Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Fall Festival Season and Armstrong's New Covenant Blunders.

The "Fall Holy Day Season" soon begins for Jews and the Armstrongite Churches. 

Now is a good time to review Armstrong's  error of placing Old Covenant practices into New Covenant Christianity. A good time to see what the TRUTH is about the Old Testament Feasts of the Lord. A good time to learn what Jesus taught on this subject.

(Previously Posted as: LAW, GRACE, AND FAITH - A NEW COVENANT BIBLE STUDY FOR JEWS AND THE CHURCHES OF GOD)

After beginning to understand the concept of Grace and  Faith in Christ for salvation and what the New Covenant meant for true believers in Christ it seemed too simple. It was eventually easy to shed the burden of the Law under  Armstrongism. This understanding did not come to me all at once but over a long period. As I wrote in my letter found on this blog "Unraveling Armstrong's Doctrinal Errors - A Personal Journey" I had grown up in the Worldwide Church of God. From 1963 when I attended my first Feast of Tabernacles with my Mother and two younger brothers in Jekyll Island, Georgia until 2010 when I finally severed ties with the United Church of God I felt there was a great degree of hypocrisy in the doctrines of the church. I was able to read and grasp the concepts of the Old Testament Festivals of God at a very young age and the instructions for their observance. One need only read with an open mind Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16 and see Herbert W. Armstrong, while claiming God "Commanded Christians" to observe these days the church fell FAR short of actually fulfilling these requirements. After all what was the Apostle Paul writing about in Galatians 3:10, " For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse, for it is written, "Cursed is EVERYONE who does not continue in ALL THINGS which are written in the book of the law to do them," Armstrong certainly then fell under the curse of the law and brought his church under the same curse as well.


Within the Churches of God that found their beginnings in Armstrongism and base their theology on these false doctrines still prepare their annual festival cycle around this toxic soup that Armstrong brewed from some elements of an abolished old covenant and elements of the new covenant. Some Elders and members of these groups will read this blog, and they do read, with contempt and think, Hersey, Apostate!


But the Apostle Paul warns all those who reject Grace and Faith in Jesus Christ and count themselves unworthy for salvation and more so those who teach doctrines of men that cut their membership off from salvation by going back to the Abolished Covenant and rejecting the New Covenant, THE ONLY COVENANT OF LIFE THROUGH CHRIST.


Here is one of many Bible Study passages for those who believe salvation comes from keeping, or pretending to keep, the Old Covenant Festivals that were given to ancient Israel. Paul is warning the Christians in Galatia against Jews who were bringing a very similar false doctrine to what Herbert W. Armstrong taught. False for Christians then and now.

Galatians 3:25(NIV)
 1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a] 4 Have you experienced[b] so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c]  7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d] 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
 10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
 15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[i] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.  19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.
 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
23 Before the coming of this faith,[j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.  26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. 




In this all important excerpt from Paul's letter to the Galatian church which was made up of both Jewish and Gentile Christians CLEARLY STATES the Law of Moses including the Annual Festivals, including ALL of the Ordinances that were abolished at the cross ( Col. 2:14) were ONLY INTENDED UNTIL CHRIST,THE SEED ARRIVED. Verse 19; "...until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come."


Christ was the END OF THE LAW, as Paul writes in Romans 10:4. There is no purpose in attempting to keep Old Testament Feasts that actually cut believers off from Christ and are left fallen from Grace. Paul told the Jewish and Gentile Christians in Galatians 5:1-7 that were being taught FALSELY that they had to keep the Law of Moses for salvation that they, "should NOT become entangled AGAIN in a YOKE OF BONDAGE, which came directly from the Jerusalem Decision (Acts 15:10).


Some Armstrongites would argue, "but Christ kept the Feasts!" But when? Christ kept them during his lifetime. That was under the Old Covenant that He came to fulfill (Matt 5:17-18) and was passing away (Heb. 8:13). Jesus Himself taught that these physical, Temple based rituals, passed away at His coming. His own words in John 4 at the Well of Jacob in Samaria tells the story of the END of the Old Covenant Statutes and Ordinances and the beginning of the New Covenant. 


John 4:21-26;

  21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”




As the Apostle warned then and now; 
 
                     "...who hindered you from obeying the truth?" 


As a religious writer, I am not affiliated with any church or religious denomination. I am an independent disciple of Christ adhering to the teachings of the original Church of Jerusalem founded by the Apostles. What I write is taken directly from the Holy Bible. I use several  modern translations and find the concept of salvation through Grace clear in most translations. My writings are not taken from any other writings with the exception of critically analyzing the doctrines or teachings of  religious organizations from their own literature offered to the public. 

I grew up in the World Wide Church of God under Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) and have diligently compared the teachings and doctrines of that organization to the Bible and have found their doctrines and teachings terribly flawed. When compared to All of the New Covenant teachings of Jesus Christ and His Apostles,  Armstrong's teaching are in direct opposition to those of Jesus Christ. Much of what HWA taught falls into the category of pure blasphemy.

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