Christian Churches of God
(Edition 2.0 20090909-20110724)
This paper will review WCG publications and will shed light on the errors of Ditheism, which is a form of pagan polytheism and is currently taught by ministers within the WCG offshoots even to this day. These ministers are unable to overcome this error in their understanding of God and Christ’s nature, and their relationship to each other. The understanding within the congregations of these ministers suffers as a result of this false doctrine. Some in the offshoots are now trying to cover up this heresy by asserting that WCG was Binitarian, as it is asserted was the early church. The assertion is a fabrication on both counts. The writers of this paper have over 130 years combined experience with the WCG, its offshoots and the Churches of God.
The Worldwide Church of God (WCG) system was developed in the 20th century under the auspices and control of Herbert Armstrong. He and his senior ministerial staff developed the doctrine that God’s nature is Ditheist and exposed the Church of God to this fallacious teaching. Those in the offshoots of the WCG system today do not really comprehend what Ditheism is and how it destroys their understanding of God, and the truth of Scripture. They produced the incredibly false teaching that two co-eternal members, or separate personalities, of the God family had a discussion pre-historically as to which one would become the son of the other to be sacrificed for the sins of man, and that God did not become “Father” until Christ, His son, was born of woman. This teaching is a gross fabrication, in direct contradiction of the Scriptures.
The Theology of the Nature of God in the Bible and in the Churches of God has been Unitarian for two Millennia.
The pre-existence of Christ has been an article of faith of the church continuously until Radical Unitarianism began to be asserted by some, such as Anthony Buzzard of the Churches of God (General Conference) in the USA (see the paper The Pre-existence of Jesus Christ (No. 243)).
Christ was understood to have given up his spiritual being in obedience to God and assumed human form as a zygote in the womb of Mariam in accordance with prophecy to bring the creation to salvation. This was stated to be the case in Philippians 2:6-11 where although he was in the form of God did not think it a thing to be grasped after to make himself equal to God but humbled himself to death even death on the cross.
Through this act he became the Monogenes Theos, or only born God, and the means of the salvation of the entire creation.
The Trinitarians have always sought to rewrite this text to make it appear that he was in fact equal to God and for that reason it was mistranslated in the KJV as: he thought it not robbery to be equal with God. The error commenced with the penetration of the system of the goddess Easter or Ishtar, and the doctrines of the god Attis and the sun cults into Christianity from 154 CE in Rome (see the paper Binitarian and Trinitarian Misrepresentation of the Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127b)).
Binitarianism was never adopted or accepted as a doctrine in the Churches of God until the heresy was introduced into the Churches of God in the late twentieth century. It stems from the complete ignorance of the US Protestant movement and from people who never repented of this heresy when they entered the Churches of God from Trinitarianism.
In the nineteenth century the Unitarian structure of God was understood properly and universally among the Seventh Day Baptists and the Churches of God and the Adventist Movement. The Adventists were reviled as Arian from a mistaken view of the Arian doctrines as portrayed by the Trinitarians. The Adventist even went as far as identifying Christ as the Archangel Michael, as it was Michael who was the great prince that stood for the nation of Israel (Dan. 10:13,21; 12:1). A small offshoot of the WCG in the United Kingdom also makes this identification but attempts to assert a Ditheist aspect to Michael and difference him from the other sons of God in the Host.
The Adventists were penetrated by the Jesuits and, after the death of Uriah Smith in 1931, they began to take over the Adventist movement, and by 1978 they had turned the SDA movement into a Trinitarian mishmash (from the Hebrew michmash) of false doctrine and false prophecy, also using the work of the false prophetess Ellen G. White.
The false prophecies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the SDAs and Herbert Armstrong are examined in the paper False Prophecy (No. 269)).
The Worldwide Church of God had an imperfect understanding of the Nature of God and as such taught it imperfectly and infrequently. The teachings ranged from clear Unitarian comment in some Bible Correspondence lessons to blatant polytheist Ditheism in others.
After the breakup of the WCG system it began to be taught by some self-appointed theologians that the WCG system was Binitarian and that was the original doctrine reflected in the Bible. That assertion is a false statement and is advanced as an agenda of people who seem to be trying to return the members of the Churches of God to a Trinitarian doctrine from which they had been called out of when they came into WCG. The same heresy was introduced to the Church of God (Seventh Day) in the Denver Conference in 1995. The Caldwell Conference was always Unitarian and consequently God allowed them to keep the correct calendar according to the conjunction. It seems to be an historical fact that no Church of God that has the incorrect doctrine on the nature of God can keep the correct Temple calendar. It appears that only Biblical Unitarians have been permitted to keep the Temple calendar. The General Conference is in fact Radical Unitarian and as such denies the pre-existence of Christ and has no sound theological basis.
Consequently, there are offshoots of the Churches of God that are hopelessly compromised and some have a complete mishmash of doctrine ranging from Radical Unitarian to Ditheism and also from Binitarianism to Trinitarianism. There are some few genuine Unitarians that acknowledge the pre-existence of Christ but these are in the minority.
The purpose of this paper is to show that Armstrong was in error and that the WCG system was in fact Ditheist, and that off-shoots such as LCG are in fact Ditheist and others such as UCG are hopelessly confused over the matter and are a serious embarrassment and liability to the Church of God in the Last Days.
It is for that reason that God had to deal with them and scatter them. He is now reassembling the Churches of God under sound doctrine within CCG and that will continue to grow.
Let us now examine the Ditheism of WCG and the import of this heresy when examined against Scripture.
Remember God hath given the son to have life in Himself. Christ did not have it intrinsically (Jn. 5:25-29; see also Col. 1:15-16).
Herbert Armstrong’s basic error
From Herbert W. Armstrong’s book, “The Incredible Human Potential” (TIHP), on page 68 he states under the title, “Just How Did God Plan to Reproduce Himself?” “From eternity the Father and the Word who became Jesus Christ had co-existed.”……….
