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Mystery of the Ages (a critical review)

By Kelly Marshall


Chapter Five - Mystery of Israel (Pt. 2 of 2)


HWA continues with his racial polemics from the previous chapter. The statements made in this chapter have proven to be just as amusing. There is an underlying purpose, as we shall later see. First, we will examine some of the statements made in the current chapter. Concerning the racial purity of Israel, HWA states [bolding mine]

Here was a people of almost clear racial strain, and the God believing heredity of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. (p. 169)
GOD INTENDED TO KEEP THEM PHYSICALLY SEPARATE from other nations—both nationally (racially) and religiously. (p.173)
For them to intermarry with other races would result in two things: It would interbreed into other races, and mix them into other idolatrous religions! (p. 173)

Now let's make some interesting observations at some more major contradictions replete in HWA's writings. [bolding mine]

Israel, however, always did absorb gentiles, who became Israelites through living in Israel's' land and intermarrying. (p. 187)
The U.S. has become known as the "melting pot" of the world. Instead of refuting a Manasseh ancestry, this fact actually confirms it.

HWA engages in a whole rigmarole concerning the "racial purity" of the people of Israel, but then turns right around and says that "absorbing gentiles and intermarrying" was proof that the U.S. and British peoples are ancient Israel! Again, we see HWA changing his standards to accommodate his erroneous beliefs. If it wasn't okay for ancient Israel to "interbreed" back then, why would it be okay for them to interbreed today? Didn't HWA teach that God is "the same yesterday, today, and forever?"

Now let's look at the following statements made by HWA [bolding mine]:

He [Abraham] prevented his son Isaac from intermarrying among the dark Canaanites then in the land. (p. 166)
The Promised Land was then called Canaan. Canaanites, racially dark, had settled in the land. (p. 172)
Jacob had six sons by Leah, two from Rachel—all of the same original racial stock, and two each from the maids of Rachel and Leah—12 in all. Even the maids of Leah and Rachel undoubtedly were of pure Hebrew stock. (p. 167)
Jesus Christ was born of the tribe of Judah, and it was necessary that HE be of the original pure racial strain, even as Noah was. (p. 173)

By the learned apostles' own words, he has declared the Canaanites a "racially dark" peoples, while the twelve sons of Jacob were of pure Hebrew stock. Now let's examine the Scriptures concerning Jesus' genealogy through Mary since he was born through her family line. I have skipped through the list to the names that we need to focus our attention on in Luke 3:

V23Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph…V31the son of David, V32the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, V33the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, etc.

Isn't it interesting that HWA failed to mention that Obed's mother was Ruth, a Moabitess. And if all this "interbreeding" among the heathens wasn't bad enough, Perez's mother was Tamar—a "dark-skinned" Canaanite! (Matt. 1:3, Gen. 38:1-30) It appears that Jesus' own lineage is tainted with mixed blood! HWA tells his readers that, "it was necessary" for Jesus to be of pure [white] racial strain but Scripture plainly refutes this. Was a "quality heredity" necessary for Christ to be descended from, or is HWA speaking on his own authority? Was God asleep while all this interracial breeding was taking place in Jesus' lineage? Either God was powerless to ensure that Jesus' genealogy consisted of "pure racial strain," or HWA has botched this one up, too. Either the Bible is wrong or HWA is wrong. By now, I'm sure you know.

God's focus was not skin color, or "quality heredity" (whatever that is supposed to mean)—God's sole purpose for this national exclusiveness was to prevent idolatry. He knew if the Israelites were to intermarry with the pagan nations around them, they would adopt their vile religious practices, which were an abomination to God. We read in Exodus 34:11-16:

"Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a-whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice. And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a-whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a-whoring after their gods."

This proved true throughout the history of Israel. Notice in the Scriptures below that God commanded them to avoid several other heathen nations as well. HWA partially quotes Ezra 9:2 as "proof" that God was displeased with interracial marriage, but he failed to quote the previous verse, which gives the real reason why:

Ezra 9:1: When these things were done, the leaders came to me saying, The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, with respect to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. [emp. mine]

HWA also partially quotes Ezra 10:10-11 as another "proof" of God's distaste for interracial relationships, but once again, fails to show the real reason God did not want them to intermarry. When we back up to the previous verse, we find:

Ezra 9:11: which you commanded by Your servants the prophets saying, "The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land, with the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, with their abominations which have filled it from one end to another with their impurity. [emp. mine]

