Christian Churches of God
Antinomian Destruction of Christianity by Misuse of Scripture
(Edition 1.0 20100316-2010316)
The Christian Faith has been attacked and undermined from its very beginning. The attacks are based on the Gnostic structures that have attached themselves like parasites onto both the Pagan and Jewish systems that preceded it. The two main thrusts of Gnosticism are aimed at the Nature of God and the Laws of God. The Scriptures here can assist in Bible marking.
Antinomian Destruction of Christianity by Misuse of Scripture
The Churches of God have been systematically destroyed over the centuries by groups of people coming into the Churches of God introducing pagan philosophy and predominantly Gnostic theology in the form of Antinomianism.
We will examine how this parasitic religion came to become the mainstream system in Christianity and how it consistently is used to penetrate the Churches of God and undermine those who are not properly grounded in the faith.
Gnosticism was split into three forms and like a parasite attached itself to the particular religious system it found most expedient.
Henry A. Green wrote on Gnosticism in his work The Economic and Social Origins of Gnosticism (SBL Dissertation Series 77, Scholars Press, Atlanta Georgia, 1985).
The social organisation was structured from Babylon and the model inherent in the second chapter of Daniel was formed and superimposed from a religious structure as well as the socio-political organisation of society. It was a religio-political Empire that developed from Babylon through the Medes and Persians to the Greeks which formed the torso of bronze and then split into a twofold empire which was taken over by the legs of iron of the Romans. The system then became the religio-political structure of the Holy Roman Empire of the feet of iron and clay and now is reforming itself into the Empire of the Beast of the ten toes of iron and clay that is the final phase of the structure (see the paper World War III: Part I Empire of the Beast (No. 299A)).
Green does a good job in pinpointing the basis of the system in the Alexandrian structure. Green examined the Ptolemaic mode of production from the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great to the first century AD. It is in effect a case study of certain pre-capitalist social and economic formations through an examination of the means of the modes of production which characterised them.
Marx is completely wrong in his theory of production and social development. Such divisions of history derive from one fundamental source and that source is found in the Babylonian system which became one of indefinite feudalism. The socio-political studies have been to draw up a system that would evolve ‘from certain forms of the Asiatic mode of production to certain forms of feudalism, without going through a slave stage’ (M. Godlier, The Concept of the ‘Asiatic Mode of Production’ and Marxist models of Social Evolution in Sedden, ed. Relations of Production, 242 and 245; cf. Green ibid., p. 18).
The application of the Book of Daniel is a complex interaction of the social and political development of the Babylonian system and of false religion in its continued enslavement of the world until the Last Days. The Chinese system will continue with that feudal model also.
Green in his work shows the social origins in the Alexandrian-Egyptian model. His hypotheses are on two central themes:
He develops his dissertation within the framework of the sociology of knowledge and the sociology of religion (cf. ibid., pp. 18-19).
The development of Gnosticism in Egypt was facilitated by the sheer size and dispersion of the Jews and the synagogues in Egypt. Green identifies just how numerous and diverse they were and shows that the group function of the Torah reading and the centrality of the Law of God began to be diminished from the customary studies of ten men and seven readers down to one or two readers and a much more diverse and individualist structure and one that became based on the Septuagint (cf. Green, ibid., pp. 104-107).
The myth of the Oral Law was developed from Jewish Gnosticism so that the social structure based on the Laws of God could be undermined and broken down using the proto-pharisaic system to develop the Traditions that were to lead to those referred to in the Mishnah and the Talmud as developed from post-Temple period Rabbinical Judaism.
The Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees were written and introduced by proto-Pharisees in the second century BCE from Egypt based on false calendars with a solar and Egyptian basis.
Gnosticism came not only from the Jews but also from those in diverse religious forms in Egypt based from Alexandria.
It was these elements that combined to develop the antinomian theory of Gnosticism so that the Laws of God were attacked and destroyed from both sides. On the one hand, the myth of the Oral law was used to destroy the thrust and intent of the Laws of God as written in the text of the Bible, and on the other hand Christ was portrayed as a new and different God to that of the evil God of the OT that both the Philosophical Greco-Romans and the Christians were duty bound to resist.
The fact that Christ was the Being that gave the law to Moses at Sinai was resisted or hidden by the Gnostics.
The Oral law was used to destroy the Conjunction-based Calendar of the Temple period and the actual intent of the Laws of God by using so-called Oral Traditions to alter the effect and intent of the actual written law. The Oral Law traditions appear to have been written in Alexandria by Gnostic Jews from the second century BCE using Ptolemaic influences and Babylonian traditions that came from the captivity.
The Greco-Romans then used the theology of Attis and Adonis with that of the Egyptian Mystery cults of Osiris and Isis to break Christianity down and completely paganised it. They used the sun and mystery cults to effect Antinomianism under the guise of Christianity. The mechanics of the process in the second century have been explained in the examination of the process in the paper Binitarian and Trinitarian Misrepresentation of the Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127b).
The emergence of Christianity in the first century CE saw it face the developed forces of Gnosticism that had been organised with the religio–political developments in Egypt from the formation of the Ptolemaic systems there, and the necessity for the removal of slavery yet maintain a cohesive society that was more or less feudal.
In Egypt the mysteries were still in operation under the Osiris-Isis cult. In Rome it was with Attis and Cybele or Rhea, and in Greece and Thrace it was Adonis and the fertility cults with Demeter. Anciently it was Baal-Ashtoreth in Canaan and in Syria it was Dercato and the other aspects of the Sun cults and Demeter of the fertility systems. The mystery and sun cults enshrined this Antinomianism as part of its fertility rites.
In order to do away with the Laws of God it had to be done through the Jews in Alexandria.
