Newsletter 53, November 1999

Telephone Sabbath Services | Reprinting Activity | Corrupted Language | Pagan Holiday Off With Pay? | Lessons from Littleton | Understanding Thee's and Thou's | A Convicted Testimony | Aides for Weak Eyes | Slaves and Souls of Men | Greatest Anti-Semitic Word in the Bible | Montana Paradise | Jail and Prison Ministry a Job for You? | Sodomy in the Church of God | Sabbatarians in Transylvania

Telephone Sabbath Services

Giving & Sharing sponsors 60-90 minute interactive telephone Sabbath services for those who do not have the opportunity to regularly attend a congregation. Initially, services are planned for the third Sabbath of every month (and Holy Days). After the Bible Study, there may be a question and answer session. Time is 9:00 AM Pacific time, 10:00 Mountain, 11:00 Central, 12:00 noon Eastern time. Call 918-222-7158. When you hear a recording, enter 0566 followed by the # key. Here is the schedule:

Date

Speaker

20 November 1999

Steve Kieler, Ft. Dodge, Iowa

18 December 1999

Larry Walker, Bend, Oregon UCG Pastor

15 January 2000

Tom Justus, COG Sabbath Day, Springdale, Arkansas

G&S telephone conferencing is provided thanks to Ken Westby, pastor of the Association for Christian Development. Mr. Westby has interactive Sabbath services every Sabbath on the same line, at 11:00 AM Pacific, 12:00 noon Mountain, 1:00 PM Central, 2:00 PM Eastern time. We thank him for cooperating with us.

Your only charge is your normal long distance fees, which can be five cents a minute if you have access to 10-10-636, or free if you have free weekend long distance. If you have a speaker phone, a whole group can listen. Radio Shack has inexpensive speaker phones and speaker attachments to existing phones, for $39 and $29 respectively.

Reprinting Activity

We have to work hard to keep our literature in stock. This year, we have done a lot of reprinting. Our book, Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong is now in its second printing. We have also reprinted Biblical Marriage and Family, and Six Papers on the History of the Church of God. For those of you who have not requested these items, you may find them very interesting.

Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong contains public domain articles written from 1928-1953 by the most noted Sabbatarian preacher of the 20th Century. We ask for $9 a copy, or a box of 26 copies for $110. You may also read and/or download it free on the Internet at : www.ozemail.com.au/~davhill/hwa.htm

Biblical Marriage and Family is a series of free articles on the Bible principles of marriage for life. Marriage is the foundation of a godly society. Let us return to the Truth on this important matter! This 92-page compilation is free.

Biblical Health and Healing is a series of articles on health principles from the Bible, has 98 pages, and is free. It contains a comprehensive article on clean and unclean foods, natural food recipes, and much more.

God is NOT a Trinity is a 14-page reprint of our Bible Study No.161.

Six Papers on the History of the Church of God, 354 pages, $14 donation, covers the history of Sabbatarian Baptists in England and America, the Adventist Movement, Sabbath Adventists 1844-1863, G.G. Rupert's Remnant of Israel, and History of the Church of God 7th Day by John Kiesz. This is a companion book to our other history book, History of the Seventh Day Church of God, Volume I, 158 pages, $9.50.

You have heard of one's mental ability expressed as his I.Q. (intelligence quotient). One way to test a believer's spirituality is to see if he or she has a high I.H. (interest in history). Evolutionists and liberals in the Church of God today have a different belief system than the Bible. They believe man evolved, and therefore there is nothing to learn from history, because we are supposedly a higher life form than our "primitive" ancestors. However, the Bible-believing follower of the Almighty has a keen interest in history, especially Church history. He knows that the Savior commands us to study Church history: "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent," Revelation 3:3. Truly, a thoughtful study of Church History encourages us to learn from the sins of our ancestors. "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they [the disobedient who were not ashamed of their abominations, verse 15] said, We will not walk therein," Jeremiah 6:16. Learn the lessons of the past, walk with the Almighty in all His ways, "and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breath, The restorer of paths to dwell in," Isaiah 58:12.

Corrupted Language a Great Destroyer

Language, once corrupted, can have harmful real world consequences. Confucius, in his Analects, 13.3, when asked what he would do first if he were given charge of the administration of a country, replied, "It would certainly be to correct language." He explained that if language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, what ought to be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and arts deteriorate, justice goes astray, and people stand about in helpless confusion.