God did not single out the Canaanites because of their "dark" skin. He condemned all of these nations because of their abominable practices. Since HWA is a master at "omission," he naturally fails to bring to the reader's attention that the Ammonites and Moabites descended from Lot, through incest with his two daughters. And since Lot was Abraham's nephew, we can conclude that they came from the same "pure racial strain" that Abraham did. So the heathen Ammonite and Moabite nations were "white," but God commanded the Israelites not to intermarry with them either. Obviously, skin color had nothing to do with this particular command. God promised Abraham that the Savior would come through his family line, and He fulfilled His promise through preservation of Abraham's lineage through the Jewish nation.

It is interesting to note that the Bible defines the Ethiopians as having distinctive colored skin, but not the Canaanites. Jeremiah 13:23a says, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?" Since HWA taught that the Bible interprets itself, we can safely conclude from this verse that Ethiopians were racially dark. Now HWA revealed in the previous chapter that God considered interracial marriage "exceeding wickedness"—so grievous was this sin, He wiped out mankind by the Flood. Does it make sense that God would wipe out the world because of this "sin," but allow His greatest servant—the very one who would lead His "racially pure" chosen nation—to marry interracially? HWA conveniently overlooked Numbers 12:1 for his own benefit [bolding mine]:

And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.

Yes, indeed, Moses, who was of pure Hebrew stock, married a racially dark Ethiopian! "So important was this fact that it was repeated!" How could something as important as this not catch HWA's attention, especially since it was stated twice? Was Moses punished for this sin? Read Numbers 12 and find out who was punished. God could have easily expelled Moses and made an example of him for committing the very sin that HWA says God had specifically forbidden. HWA conveniently omitted this verse—that's called deception. In his list of "Who's Who" in the Racial Purity Department, we have observed HWA engaging in gross omissions of several individuals for the sole purpose of making the Bible agree with his personal prejudices.

Why was HWA obsessed with racial purity? Let's take a closer look at the statements made by HWA throughout the MOA:

  1. It is evident that Adam and Eve were created white. (p. 148)
  2. He [Noah] was of the original white strain. (p. 148)
  3. Here was a people of almost clear racial strain, and the God believing heredity of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. (p. 169)
  4. So now again we come to the question, WHY did God raise up this special Hebrew nation as "the chosen people"?...One point to notice here. The probability is that these people were all —or nearly all—of the white racial strain, unchanged since creation. (p. 166)
  5. God's chosen nation Israel was white. (p. 148)
  6. Jesus was white. (p. 148)
  7. I have my genealogy all the way back to Edward the First of England and a line extending back to King David of ancient Israel. I have been astonished to discover this genealogy and the fact that I am, on one side of my family, actually of "the house of David." (p. 13)

We see HWA establishing his "quality heredity" through these important individuals. This was done purely because HWA wanted to establish his authority through "sacred lineage" all the way back to David's throne. The unsuspecting reader, at this point, does not realize that HWA will claim that the U.S. and Britain are descended from ancient Israel. Once he convinces readers of this "unknown, unrecorded fact," then he will convince readers that Queen Elizabeth still sits on the throne of David today. HWA wants his readers to believe that he has a special, "sacred connection" by bloodline to this very throne (and to Jesus), which further boosts his position as God's divinely appointed messenger. Now let's see what Paul said about the importance of tracing genealogies [bolding mine]:

I Timothy 1:4: Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

The whole British-Israelism doctrine is nothing more than tracing endless genealogies, which Paul states we are not to do. HWA has clearly violated this by tracing his own genealogy back to the house of David; the genealogies of Ephraim and Manasseh and the remaining tribes of Israel; and the genealogies of Assyrians and Babylonians. As Paul said, this information did not bring about godly edification, instead it has brought fear of the ancient Assyrians (modern Germans) and Babylonians (modern Italians), and it certainly ministered questions amongst our friends and loved ones outside of the organization. HWA admonished his converts, "Don't believe me—believe the Bible!" The Bible states that we are not to give heed to these fables and endless genealogies, so we needn't give heed to HWA's historical fabrications. We are free to walk away from them.

