In August 2017 our attention was drawn to an article written by a Mr Tom Robinson of UCG, who is near St. Louis Missouri. As we all know we were very busy with the Commentary on the Koran at the time of the publication so the matter was handed to our Coordinator in Southern California, who knew the writer, to write a Sabbath Message on the issue for us to address the glaring errors. Our response to UCG was met with blatant defence of the KJV forgeries and a display of ignorance of the texts of both the Bible and the Koran and a refusal to address the forgeries accepted as additions or forgeries by most reputable scholars all over the world. This Sabbath Message relates to the New Moon message issued on 22 Aug 2017 that responded to an article published in the July-August issue of the United News by an elder in the United Church of God (UCG) who asks the question "Who Is Our Creator?" The title of the article leads into the statement "God created all things through Christ. Does that make Christ the Creator along with the Father? Or should only the Father be called the Creator?" The New Moon Message can be accessed at: http://www.ccg.org/weblibs/2017-messages/new_moon_message_010640120_(22aug17).html.
I said in that message:
“We have dealt with the polytheist idolatry of Armstrong and his ministry in the paper Ditheism (No. 076B). When informed of this heretical text I asked Tom to deal with it as we were very busy with the Koran. This argument is not new and the Trinitarians were pushing it in the Seventh Century and the prophet dealt with it in Surah 2 (Q002), Surah 5 (Q005), and also in Surahs 6, 7, 10 and elsewhere. There were two creations and both were under the control of the One True God. The first was in Job 38:4-7 and the Recreation is in Genesis chapter 1. That is why the Sardis and Laodicean systems do not enter the First Resurrection but go to the Second Resurrection and it is primarily due to these heretics that lead them. Very soon God will deal with them.”
We are now almost done with the Commentary on the Koran and the Sabbatarian faith of the Council of the church in Arabia is clear for all to see and the fact of the Creation and the uniqueness of the One True God as Creator is the crucial feature of the texts. The Ditheist, Binitarian and Trinitarian nature of the professions were then similar to the professions of the Churches of God emanating from Armstrongism, and also from Protestantism and Trinitarian Sunday worship generally. The heresy has not abated and will be dealt with soon and at least with the arrival of the Witnesses, Enoch and Elijah, in Jerusalem for the 1260 days witness prior to the coming of the Messiah.
The author of the article quoted a number of Scriptures and used polytheistic explanations in an attempt to prove Christ was a co-eternal God-being with the Father who also created. The New Moon message dealt with his polytheist approach in response while highlighting the errors of Ditheism and Binitarian theology.
They will not repent and give up their heresy. After nine months we received the following reply addressed to Tom Schardt. The below comments regarding the New Moon message are from the elder of UCG who authored the article. UCG appears to still hold to the creation of the angels by God and Christ which is a heresy. The sons of God are all creations of the Father and Christ is part of that creation of Eloah as we see from Deuteronomy 32:8 ff. That error is the basis of the WCG heresy and for which, with the Hillel Calendar, they will go to the Second Resurrection as part of the Sardis system (cf. Rev. 3:1 ff). They could have no scriptural dialogue from this viewpoint with either Islam or to point out the errors of the Sunday worshipping system.
I will comment on a few things from your brief message here and the longer linked new moon message.
I noted that you reject the end of Ephesians 3:9, whereas we accept the Majority Textform. You also explain away the references in Hebrews 1:1-2 and John 1:1. But you have not explained Colossians 1:15-17--that all things were made through and for Christ and that in Him all things consist.
Contrary to what you've stated, our position does not conform to ditheism or binitarianism, although it could be described as close to these. We do not believe in two Gods, per se, in the vein of ditheism. Rather we believe in two distinct co-eternal divine beings who together are one God--the one God as the united God family. And we are not Binitarian in the sense of viewing two divine persons as a single being (in the ilk of Trinitarianism). Rather we consider the Father and Son to be two distinct, individual beings who share the same essence of the Holy Spirit. It joins them together profoundly as one more closely than living entities can be joined together in the physical realm. The two are supremely unified in all that they do so that they are one, operating together as one God rather than two.
