Exit and Support Network

Mystery of the Ages
(a 2nd critical review)

By William Hohmann

 

Chapter Six - Mystery of the Church

This is the longest chapter in the book and, not surprisingly, it is but another venue for putting forth HWA's false gospel of the "Government of God"1 and being ruled through the Law. This government is to be administered by those who are called now and are presently a part of the church. The unspoken implication is obvious: Become a member of "the church," and you, too, can be one of the top rulers in this government. Refuse this calling, and you will have your part in the Great Tribulation and probably end up in the lake of fire.

Without coming right out and saying it, HWA plays into people's desire to be someone special. He dangles a carrot under the nose, convincing people that God is calling them now to be a part of His "government." "God is not calling the bulk of mankind now, therefore it is a special honor to be called now." The human ego finds it difficult to refuse this special offer, seeing as it is a rare event (a pearl of great price), by its very nature. Any suspicion an individual might have regarding HWA and his teaching is overcome by the person's desire to benefit from what he teaches. How can he be deceiving people when he is just trying to help them get into God's Kingdom? The one reading HWA's literature believes he/she is being careful and checking out what he says, but by not being well versed in the Scriptures, it is easy to be misled, despite one's attempts to the contrary. People want to believe God is calling them, and subconsciously do not want to risk losing out on this opportunity. It's hard to turn down God.

Chapter 6 is highly convoluted. So much is thrown at the reader now, that it becomes difficult to keep up with it all. The average person is not going to check up on every little detail; they will usually say to themselves that what they don't understand now they will deal with later. But once convinced HWA is right, these issues are put on the back burner... the way back burner. The initiate believes the answers will come later when they better understand.

It is going to be difficult to deal with every issue as they are brought up by HWA in this chapter. To do so would require a book twice as large as the one being critiqued. It is therefore necessary to leave some minor issues unaddressed in order to focus on the more flagrant abuses of Scripture. All too often, the adherents of HWA will also focus on the relatively minor issues that are critiqued, and believing they have found the critic in error on some minor point, feel justified to ignore the greater issues. Such is the mindset, as I have been there and done that when reading material critical of HWA myself in the past.

On page 198, HWA claims the true gospel (his gospel) has not been preached "to the world" since about A.D. 50 until 1953, when he began preaching his gospel worldwide via radio and TV.

This would have to mean that the apostles who lived beyond A.D. 50 "dropped the ball" and quit preaching the gospel, as well as those who were taught the gospel by the apostles. Does his claim sound reasonable?

What we need to do here is compare HWA's gospel with what we find written in the N.T. Scriptures.

In trying to decipher what HWA claims is a false gospel he says this on page 200:

Few may realize it, but Jesus made no attempt to gain converts or to invite people to "give their hearts to him" or to "accept him as their personal savior."

Can we afford to "reject" Jesus as personal savior? What we see here is typical of HWA's methodology. He tries to define what others believe and teach in order to serve his own purpose while knocking down the straw man arguments he creates.

Apparently HWA never read Matthew the 11th chapter, where Jesus was talking to a multitude of people (verse 7) and declares in verses 28-30:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Or how about this?

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:37-39)

Then there is the matter of what the apostles preached to the masses after the resurrection. All the reader need do is read the narratives where they preach the gospel, and see whether they speak of believing Jesus is the Savior, or whether they preached the kingdom of God being the government of God. References are made to the kingdom of God, but not in specifics. The focus is always concerning the king of the kingdom.

Those within HWA's group were taught to reject the "give your heart to the Lord" concept. The human heart was defined as being "desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9) and why then would Jesus want it? What is really important here is the understanding that the human heart is desperately wicked, and as such people need to come to the realization that there is absolutely nothing the individual can do to change it. Only God can give us a new heart.

Ezekiel 11:19: "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:"

HWA taught people must keep the Law; prove their dedication through "performancy," as he worded it. It is man trying to change his "heart" through his own efforts. The lesson that is supposed to be learned by the example of Israel, was that they were given the Law, and were never able to live up to it. HWA tried to convince people that with the Holy Spirit; with a changed heart, people would then be able to keep this law as God intended. But the problem was never one of the Law; it was always a problem with the heart—a heart of unbelief; a heart full of sin.

If it were about the Law and keeping the Law, enabled by the Holy Spirit, then let the one with the Holy Spirit who keeps the Law perfectly come forward and make himself or herself known.

The problem is sin, not the Law that helps define sin, or make sin utterly sinful.

Romans 5:13: "(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law."

Romans 5:20: "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:"

On the contrary, he "called out"—drafted—twelve disciples. (p. 200)

This follows immediately after the quote above where he says Jesus "made no attempt to gain converts." HWA claims the disciples were "drafted" by Jesus. One who is drafted has no choice in the matter. In like manner HWA infers that those who are reading what he has written are being drafted. You don't have a say in the matter. If you reject your draft call, you are AWOL from God and will suffer the consequences of your rejection of Him.