HWA channels the reader's focus into the direction of his own racially prejudiced beliefs, even making it appear, through misrepresenting and omitting pertinent information, that God Himself endorsed racial segregation. [Note: Especially see p. 28 of the 1963 Plain Truth. (found online)]

There is a second reason why HWA emphasizes racial purity. Once the unwary person enters "the Church" (i. e., any controlling offshoot today who holds to HWA's racial teachings), he will be instructed on the "racial segregation policies" of the organization. There will be no "dating" between the races. Those who descended from an interracial marriage will "be told" which race they may date according to their exterior physical features. In other words, a person's grandmother may be white, his/her grandfather black, but if the minister thinks the convert looks more black than white, he/she will be racially categorized as black and will be prevented from dating anyone that is from the white or Asian race. This "racial categorization" exerts an enormous amount of control over the convert. He will have to "get approval" from the minister over who he can or cannot date or marry, which can be a monumental task if he is from a church area that has few, if any, people of his own race. Others who entered the organization already "bound" in mixed marriages and had children, were also subject to this abuse. When their children came of "dating age" the minister would inform them of their dating prospects, which could be severely limiting in many church areas. If the convert "questions" this policy, he will be reminded of the Flood and God's great displeasure over the rebellious human race for intermarrying. If the convert does not "submit" to racial policies of the organization, he/she will be promptly put out.

Ironically, this method of racial screening backfired. We knew a woman who was Caucasian and she wanted to marry a Hispanic man. It took over a year to gain "approval" after being turned down twice. Now if HWA insists that there were three major races, then what race was the Hispanic man? He wasn't Asian, nor was he Black (he apparently didn't qualify as "white"). Did it have to take over a year to figure out what he was? What if you were from India? You are neither pure white, pure Black, or pure Asian. What if you're Philippino—are you white, Black or Asian? It is ridiculous to think that after millennia of intermarriage that people can be sorted in three untainted races. This is an insane, unbiblical method of which Hitler would be proud.


This section of the MOA is small, but loaded. Now that HWA has gotten his readers to believe they are descendents of ancient Israel, he lays the Law down thick:

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. (p. 190)

The unwary reader is then flogged with Malachi 3 for stealing from God for withholding 10 percent of his income. Now let's see another quote from HWA's own mouth as he repeats the precise amount he says that God requires [bolding mine]:

But God requires only ten percent. (p. 322)

Notice HWA does not say: "10 percent for first tithe, 10 percent for second tithe, another 10 percent for third tithe year, a tithe of the second tithe for covering feast expenses, the remainder of excess second tithe after the feast ends, seven holy day offerings, plus the building fund, S.E.P.11, and a tithe from local church fundraisers." But this is exactly what happens once the person is ensnared by the organization. If God only requires 10 percent, why does HWA (and all the other WCG splinters, such as Philadelphia Church of God, United Church of God-AIA, Living Church of God, et. al.) require more? And why do they not tell anyone this until after they've entered the organization? Can the reader see how truly underhanded this is?


Now let's continue with the next paragraph in this section:

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. (p. 191)

Either God is unfair, or HWA has performed another major gaffe in his logic. HWA previously informed his readers that nobody, not even Daniel, understood what 90% of Bible prophecy meant. He earlier stated that, "the Bible was a coded book, not to be understood until our day in this latter half of the twentieth century." (p. xi, emphasis mine). Even the MOA jacket cover states:

He [HWA] found that the mysteries that have perplexed humans were long ago revealed by the one supreme authority of all knowledge, but in a coded message not allowed to be decoded and revealed for the world to hear—until now! (MOA, copyright 1985)

On page 294, HWA states:

It [Christ's gospel] had not been proclaimed to the world until the first week in 1953, when for the first time in about 1900 years—a century of time cycles—it went out on the world's most powerful radio station, Radio Luxembourg in Europe.

If HWA's claims are true, this means that the U.S. and Britain didn't know their true identity until 1953, when he began preaching the only true gospel.12 So one must ask whether it was fair for God to curse the U.S. and Britain when they didn't know their true national identity until 1953—a whole 150 years later! Remember, the 2520-year curse expired in the early 1800s, and God had to bless these nations unconditionally because of Abraham's obedience. Now HWA claims that these nations are cursed because they didn't tithe. How could they tithe if they never knew their national identity until HWA revealed it to them, over a century and a half later? Remember, one of the "Eighteen Restored Truths" was Israel's modern identity.13 Isn't this like punishing a child for breaking rules he never knew existed?

