This Sabbath I would like to draw attention to the fact of the Month of Abib and the Passover and what it stands for in the Plan of God.
Deuteronomy 16:1 says: “Keep the New Moon of Abib.” This text has been altered to read Month of Abib to hide the fact that the Calendar of Judah is a late fabrication. It can be so used, but the real purpose is to hide the fact that the New Moons were moved from the conjunction at the time of the Temple period, to a moveable observation system, which became tied into the crescent system of the pagans.
The Church of God is not really aware of just how much paganism has entered the Church and how much idolatrous worship is passed off for Christianity, even among the Churches of God.
Some members of the Worldwide Church of God spoke to one of our families the other day and in discussing their views, produced a structure of the Godhead and a structure of worship that simply was a straight pagan derivation and did not understand that they were completely idolatrous.
What is being presented to the Churches of God in these last few years, is a structure of the nature of God and Christ, which is in fact a Radical Unitarian function, that is derived directly from the worship of the god Attis in Rome, and the god Adonis in Greece and the Hellenised world. This extends to the cult of Demeter and Dionysus.
The argument is put forward that God decided to beget a son, and from Himself He formed a being that He caused to enter the Virgin Mariam. This being had no existence prior to the incarnation in Mariam and returned to God as His son and sat on the right hand of the Father after his resurrection. This being is held to be the Son of God and had no existence other than as a notional idea in the mind of God prior to the incarnation.
This being was a god created from Himself as His own son. In this sense there were two beings, Father and Son, as parts of the same god. This being was grown to adulthood, and then selected, crucified on a stake or tree, and buried on a Friday and raised from the dead on the Sunday. He ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God as a god. This doctrine is not a Christian doctrine. It came from the worship of Attis and Adonis. Attis was the god who was both father and son, who came to earth and was crucified on a stake and buried, and rose again from the grave on the Sunday. Attis was castrated by Rhea. That is also why the effeminate paintings of a longhaired Christ have permeated Trinitarianism from the same source. Get this straight: Long hair is a shame to a man, forbidden by the Bible, and Christ did not have long hair. You shall poll your hair only.
This view of the Son of God entered Christianity as Modalism after the pagan Easter system, on which these gods were worshipped, entered Christianity in Rome from 154-192 CE in the Quartodeciman Disputes (see the paper The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277)).
These people ignore the texts that declare the pre-existence of Christ, if they ever read them. One might say to them, read the paper, The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ (No. 243) and you will understand. However, an interesting phenomenon is occurring in the Churches of God, which is an appeal to ignorance.
The argument runs something like this. “I have the Bible and I don’t need to read anything else. I won’t discuss these issues with anyone but a minister of my Church, and I don’t trust them anyway, and so I will stick with the Bible alone, or whatever I choose to learn from them.” The argument then often runs along these lines: If everyone had stayed in the Church and not left, then we would have things back on track and we would not be scattered as we are now. Christ will return soon and restore the Church and get rid of the apostasy. Until then, all we have to do is stay with the Church.”
We hear this silly appeal to ignorance often. Thanks be to God, He snaps people out of that ignorance when He wants to deal with them. I have seen exchanges between members and ministers of the Churches of God, that expose the silly reasoning behind these views. I have seen entire Churches present their cases and when greeted with puerile arguments from a limited ministry along the above lines, or more classic Trinitarian in type, they simply leave and get on with the job of preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, which they were commissioned to do from the beginning.
We have seen whole and part churches leave the WCG and its offshoot systems, sometimes complete with ministers, and come to us because their minds have been opened and when they decided to do some study they were compelled by reason. We have seen this happen in Canada, USA, India, Africa, Europe and in Asia and Australia. We do not publish numbers and in fact understate our Churches for many reasons, but one day in the not too distant future, we will publish contact details of the Churches of God throughout the world, and many will be surprised at the extent of the Churches and the affiliations. However, we should all understand that it is God who calls and we simply cannot understand if God does not wish us to, or if we limit the way in which we can learn by restricting information. Most cults limit what their members read in order to control what they do. That is why the Catholic Church banned Bibles because it ran counter to what they taught. The WCG in the last decades of the twentieth century banned reading other literature, so that the ministry could control the members and they bred ignorance. A member of the elect will hear the voice of the shepherd and so false information is recognised. However, if we limit our own education, we will fail to recognise truth from error in an historical context and this will lead us into error.
That is one reason why there are so many small groups in the US saying such silly things. The Hillel Calendar for example, is known by everyone to be a post Temple period calendar, but the groups in the USA don’t understand the ramifications of the history, or the history itself and worship God on a false calendar, because Herbert Armstrong himself was uneducated in those matters. We have seen simple false statements made by US groups and sometimes Commonwealth and other groups also. For example, one leader stated baldly that the position of Philo was that the New Moon was by observed crescent. Anyone with any understanding of Philo and the ancient Temple calendar, knows that Philo stated unequivocally that the New Moon was according to the conjunction as calculated in the astronomical schools. These schools operated throughout the Hebrew world. The problem is that people, for some reason and especially in religion, lie and many unashamedly. Look at the paper Commentary on the UCG Doctrinal Paper Should Christians Observe New Moons (No. 124) to deal with some fables on the New Moon issues. In that paper the correct quote from Philo is given.