Those recovering from their involvement within the WCG and its offshoots usually have a desire to understand how it was they were duped into joining his group. There are resources on this website to help people understand how this process occurred. To sum it up simply, they were exposed to some of the slickest advertising and persuasion techniques known. Who doesn't want to live forever? Who doesn't want to feel important? Who wouldn't want to believe they are being specially called by God at a time they are led to believe the vast majority of mankind is not? Who would want to refuse such a special honor and incur the wrath of God for rejecting such a calling?

These twelve were students being taught by Jesus the true gospel of the kingdom of God. (p. 200)

The twelve were called to learn from Jesus, and be witnesses to the things that transpired concerning Jesus' life, death and resurrection. When Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom of God to the masses, He did so in parables in order to obscure the meaning.2 Even Jesus' disciples did not understand the parables, couched in the terminology of the kingdom of God. By sticking with that which obscured the gospel, HWA was able to manipulate it into the kingdom of God being the government of God, with the Law an integral part of that government.

If this is indeed the true gospel, then where are the examples in Scripture stating it as such? They are not there. We are led to believe the writers of the New Testament events and epistles neglected somehow to mention the "true" gospel. "It is "hid" from those who are lost..."

At this point in the book, HWA again recaps his main points in order to drum them into the head of the reader.

  1. God is Creator and Supreme Ruler.
  2. Lucifer was placed on earth's throne to administer the government of God.
  3. God's government is based upon God's law.
  4. Lucifer rebelled against this law.
  5. Adam was created to replace Satan.
  6. Adam rebelled against this law.
  7. Satan still rules today.
  8. Jesus Christ was to conquer and replace Satan on earth's throne.
  9. Jesus Christ conquered Satan, but has not replaced him yet.
  10. Jesus came to ransom mankind, kidnapped by Satan.

Nowhere in Scripture do we find Lucifer was put here to administer the "government" of God. The earth is referred to as God's (Exodus 9:29; Psalm 24:1), and the demon's first habitation. Point three is an assumption necessary for building the theology of legalism. Again, there is no evidence to support the claim that Lucifer rebelled against God's law. He rebelled against God; he attempted to overthrow God. (Isaiah 14:13-14)

According to HWA, God creates a vastly inferior and naïve being known as Adam to replace a crafty evil being who can pluck Adam like a grape. Adam rejects the "government" and "way" of God, and loses out on this opportunity to replace Satan. Jesus comes in the flesh and resists Satan. He fulfills those prophesies concerning His life, death, and resurrection, but for some unexplained reason, does not replace Satan, even though "qualified" now. A logical question would be, what qualified Lucifer to head the earth in the first place then? Jesus demonstrates His love for his creation by dying for those who will believe that through Him one has eternal life (I John 5:13). His church has been redeemed (I Peter 1:18), but not necessarily in the manner implied by HWA.

HWA then asks, "Now, why the Church?" (p. 201), then sidesteps the question, and brings up the seven annual festivals, claiming they were ordained forever. He says they picture God's plan of redemption. But do they really?

Passover points to Jesus and His sacrifice for all mankind.

Unleavened bread points to the sincerity and truth found in Jesus.

The Day of Pentecost points to the Holy Spirit baptizing believers into the body of Christ.

The Feast of Trumpets heralds Jesus return to the earth.

The Day of Atonement; Jesus' reconciliation of mankind to himself.

The Feast of Tabernacles; the paradise of Jesus ruling over the earth.

The Last Great Day3; Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit to be given to those that thirst, come to Him and believe on Him.

One notices that HWA doesn't consider Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-14) as the third feast day since he tells us the day of Pentecost was "originally called Feast of Firstfruits."4 Where in the Bible does it say Pentecost was "originally" called Feast of Firstfruits? More than picturing God's plan of redemption, these feast days all point to one person, Jesus, the Savior of mankind. Remember that HWA was fond of saying Jesus was merely the "messenger of the gospel" and that the gospel was not about Jesus. HWA could not have been more wrong. All the Law and prophets pointed to Him. All the sacrifices, even the Sabbaths, pointed to Him. He is the reality and all these things were the shadows of that reality.

John 5:39: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

The facts of the Church's origin and its purpose are revealed in that book of mystery—the Holy Bible. To make clear that mystery may well require more pages in this book than any other subject. (p. 203)

Which would take longer to "prove," a false teaching or a true one? Truth tends to be simple and easy to understand. If one is trying to explain a teaching that is not true, it is going to take a lot more effort!

