Exit and Support Network

Mystery of the Ages (a critical review)

By Kelly Marshall


Chapter Two - Mystery of Angels and Evil Spirits

Mystery of the Ages promises to reveal 7 mysteries that have plagued mankind for millennia. The unsuspecting reader thinks he is getting age-old questions answered, when in reality he is being indoctrinated to accept HWA's false teachings. Let's take a quick review of his methods:

1) The Preface chapter introduces the "seven" mysteries, but at the same time, the notion that clergy and theologians don't understand the Bible is cleverly planted. He plants the false belief that the Bible is a coded book that only "those He (God) has chosen" can understand.

2) In the Introduction chapter HWA promises to reveal these mysteries. Instead the reader is being infused with the false idea that HWA is special—God's unique end time messenger—and he, only, has the "truth." He cleverly shifts these mysteries into the category of "truth."

3) In Chapter One he promises to reveal the mystery of who and what God is, but in reality, he is planting the concept that all outside authorities are blindly following Satan, and cannot be trusted. Tearing down all outside authorities, he then introduces the only institution that can be trusted—his church, of course. He misquotes and misrepresents church history to construct the illusion that his church is directly descended from the early church, henceforth "proving" his apostolic authority.

Now we are able to identify the pattern used in HWA's book. First he baits the reader with intriguing questions, then he discredits all outside authorities for not knowing the answers to these questions. He then makes the reader think he is revealing "Bible knowledge" while cleverly switching to his false beliefs, which he calls "Truth." He speaks with "authority," giving the impression that God has divinely commissioned him to bring this unique gospel message to the world. He jumps around from topic to topic to create a confusing smokescreen, introduces irrelevant information, and keeps the reader off balance while guiding them to false conclusions. Now let's see this same method used in Chapter Two.

HWA starts off the chapter with Ephesians 2:2 (a well worn verse among Worldwide Church of God church members and offshoots): "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" He states that:

People simply do not realize that there is an invisible spirit power injecting into their minds these hostile attitudes. (p. 59)

The pattern of discrediting continues as he states, "Even to professing Christians, these scriptures have been a mystery." He announces that "the time of UNDERSTANDING has come," making it seem that all this knowledge about the spirit world was "revealed" to him, when, in fact, Christianity has always understood Biblical concepts of Satan and the demons. But for those readers who aren't acquainted with the Bible, HWA can make it seem as if this information has been "hidden" (suppressed), and that he will now "open your mind" to understand doctrines that you weren't familiar with in the first place.

On pg. 61 HWA decides to quote Hebrews 1:8 from the Moffatt translation:

"he says of the Son, 'God is thy throne for ever and ever, thy royal sceptre is the sceptre of equity:"

Now why would HWA quote from the Moffatt for this verse? Could it be that this verse in the Moffatt translation doesn't reveal the deity of the Son, something HWA did not want to admit? Notice what several other versions say (all emp. mine):

"But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." (KJV)


J. Vernon McGee said of this verse: "This is God the Father calling God the Son God! Do you want to deny that Christ is God manifest in the flesh? If you do, then may I say that you are contradicting God Himself. God called the Lord Jesus God. What are you going to call Him?..." (notes on Heb. 1:8-9, Volume 5, p. 512)

While describing the various functions of the angels, HWA skillfully introduces the notion of "personal guardian angel protection" and "angels reporting to God":

And God has angels specifically assigned to look after his begotten children.
He has angels who continually walk through the earth to observe and report back to him the overall conditions on earth (Rev. 5:6; Zech. 4:10; II Chron. 16:9) (p. 68)

These verses he picks do not say God has angels assigned to look after His children; neither do they say there are angels who "walk through the earth and report back to God." Rev. 5:6 says: "...stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." This verse does not say these "seven Spirits" are angels. Zech. 4:10 says: "...they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth." 2 Chron. 16:9 says: "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth,..." Once more HWA deceives his readers into thinking the Scriptures say something they don't.

And God has angels specifically assigned to look after his begotten human children (Acts 12:15; Matt. 18:10). (p. 68)
Michael is the archangel specifically assigned to protect and minister to the 12 tribes of Israel and to the true Church of God today. (p. 69)

HWA makes it clear that one has to be in his church to obtain this privilege. An adept salesman, HWA offers "perks" in order to persuade the reader that there are benefits for being in his church. However, these Scriptures do not say what HWA is trying to make them say.

Acts 12:15 does not say that Peter has an angel assigned to look after him, as HWA would want us to believe. It was a common opinion among the Jews at that time that everyone had a guardian angel that looked like them or that angels could assume the shapes of men. [For info on this, refer to Adam Clarke's Commentary, Vincent's Word Studies, Gil's Exposition of the Entire Bible and Wesley's Explanatory Notes.]

