"Daughter Of Babylon,
The True History of
The Worldwide Church of God"
by Bruce Renehan
Chapter 3 Which Old Testament Laws Are In Force Today?
If there was only one authentic Christian church, which doctrines would it have kept throughout all of history? Is there a mark of distinction? A sign of who God's people are throughout all time?
Even though I have already shown that the Worldwide Church of God has never been able to establish doctrinal stability, the assumption that their beliefs were stable led to the second most pivotal doctrine of Herbert Armstrong: Moses' Law is Eternal and Immutable.Now we must summarize the teaching and beliefs of God's true Church.
This, naturally, is related directly to the purpose of the Church--to call out of Satan's present world disciples (students, learners) to be trained to become kings and priests (teachers) in God's world tomorrow when God will open the tree of life (salvation, immortality) to all flesh.
But doctrinally, remember what the Church is called to help restore--the kingdom, government and character of God. What was taken away? God's law, the foundation of his government and the very essence of God's character and divine life.
In other words, the pivotal point is the SIN question. Sin is the transgression of God's spiritual law (I John 3:4).
Satan has deceived this world's churches into the belief that God's law was done away--that Jesus, rather than paying the price in human stead for transgressing the law, did away with it--"nailing it to his cross."
The expression used by Protestants "nailing the law to his cross" can mean only one thing. This is Satan's teaching that by being nailed to the cross, Christ abolished the law, making it possible for humans to sin with impunity. What actually was nailed to the cross was Christ our sin bearer, who took on himself our sins, paying the death penalty in our stead, so that we are freed from the ultimate penalty of sinning, not made free to sin with impunity.
The very basic teaching, belief AND DOCTRINE OF God's true Church therefore is based on the righteousness of and obedience to the law of God. (Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong, p. 225)
Before you can sincerely believe and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, and have His shed blood cover your sins, you must repent. But repent of what? Repent of SIN!
What is sin? Despite the contradictory ideas and generalizations of organized religious denominations, your Bible clearly states: "Sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4).
Sin is breaking God's spiritual law--the Ten Commandments. That is definitely and specifically what sin is! (The Ten Commandments, Roderick Meredith, 1977, p. 6)
When joined with "law", as, "the works of the law," primarily in Romans and Galatians, it refers to the RITUALS of the Law of Moses. These were physical WORK--labor! These laborious physical rituals--"the works of the law"--were a SUBSTITUTE for Christ and the Holy Spirit, and were in force only until Christ. They were then ABOLISHED. There were certain other secular laws, such as statutes and judgments, that were not abolished. Nor, of course, the great spiritual Law, the Ten Commandments, which define righteousness, the transgression of which is sin. (What Will You Be DOING in the NEXT LIFE? Herbert W. Armstrong, 1969, p. 7)
Why has this law been called the "Law of Moses"?...
Read that again carefully! That is not what you probably have been told. Read it in your own Bible!
These words of the Ten Commandments the Lord spoke. To whom? "Unto ALL YOUR ASSEMBLY." The people did NOT receive the Ten Commandments from Moses, but direct from the very voice of God, which they all heard! (Which DAY Is the Christian Sabbath?, Herbert W. Armstrong, 1976, p. 43)
Acceptance that the ten commandments were great spiritual laws and an eternally binding covenant, led to what Armstrong believed was a "test of obedience." That test of obedience was in observing the seventh day as the Sabbath according to the Old Testament restrictions.
The Sabbath Day was called a "sign" between God and ancient Israel. This seemed rather obvious that the keeping of the seventh day Sabbath would provide a mark of distinction in modern times. Especially in looking through history for God's one true church. Could it really be that simple?Now study this special covenant a little further:
"...for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you" (Ex. 31:13)
What tremendous meaning is packed in that portion of this sentence! Yet most people read right past it, failing to get the vital TRUTH it contains!
Notice! Here is the purpose of the Sabbath. "...for it is a SIGN..." (Which DAY is the Christian Sabbath?, p. 52, Herbert Armstrong, 1976)
The people of the world are willing to acknowledge the other nine commandments--but the Sabbath command is the one they positively REBEL against! It is THE ONE that is the crucial test of obedience! It IDENTIFIES those who have surrendered their wills to God--who OBEY God, regardless of persecution or cost!...God's SIGN is one you accept voluntarily--of your own volition, or not at all. But the "beast"(symbol of the coming resurrected, so-called Holy Roman Empire in Europe) has a MARK, which is soon going to be BRANDED ON, by physical FORCE! And it has something to do with "buying or selling"--trading, business, earning a living, having a job (Rev. 13:16-17; Rev. 13 and 17). Yes, this is the TEST COMMAND--the one on which YOUR VERY SALVATION AND ETERNITY DEPEND!