This brings us to our next question: To whom were the U.S. and British citizens supposed to tithe, since HWA hadn't been born and commissioned yet? Remember, HWA insisted that all the tithes be given to his organization since he was the only one preaching the true gospel. Why would God require these nations to give tithes since He hadn't commissioned HWA to begin "the Work" until 1934, and, as HWA himself stated, the gospel hadn't been proclaimed to the world until 1953, when it finally went to Europe? The MOA jacket cover plainly states that God "did not allow these mysteries to be decoded—until now!"—that was 1985, thirty+ years past 1953! Which date is the correct date? Can't God's apostle get it right the first time?

Now let's continue. On page 187, HWA states [bolding mine]:

But what about the other tribes of the so-called Lost Ten Tribes? While the birthright was Joseph's, and its blessings have come to the British Commonwealth of nations and the United States of America, yet the other eight tribes of Israel were also God's chosen people. They, too, have been blessed with a good measure of material prosperity—but not the dominance of the birthright.
We lack space for a detailed explanation of the specific identity of all of these other tribes in the nations of our twentieth century. Suffice it to say here that there is ample evidence that these other eight tribes have descended into such northwestern European nations as Holland (Netherlands), Belgium, Denmark, northern France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway. The people of Iceland are also of Viking stock. The political boundaries of Europe, as they exist today, do not necessarily show lines of division between descendants of these original tribes of Israel.

So in 1953, the lost Israelites all over the world discovered their true identity when they heard it broadcasted on Radio Luxembourg. Notice that HWA harps long and loud about the U.S. and Britain being "under a curse," but what about the rest of the "lost ten tribes," now that they know their true identity? Should God only curse Ephraim and Manasseh for "being stiff-necked and not obeying God and his laws"? I don't recall any of the other eight, modern Israelite nations keeping the Sabbath and tithing to HWA, so they must be guilty of committing the same sins as the U.S. and Britain! HWA states that these fellow Israelites "have been blessed with a good measure of material prosperity" (which he wants readers to believe is "proof" of their identity), but they don't share in the curses. Hardly seems fair, doesn't it? (Read my research article, Where are the Tribes of Israel Located?)

In The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, HWA informs his readers that the Queen of England sits on David's throne.14 Since Radio Luxembourg has broadcasted this fact to the entire world, then it would stand to reason that the "lost ten tribes" should be tithing to the Queen of England if, indeed, she is the legitimate heir to the "Israelite" throne. In any case, if Christ is returning to sit on this very throne, doesn't it make sense that the modern Israelites should be tithing to the heir of the modern Israelite throne—the very throne Christ will sit on? Why would HWA usurp the Queen's, and ultimately—Christ's—tithes? So who here is really stealing from God? Was HWA so delusional that he could remotely believe that all these "Israelitish nations" should send 10% of their gross income to him?

HWA warns Britain and America of forthcoming, divine punishment:

God will use a United Europe to punish Britain-America. Then he will use the Communist hordes to wipe out the Roman Empire. (p. 195)

This United Europe is also known as the European Common Market. Although HWA warns the U.S. and Britain of impending invasion, he doesn't inform them of specific nations that the Common Market is comprised of. Could there be a reason for this? Today, the European Common Market is made up of the following nations: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Isn't it interesting that the very nations that HWA says are the "lost ten tribes" are also some of the very same nations that make up the European Common Market? Why would God send these Israelite nations (Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and the UK), which make up half of the Common Market, to attack their own brothers? Now that these nations know their true identity, why would they conspire with the Germans to destroy their own people? Does this really make any sense?

Earlier in the MOA, HWA, speaking of the Common Market, states [bolding mine]:

This [referring to the prophecy in Isa. 14:3-6] is NOT speaking of the king of ancient Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar…It is speaking of the one who will be RULER of the soon-coming resurrected "Holy Roman Empire"—a sort of soon-coming "United States of Europe"—a union of 10 nations to rise up out of or following the Common Market of today (Rev. 17). Britain will NOT be in that empire soon to come. (p. 78)

It is clearly evident that Britain (the United Kingdom) is a member of the European Common Market. HWA declared with unwavering certainty that Britain would not be part of the Common Market, but just the opposite has transpired. Would God reveal flawed information to HWA, or was he (once again) speaking on his own authority? [Update: Was Herbert Armstrong Right About Britain Exiting the European Union? [June 24, 2016 ESN article])

