Friday, 17 October 2008

Prophecy abused

Douglas Winnail writes:

Long ago, God told the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (the twelve tribes of Israel, found not only in the modern nation of Israel but also among the peoples of the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and other nations descended from the peoples of northwestern Europe) that they would be blessed if they obeyed His laws—laws He had given them so they could be lights and examples to the world (Deuteronomy 4:1–10). However, God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6–7; Isaiah 43:1, 10, 20–21) were also warned that if they chose to disobey God’s laws and to despise His statutes, they would suffer severe consequences. God said through Moses: “…I will even appoint terror over you… you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you…. I will break the pride of your power” (Leviticus 26:14–19).

We are seeing those prophecies coming alive today

You thought economic meltdown was a complex matter? Dummkopfs! It's because those Brits and Yanks haven't been keeping the Sabbath and avoiding ham sandwiches! How simple yet how plain!

As the greed-economy totters, the mindless whining ascends from the "authorities" within the various COG sects: "we told you so..."

Winnail and a few hundred self-lobotomized prophets will be eagerly milking the current Wall Street crisis for all its worth. Recessions come and go, and we all hope that this one will go before a lot of good people get hurt, but is this an example of "prophecy marching on"?

Do any of these blow-hard prognosticators know anything about history? If you want to read about a real apocalypse, consider the genocide directed against the Armenian people after World War I, or the wholesale slaughter of the Greek and Armenian population of Smyrna in 1922.

Smyrna? Half a million terrorized civilians crowded on a waterfront as their city was burned and pillaged, unimaginable atrocities and butchery all around them. The stomach-churning story is related by Giles Milton in his book Paradise Lost: Smyrna, 1922. 1922? That's less than ninety years ago, but even though American and British battleships were in the harbor and eyewitness accounts abound, collective amnesia permits us to indulge in the conceit that their very real tragedies were a mere hiccup compared to the dire self-indulgent fantasies peddled by today's Bible abusers.

Tough times may be ahead, but what generation has escaped tough times? On one side there are genuine tragedies - Smyrna for example, or Kosova, or Darfur - on the other this kind of racist dogma whipped along by voyeuristic prophets - prophets who belch over their beer while sprawled on the sofa watching live satellite reports on 42" plasma TV screens - then attach bleeding chunks of scripture severed from their historical context to feed to the credulous sheep at their next pulpit performance.


Dennis said...

How much pious conviction would wither under the closing commentary on the Book of Revelation in The Religion of the Occident by Larson, which states:

"Revelation was the swan song of Militant Jewish Christianity. When Jerusalem was destroyed, when Rome waxed greater and more powerful, when the False Prophet (The Apostle Paul to Jewish Christians and the one found wanting in the letter to Ephesian Church in Revelation) gained more and more followers, when the book itself was proved totally false within two years , when it became evident that the Jewish messiah-Christ would not come, the Hebrew Christians lost their virility and their cult faded under the combined assult of orthodox Judaism and of Gentile Christianity."

To the Jewish Christians, the Beast was Vespasian and Rome and the False Prophet was Paul. It was these that they wished thrown into the Lake of Fire. It was these things that were to "shortly come to pass" and didn't.

The Book of Revelation is a failed Jewish prophecy and, while continuing to fuel all sorts of crazy end time regimes in religion, has long ago faded in literal relevance.

It is however, one of the best Biblical productions in the Canon capable of eternal manipulation and interpretation.

Pious conviction with marginal information is dangerous and ultimately disappointing, but profitable.

Dennis said...

PS Don't misunderstand. I fully believe in Biblical Prophecy. Just not accurate Biblical Prophecy.

Charlie said...


These blowhards probably know little more about history than what they learned in their high school history books spiced up with the AC experience and the "History Channel". Hulme tries to be scholarly but there is more to exercising your intellect than having motion pictures of yourself taken while walking and talking among ancient ruins.

Simple explanation of the economic meltdown without misapplying bible scripture: People to whom I would think twice about loaning a hammer were taking on more debt than wise, and banks were writing adjustable rate mortgages and equity loans to these folks despite the risks. Then, with budgets strained to the limit, Chavez, Putin, and OPEC raise the price of a barrel of oil from $60 (US) to over $140 (US). I don't have to mention what the fallout of that was / is.

Anonymous said...

I sorta figured that this would happen because of the greed of the makers and shakers of the US and other economy.
But it gives God a one up on the false prophets because I think that he goes out of His way to make sure their prophecies are nothing more than wind.
I am sure that He will keep the US in power because she is the police of the world today, otherwise the terrorists would destroy the stable nations.

Leonardo said...