I have said that God made the Sabbath a separate, eternal, and perpetual covenant entirely separate and apart from what we term "the Old Covenant" made at Mt. Sinai. (Herbert W. Armstrong, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, 1980, pp. 139-140)
The Sabbath was not only considered a "sign" of who God's people were. Armstrong indicated that the observance of it had a mystical quality. Sabbath day observance could reveal that God's great purpose was the advent of the millennial reign of Christ (the kingdom of God).
"A good understanding have all they that do his commandments" (Ps. 111:10). The one test commandment is the fourth--keeping God's Sabbath. My conversion resulted from a struggle to resist that commandment! But when a merciful God conquered me--brought me to surrender to him on that point--he revealed also the necessity of observing his ANNUAL Sabbaths and festivals. (These picture the seven major spiritual steps in the book Pagan Holidays or God's Holy Days--Which?) Through this and other revealed knowledge of the Holy Bible, God gave me UNDERSTANDING of the working out of his great PURPOSE! And also the necessary part of his CHURCH in fulfillment of that glorious purpose! (Herbert W. Armstrong, Mystery of The Ages, p. 191)
Annual Sabbaths were the holy days mentioned in the Old Testament--The Passover, Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and Last Great Day. If the law of Moses was to be kept today, the annual Sabbaths of the Old Testament were certainly included. They became a requirement for salvation and further revelation of understanding about God's plan of salvation.And now we wish to show a New Testament command--more plain, more direct, than any we can find for the weekly Sabbath--to keep these annual holy days!...Notice Matthew 26:5. The chief priests and the scribes, conspiring to kill Jesus, said: "Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people." They hastened so they could take and kill Him the day before the feast, or on the 14th Abib (Nisan)...Now let us examine carefully I Corinthians 5:7-8. Churches have applied this to the Passover. Notice it does not say, nor apply to, Passover at all. Let us willingly, prayerfully, study to see what it does say:
"For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore LET US KEEP THE FEAST." Notice it. Because Christ our Passover, has been sacrificed, therefore let us of the New Testament dispensation--because Christ had died--keep, what? Notice it! Not the Passover here which was on the 14th Abib (Nisan)--but let us keep the feast--which was the 15th! The highday Sabbath of John 19:31! The annual holy day. And, in a larger sense, the feast included all seven of the days of unleavened bread, including the second holy day, or Sabbath, on the 21st Abib (Nisan)! We cannot escape this, if we are yielded to the Lord and the Word of God! There it is, in plain language, in the New Testament! Because Christ was crucified, therefore let us keep the feast! (Herbert W. Armstrong, Pagan Holidays--or God's Holy Days--Which, p. 26)
The observance of the same holy days that ancient Israel observed was the source of one particular revelation. In the Old Testament, the observance of the spring and fall festivals required a special way of tithing of one's increase. Now Herbert Armstrong proceeded to close the deal by informing his readers that tithing was part of this eternal law of God and was taught in the New Testament for Christians to practice. In 1927 Herbert Armstrong felt that he had come into contact with the descendant of the New Testament church. How did he identify it?...They held faithfully to the things that are HOLY TO GOD--his Sabbath and paying his tithe. They held to the true biblical NAME, "the Church of God." No other church on earth held to these three pivotal basic beliefs and practices. They were humble and sincere and would have sacrificed their lives for these basic truths. (Where Is the True Church?, Herbert W. Armstrong, p. 19)
So tithing, far from being abolished, is NEW TESTAMENT LAW! But, the priesthood being changed to that of Jesus Christ--the Melchisedec Priesthood restored--that tithing law is also changed of necessity, so as to become God's system for financing the ministry of Jesus Christ! (Ending Your FINANCIAL WORRIES, p. 20, Herbert Armstrong, 1959)
God has a financial law for our nations. He says 10 percent of the increase, or gross income of each one of us, belongs to God for his purposes and his work.
