Exit and Support Network

Mystery of the Ages
(a 2nd critical review)

By William Hohmann

 

Chapter Five - Mystery of Israel

Chapter 5 is purported to reveal the mystery of Israel. HWA begins by making an interesting claim with consequences that are going to be difficult for him to overcome. Difficult, but not impossible.

Did it ever occur to you that the Holy Bible is the book of and concerning only that one people Israel? (p.159)

If this were true, then how does he manage to declare that the Law given to Israel through covenant applies to all mankind for all time—mankind who were never a party to that covenant?

The "shocker" and revelation HWA then claims to reveal, "not recorded or understood by historians" and "totally unrealized today by Christianity—even Judaism" is that Israel (the northern kingdom) are not Jews; not Jewish. Someone needs to inform Christianity and Judaism about this; this which is plainly stated in scripture. But HWA is not interested really in what they know and don't know, all he is interested here is in maintaining in the minds of his readers that he is the source of spiritual knowledge and no one else.

HWA brings up Abraham, and claims it was a matter of obedience that Abraham was called and worked with. This is true, but the problem is in how we define "obedience." What we need to keep in mind is that God said to Abraham, "do this, and I will do thus and such for you." Abraham "obeyed" because he believed God. He was not obeying in the sense of having been given commandments like Israel was later.

HWA then goes on to quote from his book, The United States and Britain in Prophecy concerning Abraham, and that Abraham didn't stop and try to argue and reason with God over what was commanded of him. The analogy here is obvious; anyone who would dare argue and question HWA is obviously faithless, and by extension arguing with God. To question what is commanded is to question God. Yet Christians are supposed to prove all things. So the reader now will try to psychologically accommodate this by proving HWA is right.

On page 163 there is a carrot dangled before the reader:

They know that God gave the spiritual promise to Abraham of Christ to be born as Abraham's descendant—and that salvation comes to us through Christ. But—and this will sound unbelievable, yet it is true—almost no one knows what that salvation is; what are the promises of salvation we may receive through Christ; how we may receive them, or when—incredible though that sounds! but that truth belongs in another chapter.

Chapter subjects didn't stop HWA from covering subjects not related to those chapters earlier or even later in this book, so why does he not do so now? Is he trying to perk up one's interest here? He's setting up the reader to question what they presently believe concerning salvation so as to better sell them on his version of salvation. What you might have believed is now put in question.

On pages 164-165 HWA claims that the promises to Abraham were "conditional upon Abraham's obedience and perfect living." This is drawn from the statement by God that Abraham was to "walk before me, and be thou perfect."

Earlier, HWA stated that Noah was "perfect" in his generation(s) because he was of pure stock genetically. Now we are to believe Abraham was perfect in obedience and living. If this were true, then wouldn't it stand to reason that any infraction of obedience; any infraction of his being "perfect," and these promises would be voided? Both the books of Romans and Galatians show that the promises made to Abraham had nothing to do with obedience to law; it was a matter of faith.1 This needs to be kept in mind when one reads through this book further.

The other interesting thing developing here is that HWA now contrasts "race" and "grace." The promises to Abraham's physical offspring is a promise of race. The promises of those not of Abraham's offspring are equated with grace. It is a tragic use of the word grace, and has dire consequences to the unwary reader.

On page 166, HWA jumps ahead to the children of Israel, captive in Egypt, and the calling of Moses. HWA claims Moses was called because of his training and experience having been reared a prince of Egypt. In other words, God could not have called just anybody, and in like manner HWA sets himself up as having been chosen by God because of his background and training. It is but an application of what he claims as the duality of scripture, but in actuality it is just HWA trying to equate himself in like manner to Biblical characters. He also equates himself as being like the apostle Paul.

One point to notice here. The probability is that these people [Israel] were all—or nearly all—of the white racial strain, unchanged since creation. (p.166)

Any thinking person should be able to discern for themselves what is going on. HWA tries to make a case for Abraham and his progeny remaining racially pure, and ignores examples contrary to this concept that come up occasionally. For example, Joseph's son's mother was Egyptian. (Genesis 41:45)

Through Moses, God put to them his proposition. If they would obey his laws of HIS GOVERNMENT, he would prosper them, and make them the wealthiest and most powerful of nations. (p.168)

There is a bit of exaggeration here. This is not what God promised. God never identifies this law as the laws of His government. It is a law given to Israel in order to govern them as a people, and a carnal people at that. What we see here is HWA slowly playing up the Law so he can convince the reader he is required to live by this law also. If this view of the author were indeed correct, Israel would not have had a choice in the matter. There would have been no "proposition."