On page 208, HWA begins to build up slowly to his theology concerning the church by stating innocently enough through a paraphrase of Jesus as saying, "I will call out of Satan's world disciples, to grow into the altogether new and different world, which will be God's kingdom." This is extrapolated from Matthew 16:18: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock5 I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Is this what this passage says? No. Do the followers of HWA take him to task for this misrepresentation of Scripture? No. Why? Because his followers bought into his claim that he has been given special revelations from God, hence his interpretations are true.

Almost no one has understood that the gospel could not be proclaimed to the world, nor could God's called congregation of people have the Holy Spirit UNTIL Jesus a) had qualified by overcoming Satan, and b) had been glorified after ascension to heaven (John 7:37-39). (pp. 208-209)

John 7:37-39 makes no mention of Jesus overcoming Satan or qualifying to rule the world: "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

Prior to Jesus coming to the world in the flesh, the prophets were given the Holy Spirit. (II Peter 1:21) So these conditions of HWA are artificial and unbiblical. For instance, Scripture says Christians have overcome the wicked one (Satan). (I John 2:13-14) This would mean that every Christian has qualified to "rule the earth," if we buy into HWA's reasoning.

Does HWA really answer the logical question here though? Why could the gospel not be preached "to the world" prior to his ascension? Ancient Israel had the gospel preached to them, and Jesus preached the gospel from the beginning of his ministry.

Matthew 11:5: "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."

Hebrews 4:2: "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."

As far as the rest of the world, it is but an assumption that the gospel could not be preached or known to the Gentile nations.

At the outset of this chapter we are primarily concerned with four basic questions that constitute a mystery that needs to be revealed with understanding:
  1. Who and what is Christ? Why did he appear on earth?
  2. What is and why was the Church brought into existence?
  3. What is the gospel the Church is commissioned to proclaim?
  4. What is the history of the Church? Why is Christianity so different today than at its inception in the first century? (p. 206)

The mystery of the Church now gets broken down into 4 "sub-mysteries." (Actually, 8, but who's counting?)

So this we know. Whatever the Church is, it belongs to GOD and its name is the CHURCH OF GOD. Jesus Christ is its founder, and he its living HEAD. (p. 208)

There is a bit of backward thinking going on here. For instance, suppose the church of God were called in Scripture, the Church of the Eternal. Would HWA have called His organization, "Worldwide Church of the Eternal" or something else? It should also be pointed out that HWA defines the church as the "ekklesia," the "called out" of God, but then insists that this ecclesia is his group, and no other group is the ekklesia. One is not an "ekklesia" unless a part of the group. It is double-talk. If one were to critically evaluate these concepts, they are incompatible. Jesus the Christ places those who believe the gospel within his "church," because they now possess the Holy Spirit. They are positionally along side of Jesus. They collectively are the bride of Christ. The organization they happen to attend, or not attend, is irrelevant to this context. What we really see here is the creation of more cognitive dissonance that tends to make one abandon critical thinking when you might expect critical thinking would be triggered instead.

HWA also makes the point that the church is called "Church of God" twelve times in Scripture, as though to set this up as proof that "his church" is the same Church of God. What is overlooked are those Scriptures that state something else:

Colossians 1:24: "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:"

The church is the body of Christ; Christ's body; Christ's church. Romans 12:5: "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."

1 Corinthians 12:27: "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."

 And actually, his gospel—the message sent by him from God—was the good news of the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God, as we shall see, is to be the restoration of the government of God over the earth and the ousting of Satan from that throne. (p. 209)

As pointed out before, if this indeed is the gospel, we should find it espoused by the apostles in their writings and in the book of Acts. Good luck. What we find being preached by the apostles is not a gospel of the kingdom being the government of God administered through the Law, but rather about Jesus and faith in Him, to which HWA declared no one was going to be saved by just believing in Jesus.

HWA says "we shall see" that this is the gospel. It has yet to be "proven," but he has stated it over and over that this is the gospel, and he will continue to do so without showing any solid Biblical evidence.

Next, what nearly all "Christians," including theologians, did not realize: Jesus was born to become a KING! (p. 209)

Was Jesus born to "become" a King? No. Jesus was born a King; the King of Kings:

Matthew 2:1-2: "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

Why would HWA want people to believe Jesus was born to become a king instead of having been born a king? Because he wants to make the case that Jesus first had to qualify, even as he insists we have to qualify to become born sons of God. The language he uses here is worthy of a false prophet for all its subtlety and deceit.

As he hung on the cross, helpless, a soldier stabbed him with a spear, he screamed in pain (Matt. 27:50, Moffatt) and then died. He did this because you and I have transgressed the law of God. (pp. 212-213)

Matthew 27:50 does not say Jesus was stabbed with a spear and screamed in pain as a result. It says "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost" which means he dismissed His spirit. Luke 23:46 also says, "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, 'Father, into thy hands I commend my sprit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost [spirit]."

Jesus was stabbed with a spear after his death, where water and blood came forth, proving He was indeed dead.

