Saturday, August 22, 2020

Gerald Weston Intends To Shut Down Live Streaming Of Sermons


Church of God News has this little tidbit up:

It used to be possible for anyone to view LCG’s live Sabbath services, but one of Gerald Weston’s first actions on taking control of LCG was to deny access to non-members.

Soon afterwards he took this a stage further: “We ask you, brethren, please do not share passwords outside of your area.”

In his sermon on August 8th he announced his intention to cut off livestream services even to members … “when this whole thing is over.”

“Some who are healthy, some who really could go to the feast just think, well, it’s just an option. Yes it is an option, in the sense of you have to make up your mind what to do. But there’s coming a time, brethren, when we have to come out of our basements, and there’s coming a time, when this whole thing is over, we’re going to have to cut off the livestreams to just anybody.

And I think we’ll have to do that because otherwise people will say, oh, I’m so comfortable here at home. Why do I have to dress up and go all the way over here? I would maintain that, when we assemble together over the internet, because everything is closed down, I’d say that’s still assembling together … but this is not what we want to do forever.”

Why not … if it’s still assembling together? What is he worried that his members might be doing?

Weston has to be one of the pettiest COG leaders out there.  Everything irritates this guy and causes him to lash out in anger. As usual, LCG members are at fault. Can they ever do anything right in this man's eye? 

Ever since Terry Ratzmann murdered seven LCG members during Sabbath services, LCG has sought to close down access to their sermons to the public. One of Meredith's sermons drove Ratzmann over the edge and the media sought to gain access to what was being preached. LCG clamped down tighter than an oyster shell. So much for the Good News that they claim to be proclaiming to the world!  How can anyone ever hear the message if they cant listen to the truth? None of their watered-down crap in their magazines preaches the Good News. I thought LCG was BOLDLY and without fear, preaching the truth? Instead, they cower and whimper in their little office building in Charlotte dreaming about the good old days when people obeyed the ministry regardless of what they said.

Adult Sabbath School: "And women shall rule over them"

Dr. Making It Mean What It Never Meant Bob is once again misunderstanding and misapplying the classic WCG concept of how to study the Bible.  You know,  "Line up line, line upon line, here a little, there a little..."

In his "Kamala Harris selected for VP" comments Thiel says, as we would expect from Old School WCG....

"The 2020 presidential election is featuring people who are against many aspects of biblical morality.

The Bible itself warns that if the children of Israel sinned and did not repent, the following would happen:

"As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them..."  Isaiah 3:12"

Bob goes on, as to be expected, that the Bible warns us the time would come when female rulers as well as those not racially Israelite would come on the scene.  No really. He says this.  "While Barack Obama may have been about 1/2 Israelite descent, Kamala Harris is less so."  No really, he said that.

Bob then goes on to tell us that "since the time of Margaret Thatcher" he has felt likely that the USA would end up with a woman President.  Horrified, he goes on to note that women already rule as Prime Ministers in Australia and New Zealand and UK and Canada have had their Queens. I'll spare us the part about his fears about "Aliens rising up."

The fact that modern female Prime Ministers seem to do a much better job than their male counterparts escapes him. 

You can read his foolish Bronze Age misapplication of Isaiah 3:12 here:

You can read the actual meaning and context of  "here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept" here:

But to the meaning of Isaiah 3:12. 

And while I would not endorse the Israelite Bronze Age view of women as weak and troublesome so as to use their womanhood an analogy about how the men, rulers and priests were acting, it is generally understood that the concept or supposed "prophecy" is of a time to come when just before Jesus returns, women would rise to political positions over the lost, yet found Israelite nations thousands of years into the future.  That is lame and dishonest to the text and intent. 

As for my people, children are their oppressors - This refers, doubtless, to their civil rulers. They who "ought" to have been their "protectors," oppressed them by grievous taxes and burdens. But whether this means that the rulers of the people were "literally" minors, or that they were so in "disposition and character," has been a question. The original word is in the singular number (מעולל me‛ôlēl), and means a "child," or an infant. It may, however, be taken collectively as a noun of multitude, or as denoting more than one. To whom reference is made here cannot easily be determined, but possibly to "Ahaz," who began to reign when he was twenty years old; 2 Kings 16:2. Or it may mean that the "character" of the princes and rulers was that of inexperienced children, unqualified for government.

Are their oppressors - literally, 'are their exactors,' or their "taxers" - the collectors of the revenue.

And women rule over them - This is not to be taken literally, but it means either that the rulers were under the influence of the "harem," or the females of the court; or that they were effeminate and destitute of vigor and manliness in counsel. The Septuagint and the Chaldee render this verse substantially alike: 'Thy exactors strip my people as they who gather the grapes strip the vineyard.'

They which lead thee - Hebrew "They who bless thee, or call thee blessed." (See the margin.) This refers, doubtless, to the public teachers, and the false prophets, who "blessed" or flattered the people, and who promised them safety in their sins.

Cause thee to err - Lead you astray; or lead you into sin and danger."

And destroy - Hebrew "Swallow up."

As for my people, {k} children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

(k) Because the wicked people were more addicted to their princes than to the commandments of God, he shows that he would give them such princes, by whom they would have no help, but that they would be manifest tokens of his wrath, because they would be fools and effeminate.

Verse 12. - As for my people. Return is now made to the sins of the dwellers in Jerusalem, and the first thing noted is that the people suffer from the childishness and effeminacy of their rulers. The rulers are called "oppressors" by the way here, the sin of oppression being dwelt on later (vers. 14, 15). Here the emphatic words are "children," "women." Children (see ver. 4). The rulers are "children," or rather "babes" - foolish, capricious, cowardly. It is not clear that any prince in particular is meant; rather, by the plural form, the upper class generally seems to be intended, as in Isaiah 1:10, 17, 23, etc. Women; comp. Herod., 8:88, where Xerxes says that "his men have shown themselves women, and his women men;" and see also Virg., 'AEneid '-

"O vere Phrygia, neque enim Phryges." The rulers were womanly, i.e. weak, wavering, timid, impulsive, passionate, and are therefore called actual "women." There is no allusion to female sovereigns. They which lead thee cause thee to err; or, they which direct thee lead thee astray. Professing to point out the right path, they led men away from it. Destroy the way; literally, swallow it up, or obliterate it.

Sorry Bob

Your racist and sexist defects are clearly on display in, yet again, making the Bible mean what it never meant or could. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Did Sheldon Monson Comply To Weston's Rules And Then Have The Script Turned On Him (Like LCG Is So Good At)?

The more days that pass the worse Gerald Weston and the Living Church of God look in this situation

From a reader:

"He's called us not just for personal salvation but to do a work and if we splinter and we you know separate and every which direction everybody doing his own thing, how are we going to do the work of God?" - Gerald Weston Quote.

We have been in contact with Sheldon Monson, he has no intention to start his own church, at least at this time, as far as I know. We have been told he will pray and fast about the current situation he is in. For now he is holding Sabbath services online which would seem to be appropriate considering the fact he does not know what to do. I believe Sheldon is trying to do the right thing. I trust his word and my hope is he will.

Now regarding LCG actions. I believe it was unnecessary and wrong for LCG to treat Sheldon the way they did. No contact anymore? If true, not a good look. Was he really doing anything wrong though? I think we need to ask that question and take it to a serious level of consideration. Am I right or am I wrong? LCG members: this was not the 1st case of crookedness by the way.. LCG has been caught in lies to name one further example.

Now, here's something you may have not heard: 

Sheldon said he complied to rules from LCG and was able to hold Sabbath Services outside for 5 Months or so within LCG after the pandemic began, that is, COVID-19. But something strange happened from my understanding. LCG flipped the script and decided to change the policy regarding outside service from what I understand. They decided, as in the council of elders I believe, to take away access to outdoor services. For what reason? They never gave a proper explanation as to why. As many of us know, Sheldon, stood up for what he believed was right. By the way, this is not the only reason why LCG fired him and disfellowshipped him. Sheldon personally thinks it was a test of compliance. Odd, I know. Sheldon was an outspoken member during his time in the council of elders. Which made him quite unliked from what I heard. So I'm not really surprised and I don't think Sheldon is either, that they may have done something crooked, mind you, again. I'm not saying they surely did but they certainly could of.. Sheldon is not the only person I suppose you could say was abused, if what I said earlier could be true. My father was. Our close friend was. Dibar Apartian, right before his death from my understanding. The Scarboroughs from what I heard. The list goes on. 

