Appendix B: Comments From Our Readers
Comments from our readers was the topic of Bible Study Nos. 84, 106 and 113. Here is an abridged version of these and additional comments. Actual reader comments are shown in italics. Your comments and questions are always welcome. If you wish a personal response to a question, please write or E-mail us.
Appreciation for Giving & Sharing
"Thank you for what you're doing, I know you're doing it for God." M.G., Tennessee
"I received three [free] books and a few articles from you after I explained to you that my income was nothing. To this act of true Christian fellowship and love I just want to say thanks for being in action what God has commanded us to be." J.W., Alabama
"Yes, I wish to continue receiving [your Bible Studies]. Don’t leave me out here in this desert of ignorance and unbelief. You are my oasis. Thanks so much for your hard work and dedication." M.H., Wisconsin
"We, among many, are grateful to God for your willing service ‘freely given’ for our spiritual benefit . . . . You have been a great help to us since we are on a fixed income, and every book we can buy at a reasonable cost is greatly appreciated. This world is desperately in need to be told the truth before it is too late. Our hearts ache when we see how they refuse to listen. Even our own." C. & H. C., Maine
"God is love (I John 4:8). And the way of God’s love is GIVING & SHARING. As our loving Friend and Father, God wants to share with us the glory and riches of His kingdom — His divine family." Quoted from the original Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, Lesson 27, page 5.
"Your non-profit bookstore serving Sabbath-observers has to be the only one in the world. At least that I’m aware of. Thank you for this much-needed service you are providing." D.C., Nebraska
"[you have] an outstanding gift of researching and writing in a condensed, well structured manner."D.C., New York
ANSWER: The Creator gave me this gift. It is His doing, not mine. If I fail to use this gift in His service to others, I would be disobedient to Him. Everyone in the Spiritual family of the Almighty has a gift. Discover your gifts and use them to His glory!
"First, let me thank you for the information and articles I receive from Giving & Sharing. I don’t see how anyone would have the time to do all that you do. You must not get much sleep during the week." B.B., Texas
"You have a keen way of analyzing things. Although I am not always in agreement, I am finding some of your writings more and more valuable." G.D., Indiana
"By the way, you really live up to your name through your service." K.S., California
"I received the article, ‘Basic Bible Study Tools.’ Thank you very much. It is a valuable ‘tool’ in itself." W.K., Ohio
"I congratulate you for your paper on Bible Aides. It was brilliant, well done and unique. I plan to reproduce it and give it to all those who attend the . . . Feast of Tabernacles . . . . You are doing a one-man work that I find second to none. Keep it up. You have served me well. Thanks!" G.S., California
ANSWER: Giving & Sharing is not a one-man work. Others share in writing of articles, proofreading, and financial support. Since most of our responses are through word of mouth, we have hundreds of Giving & Sharing workers out there. Our thanks to you!
"Many souls have believed the Sabbath Day through your literature and especially the Mystery Babylon Religion and Foxes Book of Martyrs." J. N., Kenya
"Where you cannot go, your tracts, books and written articles can go and are going. You are doing a big work for God . . . . You said that you are not a minister, but I say you are, [even though] you do not hold a credential from a certain church organization. But brother I know that you have it, and it is given you from heaven, and it is the power of the HOLY SPIRIT." A. P., London, England
"What a blessing you are! You are really providing a wonderful service for the people. I don’t understand why anyone would criticize you for what you are doing. We are told to study to show ourselves approved. You are helping many people to have the resources to do that . . . . I’m tired of being ripped off by ‘Christian’ bookstores . . . . We really enjoy your studies! They’ve been passed around so much I hardly get to read them myself." B. S., Ohio
"Giving & Sharing is the bookstore I’ve been looking for . . . . Our town library has absolutely no reference books available for research (Bible), and because I live in such an isolated area I’ve decided I will have to buy or borrow the books I would need if I’m to survive spiritually."" F.W., Vermont
Divorce and Remarriage Truth Proclaimed
"I am absolutely amazed at the thoroughness and truth that you presented [in] the article — ‘The Truth on Divorce and Remarriage’ . . . "F.W., British Columbia, Canada
"Having been receiving your studies for some time, I want to thank you for all the information you have sent me. I especially have found two studies very helpful . . . . Study No. 123 — Biblical Doctrine, and . . . the article The Truth On Divorce and Remarriage . . . many people in this society are turned off or reject God’s way in marriage because of their sinful way of life." A.J.S., South Dakota
"I was a member of WCG for 20 years, baptized in 1960 . . . . I have a copy of Mr. Herbert Armstrong’s article on Divorce and Remarriage which was published in the ‘Plain Truth’ in 1952. Mr. Armstrong evidently believed that he was commissioned to ‘cry aloud and spare not, and show God’s people their sins’ regarding D&R. He did this faithfully for a number of years. Apparently you are one of the very few who maintains and circulates the original truth on this subject, as HWA proclaimed it in the beginning. It seems that this doctrine is very hard to maintain as it was originally, due to the pressure of members who want to break the rules and still be in the church." J.B., Texas
"I must admit the letter of explanation for the experience you have received ["Giving & Sharing and Richard C. Nickels: Who Are We?"] sounded a little like sour grapes . . . . I try to make it a practice to never cut another church . . . ."L. L., Arkansas
ANSWER: People often use idioms without realizing their true meaning. "Sour grapes" means "disparagement of something that has proven unattainable [e.g. his snide remarks about people who make the honor roll are nothing but sour grapes]." In one of Aesop’s Fables, a fox could not reach some grapes, and disparaged them by saying that they appeared to be sour anyway. "Disparage" means "to lower or degrade, to discredit, to speak lightly of, to run down, express a low opinion of, show contempt for."
