Friday, October 2, 2009

Zechariah 14, FOT and Second Tithe

(Update: ESN has published another email which states that Dave Pack will be on the History Channel, 14 or 15 October.)

Since it's that time of the year to bring paradise to God's people for eight days I think it would be good to highlight this previous post that was published last April. (And yes, I am imitating Ambassador Watch.)

By the way when it is called the Feast of Tabernacles and this is what one of those tabernacles look like. They are not some sort of big meeting place, which is the practice of the COGs. (Image courtesy of 'Sukkot,' Wikipedia.)

And now onto the post:

Awhile ago I ran into this Ambassador Watch post. There it was written that 'Yes it's Sukkoth (sue-coat), a.k.a. the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. Not that anyone in the post-WCG tradition constructs booths from branches, or even sets up a bunk bed in the garden shed, but that's another issue.' These words got my mind on a track of thought which I will now detail.

Here is what I thought:

Zechariah 14: 16-19 is often used to say that the Feast of Tabernacles is to be observed by Christians today.

According to Armstrongite interpretation this shows that those living in the Millennial rule of Christ must observe the Feast of Tabernacles.

But there are actually severe problems with this interpretation for Armstrongites.

Let's be really generous and assume the Armstrongites have got most of it right in this matter of the interpretation of Zechariah 14: 16-19. Let us, for the sake of argument, assume that this scripture actually does refer to events after Christ's return and that those verses are an accurate depiction of what shall happen in the Millenium as it is interptreted by Armstrongism.

Even if we assume all those points to be true, Zechariah 14: 16-19 still cannot be legitimately used to prove that we should embrace Armstrongism or that Armstrongism is the one true religion.


Because the Armstrongite Feast of Tabernacles is all wrong.

Observe how it was observed in Nehemiah 8: 14-17:
14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. 17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.
This scripture shows that the booths which the children of Israel were required to dwell in were tents which were small enough to be placed on a flat roof. These booths were placed on each individual person's roof.

When I read the recruitment writings LCG made and I learned about the Feast of Tabernacles I read about it in the Bible. I perceived then that it should be observed by being in a tent in the appointed time.

But the COGs do not observe it in that manner. Instead they observe by coming together into large gatherings all over the world. They do not set up tents on their property. (Of course because we do no use flat roofs we would have to place the booth in our property.) This is not what is described 'in your own Bible' in Nehemiah 8: 14-17.

Also note how the Jews celebrate Sukkoth. Look at the Wikipedia articles on Sukkot and Sukkah. Look at the pictures. The Jews certainly do not observe this festival by gathering themselves together in some massive gathering far away to meet with like-minded people but, rather, observe it in their own homes.

Since Armstrongism observes this feast in an inaccurate manner therefore they cannot legitimately claim this as a proof that they are right. Therefore their Feasts of Tabernacles are inaccurate.

Since the Armstrongite FOT is illegitimate than Second Tithe, which is mainly used (if I understand it correctly) to allow the believer to observe this incorrectly observed festival, is thus being used for improper purposes.

As far as I understand it HWA first ordered his followers to pay Second Tithe in a October 3, 1945 co-worker letter, specifically to pay for the members' participation in the FOT.

Since Second Tithe is being used to celebrate the FOT in an inaccurate manner therefore the COGs have no right to use Second Tithe to pay for the incorrect observance of FOT. The Armstrongite practice contradict the Biblical practice as recorded in Nehemiah 8: 14-17.

So if the Armstrongite FOT is inaccurately observed then there is no legitimate reason to use Zechariah 14: 16-19 as a proof text for their observance of FOT because their practice of it is inaccurate.

However if the 'Apostle' HWA chose to observe the FOT in a more scripturally based manner, with his followers building a sukkah at home, he would have found it impossible to solidify his followers and bind them even more under his control. How do you build up an identity, a shared consciousness among fellow believers, by having everyone celebrating in tents in their own homes for eight days?

So he chose an observance style more effective for his purposes of further solidifying his control over his followers. He did this by commanding them to come together, meet many other fellow believers, make them feel part of something greater than themselves. Also HWA and his minions could make the members to listen only to what HWA and the leadership desired. Create milieu control,which is one of Lifton's Eight Criteria of Thought Reform.

And so the inaccurately observed FOT is used as convenient mind control method and used to justify the acquisition of Second Tithe.

And so one can see that there are many problems with using Zechariah 14: 16-19 as a proof that Armstrongism is the true religion because the Bible shows that they do not observe it properly. And furthermore once the Armstrongite understanding of the observance of the FOT is rejected this also removes the purpose for Second Tithe. So it is seen that error builds upon error.

Also relevant to this discussion is this testimony that argues that the FOT is a mind control trick and this article under the heading 'All Will Keep the Feast (Zechariah 14)' which argues that during the future Millenium it will be required to observe the FOT but that under the New Covenant observance of the FOT is not required.

And so that was the train of thought my Biblically-derived, non-Armstronite expectations of the FOT and that comment on Ambassador Watch led me to think concerning Zechariah 14 and the Feast of Tabernacles.

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