Exit and Support Network

Mystery of the Ages (a critical review)

By Kelly Marshall

 

Chapter Five - Mystery of Israel

For error is plausible, and bears a resemblance to the truth, but requires to be disguised; while truth is without disguise. (Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter XV, v. 2)

HWA begins this chapter with his usual glut of dramatic, attention-grabbing questions, calling them "paradoxical facts." Advertising has taught him how to quickly get the customer's attention with excitement and uses such words as, "And here's another shocker!" "The truly amazing truth..." "It is an intriguing story!" The reader—anticipating another chapter of mesmerizing "mysteries"—is quickly hustled into the seat of a departing train, no longer realizing that the track is headed in the wrong direction.

Let's examine some of HWA's "paradoxical facts" on p. 159:

  1. God says he is not a respecter of persons. Is he, then, a respecter of nations? Does he have a favorite?
  2. Did you ever realize that God denied his chosen people salvation—save only their prophets? That the chosen nation was given only material and national promises—that God's Holy Spirit was inaccessible to them?
  3. Did it ever occur to you that the Holy Bible is the book of and concerning only that one people Israel? And that other nations are mentioned only if and as they came into contact with Israel?

These rhetorical questions are designed to entice the reader to investigate these "facts" and satiate his curiosity. HWA was confident that his target market—Bible illiterates—wouldn't have the faintest idea how to refute him. If one doesn't know the Bible, one certainly wouldn't have a thorough knowledge of the history of Israel, since they are intertwined. HWA knew that most Americans' knowledge of Israel and the Jews doesn't extend beyond the Holocaust and the endless Middle Eastern conflicts broadcasted on TV. He was banking on our ignorance and was amply rewarded.

This fifth chapter of the MOA should be appropriately re-entitled, "Sensationalism Sells!" Noteworthy are the "factual statements" made without any detailed proof to back them, the unveiling of "The master KEY" [Israel's modern identity], the word "PURPOSE" [HWA's personal spin], and the frightening apocalyptic details placed at the end of the chapter. HWA will successfully divert the reader's attention with authentic-sounding details, interspersed with melodramatic phrases, all designed to dupe the reader into believing that the British-Israel doctrine came from the Bible. Let's observe this technique used below (p. 159-160):

And here's another shocker!—almost totally unrealized today by Christianity—even by Judaism and not recorded or understood by historians! The northern kingdom of Israel was not Jewish!
The truly amazing truth about Israel is a mystery totally unknown by any religion—by Christianity—be even Judaism!

Yes indeed, HWA promises to dish up some "shocking facts." These facts are "not recorded" and are "almost totally unrealized" by everyone—even the very people these facts concern. We needn't say where this is leading. The reader is expertly hustled along with intriguing details so he doesn't have a chance to pause and ask himself whether he is truly willing to stake his eternal life on unrecorded facts—facts that cannot be verified outside of HWA's organization. Yet this is exactly what these converts do! They are told to "prove all things" but the only thing they have proven is Herbert Armstrong's point of view.

Let's ponder these sensational "facts," which are nothing but disguises to keep the reader distracted from the Bible's true message:

Fact #1 asks whether God is a respecter of nations and whether or not He has a favorite. The question is set up to make the reader believe that God does indeed have a favorite nation (Israel), and from there, the reader will be informed that the United States and Britain are modern-day Israel, and by believing this privileged piece of information, one will gain "the KEY" to unlock Bible prophecy. He will also be offered the opportunity to become a part of the elite "favorite." Salvation will be found through "national identity" and not through faith in Christ alone. Once the convert is convinced he is an Israelite that is simply "unaware of his true identity," he will be misled into performing Sabbath-keeping and other O.T. laws as "requirements" in order to "qualify" for his salvation.