I have often expressed my deep gratitude and respect for the things I have been taught by the Worldwide Church of God, Herbert Armstrong, and ministers such as Raymond Cole. I wish that they would have continued in all the truths that they used to teach, and had not changed or watered down doctrinal truths. Nevertheless, I continue to respect them and pray that the Almighty will restore them. To my knowledge, I have never run down, nor shown contempt for, any organization or minister. I hate the sin, but I love the sinner.
Before the 1974 doctrinal changes of the Worldwide Church of God, myself and thousands of others of that organization experienced the great joy and blessings of following the Eternal’s laws. In grief we point out that there has been a great departure from Truth. Joyous blessings are not lost and unattainable to us like sour grapes. We still experience the Eternal’s sweet blessings because with His power we continue in those truths we were taught, that others have discarded.
Many of our former friends, young couples whom we grew up with in the Church, and later married in the Church like we did, are now divorced. The 1974 Divorce and Remarriage doctrinal change has greatly contributed to this tragedy. We want others to eat the sweet, and not the sour, grapes. That is the purpose of Giving & Sharing. If we did not mention the doctrinal errors of various groups, warning of ideas which create misery and unhappiness, then we could not pull some out of the fire.
"Cutting" Other Churches?
From time to time, we must expose the false doctrines of other groups and in rare cases, name individuals. There is Biblical reason and example to do this. Old Testament prophets condemned the sins of idol worshippers. Messiah told the Scribes and Pharisees, often to their faces, their serious sins. According to the Creator’s time plan, some few did repent at that time. Most did not.
Read the New Testament. Study the actions of the Savior, Paul, Peter and John. Did any of the saints ever discuss doctrinal differences in an "open forum," come to different conclusions, and respectfully disagree? Did Jesus agree to disagree with the Sadducees even though they were wrong about the resurrection? Did Paul consider those who said the resurrection was past "brothers in Christ"?
Instead, when the Sadducees came to Christ, He told them they were in error, silencing them with the truth, Matthew 22:23-34. Paul referred to certain false teachings as "profane and vain babblings . . . ungodliness . . . their word will eat as doth a canker [gangrene]: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some" II Timothy 2:16-18. Paul told Titus to "rebuke them sharply" and stop the mouths of "vain talkers and deceivers" who subvert the truth and preach for hire, Titus 1:9-16.
Our article on Seventh Day Adventists does not "cut" them down and ridicule sincere believers. It exposes their grievous doctrinal errors. We have a number of SDA friends. They know we observe the Bible Holy Days, eat clean meat and use wine in moderation, and do not believe in going to Heaven nor the Trinity. They don’t want to discuss these doctrines. We do not attempt to force these doctrinal truths upon them when they do not want to hear. We are ready to defend the hope that is within us, when and if they come to us, I Peter 3:15. The purpose of our Seventh Day Adventist article is to inform others so as not to be swayed by the false teachings of this largest group of Messianic-believing Sabbath keepers. Our article on the Mormons has a similar purpose.
Our SDA friends are indeed blinded at this time. They found out about our differing beliefs by asking us what we believed. We did not respond with loud authoritarian arguments, nor condemnation of them as being "blinded." We briefly stated what we believe and gave one or two supporting Bible texts. Then we dropped the subject. If the Eternal had been working with them, they would have dug deeper. It is the Father’s responsibility to remove their blindness, in His time, Romans 2:4, John 6:44-45.
We should not resist the fact that no human being ever comes to any portion of the Truth solely through their own efforts. Truth comes only by a Spiritual revelation, I Corinthians 2:9-10, 14-16. We should never ridicule someone who doesn’t "see the light" as we do.
Source of Ellen G. White’s Visions
"I am certainly not aware of any ‘irrefutable evidence’ that she [Mrs. Ellen G. White, prophetess founder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church] must have been demon possessed." Calvin Burrell, Church of God (Seventh Day), Denver
ANSWER: J.N. Loughborough, perhaps the most authoritative Seventh Day Adventist historian, provides proof that Mrs. White was controlled by a spirit power. See Rise and Progress of the Seventh Day Adventists, pages 91-95, 218-219. Loughborough was an eyewitness to a White vision in which she was compelled to perform a superhuman feat. The Bible shows that the Almighty’s true servants are never possessed. God’s Spirit leads the true believer, and does not take dictatorial control. See Romans 8:14 and I Corinthians 14:32 (NIV).
Ask for our free article on Seventh Day Adventists. Mrs. White’s sick mind and body inclined her to demon possession. She is to be pitied. Her eternal judgment is in the Creator’s hands, not ours. Every Holy Spirit led believer, before his or her divine calling, was influenced and led by Satan, "the god of this world," II Corinthians 4:4. From conversion on, we must continue to wrestle against wicked spirits, Ephesians 6:12, struggling to overcome the Adversary.
