed into healthy, rosy human bodies.
They looked healthy, except that there seemed to be no breath in them. They were lying everywhere, even in piles. They seemed to be asleep, dormant, dead to the world
Then, the zombies started gaining muscle and skin. While no longer zombies they were still naked.
Then, all of a sudden, clothing started appearing on them. Bernie's "Lord" said to breathe the breathe of life into them:
I blinked and notice that the bodies were beginning to seemingly magically acquire clothing. They had been naked. Now they were wearing attire: utilitarian, nothing fancy.
Then the LORD said to me: “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’
Bernie then realized that the people coming alive before him were relatives from the village he supposedly grew up in, some of them maybe even great-great grandparents that had been able to cross through the Red Sea when the waters were divided.
I was surprised to find that I recognized some of the people, some who had been my teachers. Others were elders and instructors in my village. I wondered if I might meet my own great great-grandparents and hear firsthand what it was like to cross the Red Sea with Moses.
Bernie then began to speak on a thunderous voice to the multitude of revived zombies. The "Lord" instructed him to take two sticks and write on them and then divide them into tribes. Bernie then gets out his fountain pen and ink out and starts writing on the branches.
“As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’ Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.”
Looking around at the trees, I found a couple of good-sized sticks. I peeled the bark and a neat white surface lay beneath. I found my pen and ink and wrote on each stick as I was told.
Then, these really, really cool revived people suddenly took upon themselves to appoint leaders who eagerly stared at Bernie waiting to see what he was writing on the sticks:
Some of the people who had recently come alive had organized themselves and selected elderly spokesmen. The masses and their spokesmen watched me intently.
Bernie then told these fascinated leaders that God was reuniting them as a people so they could live just as they did 2,000 years ago. Imagine being resurrected back to life and then being told you had to go back 2,000 years in time to live in dirt and mud houses in the heat of the desert. What a bitch!
I reminded the elders about God’s promise to reunite the 12 tribes so they could live as they lived when they first entered the Promised Land.Then, in a typical Church of God fashion, Bernie exclaims what a privileged it will be to live UNDER the authority of King David. No Jesus in this equation, but plenty of Hebrew heroes.
We will be one kingdom again, never to be defiled again by idols. God will gather His people from everywhere to restore them spiritually. He will fulfill His purpose for us: to be our God forever.
We will not be deceived again by false shepherds. We will have David again as our king: King David, the man after God’s own heart, the man forgiven of his trespasses and hideous sins before God.
Bernie then begrudgingly has to mention his "Lord." Apparently it is Jesus, though he cannot say the name:
The elders were just beginning to understand what God was saying: that they would be given a new life, a new life under David and his princes, a new life under One Shepherd.
David will organize their nation while the LORD, our Shepherd, will guide us.
Bernie then adds:
In my whole experience today, the LORD told me several times that these people will know who their God is.
They will know Him as the God of miracles, a God who gives life, a God who conquers death, a God who as a loving Father provides an abundant table for His people.
Bernie then ends his amazingly awesome message with this:
Was this a vision, a dream, a glimpse into the future?That is a question for another time.
As a priest, I knew I had to comfort my fellow Jews in captivity with this story. I resolved to sit down just now and write it all up.
God is real
I wouldn’t try to distinguish what was real and what was not. To me, everything was real.
The Eternal God is real to me. My relationship with Him is real.
The magnificent picture of millions of people from all nations coming back to life is real.
I’ll let my people know they have so much to look forward to.
May God speed that day when our people will have David as their king and the Lord GOD as the True Shepherd of Israel!
Got to get busy
I have no idea how everything I’ve witnessed, felt and rejoiced over will be delivered to the intended audience: the rest of the scattered children of Israel.
I must get busy writing it all up while I do my best to be faithful to the words of the LORDAll the Churches of God claim to be followers of Jesus, but he always gets put on the short bus around the Kingdom. David, HWA, Flurry, Pack and others always get more credit and favor in God's sight than anything Jesus ever did on that lonely hill of Calvary.
Lest you believe that what I wrote above is all made up, you can read the entire story here. Read it and be amazed or appalled.