Fact #2 informs us that the chosen nation of Israel was given only material and national promises, and that God's Holy Spirit was inaccessible to them. This "fact" is a set up that will later use the material prosperity and national dominance of the U.S. and Britain as "proof" that they are Manasseh and Ephraim (descendents of Israel). HWA will successfully downplay and deflect the reader's attention away from the third and most important promise: the promised "seed"—Jesus Christ. HWA's main goal is to emphasize salvation through belief in the modern identity of the nation of Israel, not through belief in the Savior.

Fact #3 states that the Holy Bible is the book of and concerning only one people—Israel—and that other nations are mentioned only if and as they came into contact with Israel. Once again, the focus is shifted away from Jesus, and onto the importance of the nation of Israel, so HWA can build on his British-Israelism dogma. The Holy Bible concerns all of mankind. The first few chapters of Genesis record the beginning of mankind's creation and fall; the remainder of the Bible concerns mankind's redemption by the Savior who would come from a tribe of Israel. As usual, HWA will draw attention away from a person's identity in Christ and onto the importance of finding ones identity in Israel.

By asking these questions, HWA is constructing another set up:

They [Israel] were chosen for a special PURPOSE preparatory to the ultimate establishment of the kingdom of God! (p.160)

Naturally, HWA will set himself up as the one who is preparing for the establishment of this kingdom. He claims that, "One cannot understand the real purpose and incredible potential of man without this vital knowledge." (p.160). Notice as the reader delves into the MOA, he is being led further and further away from salvation through Jesus Christ as the "vital knowledge" and instead, is titillated with yet another mystery. He employs the word "purpose" to pique the reader's curiosity. After pages of building up suspense, HWA finally produces "the master KEY" that will unlock all the Bible mysteries "closed until our present time." (p. 164). The sense of euphoria the reader experiences of finally possessing "the KEY" that is going to "unlock 90 percent of prophecy" is inexplicable. This is exactly what HWA wants. HWA gives the reader the illusion of empowerment, another clever advertising ploy. What the reader doesn't realize is that this "key" is nothing more than extra-biblical revelation. All Bible-based cults engage in extra-biblical revelation, a practice that makes the Bible "come alive" with every private interpretation. Good scholarship is no longer a requirement for proper understanding of the Scriptures—only an ingrained belief that God is directly working through His "appointed prophet" as he divinely interprets Scripture. Salvation through Jesus Christ is tossed to the side. The reader, convinced that the Bible is filled with mysteries waiting to be unlocked by the key now in his possession, is eager to get on with this exciting adventure.

Let's look at a few examples of extra-biblical revelation [bolding mine, comments in blue type mine]:

First, Abraham was a man of very outstanding qualifying abilities. Undoubtedly he, with his sons Isaac and Israel, shall, in the resurrection and kingdom of God, occupy a position next under Christ himself. The kingdom of God will be a spiritual kingdom including both Church and State—earth wide. These, as a team, probably will be next in line of authority under CHRIST—and over both church and state. (p. 171). (No scriptural proof given, just pure speculation.)
Of the nation ISRAEL, Moses, whom God raised up as their leader and lawgiver…in all probability will be under the Abraham-Isaac-Jacob team, but head over the national governments of the world during the coming millennium. And probably Joshua, who succeeded Moses, will be Moses' assistant in that office of worldwide national governments. (p. 171-172) (No scriptural proofs given, more speculation.)
Among them, Elijah probably will be head, under Christ and Abraham-Isaac-Israel, over the Church, worldwide. John the Baptist may be under Elijah. There are indications that the prophet Daniel will be head over all gentile nations, and under Moses and Christ. (p. 174) (No scriptural proofs, continued speculation.)
He [Jeroboam] also changed the holy festivals of the seventh month to the eighth month. There is a strong indication that he also changed the seventh day Sabbath to Sunday, the first day of the week. (p. 180) (First sentence is scriptural, second sentence cannot be verified through Scripture. One must take HWA at his word.) [Read my article: Did Jeroboam Change the Sabbath to Sunday?]
The Assyrians settled in central Europe, and the Germans, undoubtedly, are, in part, the descendents of the ancient Assyrians. (p. 183). (No scriptural proof, no historical references given to back up statements. If the Germans indeed are "undoubtedly" ancient Assyrians, then it wouldn't be difficult to give credible references.) [Read my article: The Origins of Assyria and Germany.]
However, the so-called Lost Ten Tribes—the kingdom of Israel —continued into Western Europe and Britain. We cannot be positive in respect to the various tribal identities today, but probably France or at least the northern French are the tribe of Reuben. Ephraim and Manasseh journeyed on into the British Isles. (p. 183) (No scriptural proof, no historical references. See my research article: Where are the Tribes of Israel Located? If HWA cannot be "positive" then why does he spend a whole chapter revealing these "facts" and calling them "proof"? In the next chapter of the MOA, he will build on these statements, and repeat them as if they were concrete information.)
And in his prophecy for these latter days Jacob said, "Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall" (Gen. 49:22). In other words, Joseph—Ephraim and Manasseh jointly and together—was to be a colonizing people in this latter day, their colonies branching out from the British Isles around the earth. (p. 186) (Complete distortion of this verse. Yes, it does say that Joseph would be fruitful, but it clearly does NOT say he would be "a colonizing people branching out from the British Isles around the earth." Read the verse carefully.)