The entire British-Israel idea as HWA and the WCG applied it, is now such a deeply-rooted part of "the Truth" in most of the various COG's, that it pretty much is beyond challenge nowadays.

The actual historical "evidence" for such a teaching is about as flimsy as a wet piece of toilet paper.

But hey, when God has unlocked the mystery of vital prophecies to the end-time Apostle, evidence isn't really all that important.

I recall once in UCG hearing a lecture given by Rick Sherrod, one of their BI "experts" - and it was very weak. Essentially the basic argument came down to "Well, certain historical events pertaining to Britian and the United States took place on Holy Days."

That was about the extent of Sherrod's lecture.

Byker Bob said...

Reality doesn't really begin to sink in until a person has something tangible to contrast with standard issue Armstrongite cliches. And, only in comparing varying approaches does one get a sense of what might be more realistic, or even probable.

Dr. David Jeremiah has been doing a series on the book of Daniel for his half hour broadcasts on Christian radio. I was struck with the man's intellectual honesty this past week, as he freely acknowledges that nowhere in the pages of the Bible are the United States and British Commonwealth mentioned. This is a source of wonderment, seeing as how the US is the last standing superpower, arguably the most powerful and wealthiest nation in the history of the world. Dr. Jeremiah speculates that perhaps by the time of the end, we will have decayed, and therefore would not have any major role or impact. He also freely acknowledges that the Bible is an Israel-centric document, and the nations and empires surrounding Israel's history are featured prominently therein. The US is a relatively young nation.

Other theologians, such as Dr. Charles Stanley, have pointed out that as a Christian nation, the USA has done more to spread the message of Jesus Christ around the world than any other nation. More missionary efforts, more aid, and more stability have been provided by our people than through other nations or power blocks. These theologians do not rely on an unprovable, and untenable theory such as British Israelism to back up their teachings. They teach that Christians, through Abraham's seed Jesus Christ, are the descendants of Abraham, and his heirs to all the blessings promised. Armstrongism is blinded to this because, they fail to acknowledge that the Jewish sabbath has been fulfilled, and using it as their primary criterion, they have determined that the USA is not "truly" a Christian nation, and never has been. That is what makes them focus on the nearly invisible, divided and confused work which they are doing, and to fail to see the huge work in which mainstream Christians are participating.

Whenever Christian organizations experience growth, or success, they become open to criticisms regarding empire building, comparisons between the lifestyles of their leaders and that of Jesus Christ, or that of whoring up the purity of a spiritual process with mammon or money. Seemingly, it would behoove anyone, in doing due diligence, to examine the impact of an organization, to scrutinize its doctrinal approach, and to look at accountability as is now commonly defined for all charitable organizations *before* becoming enmeshed in any type of corporate church system.

Also, people need to consider the extra-biblical teachings, and pet "insider" theories which these organizations might hold. Fruits and freedoms are important, as well. And, then, as a final consideration, there is the huge issue of the wisdom behind deciding to single source one's spiritual information in the first place, versus having a "direct connection" with God.

Any time there is any bad news, Armstrongism is always there to exploit it. You can take that to the bank! (they certainly do!)


Dennis Diehlderot said...

Gavin churtled,

....and we all hope that this one will go before a lot of good people get hurt, but is this an example of "prophecy marching on"?

Gavin, if you are going to discuss the profits of yore and now, you must get the phrasing right. It's "prophecy comes alive." The phrase "Marching on" is what Christian soldiers do as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.

Thoughts to ponder:

The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.
~ Denis Diderot

The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.
~ Bertrand Russell

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
~ Voltaire

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
~ Thomas Jefferson

It's not what you don't know that hurts you. It's what you know that just isn't so.
~ Satchel Paige

It is hard to free fools from chains they revere.
~ Voltaire

Religion, comprises a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find in an isolated form nowhere else but in amentia, in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion.
~ Sigmund Freud

There are three truths: my truth, your truth, and the truth.
~ Chinese proverb

A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.
~ Carl Sagan

Anonymous said...

Don't forget tithing.

No tragedy is so bad that you can't dispense with another 10%-30% of your income. Although a few COGs have been bold enough to skirt around it, the sTrumpet tells us How You Can Prosper in a Recession!

Or perhaps the latest tip from Warren Buffet is appropriate: When people are greedy, be fearful. When people are fearful, be greedy.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the big COGs realise how Yanko-centric they appear to we who live on foreign shores. I can still picture when the Plain sTruth would patronize those who spoke the Queen's English by telling us that diapers were nappies.

