Letters from our readers

Much appreciated

Your monthly paper is much appreciated by my friends and me. It does a good job of keeping me informed of events and some of the thoughts of thinkers who don't allow themselves to be restricted by man-made or man-governed organizations.

Of course, not all their writings are acceptable to all of us readers, but they cause us to reassess our beliefs.

Muriel Crawford

Peterborough, Ont., Canada

This means war

Here are some of my thoughts on the coming war with Iraq.

I am sure most people are not too concerned about this war because they expect the United States to win, just like we whipped Saddam before. Most people think we can walk over Iraq with or without any help from the rest of the world.

Does God have anything to do with the outcome? I'm positive if God is for us we cannot lose.

But what if God is not for us, maybe even against us?

Remember, God can determine the outcome of any war. Don't forget that the Kingdom of God will literally be set up here on earth, with Jesus Christ and His followers (the saints) in control.

The Holy Bible, the Word of God, has much to say about the end of man's rule on earth.

In Deuteronomy 32:21 God says of His chosen people that in the latter days, since we have provoked Him to anger by our preoccupation of the work of our own hands, He will provoke us to anger by a foolish nation (Iraq).

The United States will be judged by the Almighty God. Our allies, whom we trust, will betray us and turn against us. This will be a one-two punch.

Psalm 83 says Germany will help these people in the Middle East (probably in accurate fire power).

Obadiah says our troops on the ground will be slaughtered by Turkey.

Daniel 7 and 11 and Revelation 17 say Europe will rule supreme for a short time.

Luke 21:36 says Jerusalem will be overrun by the gentiles for 31ž2 years. Only after Jesus Christ returns to earth will we have real peace and abundant living.

Isaiah 55:6 says maybe we'd better seek God while we can. Time is fleeting, and our bad times will soon be upon us.

Clayton Clark Myers

Vancouver, Wash.

The Sabbath is a sign

I have been a WCG member for 32 years. I just read an excellent article in The Journal by Brian Knowles, "Just What Do You Mean God's Church?" [May 31 issue].

It is obvious Mr. Knowles does not believe the Sabbath is the sign of a Christian; it has never been.

The Sabbath is a sign of the Old Covenant, of the Ten Commandments, of the law of Moses.

It is a sign of the slave women. It is a sign of the law that condemns men. It is a sign of slavery and bondage.

Jesus Christ set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). The Old Covenant is obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).

I do find all the articles about the calendar very tedious. The apostle Paul makes it clear that observing days, months, seasons and years (Galatians 4:10) is not the gospel but a perversion.

The whole book of Galatians is about the difference between law and grace, between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, between slavery and freedom. To say these days are pagan days is ludicrous.

John D. Atkinson

Bradford, England

Meat on the Sabbath

I find the Sabbath a blessing. If I didn't believe in the Sabbath law and its binding affect on me, I'd probably work seven days a week many weeks--to the detriment of my family and me.

I frankly don't understand why people fight this issue; I mean, I can understand those who have never realized the blessing of the Sabbath, but those who have, and then have turned their backs upon it, I don't get that.

Isn't it clear that we are not judged by the law because we don't break it? I mean, come on, read your Bible and get a full and balanced view. Christ's coming never did away with any of it. He magnified it! Only the ritualistic sacrifices have been done away with through His sacrifice.

Christ kept the law perfectly; He didn't break it. That's all we who know the law try to do.

Of course we fall short and fall short often and sometimes in major ways, but we keep going and keep fighting the good fight and keep trying to overcome (just like He told us to).

This isn't Armstrongism, nor is it Flurryism, nor is it any ism. Herbert Armstrong, Gerald Flurry and Joe Jr. are all but men.

This is plain and simple Christianity in its simplest form: Obey God and keep His commandments and you will indeed be blessed.

I honestly believe that, and I honestly believe I have been and am being blessed still by not giving up for the sake of weariness but standing fast for what I believe and see to be true and right.

It's simple. I mean, look at clean and unclean meats, for example. I have never felt the need to reexamine this issue (you can't reexamine everything without being a scholar).