Neither did Jesus suffer death because of people having specifically transgressed the Law. Sin was in the world before the Law. (Romans 5:13) Jesus was paying that penalty of sin for all mankind, including those not under the Law.

HWA tried to make the case that this law of God is eternal and has existed from the beginning. It's not possible, despite what rationale is used to declare otherwise.
Jesus' gospel was not only good news—it was an announcement or good news proclamation of the coming kingdom of God. What a tragedy that a "traditional Christianity" has forsaken and lost that vital and glorious gospel message and substituted their own gospel about the person of Christ. (p. 213)

Down through the centuries many Christians have believed that Jesus is to return and set up His kingdom. What Christian has not read and repeated the sample prayer that states, "Thy kingdom come?"

Allow me to rephrase the statement of HWA above from the another perspective:

What a tragedy that men come along, agreeing that Jesus is indeed the Christ, then lead men away from Christ to another gospel; a gospel in which there is no salvation. No one is going to be saved through believing God is going to set up a government of God on earth. Salvation comes through Christ Jesus. Salvation comes through faith in Him, and not faith in a kingdom or government. Salvation is through the King of this kingdom, and no one enters by any other way save through Jesus the Christ.

HWA goes on to make his case for the gospel being the government of God, with those called out now qualifying for positions within that government. And how do these people qualify? Through keeping the Law. It's a nice, neat package deal, and up front it sounds all so logical and flawless. I would remind the reader of the words of Jesus Himself wherein He said that if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22) The false gospel(s) would be that good and that convincing.

But it isn't all about government. It's about family. Christians are the bride of Christ and not the subjects of Christ. The "covenant" Christians today are a part of is a marriage covenant, and not a governmental-contractural covenant, such as the old covenant. Christians are "bound" to Christ; not "bound" to the Law and Christ.

Romans 7:4: "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."

HWA would argue that to do away with the Law in this case is to do away with sin, thereby allowing people to do whatever they wish with impunity. Anarchy would result. People would be killing one another with abandon. But let's put this thought into its proper perspective and take the thought out to its logical conclusion.

We are talking about those whom God has given the Holy Spirit. They are now led by His Spirit, and not their own lusts and desires. So are we to conclude, as HWA insists, that Christians would now go about creating mayhem? But this is the implication HWA would have us believe. Christians, with the very Spirit of God within them, are going to run amuck without the Law. They cannot be trusted to live and act without the restraints of the Law. Their faith and love for God and fellow man count as nothing in this scenario. Under this scenario, love does not fulfill the Law. (Romans 13:10)

Following this, HWA insists the Holy Spirit has been withheld from mankind since the sin of Adam. Then he declares that the prophets and the Church being given the Holy Spirit is an "exception."

There are no "exceptions" when it comes to the truth. If one believes they have found an exception, what they have really found is something that disproves the belief.

Now because HWA perceives that God is "no respecter of persons" when it comes to salvation (p.215), he concludes God is not calling people at this time "merely" for salvation. But what does Scripture say?

Romans 9:13-15: "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

Continuing:

Romans 9:18-24: "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"

Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelieving world and the professing traditional "Christianity" to this fact" (II Cor. 4:4) (p. 216)

This "fact" being those called now are to be trained under persecution in order to aid Christ in the conversion of all mankind later. It sounds so noble. But what, exactly, does II Cor. 4:4 say? "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

Believe not what? That God is going to set up a government ruled through law, or a gospel of Christ? And who is Christ? The image of God. And what shines on them? The knowledge of a government ruled through law, or Christ?

HWA then finishes the thought by once again discrediting Christians and their scholarly theologians as to the "purposes for which Jesus Christ came."

He begins anew, making claims without backing them up.

Jesus did not come to save Satan's world while Satan sits on the throne deceiving them. (p. 216)

What is the undeclared implication? Jesus cannot call people now? He can only call a chosen few? Didn't Jesus overcome Satan? Didn't Jesus say he overcame the world?

Following this, HWA again reiterates what he insists is what is the unfolding of the plan of God. I will refrain from reiterating his reiteration.

But first, it was imperative that he QUALIFY to replace Satan and set up the KINGDOM OF GOD, by overcoming the devil. (p. 217)

I have lost count of how many times HWA has declared this. I'll ask this question for the reader to muse over. Did HWA read Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf? Yes, he did. [Read: HWA studied Hitler's book Mein Kampf] What did Hitler teach? Repeat a lie often enough, and people will begin to believe it.

The reader might question why HWA constantly hammers on this theme that Jesus had to qualify to replace Satan. To put it simply, he uses every venue he can think of to justify law keeping. Jesus had to "qualify," and therefore we have to "qualify," and this qualifying does not end until the day one dies. It's all work and no rest in Christ.