Once the reader has come this far into the MOA, his loyalty will once again be tested through acceptance or rejection of these (and numerous other) "revelations." Notice the use of the words, "probably," "may be," "indication," "undoubtedly"—this is the failsafe vocabulary of a false prophet. When his prophecies fail, he can backtrack and state, "I didn't say 'definitely,' I said, 'probably.' In other words, his prophecies are subject to change. Having been burned by countless false prophecies1, it appears that HWA has learned to tailor his language to cover his bases. Remember, HWA spends a great deal of time convincing readers that nobody but him has the Truth, and that God is personally working through him and nobody else. He gives us the impression that God is personally speaking to him and revealing very important facts to him that the world needs to know before it is blown to bits. But under closer examination, we see nothing but the language of speculation knitted between all these "shocking truths."

Just in case the reader isn't convinced of these astonishing facts, HWA will frighten him with "impending worldwide holocaust" at the end of the chapter. HWA must resort to exploitive tactics to help the reader "make up his mind"—believe these truths, and be spared. Disbelieve, and they will be doomed. Once again, HWA scores.

BLIND OBEDIENCE

The Old Testament story of Abraham is a historical account of how the nation of Israel came into being. It is an inspiring story of the faith of this one man, whom the promise of the seed of the world's salvation would come through. Unfortunately, HWA uses Abraham for his own diabolical purposes. Let's observe what HWA has to say concerning him.

First, HWA uses Abraham's "calling" and will outline his "very special purpose" into the remainder of the MOA. Second, HWA must sever any previous religious beliefs concerning Abraham with scornful remarks toward traditional Christian doctrines (That purpose, HWA says, was not to "give him salvation." or "get him into heaven.") Third, HWA will quote his own writings to verify his own beliefs concerning Abraham. ("I quote now from a book I wrote more than 50 years ago, The United States and Britain in Prophecy…") Of course HWA would quote his own writings—it's the only source that would agree with his teachings! Tobacco companies quote their own "research" to prove that cigarettes don't cause heart disease or cancer, and HWA engages in the same practice. He certainly can't give the name of the book he plagiarized to verify this information lest one figure out in a hurry that none of this intriguing, shocking information was originally his.2 Once the reader writes away for a "free copy" of the US&BIP book, he will be further poisoned to accept this erroneous teaching as "truth."3

What appears to be a narrated description of Abraham actually is a clever set up. The reader does not realize that he is constantly being disarmed into accepting unquestioned obedience from HWA and his organization. Look at what is emphasized concerning Abraham [bolding mine]:

God was calling him because he had seen in this man the potentialities of obedience to God and of leadership.
Here was a command, which a condition and a PROMISE, provided the condition of obedience was met.…
[God's own flesh-born nation]…was started with one man who obeyed God without question, and accepted his divine rule.
Did Abram stop to argue and reason?
Did Abram quibble, resist, argue, rebel? He certainly did not!
There was no arguing with God. There was no human reasoning that God was all wrong. There were no foolish questions
"Abram departed." Just plain, unquestioned obedience! (p. 160)

Now on page 163, the set up is complete. We see that the unsuspecting reader is being outright manipulated to emulate Abraham in order to gain salvation:

And we must become like Abraham, and through Christ, one of his children, if we are to inherit the promise of eternal life in God's kingdom.

The same pattern of trickery is used over and over again by this clever con artist. The customer is being led to make the choice that the salesman wants him to make. Once in the organization, the convert will be expected to "obey God's government without question." In his zeal to please God, the transferal of "obeying God's voice" (which Abraham did) to "obeying God's government" (which HWA wants his readers to think Abraham did) quietly takes place without the convert even realizing it. This is why members are compliant and do not engage in any form of "questioning." Converts believe they are imitating Abraham, which they believe is a requirement for inheriting eternal life. What they failed to realize is that Abraham heard God's voice directly. We see in Scripture that there were several personal encounters with God throughout Abraham's lifetime. In some of the encounters, there was a clear, audible voice, which could not be mistaken as anything or anybody else, but God Himself. In other events, angels manifested themselves as men to deliver God's message to Abraham. In either case, Abraham knew beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he was dealing directly with the Creator. This is why Abraham obeyed without question. He knew exactly whom he was dealing with. This is not the same as blind obedience to an organization that claims to run "God's government" on earth. HWA will do his best to confuse the two throughout the MOA. Notice how he places the story of Abraham's unquestioned obedience just before he unleashes his questionable dogma—an undoubtedly calculated maneuver.

2520-YEARS PUNISHMENT

From where did HWA get the mathematical formula for the "2520 Years Punishment"? (It is no secret that HWA plagiarized the false teaching of British-Israelism from G. G. Rupert, J. H. Allen, and John Wilson.4 ) But it might be of interest to known from where HWA and others may have derived their magic "2520" formula.

In 1823, a gentleman named John Aquila Brown, began publishing the 2520 calculation and scheduled Christ's return for 1917. This was over 100 years before God revealed this to HWA. Other men, such as Nelson Barbour and Charles Taze Russell picked up on this, took the numbers from Brown, and concocted their own formula for predicting the Second Advent.5

The following is an article6, written by Charles Taze Russell of the Watchtower Society. Notice the early date of 1876—long before HWA began to be "called and commissioned" by God. The similarities are unmistakable [bolding mine]:

GENTILE TIMES: WHEN DO THEY END?