To everyone: LCG needs really needs to take the weightier matters of the law very seriously which they claim to hold to. (Matthew 7:16–20)

Gerald Weston The Pope: His mixed bag of authoritarianism, whining, mockery, posturing, and a little reason sprinkled in.

A Time of Distress. Gerald Weston, Living Church of God. 
Sermon transcript. Aug. 8, 2020

Well good afternoon or good morning, wherever you are. Wonderful beautiful Sabbath day and I hope it's that way wherever you may be. Like to thank all of you for the cards and notes of encouragement that I receive from time to time. Often when we send these sermons out, put them online, we cut out the opening comments and I certainly want this to be left in there because I appreciate all the notes and cards. And sometimes I say these things and then it's taken off and you don't always get that message because. Because I can't always send out to everybody or respond everybody. Some say don't respond and I'd like to respond in a general way, and I try to respond as much as possible, but thank you very much for your encouragement all the time, and especially during these times of distress that were going through. 

I read the following in the Living Church of God video update this week, and I suppose that many of you have seen it. But there are those who have not seen it, so I'd like to just begin by reading this that came out in Christianity Today. Now, of course, we don't believe in the world's Christianity, but they are facing similar problems to the problems we sometimes face, and the question is, “Should you reopen your church?” And the answer is, “Thankfully it's not a question you have to answer alone. You have that guy in your church who spends a ton of time on Facebook, emailed you the Plandemic (p-l-a-n) Plandemic video and is insisting the church we open NOW because the coronavirus is a HOAX! ‘Wake up pastor!’ If you grab a cup of coffee with this guy, he’ll let you know that Bill Gates has a sinister plan to slip a chip into your vaccine. P.S. Hillary Clinton might be involved too.” And I’ll throw in here Anthony Fauci, and even Jeffrey Epstein is involved in some grand plot. So, whoever the bad guys are at this time, the world they've been thrown into this whole big plot as is going around out there. Now, “If that's not enough ‘help’, you have another dude in your church, the one who left that somber. Voicemail message reminding you that lives are at stake, and that if you reopen the church one day earlier than you should, the virus will tear through your congregation like a California wildfire, and you'll be responsible for anyone who dies. This is the same person who, if you ever do reopen, will demand glass partitions in the sanctuary. 100 feet of separation between each parishioner, and greeters clad in hazmat suits.” And then it finishes off by saying, “Meanwhile, guy number one will show up proudly with no mask, shaking every hand in sight (and it says) now go ahead and make a decision that will please everyone.” Now we understand this is in the world, this is in the churches of the world. But it's also right here in the body of Christ - we have these problems. We have different ideas about these things, and as Mr. Smith was pointing out in his sermonette, God does not leave us without understanding as to how to go forward. Are we always going to make a perfect decision any more than, as he pointed out, husbands always make a perfect decision?
 No, of course not. We are not infallible. We do make mistakes. Mr. Armstrong made mistakes; Dr. Meredith made mistakes. They all admitted that, and I'll certainly add that I'm going to make mistakes, have made mistakes. Sometimes in the way that things are communicated, a lack of communication, you know, proper communication. But nevertheless, God does not leave us in doubt as to the process by which we are to make these decisions and who it is in the Church of God that is to make those decisions.

Sometimes, brethren, we reflect too much of this world. And as I said in the video update, this is mostly an American problem and a US American problem. And we don't find the same problem in Canada and Australia, and New Zealand, other places around the world. This is a problem here, especially because we're so individualistic. We have our rights; our First Amendment rights, and we're thankful for these rights that have been given to us through the constitution. But I said time and time again, the Constitution of the United States is not the Bible. And while we're thankful for it, and God may have inspired some of these things to be put in place for the sake of his work, knowing that he would use this country to preach the Gospel to the world, we must also, as the people of God, be able to stand back, an analyze what's happening around us and not get caught up in this. And we have people all over the Internet, social media, fighting back and forth on these things in the various churches of God. And sadly, some of us have gotten… I'm going to say some of you because I haven't gotten into that. I don't do social media. Sometimes my wife shows me something because she keeps up with the family and it's not wrong to keep up the family but to get out there and start arguing these things and debating these things frankly, brethren, is just plain carnal. And we need to step back and ask ourselves what is happening in our world? What is happening with in my life? What am I thinking and is this God’s thoughts or are these my thoughts? Go over in the 10th chapter of Jeremiah, a favorite scripture here, Jeremiah 10, verse 23 and 24. It says, “Oh, Lord (or Eternal) I know the way of Man is not in himself. It is not in man who walks to direct his steps. His own steps.” Now, who is saying this? This was Jeremiah, a Prophet of God that was powerfully used by God. And he goes on to say, “O Eternel correct me with justice.” Now my friends, do you pray that prayer? I confess that it was a lot of years that I was in the church before I was brave enough to pray that prayer. Oh Lord, correct me, but with justice not in your anger less you bring me or nothing. I always ask God to help me to learn the easy way. Help me to be able to read and understand and correct myself so that you don't have to correct me. We all know that children are different. Some you know you have to use a lot of correction, harsh correction, and others you just look at ‘em and they break into tears. And so, we're all very different in that way. But when it comes to God’s correction I hope that I can be tender-hearted because God is able to get through any one of us if it's going to take harsh correction he loves us and he wants us to learn certain lessons and we have to learn the lessons of you know the overall the big picture of what God is doing. He's called us not just for personal salvation but to do a work and if we splinter and we you know separate and every which direction everybody doing his own thing, how are we going to do the work of God? In the sermon today, I am going to go to the Bible showing that it's not silent on how to handle these controversies. Building a little bit on what Mr. Smith already said. And give specific decisions the church must make during this time of stress to promote unity.

Now, how does God instruct his people to settle matters of controversy? I think that we know, Mr. Smith mentioned a couple places over there in Deuteronomy the 17th chapter. Please read that verses 8 through 13. Read that in the full and read it prayerfully and ask God to help you to understand what he's saying there. Because what we find in the New Testament is really built on the foundation of the scriptures that were available to the New Testament Church. The only scriptures that were available to them were what we call the Old Testament Scriptures. And they learned those things as Paul talked about Timothy, you've learned these things from your youth, the Scriptures, Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise under salvation, and through Jesus Christ. Let's take a look at one New Testament passage, Acts the 15th chapter and I don't want to spend a lot of time on it, but I do want to bring this out because it is such a powerful message for us. It says here in verse one of Acts 15, “Certain men came down from Judea and taught their brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’” Now we have the luxury of going back to Acts the 10th chapter and that was generally known, but this was not in writing as far as we know at this time. In fact, the Book of Acts had not been completed. And when we look at the Bible, we go through it in a way that they did not have the opportunity. They didn't have multiple, you know, millions and billions of copies of the Bible for everybody to read. But they went up to the synagogue, and perhaps they could read it – there were libraries that we know - and to what degree they had access, it's hard to know. We know that the Ethiopian eunuch must have been a wealthy individual because he had a copy of the book of Isaiah or the scroll of Isaiah. But the fact the matter is that they came together because there was a controversy and the controversy involved what the Scripture said. And there are those who were absolutely certain that they had to be circumcised. “And therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension, a dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas,” which were Apostles at the time, “and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the Apostles and elders about this question.” They were going to go to the headquarters of the church to determine what was the answer to this, and so there had been much disputing as we see there, they were sent on their way by the church in other words the congregation in Antioch sent them on their way, “And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the Apostles and the elders, and they report all the things that God had done to them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up.” These were believers. These were not reprobates in that sense, they were believers, but they sincerely believe that you had to be circumcised whether you were a Jew or Gentile. You had to become a good Jew before you could become a good Christian. In reality, that's what it was, and that's much of the controversy of the book of Galatians. It says, “But some of the sect,” OK, we just read that, “it's necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses. Now the Apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute Peter rose up and said to them, ‘Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So, God who knows the heart, notice God, who knows the heart,’” because the whole controversy over circumcision had to do with what is in the heart. Not the outward physical circumcision, but what is in the heart. And sometimes we look at outward things far more than we look at what is in the heart? So, “God, who knows the heart acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us. And made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” And you can read the rest of it. But very clearly you get the impression that Peter is just a little bit upset over this situation, because it should have been clear.

