One-on-one with Atonement

Blast from the past….

Another Day of Atonement has now gone. This brought back memories… Atonement spelled “At-One-Ment” (like those little “proofs” HWA used that only worked in English), a slightly shorter afternoon service, the guy who says it’s his treat for after-service refreshments, a sermon about Satan, the minister shows his empty glass (normally filled with water) and his remarks about how we’re all thinking of a nice steak (when we’re really thinking of a beer) and the New Year’s Eve type countdown until sunset.

Behind this was another example of HWA’s flawed theology. The Day of Atonement (in the Hebrew, Yom HaKippurim) was not all about sticking it to Satan. It had to do with the annual atonement of the Temple, the Priesthood, and the Congregation of Israel. And as I have noted a few times before, COG theology is blissfully ignorant of the Levitical Priesthood and the Tabernacle/Temple system. Either the Portland Public Library didn’t have tomes like Eddersheim’s works on the Temple and First Century Palestine (written way before 1927) or HWA didn’t find anything he could use in them.

As I understand HWA theology (occasionally clarified by some convoluted explanations from Dr T) the Levitical system was a temporary addition (Plan C?) although it will be reinstituted in the Millenium (“for a short time”). The establishment of the Aaronic priesthood forever depends entirely on forever not really meaning, uh, forever. So, I understand, this misunderstanding allows COGs to dispense with “Levitical” laws at their discretion. In fact, CG7 apparently used that reason to dispense with the Holy Days (except Passover) – because they were described in Leviticus. But all COGs, and almost all churches, keep tithing (first tithe), which was specifically for the Levites.

But now, coming soon, another feast, and as always, it will be The Best Feast Ever!

Article by Hoss

What is a ___________? ___________ is not in the Bible!

hossSometimes we’re warned about certain practices simply because they weren’t mentioned in the Bible. Here is an extract from a recently posted concern about a Roman Catholic priest wearing a particular garment called a dalmatic:

  1. The dalmatic was not from the Bible.
  2. The dalmatic was not an original garment that deacons wore.
  3. The source of the dalmatic came from worldly society.
  4. People had concerns about the dalmatic because it was considered to be effeminate.
  5. The dalmatic became associated with imperial politicians, including emperors.
  6. Because of its ties to politics, it was adopted by pontiffs and bishops.
  7. During the time of Emperor Constantine, it was adopted for use by deacons.

In cases like this, I like to play word substitution. With a little tweaking to items 5 to 7, here is what we get if we replace “dalmatic” with “necktie”:

  1. The necktie was not from the Bible.
  2. The necktie was not an original garment that deacons wore.
  3. The source of the necktie came from worldly society.
  4. People had concerns about the necktie because it was considered to be effeminate.
  5. The necktie became associated with politicians, including presidents.
  6. Because of its ties to the French, it was adopted by men as formal attire.
  7. During the time of Herbert Armstrong, it became required for use by men attending services.

He Was Right!

Punxsutawney Phil
Punxsutawney Phil

 From where I’ve been sitting – with cool breezes, sunny blue skies and mountain greenery – I’d say Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction for an early spring in 2016 was correct. Now I don’t live in western Pennsylvania, so your call may be different.

Even so, Phil’s accuracy rating is given as 39%. (Several websites quote this figure; for example, see Speaking as a one-day wonder has-been in the WxChallenge (a weather forecasting competition) I’d say Phil’s score as a general forecaster is not very good. But, in his position as (to quote a character in Ground Hog Day) “seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators” he’s going well. Certainly Phil the Punxsutawney Prophet scores higher than the Des Moines Doomsayer, HWA.

In the pages the Painful Truth, some 300 false prophecies of HWA and his minions are listed. And that doesn’t include those of prophecies of splinter leaders who followed in his wake. But – how many of his predictions actually have come to pass?

In the words of HWA’s grandson, he was touted as an insightful prophetic wonder. From memory, I think he was credited with about three or four good calls. To begin with, the USA never had a direct military conflict with Russia. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, and limit that to the now defunct USSR, and give him a point.

Germany reunited. Well, the majority of it was, but if HWA’s WWII prophecies had come to pass, Germany wouldn’t have any need to reunite. But, give him another point.

Trouble in the Middle East – ignoring his early claim that the modern nation of Israel wasn’t going to happen, give another point. And give him a bonus point for the “prophecy” of the Six-Day War, which he wasn’t expecting to happen in 1967. And let’s ignore the Radio Jerusalem contract.

So we’ll give HWA four points for the accuracy of his undated predictions. Out of 300, that makes his accuracy rating less than 2%. Maybe he was better than that, but nowhere near Phil’s score.

Of course, Phil makes specific weather predictions. In the standard repertoire of titles in the splinters, one may find a booklet, article or sermon with a title like God Controls the Weather. The tone used by different COGs varies from God using weather favors or disasters for specific reasons, to God micromanaging the climate down to every drop of rain that falls (whether a flower grows or not).

The best splinter “predictions” for weather events – apart from generalized future events – have been in hindsight: why things occurred. So we are told Katrina hit New Orleans because it was a wicked city, drought in California was because legalizing same-sex marriage, and so on. And I’m not going near the different takes on Global Climate Change. They seem to forget that prophets such as Elijah warmed specifically what would happen before it happened.

So perhaps God actually has Phil’s ear – he made a prediction that came to pass, and not an excuse for something that already happened.

July 31, 2015. HWA’s Birthday.


HWA-GCGE-replicaJuly 31, 2015 marks the 123rd birthday of HWA. Yes, we know those in the most hard-line COGs don’t celebrate birthdays, and HWA is the ubiquitous exception to all the rules. I’ll always remember how HWA fondly recalled how Haile Selassie, though his country was experiencing a disastrous famine, and a governmental upheaval that shortly led to his death, sent him a birthday telegram. So, in anticipation of Bob Thiel’s customary birthday post, and likely use of the “Sacred Treasure” photo, we offer this rare bit of anecdotal history:

In the back of one of the Hitler Diaries was a scribbled note, in which the name “Herr H.W. Armstrong” was conspicuous. Now, like Rick (in Casablanca) my German is a bit rusty, but here goes:

To be awarded to Herr H.W. Armstrong of the USA, the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. Herr Armstrong is to be honored for his theories of racial purity, forced segregation, propaganda extolling German military superiority, the coming of the glorious Millennial Reich, and for demoralizing of the American people in their misguided attempts to defeat the victorious German army.

The story was that following the “discovery” of the Hitler Diaries, one of Gene Hogberg’s contacts in West Germany sent him a copy of the note, so he and Herman Hoeh did some research and got a replica of the award medal. They presented it to HWA with a suitable cover story, and naturally a photo of him sporting his fake medal was in order. Word has it that the copy of the photo was discovered after HWA’s demise, being used as a bookmark in his annotated copy of Mein Kampf.

Of course the above story is fictitious, but since April Fools Day may have come out of paganism, July 31 is as good day as any for a cruel joke.