Thus the basic primary error of co-existence and co-eternality is established.
In the next paragraph he states: “Were there, prior to this, more than just the two – God and the Word – in the God family? God reveals no more. Was the “Word” the Son of God, and was God His Father at that time? They are nowhere referred to as that.”
(See also Prov. 30:4-5 for the actual stated distinction and the name of God given).
Thus we see the next theological error of Armstrong, which is interwoven with this false theology. That is the false assertion that there were no sons of God among the Host until Christ assumed physical form in the womb of Mariam.
Lesson 13 of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course, page 6, comments on Job 38:4-7, “In verse 7 the biblical terms “morning stars” and “sons of God” refer to angels.”
Continuing, a comment on Job 1:6, “Angels here are referred to as “sons of God” only in the sense that God is their Creator. There is no father-son relationship as Jesus has with God the Father. Angels were not begotten and born of God, as was Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:5) - they were created.”
“Angels are individually created beings. They can never be begotten by God the Father through His Holy Spirit or be born into His Family as humans can……..But angels shall forever remain the “sons of God” in the sense that God created each angel a separate, immortal spirit being.”
In his book, “Mystery of The Ages” (MOTA) on page 43, Armstrong, speaking of God’s family states: “That family is composed, now, of God the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son, and many begotten humans already, now, are begotten sons of God (Rom. 8:14, 16; 1 John 3:2), forming the Church of God.”
Angels then, according to Armstrong’s teaching, are in sort of a sub-class as created, not begotten, immortal spirit sons of God who will remain outside the family structure of God, and who do not have a father-son relationship with God the Father. The reverse is the case as can be seen from the structure of the City of God (see the paper The City of God (No. 180)).
These teachings show a complete ignorance of the Scriptures. In Job 1:6, 2:1 and 38:4-7 we are told there are multiple sons of God before the creation and Satan was among them. Job indentifies the saviour as one of the (governing) thousand of the Angelic Host (Job 33:23). This work shows that there were multiple sons of God and multiple Morning Stars from before the foundation of the earth. The Psalms show conclusively that the sons of God were the Angelic Host and this Host was referred to as elohim and that Christ confesses the saints before the council of the elohim (cf. Ps. 82:1). The psalm says that some have fallen and will die like any man (Ps. 82:6). This text refers to the entire Host both spiritual and physical. Proverbs 30:4 asks the specific questions concerning the activities of God and 30:5 provides the answer of the name of the One True God and the name of His son. The word is provided in the first line that says: every word of ELOAH is pure. From Ezra chapters 4 to 7 we know that Eloah is the God of the Temple and it is His Law and His Temple and we know that He has a son. Eloah is singular and admits of no plurality whatsoever. It is the basis of the Western Aramaic and the Chaldean Elahh equivalent of the Hebrew Eloah and is also used in the OT in Daniel. This word formed the basis of the Eastern Aramaic which became the Arabic Allah’. The elahhin and the elohim were synonymous and were understood anciently to refer to the sons of God. Daniel reflects that understanding in the text.
It is not as though the Armstrong system is unaware of these names. In lesson 8 of the Long Bible Correspondence Course the name of Eloah is mentioned as being the singular source of the name of God which became elohim. However, in the very next chapter they lapsed into Ditheist error or deception.
Another example of this understanding that was never followed up was the article by Herman Hoeh in the Plain Truth.
Part of Old Testament Not Written in Hebrew! Some deny we should ever translate the Hebrew names of Deity. But notice the Bible evidence! In the Old Testament the English word “God” is often a rendering of the Hebrew words El, Eloah, and Elohim. Remember that these words are as much God’s names as is YHWH (Ps. 69:30; Isa. 9:6 - also see the accompanying box, “God Has Many Names”).……..excerpted from “The Unknown God”, Nov/Dec 1972 PT by H. Hoeh.
This article also understood that Elahh and Allah’ derived from this structure. The tremendous implications of this understanding for Christian-Islamic dialogue was not realised and wasted. Their two-god theology was completely ineffective in communicating with Islam at any rate.
Armstrong and his ministry seemed totally unaware of the implications of the Bible texts which showed them to be wrong, and there is never any comprehensive analysis of these texts in their writings. They appear to have simply made this doctrine up. It is not recorded as being present in other Churches of God prior to Armstrong.
Continuing, Armstrong states: “To have been the Son of God at that prehistoric time, God would of necessity have existed prior to the Son’s birth. The Son, had that been the case, would have come into existence at the time of such birth. But, the “Logos” – the Word – had, like God, eternally self-existed.”
This shows the exact point at which he committed heresy and deceived many in the Churches of God who accepted this nonsense.
To be a Son of God before his incarnation would have meant that he could not be a coeternal being and must have come into existence subsequently to the existence of God. The Bible shows this to be the case in many areas and texts. Armstrong wanted to appeal to the US Trinitarians and he appears to have never understood what he was doing or saying in regard to this matter.
This error of theology was taken to blasphemous lengths. In the September/ October 1990 edition of the Good News an article by K. Neil Earle was written which was misleading in its premise but the sermons that were delivered from it, by both Australian and US officers of WCG, saw it taken to absurd and blasphemous lengths which shows the weakness in WCG Ditheist thought.
Earle said in the article: From Here Through Eternity (p. 7), So even before man’s creation, the executive spokesman for the God family, agreed to be made flesh (Jn. 1:1-3, 14) and die to pay the penalty of our wrong choices. (Rom. 5:8-10).
This was taken to the absurd lengths by officers in Australia and the US in declaring that God and Christ had a discussion as to who would come down and be sacrificed for the sins of the world. WCG Evangelist Gerald Waterhouse came to Australia for the Feast of Tabernacles in 1991 at Canberra ACT and gave a sermon stating exactly this blasphemous view. Notice that God had been turned into a family of two and Christ was the executive spokesman as though the One True God is less relevant in the scheme of operations. This is contrary to the sense of John 1:18. It also ignores the clear intent of Colossians 1:15 where Christ is the image of the Invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. One would have thought that text and Revelation 3:14 to be definitive statements.