The diminishing of the status of the upper class Jews by the Roman and Greek upper classes saw a change from the traditionalist to a reorganisation of the Law into a secret oral law so that it facilitated the antinomian and sectarian development of the Jewish social classes in Egypt (cf. Green, ibid., 4.3 Jewish Origins, pp. 174-177). It was in these social circumstances we saw the development of the Pharisees and the dogmatic basis of the Mishnah (ca. 2nd century CE) and ultimately the Talmud at a much later date.
Pharisaic Judaism and the oral traditions grew out of Alexandrian Gnosticism to facilitate the introduction of the variation and elimination of the written Laws of God, and to allow innovation in the Jewish written legal code to facilitate Antinomianism.
The Gnostics were given a free hand when the Christian structure was formed with Christ and the apostles.
The Gnostics then created the fiction that the Laws of God were actually the creation of the evil god Jaldabaoth and the New Testament did away with those laws by the New God, Jesus Christ.
Gnosticism in Christianity came in two sections and then three forms. The system and the development were explained in the text Vegetarianism and the Bible (No. 183) because of its importance to asceticism and the rejection of the food laws. To place some of the antinomian comment in this work in context we will deal with the subject of Gnosticism again here.
“Another school of Gnosticism developed in Syria and was to produce a series of ascetic and anti-law thinkers. The most famous of this school is Simon Magus.
The two great schools of Gnosticism were thus the Alexandrian and the Syrian. Of the Alexandrian school which included Basilides, Valentine and the Ophites, we find Platonism and the emanation theory prevail. In the Syrian school which consisted of Saturninus, Bardesanes and Tatian, we find Parsiism and Dualism prevail.
Distinct from these two schools was the system of Marcion arising in Asia Minor. Schaff alleges this to be through the legacy of Paul and his strong free gospel message in opposition to legalism (see Schaff, The History of the Christian Church, Vol. 2, Eerdmans, Michigan, 1987 reprint, p. 459). Schaff appears to have misunderstood the message of Paul in this matter (see the paper The Works of the Law Text - or MMT (No. 104) and the Law series (No. 252-No. 263)).
Gnosticism appeared in three forms depending upon the system on to which it grafted itself. These are the Pagan, Jewish and Christian forms. Thus it is not surprising to find Jewish writers supporting Gnostic ascetic concepts from the Old Testament, which run counter to the thrust of the Old Testament law and prophecy. This intrusion was affected through Kabbalah and is found among their most prominent rabbis. That so-called Jewish writers and so-called Christian writers can both construct ascetic doctrines around the Bible misusing Scripture should not be surprising. They are not espousing biblical doctrines; they are supporting their parasite Gnostic system, which has syncretised both systems on which they feed. This recognition is most important in understanding the insidious nature of their theology.
Schaff holds that the Simonians, Nicolaitans, Ophites, Carpocratians, Prodicians, Antitactes, and Manicheans belong to a paganising class of Gnostics. He holds Cerinthus, Basilides, Valentine, and Justin belong to a Judaising class and Saturninus, Marcion, Tatian, and the Encratites to a Christianising division (ibid., p. 460). But he notes correctly that the distinction is only relative. All Gnostic systems are heathen in their character and essentially opposed alike to the pure Judaism of the Old Testament and the Christianity of the New Testament. He says:
The Judaism of the so-called Judaising Gnostics is only of an apocryphal sort, whether of the Alexandrian or the Cabalistic tinge (ibid.).
At note 1 to page 460 he notes Gibbon as dwelling exclusively on their anti-Jewish feature making them express his own aversion to the Old Testament. An important point is that the Kabbalist elements, which widely penetrated Jewish philosophy, seek to influence Old Testament theology with asceticism and this is widespread in Judaism.”
As we saw above the marginalisation of the Jewish upper class saw Antinomianism enter the Jewish structure in Egypt and from there penetrate Pharisaic Judaism in Judea. Finally in 344 CE two Babylonian rabbis introduced the calendar structure based on the Babylonian intercalations which bear no resemblance to the Temple System and the Temple Calendar. Rabbi Hillel II accepted the heresy and introduced the “Modern Jewish Calendar” or the Hillel in 358 CE and from then on it became virtually impossible for any Jew following it to keep God’s Laws and His calendar. The fiction that Judah was entrusted with the Oracles of God was put forward in the 20th century to justify its heretical adoption in the Churches of God (cf. the paper The Oracles of God (No. 184)).
The corruption of the Temple Calendar began with this Alexandrian Gnosticism and the Jews there in the second century BCE (see the paper Distortion of God’s Calendar in Judah (No. 195B)). The later developments of the postponements are explained in the paper The Calendar and the Moon: Postponements or Festivals? (No. 195).
As we noted in paper No. 183, “Schaff divided the Gnostics into three divisions: the speculative or theosophic Gnostics in which he groups Basilides and Valentine; the practical and ascetic (Marcion, Saturninus and Tatian); and the anti-nomian under which he groups Simonians, Nicolaitans, Ophites, Carpocratians, and Antitactes.
Thus the major doctrine of the Nicolaitans is Antinomianism or the doing away with the Law of God. See the paper The Nicolaitians (No. 202).
Simon Magus is perhaps the earliest mystical influence on Christianity (Acts 8:4-24). Simon Magus was baptised by Philip in Samaria about 40 CE and sought to obtain the power of the spirit with money and was dismissed by Peter. Justin Martyr, himself a Samaritan, claims Simon was a native of Gitthon in Samaria (Apol. 1, 26). There was a place referred to as Gittai, now called Kuryet Jit, near Flavia Neapolis or Nablus, the home of Justin Martyr (cf. Schaff, p. 461, fn. 2). Josephus however records a Jewish magician of the same name who was a native of Cyprus and a friend of the Procurator Felix. It seems he was employed to alienate, from her husband, Drusilla the wife of King Azizus of Emesa, in Syria. Felix hoped to marry her (Antiquities of the Jews, XX, 7, 2). The story would therefore be one of movement from Samaria to Syria to achieve the aims of the procurator. Baptism in the church was apparently just another money-making scheme. The name simony is still used for the traffic in church offices.