Now let's see another HWA doctrinal faux pas. Concerning the question of salvation being offered in this present age, he states [bolding mine]:

Understand this point, which has been a mystery to the world. When God closed off the tree of life, he closed off the redemption and salvation of mankind for 6,000 years, until the second Adam, Jesus Christ, after 6,000 years, should return to earth in supreme power and glory to unseat Satan from his throne and to rule all nations of mankind. (Under subheading, "Salvation Closed Off," p. 122)
Meanwhile mankind as a whole would not as yet be brought to judgment—neither condemned nor saved. (p. 123)
Now before proceeding further, UNDERSTAND WHY only the minute FEW have so far been called to salvation—WHY the world as a whole has been CUT OFF from God—WHY the world has not yet been judged—WHY neither "saved" nor "lost"! (Under subheading, "Salvation Now Only for Minute Few," p. 234)

Then let's read what he has to say about salvation on page 195:

But, as salvation is given first to Israel, so is corrective punishment!

First HWA informs us that "only a minute FEW so far have been called to salvation," but then turns right around and tells us that salvation was given first to Israel. Now we must think very carefully about this. Exactly how big is modern-day Israel? HWA tells us specifically that:

Together the descendants of these two lads, Ephraim and Manasseh, were to grow into the promised multitude—the nation and company of nations." (p. 185).
Notice that, before dividing the promises, this prophetic blessing indicated plainly that the descendants of these lads should remain together, and together grow into a great multitude…(United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, 1967, p. 56)

So by HWA's own mouth, we see that the modern Israelite nations of Ephraim and Manasseh have become "a great multitude."15 As we observed previously, he also stated that the remaining eight tribes could be traced to the nations of northwestern Europe (Holland, Belgium, Denmark, northern France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland). Now add them together. Does this equal "a minute few" or is this a very large number of people—maybe even a "great multitude"? So if HWA is correct that God is only calling, "A chosen FEW" in this present age, why does he contradict himself by stating that salvation is being given to Israel, which he clearly defines as the U.S., Britain, and eight European nations, which is certainly NOT a "minute few"?

Now let's look at this doctrinal flip-flop by HWA [bolding mine]:

But, as salvation is given first to Israel, so is corrective punishment! (p. 195)
There was no conversion in ancient Israel—no salvation. The 37th chapter of Ezekiel reveals how those of ancient Israel will receive the Spirit of God, if willing, in the Great White Throne Judgment. (p. 239)

At what point was salvation given to modern Israel? HWA never says. He states here that salvation was never offered to ancient Israel, but will be offered in the "Great White Throne Judgment." He jumps ahead and states that salvation was given first to Israel (meaning modern day Israel) but he never says how this was accomplished or when it was accomplished.

HWA taught that redemption and salvation has been closed off to mankind for 6,000 years until Christ returns. He states that the whole world has not been yet judged. Remember, he says only a few are called to salvation at this present time. ("Nobody can come to the Father unless He is called.") HWA taught that the number of true Christians was the 144,000. Converts understand this refers only to those who are members in his church. So if God wasn't calling everyone outside of HWA's church to "understand" these "truths" in the first place, how can HWA turn right around and pronounce divine "corrective punishment" for their "rebellion" when they were never called in the first place? It hardly seems fair that God would punish people (starting first with modern-day Israel) for being "disobedient to His laws" when He's already decided not to open their eyes until after Christ returns at the end of the 6,000-year period. Either God has opened their minds to understand "truth" and has offered salvation to the multitudes, or He hasn't. HWA can't seem to make up God's mind which.

HWA claims that, "The proof that the U.S. is Manasseh is overwhelming." Let's take a closer look at how HWA emphasizes the similarities between ancient Israel and the U.S./Britain as "proof" of their modern day identity:

Could it be mere coincidence that it started, as a nation, with thirteen colonies? (p. 187)

Observe, once again, the "power of suggestion" and no concrete proof. Notice what is NOT said, as much as what IS said by HWA. If, indeed, the thirteen colonies represent the thirteen tribes of ancient Israel, were the colonies divided into their proper tribal origins? For instance, we saw earlier how HWA traced the identity of the remaining eight tribes of Israel to Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France and Switzerland. So are we to believe that these thirteen colonies were divided by the racial/family origins of the Swiss, Danish, French, Norwegians, etc.? Why would the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, come to the U.S. and divide themselves into thirteen tribes, especially if their brothers already had their own territory in Europe? When ancient Israel went into the Promised Land, we didn't see the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh subdivide their lands into the other tribes, yet this is exactly what HWA is implying. Of course, he doesn't point this out because his whole purpose is to make the reader believe that these similarities are more than coincidence. Today, the United States has grown from thirteen colonies into fifty states, another "fact" that HWA fails to emphasize (a fact that all "deceived, worldly educated" 5th graders know) because it would detract from his erroneous comparisons.