BY CHAS. T. RUSSELL

[From: The Bible Examiner Vol. XXI, No.1 (Whole No. 313), October 1876, pages 27-28. Reprinted in Investigator 55, 1997 July]
"Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."—Luke xxi. 24.
Doubtless our Lord intended to communicate to His disciples some knowledge, and possibly it was addressed more to the disciples in our day, than to the early church.
Let us then search what times the prophecy, which was in Christ, did signify. Of course, if it be one of the secret things of God, we cannot find out; but if a secret, why should Jesus mention it? If, on the contrary, it is revealed it belongs to us. Shall we guess and suppose? No: let us go to God's treasure-house; let us search the Scriptures for the key.
Jesus does not does not foretell its treading under foot of the Gentiles, as Rome had her foot upon them at that time. He does tell us, however, how long it will continue so, even the disciples thought, "that it was he which should have DELIVERED Israel."
We believe that God has given the key. We believe He doeth nothing but he revealeth it unto His servants. Do we not find part of the key in Lev. xxvi. 27, 33? "I, even I will chastise you seven times for your sins; ...and I will bring your land into desolation...and will scatter you among the heathen." Israel did not hearken unto the Lord, but disobeyed him, and this prophecy is now being fulfilled, and has been since the days of Zedekiah, when God said, "Remove the diadem, take off the crown, ...I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, ... until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it unto Him."
Comparing these Scriptures, we learn, that God has scattered Israel for a period of seven times, or until "He comes whose right" the Government is, and puts an end to Gentile rule or governments. This gives us a clue at least, as to how long until the Jews are delivered. Further, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the head of gold, is recognized by God as the representative of the beast, or Gentile Governments. "A king of kings and wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air, hath God given into his hand." Dan. ii. 38. God has taken the crown off Zedekiah and declared the Image, of which Nebuchadnezzar is the head, ruler of the world until the kingdom of God takes its place (smiting it on its feet); and, as this is the same time at which Israel is to be delivered, (for "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled"), we here get our second clue, viz.: these two events, noted of the Scriptures of truth —"Times of Gentiles," and "Treading of Jerusalem," are parallel periods, commencing at the same time and ending at the same time; and, as in the case of Israel, their degradation was to be for seven times, so with the dominion of the Image; it lasts seven times, for, when in his pride the "Head of Gold" ignored "The God of heaven," the glory of that kingdom (which God gave him, as a representative of that Image,) departed, and it took on its beastly character, which lasts seven times. Dan. iv. 23, —and, (prefigured by the personal degradation for seven years, of Nebuchadnezzar, the representative) until the time comes when they shall acknowledge, and "give honor to the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom." Dan. iv. 34; for all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord when He is the Governor among the nations.
Our next question naturally, is, How long are seven times? Does God in his word, furnish us any clue from which to determine the length of that period? Yes, in Revelations we learn that three and one-half times, 42 months, and 1260 prophetic days, literal years, are the same (it has for years been so accepted by the church,) and it was so fulfilled: if three and one-half times are 1260 years, seven times would be twice as much, i. e., 2520 years. At the commencement of our Christian era, 606 years of this time had passed, (70 years captivity, and 536 from Cyrus to Christ) which deducted from 2520, would show that the seven times will end in A.D. 1914: when Jerusalem shall be delivered forever, and the Jew say of the Deliverer, "Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him and He will save us." When Gentile Governments shall have been dashed to pieces; when God shall have poured out of his fury upon the nation, and they acknowledge him King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But, some one will say, "If the Lord intended that we should know, He would have told us plainly and distinctly how long." But, no, brethren, He never does so. The Bible is to be a light to God's children;—to the world, foolishness. Many of its writings are solely for our edification upon whom the ends of the world are come. As well say that God should have put the Gold on top instead of in the bowels of the earth; it would be too common; it would lose much of its value. So with the truth; but, "to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom."
We will ask, but not now answer, another question: If the Gentile Times end in 1914, (and there are many other and clearer evidences pointing to the same time) and we are told that it shall be with fury poured out; a time of trouble such as never was before, nor ever shall be; a day of wrath, etc., how long before does the church escape? as Jesus says, "watch, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape those things coming upon the world."
Brethren, the taking by Christ of His Bride, is evidently, one of the first acts in the Judgment; for judgment must begin at the house of God.

So we see the concept of the 2520 years was not revealed solely to HWA, nor is he the first to engage in the futility of predicting Christ's return. A. N. Dugger (father of Andrew Dugger, COG 7th Day) also ascribed to this calculation. When HWA started in the religion business in 1934, he knew that Russell's calculations were proven false. Jesus did not return in 1914 as they predicted. HWA was captivated by British-Israelism, which he plagiarized and introduced to Andrew Dugger. Though initially interested, Dugger eventually rejected it. He felt the information was significant, but simply couldn't figure how use it. But HWA did. By taking the 2520 years punishment and adding to the Assyrian captivity date (since the Babylonian date had proven false), he arrived with 1800. He looked for a significant historical event (The Louisiana Purchase in 1803) and from there, applied the British-Israel doctrine. He had his followers so absorbed by the unfolding of prophetic details during the 1800s, that he had hoped nobody would notice and question the formula, which we will look at next.