Simon presented himself as an emanation of the deity and drew many in Samaria by his sorcery. He thus appeared to be an early Jewish mystic, perhaps the forerunner of Kabbalism operating outside of the limits of Judaic power. Irenaeus identifies him as the magister and progenitor of all heretics and of the Gnostics in particular. This of course is incorrect as Gnosticism was a force in Egypt some time before this. It does note that he was a Gnostic and of great importance to the movement; but his Gnosticism was of a crude early type. He declared himself an incarnation of the creative world-spirit. His companion, the former prostitute Helena of Tyre, was declared the embodiment of the receptive world-soul. His adherents worshipped him as a redeeming genius into the third century. The sect was immoral in their principles and practices. Justin Martyr records that he made such an impression upon the Roman Senate and people that they paid him divine homage and erected a statue to him, which he alleges was on an island in the Tiber (Apol. 1. 26, 56). This location is incorrect and confuses the statue, found in 1574, inscribed with the words Semoni Sanco Deo Fidio sacrum etc. This refers to Semo Sancus or Sangus a Sabine-Roman deity unknown to him (cf. Schaff, p. 462, fn. 1). It does not of course preclude the erection of another memorial in Rome and this may have been the reason for the repeat of the error in Irenaeus (Adv. Her. 1. 23, 1) and Tertullian (Apol. 13) and also by Eusebius. Schaff notes Hippolytus (who he alleges resided at Rome) does not mention it (ibid.). (Hippolytus was actually bishop at Ostia Attica the sea port five miles from Rome). The Simonians are still referred to as a term for Gnostics generally in some writings. The antinomian sects will be dealt with elsewhere. These sects practised immorality and were as a rule not ascetics in the same sense as the wider Gnostic groups and did not survive because of their degenerate lifestyles.
The Gnostic Cerinthus was allegedly an Egyptian Jew who studied at Alexandria under Philo, according to a tradition collected by Epiphanius. This tradition asserts he was one of the false apostles who opposed Paul and demanded circumcision on the church (Gal. 2:4; 2Cor. 11:13).
He is held to have opposed John who, allegedly, left a public bath on the grounds that it might fall in while Cerinthus was there. He taught the separation of the earthly Jesus from the heavenly Christ who descended upon him. This view also falls into the doctrine of Antichrist. He was strongly Judaic. Schaff tries to place him with the Ebionites (ibid., p. 465). He was also a chiliast or millennialist, which was centred on Jerusalem. This is omitted by Irenaeus who was himself a chiliast but recorded by Caius, Dyonisius (in Eusebius), Theodoret, and Augustine (cf. Schaff, p. 466). These were the early types which incorporated elements of the church theology but had commenced to twist their interpretation within Gnostic paradigms. Cerinthus might not be classed with the central core of Gnostics who were strongly anti-Old Testament. He seems to have tried to undermine it by proximity, but also had detractors among the later so-called orthodox. This ended the late first century deviations.
The second century Gnostic teachers commenced during the reign of the emperor Hadrian (117-138 CE) with the first of the well developed systems, that of Basilides. His system was monotheist rather than dualist but later writers try to make him dualist.
Basilides produced a theoretical view of Christ, which developed a three-fold Christ. Christ was held as the son of the first archon, the son of the second archon and the son of “Mary.” (Christ’s mother’s name was actually Mariam and his aunt was named Maria.) The reconciliation of the sons of God to the being who was God beyond existence was effected by the production of Christ from these archons that were subordinate to Him. His followers were allegedly somewhat dissolute in practice and they corrupted the system of their founder. This group remained in Egypt until the fourth century, and according to Sulpicius Severus, some of its doctrines were brought to Spain by Marcus of Memphis (cf. Schaff, p. 472).
This group together with the Ophites, Perates and Valentinians referred to the Gospel of John often before the middle of the second century.
Valentine is thought to have been the most important of the Gnostic theorists. Irenaeus directed his work against him. Hippolytus claims he was a Platonist and a Pythagorean (Schaff, p. 472-3). He was also of Egyptian Jewish stock studying in Alexandria (Epiph. Her., XXXI. 2; cf. Schaff, p. 473). He broke with the orthodox church, according to the conjecture of Tertullian, through ambition. He came to Rome as a public teacher during the pontificate of Hyginus (137-142 CE), remaining there until the pontificate of Anicetus (154 CE) (Iren. III, 4,3). The Valentianians were entrenched before 140 CE and mentioned by Justin Martyr (Syntagma against all Heresies lost but noted in First Apology). Note also the effects of Neo-Platonism in the paper The Development of the Neo-Platonist Model (No. 017).
It was in Rome that Binitarianism developed from the worship of the god Attis as part of the Mystery and Sun Cults with the less brutal Adonis system in the East. It was from ca. 170 CE that Binitarianism entered Christianity from the worship of Attis and was developed by the Alexandrian School (cf. Cox ibid. (No. 127b)).
“Rome, as the centre of the empire, had become the centre of all sects and heresy. Valentine or Valentinus was among the first of the Gnostics who taught in Rome along with Cerdo and Marcion. This was to have a significant effect on some aspects of Christian theology. He was excommunicated and died in Cyprus about 160 CE (Schaff, p. 473). Schaff thinks the church was too well entrenched to be affected, but he argues from the modern orthodox view. The changes wrought between the times of Hyginus and Anicetus are highly significant. Valentine’s theology tries to utilise the biblical schema of the council of the thirty, which he arranges as thirty aeons proceeding from the abyss. Christ and the Sophia or Holy Spirit are the last of the thirty.