Socrates, quoted by Plato in Phaedo, 115e, said, "inaccurate language is not only in itself a mistake: it implants evil in men's souls." From George Orwell's book, 1984, to today's politics, and some pronouncements in the Church, you see the subtle use of corrupted language to deceive and destroy mankind. In the last few decades, wicked men changed the name of the Republic of China to "Taiwan," homosexuals to "gay," perversion to "alternative lifestyle," abortion to "choice," adultery to "extra-marital sex," fornication to "living together," child abuse to "adult/child sex," pornography to "adult entertainment," loving obedience to God to "legalist," and so on. Be on guard against those who do not speak plain, uncorrupted words of Truth!

The Bible says that one of the first things to be accomplished at the return of the Messiah to rule the world is cleaning up our corrupted language. "For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent," Zephaniah 3:9.

There is another side of the language coin. Many today do not pay attention to words, spoken or written. An example is the drivel occurring on Internet forums. It appears that few pay attention to what the other person says (which may be drivel to begin with); they just want to get their argument presented, and put the other person down. As a result of our junk food culture, we have become dull of listening. I have been appalled at the increasing frequency of this "modern problem." After sending an E-mail message with a few clear sentences to an intelligent man, I was stunned that he read a few words of the message, ignored most of what I said, and acted upon other parts in a haphazard manner. His response reminds me of the "Evermores" cartoon. Moses brings the two tables of stone with the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, and says, "Are there any questions?" A stiff-necked Israelite responds, "May we make substitutions?" In returning people to a pure language in His Kingdom, the Savior will have to go to extreme measures to get our attention.

A Pagan Holiday Off, With Pay?

When I worked for the Worldwide Church of God it seemed so natural that I never stopped to question the practice. As a salaried employee, I received Christmas and New Years off with pay (in the early 1970s). I supposed there was a Federal law that required employers to give employees these days off. In spite of the Church's strong stance against observing holidays of pagan origin such as Easter, Christmas, and New Years, everybody else got the days off, and so did Church employees. However, I recently received a rude shock. In an article in the August 7, 1999, Statesman Journal (Salem, OR) newspaper, an employment expert from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries states emphatically, "there are no state or federal wage laws that obligate you [the employer] to offer holiday pay, and there are no legally required days off. It is entirely up to your company policy whether you provide holiday pay and, if so, how you administer it."

It was entirely up to the discretion of the Worldwide Church of God, during the time when it taught against observance of pagan holidays, to give its employees paid time off for these holidays of the world! If any of our readers can figure out this paradox, please contact us. Let us be consistent. If we say we do not believe in observing Christmas, etc., let us not pay our employees to take these days off. If you work for someone else, you usually do not have a choice. You must take pagan holidays off, with pay. The Church of God, however, should set a sterling example of practicing what we preach.

Lessons From Littleton

How important is it that we raise up godly children in the Church of God? From the general consensus of how the Church operates, young people are not a high priority. There are some bright exceptions: the excellent United Church of God youth camps, and Sabbath School material published by some groups. But, as a whole, young people are virtually ignored, or shoved into the background. So, we should not be surprised if there are more Littleton, Colorado, type massacres. Herbert W. Armstrong said in the mid-1980s, "Peace cannot come until a generation of children can be prepared for a way of life other than war." This preparation must start now, before the Return of the Messiah.

Pastor Larry J. Walker, of the Bend UCG, gave an excellent sermon, "Lessons from Littleton," on April 24, 1999. I encourage you to write him for a free copy, and get on his mailing list for sermon tapes. Larry J. Walker, 16213 Sparks Dr, Lapine, OR 97739, Telephone 541-536-5227. Larry notes that there has to be a generation prepared to take over when Christ returns, to be able to be the human leaders in the World Tomorrow, to be able to teach the rest of the world. Our young people are this priceless heritage. How weird it is that some say the Work of God is finished, when it has barely begun!

How to Build a Bomb; How to Defuse a Bomb

Understanding Thee's and Thou's

The King James English in the KJV Bible may at first be intimidating, especially to younger people schooled in today's "dumbed down" public educational system. Some make fun of the King James thee's, ye's, and thou's, but these pronouns actually have a purpose. It is our current corrupt language that we really should make fun of!

In the Bible language of the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Old Testament, there is a very distinct difference between the second person singular and the second person plural pronouns. We make no difference in modern English, using "you" in both cases. However, in older English, there exists a difference just as there is in Greek and Hebrew. Thus, the old English used in the KJV gives a far more precise translation of the original Bible languages than modern English versions do. Remember that in language, the first person is the one speaking, the second person is the one spoken to, and the third person is the one being spoken about.