But brethren, and let's be honest with ourselves, many of us would have been on the wrong side of this discussion. Because it says there in the Old Testament they had to be circumcised. And we could turn to scriptures on that subject, but they looked at the heart. They looked at circumcision of the heart, not of the flesh, and they looked at the fact that these were Gentiles in a very different world than we live in today. I mean circumcision is no big deal one way or the other, with most of us there are those who do get into big arguments over it. There was nothing wrong with male circumcision. In fact, from a medical standpoint there are many authorities that believe that it is a very good practice. And sometimes it becomes a necessary practice as I've known of one or two situations over the years. But nevertheless, we don't think of it as a big deal, but I'll tell you what, it was a big deal back then. If we think that masks and singing are big deal, it was huge back then. And so, they settled the issue and because the problem had come from Jerusalem, James, who is the leader of the Jerusalem church, stood up and said, “my decision is.” And he made a decision and it was expected that people would follow that whether they could turn to this scripture that scripture in the Old Testament, it didn't matter. A decision had been made. Now, brethren, it's interesting that when decisions are made, as long as we agree with them, we believe in church government. Don't we? We believe that Jesus Christ is the head of the church, that he works through his appointed servants. As long as they agree with us. But if ever they don't agree with us then that's a different matter. Now, just think about that brethren, think about it. Does that make logical sense? How can we possibly have unity? Because you have people on two sides of an issue. And a decision is made, then does the other side go out and say, well, that's not scriptural, that's not what I'm going to do. We're not talking about doing away with the Sabbath, we're not talking about, you know, changing the holy days. This is not something that took place in the past. And I understand the sensitivities on that. But brethren, we have to we have to get past some of these things.

You know, when things got off track back in the 70s and there were accusations against the leadership there, and I was confused by it for a little while. And a couple individuals came into my office and I said, what are you going to do? And it forced me to answer a question I said I'm going to let Jesus Christ settle this issue. I'm not going to get out in front of Christ. You know that was the right answer at that time, Mr. Armstrong was still alive, and he came back, and he straightened things out. Satan is very clever. Because he throws us a curve. So, the next time this apostasy began to set in, the answer, the right answer was from first Samuel. That you know, that we don't want to reject God. And so, we wait, and we wait. And we finally realize that no, this is not the same situation as it was when Mr. Armstrong was alive. This is a situation where people are deliberately taking the church away from the truth, it's not a matter of time of stress. They're just simply trying to take the church away from the truth, and that became extremely obvious at some point. And that's why we're here, many of us. Now, many new people, we have a lot of new people that this is ancient history, and you don't know much about what I'm talking about. But, you know, this is a very different situation that we're facing today. And we have to make decisions. Otherwise everybody's doing his own thing and then you have division and fighting and squabbling, and, and I'm more righteous, or I have more faith, or I this, or I that. Brethren, we can't be that way. And we need to understand that that is a huge problem. 

Let's go to, a favorite scripture of Doctor Meredith he turned to, first Corinthians the 6 chapter. First Corinthians 6. And there was a problem. It seems like the Corinthian church was the most rebellious church. I don't know if I if I could absolutely say that, but Corinth had a lot of problems, didn't they? And Paul was just slamming them all the time, correcting them as a father does his son. And fairly strongly. Uh, he, he really got onto them about a number of things and he says here in Chapter 6 verse 1, “Dare any of you having a matter against another go to law before the unrighteous and not before the Saints? Do you not know that the Saints will judge the world?” He’s saying, get the big picture, understand the Saints - and Saints are not people that the Catholic Church Knights or saints, whatever, it's talking about, the servants of God. You are a Saint; I am a Saint I and we don't understand that in the traditional religious context. It just saying that the people of God as you can read there in the 7th chapter of the book of Daniel: the Saints of God are going to be… the kingdoms of this world are going to become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ. And it speaks of the Saints taking over there, I think is verse 27 of Chapter 27, verse 26 or 27 of Daniel. You can look that up and see how the word Saint is used in scripture. But he said, “Do you not know that the Saints will judge the world and if the world will be judged by you are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” And sometimes we say manage angels. Well, however, we want to take that we're going to be over angels and we're going to have to make judgments in some situations here going forward, at least during the Millennium. When we get into all being spirit beings, you know Christ or God the Father is in charge of everything, Christ under him, and we're all going to be under him and I don't know how that's all going to work out for sure. There's a lot that we don't know, but what we do know is there is coming a time in the future when we are going to manage angels and when we are going to be judging people in this world as spirit beings ruling over cities and perhaps larger areas in case of some of the Apostles, and of course King David. He says, “Do you not know that we are to Judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?”

You know, what we're facing here is so small compared to some other things that we're going to face in the future. And it's just amazing to me how we can get tripped up over something that is in many ways very trivial. I know it's not trivial in the minds of everyone, and please understand. In fact, let me just turn over the book of Jude. Because I want to, I want to make a point. People who have different viewpoints on the subjects that I'm talking about today are not our enemies. But that doesn't mean that they can't be influenced by our enemy. As all of us can be, Peter was. James and John were influenced by the spirit of this world. And we can as well. And I say, dear brethren, sincerely. But here on the book of Jude, single chapter, verse 20, “But you beloved building yourself up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God. Keep yourselves, preserve yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto Eternal life. And on some have compassion making a distinction. But others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” You know, everybody is not in the same camp, not everybody's in the same situation. There are people who are genuinely confused. They're just not sure what to think on some of these subjects. Then there are the absolute rebels out there that are out on the internet fighting back and forth. [In] some cases using wrong language and showing hatred in a way that no servant of God ever should. And we just don't need to be in a food fight on social media. It's wrong, it’s carnal. It is part of this world. As somebody said to me on the phone even last night he wished that everybody just get off the Internet. Get off social media. Now I can't make you do that. We're not threatening to throw anybody out of the church because you use social media. My wife does keep up with the family on it, but you won't find her out there arguing back and forth over these issues or any issue for that matter. Some people are just more bold in that way. But brethren, if we are the people of God, if we were the body of Christ, we must be united, we must speak the same thing. We must have patience and love for one another, but Jude says that there some that we have to pull out of the fire because they are in the fire and they don't even realize it. They are in a situation where they could lose their Eternal life. They don't think that. Nobody thinks there in that case, but Jude is saying that that's the case. He saying some are, you know, have compassion on others who are just weak and caught up and they really don't know what's going on. But then there are others that are going to need stronger correction.

The Book of Hebrews, Hebrews yeah, he talks about correction. And. Chapter um. No, not Hebrews, Romans. Well, I'll let you look at it. It's the scripture on correction and how God corrects us. It's the 12th chapter. It says, “Don't be discouraged when you are rebuked by him, for whom the Lord loves he chastens.” Now God can rebuke you, or those of us who are leadership positions can gently rebuke you so that you don't have to be rebuked by God. “For whom the Lord loves he chastens.” God loves us. He chastens us sometimes. “And scourges every son whom he receives. If you endure Chastening, God deals with you as with sons (or daughters). For what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then are you illegitimate and not sons.” So, brethren don't be afraid of God's correction. I mean, we should fear getting out of line to where God has to correct us. Let us learn the easy way and not the hard way because we can get away with certain things for a period of time. We can develop very bad habits such as rejecting where God is working. And sooner or later that bad habit that we have developed of just OK if I'm going to do it my way, it is going to come back and it's going to bite us. It's like a little child. It runs out in the street. He doesn't get run over the first time usually, hopefully. But the father or the mother corrects him because they don't want him running out there. They understand the difference between a small child, and a large heavy, you know ton automobile or a truck, we always call them Mack trucks, I don't know why, there's all kinds of trucks where we say get hit by a Mack truck sometimes. And we don't want that to happen, so we discipline them. But if left to himself and he runs out in front of traffic thinking, oh I'm OK, I'm safe, nothing happened to me, we know that sooner or later tragedy may strike. It may not in every case, but very likely if he's running out in traffic in his heavy traffic, sooner or later it's going to happen. And we don't want that to happen, do we? 