WHICH "YEAR" IS USED?

In the 1967 United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, HWA breaks down the formula for the 2520 years punishment [bolding mine]:

But did you notice I said that a prophetic "time" is a 360-day year? Why not a year of 365 1/4 days? Why not a solar year? (p. 145)
In ancient biblical times, a year was figured on a basis of twelve 30-day months. Previous to the time, in Moses' day, when God gave His people the sacred calendar, the 30-day month was used. (p. 146)
…But the 42 months of Revelation 13:5 is the same amount of time as the 1260 days of Revelation 12:6. So the 42 months were 30-day months. (p. 146)
…and the whole expression is 3 1/2 prophetic "times," which is a literal 1260 days—or 3 1/2 years of thirty-day months. Seven of these "times," then, would be 2520 days—and on a day-for-a-year basis, 2520 years! (p. 146)
A prophetic "time," then, is a 360-day yearor a plain 360 days. (p. 147)

Observe that HWA plainly stated that the sacred calendar consisted of twelve 30-day months.

After entering the organization, converts are taught that the calendar used today is pagan, and the 365-day system descended from the Egyptians. Members were issued a copy of God's Sacred Calendar where the Hebrew months are printed alongside the pagan months. The holy days are highlighted so members know the precise days to keep. Why is all this so important? Let's examine what HWA has written concerning God's "sacred calendar" [bolding mine]:

Here is the true calendar for all mankind. Its principles go back to the very first chapter of the Bible, where the sun and the moon were appointed to be for signs, seasons, days, and years (Gen. 1:14).
This is the calendar Israel used when God led the nation out of Egypt. It has been in continual use for more than 3,400 years since. In all major respects except one, it is the same calendar used from the days of the earliest patriarchs to the exodus from Egypt.
This calendar has been called the "Hebrew Calendar," but it long antedated the Hebrew peoples—having its origin in the days of Enos, Seth and Adam when men first determined the average length of the lunar month. (God's Sacred Calendar, 1985-1986)

So we see that this "sacred calendar" issued to church members is the "true calendar," it has been in continual use for over 3,400 years, and has its origin all the way to Adam. HWA made sure we understood that this twelve month, 30-day calendar was not a Hebrew invention, but was given directly from God. Now let's see another major contradiction made by HWA [bolding mine]:

The word month means moon. A new month begins with a new moon. At first quarter the month is one quarter gone; at full moon half a month has passed. Months have 30 and 29 days alternately with a few minor variations on some years. Seven years of a nineteen-year time cycle have a 13th month called Adar II. (God's Sacred Calendar, 1985-1986)

So what happened to the God-ordained calendar of twelve 30-day months?!? According to the 1985-86 edition of God's Sacred Calendar, the months of Nisan, Sivan, Ab, Tishri, Shebat and Adar I have 30 days, while the months of Iyar, Tammuz, Elul, Heshvan, Kislev, Tebeth, and Adar II have 29 days respectively!

Nisan (1st Month) 30 days
Iyar (2nd Month) 29 days
Sivan (3rd Month) 30 days
Tammuz (4th Month) 29 days
Ab (5th Month) 30 days
Elul (6th Month) 29 days
Tishri (7th Month) 30 days
Heshvan (8th Month) 29 days
Kislev (9th Month) 29 days
Tebeth (10th Month) 29 days
Shebat (11th Month) 30 days
Adar I (12th Month) 30 days
Adar II (13th Month) 29 days

Add the twelve months together for a total of 354 days! (6 months x 30-days = 180 days, plus 6 months x 29 days = 174 days; 180 + 174 = 354 days). Now add in the 13th month of Adar II (354 days + 29 days = 383 days). Either date is a far cry from the sacred number of 360.