Valentinus’ school divides into two branches: an oriental and an Italian. Axionicos or Ardesanes (Bardesanes) taught a pneumatic and heavenly body of Jesus Christ, because the Sophia or Holy Spirit came upon “Mary.” The Italian school under Heraclion and Ptolemy taught that the body of Christ was psychical, and for this reason the Spirit descended upon him in the baptism. This sect came nearer the orthodox in the descendants than with the master. Here we see the syncretising of the systems.
Origen even accuses them of not being allegorical enough in their exposition of John’s Gospel (Grabe, Spicil. II. 83-117; cf. Schaff, p. 479, fn. 2). Ptolemy, in the Epistle to Flora, held that the creation of the world and the Old Testament could not proceed from the highest God. He appeals to apostolic tradition and John 1:18 in this matter. God is the only Good (Mat. 19:17) and hence cannot be the creator of a world with so much evil. This view demonstrates a lack of knowledge of Scripture on their part and on those who espouse the Christian faith generally, even at this early stage.
Another disciple of the Valentinian school, Marcos, who taught in Asia Minor and in Gaul in the second half of the second century, grafted the Pythagorean and Kabbalist numerical symbolism onto the Gnostic theories of the school. The Syrian Bardesanes and his son Harmonius, both of Edessa, are credited with being the fathers of Syrian hymnology and show no trace of dualism in their cosmology.
Gnostic theory emerged full-blown in its anti-Judaism and biblical criticism with Marcion. He was the forerunner of the rationalistic opposition to the Old Testament and the Pastoral Epistles. He did not understand the harmony of the revelation of the Bible and placed Christ in conflict with all previous revelation. This view anticipated the New Testament oriented modern Christianity, which neither understands the Laws of God nor sees any logical necessity or relevance in them.
Schaff holds that Marcion
... represents a extreme anti-Jewish and pseudo Pauline tendency and a magical supranaturalism, which in fanatical zeal for a pure primitive Christianity, nullifies all history, and turns the gospel into an abrupt, unnatural, phantomlike appearance (p. 483).
Marcion, son of the bishop of Sinope in Pontus, was excommunicated by his father. He went to Rome in the middle of the second century (c. 140-155 CE). Thus Rome became the centre of Gnosticism having originated none of the schools itself. He was regarded by Irenaeus, Justin Martyr and Polycarp, as the foremost heretic of the day. He asserted two or three primal forces. The good or gracious God, whom Christ first made known; the evil matter, ruled by the devil and to which paganism or heathenism (Schaff) belongs; and the righteous world maker, who is the finite imperfect, angry Yahovah of the Jews.
Schaff holds some writers reduce Marcion’s principles to two. Marcion rejected the pagan emanation theory, the secret tradition, and the allegorical interpretation of the Gnostics. He has no Pleroma, Aeons, Dynamics, Syzigies, or suffering Sophia in his system. He excludes gradual growth and everything is unprepared sudden and abrupt. His system was more critical and rationalistic than mystic and philosophical (Schaff, p. 485). He held Christianity had no connection with the past whether Jewish or heathen. Christ was not born but suddenly descended into Capernaum in the fifteenth year of Tiberius as the revealer of the good God who sent him. He was held to have had no connection with the Messiah of the Old Testament though he called himself Messiah by way of accommodation (Schaff, pp. 486-487). They allowed females to baptise and taught vicarious baptism for the dead (Schaff, p. 487).
Marcion was a violent anti-nomianist but in spite of this he held to the classic Gnostic doctrines of asceticism.
Marcion taught and practiced the strictest ascetic self discipline, which revolted not only from all pagan festivities, but even from marriage, flesh and wine. (He allowed fish). He could find the true God in nature no more than in history. He admitted married persons to baptism only on a vow of abstinence from all sexual intercourse (Tertullian I. 29; IV. 10 as noted by Schaff, p. 486).
Marcion’s sect spread in Italy, Egypt, North Africa, Cyprus and Syria. His disciples, who included Prepo, Lucanus (the Assyrian), and Apelles, softened the antagonistic approach to heathenism and Judaism probably in order to influence them. Their severe morality and ready acceptance of persecution made them a danger to the church (see Schaff, p. 487). They lasted through the fifth century despite Constantine forbidding their freedom of worship. They were extant in the seventh century when the Trullan council of 692 thought it appropriate to make provision for their reconciliation (Schaff, ibid.). We next hear of the form of their discipline some two hundred years later, where it was acknowledged as being entrenched for a long time (see below). The system was thus continuous over the centuries” (cf. Vegetarianism and the Bible (No. 183)).
The rejection of the Laws of God was thus not a Bible system or structure but rather a standard Gnostic attack on the Laws of God including the food laws in Gnostic asceticism as we saw in the paper on Vegetarianism and the Bible.
The attacks on the church were made as we see above over the first and second centuries.
The attacks in the first century were analysed in the paper Heresy in the Apostolic Church (No. 089).
The attacks in the second century were centred from Rome and concerned primarily the Nature of God and the Calendar and then of necessity involved the Law of God as a by-product of the attack on the food laws and the Calendar.
The first element of the second century attack was made on the Sabbath by introducing the Sunday alongside the Sabbath ca. 111 CE. By 154 the Gnostics had ingratiated themselves in the church and enough had transferred themselves from the worshippers of the God Attis where they have become ensconced. Anicetus the heretic was elected bishop of Rome and introduced the Easter festival instead of the Quartodeciman system. Polycarp argued with him, without success, but the church did not lapse into schism then but in 192 CE the heretic Victor became bishop of Rome and forced the church into schism despite the remonstrations of Polycrates. From that time on the diocese or see of Rome was seder vacantis. (See the paper The Quartodeciman Disputes (No. 277).)