True believers are very rare, Luke 12:32, Matthew 7:13-14. It is erroneous to ascribe "Christianity" to the masses who claim Messianic belief. Satanic action is as real and prevalent today, possibly even more so, than it was in Jesus’ day. May the Eternal give us the wisdom to recognize demonic influence.
Attacking Worldwide Church of God?
"I find your insidious attacks of misinformation, half-truths and insinuations against the W.W.C.O.G. [Worldwide Church of God] immature and disgusting. Truly it seems that the religion of those who have gone out from us is to fight us! Please take our names off your mailing list (III John 10)." L. C., Ohio
ANSWER: We have consistently and vigorously supported the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). We continue to observe and teach the same doctrines that the WCG taught us. We deeply respect and honor Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong for the truths he taught us. We did not leave the WCG. We were put out when the church changed many of their doctrines, because we continued to keep the former doctrines that the Church had taught us.
He used III John 10 to refer to us. Since we have not cast anyone out of the church, this could hardly apply to us. "Friends" of many years will not receive us because we believe and practice the same Church doctrines the entire Church lived by prior to 1974. There are indeed people we will not "receive": those who have abandoned the Sabbath, the Holy Days, Tithing, Divine Healing, Marriage, etc., such as Dr. Ernest Martin. They are openly attacking the way of life we learned from the Eternal, through Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God.
Past WCG booklets and articles are a treasure to us. We teach them to our children. There is a tremendous difference between Worldwide Church of God teachings prior to 1974 and today. We were there. Statements we make relative to the WCG can be substantiated.
It appears that the Ohio reader really meant to say that II John 10 refers to us. Here again, the shoe does not fit. We continue in the doctrines of the Messiah we were taught by Herbert Armstrong. HE has changed. We are faithful to that which we heard from the beginning, II John 5. Verse 9 refers to those who do and do not "abide [stick with, continue] in the doctrines of Christ." We must stay with the Truth, no matter what a man or organization does.
We spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars each year in a sincere attempt to preserve those truths that we were taught. It amazes us to be accused of attacking that which we weary ourselves defending!
Garner Ted Armstrong’s Ministerial Qualifications
"I was reading your article ‘Herbert W. Armstrong: 1892-1986’. On page 10 you stated: ‘However, according to I Timothy 3 and Titus 1, a minister that commits gross public sins and is put out of the church . . . can be accepted back into church membership upon genuine repentance. According to the Bible, he cannot return to the office of the ministry.’ I read both of those chapters, and I fail to see where it says a minister cannot return to the ministry after he has repented." D.M., Kansas
"To follow your logic concerning GTA’s infidelity, assuming it happened . . . If God had followed your standard in the case of David, He would never have returned to Jerusalem as king. Neither would wicked Manasseh. Upon repentance, God has the right to forgive totally." D.H., Ohio
ANSWER: The key statement in I Timothy 3:1 that some people fail to understand is the phrase "A bishop must BE blameless." This means above public reproach, without gross public sins. Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong’s sexual escapades are public knowledge. He can never "be [continue to be] blameless." So he is not qualified for the ministry. The Greek word for "blameless" is Strong’s #483, antilego, which literally means "spoken against." Garner Ted Armstrong’s sins are publicly spoken against. He is a modern by-word for a religious huckster like Elmer Gantry.
Clarke’s Commentary puts it this way: "This Christian bishop must be blameless; a person against whom no evil can be proved. The word is a metaphor, taken from the case of an expert and skillful pugilist, who so defends every part of his body that it is impossible for his antagonist to give one hit. So this Christian bishop is one that has so conducted himself as to put it out of the reach of any person to prove that he is either unsound in a single article of the Christian faith or deficient in the fulfillment of any duty incumbent on a Christian." In other words, his moral and religious conduct must be impeccable.
The Amplified Bible says, "Now a bishop (superintendent, overseer) must give no grounds for accusation but must be above reproach . . . ." As a religious "boxer," GTA has been "knocked out" at least twice. He does not belong in the ring. By refusing to rectify his wrongs of causing many people to commit adultery by a false Divorce and Remarriage teaching, he continues to leave himself wide open and full of blame. The false divorce and remarriage teaching of Garner Ted Armstrong is causing thousands to commit adultery. This is NOT repentance! We should never confuse the Bible qualifications for a secular king of Israel with a religious instructor and minister, for these are totally different offices.
Grateful to Herbert Armstrong for Doctrinal Truths
"I have gone back through some of those old Plain Truth’s and underlined the false prophecies. It is really unbelievable that Mr. Armstrong and others prophesied falsely! But on the other hand many people today would not know many of the basic truths of the Bible had it not been for him." D.M., Kansas
ANSWER: This young man has hit the nail on the head.