So I simply abstain from eating them, and it's not because HWA said so or because GRF insisted or because of what any self-professed leader says. It's because the Bible teaches it.

If those meats were "unclean" anciently, what has happened that would have all of a sudden made them clean now? This isn't magic we're talking about. They're still unclean!

So am I somehow sinning by abstaining? Of course not. But is it possible that I am sinning against myself by partaking? I think so.

Now, when we get to the point in time that the church age is no more and the scepter promise is fulfilled, and I find out that I could have been eating them all along (which I don't believe will be the case), what have I gained or lost? Absolutely nothing!

On the other hand, when that time comes and Christ sees that my intent was to just go with the flow and partake, then I believe I've got a problem, and rightly so.

So I continue with the intent to keep what I know.

This same principle can be applied to the sabbaths, including the holy days, and many other issues.

But do I even remotely imply in any way, shape or form that HWA or GRF or anyone else had all the answers or taught all the truth or is to be set up as some sort of idol for us to follow?

Of course not! In no way, shape or form! We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

Keep warm, but stay cool.

Charles J. Sifter

Sanford, N.C.

Showing emotion

Here's a subject that I haven't seen covered in any letters, articles, booklets, etc., in the 16 years that I've been walking in "the way."

Why do so many in the Churches of God seem afraid to show any emotion or excitement in their services or to use more-uplifting music? I'm referring to just plain old lifting the hands and praising God, whether it is during the music service or as an affirmation of the preaching. Is there something wrong with that?

Thanks to The Journal for the opportunity to discuss this subject.

Mary Ann Eason

Via the Internet

Answer to a question

What can I do? Many thousands before you have asked the question, and the answer is quite simple: Do what Yahshua (Jesus) said to do.

Remember the little pin or bracelet people are wearing with the four letters WWJD. Let's take a lesson from that and see what Yahshua did and what He told us to do.

He says in John 5:17: "My [our] Father works . . . and I work."

Two scriptures show us the work our Father does. John 6:44, 65: Our Father draws (pulls, leads, attracts) the people He chooses to Yahshua. And in Matthew 16:13-17 our Father reveals Yahshua and His truth to them. In other words, He opens the minds of the people He selects to understand who Yahshua is and to His truth.

Two basic portions of Scripture also tell us the work that Yahshua does. John 17:4: Yahshua finished (at that time) the work our Father gave Him to do.

Verse 6: He made known the Father and His name to the men (and women) whom the Father gave Him.

Verse 14: He gave them our Father's Word (truth).

Verse 17: He sanctifies (to set apart for a holy use) us through our Father's truth.

Ephesians 1:22-23: Yahshua is the head over all the ekklesia, which are His body, and we are all to be filled up with all that He is filled up with.

WWJD? What work did He give us to do? Glad you asked.

John 20:21: As our Father has sent Me, even so send I you.

John 4:12: The work(s) that I do shall he do also.

John 4:38: I sent (send) you to reap (remember, you are looking for the people whose minds our Father has opened) . . . (for) other men's . . . labor.

Matthew 28:19: Go and teach (make disciples) in all nations.

Verse 20: Teach all things He commanded us.

Mark 16:15: Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every one.

What can I say?

John 4:10, 13-14: The first words out of Yahshua's mouth to the woman at the well were about everlasting life. Tell them about living forever and what it means to you.

In Mark 1:14 He preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God, which shall come to all the earth at His glorious return.

Verse 15: He said to repent (stop breaking Yahweh God's law and accept Yahshua Messiah's blood sacrifice for their sins, as they confess them to our Father).

Don't be fooled into thinking that other people can do this for us. They can't. Only you can serve one of the least of Yahshua's brothers or sisters, thereby enabling you to hear the words of your Savior, "Come you blessed of our Father; inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 25:31-46).

Yahshua gives each of us a pack of seeds. He wants each of us to plant them. Set a goal for yourself to plant at least one seed a week for the next year. If just one seed sprouts out of the 52 you plant, that will be a 100 percent increase.

