Saturday, July 23, 2016

PCG's Gerald Flurry Exploiting King Hezekiah's Memory

PCG's leader, Gerald Flurry, recently wrote an article (The Significance of the Hezekiah Bulla, July 22, 2016) glorifying in PCG's association with the discovery of King Hezekiah's bulla, exploiting the memory of King Hezekiah to promote various doctrines taught by PCG and to incite renewed loyalty from his followers.

It is mentioned that two PCG members were among the excavators who dug up King Hezekiah's seal.
The bulla was actually found in material excavated back in 2009. It takes time to wet-sift and process what you uncover in those digs. At the time it was found, the excavating was being done by three people, two of whom were our Herbert W. Armstrong College students: Brent Nagtegaal and Harley Breth. So we were directly involved in what turned out to be a massive discovery!
Flurry then insists that Jeremiah 33:17-18 specifically refers to himself as leader of PCG.
However, there is something far more important about this find. Hezekiah sat on David’s throne and helped to fulfill God’s promise to David. “For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually” (Jeremiah 33:17-18; also see 2 Samuel 7:12-17). ...

God also promised that there would be a man to proclaim the message about that magnificent throne.

It is a twofold promise from the Almighty God.

I proclaim that message to the world—backed by supporters of God’s Work.
Flurry mentions the other bullae that were found earlier in those excavations. He absurdly insinuates that PCG's exhibition of these bullae were miraculous. Considering that PCG sponsored the excavations since 2006 it is clear there was no miracle in getting the bullae to PCG Headquarters.
The Hezekiah bulla is not the first seal impression of a Judean noble that we have been interested in. In 2005 and in 2008, Dr. Mazar’s team unearthed bullae belonging to Jehucal and Gedaliah, respectively. These are two Judean princes who persecuted the Prophet Jeremiah. Both are named in the very same verse of the Bible: Jeremiah 38:1. These two seals powerfully corroborate the record Jeremiah wrote.

Miraculously, the first place these two bullae were publicly displayed was 6,856 miles away, in Edmond, Oklahoma. Dr. Mazar agreed that Armstrong Auditorium would be an appropriate place to display these amazing archaeological finds, and the Israel Antiquities Authority approved. The “Seals of Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered” exhibit was on display to more than 4,000 visitors, and thousands more concertgoers who visited Armstrong Auditorium (in addition to hundreds of members of God’s Church) for over three years.
Flurry mentions that King Hezekiah's bulla was announced.
On the very day we packed up the Jehucal and Gedaliah bullae to ship back to Israel, Dr. Mazar announced an even more notable artifact: the Hezekiah bulla. In many ways this is an even greater find, with more historical significance, than the bullae of the two evil princes who tried to have the Prophet Jeremiah killed. It is certainly a much more inspiring find, with a spectacularly uplifting message!
And so Flurry labels two Jewish princes who persecuted Jeremiah as "evil". Considering the terrible history and presence of the vile hatred of anti-Semitism is that really such a good idea?

Flurry boasts about the media attention surrounding the announcement of the discovery of King Hezekiah's bulla.
The find was widely reported in international media. The Hebrew University statement described how “students and alumni of Herbert W. Armstrong College from Edmond, Oklahoma, participated in the excavation.” Several media reports, including Haaretz and Arutz Sheva, included this detail. Dr. Mazar drew attention to us. Many reports also pointed to our website www.keytodavidscity­​.com, where we posted a video that we produced about the find. That video has circulated around the Internet and has been viewed over 350,000 times on YouTube. It has a copyright of “Eilat Mazar and Herbert W. Armstrong College.”
How wonderful that God spotlighted His Work in this way. Isn’t it remarkable that our college would be involved in something like this? Why would a tiny college with roughly 60 students gain such worldwide recognition? God is opening doors for us as we obey Him....
Few reports even bothered to mention PCG's unaccredited college by name.

Flurry talks about King Hezekiah, chides him for showing his treasures to Babylonian representatives and presents this as King Hezekiah turning away from (PCG's) God but, Flurry insists, he repented of this near the end of his life.