This is not a new idea in WCG. In the article by Garner Ted Armstrong: Who – What – Was Jesus Before His Human Birth? (Good News, November/ December 1972, pp. 14-16), the God of the OT is portrayed as being Jesus Christ and he stated that the word Yahovah in the OT is not God the Father but is always Jesus Christ. These statements are uninformed. They did not seem to realise that the word Yahovah was applied to a number of beings and that there were two applications of Yahovah. When Yahovah of Hosts is used it always refers to the Father. Yahovah (SHD 3068) can refer to any person who is a messenger of God. It is a third person form of the verb Hayah and means He Causes to be (see New Oxford Annotated Bible RSV note f to Ex. 3:14). As discussed, there were four mentioned in Genesis 18-19 in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The other word for God is Yahovih (SHD 3069). This is always read by the Jews as Elohim and the word Yahovah is read as Adonai so as not to confuse the two entities. Yahovih refers to the Father.
It was for this reason that the word Yahovah was changed by the Sopherim in 134 places in the OT Masoretic Text (MT) to disguise the two entities.
The WCG seemed to have no idea of this structure and the alterations of the MT and simply made pronouncements that were simplistic and erroneous.
Armstrong argued that John 1:1 preceded Genesis in sequence.
John chapter one deals with the Monogenes Theos or only born God, in John 1:18, who being in the bosom of the Father, spoke. There were multiple elohim or sons of God of whom Christ was the only born and the prototokos or first begotten from the dead.
The doctrine that there was more than one God eternally is logically polytheist. It is not Christian. There have been many examples in history, such as the Zoroastrian system and that of Manichean Dualism, but these systems always postulated a good god and a bad god struggling for supremacy. The label Manichean Dualism was bandied about by the Roman Catholics in dealing with some of the Churches of God because they asserted that the power of creation had been allocated also to Satan during the world that was before the Tohu and Bohu of Genesis chapter one. As science improves, this view appears to be correct and explains the Nephilim, which Augustine of Hippo denied as being a product of the Fallen Host. The Catholics became stuck with this error.
Armstrong was aware of this, as was his ministry. One of them referred to the Ditheism of the sun cults found among the ancient Mayans of Guatemala and seemed to think they were correct. There were similar structures in many of the Central and South American cultures.
George L. Johnson wrote concerning the Nature of God and referred to these Mayan deities in 1973 just after Garner Ted Armstrong had written his article.
http://cog-ff.com/PDF/is-god-a-trinity.pdf author George L. Johnson Ambassador College Press Pasadena, California 1973.
On pages 21-22 in the section “Christ not created” he makes reference to the distinction between Christ and the other Angels, which is in essence a Binitarian / Trinitarian Doctrine that emanated from the Alexandrian School between 170 and 325 CE. Pages 24-25 relate the Mayan gods Tepeu, a sky god and one of the creator deities who participated in all three attempts at creating humanity and Gucamatz the feathered serpent deity to that of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Johnson seems to think that the pagan human-sacrificing Mayans were on to something.
The fact is that Armstrong, supported by his ministry, invented two Gods and then called God a family of two beings. He asserted that there were no sons of God up until the incarnation of Christ. As we know, this is a fabrication and a total misrepresentation of Scripture.
Yet the people that follow him continue to misrepresent the Scriptures and even embellish his fabrications. Someone taken in by this heresy is simply not reading the Bible and is suspending their rational judgment.
Armstrong stated in “Mystery of the Ages” in Mystery of the Church:
Why was it necessary that Jesus be actually God in the human flesh? (sic) As God he was the Maker of all mankind. In Ephesians 3:9 it is revealed that God created all things by Jesus Christ.
This argument is based on a premise from Greek philosophy that was used in Catholicism to introduce the Trinity. The argument is that only God could atone for man and a vicarious sacrifice could not suffice. The argument strikes at the power of God. Sin is transgression of the law (1Jn. 3:4) and incurs a debt under the law. It is that debt that was nailed to the stake by the death of Christ, as we are told in Colossians 2:14. Christ’s death cancelled our chierographon or bill of indebtedness under the law. He cancelled it because God said that by doing so he would cancel the debt. He had to prove something to become worthy to govern. God could have chosen anything to cancel the debt. Up until 30 CE He had accepted sacrifice and ordered Christ to set up a system of sacrifice that pointed towards him and the sacrifice. It was Christ that gave the Law of God to Moses and was with Israel in the wilderness (1Cor. 10:4). No man has seen God ever or heard His voice ever. Christ said so himself.
How early was this idea advanced in RCG/WCG? The nascent idea was advanced in the article “Is Jesus God?” (Plain Truth, Feb. 1950, pp. 3ff.; see attached.)
The Psalms show that David understood that the God of Israel was a being that had a God himself (Ps. 45:6-7). There can be no doubt that this being was Christ, as Hebrews 1:8-9 states that it was Christ. In biblical terms a God is a being that is responsible for the existence of the creation or it is a false God. It therefore follows, as a matter of logic, that if the God of Israel is the son of God and has a God, and had a God when David uttered the Psalm in the Holy Spirit, then the subordinate God is a product of its own God and hence could never be co-eternal with that being. The Bible is quite clear that there were multiple beings called elohim before the creation and multiple beings called Yahovah before the incarnation of Christ. Psalm 45:6-7 and Hebrews 1:8-9 state clearly that Christ has partners or comrades above whom he was elevated by his human life and death. Genesis chapters 18 and 19 show quite clearly and emphatically that there were four Yahovahs at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Three were on earth. One was with Abraham and the other two were with Lot and the fourth was in heaven and he rained fire on them from heaven (see the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24)).