I'm going to just refer you to. Well, let's go over to the 11th Chapter of First Corinthians, First Corinthians 11. Now this is a dispute that took place in the church. Obviously, there was something behind it. Again, we're in Corinth. And obviously there's something wrong here, and he says imitate me just as I also imitate Christ and how often we hear that. Well, I'm just going to follow Christ, or I follow you as you follow Christ, and that's and that is true. But that can also be used as an excuse to have our own way. We have to be very careful of that. We cannot take one scripture and throw everything else out. He says, “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” So, some say, well, we have traditions, and we can never change your tradition, we can never set aside a tradition for a period of time. Well, our traditions do change overtime, don't they? There was a time when Mr. Herbert Armstrong had his daughters singing on the telecast back in the 50s. Kind of like what we see on many other religious programs. It was like a religious service. But eventually he saw that that was not the way to go. A tradition was that services could go three or four hours, and then it was set at a different time. The tradition was that we would meet twice every day during the Feast of Tabernacles. But for necessities sake, because of the Feast got larger and because people could, you know, go to services each week and they could be fed in that way, whereas we had a lot of people in those earlier years who didn't have the chance to meet with anybody, they didn't have the Internet to pull up a sermon they didn't even have, you know, cassette tapes going to them. And all the things that we enjoy today, they didn't have that. And so, Mr. Armstrong had services twice every day during the Feast. But when we found that people couldn't even get out of the Feast site while other people already had eaten lunch and are coming back, it just did not seem reasonable. It was one of those things that Mr. Armstrong decided to change that tradition. Now we are not trying to change the tradition of the church so that we will always wear masks for here on forever or we will never sing hymns again in the church. This is a temporary, a time of stress, and in fact the title determine is A Time of Distress. And when we look at the scriptures there we find that there are times when we do have to make exceptions to the traditional practice of things, and I'll give you a several scriptures Here very quickly. But here in First Corinthians 11, the discussion was over hair length. And he's saying that some women were wearing their hair not long enough. It was more like a Butch haircut. And so, we don't find the Apostle Paul quoting scriptures here, but he is using biblical principles from the Old Testament that men are to be men and women are to be women. Any he even says there, “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hairs a shame unto him?” I've heard people dispute that: well, how does nature teach us that? Well, according to the Apostle Paul, we ought to be able to figure that out. When you see some guy with a long ponytail and he's doing construction work, and you know there's an interesting thing, women really take good care of their hair for the most part, not all women, but many of 'em put a lot of effort into it. Guys, it just doesn't work the same way for the most part. Now I know that there are some that even was short here they are so, they have been feminized I think because they treat their hair like a woman were treat her hair. You know, I don't have to explain all that. This is what the scriptures say. But notice verse 16, he knows that there are those who would not accept what he was saying. He says, “But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.” So, we're not, we're not gonna tolerate it. We're not going to put up with it. Now obviously the Apostle Paul is trying to work with them, trying to explain things trying to teach. Trying to give a positive explanation of something. But at some point, decisions have to be made. And it's time for us to follow those decisions or I guess, you know, go elsewhere. We don't want that. But Brethren, we've got to be unified. We can take all these scriptures, and then throw out first Corinthians 1:10 that we are to all speak the same thing. That Timothy was to rebuke certain individuals. I mean very strongly rebuked people because they got off track; they probably thought they were right. But strongly rebuked people.

So, brethren, we have to understand these things. Just turn to, not turn to, but I'd like to reference the January-February and the March-April 2010 Living Church News magazines. And in those Dr. Meredith wrote a couple of very valuable articles that you would do well to - this is not something - we're not saying anything new. This has been here all along, [that’s] January-February of 2010 and March-April 2010, we’re faced with matters of controversy even in the body of Christ. And that's why you have church government. That's why, you know, Jesus Christ is the head of the church and he works through fallible weak human beings who are capable of making mistakes. That's why he works through husbands. And you, ladies know, as Mr. Smith pointed out, including Mrs. Smith that husbands are fallible. But do we do we cast aside the laws of God? Because God knows that even in spite of that adult you have for a husband in some cases - but you married him, you chose him - even in spite of that, God is going to work it out far better if you work together as a team and submit to the leadership that you have there. Unless he's telling you to do something that is totally contrary to the law of God. And we'll get to that in a little bit.

We held a Council of Elders meeting this past week for about 4 1/2 hours and discuss several matters, and one of the things that we brought up is that we are living in the present distress, we are living in a time there's like none other that any of us in North America have ever seen. Unless you were often another foreign country, perhaps during a time of war. And some people have experienced that, but most of us have never experienced a protracted period of time, such as we have had since about February. We're only in August, just beginning in August. This has only been six or seven months that we've really been in this situation. Most of it really settled in in March. But we're facing something we haven't before.

In First Corinthians the 7th chapter. We have to turn to Corinth so often because this is where the problems are. He says, “Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman.” Some think that that was presented as a question or that they had written to him saying that, or he is saying it whichever way it is, it becomes clear what his answer is to the question. Let’s notice verse 6, “But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment.” Now here, the Apostle Paul is really stepping out into an area that that, you know, we say not as a commandment, in other words he had no commandment from God regarding this particular matter, but he's going to make a judgment that has affected how we conduct ourselves down to this very day. Because the divorce and remarriage situation that took place back in 1974 when we changed our direction on that really had a lot to do with what the Apostle Paul wrote here. Then verse 7 it says, “For I wish that all men were even as I myself, but each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.” He’s saying, look, I wish that all of you are like me, I'm single. We believe that Paul probably was married. He seems to have been sitting on the Sanhedrin, or the council there in Judaism, which apparently you had to be married in order to do so. So, we don't know all the history of Paul, but it may be that he was married at one time. He is wife could have died. We often say, well, his wife perhaps died. He might have been divorced. We don't know. So much that we don't know. But what he does say here is that I wish that all could be as I am. He wasn't bothered at this time by the fact that he wasn't married. His whole heart was thrust right into the work of God that he was doing. That was his life. 

It kind of reminds me of Gerald Waterhouse for those who remember him. He traveled the world, and what was the message he gave? Well, I know that some people were bugged by the fact that he might go 3 hours on a Wednesday night or Thursday night or 3 1/2 hours. And that was problematic. And he got very speculative and he talked about going to Petra and we're going to build a lake there, and we're going to do all this sort of thing. And some people got bugged by that. I always saw him speaking in a broad general sense of talking about government. Of working within government because that was the basic message that he had and he was trying to paint a colorful picture to help people to use their imagination of what was going to happen in the future.

Now the Apostle Paul here says that it didn't bother him that he wasn't married, and he said I wish that all men were even as I myself. I wish that they had the same gift you might say of not being - feeling that they just had to get married because we know that there are people like that, that's just their whole way of thinking. I remember a young man, not at such a young man, I don't know 40 or 50 years of age it seemed like, I think it's probably closer to 50 and he wanted the whole church to fast for the single people. It was though his whole life revolved around his singleness. Now, I haven’t walked in his shoes and I can understand that that was a big thing for him. But oftentimes, there are reasons why. People made choices and they find themselves that way and other cases they just don't make the connection and for a hundred different reasons, a thousand different reasons so we're not judging them on that. But that was his whole life. He says, “But if they (verse 9, or verse 8) but I say to the unmarried and the widows if it is good for them if they remain even as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry for it is better to marry, then to burn (as it says with passion here).” Now the Apostle Paul is saying that one, he's saying that this is a little bit better way. But is that what Genesis says when you read there in the second chapter at the end of it, that a man is to leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife? The whole Old Testament supports getting married, and here's the Apostle Paul seemingly saying something different. Notice verse 12, he says, “But to the rest, I, not the Lord, (notice) I, not the Lord.” He didn't have a specific scripture to turn to, but he was certainly using biblical principles and the authority that God had given to him. “If any brother has a wife who does not believe and she's willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.” Now that contradicted what we read of in Ezra, Nehemiah, and various other places where they married wives of the nations around them, they were unbelievers, and they actually made them separate from their wives. So, this would seem to contradict what was written in the Old Testament. But Paul was seeing it from a different perspective of having God Spirit that the nation of Israel today is not a physical nation which is, you know, over here, and if you allow certain things happen, it's going to get out of control. It was a different situation. The situation was different. But I would imagine that there were people who contradicted the Apostle Paul in this because they could turn to Scriptures that told them they needed to put away their Pagan wives. But we know that these people in the Mediterranean at that time, if their wives were unbelievers, that many of them were worshipping Pagan gods and goddesses. And yet he says here, “if they're pleased as well with you don't put them away.” He says, “And the woman who has a husband who does not believe if he is willing to live with her let her not divorce him.” So, he gives these recommendations based on God's spirit guiding him. And I'll tell you what I would say that in terms of actual scriptures he could turn to prove his point, some of these things have a whole lot less evidence than, say, circumcision or some other decisions that were made. Even hair length, which you know, the masculinity, femininity, and not wearing something that pertains to a woman, all those things. You know, you could turn to a lot of principles there - but the Apostle Paul made those decisions. And God was working through him. I don't think you're going to find us making that kind of a decision. Certainly not something that's going to go for any length of time. We may make a decision for the present distress, but that's the whole point of this. Notice verse 17 is says, “But as God has distributed each one as the Lord is called each one so let him walk. And so, I ordain in all the churches. He was making decisions that were controversial in the church there. Notice verse 25, “Now concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, yet I give judgment as one whom the Lord in his mercy has made trustworthy. (He says) I suppose, therefore, that it is good because of the present distress that is good for a man to remain as he is. Because of the present distress.” Now, exactly what they were going through at that specific time I don't know. But it was a stressful time for whatever reason. And he's saying there it is because of the present distress.