We quote from Charles Dodge, former Worldwide Church of God member, from his book, Message to the Seven Assemblies, page 62:
"During two decades from the 1950s to the early 1970s, the Radio Church of God . . . [renamed] the Worldwide Church of God preached a witness of truth by radio and television which blanketed all [Anglo Saxon] Israel. The message ran counter to nearly all of the previous and continuing teachings by those same media. But those whom Yahweh [God the Father] wanted to call at that time heard the voice of Yehoshua [Jesus Christ the Son] in those messages. As a direct and indirect result of the witness of the truth through this open door, many thousands of Israelites and a few from other races now recognize the significance of Philippians 2:12 and realize that true salvation is a two-way street [faith AND obedience]. They have been given a hope for the future which was not known for many centuries.
"There are those who vehemently decry the work of the organization from which they first heard the truth [Ref. II Tim 3:14] because of its present condition which is totally lacking in Yahweh’s Spirit. There are also those within that organization who decry the individual from whom they first heard the truth [Garner Ted Armstrong] because he was ‘disfellowshipped’. Some are even saying that the whole operation was an empire building scheme which never taught the truth. I’d like to ask the question: How many of us would understand the truth of Yahweh’s word and be doing the work we are today if the message proclaimed by the Radio [Worldwide] Church of God had not been voiced?"
ANSWER: Let’s be honest and admit our roots, being thankful for truth learned from others. It’s too bad Herbert Armstrong never publicly admitted he learned Truth with the help of others.
More on the Armstrongs
A reader from Ohio asked several questions related to Herbert Armstrong. Garner Ted Armstrong has said that his father was baptized by a Seventh Day Adventist minister. The fact is, Herbert Armstrong had a Sunday Baptist minister baptize him (source: August 1969 Good News magazine).
The "W." in Herbert W. Armstrong doesn’t stand for anything. He wanted to distinguish himself from another Herbert Armstrong who lived in Eugene, Oregon at the time, so he added the initial.
This should answer two frequently asked questions about Armstrong.
"Mr. Armstrong had become an idol in the eyes of many of his followers. God says that He will destroy ALL idols (Micah 1:7). May we NEVER become idols in our own eyes or anybody elses." S.S., Illinois
" . . . many of the things you state . . . I found out myself by tracing the steps of Mr. Armstrong and by living in Oregon and talking directly with the same people who knew him." T.P., Oklahoma
"I am learning new things all the time, but I note that in the end my ’superior’ knowledge always comes back to what I have learned from one man, Herbert W. Armstrong. His teaching, so many light years away from that of the typical evangelical style of scholarship, can be summed up in two words, ‘obey God'. Without this anchor, it would be so easy to slide away into the seductive atmosphere of modern Babylon . . . . [in England] the Protestants crumble before modernism . . . [and] the Catholic Church presents an image of strength and charity, especially in the neglected inner-city areas. In this Protestant country, the Catholic Church is fast becoming the peoples’ church . . . . Can you explain why H.W.A. always insisted he was not a ‘member’ of the Church of God Seventh Day?" G.H., United Kingdom
ANSWER: We agree with what you say. Cannot explain the false claim that Armstrong was not a Church of God Seventh Day member.
Ties Between G.G. Rupert and Herbert W. Armstrong?
"I am sick of seeing some make the assumption that Herbert W. Armstrong got many of his ideas from G.G. Rupert. Mrs. Otis Cole (mother of Raymond Cole and member of Herbert Armstrong’s church from the early 1930s) says that they (the Coles and Armstrong) did not know of G.G. Rupert until the late 1940s. This is ironic, since the Coles were Church of God Seventh Day members in Oklahoma before they moved to Oregon in the 1930s. Although close to Britton, Oklahoma where Rupert lived, the Coles were unaware of Rupert’s work until the late 1940s. There are many dissimilarities between Rupert’s beliefs and Armstrong’s." R.S., Tennessee
ANSWER: Our paper on G.G. Rupert says that it is likely that Armstrong had familiarity with Rupert. This is based on circumstantial evidence, and is not intended to be historical proof. We have pointed out the dissimilarities between Armstrong and Rupert.
It has been claimed that copies of Rupert’s paper, Remnant of Israel have been found in the basement of Herbert Armstrong’s home. Even this does not "prove" that Armstrong lifted many of his beliefs from Rupert. If Armstrong was influenced by Rupert, this does not validate or invalidate these doctrines. It is sickening how some who are against the truth of God use a supposed Rupert-Armstrong doctrinal tie to "prove" these doctrines are erroneous.
David Robinson’s Tangled Web
"In your article on Herbert W. Armstrong, you state that David Robinson, who exposed Armstrong’s moral depravity in his book, Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web, is himself tainted. Do you mean Robinson was guilty of similar sexual sins?" J.T., California
ANSWER: We implied no such thing. We know Dave Robinson and highly respected his mother, who was our next door neighbor when we lived in Big Sandy, Texas. It appears from Mr. Robinson’s book that he was intimately aware of deep moral sins of the Worldwide Church of God leadership for some time before he left the organization. This is what we believe "taints" him. His book, unfortunately, is almost as much an indictment against himself as it is against Armstrong. Why did Robinson stay in the church so long when he knew it was so corrupt? Only he and the Creator know the full answer.
Dave Robinson was caught in a "tangled web" partially created by himself. There must be many others right now caught in similar situations. May the Eternal give us the strength and moral courage to stand up for what is right, no matter what the consequences!
Is the Law the Gospel?
