Friday, February 28, 2014

PCG's Richard Palmer Says Farmers Must Observe Land Sabbath

PCG's Richard Palmer has written an article insisting that farmers must stop working the land once every seven years. 
While scientists and the rest of mankind must respect certain physical laws that govern our daily lives, many people view the laws revealed in the Bible—governing civil life, morality and personal conduct, and religious life—with scorn and contempt. However, defying those laws leads to trouble just as surely as breaking the physical laws does.

One law in the Old Testament that critics ridicule is the land sabbath. God commanded that every seven years, the land be allowed to rest—there was no pruning or planting (for commercial harvesting), and nothing was to be harvested except what people picked for their own personal consumption (Leviticus 25:2-7, 18-22). To many, this law seems obsolete: Modern farmers can get around resting the land by using fertilizers.

But scientists are now beginning to learn that there is no getting around this law. The use of fertilizers to avoid letting the land rest is a shortcut that wreaks considerable damage to the land in the long run.

God’s law doesn’t give us all the details we need to be successful farmers. But without keeping these laws, we cannot maintain healthy and productive soils. This land sabbath was probably a time to allow plants that put nitrogen back into the soil to grow, and let animals fertilize the land with their microbe-rich manure. The soil even benefits from just being left still. The microbes can grow much faster without the physical disruption that comes from plowing the fields and sowing seeds. 
So farmers apparently are forbidden from planting and harvesting once every seven years.

I wonder how that would work out. Has anyone else tried that before?
Several years ago, we [WCG's leaders] finally discovered that one particular law that we'd taken from the old covenant, and we sliiiiiiiid it over into the new -- or if you like the word, "transplant." In case Dr. Christian Bernard may be here.  

We took over into the new -- that was the seventh-year land Sabbath -- and we imposed that upon Christian farmers. We said it was a law. We said it was "a test of faith," didn't we? And farmer after farmer went to the wall financially and some went into bankruptcy! 

Why didn't someone over the years say "wait a minute! Let's go back and study this law more carefully. It seems to me God is reneging on his part of the bargain." Because you see, God said he would give a three-fold harvest in the sixth year. But I know of not one case of a Christian farmer receiving a three-fold harvest in the sixth year. Now why then did we impose upon people their part of the bargain, and never, ever ask "why isn't God fulfilling his part?" 

Oh, we are great "blue pencilers" of Law. We pick and choose various laws out of the old covenant that, somehow, we think are convenient, suitable, or should be imposed. We will take whole sections of Law and slide them -- or we will pick and choose parts of laws and them slide them. By what method do we do this? (Richard Plache, 1976 sermon, as archived by the Painful Truth.)
(In the linked sermon Richard Plache also talks about a lot about HWA's medicine ban and discusses how Christians are under a new covenant.)

So there you have it, Palmer. WCG farmers have tried this before and experienced financial trouble over this and even bankruptcy because of this ignorant attempt to apply Old Testament laws upon people it was never intended for

We see that Palmer is dangerously ignorant of WCG history.

Also he is dreadfully ignorant of church history as well. The vast majority of Christians historically understood that the law in the Old Testament, and this included the land Sabbath, did not apply to them because of grace. It must be emphatically said that grace is not a license to sin as HWA deceptively taught.

Alas, Palmer has given dreadful advice to farmers. I hope farmers in PCG are wise enough to ignore this dangerously inept advice.

1 comment:

  1. I don't agree: It isn't because of grace, it is because the Law was given to unconverted Israelites as a pattern of a shadow of things to come (once fulfilled, to be abandoned) for a particular country in a specific time. It isn't grace at all, it's because it no longer applies: There is no more temple and the worship of the Bronze Age religion had to end no later than the destruction of the temple. It should be noted that the Jews don't tithe -- because there is no temple.

    This leads us into the center of the Law of sacrifices: Animal sacrifices were bound to the temple and to the Feasts. Those who say that the Sabbath stands or falls with the Feasts are liars, since the Feasts were given long after the Ten Commandments and they weren't given all at once: They were sort of phased in.

    More problematic are the new moon celebrations, of which we learn only at the time of Saul -- used to mark State banquets where government business was conducted. Except for the seventh new moon, there was no requirement to keep the new moon as if it were a Sabbath -- ever. I note that the Armstrongist churches which begin to keep the new moon become nuttier after starting the practice and lose any grasp on sanity shortly thereafter (like angels being promised to physically take people to the place of safety -- that's crazy and is filled with all sorts of strange assumptions which can never be fulfilled).

    Moreover, since no one has an accurate calendar (the Jews know theirs is wrong), it looks like God isn't going to let the Armstrongists know when to keep them (let alone not having a temple to keep them at).

    But this begs the initial question: Do land Sabbaths work? This is a scientific experiment. Top answer says, "NO!". CoHAM farmers have tried it and either have gone into debt, gone bankrupt or just plain lost the farm. It doesn't work. Now crops are rotated in most cases and land is allowed to lie fallow, but that is not the same as a seventh year land Sabbath. Again, just which seventh year are we talking about? The land Sabbath was tied to a national year of release and the year after the 7th land Sabbath was the year of Jubilee. Just when is the Jubilee? Which year is the land Sabbath supposed to be kept?

    Shouldn't it be clear that God does not want those of faith to rely on the physical for their sustenance? Are Christians supposed to practice physical rituals to please God so He will bless them, or are they supposed to have faith and not rely on Works to achieve His affection as a Father?

    Times have changed.

    And so the experiment has failed. There is no double increase in the sixth year. If any farmer didn't get an increase in the sixth year to carry him over the seventh year, he is a fool. So much for practicing physical works to force God to give you "blessings".

    But that's what Armstrongism is, isn't it? A purely physical religion practicing rituals in order to force God to their will through extortion.

    The circle is closed because the Mafia Dons practice extortion to get their people to tithe, threatening curses if you don't do it.

    So let whatever church demand that their farmers keep the seventh year land Sabbath. Go ahead. The farmers will go broke and the income for the cult will drop. In fact, since tithing is not just on produce, all the Armstrongist churches of God need to force their members to stop working every seventh year (we all need the rest of a sabbatical) and not tithe because there is no income because they aren't working. That way, the members can force God to give them double salary in their sixth year.

    See how that works.