And in this union the Father is supreme. We do not teach that a decision was made at some point for the Father to be supreme and the Word who became Christ to be subordinate. Rather, we teach that it always was this way. And Mr. Armstrong himself taught this, despite how some have misconstrued him. Here is what Mr. Armstrong wrote in his book Mystery of the Ages: "The very fact of law presupposes GOVERNMENT. Government is the administration and enforcement of law by one in authority. This necessitates authoritative leadership--one in command. When the only conscious Life-Beings existed, God was leader -- in authoritative command. Thus, even when the only conscious Life-Beings were God and the Word, there was GOVERNMENT, with God in supreme command” (Mystery of the Ages, 1985, p. 49). Mr. Armstrong understood this to be true from eternity past, as do we. The fact that there was no beginning to this relationship is certainly a mystery to us as to how that could be--but so is the fact that God and the Word existed from eternity. How could a being have no beginning? We cannot yet comprehend this." (End of quote)
In response to the above comments the following was sent:
I have carefully read your explanation regarding God and Jesus Christ.
You state that your position does not conform to ditheism or binitarianism, but it is close to these two, and that you believe in two distinct co-eternal divine beings that are united together as one God in the united God family. Further, you quote Herbert Armstrong's book Mystery of the Ages that supposedly explains that the Father is supreme in this arrangement and Christ is subordinate and that this arrangement was not by discussion but "that it was always this way".
Many of us witnessed some of the ministry, especially Gerald Waterhouse who was a close confidant to Herbert Armstrong, publicly preached that the Father/Son relationship was determined by discussion between the two as to who would become the son of the other to become human and die for man. Those in the ministry who preached this heresy should have been censored by the Church for muttering it.
The position that you state of God and Christ being co-eternal and in a one God family relationship, even though you believe it is not ditheism nor binitarianism, it is no more scripturally accurate than polytheistic trinitarianism and it is blatant pagan polytheism. The Bible simply does not teach polytheism and scripture condemns the worship of false Gods. "You shall have no others gods before me" (meaning no other gods before or in place of the Father, the one true God absolute), not the God family. This is what the Shema (Deut.6:4) is all about.
The incarnate Christ Jesus validates the Shema in Mark 12:28-34 : 28) And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29) And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31) And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. 32) And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: 33) And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 34) And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question. KJV
Biblical Unitarianism is the correct explanation from Scripture in how God became Father, and the position of Jesus Christ, who is one of His numerous sons in the Council of Elohim before his incarnation. This is truly awesome and wonderful truth that ditheism, binitarianism, trinitarianism, and any other form of polytheism simply cannot answer truthfully from Scripture. Teaching "that it was always this way" when speaking from a polytheistic position as you do of the Father being supreme and Christ being subordinate does not make any sense whatsoever and lacks any scriptural credibility. Speaking from the Biblical Unitarian point of view it would make sense because it validates the position of the Father/son relationship, which the Scriptures give witness to.
For an authoritative discourse into how God is one with His spirit sons, I hope that you will study the important paper: Mysticism Chapter 4 Judeo-Christianity (No. B7_4) at: http://www.ccg.org/weblibs/study-papers/b7_4.html). Below the following paragraphs are quoted from it.
"The Hebrew concept of God as a plural structure (termed Elohim in the Hebrew, or Theoi in the Greek), is derived from the logical necessity of the exclusion of polytheist forms. God is one because the Host of Heaven is united by the spirit as one within the will of the central entity that was the causal origin of the structure. This plurality is derived entirely from the central singular being, upon whom it is dependent for existence.
This entity is called in the Hebrew, Eloah or ha Elohim (i.e. the God). In the Greek NT He is Ho Theos, THE God. In John chapter 1 for example the accusative case Theon or ton Theon is used for this being. He is singular and eternal. He is understood in English as God the Father. He existed before time began, in his abiding perpetuity, as a singular entity in complete form, with all necessary attributes instantiated. That is, He did not create any of the attributes necessary to His deity, such as omniscience or omnipotence; they existed as part of His being.
The New Testament uses Greek Philosophical terms to explain the structure and to avoid confusion. Those terms will be used and explained. It should be remembered that the Hebrew apostles were explaining to a Greek educated multi-god or polytheist world, a Hebrew concept using Greek words, which had meanings quite different, in some cases, to that ascribed to the same words today.
By the power of His spirit (which emanates as a force, which is equated with a divine utterance and which may be termed in the Greek, Logon, in a general sense) God created according to His will (Rev 4:11). The primary creation was the central order of the host termed the Elohim. The Elohim were initiated from an emanation of the spirit that must have been simultaneous. The Elohim were of degree and rank as an order of spirit beings, who achieved their unity with Eloah from the emanation of the Logon; individual manifestations of which being referred to as the Logos or Logoi in plural form. The Logoi of God is the plural form used in both the LXX and the NT for the Oracles of God translating the Hebrew Dabar Yahovah or word of God as it applied to the Holy of Holies. (See Oracle of God and Oracles of God comparing the MT with the LXX: cf. Cox, The Oracles of God (No. 184), CCG). When used in reference to humans, the animist term pneuma was used which has proved to be slightly misleading in discussion of the structure.