On page 220, HWA uses the analogy of a wealthy person paying a large debt for a friend so that his friend does not end up in prison. He correctly points out that the friend is freed from the debt and its penalty. But HWA does not follow this analogy when it comes to Christ paying the debt for mankind. He insists people are still obligated to continue to pay the debt themselves by keeping the Law, thereby placing themselves back in debt to that law, which would require Christ to pay the debt again and again.

Before Jesus (the "WORD"), now the Son of God, could found his CHURCH, those called out of the world into that CHURCH must be freed from the supreme DEATH PENALTY, so that they might inherit ETERNAL LIFE!

Notice the subtle declaration, "might" inherit eternal life. Why "might?" Those who are of the ekklesia are promised eternal life. Can God lie? Is HWA here misrepresenting God? Absolutely.

John 10:27-28: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."

1 John 2:25: "And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life."

1 John 5:11: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."

1 John 5:13: "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

Qualifying for rulership and eternal life, along with Jesus qualifying by overcoming Satan, etc. is a major theme in this chapter. For instance, HWA references Jesus qualifying to replace Satan eight times in this chapter, and that people qualify to rule with Christ six times. One interesting statement of qualifying is that he claims Jesus had to even qualify to become our Savior!

It should be reiterated that Christians do not qualify or overcome by keeping the Law. Christians overcome through Christ by faith.

1 John 5:4: "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."

The surname Peter had for centuries been a surname or TITLE, designating a religious LEADER, HEAD or HEADQUARTERS. Peter was the first or chief apostle. (p. 221)

No proof is offered for this conclusion that the name Peter stood for these things. But HWA is trying now to establish in the reader's mind that God works through one man, or one head man. If this were true, then Jesus would not have called twelve to be apostles.

The assumption that Peter was the head or chief apostle is refuted in Acts 15 where the events of the conference show James to be of equal or more influence than Peter.

These Jewish rulers and their chief priests completely MISunderstood Jesus' gospel message. They knew he proclaimed a government that would take over and rule ALL NATIONS of the earth. What they MISunderstood was the TIME and NATURE of that kingdom of God. (p. 223)

Seeing as Jesus talked to them in parables, couched in the terminology of the kingdom of God, no wonder they misunderstood. They had certain expectations of the Messiah, and this Jesus did not fit the bill. They wanted a government all right, where the Romans would be overthrown and Israel to be pre-eminent among the nations. They "embraced" the kingdom and rejected the king, even as HWA embraces the kingdom, insisting it's all about government and rulership, but then diminishes the king, whom he calls merely the "messenger of the gospel" and that the gospel is not about the king.

Traditional Christianity has really never understood this basic reason for Pharisaical opposition and persecution of Jesus. (p. 223)

That which "traditional Christianity" understands is rejected out-of-hand by HWA. The Pharisees were big on the Law, and thought their salvation was in keeping it, and not faith in Jesus without the Law. The Law became their god, thus they rejected Jesus.

John 5:39: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

Even the Pharisees understood the Scriptures that said one was to love God with their whole being and their neighbor as themselves, but they hated Jesus. Those who were the most fervent in keeping the Law were the worst transgressors of it.

Nicodemus said, "Rabbi, we know [we Pharisees know] that thou art a teacher come from God."
The Pharisees KNEW JESUS WAS THE MESSIAH! They were familiar with Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 53. The Pharisees KNEW Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. (p. 224)

I Corinthians 2:7-8: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

HWA claims they knew Jesus was the Messiah, and the apostle Paul says they did not. Who were these princes who had Jesus crucified? The Pharisees; the religious leaders of the day. They refused to "know" Jesus was the Messiah. They rejected Jesus in favor of the Law, which they administered with brutal intolerance.

Jesus answered immediately, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of god."
But Nicodemus did not understand this. He knew that being born was an actual BIRTH— parturition from the womb of the mother. Today's theologians do not know even that! They deny a real second birth as a spirit being. They spiritualize away the real truth by assuming that merely saying that one accepts Christ as his Savior constitutes being born again. In this, Satan has deceived them and in turn they have deceived millions of others. (p. 224)

Romans 10:9-10: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

This confession is what is important, and not an argument over semantics as to how one is to understand being "born again." Just as Nicodemus could not see past the physical, so it is with HWA. He insists the spiritual be exactly like the physical in this regard. If a Christian is referred to as a new creation, and the old man as having been crucified with Him (Romans 6:6), then there is a new birth; a new beginning with the Holy Spirit indwelling the individual.

Galatians 2:20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

On page 225, HWA continues this theme, and quotes the words of Jesus wherein he declares that that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. HWA insists on a literal understanding and interpretation here. One wonders then whether he would apply the same reasoning and rationale to the words of Jesus in John chapter 6 where Jesus refers to his body being food indeed and his blood being drink indeed.