Between 160 and 170 the doctrine of Attis began to be inserted so that the Antinomians could destroy the theological basis of the church and allow the Antinomians control of Rome from which they would extend their Antinomianism and take over the church.
The destruction of the Nature of God was commenced using the Alexandrians which were the centre of the Gnostic system anyway.
The way it was accomplished and the examinations of the doctrines are explained in the paper Binitarian and Trinitarian Misrepresentation of the Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127b).
The Binitarians were successful in 325 at Nicea but in 327 the Binitarian heretics were removed from office and the Biblical Unitarian system was placed back in power.
In 381 with the appointment of Theodosius as emperor at Constantinople by Gratian, the Council of Constantinople was convened using the Cappadocian Trinity and the Trinitarian system was in power. They wrote a false set of canons from Constantinople and labelled the work the Nicene Creed and the forgery and fiction has been with us ever since.
Gnostic Antinomianism was enshrined and has been used ever since to destroy the Churches of God. The Trinitarian system has called councils to condemn and persecute the church by torture and death when they could. The disputes were the basis of the Unitarian/Trinitarian Wars (No. 268).
When they had the power they persecuted the church into extinction (see The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170) and General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122)).
They misnamed the doctrines and mislabelled the periods of the church with false doctrines and false explanations. After Nicea they termed the doctrines Arianism and then after Constantinople they introduced Semi-Arianism (see the paper Arianism and Semi-Arianism (No. 167)).
They tried to suppress the church for centuries and when they began to lose ground they held the crusades and finally when they were losing almost complete control in the greatest threat they had yet faced, they had to form the Reformation and the Counter Reformation (see also the paper Socinianism, Arianism and Unitarianism No. 185)).
In each case they used the Binitarian doctrines of Attis to crack the doctrines of the church on the Nature of God and in each case where the church did not know its theology they managed to undermine it.
They then used the Doctrine of Antinomianism to destroy its grounding in the Laws of God.
The Waldensian system was growing so fast and converting so many through the corruption and immorality of the Roman Catholic Church that the Trinitarians in the fifteenth century became worried. Their Gnostic Antinomianism was being threatened and so they had to create a system that would destroy the Sabbatarians. The Trinitarians were joining the Waldensians in numbers and they used the numbers to crack the Waldensian system by the same system of false doctrine.
Within a hundred years they would have changed the course of history so the Antinomians had to take over. To achieve that aim they used the same tactics that had worked so well before, from the second to the fourth century, and again later after 590 CE in the Holy Roman Empire.
They used the priest Martin Luther in Europe but the greatest danger was in the UK.
Luther’s role was to keep the Trinitarian system afloat until the Roman Church could be reorganised and acceptable to reunite Antinomian pseudo-Christianity.
The systems commenced by Luther and Calvin became the great persecutors of the Sabbatarian system and the Biblical Unitarian structure. Calvin had Michael Servitus burnt at the stake for Unitarianism (see the paper Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches of God (No. 170)).
In Britain there was a great debate over keeping the Sabbath or retaining the Sunday system. Although they got rid of Christmas the Trinitarian heretics won and they retained their antinomian structure and the Reformation did not go back before Augustine of Hippo and failed.
Nevertheless there were many Sabbatarian systems in operation in spite of the persecution. They were penetrated and eliminated systematically by the Trinitarian systems and the Inquisitions wherever they could invoke them, right up until 1809.
The battle is still ongoing and is increasing as the Last Days follow one after the other and the Restoration continues and the Messiah is due.
Over the last two hundred years from the Adventist movement onwards the Jesuit order infiltrated the Adventists and finally after 134 years they had the Adventists declare themselves Trinitarian from the USA.
The Adventists outside of the USA were not Trinitarians. The bizarre situation was that, when they found out that the US Adventists had adopted the Trinity, the African Adventists left and established independent organisations. They refused to have anything to do with the Worldwide Church of God as the WCG was Ditheist and the Adventists were Biblical Unitarians (wrongly labelled Arians by the Trinitarians) (see the paper Ditheism (No. 76b)). When they heard of CCG and its doctrines they began reforming and joining in droves. The amazing thing about it is that many of the African Adventists did not even know that the US Adventists are actually Trinitarians until told by the ministry.
To disguise the leakage over the last few decades in Africa a completely false set of statistics have been maintained on the web sites which only now are being exposed and taken down.
The Adventists were undermined by the same antinomian nonsense regarding the Nature of God and the false prophecy and false doctrines of Ellen G. White. However, they could not crack the Fourth Commandment regarding the Sabbath, although they managed to get them on everything else.
Once they had the Adventists they penetrated the WCG. Once they had done that they started on the Church of God (Seventh Day) who declared their Binitarianism in 1995 and now they are full blown Protestants using the same system of penetration and indoctrination. The only Biblical Unitarian structure left on any universal basis and unifying the scattered elements are the Christian Churches of God.
The Worldwide Church of God was destroyed by a crew of badly trained closet-Trinitarians that had served in the WCG under Herbert Armstrong. They were paid a great deal of money and parroted the errors of Armstrong for some time. Their desire for mainstream acceptance led them to deliberately destroy what they had inherited because they could not understand the origins in the errors in the theology. Thus they could not correct them.
They had no real understanding of the history of the Churches of God over the millennia. Nor could they analyse the errors of the Trinitarian system. Many attended Trinitarian Protestant Colleges to attain degrees that required them to regurgitate Trinitarian Antinomian propaganda. Rather than correctly restore the faith of the Churches of God they sold out to the mainstream for acceptance in a system that was the very thing their predecessors had fought so long against. The antinomian propaganda was the key element in destroying the WCG system and the ministry allowed it to happen.
One of those pillars of the destruction was the elimination of the Laws of God using the standard antinomian arguments that these people have used for centuries.
The arguments are illustrated in David Albert’s work Difficult Scriptures, Tyler House, 1982 version.