Acts 7:35-38 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. 36 He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. 38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: (KJV)
And that Rock was Christ (1Cor. 10:4).
The historians are more or less unanimous that the early theology of the Church was a subordinationist view of Christ. The Jews understood what he was saying when Christ declared he was the son of God (Jn. 10: 34-36). Thus it is impossible that they did not know that the Father was mentioned in the OT and that the son of God was the Yahovah of Israel.
The God who became Jesus Christ was the God of the OT and God the Father took a back seat to OT operations turning it all over to Christ.
This assertion was made often in all parts of the ministry. The basic assumption seems to have been that when the OT referred to God it meant Jesus Christ, as the Father was allegedly not revealed until Christ began his ministry.
Armstrong’s assertion that God was not revealed in the OT is completely false. Psalm 110 shows that to be so, as did Psalm 45. Zechariah 2:8-10 shows that the Lord of Hosts sent the Yahovah of Israel to dwell in the midst of them. In the same way God reveals through Zechariah that the being at the head of the House of David and the Church is the Angel of the Lord (Zech. 12:8).
The Temple system was quite aware that the being in the wilderness at Sinai was the Angel of the Lord. They understood that the son of God allocated Israel as his inheritance was one of the Host and that is why they changed the text of Deuteronomy 32:8 (in the MT) to read: When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, When he separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. We know beyond doubt that this text read originally “according to the number of the sons of God”, and the Septuagint reads angels of God.
The RSV has this text corrected and it was known at the time Armstrong wrote but he seemed unaware of it. The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) have confirmed the reading. The elohim were all sons of God and were synonymous with the Angels of God. Armstrong’s premise was completely false in all of its aspects and argument.
Armstrong seems never to have read these chapters or books in any detail. At least he never understood them or referred to them in his writings and his ministry simply regurgitated what they were told without analysis or critical thought. One man stated that he was told by the ministry that he was “too intelligent to last long in WCG.” What an indictment of their integrity.
Armstrong’s attack on the Omnipotence of God
In both Mystery of the Ages (MOTA) and The Incredible Human Potential (TIHP) Armstrong asserted that Angels cannot die.
He says (TIHP, 1; p. 59):
The penalty of sin by the Angels was not death – for God had made them immortal spirit beings who cannot die. What God gave them was this earth as their abode and opportunity to qualify to possess and beautify the entire universe.
This idea is the satanic lie: “thou shalt not surely die.” It is a variation on the immortal soul doctrine.
He embellishes the assertion in Mystery of the Ages (2, p. 114):
Spirit beings, once a finished creation (as were the one third of the angels who became evil characters), could not be changed! Spirit, once its creation is completed, is constant and eternal – not subject to change. But physical nature is constantly changing.
Then, in the next paragraph, he makes a statement that logically renders what he has just written as absurd.
Through God’s master plan for his spiritual creation, to be covered later, it had been master planned by God and the Word that the word would divest himself of his supreme glory, and in due time take on him the likeness of human flesh, as Jesus Christ, making possible the spiritual phase of the creation of man – God REPRODUCING HIMSELF! What a MASTER PLAN for the extreme ULTIMATE in creative accomplishment! How GREAT is our God, in mind, purpose planning, designing as well as CREATING – from the tiniest germ or insect to the most huge sun, dwarfing our own great sun to insignificance!
And the incredible human potential is that the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD is, in man, reproducing himself - man can be born into the God FAMILY (emphasis retained)
It is heresy because:
The WCG asserted sadism to God in a number of doctrines.
The misuse of Revelation 20:13 to assert a Third Resurrection of the Lake of Fire to punish anyone who dared to question Armstrong or leave the church is an argument for a sadistic and vindictive deity that any rational person would have an ethical responsibility to oppose (see the paper Fallacy of the Third Resurrection (No. 166)).
In like fashion he had eternal punishment for the Fallen Host. His theology was every bit as horrible as the Roman Catholics he denounced.
From the Good News July 1974 by Robert Kuhn
What sort of a mind would dream this unbiblical nonsense up and assert it to God? The result of this doctrinal misuse was an abusive ministry and a self-righteous accusative membership. The end result was to destroy the faith of their children and fellow members and drive them away from the faith.
Two True Gods and manifestation in the flesh
Now it might be argued on Armstrong’s behalf that Christ was one of two true Gods, both of whom were immortal, and thus he had the capacity to die when the Host did not do so. He thus could not be immortal.
The problem is that the Bible is clear that there is only One True God and that He sent Jesus Christ, and understanding that fact and knowing these beings is the requirement for eternal life (Jn. 17:3).
The assertion that God was manifested in the flesh rests on a forgery in Codex A in 1Timothy 3:16 reproduced in the KJV. It relies on the word for God being a contraction of two Greek letters, which are additions by different scribes in different ink.
Bullinger made the notes regarding this fact and the notations were in the margin of the R.V. so there is no excuse for Armstrong and his team being unaware of the forgery. This forgery was also quoted by the WCG ministry when trying to introduce the Trinity, and the same ministry formed the offshoots.
Paul is quite clear, one would have thought, where later, in 1Timothy 6:16, he says in reference to God:
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
The Bible is clear, only God has intrinsic immortality. No man has seen Him nor ever can see Him. He conferred that status on Christ and will confer it on the entire Host both Physical and Spiritual. They do not now have such immortality.
Christ was clearly seen both in OT times and as a human being. Christ died. God is immortal. He confers this immortality on the entire Host. Firstly, God conferred it on Christ, which He did from his ascension. He will then confer it on the entire Host in the progression of His plan.
It should have been obvious to a person of average intelligence that if Christ could die then the rest of the Host could die also, using more or less the same process. That is exactly what the Bible says is to happen.
We have seen the text of Psalm 82:6-7. In verse 7 it is written: But you shall die like men and fall like one of the princes.