It [the kingdom] is NOT composed of mortal flesh-and-blood persons who have "accepted Christ" and joined a church of their choice! Yet millions of church members are deceived about that today. (p. 226)

The pattern of disparaging others and their beliefs continues unabated as HWA makes emphatic statements in the hope people will believe him. The focus here is taken off of those who are in Christ, and the kingdom is again given center stage as though all things revolve around the kingdom and not the King. Here is a simple question based partly on HWA's perspective. He teaches that Jesus will return and set up the kingdom. So, does Jesus resurrect people first, then set up this kingdom, or does He set up the kingdom, then resurrect people as spirit beings? Can the reader comprehend the distinction? Flesh and blood indeed cannot "inherit" the kingdom; be an integral part of it, yet the kingdom is to be set up on earth where flesh and blood people continue to exist. If Christ puts down all other rule, and the kingdoms of this earth become the kingdom of God, then whose subjects are these people who are flesh and blood? It's not as black and white as HWA would have you believe.

In order for Christ to RESTORE God's government over the earth, he would need with and under him a qualified and organized personnel of GOD BEINGS—all having rejected Satan's false way and having proved their loyalty to the government and righteous ways of God! (p. 227)

As pointed out before, those in Christ are seen as having overcome Satan. There is no need to constantly "prove" their loyalty to God. There is no faith in this form.

What is of interest here though is the psychology behind a narcissist. One must always be proving themselves to this person, and their efforts are never sufficient. HWA was such a person.

Therefore, once again, let it be emphasized that the purpose of the Church is not merely to give salvation to those called into the Church, but to teach and train those predestined and called into the Church as instruments God shall use in bringing the world to salvation. (p. 228)

If this truly is the function of the Church (his church) then HWA did a miserable job of it. For over 50 years his gospel went out to the world, and now it has splintered and fragmented6 just as you would expect a work would that was built on sand. The reader must also understand that the "Church" or a "Church" cannot "give" salvation to anyone. A Church is not the venue for salvation, Christ is.

That is why in the New Testament, the Church is called the firstfruits of God's salvation. (p. 228)

Please note that HWA gave no scriptural source for this claim. Perhaps it is because no such statement exists?

Anyone who "joins the church of his choice" has not come into God's true Church. One cannot just "join" the TRUE Church of God. One is first selected and drawn by God the Father through his Spirit, brought to a complete heartrending repentance, and changed in his total life-style, and has also not only believed in and accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior, but also has believed Christ. (p. 229)

First off, the distinction in meaning of what the "church" is becomes blurred, as the church Christ built, and continues to build, is not confined to a specific group run by a self-appointed apostle/prophet.

Second, HWA almost preaches the true gospel, but not quite. Close doesn't count here. The gospel can be falsified by either addition or omission. HWA says one must also believe what Christ said and taught, and here is where HWA misrepresents Jesus the Christ. HWA has taught that which Jesus and the apostles did not teach, and what Jesus and the apostles taught, HWA does not teach. This is a common denominator of all false religious groups or cults. HWA reserved to himself the "interpretation" of Scripture, and anyone within the group who disagreed, no matter how sincerely, found themselves without the group. I have found it to be an effective method of getting people who believed HWA was right to realize he was wrong simply by asking them some questions based upon what Jesus said and taught along with the apostles. If you know what Jesus and the apostles said and taught, you must conclude, if you are honest with yourself, that HWA was wrong in his theology.

So, once again, WHAT and WHY is the CHURCH? The Church is the called out (from the world) begotten children of God. It is the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12-27; Eph. 1:23). It is the spiritual organism that shall be the "Bride of Christ" —after its resurrection to immortality. then it shall be married to Christ! (p. 230)

That which is described in Scripture as the bride of Christ is the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven:

Revelation 21:2: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."

Revelation 21:9-10: "...Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,"

HWA needs people to believe that the church does not become this bride of Christ until He returns. Scripture indeed describes (in the parables) a marriage feast, and again HWA insists the spiritual follow the pattern of the physical. So what are the implications if the church, or Christians were now "married" to Jesus Christ? The concept of proving one's loyalty and being required to participate in a covenant opposite Jesus Christ falls to the ground dead, rotten and forgotten. A husband and wife are legally the same entity. The implications are enormous.

Romans 7:4: "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."

This is anathema to HWA's theology. Christians are now married to Christ.7 Now they share in a marriage covenant, and not a covenant as a second party. They are now a party of the first part, Jesus Christ!