David Kenders

7411 WCR 24H

Loveland, Colo. 80538, U.S.A.

When was the Last Great Day?

More evidence that the Last Great Day is the seventh day of the Feast as espoused by a reader is (1) Tishri 23 is never a Sabbath, and (2) the discourse and events of John 8 to 9:14 appear to occur all in one day, the day (8:2) after the last great day (7:37), which was a sabbath (9:14).

Phrases such as "Jesus spoke again to them" (8:12) and "then He said again to them" (verse 21) indicate the conversation with the Jews in chapter 8 occurred the same day.

If the last great day of John 7:37 were the seventh day, the sabbath the next day was the eighth day, as is commanded in Leviticus 23:36.

If the last great day was the eighth day, the next day is Tishri 23, which is never a weekly Sabbath and is not an annual sabbath.

Therefore the last great day must have been the seventh day of the Feast.

Thanks again for your efforts to publish The Journal, which may have the broadest spectrum of ideas, thoughts, truth and opinions ever published in one paper when including the advertising.

David Rydholm

Olympia, Wash.

Daughters of God

Dean Neal claims to "get biblical truth from God's Word only" [see "Where Are the Women of Proverbs 31?," an advertisement in The Journal, Aug. 30]. Twisting and manipulation of Scripture to justify shameful railing and slander against Christian women in the Churches of God is certainly not biblical. It is also quite obvious that Mr. Neal does not have a very high regard for the ministry or for men of God's church.

Instead of always accusing and tearing everyone down in his sharp, judgmental style, wouldn't it be better if he looked at himself for a change? I'm sure God would be more than happy to show him which fruits of the Spirit he lacks. He might even be inspired to write a "Ten Commandments" for husbands. It would look great in The Journal.

Eve was created to be Adam's helper and companion, comparable to him but different in function (Exodus 2:18). Even God is described as being our helper (Hebrews 13:6).

The woman was presented by God to Adam, and Adam called her woman (Genesis 2:22-23). The name woman means "she was taken out of man." It does not mean less than man, "you women," mule, cow or any other derogatory term.

Most men welcome their wives' input, wisdom and counsel before any final decision is made. In spite of the importance and value of the wife to her husband and children, Mr. Neal incites men to give them slave doormat status. If she leaves him (for the mistreatment), "he's lost nothing but gained peace--finally." If Mr. Neal thinks a man will lose nothing by such behavior, he is deceiving himself. Sin brings curses, not peace. Ephesians 5:21-33 gives the proper "created-by-God" place for both husbands and wives.

Husbands and fathers have the God-given responsibility of being the protectors of home and family. In addressing all those "women libbers," Mr. Neal states, "Not even the very mother of the Savior had precedence and authority over the man."

Precedence and authority over the man was not even an issue, nor relevant to the dangerous situation Joseph and Mary were in. God dealt directly with Joseph instead of Mary (Matthew 2:13, 19-22) because he had the masculine strength and responsibility to protect and safeguard his family.

To say that the husband is an exact type of God to his family and therefore must be revered, respected and feared even as if he were Christ Himself looks like idolatry (Exodus 20:2-4).

Is this perhaps similar to the Catholic religion? Its members worship before statues (idols) of Christ that they say only represent Him. Is Mr. Neal saying that the husband should be as a living household idol, an "exact type of God to his family"? Does it say in God's Word that wives must worship and fear their husbands, or does it say all are to worship and fear God only? (Psalm 95:6-7; 111:10; Deuteronomy 6:2).

The physical image is not all there is to what God meant when He said, "Let us create man (male and female) in our image." God's spiritual image, His character and personality are also "in His image." Some few men who think they are in a more exact image of God, and therefore superior to women, should recheck their image in the spiritual mirror of God's Word.

According to Mr. Neal, in the resurrection women will lose their feminine identity and become as male-type spirit beings (sons). "Sons of God" is used throughout the New Testament in the broad sense of the term to include both sons and daughters (male and female). In 2 Corinthians 6:18 the Lord Almighty says He will have daughters too.