In our recent book on Biblical Law, we said that "The Law IS the Gospel."
Jerry Griffin in the February, 1987 Bible Advocate disputed our statement. He said that the Gospel is not a system of doctrine, not the law of God, not the new birth (a religious experience), not steps to salvation, not the baptism of the spirit, not an exhortation, and not prophecies about future events. According to Mr Griffin, the gospel centers on Jesus Christ, and concerns God’s past, historical work through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. The Gospel is, he says, the good news of what God has done through Christ, namely, to rescue us from evil, sin and death.
The same issue of the Advocate quotes M.A Branch’s 1900 article "The Gospel," in which Branch states that the gospel is not the law. Mr. Branch, however, did say that "The law of God is co-existent with [the same as] God." And this latter statement is very true.
Briefly, let’s discuss this concept. It is totally false to say that the gospel is only historical. The gospel is the good news of the coming future millennial kingdom of God on this earth, as well as the message of the birth, perfect life, execution and death and resurrection of our Savior, who will be the King of kings in that kingdom. The first five books of the Bible are as much "gospel" as the rest of the Bible, Hebrews 4:2.
One cannot separate the gospel and law, just as one cannot separate "Love" from "God" from "Law." They are all different facets of the same thing: eternal righteous holy character. If you have seen the Son, you have seen the Father. If you understand Love, you understand God. If you really know the Law, you know the Gospel. And around and around in a circle.
Like we said in Biblical Law, there is gross ignorance of Biblical Law among many Sabbath keepers. Notice we said that the Law IS the Gospel, and not the other way around. God’s laws are one of the four key elements of the Gospel: (1) King Messiah, and his co-rulers (resurrected saints) (2) subjects of His kingdom (physical human beings who live on into the Millennium, (3) the territory of the Kingdom (the earth, eventually the entire universe), and (4) the laws of the kingdom (the commandments, statutes and judgements of the Bible). Bible Law is an integral part of the gospel, the good news of what God has done and is doing through Christ in us.
Historical Interpretation of Prophecy
"I notice that you still cling to the futuristic interpretation of prophecy (Matt. 24). Have you ever read a book on the historical interpretation of prophecy? Ralph Woodrow has a marvelous book called Great Prophecies." L.B., Indiana
ANSWER: Mr. Woodrow’s excellent book, Babylon Mystery Religion was on the Giving & Sharing recommended list until he modified it to conform to liberal tendencies. His other books, however, are loaded with grievous errors. He is in favor of divorce and remarriage, makeup, and believes the Flood was local. His prophetic teachings are likewise heretical. Those who believe in the historical interpretation of prophecy say that most all prophecy is already fulfilled. Some go so far as to say we are living in the millennium. God help us if this evil world is the Kingdom of God!
Can a Believer Be in the Military?
"I am an employee of the USAF [United States Air Force] and travel extensively. Is there something inherently wrong with this?" J.G., Oklahoma
ANSWER: Yes! The teaching of the Church of God for well over one hundred years has been that military or directly related military occupation is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. We recommend you read the booklet published by the Worldwide Church of God entitled "Military Service and War." There are few "perfect" jobs (other than organic farming). Military related jobs are definitely taboo based upon our understanding of the New Testament.
In applying this teaching, the believer should seek to get out of the military commitment as soon as possible. Going "AWOL" is a crime! Don’t fight or kill anyone in this world’s warfare. Make your pro peace views known as soon as possible, and seek legal means to get out from under the military. If this fails, you may have to peacefully finish your tour of duty, without taking any part in military action.
Is Acts 18:21 Authentic Scripture?
"I read in one of your writings where you stated that ALL of v. 21 of Acts 18 is authentic. I haven’t found the evidence for this. In fact, Jerusalem Bible Reader’s Ed., NIV, Amplified, & Good News New Testament all omit ‘I must by all means [keep the Feast] in Jerusalem'. Please advise." C.H., Arkansas
ANSWER: Please see Study No. 122, "King James Version Errors." The NIV and most modern translations use corrupted Egyptian and Roman texts rather than the Received Greek New Testament, which includes all of Acts 18:26.
According to Green, Acts 18:21, in its entirety, is NOT a questionable passage. This verse is definitely in the Received Text. Various groups today defend the King James Version, which is much more based upon the Received Text than many modern versions which lean on the corrupted Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts. It is interesting to note that when pro-KJV adherents lambast modern versions for leaving out hundreds of words rightfully contained in the Textus Receptus, not one of them mentions the modern versions’ leaving out of Acts 18:21! Their anti-Holy Day bias prevents them from telling the full truth!
We use the King James Version exclusively as our main study Bible, only using other translations to aid study of certain passages, to get another perspective. The fact that modern versions slavishly depend on the Egyptian and Vatican corruptions of the New Testament should make us avoid them as a "main Bible."
Our family Bible Study has proven time after time that the King James Version is often easier for our children to understand than the New International Version (NIV), and often the KJV is more accurate.