In Malachi 3:8-10: "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes in the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
After the year 1800 we prospered because of Abraham's obedience and God's unbreakable promises to him. But now having received such individual and national prosperity, we sin by stealing from God. That has brought our nations under a curse. We have won our last war. Nothing but troubles now lie ahead until we repent.
God's tithe is holy to him (Lev. 27:30). God's Sabbath, the seventh day of every week, is holy to him. Yet we have put no difference between the holy and the profane (Ezek. 22:26) (Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong, p. 158)
As doctrinal revelations began to snowball, Armstrong's credibility began to grow and his paradigm appeared plausible. By accepting the Sabbath, members could now be shown one of Herbert's favorite mysteries. The Sabbath sign led to the discovery of a unique people who had lost their identity and yet were destined to fulfill a dual purpose of the Old Covenant after collectively recovering from amnesia. That unique people were "the lost ten tribes of Israel" who were primarily found in the United States and Great Britain. This is an old doctrine many refer to as British-Israelism.
And like all of the other revelations of truth, the identity of who modern-day Israel was opened followers' minds to yet another conclusion: Israel's identity was the master key to understanding prophecy.That key is knowledge of the astonishing identity of the American and British peoples--as well as the German--in biblical prophecies. This very eye opening, astounding identity is the strongest proof of the inspiration and authority of the Holy Bible! It is, at the same time, the strongest proof of the very active existence of the living God! (p. 3, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong, 1980)
And don't forget, the specific key that unlocks these closed doors of prophecy is the definite knowledge of the true identity of the American and British nations as they are mentioned in these prophecies. (p. 6, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong, 1980)
Armstrong considered Great Britain to be the modern nation of Ephraim, and the United States to be the modern nation of Manasseh (the two sons of Joseph who bore the collective identity of modern-day Israel). At the same time Armstrong villainized the German people by claiming that they were the descendants of the ancient Assyrians who had taken Israel captive in the days of Jeremiah the prophet.
Of proof that our white, English-speaking peoples today--Britain and America--are actually and truly the birthright tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh of the "lost" house of Israel there is so much we shall have space for but a small portion in this book.
Like the picture that emerges when piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, Armstrong's paradigm unveiled a unique view of the cosmos. If accepted as truth, the vortex of circular reasoning would now show the self-convinced followers that they were on to something that made sense and offered them a special place in the universe. For instance, being a descendant of Israel magnified the need to observe the Sabbath; keeping the Sabbath revealed one's special identity and pleased God; knowing one's special identity led one to understand the real meaning of prophecy; and understanding prophecy could save one's life. Therefore, one must keep the Sabbath or risk getting amnesia and losing one's salvation.
And this prophecy of Leviticus 26, though written by Moses before the Israelites had entered the promised land, is one of dual fulfillment. It was a warning to those of Moses' day, but its final fulfillment, as we shall see, has taken place and is now taking place--in our time. And, through fulfillment, typical of so many prophecies, it is also a WARNING to the American and British peoples of impending events! Leviticus 26 is the basic prophecy of the Old Testament. It contains a vital, living, tremendous message and warning for our people today! (pp.109-110, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong, 1980)
Understanding prophecy seemed to depend upon a Christian's performance in several ways. If America and Britain (modern Israel) did not obey God and keep the Sabbath, God would bring a curse upon them--this is how Old Testament prophecies were played out. Armstrong's followers were the only ones who knew the vital keys to prophecy. His church was the only institution that knew the identity of modern Israel. Therefore the church felt a responsibility to God for warning Israel (America) of God's impending wrath.
One other revelation, of minor importance, seemed evident. God had a particular interest in race. After all, He had never given up on the descendants of Abraham. Again, this implied that God was exclusive with salvation.
On the world scene nothing is so important right now as to know where the white, English-speaking peoples are identified in scores and hundreds of prophecies--prophecies which describe vividly our sudden rise to national power and reveal the causes of that greatness; prophecies that paint a crystal-clear picture of our present international dilemma; prophecies that open our eyes wide to see what now lies immediately ahead for our nations--and what our ultimate and final status shall be. (p. 10, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong, 1980)
Armstrong claimed that these restored truths had been delivered to him by divine providence. They all revolved around one basic premise--the laws that were given to Moses, beginning at Sinai, were never abolished but were still in full effect.
But if this were the case, then, who were all of the other people, outside of the Worldwide Church of God, who thought of themselves as Christians?
Go to the "Painful Truth" page.