Let's examine the other amazing parallels that HWA uses as "proof:"

So this prophecy shows that at the very time we were receiving God's blessings, we were a tremendous BLESSING to the other nations of the earth—for it is our peoples who have rescued the other nations of the world time and again through the Marshall Plan, the Point Four program, the Alliance for Progress, the hundreds of millions of bushels of wheat for starving nations.
The Hoover Program saved up vast food supplies after World War I. It saved millions in other nations from starvation!
Anciently, Joseph saved up the wheat and food and made it available to others. MODERN Joseph did also…(p. 189)

Although this chapter appears to be filled with detailed "proof" that the U.S. is modern day Joseph, HWA, in his usual modus operandi, cleverly omits pertinent information. Once again, we must ask, could there be a reason for this? Remember, the "turning point" was "at the end of 1950" when America did not win the Korean War. (p. 189). Now let's look closely at the dates of these historical events that HWA has listed. The Marshall Plan was instituted from 1948 through 1951. The Point Four program was instituted in 1953, and the Alliance for Progress in 1961. If America was helping these other nations, saving them from starvation—why in the world would God curse America for being generous? Notice that these historical dates fall after the date that God supposedly began His "curse." Could this be the real reason the HWA omitted this information?

HWA made readers believe that The Hoover Program saved up vast food supplies like Joseph did, but in actuality, Americans sacrificed their portion of wheat, sugar and other items so they could be exported to other nations. There were no "vast supplies in storage" and Americans were placed on rations. President Hoover had to resort to purchasing rice from Burma, corn from Argentina, and beans from China, in order to feed these other nations after World War I. Contrast this with Joseph, who stored food years in advance and could feed other nations without the Egyptians making any such sacrifices. This is another distinction that HWA failed to point out. So WHY did the Americans bless other, struggling nations throughout history? HWA refuses to acknowledge that America is a CHRISTIAN nation, built on Christian principles. They gave to the needy—even sacrificing their own needs—because they were believers of Christ! They did so because they knew they were morally obligated.

As usual, the supposed parallel between Joseph and America is nothing more than a set up:

BUT—we are stiff-necked and rebellious toward God and his law, while our ancient forefather Joseph served and obeyed God with a whole heart. (p. 189)

It seems that saving other nations from starvation has qualified America as being "stiff-necked and rebellious" in HWA's eyes. Can't America do anything right? Of course not! HWA can't con people into believing that God is ready to rain down destruction if he shows America's virtues. So if HWA insists that modern day Joseph is rebellious toward God's law—then what law was Joseph obeying while in Egypt? The Exodus was still future, the nation of Israel wasn't founded yet, the Ten Commandments weren't cut in stone, and the laws and ordinances of Leviticus and Deuteronomy weren't committed to papyrus. Are we to believe that Joseph kept the Sabbath and tithed (to who?) while he was ruler over Egypt? Evidently, ancient Joseph was just as guilty as modern Joseph for not living up to HWA's standard of law-keeping.

Immediately following these ancient and modern comparisons, the next section is shrewdly subtitled "Sudden Destruction." Before the reader has a chance to discern whether his "historic" comparisons are viable, HWA will catapult his readers into the next frightening segment. By embellishing Micah 5, he quickly distracts the reader. He will do his best to convince the reader that there are dire consequences for not believing his BI doctrine. Let's examine how HWA gives himself permission to color scripture to his advantage. Below are verses 10 and 11 in plain, unaltered text:

(V10) And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: (V11) and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds:

Let's take a careful look at the words HWA inserted in the brackets:

Yet, in this detailed prophecy, God says, "And it shall come to pass IN THAT DAY, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses" ["war-horses," Moffatt translation]—tanks, ships, rockets—"out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: and I will cut off the cities [by hydrogen bombs?] of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds" (verses 10-11).
God says he will do this! God determines the outcome of wars (Ps. 33:10-19). (p. 189-190)