In the KJV Bible, "thee," "thou," "thy" and "thine" are always singular, while "you," "ye" and "your" are always plural (refer to more than one). Remember that the "t" pronouns are singular, and the "y" pronouns are plural. Think of the letter "t" as one stick, and "y" as two sticks, and you will remember the rule. Contrary to popular opinion, the plural "you" is used about 2,000 times in the KJV.

The NKJV, NIV, and other modern translations fail to make the distinction between singular and plural. This sometimes confuses important theological Truths. For example, in John 3:7, Jesus says (KJV), "Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again." Jesus was talking to Nicodemus (thee), and made the profound statement that ye (all mankind) must be born again. However, an entirely different meaning is given in the NIV and other newer versions: "You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again." In this modern translation, Jesus was only telling Nicodemus that he, Nicodemus, must be born again. This obvious translation mistake due to the corrupted language of today is even noted in the NIV, which explains in a footnote that the second you: "the Greek is plural." Not only Nicodemus, but all men must be born again. The next time you think King James English is funny, realize that our muddled modern English is too dumb to distinguish between singular and plural!

Not only that, but King James English also distinguishes clearly between the subject of a verb, and the object of a verb, unlike our slang language of today. "Thou" is used for the subject of the verb for the second person singular ("Thou art the man."). "Thee" is used for the object of a verb for the second person singular ("I gave thee bread."). On the plural side, "Ye" is used for the subject of a verb for the second person plural ("Praise ye the LORD."). This means that the congregation, not just the lone person, is the praise the Eternal, indicating corporate worship, not stay at home stay lone services. And, the KJV uses "you" for the object of a verb for the second person plural ("I give you that."). New versions use "you," for all four cases. Do you begin to see how corrupt our modern language has become?

 

Singular

Plural

KJV

NIV, etc.

KJV

NIV, etc.

Nominative

Thou

You

Ye

You

Objective

Thee

You

You

You

Possessive Adjective

Thy

Your

Your

Your

Possessive Pronoun

Thine

Your

Yours

Yours

Did you ever notice in the account of the Garden of Eden, that God speaks directly to the individual, whereas Satan speaks to an ambiguous plural blob? Genesis 2:16-17, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." Then, the serpent comes along and says, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? . . . Ye shall not surely die. . . ye shall be as gods," Genesis 3:1, 4-5. Modern versions use "you" in all the above cases, missing an important distinction. In the KJV, and the original Hebrew, one gets the impression that Satan cannot look you in the eye; he doesn't care about you as an individual person, while the Almighty personally speaks directly to you, certainly illustrating the validity of John 3:16.

(The above was derived from Gail Riplinger, author of The Language of the King James Bible. This book is a treasure of language study of the KJV versus modern translations, and shows that the KJV has a built-in dictionary, helping the reader to define words by their context. We highly recommend Riplinger's book. You may order it on our website at www.giveshare.org/amazon for $10.95 plus postage, or send $13 to AV Publications, PO Box 280, Ararat, VA 24053.)

A Convicted Testimony

"The following inspired testimony deserves the attention of all truth seekers. . . . It is a powerful personal witness to the Sabbath truth. Pay particular attention to the arguments presented, but give special attention to the work of the Holy Spirit as it brings conviction upon the human mind. May the Spirit of Truth grant to each reader the same gift of understanding as it clearly presents the Sabbath issue in its fuller proclamation." - Dr. Sydney Davis.

I am 36 years old, married to Shery-Ann, and together we have three wonderful little boys (Sergio who is 31/2, Sergue who is 11/2, and Shayahn who is only 17 days old). We live on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. I'm from Hispanic descent (hence my often terrible spellings) and my wife is of Indian decent from the island of Trinidad.

I was raised in a Pentecostal church in St. Thomas. Naturally, this means that for many years I did not believe or observe any of the Bible's sacred days. As I became an adult, my interest and efforts in the ministry grew and by age 24 I had managed to make for myself a religious reputation in this 32 square mile island. Early in my studies, I had develop an interest for both apologetics and cults. As can be expected (at least given my background), I grew up considering the Seventh-day Adventists to be a "benign" cult. Since I had been schooled according to the Dispensational interpretation, I felt very capable of debating the issue of the Sabbath. For a number of years I debated Sabbath- keepers and taught others how to do the same. To my shame, I succeeded convincing a significant number of them to abandon its observance. Just like Paul, I was persuaded that I was doing my duty unto God. But, the Heavenly Father had mercy and pity on me. During the month of January, 1990, I met a local Pastor by the name of Dale George. He too had a passion for debating and I was only too glad to oblige. Naturally, I was convinced that I was going to win this one as I had won countless others. However, Yahu'eh Almighty had a big rude awakening in store for me!