Flurry exploits the memory of King Hezekiah to justify and promote one man rule. Elsewhere Flurry teaches that PCG is to be subject to one man rule or else (PCG's) God will not be with them.
Hezekiah immediately went to work cleansing the temple of God, which had fallen into disuse and disrepair—a sign of the terrible spiritual state of Judah at the time. He put a prod on the Levitical priesthood—which had been invisible during Ahaz’s reign—to purify themselves and serve God once again (2 Chronicles 29:11-17). He got rid of the idolatry. He singlehandedly put the nation back on course to properly worship the true God! How impressive! It’s amazing what one man can do when he zealously commits himself to God.
Flurry denounces America, Britain and the State of Israel as becoming a modern Sodom and Gomorrah. Invoking Sodom and Gomorrah seems to indicate that these words are specifically directed against gays.
The story of Hezekiah also applies to the end-time nations of Israel: America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East. God hates how they have become the modern Sodom and Gomorrah. He is going to remove all the filth in these lands.
Flurry exploits the memory of King Hezekiah to justify banning common Christian hymns from being sung in PCG congregations. He insists that PCG's hymns are better than any other religious group.
Hezekiah reestablished the beautiful, uplifting, inspiring music service of the temple. ... Like Hezekiah, Mr. Armstrong took special pains to cleanse God’s end-time temple with music. He wrote this about godly music: “Did you know that the Eternal has inspired the words of the songs and psalms (hymns) that His people ought to sing? But do the churches today sing them? No! They sing words written by misguided men—flowery words that say just the opposite of the truth of the Bible—words that are lies if the Bible is the truth! Isn’t it as wrong to sing a lie as to tell a lie?” (co-worker letter, Sept. 19, 1958).

Mr. Armstrong cleansed the music offered in worship to God. Because of him, this Church has a songbook better than any other. The PCG produces powerful, wonderful, uplifting, stirring music. Through the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation concert series, we sponsor the highest-quality music the human spirit can produce. We continually sing God’s praises and shout for joy because God helps us purge the filth and raise the ruins in a marvelous way!
Flurry promotes to his followers the possibility of becoming a minister for his PCG.
The Jews gave offerings in such abundance that “the priests were too few” to process them all (verses 34-35). This is a good problem to have! God’s Church always has too few ministers. Ask God for ministers, laborers and helpers in abundance. We need more people who will give their lives to God’s Work. ...

God’s Work is always in need of people who give and serve in abundance, as these Jews did. Do you serve in abundance? Do you offer financially, as you are able, in abundance? Do you pray in abundance? We must do God’s will in every aspect of our lives—and do it in abundance. God truly blesses His Work as His people do so.
Flurry insists that obeying PCG's God (as proclaimed by PCG's 1%) is the way to gain joy in one's life.
Those who didn’t humble themselves and obey didn’t enjoy this happiness. Is there any way those scoffers could have been truly happy? Look at this world. Do you see great joy in America and Britain and Judah? No—you see terrible problems, fears, anxieties and stress-induced sickness. There is a cause for every effect. The cause for the problems that plague our peoples is sin. Obey God! What joy it gives us when we do things the way God wants them done!
We see that Flurry seems to confuse joy with obedience to his PCG. He is loading the term and has redefined "joy" to mean "obeying PCG's 1%."

Flurry exploits 2 Kings 19 to tell his followers to take their problems to PCG's ministers. This measure is inclined to make PCG's lay members more controlled by PCG's 1% and produce a state of mental and social dependence upon PCG's minister.
Notice how Hezekiah responded in crisis. “And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent Eliakim, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz” (2 Kings 19:1-2). Hezekiah took his problem to God! ...

Hezekiah was extremely close to Isaiah. Do you have the faith to go to God’s government structure, the ministry, for counsel and correction? When you aren’t conquering or dealing with sin, do you seek guidance from the men God uses to educate and help you? Hezekiah took advantage of his opportunity to learn from God’s man and reap the benefits.
Flurry talks about the tunnel King Hezekiah ordered to be excavated. He compares Gihon Spring to the "new revelation" that Flurry promotes to his followers. He also compares Gihon Spring to a lake on the campus of PCG's unaccredited college.
The Gihon Spring, Jerusalem’s only pure water source, is a pulsating fountain that gushes forth intermittently. God pours out revelation on His people; then it stops for a while so that we can digest it; then He pours out more. He keeps reminding us who we are and what our calling is all about! ...