Biblical Law and Biblical Holy Days Books
"We just received your book on Bible Law. We think it is terrific. Every serious Bible student needs one of these books. Your computer set up has really enhanced your study papers . . . . We are very much looking forward to the studies on Biblical Holy Days." M.V.N., Washington
"Thank you for the very comprehensive study of God’s Law. A lot of research went into it. I find it very useful and a time saver." D.M., Wisconsin
"I appreciated getting the Biblical Law notebook. I like the idea of the three ring binder because I can add additional material to it at any time." K.R., Florida
"Thank you for the study on Biblical Holy Days. It is some of the finest reading I have ever done. I appreciate your work." C.H., North Carolina
Do We Accept Tithes and Offerings?
"Do you have a ministry, i.e., would you accept my tithes & offerings?" P.W., Massachusetts
ANSWER: Giving & Sharing is a ministry (work of service). I am not an ordained minister, and do not use tithes and offerings for my personal benefit, nor does Giving & Sharing pay any salaries. Donations of tithes and offerings to Giving & Sharing are tax deductible, and gratefully received. We use donations to help us print more articles and send more Biblical reference material to help others learn more of the Almighty’s truth. Financial statements are available to any interested donor who wishes to verify that no contributions benefit any person. You are welcome to come and examine our books.
We have been asked, "Are contributions to Giving & Sharing tax deductible? Are our donations for books and articles tax deductible contributions?" Donations above our "suggested donation" are tax deductible for United States Federal Income Tax purposes, because our suggested donation roughly equals our cost and the value received by yourself. Donors receive an Annual Receipt with a breakdown between the regular and tax deductible amounts.
"I don’t mind you calling homosexuality a perversion, because it is, BUT DON’T CALL THE HOMOSEXUAL A PERVERT, because he IS NOT. He is a child of God, just like you. Can you imagine Jesus calling people queers or perverts when he walked the earth. Do you think that would have drawn anyone to him?" B.H., Washington
ANSWER: The unrepentant sinner is a sinner. The unrepentant homosexual is a pervert. The unrepentant sinner is not a child of God, but a child of Satan. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites and snakes to their faces! He was not trying to draw people to Himself. If Jesus were to encounter a group of homosexuals demonstrating for "gay rights," He would have lambasted them. On the contrary, a repentant sinner has all his sins washed completely away. They are forgiven and forgotten by the Almighty, and we should do likewise.
It is LOVE to tell a sinner his or her sin and call them to repentance. Because thousands are dying of the spreading disease of AIDS, it would be an act of LOVE for duly constituted authorities to follow the Bible and execute homosexuals.
Church Members Don’t Know Their Fundamentals of Belief
A Texas man told us he obtained a ministerial letter from his church organization to excuse his children from school for the Holy Days. The letter quoted Article 13 of his church’s "Fundamentals of Belief." He and other friends were puzzled since they had never known what his church’s "Fundamentals of Belief" were. The church headquarters told him that this referred to a legal document summarizing church teachings, and refused to send him a copy.
It is dumbfounding to realize that some churches do not publish and proclaim to the world their "Fundamentals of Belief." This is clearly a mark of a cult. The Apostle Paul spoke with great plainness of speech, holding nothing back, II Corinthians 3:12, Acts 20:20. We publish our "Fundamentals of Belief" and analyze the beliefs of other Sabbath keeping groups in our book, Biblical Doctrine.
Pentecost: The Fiftieth Day
"Just finished studying your updated Pentecost material. Powerful! Your proof is incontrovertible . . . . Thanks again for your wonderful work. I wish I had the means to help support it." L.E., California
Recently, a man told us he had discussed the issue of when to observe Pentecost with his local minister. The minister gave three excuses why Sunday is "right": (1) It doesn’t matter which day we observe, as long as we are "keeping" Pentecost, (2) Pentecost is a matter of church authority and those who rebel against current church teaching are "heretics," (3) Herbert Armstrong was "wrong" for so many years in proclaiming a Monday Pentecost because of a "translation error." For those who want an explanation of the subject, please write for our material on Pentecost, in our book, Biblical Holy Days.
"I am very interested in what you stated on a Monday Pentecost, and feel you have something there." H.H., Florida
C.P. of Indiana noted that in Leviticus 23:16, the KJV "shall ye number fifty days" in the original Hebrew is "number (count or note) the fiftieth day." This is more proof that Pentecost is on Monday, not Sunday. We are not told to stop counting at the end of the seventh Sabbath, but to number the fiftieth day. Then we are to keep Pentecost. Genesis 1 tells us how to count days: "the evening and the morning were the first day." This means a day is counted when it is finished, not as it begins. The fiftieth day is counted, then Pentecost is to be kept.
Seventh Day Church of God History
"I enjoyed reading your book, The History of the Church of God 7th Day. I found it at the Library of Congress . . . . Being raised in the church and reading about my grandfather (A.N. Dugger) it was very interesting to me and enlightening. The conclusion to the book made me really think about what really is the most important thing in serving the Lord. It is not His will for us to be divided in spirit nor to compromise. We must be willing to serve Him with a whole heart." Mrs. A.F., Maryland
"I want to commend you on all the fine historical work you have done on 7th Day churches. As a working scholar in the academic world I find your work in this area up to par, in sharp contrast to what usually passes for ‘history’ among smaller church groups. . . . I particularly find your materials on the Sabbath, the holy days, Biblical Law, HWA, etc. quite thorough." James Tabor, Department of Religion, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.