Christ used this text in reply to the High Priest when he declared himself to be the son of God.
The text obviously refers to all of the Host, but are there other witnesses in the Scriptures that state that Spirit can die?
Christ is one example. The sequence was that Christ gave up his spiritual form and went to God who then made him a zygote in the womb of Mariam.
Thus it is spirit reduced to human form and then death and resurrection. That is what we see precisely in Scripture in regard to Satan and the Fallen Host.
The Holy Spirit says through Isaiah what is to happen. Isaiah chapter 14 refers to Satan as the Lucifer.
Isaiah 14:9 shows that Sheol or the grave is moved up for him to meet him at his coming.
In verse 10-11: “All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.”
To remove all doubt as to whom we are speaking of, verses 12-14 identify the being and what he tried to do.
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also on the mount of the congregation in the sides of the North. 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the MOST HIGH.
The extraordinary thing is that these ministers quoted this text all the time and identified it as referring to Satan and yet did not read the full texts of the chapter, which clearly says that Satan was to be killed and sent to the grave to await the Resurrection. Only the Second Resurrection could have been meant as the kings of the Nations were involved, and it is clear they are not in the First Resurrection.
To remove any doubt, Ezekiel 28:14-18 identifies Satan as the anointed covering cherub that walked in the Mountain of God and who was perfect until he sinned and God cast him to the ground. God states He will bring a fire from within him and reduce him to ashes. Satan will thus be killed and resurrected as a human being and the texts are clear on that aspect. Scripture cannot be broken (Jn. 10:34-35).
The same ministry referred to these texts and publicly stated in sermon after sermon that it referred to Satan yet never read or explained or seemed to understand the plain language and intent of the texts.
The logical absurdity of both Binitarianism and Trinitarianism was explained in the paper Binitarianism and Trinitarianism (No. 76). It can safely be said that the term Binitarianism was neither used nor understood by the ministry or members of WCG until it was used and explained by the CCG papers.
The logical polytheism of the Armstrong position led many less than honest apologists to begin to assert that the early church was Binitarian and thus the WCG and its offshoots hold the original doctrines. This fallacy has been supported by Trinitarian writers in the Adventist system trying to find an insipient basis for Trinitarianism in the early church. Larry Hurtado is such an apologist. The quasi-Trinitarian Apologists in LCG and UCG have followed this line of argument despite knowing that it is a fabrication.
Binitarianism originated in the worship of the sun and mystery cults with Attis in the West, and Adonis among the Greeks and Osiris/Isis among the Egyptians.
Christianity only had one real rival in Rome and that was Attis. In the middle of the second century (154/5 BCE) the bishop of Rome, Anicetus, introduced Easter into the church in Rome. Sunday had been insinuated alongside the Sabbath from 111 CE.
The theology of Attis was persistent, and his converts to Christianity brought with them the heresy of Binitarianism. Once Easter was introduced the theology had to be expounded so as to more readily appeal to the worshippers of Attis. This process is not taught in any church institution except CCG so it becomes immediately obvious where the Trinitarians got their doctrines. It was Attis that was killed at Easter. He was killed on a tree of pine. It is his system that decorates the tree for 24 December. It is the invincible sun that is presented on 25 December. It is he that was resurrected by the mother goddess on Sunday. She was also his lover as Easter, or Rhea, or Cybele and many others. No genuine Christian would stand for it and so they withhold the truth in unrighteousness and teach their people lies.
Many among them in the Churches of God are opportunists or are straight out Trinitarian plants whose sole aim is to destroy the Church of God.
The theology of Attis began to be introduced by stealth from Rome and Alexandria. The process and theology is explained in the paper Binitarian and Trinitarian Misrepresentation of the Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127b).
Binitarianism asserts that God made from himself the deity who became His own son. It is not to be confused with Sabellianism. The doctrine of Sabellianism had to be denounced because it did away with the Binitarian structure that was essential to the structure of Attis. That view held that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were simply different modes or manifestations of the same person. Attis was, however, understood to be a separate being produced from the Father comprising one God.
It was from this doctrine that the Trinity began to be built and it went from 170 until it was adopted at Nicaea in 325. It lasted two years and was then denounced as heresy in 327 and the Biblical Unitarians were reinstated by Constantine. They remained in power until Theodosius was appointed co-emperor by Gratian and the Council was convened at Constantinople in 381 and the Trinity was asserted. That error caused the rise of Islam and ultimately saw the suppression of the Biblical Christianity. It will be the ultimate cause of the wars of the end. The Biblical Unitarians were called Arians to disguise their authenticity by Binitarian/Trinitarian heretics (see the paper Binitarian and Trinitarian Misrepresentation of the Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127b)).
Binitarianism is not a Christian doctrine. It is a pagan heresy that has no place in the Church of God and those that espouse it should be removed as idolaters.
So too is Ditheism a pagan heresy that has no place in the Church of God. The ministry that espouses it has to repent to make the Resurrection.
It is a major reason that God smashed the WCG system into ineffective offshoots.
From January 1946, when Armstrong states in his autobiography that the WCG system had its beginnings as a worldwide work, to January 1986, which is exactly 40 years, to his death, this Church of God system of the Sardis era has been removed as a worldwide work and reduced to squabbling offshoots competing with one another for tithe-paying members and is confined predominately to the USA.
The Catastrophe Develops
This Bizarre Ditheist Doctrine has been taken to what are asserted to be the logical conclusions of the doctrine and without doubt would make the Antinomian Gnostics praise their Binitarian god Attis with fervour.
What follows is the development of the argument of Armstrong that the One True God who is Father of all was not mentioned in the OT. One man has taken it to the conclusion that because the Father was not mentioned in the OT then the First Commandment is meant to cover only the being Jesus Christ because he is the god of the OT. Aside from being a blatant lie it demonstrates the irrational treatment of the doctrine and where it might lead and has led.