On the day of our first encounter, I had decided I was going directly for a "death blow." I new that Dale was a humble man and I intended to over power him with my personality. I had it all planned out. As soon as he brought up the topic of the Sabbath, I was going to call him a hypocrite, arguing that if he really believed in the "concept of sacred time" he should be keeping both the Festivals and the weekly Sabbath. To prove my point, I was then going to take him to Leviticus 23, and from there onward. It was a lovely "time-tested" strategy that had worked beautifully for me before. Imagine my surprise when I made my "hypocrite" charge against this noble soul and he informed me that he agreed with me! A little stunned, I asked him if he agreed, then why he didn't keep the Festivals and only kept the Sabbath (the reality of his answer had not truly sunk through my skull). Again, lovingly and with careful wording (so I could understand him) he stated he kept both!

I immediately felt that the rug had been pulled from under my feet. This was not how I had planned this encounter to develop! Now, because of my arrogance and my prejudgment, I was at a complete disadvantage and treading new ground (not exactly a comfortable feeling - as you can imagine). In my mind, I was rushing with every strategy I had ever used trying to determine how to get myself out of this hole. But, I couldn't overcome my utter surprise that Dale kept the Festivals! I mean, I had never met a Christian that spoke favorably of the Festivals, let alone kept them. Yet, here he was - standing in living color in front of me - a very strange and unique creature. To add to my confusion, Dale was not saying anything else. He was just there standing in silence, waiting for me to do the next move (perhaps, to put my other foot in my mouth). The pressure was unbelievable. Finally, somebody was turning the table on me and giving me a taste of my own medicine. In my despair, I remember tossing my arms to the air and telling him, "Why in the world would you keep the Festivals?"

What an irony! Moments earlier I just called him a hypocrite if he did not keep the Festivals along with the weekly Sabbath. Now, I was insinuating that something must have been wrong with him for doing so! Despite my obvious - shall we say - lack of cordiality in that statement, Dale proceeded to illuminate my mind with some of the numerous reasons and Biblical evidence on this subject. Within one hour, I was transformed from a roaring intimidating lion into an ordinary house cat. I mean, I felt really uneducated and insecure. My pride and arrogance had effectively been wiped under the ground. I couldn't help but marvel at his reasoning and quality of evidence. It was as if all my life I had been reading another book instead of the Bible! The evidence had been there all this time! To make matters worse, his arguments were simplicity itself. It was not the kind of explanation that required much theological background to understand. I was able to immediately see the ramification of his various positions and interpretation as he progressed from one stage to the next. At the end, I was a very humbled man and all I could say, "Okay Dale, you made a few points, but I am going to need time to verify all this stuff."

Yeah, that is right. I called it "stuff." I was still hoping against hope that I could find a genuine refutation. To be sure, I spent the next nine months visiting Dale's Assembly every Sabbath. I searched and researched, and then did it all over again. But the seed had been planted, deep within the chambers of my soul and heart. It tortured me day and night. My GOD! ALL those people I have led against the Sabbath! My agony was unbearable. I lost my peace and self-control. I did not want to eat or engage in any other activity but research of this subject. There had to be a way out, there just had to be! But the more I searched, the more information I uncovered that actually sided with Dale! It was a nightmare ... It was also a disgrace.

Many weeks of tears followed more weeks of tears. I struggled with my conscience everyday, but the Holy Spirit would neither allow me rest or peace. At the time, I was the pastor of a local Spanish Church and the co-pastor of the English-speaking mother Church. I tried to console myself with the numerous activities of the ministry, but they had all lost their attraction to me. Yet, months were passing by and I still would not make a definite decision. Once again, our precious Heavenly Father used Dale.

The Festival of Tabernacles was fast approaching in September that year, 1990. On a Sabbath afternoon and we were all gathered for a lunch fellowship at the home of one of Dale's members. By now, I was a regular visitor. Another brother, who at one time had been the deacon of the Assembly, approached me with the question if I had made my decision. I tried to ignore the question and change the subject, but the dear brother insisted. When I finally told him, "No," he asked what I was waiting for. I did not have a good answer, so I merely told him I did not feel I was ready yet (you know, I'm a pastor of a Sunday keeping church, then the matter of prestige in this small island where practically everyone knew me, etc.). At that moment, Dale - in a most uncharacteristic form - told me he feared for my salvation! Amazed, I demanded for him to explain himself (after all, this was stated publicly). He told me that while it is true that the Father accepts many of us while still in ignorance, that I could no longer personally avail myself of that avenue, AS I WAS NO LONGER IGNORANT OF THE FACTS. As he walked away, and my heart sank! Needless to say, I could not sleep that night!