HWA now makes several "theocratic decrees" without any substantiation. This method is common with him when there is no real Biblical support. When several ideas are so lumped together, it is easy to overlook them and accept them at face value.

Up to that time, mankind had been denied spiritual knowledge and fulfillment from God. God now decided to give them [ancient Israel] knowledge of his law—his kind of government—his way of life! (p.169)

Without missing a beat, HWA then continues on and declares the opposite of this statement in the same paragraph.

He was going to prove to the world that without his Holy Spirit their minds were incapable of receiving and utilizing such knowledge of the TRUE WAYS OF LIFE. He was going to demonstrate to them that the mind of MAN, with its one spirit, and without the addition of God's Holy Spirit, could not have spiritual discernment—could not cure the evils that were besetting humanity. The nation Israel would be his guinea pig to demonstrate that fact.

Unless the reader has already experienced life under HWA, it is unlikely one would see where this is leading. The logic flow HWA uses is pretty convincing given the information so far, assuming the reader of HWA's book has no real background in the Scriptures.

However convincing the above statement sounds, it is flawed because it begins with a false premise, and the premise is cleverly disguised. The premise is that the law of God cannot be kept without having first the Spirit of God. Other premises are also given as fact, yet they too are false premises, such as this law being that which governs the kingdom of God.

So God entered into a covenant with them, making them HIS NATION. It also represented a MARRIAGE covenant, with Israel the wife, promising obedience to her husband—GOD. It was the physical type of the yet-to-come spiritual NEW COVENANT. (p.169)

In HWA's booklet, Which Day is the Christian Sabbath he makes this statement:

The Old Covenant between God and the children of Israel made at Mt. Sinai imposed upon the people certain terms and conditions to be performed: the obedience to the Ten Commandments. It promised the reward of making Israel a nation "above all people." The promises were purely national, and material, for this world. The New Covenant is founded on better promises (Heb. 8:6), which consist of "eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:15).
Once a covenant is signed, sealed, or ratified—confirmed—it cannot be added to (Gal. 3:15). Anything appearing beneath the signature is not legally any part of the covenant. You read of the actual making of the Old Covenant, and sealing it with blood, in Exodus 24:6-8. And notice (verse 8), it concludes with the words "the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you." It was then already made—completed.

By his own admission, once a covenant has been put in force, it cannot be altered. But through theological sleight of hand, he tries to add Christians to this covenant. It is legally impossible, but most people today do not understand the Law when it comes to covenants and contracts.

HWA also points out that this covenant is a marriage covenant between God and Israel. What is never addressed by HWA is that God, in the personage of Jesus Christ died, thus ending this marriage covenant. You cannot be bound to one who has died. In this regard and how it relates to the Law, read Romans chapter 7.

Here was a people of almost clear racial strain, and the God believing heredity of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. (p.169)

First off, can we make this claim of the children of Israel, that they were believing? Not according to Hebrews chapters 3 and 4. So what does heredity really have to do with it? And what of the implication that those who are not of this strain? Are they therefore by nature unbelieving?

So again HWA makes the claim that the children of Israel were superior because of their heredity. But what does God say?

Deuteronomy 7:7-8 "The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt."

On page 171, HWA goes into a diatribe against those who, as he terms it, "profess to receive Christ" and are utterly deceived. They have "accepted a false conversion."

A few things to consider here then: HWA insists this is part of the "born again" movement, which creates a red-herring argument, and—

HWA does not inform his readers what a "genuine" conversion is. Having been previously ensconced in the teachings of HWA, I know how easily one can concur with HWA's logic here, but it is terribly flawed. What I and many others failed to do was to put such statements above to the test. HWA connects belief / faith in Jesus with being born again. The "born again" concept becomes the straw man here that he knocks down in order to discredit salvation being a matter of faith in Jesus Christ, worded here as "accepting Jesus." HWA never really attempts to define "born again" and "accepting Jesus." Rather, he lets inference take the lead. So allow me to fill in the gaps.

If baptism represents a "burial" with Christ— Romans 6:3: "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" then what is coming up out of the water but a new birth, spiritual in nature?

Romans 6:4: "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

But HWA would argue that one is not raised a spirit being, therefore there is no true "born again" condition. The reader needs to be reminded that HWA is not the authority for determining the meaning of "born again."2 He claimed that one was not born again until the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection associated with it. What he did not admit to is how one being in receipt of the Holy Spirit has eternal life now. This concept would only hurt his system of control.