ANSWER: Mr. Tabor wrote the Appendix on doctrines for Joseph Hopkins’ book on The Armstrong Empire. He also assisted Robert Kuhn, who wrote most of the Systematic Theology Project for the Worldwide Church of God. Thanks for the appreciation, but we would rather be noted for clear and simple truth rather than for theological scholarship.
"I have borrowed and read your History of the Seventh Day Church of God and Six Papers on the History of the Church of God from a friend . . . . they were the most detailed and informative of any works which I have read on church history." M.B., Missouri
The Race Question
" . . . you mention that during the Messianic Kingdom races will be forced to live separately. What I would like to know is on what scriptures do you base this on?" A.W., Pennsylvania
ANSWER: Certainly the race question is a neglected topic among Sabbath keepers today. Most Sabbath keeping groups condone or encourage interracial marriage, showing openly that they agree with the Illuminist Satanic idea that the way to world peace is to produce a "Universal Brown Man," i.e. amalgamate the races through intermarriage. It is sad that many today support this concept. It is the ultimate form of racism and hatred toward the different races to want to obliterate them and create a mongrelized human race. What does the Bible say about this?
In the church, spiritual Israel, there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female. Does this mean that females can "marry" females, and males can "marry" males? Absolutely not! There are boundaries that the Almighty has established, even though all those called of God have one Spirit and are one spiritual body.
In Acts 17:26, it states that the human race are all of God’s children, and He "hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." That is, the Eternal has determined the times of the rise and fall of different nations, and limited their territorial boundaries, the limits of their settlements. See the Amplified Bible on this verse. However, mankind continually rejects the Eternal’s appointed national boundaries and defiantly attempts to marry outside of national and racial boundaries. Acts 3:21 shows that the returning Messiah will initiate the restitution of all things. One of the things He will restore is the proper national boundaries, which will allow each nation and race to develop to their full capacity and unique identity.
Deuteronomy 32:8 also shows that the Most High purposely divided the nations and separated the sons of Adam, setting national boundaries, giving first preference to the children of Israel. The Creator is not racially prejudiced! He intends Israel to be His servant people to teach other nations His ways and set the example. He gave them the best territory for the purpose of them being a blessing to the world. Driving through Iowa farmland, and other fertile places of this nation, one can truly see the blessings of God to modern Israel.
Those who have no fear of the Creator and His purpose and plan for the nations and races of the earth support the amalgamation of the races and nations. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the end time. Few have the integrity to stand up for the Bible truth about the Race Question. The majority is either one world racist on the one hand, or supremacist racist for their own race on the other hand. Both positions are wrong. Red and yellow, black and white, they are all precious in His sight! When the races are destroyed through amalgamation, they lose their individual identity. May the Messiah come soon to restore racial sanity to this earth!
"Why do we keep the Passover with unleavened bread and then turn around the next day and eat leavened bread, then go for seven days of only unleavened bread?" Man from Washington State
ANSWER: The Bible is clear that there are seven required days of unleavened bread, Nisan 15-21, not Nisan 14-20 or 14-21 as some have it. There is nothing wrong with abstaining from leavening on Nisan 14, but Biblically it is not required that we abstain from leaven on Nisan 14. As a practical standpoint, this year our family had our house de-leavened on Nisan 13 when we left to travel to keep the Passover with others. We certainly were not going to go out and buy baking soda or yeast! However, it would not have been a sin for us to eat leavening on Nisan 13, or Nisan 14 after Passover.
The unleavened bread of Passover represents the body of our Savior, while the unleavened bread of the Feast of Unleavened Bread represents sincerity and truth, putting sin out. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are two holy times with separate spiritual meanings. Their meaning is clouded if we fail to keep this in mind.
There was an old custom in some areas of the Radio Church of God in the 1950’s not to eat leavened bread on Nisan 14 at all, making eight days of unleavened bread. This was a "local doctrine" and never a church-wide practice. By the time I entered the church in 1969, it had been clarified that only seven days of unleavened bread are required.
"In Matt. 26:17 it speaks of being the first day of unleavened bread. However, Jesus instituted His Passover at even that day. This is inconsistent with the first day (Feast) coming at even on the next day after His crucifixion was finished. How is this to be explained?" J.G., Oklahoma
ANSWER: Matthew 26:17 seems to say that the eve of Passover is a day of unleavened bread. From Leviticus 23, we know that Passover is Abib or Nisan 14, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is Nisan 15-21. Passover is elsewhere in the NT called the "preparation day" for the annual sabbath, the holy day Nisan 15. In Jewish custom, it was regarded as a day of unleavened bread, because unleavened bread was used with the Passover service. But strictly speaking, abstinence from leavened bread is only required for seven days, not eight days. Jews referred to the entire eight day period of Nisan 14-21 as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, or Passover. The two terms appear to be interchangeable in the New Testament. Please keep in mind that the New Testament is not intended to be specific in telling us when to observe God’s Holy Days and festivals. For that, we must go to Leviticus 23, which leaves no room for doubt.
I learned some interesting things this year. There was an odd number of men and women for footwashing, three of each sex. The elder suggested that the groups of three wash feet in a circle, so that each person washed another’s feet, and had their own feet washed. This way, nobody had to wash two sets of feet. I majored in math, but had never thought of that!