And when it comes to disasters, Shit happens, but it's worse when it happens to us. Not diminishing the human loss in 9/11, a Jewish friend (who lost family members to terrorism in Israel) said, "Now they've experienced what we fear every day."

And if the disaster de jour fizzles out, it was just setting us up for the next one.

Bamboo_bends said...

Dennis Diehl , that has to be the best post I've read in ages. I've pretty much come to the same conclusion just based on the difference between the Jesus of myth versus the Jesus of History, but that book The Religion of the Occident put the idea in a much more concise manner plus giving a very plausible explanation for the symbols in the Book of Revelation.

It makes a lot of sense.

Anonymous said....

Or perhaps the latest tip from Warren Buffet is appropriate: When people are greedy, be fearful. When people are fearful, be greedy.

COGdom certain applies that latter rule to donations.

Dennis said...

What is sad to me Bamboo is that so much today is based on the yet to be reveiled or unveiled plagues, viles, trumpets and trombones of Revelation, and it's a long ago failed book.

I was able to spend an hour with Neil Shubin who just authored Your Inner Fish, last night before his lecture on "The 3.5 Billion Year Journey into the Human Body." He found Tiktaalik, the somewhat fish but also fin/legged creature that made world news a couple years ago. He predicted before looking where it would be, in what stone it would be and what it would look like at the 375 million year ago mark. took five years, but there it was. I got to hold Tiktaalik (Tic Taal ic) complete with fins, legs, scales, lungs, gills and even fangs. What a world!

I guess this is off topic, but it was a great experience to sit one on one with Dr. Shubin and listen.

There is such a great deal of wonderful knowledge outside of the confines of the end of the world as confused by the Book of Revelation crowd. I work to overcome the feeling of a life wasted. But return to nothing is for nothing to pull me out of that.

I sat there wanting to have done what he did instead of what I did in life. He's right, I was wrong.

Byker Bob said...

Dennis, I believe we can be informed by the Bible, but yet not be limited by it. The difference lies in independent thinking, and refusal to blindly accept the various stereotypes and archtypes which are often imposed upon us by the religious establishment.

People have had nearly 2,000 years to analyze the complete book, and this really kicked into high gear in the 1600's. Science and intellect do not necessarily need to invalidate, they can also provide a fresh approach.


Bamboo_bends said...

Byker Bob said...

Dennis, I believe we can be informed by the Bible, but yet not be limited by it. The difference lies in independent thinking, and refusal to blindly accept the various stereotypes and archtypes which are often imposed upon us by the religious establishment.

People have had nearly 2,000 years to analyze the complete book, and this really kicked into high gear in the 1600's. Science and intellect do not necessarily need to invalidate, they can also provide a fresh approach.


2000 years perhaps, but its only been in the last 100 years that truly scientific approaches have been used on Bible text and the history of its characters. Its only been in last 20 years or so that scholars began writing books that average people can read.

I shudder to think of the Bible "aids" they gave us at AC. I believe "apologetics" were aptly named, they have much to apologize for!

Then there's the built in problem of people being programmed to think of "The Bible" as being God. "THE LIVING WORD OF GOD" NOT!!! Its a book for crying out loud!

Seriously, I have had people say to me after I pointed out errors in the Bible texts, "then you don't believe in God?" Like the book and the Deity are one in the same!

Aaaaargggghhhh!!! I don't have to believe in talking animals to believe there is a God!

Dennis said...

Once a person can both see and then admit that the Apostle Paul was the character in the NT who hijacked Jewish Christianity and mixed it with his Hellenized concepts of a Cosmic Christ, the Bible makes more sense.

And additional help is to realize the Jesus of the Gospels was cobbled together from OT stories and ideas by Mark, and then Matthew, "under inspiration and as an eyewitness..wink wink" copies 94% of it for his rendition. Luke managed to only copy 54% of Mark in his "eyewitness" account. In reality the Gospels are not eyewitness accounts of anything , not written by the men whose names are affixed and are competing theologies at play. Jesus may have trained 12 disciples, but Paul wrote the doctrine managing to bypass any teachings of Jesus for his own, bringing us our modern paganized, Hellenized version of some other,now forgotten, originally intended story.

In the NT, Paul is the main hero. It is Paul who founds Christianity in the Hellenized, Gentile mode. It is Paul who rejects Peter, James and John and blows them off as "pillars so called," and makes it clear "I learned nothing from them," and "they added nothing to me." It is Paul who never knew a human Jesus, though would have been contemporary to him in his ministry. It is Paul who declares himself an Apostle 22 out of 24 references to it in the NT. It is Paul who "all those in Asia have forsaken me" and somehow it's their fault, not his. It is Paul who "was all things to all men," so what the man really believed could prove rather slippery and duplistic. This is man who always had to say "I lie not," because he was often accused of it.