Now brethren we're going through a time of distress. 500 years from now, if time just went on or 2,000 years from now, if Christ hadn't returned by then - he certainly will before that -but let's just say we go 2,000 years down the road. Will anybody know about COVID-19? Probably not. Because, in the grand scheme of things there are a lot bigger things that have happened and that will happen in the future. So, this is not that big of deal in one sense, but it is right now for us because we are living through it. And it is a stressful time. Notice verse 29. He says here, “But this I say brethren the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; those who rejoice as those who did not a rejoice; those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away.” They thought that the end had come or was just right around the corner. And in the 15th chapter he talks about you know, those of us who are alive and remain at the coming of Lord. They thought that the return of Jesus Christ was immediate. And that's been the case all down through history, we look to the circumstances that we’re going through right now, and we think it can't get any worse, this has got to be the worse. You know, this is, this is the worst time I've ever seen in my life. And I tell you, when you look at what's happening in the United States, you know, I wrote that article last, what was it, August I think it was a year ago, about the income suddenly. This whole House of Cards could come crashing down around us a whole lot quicker than we might suspect. But we've also seen over the years that sometimes it takes a little bit longer than we expect. It will move forward and then we'll kind of back off and we can try to be prophets, but we haven't been very good at that and predicting what's going to happen in the future. So, we just need to hang on to see how things are going to go, but we need to be ready, certainly to follow God. 

You know God made exceptions in various cases, for example, in Numbers the 9th chapter, and verses 6 and 11, or just the whole chapter of numbers 9, we find that there were individuals that - this was the 2nd year that year after their first Passover - and they kept the Passover on the 14th day of the first month and that was, you know, that's one of those situations that have been controversial over the years in the church and people read the scriptures differently and people have left the church over that. It's been a big bone of contention that crops up from time to time down through the years, and the church has ruled on it and that's the way it's going to be. We really don't need another paper on it. I think we've seen everything that could possibly come out on the subject of is at the beginning of the 14th, or is at the end of the 14th that the Passover is kept, or actually the lamb was killed, and then you know, so I don't want to introduce that, but that's been a controversy, hasn't it? Some of us have been around long enough to say that what we face today in terms of controversies is nothing new. We've had to deal with these things down through time. We've had people who either very sincerely or just out of vanity, have their point of view. I think right now we're dealing with people who very sincerely have gotten caught up in this. And I'm not talking about the rebels out there that are just arguing back and forth or whether to ever wear masks and the plandemic and all this kind of stuff. OK, what if it is a plandemic? What are you going to do about it? You know, really, when it comes right down to it, let's get on with preaching the Kingdom of God. Let's get on with living our lives, humbly recognizing our own shortcomings instead of worrying about the politician’s shortcoming. And all the people that are out there. Let's see the big picture. Let's just focus on what God has called for. He didn't call you just for personal salvation. God could have called the whole world right now. He didn't. He called a certain number of people for a job to do. And if we don't do that job, then God is going to hold us accountable. Or if we damage the work that's doing that job, God is going to hold us accountable. And I'm not trying to threaten, I'm just trying to say that please, please brethren don't allow Satan to deceive you in such a way that you damage the work of God. Because there is a cost to that, and God will take care of it, not me. And I'm not threatening, and I certainly will pray for, for people's benefit that God will be merciful to them as he's been merciful to me. Because I know better than anybody what my sins have been over the years and I probably don't know all of them. Some if you know my sins better than I do in some areas, but I know at most of my sins are, a good many of 'em. And I know I need the mercy of God just like anybody else. 

But in Numbers 9, they said that there were people who came up that were not able to keep the first Passover for being unclean on journey or something, and so a decision was made. Moses appealed to God, and God said OK the second month they can keep it, they can keep it in the second month. And so that was an exception to the 1st. Now over in 2 Chronicles, let’s turn over there, 2 Chronicles 30. 2 Chronicles 30, we have a situation where they've gotten away from keeping the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread and a new King comes along, Hezekiah. And he “Sent (in verse 1) to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the House of the Eternal at Jerusalem to keep the Passover to the Lord God of Israel.” And then in verse 2, “For the King and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month.” This is not where they're on a journey or something, but they were in a situation where they did not have time to properly cleanse themselves and do all the things that the Jews did at that time and that God instructed them to do and terms of the whole sacrificial system. They didn't have time to keep the first Passover, so they agreed we will keep the second Passover. We had members this year that had to keep the second Passover. And in some cases, we may have had people who missed it altogether because they were caught off guard. We take for granted that we can just go down to the grocery store and buy a bottle of wine. That's not the case in other parts of the world. In Africa as an example, and I'm sure that there are many other places in the world, there are only so many places you can buy alcoholic beverages or wine. And so, they were caught off guard. This thing suddenly came down on them, and it was couple months ‘til Passover and all of a sudden they’re locked down. Or they’re told not to go out of their home. How some of our ministers - I know one of our ministers had to go and get a bunch of little bottles and a bottle of wine and poured in and distribute it to all the members. He was able to do that, but not everybody. Some of these places you are found outside your home and they don't treat you like they're going to treat you here in this country. We might get fined a little bit. But in some parts of the world is much more harsh. And so, some people simply were unable to get out of their homes. And if they got out of their homes unless they broke in some place, they couldn't get a bottle of wine. In South Africa, they shut down all purchases of alcoholic beverages for a period of time. I don't remember now whether that - I think it was lifted just before Passover, but these are situations people say, well, I'll make my own well, you don't have grapes. I know a minister from another Church of God group, not even anybody associated with Mr. Armstrong directly, except for way back, and he said that it just says the fruit of the vine. It could be watermelon juice, or he said it could even be coffee. Well, I don't think that we're going to make that decision, in fact I know we're not going to make that kind of decision. We have people in prison who are unable to, but we bust our tails. Mr. Gary Ehman, for example, has really worked hard to be able to get these little kits, Passover kits, into prisons for our prisoners. But sometimes they’re unable to have the wine. But what are you going to do break out of prison? Sometimes you have to make decisions, say, well look, we just do the best we can under the circumstances.

So what we find here as they decide to do it in the second month, then verse 13 it says, “Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month. And they rose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem. And they took away all the incense holders and cast them into the Brook Kidron (these were Pagan altars and everything). And then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the 14th day of the second month. The priests in Levi's were ashamed (notice ashamed) and sanctified themselves and brought the burnt offerings to the House of the Eternal. (verse 16) Then they stood in their place according to their custom and according to the law of Moses the man of God. The priest sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites, for there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves: therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean.” So, there were those who had properly cleansed himself, not touched the dead bodies, all the different things that were involved there, who slaughtered their own lambs. But for those that didn't the Levites did it for them. Now that was a departure, a departure from the norm. It says, “For a multitude of people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleanse themselves yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written (contrary to the written law there). But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek God.’” These were people who came down to Jerusalem to keep the Passover. They hadn't been keeping it for some time. And now they've come down, they've prepared their hearts, God saw what was in their heart. They were striving to obey God as best they knew how at this time, on a very short notice, you might say, they didn't have a long time to prepare for it. It says, “The Lord God or his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of sanctuary (and notice verse 20) and the Eternal listened to Hezekiah and healed the people.” Now, they even went further verse 23, “Then the whole assembly agreed to keep the Feast another seven days.” So, they kept the feast of unleavened bread in verse 21 for seven days, and then they agreed. with the king’s permission, to keep it another seven days. So that's a little bit of a departure from things. I'm not sure that I want to make a decision like that, OK? But I guess we have this as a precedent if the church hadn't kept it, you know, if there's such extreme persecution, we can't get our house or something you know, who knows? I'm not, I don't speculate on something that we've never looked at and hopefully never have to look at. But what we see here, brethren, is that decisions are made that are contrary to what is normal. 