Naturally, this brings us to the next problem—if the "sacred calendar" isn't made up of 360-day years, but of 354 days (give or take a sacred month), then how can HWA calculate the 2520-year punishment correctly? HWA spells out the formula he used to calculate the punishment in The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy:

And on this "year-for-a day principle,"7 it becomes seven 360-day years—a total of 2520 days. (p. 145, 1967)

HWA uses the number of days per year and multiplies it by 7 to gain the total number of years that Israel was to be punished. When applying this calculation to the 12-month sacred calendar (354-day year x 7 years), we end up with a 2478 years punishment. Years containing the 13th month created a 383-day year (383-day x 7 years) giving us a 2681 years punishment.

This problem with the sacred calendar did not escape HWA's attention. Back in 1940, HWA addressed problems with the calendar in a Good News letter. In this extracted portion of the letter, HWA states (bolding mine):

4) These facts prove there had to be an intercalary, or 13th, month ADDED to the year SEVEN TIMES in each 19 years. God has set the sun, the earth, and the moon in motion so that once every 19 years the sun and moon come into conjunction. That is, once in 19 years there will be a new moon on March 21st, for example. There are SEVEN more new moons in each 19-year solar-lunar cycle than there are solar months, (12 to the year). Thus God's great time cycle, written in the heavens, is based upon SEVEN—God's complete number, signifying Sabbath—added to TWELVE, the number of Tribes of Israel, number of Jesus' original apostles, etc.! Since this is true, the ONLY POSSIBLE METHOD by which months can begin on new moons, and yet the solar year can be retained, is to add a 13th month every two or three years, 7 times in 19 years. Nowhere do the Scriptures specifically mention an intercalary month, yet these facts of astronomy and these Bible facts PROVE it was used. (GOOD NEWS, 1940, "How to Figure Passover")

HWA informs us that the solution is gained by adding a "13th," or "intercalary" month, seven times in a 19-year time cycle.8 He clearly and emphatically states that this "is true, the ONLY POSSIBLE METHOD" to correctly calculate the number of days per sacred year. Notice that HWA avoided saying that this calculation resulted in a 360-day year. He also avoided performing the calculations, even though it would have been easy enough for him to do. Once again, we ask, could HWA be hiding something? Let's perform the calculations using the formula HWA outlined:

12 years x 354 days per year = 4248 days
7 years x 383 days per year = 2681 days
4248 days + 2681 days = 6929 total days in a 19-year time cycle

Take 6929 days and divide it up by 19 years and the total number of average days per year equals 364.68, or when rounded off—365 days per yearthe exact number that HWA claimed was derived by the pagan Egyptians!9

As if this wasn't amusing enough, trying to figure out these intricate calculations only gets worse! You see, HWA is using a 360-day calendar formula and applying the punishment against a 365-day Julian calendar. He has calculated 42 months of 30-days, but if we go by the calendar that he insists was in use since the time of Adam, and isn't Hebrew in origin, then we must use 42 months of either 29 or 30 days. But even if we stick to the 360-day year, our Julian calendar is 5¼ days longer per year. After 2520 years, the punishment is off by 36 years! (5.25 extra days x 2520 years = 13,230 days. Divide this by a 365 ¼ day year (13,230 days / 365.25 year = 36 years). The national punishment should have ended in somewhere around 1764-1767, depending on which date HWA makes up his mind to use (1800 or 1803 A.D. minus 36 years) as the correct expiration date of the punishment.

If HWA insists on using the 360-day year, then God's "sacred calendar" must be disqualified since it is comprised of 29 and 30-day months for a total of 354 days (plus a 13th month added in 7 times in a 19-year cycle, and as we discovered, averages out to the pagan 365 days). If HWA insists that the sacred calendar is of divine origin, then he has been silent in pointing out the discrepancies of this system. We see him use the 360-day year to perform the 2520-year calculations, which clearly conflict with God's sacred calendar—the very one that HWA says has been in use since Adam—the very one that he made us believe that Daniel was using for these numbers. The whole 2520 years of punishment cannot be properly calculated nor applied to today's system, which is exactly what he did!