The "thousand" in Ecclesiastes 7:28 alludes to Solomon's 300 wives and 700 concubines and is connected with verse 26. Verse 28 is not meant to be a condemnation of women but to show the bitter fruits of polygamy, which Solomon experienced. Among his many wives, Solomon was not likely to find the fidelity that one true wife pays to one husband. To use this verse against women of God's church is appalling.

Where are the women of Proverbs 31? They have not gone away. They are still there in God's church along with their husbands (Proverbs 31:11, 23, 28).

Shirley Stahl

Huntington, Ind.

Titus 2 women

Both my husband and I really enjoyed the article by Dean Neal "Where Are the Women of Proverbs 31?" [advertisement in The Journal, Aug. 30].

We have to agree that in the 14 years we have been in the church we have seen many women who were leading their husbands instead of the other way around.

We've seen services changed because the wife did not like what was going on.

But I would also like to say as a young Christian back then I was in desperate need of role models who would guide me in the way I should treat my husband.

Sure, I had the Scriptures, but it helps to have an older woman share her experiences and such with me.

I never found that. Oh, I did find how not to treat your husband with respect, but that I didn't need to learn. Sadly, I had only the Holy Spirit to guide and teach me. But I'm grateful for that.

Through my studies of the godly women of the Bible and through the scriptures in the New Testament, I have come to have a respect for my husband as my head under Christ. We have trained our daughters to have that same respect, because by doing so they show respect to our Heavenly Father and Jesus, and they will show respect to their future husbands.

I have a question, though. In the Word the older women are commanded to train the young women to be sober, keepers at home, to love their husbands and their children (Titus 2). Where are the Titus 2 women? We need more and more of the older women instructing the younger.

I, along with a few others, have taken on this role. We must do what the Word commands us to, and we must be good examples to our younger sisters in the Lord.

Just as we train up our children to love God and keep His commandments, we must train the younger women to become what God wants them to be--as the older men should train the younger men to be sober and love their future wives as they would love their own bodies and Christ.

May we become more and more faithful in doing what the Scriptures command us to do!

Liz Johnson

Woodbury, Tenn.

Sorry you blew up

Regarding Dean Neal's "Where Are the Women of Proverbs 31?":

Mr. Neal, while you make some important points with which I agree--i.e., women in the pulpit, for one--your article leaves the overwhelming impression of a negative attitude towards women.

You name Solomon in your article and how he did not find one upright woman in a thousand.

I think if perhaps Solomon had obeyed YHVH's Torah and His original plan of only one wife, and that wife a woman YHVH had chosen for him instead of the fulfillment of Solomon's fleshly desires, and, added to that, the blatant sin of choosing for himself the pagan women, he might have found one righteous in a thousand! (1 Kings 11:1-11; Nehemiah 13:26).

You seem like a man filled with bitterness, hate, anger and hurt. I am sorry you have been hurt. I can assure you, though, Mr. Neal, you are not the only one ever to be hurt in this manner, and not all women are what you call them in your scathing letter. Balance seems to be the need here.

There are women who would love to have a husband as the spiritually stronger one: a husband they could look to with admiration, respect, honor, the priest of the family. Many husbands today--not all, thank God--are weak and filled with every carnal desire instead of a desire to obey the Lord's commands and fulfill their duty to their wife and family.

There are women who, due to their husband's failure in the family, have had to step in and become the head of the house.

You see, Mr. Neal, the Bible says all are one in Yeshuah Messiah; there is neither male nor female. When YHVH looks at a repentant heart, He sees first the repentant heart and not the attachment to either sex, just a human being who loves Him with all the heart.

The issue nowadays in this generation, Mr. Neal, goes deeper than the issue between the sexes. It is not so elementary as you portray it. It is a disease of the human condition, and the gender-identity crisis of this generation is a deceptive, satanic ploy to destroy homes, families, lives, marriages, etc.

It comes from a misguided condition of the heart and mind of which the system contributes in a significant way. We, who are called of YHVH, should realize this more than anyone.