What, then, is the necessary prerequisite to receiving UNDERSTANDING? "A good understanding have all they that do his commandments" (Ps. 111:10). (p. 231)

The hook is now being set on the unsuspecting reader. HWA means to bring the reader under the Law, and in wielding this Law, he has ultimate power and control over the individual. But the reader would be well advised to examine the passage cited, and note that "his commandments" is not a part of the passage; it is inferred. Does a person need to keep the commandments in order to "understand" Jesus is the Savior of mankind, and that only in Him one has salvation? No. But let's argue this point a bit further. If love fulfills the Law, and the commandments are a part of that Law, and God sheds His love upon us, so that we live by that love, then this is sufficient, and we understand. We cannot fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law on our own effort—only God working in us is righteousness accomplished, and it is not the righteousness found in the Law.

Philippians 3:9: "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:"

But the Eternal began laying the actual foundation of that ultimate GOD FAMILY through the patriarch Abraham. Isaac, Jacob and Joseph formed part of that prefoundation. (p. 231)

Ever so subtly, HWA tries to build a foundation UNDER Jesus Christ. By doing this, he tries to strengthen his case for insisting people keep the Law. But there is no "prefoundation."

1 Corinthians 3:11: "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Jesus Christ is the foundation, and not the patriarchs, and not the Law.

Ephesians 2:20: "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone";

HWA would have you believe that the prophets are intrinsically tied to the Law, but the Law of the letter is never equated with this foundation of Christ.

However, the CHURCH is the BEGOTTEN (not yet born) children of God. (p. 232)

It was one of HWA's pet doctrines to claim Christians were not as yet "born" of God, but rather merely "begotten" with the actual "birth" occurring at the resurrection.

This whole issue over begotten versus being born was for the purpose of instilling fear within the individual HWA had control over. If you are merely begotten, then you stood the chance of being aborted; not coming to full term and losing out on salvation. It has already been pointed out that those who are Christ's have eternal life now, guaranteed. This birth of the spiritual has already occurred. All that remains is a change of form.

This understanding though does not serve HWA and what he wants, where the "Church" is inserted into the equation for the purpose of coupling one's salvation and being "born again" with his "church corporate":

And WHAT, then, was to be the CHURCH? As pictured by the third of God's annual Holy Days (festivals) it was to provide the FIRST ACTUAL HARVEST of mortal humans being translated into Spirit-composed GOD BEINGS! Again, the Church is the instrumentality prepared to be used with and under Christ in completing God's wonderful purpose of saving humanity and reproducing himself. However, the CHURCH is the BEGOTTEN (not yet born) children of GOD. But, the CHURCH shall be the firstBORN harvest (Heb. 12:23) (Christ being the foregoing Pioneer) at Christ's coming in POWER and GLORY! (p. 232)

Hebrews 12:23 in its immediate context states:

"But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Hebrews 12:22-24).

The author is writing in the present tense, and not future tense. Now we have come to this mount Sion; now we have come to this city of the living God; now we have come to the company of innumerable angels, and now we have come to the general assembly of the church of the "firstborn" which are (now) written in heaven. Now have the spirits of just men been made perfect.

The author addresses the church as being the church of the firstborn later, and not now. HWA wants people to be "firstborn" later as actual spirit beings, with the or his church involved in the overall process. God made the believer "begotten" and the church is going to carry on the work of grooming the believer so that the salvation process is completed later, by and through the church. The church now becomes co-Saviour along with Christ! It is not Christ who ultimately saves us, it is this church, which ultimately results in our being, as HWA worded it, "translated" into a "Spirit-composed GOD BEING."

But what happens if the church is unable to serve or finish this function? The person in question does not achieve eternal life after all. He was not truly "born again" but merely "begotten" and subject to spontaneous abortion should he or she decide to abandon the church.

In false (Christian) belief systems, invariably, something is inserted between Christ and the believer. Sometimes it is a person; a "prophet" and sometimes it is an organization, and sometimes it is both. They paint a picture of salvation being possible only through this detour to Christ. In the end, a false gospel of salvation is produced, with a wrong saviour.

Does Scripture draw a fine line between being "born again" and "begotten" like HWA does?

Is a Christian "born again" as a result of conversion, or is a Christian "born again" as a result of undergoing a change or translation from a physical being to a being composed of spirit or a spiritual body? Do both instances constitute a new birth? The real question comes down to: At what point are we considered saved or assured of salvation? Nuances of this question have plagued Christianity, especially since the Reformation.

Scripture states that the believer is now, presently, a son (daughter) of God. What then was the believer previously? A son/daughter of Adam, and as such, subject to condemnation. (See: Romans 5:14-21)

1 John 3:2: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

Understand the implications. NOW we are the sons of God. Now it has not been made clear or manifest what we "shall be" in the future. But at the return of Christ, we "shall be" like Him in appearance or, more specifically, in composition. This would fit in nicely with what Paul wrote in I Corinthians chapter 15 regarding that which is corruptible (our present bodies) becoming or changing into an incorruptible "body" as Christ will possess upon His return.

Paul calls it a change. Paul uses an analogy as like putting on a garment, and putting off the mortal and putting on the immortal, no longer subject to decay and physical death.