GOD IN THE O.T. AND THE JEWISH UNDERSTANDING
Author: Frank W. Nelte
Date: March 1994
“4) All of the apostles were Jews, and they had grown up believing in one God, but they still had a hard time understanding about God the Father. Why? Part of the answer lies in the fact that the God of Old Testament Israel was NOT God the Father! The Father was basically unknown in O.T. times.
The God who dealt with the Israelites in Egypt and then in the wilderness and then on throughout their history was Jesus Christ, NOT God the Father. This is something the Church of God has understood since Mr. Armstrong's time.”
This may well be true in that it is only since Herbert Armstrong has such a false and idolatrous doctrine been developed. The work continues on with the development to the blasphemy regarding the First Commandment:
“5) Notice what Exodus 20 actually says:
And God spake all these words, saying, I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:1-3)
A) WHO was speaking those words? The answer is JESUS CHRIST!
B) HOW does Christ identify Himself to Israel? The answer is as the "YHWH your Elohim who has brought Israel out of Egypt".
THIS IDENTIFICATION IS VITALLY IMPORTANT!
C) WHY is this identification embedded in the 10 commandments?
D) WHAT does Exodus 20:3 actually mean? ... "You shall have no other gods BEFORE ME"? WHO is saying these words?
Is Jesus Christ, the Speaker of these verses, saying: ‘you shall have no other gods before God the Father’? NO, that is not what He said! Christ said to Israel: ‘before ME’!
Can we grasp the clear significance of Exodus 20:3? Israel had no idea that there was a "God the Father" He had not been revealed to them by Christ. Jesus Christ Himself was dealing with the nation of Israel, and He told them not to have any other gods before Him, Jesus Christ. He chose to reveal Himself to them as ‘YHWH, your Elohim’ who had brought them out of Egypt.
E) Was Christ putting Himself ahead of God the Father by instructing Israel to worship Him, Jesus Christ? NO, not at all! God the Father and Jesus Christ had decided and agreed that:
- Christ would be the One to do all the creating;
- Christ would be the One to deal with mankind until the whole plan of salvation was completed;
- Christ would reveal Himself to Israel;
- Christ would, prior to His first coming, keep the existence of the Father hidden from Israel in general;
- In O.T. times Christ would only reveal the Father's existence to a very few selected individuals, for God's own reasons;
- Only at His first coming would Christ reveal the existence of God the Father to mankind;
- But only once the plan of salvation had been brought to completion would God the Father come into contact with mankind and ...’be their God’.
The point of this verse is that until Christ actually hands the kingdom over to the Father, He is the One to fully administer it; to run things as the ‘Chief Executive’, on the Father's behalf.”
Note the complete failure to comprehend all the areas listed above that show this view to be false. It is almost as though they have no ability to rationally analyse the texts. The writer here has no concept of the subordinate Yahovah of Israel who is one of the sons of God mentioned specifically in Deuteronomy 32:8. The writer also has no idea of the forgeries in the MT by the Sopherim in this text. Nor does he seem aware of the many mentions of the Father and the sons of God in the OT text.
He continues on with:
“6) The God to whom the people of Israel prayed in Old Testament times was Jesus Christ. He was the One who intervened for them and helped them and also punished them. Time and time again He is identified as "the God who had brought them out of Egypt". This very pinpointed identification is used right throughout the Old Testament. In addition to Exodus 20:2 here are 40 other verses where this form of identifying the God of Israel is used:
And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. (Judges 2:1)
But just because Israel did not KNOW that there was in fact another God-Being ‘greater’ than Jesus Christ, does not mean that God the Father did not exist as a separate Being during Old Testament times. Deuteronomy 29:29, already given in the days of Moses, tells us:
This tells us that God chose not to reveal certain ‘secret things’ to people in the days of Moses. WHY? WHAT would some of those ‘secret things’ be? Could it be that that could include something like God the Father saying (in effect): ‘At this stage you don't need to know that I exist. I have determined that I will reveal My existence to mankind in general when My Son fulfills His earthly ministry’? And so Christ came to reveal, or to make known, the Father, which is what the New Testament tells us, right?
Look at the ten commandments again! Read Exodus 20:1-3! Then check the 40 verses above, that identify the God of Israel. Jesus Christ is the only God Israel knew. They did not NEED to know about the Father's existence. Why should they? If they didn't have the heart to obey the God they knew about, the One who had brought them out of Egypt ...
O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29)
... then what would have been the point in making known to them the existence of God the Father? They would just have rejected the Father as well.”
He seems completely oblivious of all the various texts where they are both mentioned such as Proverbs 30:4-5 or Zechariah 2:8-9; or the multiple occasions in Job and the texts in Deuteronomy or the Psalms, such as Psalm 45, or the obvious logic of Psalm 110, or the concept of the Elyon as God Most High, or the many Psalms that show The Most High God over the congregations of the Elohim. Nor does he seem to understand the meaning of Eloah and the absolute singularity of the name and its position over the elohim as sons of God. It is as though the writer here is biblically illiterate.
The usage of the terms Elohim as Elohim of the Host and the sons of the God when Christ takes his place among them or where Ha Elohim The God is above them all are in Psalms 82:1,6; 86:8; 95:3; 96:4,5; 97:7,9; 135:5; 136:2; 138:1.
He then blunders on as follows:
“8) That is why the fact that there were TWO God-Beings in a very close relationship to each other, which they were in the process of developing into a Family-relationship, is only very, very briefly referred to in the Old Testament.
And in Psalm 45:6-7
Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom [is] a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalm 45:6-7)
Even though they correctly knew they were dealing with only one God, they still misunderstood many Scriptures and misinterpreted them. This includes their misunderstanding of what Deuteronomy 6:4 means. It also includes many other Scriptures. Jesus Christ said as much in Matthew 22:29.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29)
So the JEWISH understanding about the nature of God in the Old Testament is not really important one way or the other! It is evident that they LACKED a great deal of understanding.