Notice over in Leviticus 24 verses 5 to 9, it shows - I'll just refer to that Leviticus 24, 5 to 9. It shows here that only the priests, the Levites, were to be involved with eating of the showbread. It was reserved for the priest there. And it was not for the common man. So that when they removed the showbread, then it would be eaten by the priest and they had to even be clean, even the priest had to be ceremonially clean in order to eat the showbread. But then in first Samuel 21 were all very familiar with the passage, and so, I'm only on page 2, so I'll just skip over this by saying that you can read that first Samuel 21 verses 1 to 6. This is where David is fleeing from Saul and he goes to the priest and he says I need some food and he says all I have is the showbread that we've just removed would put some new and out there? And the priest then says, well, have the men been kept in keeping themselves from women? And David affirmed it, and so he gave them the showbread. this was contrary to what the law had said, this physical law of cleanliness and all. [He’s] not talking about something bigger, and he's not talking about something forever. They didn't make the rule that OK from now on anybody can eat the showbread. This was a human necessity. And Christ put his stamp of approval on what was done there in Mark the second chapter. Very familiar passage for all of us Mark 2. And I'll begin a verse 23. Here was something else that was controversial. He said, “Now it happened that he (that’s Christ) went through the grain fields on the Sabbath and as they went his disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.” Just stripping off the heads of grain and rubbing between their hands, blowing the chaff off and pop it in their mouth. Kind of organic health food, fast food, you might say. And so, then he says here, “And the Pharisees said to him, look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” But this was their interpretation of the Sabbath, the Pharisees’ interpretation of what should be done. “Why they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” Now have you ever thought why did they come to the conclusion that it was unlawful to eat this fast food along the way? Well, if you go back, remember that when they went out to pick manna on the 7th day, they were rebuked for doing so. In other words, the Pharisees, while they were wrong in this particular case, they no doubt in their minds, and I'm sure that they had legitimate reason for saying that it's unlawful, they could turn to a scripture. They could turn to the 16th chapter of the book of Exodus, about the manna, and people going out on that day. But there's a difference here.

And this is where we have to be able to rightly divide the word of truth. Manna was something they did every day, they had to go out and pick it up and they had to pick it up on the ground. One time I was trying to figure out how to earn some money for some of our teenagers and I was up in Michigan and there's a lot of fishing up there. And in the spring of the year when it's starting to thaw just a little bit, nightcrawlers, you know, big worms go across the road and I can still remember a section of highway coming down that was 27 I guess it is, I think around Higgins Lake area, and jillions of these nightcrawlers. And sometimes even in our neighborhood, one night they were coming out there and thought you know this would be great because they sell at like a dollar something per dozen. All you have to do is pick up nightcrawlers and you can make a lot of money. So I went out one night and just to see how many I could pick up so maybe get the teams out there and try to sell these and different things and I spent 1/2 hour, and I was in pretty good shape, I did a lot of running and exercise back then a lot and yet just that act of bending over for about 1/2 hour and picking these things up, the next day I was sore, it's a lot of work. And to pick up manna, which probably took them several hours to get enough for their families and all was work. That's different than picking an Apple off a tree. Or just scraping something up as you're going through there on your way to the temple or the synagogue. It was a different situation, but the Pharisees all they could see was, well this violates the law of God. Or their restrictions, their ideas of the law of God. Now when we continue read on here, they complained. Verse 25, “He said to them, ‘Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him? How he went into the House of God in the days of Abiathar the High Priest and ate the shewbread which is not lawful to eat except for the priests and also gave some to those who are with him. So, he gave it to David and those who are with him?’ And he said to them, ‘the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” Now it goes on to say, you know, in certain of these cases that they were guiltless, they were guiltless. Christ is saying it was alright for them to do that because of human necessity. They could have gone on hungry, had their stomachs growling and everything like that. They weren't out there trying to harvest wheat on that day, they were just trying to grab a quick bite to eat, just like you go to the refrigerator or you go to your pantry or something. It's a very different thing, but all these technical do's and don'ts that they put on people. So, we have this example.

Elijah is another example. God told him to hide out by the Brook Kerith. And so, I said for 3 1/2 years we don't know it was 3 1/2 years but remember the famine on the land was 3 1/2 years that Elijah had pronounced on the land there and so at some point in time weather was day one or day 151 or day 200, or even Day 300, that's still less than a year, but you have 3 1/2 years. He was told to hide out and so he had hid out by this brook. And a raven brought food to him. Now can you imagine the Jews of Christ’s day? A raven is an unclean bird. Where did he get this food? Did he get it from chariot kill? You know, run over by chariot. I don't know where he got it, but I know that God would have given him clean food. But nevertheless, he brought food to him. He didn't bring it for a whole band of people. We don't have that sense at all. We don't even know if there was anybody with him at that time. He might have had a servant with him. We don't know. But he was fed there. Now he didn't have the opportunity to meet with a lot of other people on the Sabbath, for how many weeks or months? This was a different situation. You know there's a time when you stand up to be counted in a certain way and there's a time when God knows that it's best just to get out of town and God told him instructed him to do so. 

Ahab and Jezebel were not very nice people, especially Jezebel. And so, we have that situation. Let's turn over to first Kings 18. First Kings 18. First Kings 18 and let’s start in verse 5. It says, “And Ahab had said to Obadiah, going into the land, to all the springs of water into all the brooks, perhaps we might find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, and they won't have to kill the livestock. So, they divided. And Obadiah went one way and Ahab went the other way. (verse 7) And now as Obadiah was on his way suddenly Elijah met him, and he recognized him and fell on his face, and said, ‘Is that you, my Lord Elijah?’ And he answered him, ‘It is I, go tell your master, Elijah is here.’” You know, Obadiah was on his way. He recognized him. Notice he recognized him. Elijah was not an unknown figure. He was recognized. And so, if he tried to just slip in some place, into the synagogue someplace, he would have been recognized. You couldn't just hide out that way and then go in any place you wanted. So, he said, Obadiah said, “Look, have I sinned that you want to kill me? (Notice verse 10), As the Lord Your God lives, there is no nation or Kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you.” Now did he mean China and Japan? I don't think so. It's you know, in other words in that general area. He searched for you all around here, and how far and wide we don't know, but he says there's no nation, and we could take that in a very literal sense or as probably, it's intended that there's, you know he's looked for you all over the place. Just like we say the line was endless. Well, it does end, but you know it just goes on forever. “And he's taken a vow from them saying he is not here. He took an oath from the Kingdom or nation that they could not find you. And now you say, go, tell your master Elijah's here? And then you're going to run off. And I come back in my master is going to kill me. (Verse 13), Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord?” She was out killing the prophets of the Lord. Now I suppose that all the prophets of Lord could have just said, OK, I'm not going to run. I'm not going to hide. I'm full of faith. I'm going to stay here. Well, notice what it says. “How I hid 100 men of the Lord's prophets, fifty to a cave and fed them with bread and water. Had you not heard that I did that?” These were schools of the prophets. These were students apparently. If you go and you look here, the schools of the prophets. And so, Obadiah actually put his life on the line, that was courage. That was faith. He put his life on the line to save 100 people. 50 in this cave, 50 in that cave there was a time of hiding out. This was, you know, could they go up to the temple? Could they go to keep the Feast of Tabernacles? Could they do all those things? We find that Elijah then had to go up eventually when the Brook ran dry to Zarephath, which is North of Tyre up in Lebanon, and he stayed with the widow woman for a period time. Did he go down and keep the Feast of Tabernacles with everybody?