Yes, there is definitely a dissatisfaction among many of today's women about their God-given roles, but many women long to be in positions where they could fulfill these God-given roles but instead feel less than complete because of their tragic circumstances in life and their wrong choices. I include myself in this group.

If people obeyed God, myself included, when it came to marriage and the choice of a mate, maybe there wouldn't be so many divorces. The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked. Just read Ezra 9:12-14; 10:2-4; Nehemiah 13:23-27. By these verses of Scripture, you can clearly see how God feels about His chosen people becoming entangled with paganistic, hedonistic people who have no love for the one true God.

Men are excellent liars, though, and full of treachery. When they want something (a woman), they will do anything, promise anything, to win the prized trophy to fulfill their egos and lustful desires. Some women are like this also.

Can you not see that Satan knows who belongs to YHVH, and he absolutely does send his followers in among God's people to try and tear their lives apart, and for the most part he succeeds to a great degree? It has happened in my life, the lives of my children, both of them, and in the lives of many, many good and decent people I've known, male and female.

Perhaps the main reason women should not be in the pulpit is that men, by nature, are filled with lust, and, when a woman is speaking, I can promise you most of the men will not be thinking about her topic of conversation, and more so if she happens to be attractive. You know I'm speaking truth.

A woman should not submit to an abusive, ungodly husband. In this command YHVH meant submission to be to a godly, obedient man, for a man is to cherish his wife, even as Christ did the church.

In the Proverbs you quote from, you will notice the many references to wisdom, and those are all in the feminine gender. There is a reason for that. Also, the first one to see Messiah after His resurrection was a woman. I think that speaks volumes, sir.

You need to let the pain from the past go so you can see clearly in the here and now.

Deborah D. Keaton

Via the Internet

Root of bitterness

To Dean Neal: This is the first time I have felt compelled to make a personal response to a paid advertisement in The Journal. Since you did request comments and questions, I am replying to your article, "Where Are the Women of Proverbs 31?," in the Sept. 30 edition.

When you lump all women and all ministers together as you do, you judge a matter before hearing it. You judge millions of women and hundreds of ministers, none of whom you have ever met, to be guilty based on the actions of a few.

While you are making gross generalizations about Christian women, what about Christian men? How many of them have loved their wives perfectly as Christ loved the church, sacrificing their own needs to put their wives first, and giving up their own lives for them? You imply that perfect submission and perfect obedience ought to come first from wives, whether perfect love and leadership come first from their husbands or not.

You cannot understand that women might "gripe" about having a man as their spiritual head, while men don't "gripe" about having God and Christ as their head. Can you indeed not discern a difference between the perfect loving headship of God and Christ and that of a flawed physical human being?

You continually "gripe" about the concept of being ruled over by men (the ministry) as your head. You yourself do not wish to submit to a sinful man's authority over your spiritual life, but you have no trouble with imposing such authority over a woman. This is a double standard.

Christ never talked to women the way you do. He chose to be reviled rather than to revile, to love His enemies and lay down His life for them. He did not use nasty invective and vile epithets such as you employ against them.

You imply that Eve's sin was greater than Adam's. How so? Eve sinned in ignorance, while Adam sinned willfully, knowing full well that what he did was wrong. His sin was compounded by the fact that he should have been leading and setting the example, rather than passing the buck.

Christ came as the second Adam to bear the sins of the world. Christ did not come as the second Eve. Read Romans 5:12-21. Not one mention of Eve is made there.

You are aware, are you not, that the word man can be used in the general sense to mean mankind, or the human race? In such instances it refers to all human beings, both male and female. This concept used to be better understood in the days before political correctness when the gender of such words as mailman and chairman was known to be distinct from the sex of the person holding the position.

It is in this sense that 1 John 3:1-2 refers to all Christians, both male and female, as "sons of God." The Greek word translated as "sons" in this passage is No. 5043 in Strong's Concordance and derives from a root that means "a child (as produced):--child, daughter, son."