The creation and movement of the Elohim commenced the concept of time. The subsequent acts of creation were left to subordinate entities. In the OT, the actions on behalf of the One True God, who is Father of all, were undertaken by subordinate entities. This view is consistent with ancient theology generally. The being who appeared to man in the OT was the Angel of YHVH, who was understood by the early Church as being Christ. In his preexistent form, he gave the law to Moses (cf. The Elect as Elohim (No. 1); The Angel of YHVH (No. 24); Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127); and The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ (No. 243), CCG, 1994-2000). We know from the Bible texts, and from above that Christ was a creator. He therefore created in accordance with the will of God the Father and with knowledge proportional to his revelation of the plan. The Elohim created in accordance with the will of Eloah, but in fact had some autonomy in material structures within their commands. The Elohim are replicated beings as emanations of the force of Eloah. He was the central Elohim and the only entity who could be both Eloah and Elohim. Eloah anointed Elohim to their commands. The Elohim of Israel was anointed by his Elohim (who was Eloah) (Psalm 45:6-7; Heb 1:8-9).
The Elohim were called YHVH in the Hebrew (pronounced Yahovah), which is the name of the central entity termed Yahovah of Hosts. They were messengers of YHVH and so were referred to by the term 'Messenger' in both the Hebrew form 'malak', and the Greek form 'aggelos', from which the term angel is derived. The Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the Angel of YHVH (Gen. 48:15-16). The central entity we call God the Father was called 'YHVH of Hosts' (cf. Zechariah 2:5-13). He was the God of all Elohim (cf. also Cox, Psalm 8 (No. 14), CCG, 2000) and of the entity known as the Messiah. The term Messiah means anointed one. There is more than one anointed one within the Bible. The term Christ is a Greek form for anointed one. The Hebrews held at the time of Christ that the Messiah would be of two forms, the Messiah of Aaron and the Messiah of Israel. From the Dead Sea Scrolls it seems that they understood from this that the Messiah would first appear as the Messiah of Aaron. He would return as the King Messiah of Israel. There seems little doubt from the Damascus Rule (VII and the fragment from Cave IV) that they are one being and the King Messiah of Israel is preceded by a prophet according to the Community Rule IX (Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English Penguin, 2nd ed. 1985, pp. 48-49)" (End of quote from Study Paper No. B7_4).
The Biblical Unitarian subordinate position is that the Almighty God Eloah is God absolute, singular, and admits to no plurality whatsoever, and who appeals to no higher authority. There is no other God like or above Him. He stands alone in absolute power and authority. He only is omniscient knowing the end before the beginning, and omnipotent being the Originator of all life, including the lives of His innumerable spirit-sons whom He created through the power of His Holy Spirit (see Job 1:6, 2:1; 38:7).
Unlike the God who could not have known in advance what Lucifer would do which Herbert Armstrong states in his book, "The Incredible Human Potential", 1978, on page 64, the one true Almighty Lord God Eloah is omniscient and did know in advance the course of action Lucifer would take. He, being God Absolute, is also omnipotent, as He provided redemption for His creation, both in heaven and earth, through His son Jesus Christ (1Pet.1:19-20, Rev.13:8, Col.1:19-20) before He formed the cosmos (Job 38:4-10) because of sin and rebellion that He knew would occur. Herbert Armstrong should have been censored by the Church for writing such blasphemy.
As far as Col.1:13-17:
13) He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15) He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; 16) for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. 17) He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (RSV)
Verse 16 gives us the things that Christ was given authority to create in heaven and earth. It is the administrative structure regarding thrones, lordships, rulers, and authorities in heaven now and on earth in the Millennium when he replaces the current theos or God who is the morning star of this age (Satan). This scripture in Col.1:13-17 correlates with Psalm 82, which is a Temple Psalm read on the third day of the week. Christ took his place in the Council of Elohim by the authority of his God. After his incarnation, God seated Christ at His right hand and elevated him above his fellow partners (Ps.45:7, Heb.1:9, 1Pet.3:22). The Apostle Peter when speaking of Christ states in 1Peter 3:22 "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of (his) God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him (KJV)." Being made subject to Christ means there was a time when Christ was not above his fellow partners - the other sons of God previously mentioned. "(End of quote)
The Oxford University Press Dictionary defines "polytheism" as "the belief in or worship of more than one God".