We have a spring-fed lake on our college campus in the plains of north Edmond, Oklahoma. This is wonderful symbolism. God wants the Holy Spirit to flow within us like rivers of living water.
Flurry insists that the problems facing the United States, Britain and the State of Israel would all be solved if they turned to PCG's God.
What would it do for Jerusalem today if the Jews would turn to God the way Hezekiah did? What do you think would become of all the rocket attacks and stabbings that have been occurring there? What would it do for America and Britain?
Their problems would be solved! In this age of terror, the Hezekiah bulla should resonate with the Jews more than any election or policy or form of self-defense. The story of this great king shows the Jews, the other descendants of ancient Israel, and those of us in God’s Church how to solve our problems!
Flurry insists that these nations are past the point of no return. Back in 2007 Flurry gave a sermon in which he proclaimed those nations to be past the point of no return.
We don’t expect the nations of Israel to heed this wonderful message. These nations are already past the point of no return. But if they followed this example, God would do for them exactly what He did for Judah under King Hezekiah.

This world needs hope. We are in dark times that are getting darker. We are experiencing regular terrorist attacks. Incidents like those that killed people in Paris and San Bernardino are becoming a way of life! The Jews in the Middle East are facing nation-threatening problems—some are concerned they could lose Jerusalem! If you understand Bible prophecy, you know that the modern descendants of the Assyrian empire that threatened Hezekiah’s Judah are rising again—and they are going to deal a deathblow to America, Britain (the birthright nations) and the Jewish state (the scepter nation)! God is going to use that same empire to punish those three nations most of all, because of their rebellion against Him.
Flurry scare mongers once again that Germany is fated to militarily conquer the United States, Britain and the State of Israel. Armstrongites have continuously insisted that Germany will soon conquer the United States for decades. Their dire proclamations have always failed.
God will use Germany to purge America, Britain and Judah of sin (Isaiah 10:5). The Germans are subtly rearming and controlling more and more territory. They are moving their soldiers into the Middle East. ...

The Germans are coming! The Assyrians are on the march once again. How can we save Jerusalem? How can we save the cities of Judah and Israel, these nations so steeped in sin? God is going to correct our people. The Messiah is coming soon, whether people heed the warning or not.

I am sure this is why God is putting Hezekiah’s bulla in the spotlight right now. That bulla has a message of tremendous hope, especially for those three nations!As our nations cower in fear under the threat of Islamic terrorism—while refusing to call it that—God’s Church sees a symbol of hope in the face of grave danger: the Hezekiah bulla. The story of Hezekiah really shows Jews and the other nations of Israel how to solve their problems. It shows us physically and spiritually how to win our battles! It is dual—and it is mainly for today.
There is one section of the article entitled "Hezekiah's Health Trial". Within PCG it is taught that getting sick is not just getting infected with a virus and instead sicknesses are superstitiously viewed as a "health trial," some kind of "test" in which PCG members are to "prove" their faith by not taking medicine but instead trusting in PCG's God to heal their sickness and thus pass the "health trial." This is a dangerous anti-medicine superstition that was inherited from HWA. Many people have suffered and even died because of this doctrine of death that was taught by HWA. Shamefully to this day PCG continues to promote this deadly superstition.

Flurry then talks about King Hezekiah's boasting to the Babylonian representatives which is portrayed as a turning away from (PCG's) God and he states that King Hezekiah repented of this later.

Flurry mentions that the announcement of King Hezekiah's bulla occurred near PCG's anniversary.
God gave us the special Hezekiah bulla announcement just in time for the 26th anniversary of the Philadelphia Church of God on Dec. 7, 2015. It was a wonderful, inspiring “anniversary gift” from the Messiah to His beloved Bride!
PCG forbids its members from celebrating birthdays. And yet hypocritically it is perfectly acceptable for PCG to celebrating the anniversary of PCG's founding. What is a birthday except the anniversary of one's birth? Why is it forbidden to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of one's children and yet celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the group?

Flurry ends this article with the following words.
Through this tiny clay seal and countless other blessings, God is continually moving and stirring us to dedicate our entire lives to His Work!
In other words he is trying to get PCG members to be more productive. PCG's leaders benefit from such words.

It is most unfortunate that Gerald Flurry seeks to exploit the memory of King Hezekiah to bedazzle his followers and make them more compliant and loyal to their leaders among PCG's 1%.

No comments:

Post a Comment