This word has been translated more correctly in other versions of the Bible as "children" or "offspring" of God.

If women's brains are weaker than men's, then how do you explain the case of Nabal and Abigail? Abigail disobeyed her husband, Nabal "the fool," and fed David and his men and thus saved the lives of her entire household. Why did God strike Nabal dead instead of Abigail? Whose brain was weaker, his or hers? (1 Samuel 25:3).

How is it that God, through Peter, condemned Sapphira to death for submitting to her husband and agreeing with Ananias to lie to the Holy Spirit? (Acts 5:9).

What about Deborah, who judged Israel? We do not read one word about her consulting her husband before expounding God's Word and prophecies.

When Jesus told Martha to "get out to the kitchen," as it were, and come listen to His teachings, why didn't He consult her husband first?

What about Mary's husband, for that matter? The Bible many times mentions various women among the disciples who were followers of Jesus. What if their husbands had told them not to follow Jesus? Who were they supposed to obey? No one can serve two masters.

You seem to imply that women cannot be saved unless they are married. The Mormons, as well as many Muslims, believe in a variant of this postulate. However, this concept is not biblical, because Paul, the author of Ephesians 5:22-23, said that it was better for people not to marry, since he mistakenly thought that the return of Jesus was imminent in his lifetime (1 Corinthians 7:32-40).

Did God really create half of the human race to be an inferior slave race to the other half? How can anyone maintain such a position while quoting that "God is not a respecter of persons"?

You are correct that God is not a woman. However, He is also not a man. Let me repeat that: God explicitly says that He is not a man (Numbers 23:19). God is a Spirit.

You are right that I will not be "a woman" in the resurrection. But you forget to mention that you will not be "a man," either, in the resurrection.

You have heard of hermaphrodites, I am sure. Such physical abnormalities are born with physical characteristics of both men and women. What about eunuchs and women who have had complete hysterectomies? Are they still human beings of worth in God's eyes?

There are many people in the church, both men and women, who have been badly hurt and scarred by some ministers or by members of the opposite sex. I sense that this might have happened to you. Something must have led to the deep anger and resentment you exhibit towards women and the ministry.

I remind you, however, that not all women or all ministers are responsible for your pain. I would also like to say that our Savior requires us to forgive those who have abused us, to pray for those who have despitefully used us and to love even our enemies.

I pray that God will heal your hurt and remove the root of bitterness that has grown in your heart. May his Holy Spirit grant you the fruits of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23) instead of hatred, variance, wrath and strife (verse 21).

In conclusion, to answer your question: Where are the women of Proverbs 31? I guess they are married to the men of Ephesians 5:28-29. They are also no doubt busily assessing and buying real estate (Proverbs 31:16) and engaging in their own money-making businesses (verse 24).

Arlene Schroeder

Yorktown, Texas

Proverbs 31 man

Mr. Neal is obviously an angry, bitter and unhappy man. Perhaps the reason he has never met a Proverbs 31 woman is that he is clearly not a Proverbs 31 man and probably won't understand what I mean by that [see Mr. Neal's advertisement, "Where Are the Women of Proverbs 31?," The Journal, Aug. 30, page 18].

Those of us who are happily married have learned to submit gladly and willingly one to another, as we do to Christ our head. The principles outlined in Proverbs 31 are, for both partners in the marriage relationship, real and living principles by which we conduct our lives. I use the word "partners" advisedly.

Rosemary Morton

Wellington, New Zealand

Ten Commandments for men

1. You shall have only one wife for life.

2. Never put any other woman, or man, ahead of your wife.

3. Don't make naught of your wife's name, gifts and responsibilities.

4. Remember to keep the Sabbath with your wife, thanking God for her continually.

5. Honor your wife's parents and their "gift" to you.

6. Don't hate your wife, for hating is like unto murder. Be forgiving.

7. Never commit adultery, but love only your wife.

8. Don't steal others' affections and love to replace your wife.

9. Never lie to her and deceive her.

10. Don't covet other women and others' possessions.

Dean Neal

Carson City, Nev.

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