By giving his personal spin in the brackets, and adding his own words (tanks, ships, rockets, hydrogen bombs) he takes a verse intended for Israel (which he says the United States and English speaking nations are) to create fear in the reader's mind. But this awful, "corrective disaster" is not limited to American and British peoples. Five pages later, HWA revealed, under the subtitle, "Punishment on All Nations!" that nobody will escape. Once again, the reader is placed in another no-win situation. HWA backs the reader into a corner, giving him only one choice: Heed the World Tomorrow program and become one of the scattered few who believe this "peaceful pleading." Disbelieve and God will send the sword after him. With options like that, is there any wonder why readers take the better offer?

HWA captivates the reader's imagination with his epoch legends. Now he will captivate the reader's heart with his staunch views against sin and immorality. He becomes a beacon of respectability, one that isn't afraid to speak out in our soft, sin-filled society. He offers The Missing Dimension in Sex, a book which promises to unveil another "missing dimension of knowledge." Voicing his disapproval against abortion, promiscuity, etc., his seemingly upright and moral stance strikes a chord in common, everyday people who are concerned about their and their children's futures. Who couldn't respect a man who "tells it like it is"? His credibility takes a giant leap in the eyes of the clientele he wishes to enlist.

The concluding paragraphs of Chapter 5, under the clever subtitle, "Jesus Foretold It" are strategically placed at the end. He capitalizes the words "END, SIGN, GREAT TRIBULATION, TROUBLE, RESURRECTION and WHEN?" and italicizes the phrase "most intense punishment." HWA provides plenty of emotional "motivation" to push the reader into making a commitment of the heart and mind. The promise of deliverance and a wonderful, peaceful, happy world tomorrow is waved at the end of the dark corridor. Herbert Armstrong lures the reader into a twisted labyrinth, keeping him deeply preoccupied by the master key's potential. The reader is unaware that he no longer knows the way out.

By Kelly Marshall 
Exit & Support Network™
December 2004

Next to MOA Chapter Six, pt. 1 of 5

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

Footnotes for Chapter Five:

1 Herbert Armstrong gave over 200 false prophecies and these are listed on the Internet.

2 Herbert W. Armstrong's Religious Roots

3 British-Israelism--True or False? will link to several references that refute the errors of BI.

4 Herbert W. Armstrong's Religious Roots

5 A Prophet Was Among Them [offsite article]

6 Gentile Times: When Do They End? [offsite article]

7 HWA used the "year-for-a-day" and the "day-for-a-year" principle interchangeably.

8 The 19-year time cycle was devised by an Athenian astronomer by the name of Meton in the 5th century B.C. Meton, it appears, noted that there were 235 lunar months in 19 solar years. But according to Paul Benware (Ambassadors of Armstrongism, 1984, p. 65) "Astronomers have since recognized a slight error in the Meton system." He gives a footnote which references Harvey W. Lowe's book Radio Church of God, 1970, p. 135. Joseph Hopkins, author of The Armstrong Empire, 1974, states that Herbert Armstrong "fixed the date of Christ's crucifixion at A.D. 31, two years later than the generally accepted date" in order to come up with his two 19-year time cycles. (p. 56)

9 "Our [Roman] calendar is not Christian in origin. It descends directly from the Egyptians, who originated the 12-month year, 365-day system." (Herbert W. Armstrong, God's Sacred Calendar, 1985-1986)


11 Controlling WCG offshoots and splinter groups also have formed youth camps; i. e., Philadelphia Youth Camp (PCG), United Youth Camps (United Church of God-AIA), Living Youth Camp (Living Church of God), etc.

12 "But GOD was determined to get His message to the British! So, the first week in 1953, God's message started getting into Britain from Europe…on the superpowered voice of Radio Luxembourg!" The United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong, 1967, p. 208.

13 Truth #14 was "The Identity of Modern Israel," and Truth #15 was "Prophecy can be understood only if you know that we are Israelites."

14 US&BIP, 1967, p. 122. (In the 1945 edition, entitled The United States in Prophecy, HWA referred to King George of Great Britain.)

15 HWA presents a long dissertation in the US&BIP that neither ancient Israel nor the Jews of today could be the inheritors of Abraham's unconditional blessing because their national populations weren't large enough to qualify.

Back to Questioning Herbert W. Armstrong (was he who he said he was?)