This review of the work is done in order to demonstrate the errors in the logic of the arguments and to show how a well organised church can be hijacked by a few people misusing Scriptures in an agenda that they had formerly renounced as error.
The issue was stated by Carn Catherwood of the Worldwide Church of God. His comments show the intent and purpose of the work.
He said on the back cover:
In his book, ‘Difficult Scriptures,’ Dave Albert provides a thoughtful and biblically-based analysis of the real issues inherent in the old covenant-new covenant discussion. He explains, with much careful analysis, that our church has been in error in its view of the Law of Moses. I deeply appreciate his vibrant call to recover from the Scriptures those paramount truths that can lead us into the light of the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are still confused by doctrinal re-focus, ‘Difficult Scriptures’ can change your life.”
These people did this change of doctrinal interpretation while being paid members of the WCG acting contrary to the interest and desires of the majority of the members of the WCG.
The work is reviewed here in order to assist the members and former members of the WCG to understand just what was done to them and how their organisation and the mindsets of many of the brethren were destroyed using psychological techniques under a ministry that lied to them on a continual basis to achieve this end.
It is important that the term Law of Moses used here by Catherwood was never used by the WCG in reference to the Laws of God and the distinction was critical in their manipulation of the minds of the members of the WCG.
As so often in the attack on the Laws of God by Antinomians, David Albert starts with the Acts 15 Conference. From this text he makes a distinction between the Law of Circumcision and the necessity of the Laws of God.
He does not understand the origins of the Pharisees and their basis in Gnosticism among the Jews in Egypt in the second century BCE.
He does not understand that circumcision in the first century BCE was interfering with another man’s property under the laws on slavery. Whereas it was not a problem for Jewish slaves under their law it certainly was under Roman and other law. The efforts of the Pharisees were aimed at restricting salvation by grace to the Gentiles.
The use of the term Law of Moses in Acts 15 is then used to assert that the Law of God and the Pharisees use of the terms Law of Moses are one and the same and that the Laws of God are of no use. They do not understand the origins of Gnosticism among the Jews in Alexandria in the second century BCE. We can see from this paper above that the Pharisees were the early Jewish Gnostics that tried to eliminate the Laws of God by introduction of the term the Oral Law and the term Laws of Moses. The term Law of Moses is an ancient pre-christian ruse to assert that the written Law of God was the Law of Moses which could be altered and reinterpreted by an assertion of a mythical Oral Law which is and was false.
Christ condemned them for their traditions and assertions and that was why they were judged and sent into captivity and to this day they still do not understand what happened to them and why.
The purposes and decisions of the Acts Conference are explained in the paper The Acts 15 Conference (No. 069).
Albert takes this conference on to link it to the work in Galatians by referring to Galatians 5:4. The intent and purpose of Galatians is explained in the work Heresy in the Apostolic Church (No. 089).
It too was concerned with Gnostic heresy.
Albert then attempts to make a distinction that claims that Jews are circumcised into the law but we are baptised into the law. In spite of the claim he seems to completely misunderstand the fact that the physical act of circumcision pointed towards the act of Baptism and receipt of the Holy Spirit which circumcised the heart to the proper keeping of the law.
Albert then makes an antinomian leap that no theologian in the Reformation would have made. He then asserts that as Gentiles no longer have to be circumcised from Acts 15, they then have no requirement to keep the Law of Moses in its entirety. He actually means that the Law of God no longer has to be kept in its entirety, but he calls it the Law of Moses so it sounds less blasphemous.
The Reformation Theologians attempted to preserve some rational basis by making a distinction in the law between the ceremonial and the moral law which Albert does not even attempt. The paper Distinction in the Law (No. 096) shows what the various confessions of the Reformation did with their confessions but it seems Albert disregards the real and serious issues.
He appears to misapprehend grace and that aspect has been examined in the paper The Relationship between Salvation by Grace and the Law (No. 082).
Albert then dismisses the food laws as not being for health reasons at all. He asserts that is not biblical. Now he has no basis for this claim either as was proven in the paper The Food Laws (No. 15). It was written in refutation of Mary Douglas’ work The Abominations of Leviticus, which was published in Lessa and Vogt’s Reader in Comparative Religion, 4th ed., Harper and Row, pp. 149ff.). It was demonstrated with the most up-to-date science of the day that Douglas was not only wrong she was also wilfully ignorant and that there was a real and scientific basis for each of the food laws, and the paper gave scientific examples. The paper was then sent to the WCG in the USA as a reference material. This man didn’t even look at his own church’s reference materials. As for Albert’s contention that they were for ceremonial purposes, that is about as useful as Douglas’ contention and just as false. He seems to place them in the same category as the laws on menstruation and circumcision (see also the paper Purification and Circumcision (No. 251)).
His comments on the Burden of the law (Acts 15:10, Gal. 5:1) are wrong and are all covered in the paper The Works of the Law Text - or MMT (No. 104).
Albert argues that it was appropriate in the OT for the setting aside of a nation but now with the NT all people were to be saved and the Law became a stumbling block so it is abandoned, which is totally contrary to Scripture.
He quoted Mark 7:15; 7:18-19; 20,22; Romans 14:14; 1Corinthians 8:9 and 2Corinthians 3:15.
He quotes the Burden of the Law which is mentioned in Acts 15:10, Galatians 5:1 and Matthew 11:2-30 but seems to have no understanding of the facts of the MMT and its explanation in the paper The Works of the Law or MMT (No. 104). He appears to say it is a matter of choice from Romans 14 and thus we don’t criticise each other in what we do.
