May 19 2013 will be the 40th Pentecost Sunday, as opposed to Monday, for those of the WCG persuasion – counting from 1974, inclusive.
Living in a virtual Ponderosa, I tend to do a lot of pondering. Some of the time, it’s about how a young steer is like a COG – you have to keep feeding it, and all you get for your effort is what comes out the other end. Other times it’s the ponderous polemics of Pastor-General Pack.
Recently, ponderings have been Passover to Pentecost, covenants, and how those of the remnant COGs seem to understand the Temple system, sacrifices, and the Levites. I don’t remember the theme of WCG Pentecost sermons – “theme” as the Day of Atonement sermon was always about Satan – but it was probably Firstfruits, and the beginning of “The Church”. There’s a problem with Firstfruits too, as the Day of Firstfruits is day from which the days are counted; Pentecost, or Shavuot, is a second harvest, or a second Firstfruits…
When a sermon references Acts 2, with Peter explaining he’s not drunk, ministers like to make little remarks like, it’s 9 AM, the pubs aren’t open yet. I never heard a minister explain that Peter meant it was Shacharis – morning prayers and the commencement of sacrifices at the 3rd hour. Peter and the other followers were in the Temple for Shavuot. To Jews, the “tongues” spoken on Pentecost would make them think of Sinai: by tradition, the Law was given on the first Shavuot, and it was spoken in “70 languages”.
In Acts 3, Peter and John are still going to the Temple. By the time we get to the writing of Hebrews, over 30 years have passed. Of course, WCG teaching uses Hebrews to justify tithing – the Temple and the Levitical priesthood are out, Melchizedek and the Church are in. Even biblical translators had an unwitting hand in this, playing with some of the verb tenses, which can make on-going actions appear as past – and as much as COG scholars like to refer to Greek words, I’ve never seen an attempt to correct the tense problem.
There is much more to this, but I was sidetracked by the latest instalment of the weekly RCG update. Episode 12, Haggai part 1 left me flabbergasted, and I’ve got enough flab of my own. From what it is hinting at, the Apostle Pastor-General may be about to claim he is the prophesied Joshua who is to come after Zerubbabel (assumed to have been HWA). Along a connected plot line, my suspicions are that he will say the RCG is the House of God – though more likely spiritual than physical. I’ll be waiting for the next instalment, same Pack time, same Pack channel. And I suppose it’s no surprise that the name Joshua (Yeshua in Hebrew) is derived from the verb meaning salvation, and in Greek is rendered as Jesus.
Once again, I will agree with a Pack prediction: splinter leaders will tell their sheep the prophecies cited in the instalment mean something different.
And as we are dealing with prophecy, Haggai part 1 contained an insult by omission of the good Dr T: “Recent, newer, self-appointed ‘prophets’ … on the lunatic fringe…”; “Large – Gerald Flurry. Medium – Ron Weinland. Small – not worth naming.”