The Jewish calendar that was issued to members in 1985 was not the true calendar used since the beginning of time, as HWA made his followers believe. The whole intricate system of calculating the sacred calendar was lost after the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. The Jewish calendar that was re-created around 100-150 A.D. was so far off that the early church fathers noted that the Jews would keep the Passover twice in some years! (See my research on The Quartodeciman Controversy). This was the main reason why the early church quit relying on the Jews for the correct time of year to observe the resurrection on Sunday. HWA was clearly aware of the problem, which he addressed in 1940, and then again in 1968.

Now let's look at some peculiar remarks concerning the Sacred Calendar made by HWA in his 1940 letter [bolding mine]:

5) Now, our problem is, WHEN, and HOW OFTEN, DID God ordain these intercalary months should be added?
Research reveals two basic points on this question, 1st, GOD DID NOT RECORD IT IN THE BIBLE, which gives us absolutely NOTHING more to go on that I have stated above. 2nd, History is vague on the subject, shedding little light that can be asserted and trusted. Yet we know God gave HIS PEOPLE a FIXED RULE for calculating TIME PERIODS, and for figuring WHEN to hold the Festivals of Jehovah. Otherwise, the prophecies, so full of definite time-periods, can never be understood. Otherwise God's people could not obey Him!
We learn in the Bible the men of old did have understanding of the times. They knew how to figure time. "Of the children of Issachar, were men that HAD UNDERSTANDING OF THE TIMES, to know what Israel ought to do." (I Chron. 12:32). See Esth. 1:13. (GOOD NEWS letter 1940, "How to Figure Passover")

Once again, we see HWA resort to contradicting remarks to prove his version of the sacred calendar as being "correct." He admits that this formula of adding the 13th month seven times to a nineteen-year time cycle is not recorded in the Bible! But then he turns right around and states that God gave his people a "fixed rule" for calculating "time periods," but doesn't say where God recorded this "fixed rule." He cleverly throws up a smokescreen with an irrelevant statement: "Of the children of Issachar, were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do." What was that supposed to mean? He never elaborates. If he's referring to ancient Issachar, then they're one of the "lost ten tribes" which had been taking into captivity, completely losing their identity—so why would they continue keeping the ancient calendar if they had forgotten they were Israelites? If he is speaking of modern day Issachar, Herman Hoeh has identified them as the nation of Finland.10 So we must conclude that HWA should be using a Finnish calendar and not a Jewish calendar since he clearly says Issachar "knew how to figure time"! Like every lie, more lies have to be fabricated to cover the initial lie.

By the apostle's own admission, he states that the accuracy of the calendar is vital to understanding prophecies. Take away the accuracy, the prophecies cannot be calculated, and the whole system falls like a house of cards. HWA deceptively engineered the belief that he was using a divine calendar, even issuing copies to the membership months before his death. He simply could not admit he was wrong because he clearly understood the ramifications of such an admission. He knew it would bring his divine "calculations" under scrutiny—and once proven "false," would bring his apostleship under scrutiny.

In conclusion, there simply was no "2520 years punishment" placed on ancient Israel. There is no biblical basis for this formula, a formula that HWA derived by lifting and combining verses out of context, just as his predecessors did. By applying this supposed "sacred calendar" formula to a corrupt Julian calendar renders it useless. The 360-day biblical year cannot be reconciled with the present Jewish calendar, which averages to 365 days in the 19-year time cycle. HWA knew this, but resorted to deception and half-truths to cover his lies.

Next to MOA Chapter 5, pt. 2 of 2

Pt. 1 | Pt. 2

Preface | Intro | Chap. 1 | Chap. 2 | Chap. 3 | Chap. 4 | Chap. 5 | Chap. 6 | Chap 7


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