The following morning I called the deacon who had inquired of me for an answer and informed him I had decided. That same morning, I rendered my resignation to my former religious affiliation and I was baptized on the first Great day of Tabernacles 1990. To this day, I have never once regretted the path that has been given to me to walk.

- Elder Silvio Soto, P.O. Box 304400, St. Thomas, VI 00803-4400, Email sotofam@islands.vi.

Aides For Weak Eyes

Now, I am not getting any older, but then I am not getting any younger either. When you start thinking about occasionally using a magnifying glass to read the fine print, it could be a sign that you are over the hill. That Interlinear Bible is getting a little hard for me to read, so I got a couple of magnifying glasses. If you or someone you know has this problem, how about ordering a set of two magnifiers from Giving & Sharing? Both are made by Bausch & Lomb from quality plastic. The first is a circular 3 1/4 inch 2-lens magnifier, 2x and 6x. It's like the proverbial "Sherlock Holmes" magnifying glass. The second is an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet magnifier, 2x power. Suggested donation for the set of two magnifiers is $15, postpaid from Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849.

Slaves and Souls of Men

As reported on American Family Radio, partial birth abortion leads to trafficking in body parts. In a late term abortion, the doctor turns the baby so that its feet come out first. Then, before the head emerges, he inserts an instrument into the back head of the baby and sucks the brains out, killing it. This "partial birth" abortion is done on babies 2-4 pounds in weight. These little ones are able to survive outside the womb, and sometimes do. One lady's job at an abortion clinic was to quickly carve up the dead baby and express mail its parts packed in ice to researchers or other users of human body parts. The more fully developed the baby, and the sooner the organs are received after the baby's death, the more valuable an eye, a liver, a kidney, etc. become to "medical science." One day the doctor brought this lady a pair of twins in a pail, about 3-4 pounds each. They were still alive! She refused to cut them up. The doctor retrieved the pail, killed the twins, and then brought the dead bodies back to the woman. This led to her resignation from this lucrative job, and the publicizing of her sickening story. In America you can go to jail for killing a bald eagle chick, but killing babies is big business. May God have mercy on this nation for such wickedness.

It is a characteristic of Babylon to deal with "slaves [Greek soma, bodies] and souls of men," Revelation 18:13. The same word soma is used in Jude 9, referring to the dead body of Moses. Not only does Babylon traffic in the souls of men, but also their bodies. We know that Hitler's Nazis made lampshades out of human skin. The abortion holocaust going on today results in merchandizing the bodies of innocent babies. "Alas, for that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come," Revelation 18:10.

Greatest Anti-Semitic Word in the Bible

If we could categorize or choose what we might call the greatest anti-Semitic insertion of the KJV translators in the Bible (for there are SO MANY of them), it would be the italicized word "but" in John 1:17. [Italicized words in the KJV have been added by the translators in an attempt to make a more understandable translation. Sometimes these italicized additions are helpful; other times they distort the true meaning of the passage.]

"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

The word "but" here is designed to introduce something which contrasts with what is just stated as if "on the contrary" or "on the other hand." The two conditions on either side of a "but" cannot coexist because they are antithetical to each other or mutually exclusive. A whole systematic theology that arrays Moses against Christ, Judaism against Christianity, and law against grace, has been invented on the strength of this "but" of John 1:17. Correctly translated, the text should read, "For the law was given by Moses with grace and truth by Jesus Christ." For, the text is not meant to show opposites or contrasting principles, but rather the wholeness and truth of the gospel message.

For grace was at the giving of the law in Mt. Sinai: "And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth," Exodus 34:6. And the law was at the giving of grace in the Mount of the Beatitudes: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled," Matthew 5:17. Law and grace are the two sides of the gospel coin. They go together like "heads" and "tails." - by Sydney L. Davis

Montana Paradise

Would you like to live in a remote area in God's great creation? Walt Koltermann, a friend from Cleveland, Ohio, owns a 20-acre piece of land in Montana's scenic Musselshell River country, 80 miles northwest of Billings. It has a trailer house, shed, electricity and septic system, but needs a well. Walt would like someone to purchase and/or live on and maintain the property. If interested, please call Richard Nickels at 307-686-5191, or Walt Koltermann at 216-631-3178.

- written by Richard C. Nickels