It is the understanding that God had revealed to Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and he taught it to God's Church. There are no Scriptures that contradict this understanding. Only the carnal reasoning of the philosophers of old is at odds with this understanding.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:21-22)”
How can any rational thinker read Psalm 45:6-7 and think that the Bible is silent on the two beings, one of whom is the subordinate of the other, not being mentioned in the Old Testament? This, given that Hebrews chapter 1 specially repeats the important structure of this Psalm and identifies the subordinate entity as Jesus Christ, and uses the Greek word metaxous which specifically means partners and translates the Hebrew in Psalm 45 as meaning partners. What is even more intellectually dishonest is that this writer tries to assert that the word in the Hebrew does not mean partners when the same word metaxous is used to translate the word in the LXX. It has no other meaning than partner, or comrade or associate. These are the other sons of God. It seems that these people will say anything rather than admit their false prophet was wrong both theologically and prophetically.
As was stated above the Jews understood what he was saying when Christ declared he was the son of God (Jn. 10: 34-36). Thus it is impossible that they did not know that the Father was mentioned in the OT and that the son of God was the Yahovah of Israel. That was why they convicted him of blasphemy and had him killed.
The Ditheist and Binitarian heresies have to be exposed and stamped out of the Churches of God.
Creation of the Sons of God
In dealing with the position of the Sons of God the Binitarians/Trinitarians/Ditheists were faced with a serious problem in the OT in that the sons of God were all understood as the Heavenly Assembly or the Council of the Elohim. The structure of the subordinate Yahovah of Israel had to be hidden being allocated Israel as one of the sons of God because it was not acceptable to the post-170 CE Binitarian structure of Roman Christianity based on the system of Ishtar and the structure of the God Attis, and also that of Adonis and Osiris, Mithra and Baal and in the Middle East. From 170 CE the Church theologians began to introduce the distinction between Christ as a son of God and the Heavenly Host as sons of God. They introduced the concept that the sons of God were angels and distinct from Christ who was the son of God that was uncreated. This Binitarian thesis derived from the worship of the god Attis was adopted into Christianity and developed in Binitarianism to a point where Christ was elevated above the Host and made a part of God distinct from the Host and then it was commenced to assert that Christ created the Host from a misreading of Paul in the NT.
This heresy developed until the Council of Nicaea and was adopted for two years and then thrown out along with the Athanasians until they regained power in 381 CE. The Trinity was then advanced and the canons of Nicaea were reconstructed from the Council of Constantinople of 381 and then formalised at Chalcedon in 451. Let us be clear of one thing. This heresy was never part of the doctrines of the Churches of God until Herbert Armstrong inserted Ditheism in the Radio COG and the WCG in the twentieth century. The offshoots developed Binitarianism afterwards to try to make sense out of Armstrong’s doctrines and develop the groundswell for Trinitarianism to be developed.
The History of the Doctrines as developed from 170 CE is explained in the paper Binitarian and Trinitarian Misrepresentation of the Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127b).
The forgery of Deuteronomy 32:8 in the MT had to be explained as it was discovered by the scholars who noted the divergence in the MT and the LXX and then found that the text of the Pentateuch available in Judea at the time if Christ showed the LXX was correct and they had to deal with it.
That text shows that the sons of God of the elohim of the Heavenly Host had been allocated the nations and that Yahovah had been allocated Israel as his inheritance. The nation of Judah at the time of Christ understood that the Yahovah of Israel was the son of God and that was why they killed Christ when he declared himself as the son of God. This relationship was understood at the time of Christ and the subordinate elohim of Israel was declared in Psalm 45:6-7 as being anointed by His Elohim or God with the oil of gladness above his partners. We know this was Christ from Hebrews 1:8-9 and subsequent verses in the text. The following text shows how the Trinitarians reacted to this text and how they tried to develop the text as referring to the Father which is impossible and strikes at the very structure of Spiritual Israel as the body of Christ. It is correct that the Elyon is the Father and God Most High who allocated the nations. There is only ONE God Most High. Otherwise in language and logic He could not be the Most High God and Elyon would have no meaning in language (cf. Jn. 17:3).
NET © When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided up humankind, he set the boundaries of the peoples, according to the number of the heavenly assembly.
NET © Notes
1 tn The Hebrew term עֶליוֹן (’elyon) is an abbreviated form of the divine name El Elyon, frequently translated “God Most High” (so here NCV, CEV) or something similar. This full name (or epithet) occurs only in Gen 14, though the two elements are parallel in Ps 73:11; 107:11; etc. Here it is clear that Elyon has to do with the nations in general whereas in v. 9, by contrast, Yahweh relates specifically to Israel. See T. Fretheim, NIDOTTE 1:400-401. The title depicts God as the sovereign ruler of the world, who is enthroned high above his dominion.
2 tn Heb “the sons of man” (so NASB); or “the sons of Adam” (so KJV).
3 tc Heb “the sons of Israel.” The idea, perhaps, is that Israel was central to Yahweh’s purposes and all other nations were arranged and distributed according to how they related to Israel. See S. R. Driver, Deuteronomy (ICC), 355-56. For the MT יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּנֵי (bÿney yisra’el, “sons of Israel”) a Qumran fragment has “sons of God,” while the LXX reads ἀγγέλων θεοῦ (angelwn theou, “angels of God”), presupposing בְּנֵי אֵל (bÿney ’el) or בְּנֵי אֵלִים (beney ’elim). “Sons of God” is undoubtedly the original reading; the MT and LXX have each interpreted it differently. MT assumes that the expression “sons of God” refers to Israel (cf. Hos. 1:10), while LXX has assumed that the phrase refers to the angelic heavenly assembly (Pss; cf. as well Ps 82). The phrase is also attested in Ugaritic, where it refers to the high god El’s divine assembly. According to the latter view, which is reflected in the translation, the Lord delegated jurisdiction over the nations to his angelic host (cf. Dan. 10:13-21), while reserving for himself Israel, over whom he rules directly. For a defense of the view taken here, see M. S. Heiser, “Deuteronomy 32:8 and the Sons of God,” BSac 158 (2001): 52-74.