Another relevant scripture:

John 1:12-13: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

In HWA's preoccupation with race, he makes a statement about the lineage of Jesus that is untrue:

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)

This overlooks Ruth, who was a Moabite, being part of Jesus' ancestry. (Ruth 1:4)

An interesting declaration by HWA:

But—nevertheless, the Old Covenant with Israel at Sinai was a type and forerunner of the NEW COVENANT. It will be made with the New Testament CHURCH, which is the spiritual Israel and Judah (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:6, 10). (pp. 173-4)

This is a good example of how it pays to read the context of scriptures quoted by HWA. Verse 32 of Jeremiah chapter 31 informs the reader that the New Covenant would not be like the old covenant. Verse 9 of Hebrews chapter 8 makes the same declaration which HWA also does not cite. These two references totally disagree with his conclusion that the old covenant is a "forerunner" of the New.

There is one more little item here, easily overlooked. HWA tells us the N.T. Church is "spiritual Israel and Judah." This is failing to separate Israel from the Church.

He declares in the next paragraph that the prophets of the Old Testament are a part of the foundation of the church, and seeing as they were under the administration of the Old, and now the foundation of the Church, it must be the same covenant the church is bound to. No wonder the author of an exposé on HWA refers to his teachings as "a tangled web." (David Robinson)

To Israel God gave his statutes and judgments, as well as his spiritual law. But these perfect laws did not, without God's Holy Spirit, solve the nation's problems! (p. 175)

Again, HWA claims the Law given to Israel was a spiritual law, and that they were perfect laws.

Hebrews 8:7 "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second."

HWA tried to claim that the fault lay with the people, and not the covenant, by citing the next verse that has other possible renderings than the one he insists on. But the statement here is plain; the first covenant was not without fault. For instance, much of what Jesus states in Matthew 5 through 7 shows how the Law was limited, and Jesus' comments on divorce found in Matthew 19 show that the easy divorce was a concession in the Law made by Moses because they were "hard hearted"; i. e., carnal.

Love is the fulfilling of the law, but not human love. It requires the "love of GOD... shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit]" (Rom. 5:5). (p.175)

Scripture does state that the love that fulfills the Law is the love of God shed in men's hearts. If you truly love someone, you are not going to do anything to harm that person. What is really being said here, and HWA has been working up to so far, is that it is the Spirit of God in man that enables him to keep the Law Israel was unable to keep. He hasn't come out and said it just yet. First he has to build his argument and rationale carefully and slowly, sneaking up on the person's natural defenses that otherwise would more carefully examine his claim. What is being redefined here is what it means to fulfill the Law. To HWA, keeping the Law is what fulfills it through this law that he will redefine as the Mosaic law. But keeping the Law and fulfilling the Law are two very different things.

For instance, he quoted in this line of reasoning Romans 2:13 which states that not the hearers of the Law are justified but the doers of the Law. If one were not careful, they would accept this at face value, ignoring the context and the many other scriptures that plainly say no man will be justified by the works of the Law (i. e., Gal. 2:16, Gal. 3:24, Rom. 3:28, Rom. 5:1, etc.3).

HWA further builds his rationale at the end of page 175:

God revealed his law to the nation Israel. One of the purposes of this nation was to prove by human experience that man without the Spirit of God within him cannot be righteous.

There are two ways this can be viewed: Either God's righteousness is imputed to the one He gives His Spirit to, or righteousness comes about by keeping the Law perfectly because of the aid of the Holy Spirit. Seeing as he begins his statement with the Law, that is the one he will concentrate on.

On page 176, HWA quotes from his book, The United States and Britain in Prophecy4 and makes this claim:

In this central prophecy, God reaffirmed the birthright promise—but with conditions—for those of Moses' day!

The "birthright" promise was just that; a promise. There were no conditions to that promise. Those promises that were made to Abraham were not contingent upon Abraham's offspring meeting any conditions. HWA again resorts to making a statement or claim in an almost innocent manner, but again offers no proof of his claim, he just makes the statement as though it were a self-evident truth. Unfortunately, all too often his followers do not question what he says, even though they were led to believe they were proving all things and properly questioning all things.

The conditions for the children of Israel had to do with remaining in the land and being blessed in the land. If they were to later be expelled from the land, it did not necessarily void the promises God made to Abraham, which promises were not based on law and had nothing to do with law, but were unconditional.5

Romans 4:13-16: "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all."

Notice carefully that two of the Ten Commandments are mentioned for emphasis. These were the main test commandments! they were the test of obedience, and of faith in and loyalty to God. (p.176)

HWA then quotes Leviticus 26:1-2, where the prohibition against making or having idols is made, followed by the statement by God, "Ye shall keep my sabbaths..." where HWA does not finish the passage of verse two which states "...and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD."