The COG's are Jewish Christian churches that will always have to find a way to harmonize Paul with themselves. But Paul was not trying to harmonize with the Jewish Church. They hated him and he lied to them when he need to.

It is why WCG went Pauline and dropped the Jewish view. They are two different things. The NT is NOT one big harmonious True Church of God starring the Jerusalem Apostles and Paul. They are two different movies held together tenuously by the book of Acts which is mostly fiction designed to make them seem more alike. Of course, the Star is Paul, not the Jerusalem Apostles who are bit players to Paul.

Being able to put the Book of Revelation to bed as a failed prophecy by very angry Jewish Christians who saw Jesus in the Jewish Messiah mode and then some, would much better serve this planet.

Imagine the Jesus of the Gospels being only able to look at the Apostle Paul and his teachings and say, "huh?"

Prophecy is abused. It is historically wrong many times in the OT and altered to fit the disappointing non events along the way in the New. Nothing has changed to this day. Revelation is a money maker because it breeds fear and takes way too much of one's life energy in the process by forcing one to filter the world through that awful book. It churns out all the kooks, Apostles, Watchers, Witnesses and Prophets the COG splinters are so notoriously famous for. They are failed already because the book they see themselves clearly spoken of in, failed itself 2000 years ago. The Church has just failed to inform the masses of this reality.

How the nice Jesus of the Gospels became the schizophrenic serial killer of Revelation can only be explained by the rage of the Jewish Christian Church against Paul and his False Gentile godman Christ, and of course, those beastly Romans who actually won out over angry Jewish expectations after September of 70AD

Personally Tiktaalik inspires me beyond measure and points to truths so profound, few will ever see it in their lifetime.

And the winner is... said...

To summerize Revelation.

Paul to the Ephesians: "I am an apostle of Jesus"

The Ephesians to Paul: "No you're not."

Jesus to the Ephesians Church in Revelation: "Well done!"

Libro 66 said...

Bamboo: //-- Aaaaargggghhhh!!! I don't have to believe in talking animals to believe there is a God! --//

But you do have to believe in talking animals to believe in the principle of evolution... ;-)


(Not that this is necessarily a problem...)

Burgers said...

"Aaaaargggghhhh!!! I don't have to believe in talking animals to believe there is a God!"

So you believe a God is incapable of doing that?

Leonardo said...

burgers wrote:
"So you believe a God is incapable of doing that [making animals talk]?

Burgers, I suppose in the kind of fantasy realm that most people equate with God and "the spirit world" then literally anything is possible.

But in the everyday world of which you and I are a part, when was the last time you had an intelligent conversation with a donkey or a serpent?

Anonymous said...

A talking serpent that talked to me?

Well, I did see something on Tee-Vee where Sarah Palin was ostensibly talking to me.

Does that count?

Paulus of Balonus said...

"when was the last time you had an intelligent conversation with a donkey or a serpent?"

Ministerial conference....Summer of 95.

Leonardo said...

Paulus of Balonus wrote:
"Ministerial conference....Summer of 95."

Ha! But I said an INTELLIGENT conversation!!

Richard said...

On one of his telecasts before the Feast, Gerald Flurry suggested the President call a day of prayer and fasting over the economic mess -- as Abraham Lincoln did during the Civil War.

Given Mr. Bush's background, I'm a bit surprised he hasn't gone at least halfway with that -- to the prayer part.

But then he said this, quoting from his Key of David transcript:

our forefathers established the currency, and they knew that money would be a great temptation to people, as it always has been, so they printed on the dollar bill and all of the bills, In God We Trust, and it’s still there....

If he means the founders of the USA, he's flat-out wrong. Wikipedia shows that happened around 1864.

(Maybe that's why Mr. Flurry also expresses concern on that telecast about U.S. colleges not requiring courses in U.S. history!)

Leonardo said...

Richard wrote:
"If he means the founders of the USA, he's flat-out wrong. Wikipedia shows that happened around 1864."

These kinds of comments are spouted a LOT from evangelical Christians in America. I've studied their literature pretty carefully and am familiar with many of their oft-repeated mistakes.

Such mistakes stem from a fundamental MISunderstanding of American's founding. Here's a good link that is helpful in eradicating the idea that America was originally began by it's Founding Fathers as a "Christian Nation."

Go to:

...then type in "Christian Nation Myth" in the SEARCH field, and open up the first link appearing at the top which takes you to an excellent article entitled "The Christian Nation Myth."

This article was written by someone who was once a Christian fundamentalist pastor, and who has since learned better.