It is a clear violation of Scripture particularly the Shema that is recorded in Deut. 6:4 stated above.
We will see that Herbert Armstrong's philosophical approach to the nature of God and Christ stems from his family background in polytheism. It is obvious that he continued to believe in the nature of God from a polytheist view and that he was influenced by polytheism as he developed the teachings of the Radio COG and later the Worldwide COG (WCG). He was also assisted over time by some within the top ministry who also were polytheists. However, within the ministry of WCG under Herbert Armstrong's watch, there was a mixed bag of Ditheists, Binitarians, Trinitarians, and Unitarians. In the 1970s some of the top ministry attended trinitarian universities (e.g., Biola University and other universities) and received advance degrees in theology from them. It was only a matter of time before God allowed WCG to explode and fall apart into several competing offshoots from its corrupt theology as it became trinitarian.
In his autobiography, Vol.1, 1957, on page 19 under the title Early Religious Training he states, "I think it is time, now, to explain what boyhood religious training was mine. Both my father and mother were of solid Quaker stock. From earliest boyhood I was in a boys' class in Sunday school, and we all sort of grew up together." On page 5, Armstrong states regarding that the Quaker religion is, "I had been born and reared of upstanding and stable parents of a traditional orthodox Christian denomination".
The traditional orthodox Christian religion belief system is polytheist promulgating the trinity as the nature of God and Christ. It is obvious from Herbert Armstrong's writings that he struggled to reinvent this polytheist nature of God and Christ from a trinitarian position into another polytheist form that resembles ditheism and/or binitarianism, or something in between that the author of the article quoted above states.
We can see the polytheist mindset of Herbert Armstrong that it does not reflect any reality of truth from Scripture when he penned the following false concept of God and Christ in his book referenced above on page 68, as he states under the title "Just How Did God Plan To Reproduce Himself?"
"From eternity the Father and the Word who became Jesus Christ had co-existed. They had created angels--probably many millions of them. A third of them, under Lucifer, were put on the earth at its creation. God set His government over them, with Lucifer on the throne. Lucifer rejected God's government. He and the angels became disqualified--the government of God was no longer being administered on earth--and the earth had become waste, empty, in decay, and in darkness.
Were there, prior to this, more than just the two--God and the Word--in the God family? God reveals no more. Was the "Word" the Son of God, and was God His Father at that time? They are nowhere referred to as that.
To have been the Son of God at that prehistoric time, God would of necessity have existed prior to the Son's birth. The Son, had that been the case, would have come into existence at the time of such birth. But the "Logos"--the Word--had, like God, eternally self-existed." (End of quote)
Herbert Armstrong was unable to understand the Biblical Unitarian structure of Scripture because he was blinded by his polytheist stance. He also did not understand the obvious from Scripture that God created His spirit sons through the power of His spirit before the cosmos was formed.
God asks Job: "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements - surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7, See also Job 1:6, 2:1).
Eloah is God the Father from Proverbs 30:4-5 who has a son:
4) Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know! 5) Every word of God (SHD #433- Eloah) proves true;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (RSV)
It is obvious from Scripture that at prehistoric time God did bring into existence His spirit sons including the one who became Jesus Christ. God is the Father of spirits referred to in Heb.12: 7-10, and Christ referred to God as his Father and as his God (John 20:17).
8) "Remember this and consider, recall it to mind, you transgressors, 9) remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10) declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,' (RSV)
Only God the Father is omniscient and omnipotent. Only He declares the end from the beginning, and He alone has the power absolute to accomplish His purpose for His creation which includes His spirit-created sons in heaven and His physical creation on earth. Nowhere in Scripture will you find that Christ eternally self-existed like God as the polytheists in the WCG off-shoots heretically declare.
Christ declared himself to be the son of God: "Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (John 10:36 KJV), and Christ is the same in the past (prehistorically), the present, and the future: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever (Heb.13:8 RSV).
It is well beyond the time for the off-shoots of WCG to stop leaning on and to get over Herbert Armstrong's nonsensical, heretical, polytheist writings. It is time to begin growing in the grace and knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, and to understand what the Scriptures reveal regarding their true nature.
Coordinator, Southern California
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