Note: One of my pet peeves about the COGs is “selective obedience”. We are familiar with arguments that mandate keeping the Ten Commandments, Holy Days, Dietary Laws, Tithing, etc. But for the Laws the COGs don’t choose to demand, their arguments used to show they are no longer required are not unlike than those used by mainstream churches for not keeping any of them.
Prefacing lists of false prophecies of HWA and other WCG luminaries, one may find a quote from Deuteronomy about ignoring false prophets. Deuteronomy 13 gets a bit more serious simply calling him a false prophet, decreeing prophets who lead followers to other gods or away from the Torah are to be stoned.
We’ve heard the line “don’t think I’ve come to abolish the Law”. A few lines after that statement in Matthew comes a warning about setting aside “the least of these commands”. From my time in the WCG, I’ve always been lead to believe it means the Ten Commandments, and “the least” is explained away somehow as we understood the commandments were all equal. But to a Jew, “these commands” would be all the commands in the Torah, and for some, the Oral Law (“Traditions of the Elders”) as well. Jewish teaching says the “least command” in the Torah is not taking a mother bird with her young (Deut. 22:6)
Dr Hoeh, Prophet Thiel and Apostle Pack have all written articles in which they argue which commands of the Torah they think no longer need to be kept.
Dr Hoeh’s 1957 Good News article (appended to Dr Thiel’s piece) mainly categorizes laws in the Torah as “Civil” and “Spiritual”. According to Dr Hoeh, the “Civil” laws were “done away”, with the exception of the ones that were kept – tithing, Holy Days, unclean meats, etc. Categorizing laws as “Civil”, “Moral”, “Ritual”, “Health”, etc, goes back to Augustine; of course Dr Hoeh wouldn’t want to tell us that.
Dr Thiel’s tome gets into more details, including a critique on the list of 613 commandments. 613 Commandments? Yes, Jewish sages, reading the Torah and summarizing ways to obey it derived 613 Commandments – that’s the Ten Commandments and 603 others. (This is all part of the “written Law”; the Oral Law is another story.) Some of these commands, he reasoned, were still applicable, some were no longer applicable, and some didn’t make sense to him (such as reciting the Shema and Grace after meals.) Wearing tzitzis (tassels) is out (although it was commanded for “all generations”) but not wearing linen/wool together is in; being ceremonially unclean is out, but not eating unclean meat is in.
The RCG article, which didn’t have a by-line, looked like a cleaned-up (read plagiarized) version of Bob’s piece. My apologies to the writer if he is no longer under Mr Pack’s employ.
Dr Hoeh’s article said “Only God can change laws”. Dr Thiel explains (in a convoluted way) that God isn’t to be disobeyed but some of the laws are no longer applicable – so, it appears he’s saying some laws can set aside… On Bob’s to do list is to go through the 613 commands and make a judgment call on each, but for now, he says we can get by on his general guidelines.
Since God never put the changes in writing, I guess it was up to Herman, Bob and Dave to figure it which laws to obey and which laws we can ignore. Good thing for them stoning was put aside as part of the “Civil law”.
And one more thing…
Someone always brings up sacrifices. There are some laws that can’t be kept and don’t need to be argued away. There is no Temple, there is no Levitical priesthood, and so no sacrifices or offerings – and no tithing. To keep tithing, but not sacrifices, twisting part of the book of Hebrews is used transfer tithing from the Levites to Melchizedek (who is in Heaven, so the money goes to their church.)
But didn’t the Apostles remove the requirement for circumcision? They changed it from physical to spiritual? That’s another story. If the Apostles did what many think they did, then it was okay when Apostle Joe Tkatch Sr decreed that since HWA said the dietary laws were Health laws, then there is nothing spiritually wrong with eating unclean meat. (A cartoon in Ambassador Report took this to its logical extreme.)
And, if the Apostles did what many think they did, they would have been stoned too…