He then goes on to the perennial chestnut of Acts 10 and Peter’s vision of the unclean animals descending. He appears to completely miss the point that the vision was given for the conversion of the Gentiles on the grounds that they were now acceptable before God. He completely misses the point in Acts 11 which explains exactly what Acts 10 was about. Peter didn’t go out and eat lobster. He went and baptised Gentiles. All that seems to have been lost on Albert. He did not even understand that the food was removed before he could possibly have eaten any of it. Yet the WCG had understood that for years beforehand as had the Churches of God for centuries. The Gnostics misuse Scripture to implement Antinomianism and have done for centuries.
He says that it is confusing, but God is not the author of confusion (1Cor. 14:33). He then claimed that Jesus was giving Peter a legitimate command as well as a valid reason for administering that command. So Peter had to be sure of the command to eat unclean food so he can be sure of the command to baptise Gentiles. He did not seem to understand.
He then sought to support the eating of unclean meats by asserting that Noah was told after the flood that Every Moving thing that lives shall be food for you (Gen. 9:3) (ibid., p. 64)
The argument is advanced that God can forbid or allow things of a physical or ceremonial nature and food is a physical matter.
Albert admits that “God does not treat intrinsically moral and spiritual matters such as lying, murder or adultery in this way ...”.
Albert then claims that He later re-established the instruction given to Noah. 1Timothy 4:4: Every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.
“Once properly understood, the symbolism of Peter’s vision makes perfect sense! Formerly unclean animals, now cleansed, are symbolism of formerly unclean human beings, now also cleansed. The best explanation, I’m sure you’ll agree, are almost always the simplest.” (p. 65)
“Food laws proved a barrier to fellowship that God then removed.”
The Church of God has not believed that nonsense for two millennia.
The sense of the quotes is seen from the texts.
Mark 7:14-24 And he called the people to him again, and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him." 17 And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man." 24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid. (RSV)
The KJV does not have at verse 19 (thus he declared all foods clean).
Chapter 6 (pp.71-76) deals with the Acts 15 Conference, which is dealt with in the paper The Acts 15 Conference (No. 069).
Basically saying that the conference set guidelines that would allow cultural recognition of certain behaviours and to avoid offence between Jew and Gentile.
Maccoby, Hyam, The Mythmaker, 1987, p.148 is quoted as saying (on p.78):
“By the decision of the Jerusalem Counsel, Gentile followers of Jesus were not (emphasis his) obliged to keep the Jewish dietary laws, but only to refrain from the meat of ‘strangled animals’. This meant that they were allowed to eat the meat of animals forbidden to Jews, e.g., pig and rabbit, but were obliged to kill animals by the Jewish method, by which the blood was drained away.”
This was not true at all for all the reasons covered in the paper dealing with the conference (P069).
This text is misused to justify eating unclean meats when it does no such thing. It is concerned with problems over food sacrificed to idols.
1Corinthians 10:23-32 "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For "the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." 27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28 (But if some one says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then out of consideration for the man who informed you, and for conscience' sake -- 29 I mean his conscience, not yours -- do not eat it.) For why should my liberty be determined by another man's scruples? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the
church of God.
“So after the Jerusalem Conference food was a matter of choice not law, unless your eating (or not eating) is going to cause offense.”
That is a misrepresentation of the conference.
In Chapter 8 Annual Festivals
Albert claims that only the Sabbath was part of the 10 Commandments. He then questions the source of the authority that makes them binding or not. Are they part of the Law of Moses? If so they have already (as he claimed from previous chapters) been done away with?
Albert states that “Christians are at liberty to keep these days, and will allow that there may be benefits and advantages in doing.” But will show that they are part of the “old covenant” and therefore no longer binding.
Whilst he is mainly trying to refute Armstrong he ignores the entire body of the Laws of God where Christ and the apostles and the Churches of God for centuries have always kept the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts as elements of the law. It is as though he is ignorant of the Temple period practices and those of the early churches and others. It is as though WCG was some sort of aberration operating in a vacuum in time. He was completely unaware that the COG (SD) in the Caldwell Conference kept the festivals long before Armstrong. Philo lists them all in detail as part of the Fourth Commandment.
Albert then claims that we cannot establish that the festivals occurred prior to the Passover of the Exodus (as claimed by Armstrong), therefore they are part of the Law of Moses.
Hebrews 8:13 in speaking of a new covenant allegedly treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews is speaking of the sacrificial law that was fulfilled in Christ but Albert ignores that aspect entirely.
Therefore, it is argued that it is invalid to rely on the Old Covenant as authority to establish doctrine and practice for the New. Jesus in dealing with the Scribes and Pharisees allegedly used the law but they were still under the Old Covenant at the time. While the OT laws and commandments carry weight as proof, they must be looked at in the light of the NT.
Albert is completely oblivious to the fact that the Pharisees were the ones that sprung from Gnostic Judaism in Alexandria and were the ones seeking to do away with the written law by their invention of the “Oral Law” which was heresy.
Albert argues that Christ extensively modified the legal code of the OT at the sermon of the Mount. He quotes Matthew 5:33-34 re taking of oaths and swearing falsely. He claims that:
Jesus’ new commandments are to love one another (Jn.13:34)
Baptism (Acts 2:38)
The Commission of the church (Mat.28:19-20) and the Taking the bread and wine.
The absurdity of the logic of these claims should be obvious to a child.
He deals with prophecy as a category of proof for the annual festivals.
(Zech. 14:16; Isa. 66:22-23)
He then quotes Zechariah 13:2-3 - "And on that day, says the LORD of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more; and also I will remove from the land the prophets and the unclean spirit.  And if any one again appears as a prophet, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, `You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the LORD'; and his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies.
So false prophets will be put to death in Christ’s kingdom. That is true. However, before then Christ will send his prophets in power. He quotes out of context and misrepresents the true position.
Quoting Ezekiel 40:48
 Then he brought me to the vestibule of the temple and measured the jambs of the vestibule, five cubits on either side; and the breadth of the gate was fourteen cubits; and the sidewalls of the gate were three cubits on either side.