Now, please don't misunderstand what I'm saying. I'm not saying we don't keep the Feast of Tabernacles because that has bothered people and understandably so. But some who are healthy, some who really could go the Feast, just think of, well, it's just an option. Well, yes, it is an option in the sense that you have to make up your mind what to do. But there is coming a time, brethren, we have to come out of our basements. And there is coming a time when this whole thing is over when are we going to have to cut off the live streams to just anybody. And I think we'll have to do that because otherwise people say, Oh, I'm so comfortable here at home. Why do I have to dress up and go all the way over here? I would maintain that when we assembled together, over the Internet, because you know that everything is closed down and all kinds of things that happened, I'd say that that's still assembling together. When we convened with the Council of Elders, we called a Council of Elders meeting. And so, 18 of us were there altogether, including an advisor or a couple of advisors, you might say. We were there together, we had - we called together an assembly. But this is not what we want to do forever. We know that there are some areas that are just totally shut down still. There are other areas that are wide open. Circumstances are different. But we want to be together. We want to be singing songs together. We want to be doing all the things that we ever did before. But there are times when you have to make decisions based on the stress of the time. Elijah hid out there. He didn't know that there were 7,000 individuals who had not bowed the need to Baal. Why didn't he know that there are 7,000? Obviously, because these people are scattered, God knew who they were. But they weren't going down to Jerusalem to keep the Feast at that time. You know, Jezebel, Ahab they would’ve had their you know, all the servants of God if they could’ve. There are times when we do hide out. You know, Mr. Smith, Mr. Wally Smith noted three things about these incidents that we read their, these exceptions. And he gave, the first one was these were not decisions made by lay members. And every one of the cases I've given there, these were not made by lay members, but by duly ordained leaders and judges that God had placed in a position of authoritative judgment. You know, we have a situation today where people are saying that, “Well, [if] I can't sing, I'm not going to where the church has placed its name for the Feast we're just going to have our own Feast.”

Please brethren, did God ordain you with the responsibility to decide where Christ is going to place his name? You know, if you do that, you know, you're doing so at your own peril. I'm not making a threat, and I'm not saying you're all going to die or anything like that. But if you start making a habit of violating a very strong principle that is in the place that God has chosen to place his name, and that was settled when I first came into the church back in 1964, my first Feast. They were, you know, complaining that at that time what it means where God places his name. You can't just decide on your own this is where the Feast is going to be. Please. Think about it. See the big picture.

Secondarily, they dealt with temporary circumstances and temporary conditions for which an end was in sight. These were temporary things. The showbread, it was a onetime event. The Passover, deciding well we’ll keep it in the second month or deciding the Levites will kill the lambs instead of the individual because of the circumstances. This was not to be a precedent for all time, it was for a period of time, and I wish I could say to all of you that in one month we're going to be back to normal. What I can say is we will get back to normal at some point. At least that's what I believe. We’ll get back to normal at some point and we may have to make different decisions down the road. We may reverse decisions we've made. But it will be done in a lawful way according to the Scriptures. So, they dealt with temporary conditions. 

Thirdly, they did not represent a discarding or dishonoring of God's Law, but an intent to be consistent with the spirit behind the law while dealing with those temporary circumstances. So, in this present distress, should members wear face coverings and refrain from singing in services? Is it biblically wrong to wear a face covering? Some of turned to Exodus the 34th chapter where Moses came down from the mountain, his face shone so he put a veil over his head. But when he went in to talk to God, he took it off. So, does that mean that we can't wear a veil before God? I think that's pretty much of a stretch. And when you look at Second Corinthians 3 verses 12 to 18, we see that it was a symbol of them not seeing clearly God in that sense, it was like a veil over them in the reading of the law. They took everything at a certain way, they did not understand how to judge the law that God had given them. How to properly discern it? But what about in the presence of God? Is it wrong to wear a veil? Let me go back there to Exodus 34. There was no reason to put a veil on before God because God was the one who made his face shine. He was putting the veil on to protect the people. Scared the daylights out of them. I mean, if, you know, Mr. Strain here all of a sudden, his face is shining like a big light, it’d scare me. I mean, he might scare me anyway, but it would certainly scare me if he had, you know, his face shining. Now brethren they put the veil on to protect the people which was outgoing concern if you think about it, he didn't do it to hide himself from God, so there's no reason when he's before God. Now, is it wrong to go in the presence of God with a veil? OK read Song of Solomon. I'll just give you the verses. I'll give you three of the four. The 4th chapter, verse 3. The 5th chapter, verse 7 and the sixth chapter, verse 7, so chapters 5 and 6 verse 7 in those places, and it shows that the woman was wearing a veil and at one point she says that they came and they caught her and they did these things and they stripped off her veil like this was a bad thing. Like she, you know, this was like hitting her, beating her up. You could also read Isaiah 47, verse 2. It's talking about the great whore OK? Where it talks about her veil. Now, the point of these passages, Solomon - Song of Solomon and Isaiah - was that during those times a veil was a common thing, apparently. It was something that was common, so when they went up during Solomon's day to the temple after he had built the temple, and during Isaiah's Day, women did wear veils. I'm sorry my wife, she worries about are we going to wear, you know, these things in the Millennium? She hopes not. But she's thinking about the kind of garb that the Muslims wear, and they're all black, and they’re just their eyes showing and everything like that. You know, I don't know what we're going to dress [like]. What, are we going to have Levis during the Millennium? I don't know. We'll find out when we get there. But the point is that from the Scriptures we see that veils were still being worn 200 years after David wrote all those Psalms. 200 years after Solomon had built the temple. Did they take it off when they went to the temple? There’d be no indication of that. I think that reason would tell us that they were the veil. So, is it a sin to wear a veil when you go before God? Now I know that a veil is different from, you know, something covering your mouth. We do know that we have the example of the lepers that they were to cover their mouth, apparently with a cloth, a linen cloth when you read those things. But I think that we need to see it properly that it's not a sin if you have a covering for a legitimate reason when you're in the presence of others here. There are those who think differently, but that's why we have church government.

What about singing? You know, you can turn to a number of Psalms that exhort us to sing, and I think anybody that knows me knows that I believe in singing and believe in, in praising God. You know, I commissioned the work to begin to expand our hymn book. Not with Protestant songs. But originally written songs that praise God that are scripturally accurate. And I didn't talk to anybody about that as far as I know, until at one of our luncheons, I just brought it out as one of the points I want us to begin thinking about a hymn book that, you know, maybe three, four years down the road - is not going to happen tomorrow. But if we don't start thinking about, it'll never happen. And it says sing the Lord a new song. And what we've been singing for the most part, or really all the songs are hymn book, have been there how long? Twenty, thirty years? More? And yet he says sing to the Lord a new song. You know, I put together - I say put together - I asked Mr. Jonathan McNair to put together the virtual choir that we heard earlier online when we were still locked up a bit more. I don't know about you, but you know, I really choked up. I thought that was so wonderful. Thank you to all of you who participated in that. I don't know, there were 20 or whatever it was. It was done so beautifully, and I'm just thankful for that. That was praising God far better than my voice, you know, when you think about it. Um, you don't have to think very long, you know, for that one. I've asked that we put together a virtual choir for the Feast. And last I heard, I think it was mentioned 80 singers the last heard from Mr. McNair, was that they've found a hundred singers across the, well let me rephrase that. They found a hundred people that are willing to be online and make a joyful noise, and some are going to have to tune up a little bit and some tune down. But thank you people all over the world of every shape and color and size and age who are willing to contribute to that. And I wish we could do more, and I've always wanted to promote these things. There are some people you know right here in this room, at least one here in this room, and maybe several that can attest to the fact that when they asked me can we cut back on the special music because it's may be burdensome to some of the singers. I said look at all the talent that we have here, if we cut back, we’ll cut back, cut back. I said no. I want special music every week. And they complied with that.