"May I tell you that brethren here really enjoyed mostly the article on The New Testament Passover Ceremony, they are very grateful." F.A., Ibadan, Nigeria
Why Greek and Hebrew Concordances?
"I already have a Strong’s Concordance. Why do I need an Englishman’s Greek and Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance keyed to Strong’s numbering system?" W.H., Arkansas
ANSWER: Because in studying any Bible subject, the best way is to obtain all scripture references on a particular subject. Strong’s is a good starting place. The Englishman’s Greek, and Englishman’s Hebrew concordances finish the task.
Here is an example: Let’s say we are studying the subject of Godly love. Strong’s shows there are three Greek New Testament words translated "love": agape, philos and eros. Agape is the word we want, which means divine love. Strong’s doesn’t give all the references for this agape love under the heading of "love." Moving over to the Englishman’s Greek Concordance, we see ALL the scriptures where agape love is used. In some cases, the KJV has translated agape as "charity" or "beloved." Using only Strong’s, you would not be able to easily gather all the scriptures relating to Godly love.
How You Can Help Us
"When I come home from work I sure would not want to have your work waiting . . . . But since I’m writing anyway I would like to order a couple new books." R.M., Texas
ANSWER: We got a chuckle out of this comment. Yes, Giving & Sharing does take a great deal of our time. Here are some suggestions for you to help make our job easier: (1) Place fewer, larger, orders rather than many short orders. This is the main thing you can do to help reduce our workload. (2) Don’t expect to receive notification of back order items and split or partial shipments. (3) Clearly indicate what you are ordering. (4) If an item is damaged in shipment or is not what you ordered, contact us immediately for instructions. In most cases, we will have to give you an invoice number and address to ship it back to the publisher for credit. (5) Don’t give our order blank to just anyone. We want to limit our audience to those who are sincerely striving to follow the Eternal. Not to curiosity seekers or religious hobbyists. We are not trying to build up anybody’s library of religious books, just to provide helpful reference books and articles to those who are truly seeking the Almighty.
"I would like to commend you on your article concerning the need for trusting in God for healing. It’s true that many people have lost faith in God’s healing powers. When people lose faith they are really in a bad way. Unfortunately they are turning more and more to man for all of their needs. People seem to think that man has more wisdom and power than God, but they are due for a rude awakening. God is still in control, and all things are possible with God." J.S., Arkansas
Celebrating the Resurrection of Our Savior
"Why, when the Church of God says they have almost all truth, know the ‘Real’ Jesus Christ, and count exactly 3 days & nights to His resurrection, fail to, indeed ignore, the greatest event in history, the resurrection to eternal life of God the Son Himself? We're so busy ‘getting sin out’ & eating unleavened bread by the mouthful (I love it!), that we pass right by that marvelous moment during the U.B. feast! We memorialize His death, we celebrate the ‘night to be much observed’, but totally ignore His resurrection 3 days into the Feast!" J.B., Canada
ANSWER: A very good question! Why do so many of those who believe in the observance of Biblical Holy Days ignore the fact that the so-called "Days" of Unleavened Bread are in reality a Pilgrimage Feast? Proper observance of the entire FEAST of Unleavened Bread should naturally include a memorial service at the close of the weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, to remember the resurrection of our Savior. Some have called this the "Resurrection Sabbath," in memorial of the Savior’s resurrection just before sundown on Sabbath.
Then, of course, there is the next day, "Wavesheaf Sunday," which typifies the resurrected Messiah being accepted by the Father in Heaven. It would by all means be proper to commemorate these events as part of the natural daily gatherings during the Feast of Unleavened Bread for worship and Bible Study. Yes, this is one Sunday special occasion that the Bible directly promotes!
When the modern Church of God drifted away from observing the full Feast of Unleavened Bread, they as a result lost spiritual power. Few in the Worldwide Church of God know that as late as the mid-1960s, the Church generally observed the entire 8-day Spring Festival. The April, 1964 issue of "Church of God News" of St. Louis states: "The GREATEST 8-day Spring Festival the midwest has ever known was observed this year in the quiet little town of Sedalia, Mo . . . . Mr. [Bryce] Clark . . . reminded us that we are to keep the Feast where God places HIS name, that NO stone should be left unturned in attempting to be there for the ENTIRE time."
In the First Century, A.D., the Passover Feast was the most attended Feast of all. But in today’s Church of God, it has been relegated to merely the little "days" of Unleavened Bread, a secondary time six months before the "BIG" Feast of Tabernacles. Is it any wonder that the resurrection of our Savior has no meaning to these people?
Let us remember the resurrection Sabbath of our Savior, Wavesheaf Sunday, and keep the entire 8-day Feast of Unleavened Bread, experiencing the full meaning of the sacrifice of the Savior for mankind, doing our part leaving spiritual Egypt and putting out sin with His help. We should not forget the most important event in history prior to the Second Coming. Let’s not relegate to insignificance the resurrection of Jesus Christ. W
"The only thing we are going to take with us when we die is what we give away today." — proverb. Let us give of ourselves in service to others. This is the "giving and sharing" way.
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