Note the view of The Yahovah being the Elyon here is incorrect and Christ’s own comments reflect that in John 10:34-36. The texts in Zechariah 2:8-9 and also in 12:8 show that there are two Yahovahs involved. One is sent by the other who is Yahovah of Hosts who cannot be Jesus Christ. It is the subordinate Yahovah that is sent to save Israel and Jerusalem as we know from the entire NT text.
These points and the position were always understood by the Churches of God until Armstrong introduced the Ditheist heresy. We then get all sorts of crazy arguments introduced by people trained in his ministry.
This bizarre notion introduced from Attis had then to be applied by some of the ex-WCG ministry and some of it is truly bizarre. One such argument developed by a rather obscure local elder of that church, Frank Nelte, follows along the lines of the Binitarians of Attis where Christ is portrayed not only as we have seen as being the object of the First Commandment but also as the creator of the Angelic Host based on the notion of Armstrong that the Father was not mentioned in the OT, which is a complete fabrication.
In answer to a UCG writing on Satan, Frank Nelte continued this absurd argument declaring Christ as the Morning Star and thus because Satan was referred to as the Lucifer and son of the Morning he was therefore the creator of Satan.
However, He was the son of God and he did not reject Satan’s statement in the trial in the desert where Satan asserted and tested him as the son of God. Christ did not assert that he had created Satan there where if he had created him he would have said, “I am your God,” which we know from Psalm 45 he was not and also we know from Psalm 110 that the One True God told him to sit at his right hand until he made his enemies his footstool. Christ said to Satan that we are to: worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve. Armstrong’s Ditheism has led to more theological error by his followers than ever before seen in the Churches of God. (See Frank Nelte: "A Response to the UCG Statement on the Name Lucifer.")
To defend Armstrong’s Ditheism, Frank Nelte tries to separate Christ from the sons of God, as did the Binitarians of Attis at Rome from 170 to 325 to defend the falsehood.
His conclusion is that because Satan is referred to as "son of the morning" or "son of the dawn" in Isaiah 14:12, and Christ is referred to as "the morning star" in Revelation 22:16, therefore Jesus Christ created Satan because of reference to Satan as being a "son of the morning." The fact that there were multiple Morning Stars at the laying down of the Earth when Eloah created it is lost on him or he does not compute the logic (cf. Job 38:4-7). There is no assertion in the Bible that Christ created the sons of God. He is referred to as the son of God and not the father and no one, not even a Trinitarian Bible Scholar, would make such an assertion, although many Trinitarians in the US “religion business” would say seemingly anything.
Basically Frank is also stating that the word "Lucifer" is a created word within the Latin Vulgate and the UCG writer does not understand its meaning as it is used in reference to Satan. So Frank makes an attempt to define the possible meaning of the word "Lucifer" in Hebrew and how the word may apply in the Hebrew to Satan in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. He then compares “Lucifer” to the Greek word "Phosphoros" in 2Peter 1:19 as it applies to Christ. He states:
"THIS APPLICATION OF THE NAME “LUCIFER” TO JESUS CHRIST IN 2PETER 1:19 IS BLATANTLY LEFT OUT OF THE PICTURE IN THE UCG STATEMENT!"
“The UCG comments that the Greek “phosphoros” and the Latin “lucifer” were both applied to the planet Venus are basically okay, but they are misapplied! The intent for the inclusion of those statements about Venus is to provide some justification for applying the name “lucifer” to Satan, but without saying so directly. It is a matter of trying to justify the name “lucifer” for Satan through the back door!”
Then in Frank Nelte's conclusion he becomes logically incoherent with his Armstrong Ditheism. He states:
“However, IF the expression “son of the morning” is indeed a correct reflection of the intended meaning, THEN the expression “SON of the morning” simply tells us that this “heylel” was PRODUCED or CREATED by another individual who is here referred to as “the Morning”. It is Jesus Christ who is in Revelation 2:28 referred to as “the Morning Star” and in Revelation 22:16 as “the Bright and Morning Star”. So the expression “SON of the Morning” in Isaiah 14:12 simply means that Satan WAS CREATED BY JESUS CHRIST. When God Himself was speaking in Isaiah 14:12, God most assuredly was not thinking of the planet Venus!”
The incoherent reasoning of these Armstrong adherents is truly bizarre. We know that Satan was among the sons of God that came before the throne of God and was stated as such in Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:4-7. Satan was an anointed covering cherub and was himself a Morning Star and the Morning Star of this planet and is still the Morning Star of this planet, and these people don’t seem to get it. He is referred to as the “god of this earth” (theoi for elohim; 2Cor. 4:4) and that was never disputed by any of the Churches of God.
The fact is that they are arguing from false premises and both Binitarians and Ditheists are using a false premise. One is that there were two true Gods from the beginning and the one that became the Father agreed to let the other come down and become his son. They claim incorrectly that he was never referred to as such in the OT. The Binitarians assert that one came from the other as an emanation of the divine being and became his son at conception. In this false premise both follow the same doctrine and that is the worship of the god Attis and it is pagan heresy.
Do not be deceived by either. That is why they are dead and no longer part of the Body of Christ going into the First Resurrection.
The obvious comment is that Lucifer was the Light Bearer before he came to be known as Satan. See also the paper Lucifer: Light Bearer and Morning Star (No. 223).]
Appended are two articles extracted from publications of the Worldwide Church of God as follows:
1) Where is God the Father in the Old Testament? (Good News, July 1974)
2) Is Jesus God? (The Plain Truth, Volume XV, Number 1, February 1950)