The New Year is the commencement of the season in which God sent Christ to
bring Israel out of Egypt, and to establish them as His special people in order
to bring the entire world to salvation.
“Moreover brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ (1Cor. 10:1-4).”
Is that so hard to follow? Christ was the Spiritual Rock that was with Israel and Moses in the wilderness, and from which they ate and drank. If Christ was a notional idea in the mind of God, how could he have been with Israel in the wilderness and how could he have given the law to Moses in the wilderness at Sinai? This view was the historical view of the early Church and even at Rome (see the paper The Original Doctrines of the Christian Faith (No. 88)). It is ignorance that results in error because people do not study. The Churches of God are no exception.
It was Christ who was the angel and elohim who wrestled with the patriarch. There were many sons of God who spoke with God before the Exodus and Satan was among them. So also were there Morning Stars present with the sons of God at the foundation of this earth and who sang before God (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7). Explain that if you have understanding. Who formed the earth? What is His name and what is his son’s name? Declare it if you have any understanding (Prov. 30:4-5).
The month of Abib was set aside from the New Moon (see the paper The Moon and the New Year (No. 213)), which begins the Sanctification of the Temple of God (No. 241), to the seventh of Abib which is the Sanctification of the Simple and the Erroneous (No. 291), to the tenth of Abib, which is the setting aside of the Lamb (see Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159)), to the fourteenth of Abib which is the Lord’s Supper (No. 103) and the trial of Christ, and to the fifteenth of Abib, which is the First Holy Day. It commences with the Passover meal, which was Christ crucified at 3 p.m. on 14 Abib (see the paper I Thirst (No. 102); and The Death of the Lamb (No. 242)).
The month goes on to The Wave Sheaf Offering (No. 106B), which points to Christ as the first-fruits. The festivals finish on the twenty-first day of Abib, which is the Last Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is a seven day feast when we eat unleavened bread for seven days from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day of Abib.
One would think that it would not be difficult to understand that sequence of events since Christ did it so clearly in the NT narrative. However, most do not understand it and Judah vilifies it.
Christ gave the sequence to us in the Law He gave to Moses at Sinai, and then came down and lived it, kept it, and fulfilled it as the sacrifice for all men.
Satan has tried to counterfeit Christ’s sacrifice and undermine it for millennia and he tried to pre-empt it with false gods to minimise its impact.
We have noticed that we have baptised a significant number of Seventh Day Adventists, both from the Trinitarian types in the USA to the SDA Reform Movement of WWI Germany in recent days. The Reform Movement SDAs are still Unitarian, whilst the post 1978 SDAs from the USA are Trinitarians who do not understand they were once all Unitarians. The major problem they both face is that they do not comprehend that the Passover was set out for all to follow and reflects the plan of salvation they are to follow. Many do not understand that the vegetarianism espoused by Ellen G. White is a heresy (see The Doctrines of Demons of the Last Days (No. 48) and also Vegetarianism and the Bible (No. 183)) of which they must repent. Many of us have much to unlearn before we can start to learn anew. What is required is obedience and faithfulness in the work given to us to do.
Whatever we are given to do we must do with all our hearts and all our minds and all our strength as we undertake the work of God.
We noticed that the African Church has baptised a large number of people this last month, including quite a number of ministers from a number of denominations. Let us all pray that they are able to set things in order for the Passover and study and grow in the faith. It is an exciting time there in East Africa with a growth in numbers and a series of people able to admit error and to grow in the faith. West Africa seems to have potential for much growth, but we are cautious about the area and we will pray for more guidance there.
One of the ministry repeated an old proverb of the Church recently that runs along the lines of God Calls and Satan sends. That refers to the fact that some come into the faith for the wrong purposes. This is a variation of the Many are called but few are chosen text of the NT. When you are called to the faith it, is your responsibility to count the cost and deal with the faith as it requires. You are required to discern the body of Christ. That can only mean one thing. You have to find the body of Christ wherever it is in the world and eat the body and drink the blood of Christ at the Lord’s Supper, washing feet and having your feet washed. Also grape juice will not do for this important sacrament.
If you fail to keep the Passover then you are kept on ice until the next Passover and if you continually fail you are out of the body permanently. If you are the chosen of God then He will deal with you and it may be very hard for you until you get the message. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Let us ask the question as to what we can do for the Church. Do not be a seat warmer. Paul says if you do not work you do not eat! Do what you can for the faith. Help us to get this work done.
Love one another and help us all get through this Passover in faith and strength for the Lord.
Praise God and His Christ for each other.
© Copyright 2003 Christian Churches of God, All Rights Reserved