So there are really three "commandments" here, and not two. But the third is counter-productive to what HWA is trying to accomplish. He wants to emphasize the sabbath observance with obedience and faith and loyalty... to God? If it is all about faith and obedience and loyalty, then shouldn't "we" (seeing as HWA makes the case that if commandments were good enough for Israel, they are good enough for us) be reverencing God's sanctuary?

But this observation might get the reader to start thinking critically about the point HWA is trying to convey. Maybe these commandments were just for Israel! For how else is one going to reverence God's sanctuary?

Page 180:

He [Jeroboam] changed the holy festivals of the seventh month to the eighth month. There is strong indication that he also changed the seventh day Sabbath to Sunday, the first day of the week.

In his booklet, Which day is the Christian Sabbath, HWA says matter-of-factly Jeroboam made this change. Now, years later, he tempers the claim, but still insists it being highly likely. However, there is absolutely no proof or indication of this. It is wishful thinking, and it is typical of those who insist on maintaining their pet beliefs, reading them into scripture. (Read ESN article: Did Jeroboam Change the Sabbath to Sunday?)

From the booklet, Which Day is the Christian Sabbath:

So immediately Jeroboam set up two great idols for his people to worship. He ordered the fall Festivals (including the annual Sabbaths) to be observed in the eighth month, at a place in the north of his choosing— instead of in the seventh month, and at Jerusalem as God ordered (I Kings 12:28-32). Through the rule of 19 kings and nine successive dynasties, the ten-tribed house of Israel continued in the basic twin sins of Jeroboam— idolatry and Sabbath-breaking. Several of the kings added other evil and sinful practices.

HWA makes the case that the promises to Israel were withheld for 2520 years, until circa 1800, at which time the United States and England came to the foreground of world dominance. He sees this as a proof that the U.S. and England are Israel, yet Scripture says Israel was to be dispersed among the nations:

Amos 9:9: "For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth."

What needs to be considered is the prophesy that all nations were to be blessed through Abraham, and Abraham is the father of the faithful (Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:9), not the faithless, and Israel was faithless.

HWA uses backward logic in order to conclude England and the U.S. are Israel. These two countries are/were more powerful and wealthy than any nation before, therefore they must be Israel. A few simple questions dispels this notion: Is everyone in America and England of the same ethnic origination? No. Are we to believe Israel, in being scattered throughout the nations, never intermarried with other peoples; that they remained "racially pure" in the process?

HWA then spends much verbiage to persuade the reader that America and the UK are Israel5, and like Israel, are destined for a great fall due to their continued disobedience. It is an easy thing to prophesy doom and gloom. In the early 1960s, HWA was claiming that the world then was plunging into a time of famine. Today, the population is easily double what it was in the early 1960s, and more people are better fed than ever before.

All this doom and gloom is to come on the British and American peoples because of their lawlessness.

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)

No where in all of Scripture are people commanded to give a tithe of their gross income, or any of their income for that matter. Tithes were levied on agricultural products and livestock; never wages. Furthermore, these tithes were for the Levites. Only through deceit does HWA claim a tithe is required for God's purposes and God's work. It would seem therefore God is unable to accomplish anything without proper funding.

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)

It seems strange that God would fulfill the promises made to Abraham only to remove them a short time later for the same reason they were withheld to begin with.

There is no shortage of prophets of doom, and all civilizations eventually have their downfall. Question is, will the downfall of the U.S. and the U.K. be a result of people not keeping the Sabbath and not tithing, or might there be other reasons? And what of other countries? Are they to remain unscathed through all this, or do they too partake of these disasters destined for Israel?

Colossians 3:5-6 "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:"

Nothing here about violating the Sabbath or neglecting to send your tithes to HWA.

By William Hohmann (former WCG member)
Exit & Support Network™
August 2004

Next to MOA Chapter Six

Table of Contents & Intro | Chap. 1 | Chap. 2 | Chap. 3 | Chap. 4 | Chap. 5 | Chap. 6Chap 7  

Footnotes for Chapter Six:

1 The covenant God made with Abraham was an unconditional covenant.

2 "The Greek word for 'again' is anothen which means 'from above.' ... One today is born from above by the use of water, which is the Word of God, and the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, making it real to the heart." (Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 4, pp. 383, 384)

3 A brief explanation of James 2:14-28 is covered in our article on the law and salvation.

4 HWA taught British-Israelism. See ESN article: British-Israelism--True or False?

5 "While any particular generation of Israel could enjoy its provisions only if they were obedient and could, for instance, be led off into captivity if they were disobedient, the ultimate purpose of God to bless Israel, to reveal Himself through Israel, to provide redemption through Israel, and to bring Israel into the Promised Land is absolutely certain because it depends upon God's sovereign power and will rather than man's." (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Major Bible Themes, p. 143)


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