He then says that therefore given this text prophesies for the future cannot be taken as reliable to guide Christians of today. “If they were, we should all be keeping the new moons, offering up sin offerings in a Temple, and putting false prophets to death.”
They are for the future and not proofs of what we should do today.
On the contrary we agree that the Sabbaths, New Moons, and Feasts should be kept today.
Albert states that there is no reference for the NT church keeping the FOT at Jerusalem or elsewhere. The WCG claim that the plan of salvation cannot be understood apart from the annual holy days and weekly Sabbaths cannot be backed up biblically. He then refers to the Philippian jailor of Acts 16:25-40 [and also the Ethiopian it seems].
Armstrong was the one that reduced the Feast of the Passover to two days from the full eight day period in 1965.
The Bible proofs he uses are Luke 2:41-42 and John 7:10.
He claims that keeping the feasts etc. is permissible but not commanded and because the apostles were noted as observing them does not mean we should have to. The example is not proof positive. It must be looked at in the light of NT teachings – he does away with the New Moons here as well.
Colossians 2:16-17 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. 17 These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
He correctly asserts that these verses were not explained properly by WCG and properly asserts that all the mentioned issues stand or fall together. The problem is that he dismisses them when the text shows they were being kept.
Albert claims that the texts need to be understood as Paul intended. A proper understanding hinges on the term shadow and Albert states that this is a metaphor. He asks: How is this used by Paul and other Bible writers? Shadow is used as contrast with light or substance. When contrasted with light, a shadow is dark, hidden, obscure etc.
The Sabbaths were to be kept in faith. The Antinomians will be in the Second Resurrection.
When contrasted by substance, shadow implies change, impermanence. (Psa. 109:23). He then says that from Luke 1:79 John the Baptist was to give light to those in darkness. Also see Matthew 4:16 and James 1:17. God allegedly does not change light shifting shadows.
“For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near.”
Shadow was also contrasted with image, likeness, NIV uses ‘realities’.
Albert says he believes Paul wrote Hebrews. It may have been Paul or Titus or there were other candidates. It is part of the canon regardless.
The fact is that it points to Christ being the New High Priest. Hebrews refers to the Sacrifices as being the shadow pointing to Christ as the reality.
Hebrews 8:4-5 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain."
Deeper meaning of these days is found in Christ. He says that we cannot use ‘church’ here as that would compromise the meaning.
NIV – “these are a shadow of the good things that were to come, the reality, however is found in Christ.” (Col. 2:17)
NIV – “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. (Heb.10:1)
He then tries to look at the meaning of “things to come”.
The fact is that Moses was told to make a copy of all that he was shown in heaven. That was to be our example.
Albert asserts that while Paul understood the meaning of the annual festivals he apparently was convinced that they were fulfilled in Christ. Therefore they had already arrived. The reality is indeed found in Christ but it does not eliminate the law of God.
The festivals were not done away with and the church kept them. It was the sacrifices that were not kept.
Hebrews 9:11-15 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.
So what Paul is alleged to be saying is that the shadow is passed and all is fulfilled in Christ. The shadow was allegedly a metaphor for the Old Covenant, now fulfilled in Christ.
This assertion is nonsense. It refers to Christ fulfilling the sacrificial system.
1Corinthians 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Thus we didn’t need to preach about the Law of Moses, or Christ and the law, only Christ and him crucified.
He thus misapprehends the meaning of Hebrews completely.
Galatians 4:10-11 You observe days, and months, and seasons, and years! 11 I am afraid I have labored
over you in vain.
So Albert and the WCG Antinomians held that basically having done away with the Sabbaths, Feasts New Moons, Food laws etc., all you have to do is love one another or so it appears. His work is mainly a criticism of WCG and Armstrong but they threw the baby out with the bathwater with arrant antinomian nonsense.
You cannot blame anyone but yourself for being deceived by those Gnostic Antinomians. Nor can you rest on the ravings of a corrupt ministry. You alone are responsible for your own salvation.
Reproduced below is the text of 1 Timothy 3:16–4:3 from Codex A, as presented in the photographic facsimile volume published by the British Museum in 1879. Of particular interest here is the reading in 3:16, where it may be seen that the manuscript reads ΘC "God was manifested in the flesh," employing the usual abbreviation ΘC for ΘEOC, with a stroke over the letters to indicate an abbreviation. However, textual critics believe that the ink in the center of the Θ and the stroke above were added by a corrector in modern times. Reasons for this belief are the color of the ink, and the fact that a "dot" has been placed in the Θ instead of a line. Tregelles writes, "The ink in which this has been done in A is sufficiently modern and black to declare its recent application" (An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament, London, 1854). Without these marks, the manuscript originally read ΟC "He who was manifested in the flesh." In the photograph below the ΘC in 3:16 is circled. Further down, in verse 4:3, there is another ΘC circled for comparison. Click on the circled areas for a larger view.
Nestle-Aland: καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶν τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον· Ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι, ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις, ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν, ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ, ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ. Τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ῥητῶς λέγει ὅτι ἐν ὑστέροις καιροῖς ἀποστήσονταί τινες τῆς πίστεως, προσέχοντες πνεύμασιν πλάνοις καὶ διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων, ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων, κεκαυστηριασμένων τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν, κωλυόντων γαμεῖν, ἀπέχεσθαι βρωμάτων ἃ ὁ θεὸς ἔκτισεν εἰς μετάλημψιν μετὰ εὐχαριστίας τοῖς πιστοῖς καὶ ἐπεγνωκόσι τὴν ἀλήθειαν.
Photo source: E. Maunde Thompson, ed., Facsimile of the Codex Alexandrinus: New Testament and Clementine Epistles (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1879), published on the internet by The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.