Whether we call this change from the physical to a spiritual body a birth or not is not ultimately important. What is important is whether we experience a new birth, or the requisite "born again" at conversion, where we are in receipt of the Holy Spirit, and whether salvation is associated with this condition and status.

Jesus Christ is described as being begotten by the Father in His human life, and Christians are referred to as being begotten through the gospel. So was Jesus born (first born) or was He some sort of embryonic Son?

His birth, as the Son of God, is also described in relation to being born via or through the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:35: "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

The Holy Spirit is referred to as the earnest or promise of our salvation:

Ephesians 1:13: "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"

Galatians 4:29-31: "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free."

I Peter 1:22-2:2: "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"

Galatians 4:4-7: "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

Now, believers are indeed "born again" of the Spirit. Believers are assured salvation. Is this therefore a claim of "once saved, always saved"? It can be argued that, once one has changed from the physical body to the spiritual, or incorruptible body, there is no chance of going back to perishable or loss of salvation, but that such cannot be said for one who is still flesh and blood. The flaw to this logic however is that Satan and his angelic followers are not flesh and blood, and they have incurred God's wrath, and are to be cast into the lake of fire also.

Technically, and theoretically, the believer could turn their back on God and forfeit eternal life. What needs to be considered then is that the process whereby one receives the Holy Spirit and eternal life is such, so as to minimize or even eliminate the possibility of one doing so. One has to believe the gospel, and the nature of the gospel is such that God must reveal it to a person. Why then would God reveal the gospel to one He knows will later reject the gospel and salvation?

II Corinthians 4:3-6: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 

Through the years from Abraham until Christ, God had called out of Satan's world begotten and prepared PROPHETS, as the preliminary co-foundation of God's CHURCH! Jesus himself is the main foundation. (p. 232)

Jesus is not the "main" foundation, and there is no preliminary co-foundation. There is only one foundation, and that foundation is Christ. (I Corinthians 3:11) Like other concepts of HWA's that are unbiblical, he hammers on them until he is sure people believe him. He sets himself up as his own authority.

Following the above statement, HWA again tries to establish other foundations by claiming the apostles are a second co-foundation. Christ is being diluted and diminished in order to now bring the Law to the foreground.

On page 234, HWA states that the Church is the firstfruits of Pentecost, "the very first portion of God's spiritual harvest" then claims the exact opposite in saying those in the Church are not yet born of God! This is another example of generating cognitive dissonance in order to make the individual more reliant upon HWA. The individual awaits HWA to give him the understanding to cope with the cognitive dissonance, which will never happen. It will never be resolved.

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 been yet judged—WHY neither "saved" nor "lost"! (p. 234)

All this is based upon assumptions. No "thus saith the Lord" is produced as proof. Can we afford to base our beliefs on inference and speculation? John 3:18: "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Unless God calls and man answers through faith, man is lost. He is condemned already. He is still the offspring of Adam.

One does not receive the Holy Spirit until he has first of all repented. God grants repentance (Acts 11:18). The second condition to receiving the Holy Spirit is faith. That means not only believing in God and in Christ, but since Christ is the Word or Spokesman of the God family, it means believing what he says. (p. 238)

HWA begins this statement with contradiction and a falsehood. God does grant repentance, and repentance is a turning away from the former life and what it entailed. It is not repenting of sin per se, sin being defined as "breaking the Law." Neither is this the first step. Belief / faith is the first step. An examination of the conversion of Cornelius and his household proves this. Cornelius believed what he was told concerning Jesus Christ. God granted unto him repentance unto life. Here is what Acts 11:18 says:

"When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."

HWA does not elaborate on what this belief in Christ entails other than believing what he says. Jesus declared that it was through Him people have eternal life. HWA demonstrated his lack of faith by not believing Christ and concluded that people had to keep the Law also in order to maintain their salvation status, or in other words, to "qualify" for salvation, it being an open issue for a Christian until death.

Nothing you can do can make up for past guilt. The blood of Christ has paid the price of past guilt. (p. 238)

What of present and future guilt? Do we then sacrifice Christ anew? No. Jesus' sacrifice was complete and total. Those sanctified by Him are now a new creation, and these things that previously condemned us can no longer do so. Christians are dead to sin; sin no longer has power over a Christian (see Romans, chapter 6). This whole concept of being dead to sin and dead to the Law is lost on HWA. His control over people would be lost if those who follow him were to understand this aspect of being a Christian.

The "salvation" in what is called traditional Christianity does not actually change one into a new and different person. (p. 238)

Salvation is a part of the Christian status. A Christian is one who has the Holy Spirit, and those who have the Holy Spirit are now saved. Again, it is HWA trying to chop it all up to his own advantage so as to control people.

Next to MOA Chapter Six, Pt. 2 of 2

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


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