You know, when I was in Greenville, SC, pastoring Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC, I was hoping that we could put together an ensemble of some sort, you know, different instruments. And it took about three years because we didn't have anybody that could put it together. We didn't have the talent. But finally we found a fellow or a fellow moved into the area that played violin and he had some real understanding of it, and so we had a little ensemble of, I don't know about 7 people that accompanied the hymns each Sabbath, not all the hymns, but the beginning and at the end. And it added to it, so we're not against music. But there are those who take a look at some of the Psalms and say, well, they say we have to sing during the services. That's a command of God. So, let's take a look at Psalm 81. Psalm 81. And, I'm going to, I'm going to approach this from something that Mr. Dexter Wakefield had sent to us. He asks this - you can get to the actual verses here - but he says why shouldn't we consider dancing, timbrels, lutes, shouting, etc. to be commandments as well as singing since all those things and more are mentioned by David in the same context. It’s hard to figure why singing should be a commandment, the violation of which is sin, and the rest aren't. And I'll get to the objections here a minute, but when you think about it, if singing is a commandment, and he uses the same language for instruments and dancing and different things, then why aren't those commandments? The church has never considered any of those things to be commandments. Suddenly we have commandments we didn't know we had. The reason why, is that those things are exhortations by David, not commandments by David. The Psalmist exhorts us to praise, sing, dance, shout, play the lute and the trumpet, etc. which are good things to do, especially before the Tabernacle in David's day, and before God in Jerusalem, in the Kingdom when all the lands will come up. And we sing, and we play before the Lord today. Some are confusing exhortations with commandments. As exhortations, we want to do them, that is hard desire. We want to do them. But there are times when all these things may be appropriate and times when they are not. Dancing and shouting are not listed among the statutes. The helpful word is exhortations. Now he goes into Psalm 81, “Sing to the Lord (or) sing aloud to God our strength.” And some would say, OK, that is a commandment. He's saying it's an exhortation which we would agree, 16 men in the council agree. OK? “Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Raise a song and strike the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the lute.” Now people say, well we don't have anybody talented enough to do that but wait a minute if this is a commandment maybe we need to figure this out. “Blow the trumpet at the time of the new moon, at the full moon, on our solemn feast day, for this is a statute for Israel and a law of the God of Jacob.” He says, verses 3 and 4 where it says blow the trumpet, are references to Numbers 10, which is a statute for the priests to blow trumpets over burnt offerings at the Feast. It's not something we do since we aren't Levitical priests and we don't do sacrifices. We understand what the trumpets symbolize - this my addition - we understand what the trumpets symbolize relating to the Feast of Trumpets. And sometimes we do blow a trumpet. We try to blow a trumpet if we have somebody that can do it, or a shofar, which is a little bit difficult. But we don't understand that as a command that we have to physically do that every time the Feast of Trumpets comes around or we’re violating the law of God. No, this is an exhortation. But it was specifically concerning the Levites that were to blow the trumpets, not any Tom, Dick, and Harry.

Numbers 10:10, “Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifice of your peace offerings, and they shall be a memorial for you before your God. I am the Eternal God.” Numbers 10:10 shows that this is a statute. But verses 1 and 2 are exhortations. Even your Bible probably has a little space between versus 2 and 3, mine certainly does. There's a little - when it says this is statute is not talking about the singing and make a joyful noise, and playing the timbrel, and the harp, and the lute. Because if that is a command it’s a command. Or is it an exhortation? But blowing the trumpet at the time of the new moon when this was written was a statute, and a law of God. Now I'll just continue with my thoughts on this. If we say that singing is a commandment, and this is at the crux of the matter, then how do we say that playing instruments, dancing, etc. are not? This reasoning is not consistent. It's not logical. And someone might say, well, we don't know how dance. OK, we can figure that out. We can come up with some kind of dance. Other churches have it. I had in Hickory, NC, we had a Tomorrow's World Presentation. A lady came there and ask me about, I forget the term exactly, exotic dancing or something like she was an exotic dancer, not exotic. That wouldn't be right. She was a, I don’t know, a spiritual dancer or something. She was lending her services so she could dance around the place. There are people that believe they have to do that. We do not because we believe that is an exhortation. We know that David danced before the Lord out in the middle of the street when the Ark was being brought. That was not in an assembly of on the Sabbath. At least we don't think was on the Sabbath. But you know, these things have to be taken in the balance in which they are stated. They are exhortations we want to do it, but are we going to make it a commandment of God that we have to sing? And if we don't personally sing, were violating that commandment? You know we had singing here today. Granted, it was taped, but we heard the words we could read them. Now, if you don't believe that’s satisfying you know, the spirit and intent, well, I guess that everyone has to make up his mind on that. But the answer often comes back, well singing is listed more often and is therefore more important, more emphasis is given to it. Wait a minute, is it a command or is it not a command? Just because it's only listed three times to dance does that make it any less a command? Brethren think. Use the mind that God has giving you with the Spirit of God and with the council. People get hung up on one thing and they throw all this other stuff out about Jesus Christ being the head of the church, all of us speaking the same thing, Paul telling Timothy to rebuke and correct these people who had different ideas. Is wearing a face covering and not conducting [congregational] singing a lack of faith? Because it has been presented that way. Is it a lack of faith? Or is it a prudent man for seeing evil and hiding himself? As it says there in proverbs 22 verse 3. And Matthew 4. Jesus shows that scriptures can be misapplied to tempt God. You can read that Matthew 4 verses 6 to 7.

God emphasizes showing love toward neighbor. As Mr. Mario Hernandez, who has, anybody that knows Mr. Hernandez knows that he has faith. I don't think anybody that knows him thinks he doesn't have faith, but as he pointed out here, when you have a deadly pathogen and you know that you could bring it into a group, does it just mean that OK, because we're here, God is going to protect us? How many feasts have you gone to where somebody comes in sick and passes it to other people? Except that this is a little different situation. As Mr. Hernandez pointed out in Deuteronomy 22, verse 9 that we put a parapet around the roof of the house, so nobody falls off. In Exodus 21, verses 28 to 32, If an ox is known to gore somebody, you make sure he's penned up, because if he gets out, and he's known to gore people, then you, as the owner of that ox, you have your life on the line. Now, it does say that in this particular case he could purchase his life. He could buy - he could have a penalty, a financial penalty in exchange for it. But God does not hold us guiltless. Blood is on our house or our head if we do something that is does not show love toward our neighbor. And wearing masks is not to protect me is protect you. I mean everybody's wearing masks here and we have social distancing here, but I think we understand that sometimes you have to go without a mask. But when I'm sitting here, I have a mask on and take it off when I come up. It's a cumulative effect. Matthew 22 verses 36 to 40, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” That is a law of God. It's a summation of God's Law. In fact, the second part of it, and Romans 13, verses 9 and 10, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Is it wrong for us to think about our neighbor or it is just say well I've got faith and I'm going to come in here because I don't think God would ever let anything happen as long as I'm here. Well. I think History says that that's not necessarily so. There's a time to hide out. There's a time to take cover. Isaiah 26. Verses 20 and 21 look it up. There's a time to hide out. Hebrews the 11th chapter, verses 37 and 38. After showing these examples of faith and all of these people had faith, but he said some “were stoned, they were sawn in two,” they literally did saw people in two. We saw that and a museum down in Mexico, but it was talking about Europe. Not that long ago, actually. “They were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves the earth.” They hid out. Yes, there's a time to stand up, and there's a time to hide out. And who are we to judge the faith of some other individual?

You know, Judges 5 and verse 2, I heard this from Carl McNair, never really thought about it before, but it's talking about the time of Deborah and Barak, and it says when leaders lead, this is Judges 5 and verse 2, and the people follow. It takes leaders leading and it takes people voluntarily submitting to that leadership. Very powerful passage there. So, what do we conclude? Well, we conclude that this is a time of stress, a time of confusion in this world. There are controversial matters. These are controversial matters that we are discussing. But God has given us the mechanism to decide controversial matters. Those who reject Jesus Christ are not capable of - yeah, those who reject that Jesus Christ is capable of guiding very imperfect, very fallible servants, do so at their own peril. And I'd like to quote Granny Crotzer, I guess I don't know how to pronounce her name. I think she was in Arkansas, I think she is deceased, but she says, “If you don't think that Jesus Christ can rule his church then you do not know Jesus Christ.” What a very powerful statement. We will encourage music during our services, but in a safe manner. Ephesians 5 verse 19, “We will make melody in our hearts,” and God is going to look at the attitude that we come to service [with], not just the outward appearance of something. We’ll avoid the confusion of every man doing what is right in his own eyes. And we're not going to judge one another over matters of faith as instructed in Romans 14.

I'd like to conclude with something that was sent to me and I don't mean to put down people’s sincerity, please understand, it is a confusing time for many people. But this was sent to me by - actually sent to somebody else who’s passed it on to me by one of our ministers – “You have to wonder how we will explain all this pettiness to others in the first resurrection. ‘You were tortured by the inquisition or lions or whatever? Wait until you hear about how we had to wear masks and not sing sometimes.” I don't know how you can put it much better. It puts it in perspective. Please, brethren, let's work together as one body and let's do the work of God.