Matthew 18:10 is talking about little children's spirits that go to heaven when they die and that behold the face of Jesus. HWA doesn't even say "little children" for this verse, but instead says: "his begotten human children."

M. F. Unger has said, "Angels appear most frequently and conspicuously in connection with the coming and ministry of our Lord." (Unger's Bible Dictionary)

Angels were always associated with the nation Israel and will be used by God in the coming judgment of the world. This would not look like they are as involved in the life of the church as HWA has claimed.

As HWA continues to expound upon the reason God created angelic beings, he leads the reader into his "personal experiences" of their divine intervention in his life as "proof" of their existence. Every religious cult has its "sacred myths" and the angel interventions in HWA's life are nothing more than that. HWA uses these myths to make his readers believe that he has some "special connection" to the spirit world, further validating his authority. In reality, the story of the man with the crippled spine is nothing more than an introduction to HWA's healing doctrine.

I had learned, in studying the Bible on the subject of healing, that there are two conditions that God imposes: 1) we must keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight (I John 3:22); and 2) we must really BELIEVE. (Matt. 9:29).
Of course I realized that many people might not have come into the understanding about keeping all of God's Commandments—he does look on the heart. It is the spirit, and willingness to obey. And therefore some who really BELIEVE are healed, even though they are not strictly "commandment keepers." But once the knowledge of the truth comes, they must OBEY. In this case I felt sure that God wanted me to open the minds of these people about his Commandments and that SIN is the transgression of God's LAW. (p. 65)
I told them that, since they were unwilling to obey God and comply with God's written conditions for healing, I could not pray for him. (p. 65-66)

HWA stated that there are two conditions that God imposes before someone can be healed—keeping the commandments, and believe [notice the words "believe," "obey" and "law" are in upper case lettering]. HWA uses the words "obey" and "willingness to obey" eight times while relating the story of the cripple that suffered from blood poisoning (pages 65-67). He wants the reader to believe that God would have healed this man's crooked spine—but only if he was willing to obey HWA's doctrines.

Now carefully think about people you knew in "the Church" that "complied with these written conditions for healing" and still died!1 Now think about people you know outside of the church who didn't comply with these conditions and lived. So it is evident that obeying these two conditions does not guarantee healing, as HWA tries to make the reader believe! Notice how HWA has to backtrack his healing doctrine in order to justify why God would heal this cripple, who wasn't a "commandment keeper." But right in this very paragraph, the "apostle" states that people can be healed just by "believing," even though they are not "strict commandment keepers"—a clear contradiction. Let's carefully summarize this: One can be a "strict commandment keeper," complying with God's written conditions by giving tithes and various offerings, losing their job over the Sabbath, using up their hard earned vacation time to keep the Holy Days, etc., in order to receive healing, OR—one can simply believe [in God's ability to heal], and not be a strict commandment keeper, in order to receive healing. It appears that one comes out way ahead by obeying HWA's latter conditions.

The story about the cripple is a clever masquerade used to nudge the reader toward another carefully laid trap. "But once the knowledge of the truth comes, they must OBEY." So far it can be seen how these seven "mysteries" have progressed into "truth," and now, merely reading the MOA has progressed into "knowledge of the truth," and now "knowledge of the truth" has progressed into "obedience" of these "truths," which of course, are nothing more than HWA's contrived doctrines. This is a set up to get the reader to feel responsible for "knowing too much truth."2 HWA will build on this, informing his readers that by rejecting these "truths," he has not only turned down an opportunity to be one of the elite, handpicked, "called out and chosen" ones, but he has turned his back on God by being unwilling to obey His government and choosing to be "part of this world" instead. The reader can't win and HWA can't lose!

This kind of character must be DEVELOPED, by the CHOICE and the INTENT of the one in whom it comes to exist. (p. 69)

HWA expounds continually on "developing character." However, the old man (our old nature) cannot be improved; that is why God gives us a new nature when we place our faith in Christ, trusting Him as our Savior.

Matthew 9:16:17: "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old wineskins: else the wineskins break, and the wine runneth out, and the wineskins perish: but they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."

In the last chapter HWA admitted that when he went to the Gentile country of China, he did not share the gospel of Jesus with them. Again, we see HWA in a position to share the gospel of the saving grace of Jesus Christ with the cripple and his wife. Instead, he wanted to "open the minds of these people about the Commandments and that sin is the transgression of the Law." I hope by now the reader can begin to identify these doctrinal "shifts" throughout HWA's writings.

According to HWA, God had a purpose for creating the angels in the first place:

What was God's ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE for the angels? Beyond question it is that which, now, because of angelic rebellion, has become the transcendent potential of humans! (p. 70)

HWA informs his readers that Lucifer and the sinning angels had ""disqualified" themselves as future rulers of the Universe because they rejected God's government on earth. Earth was their supposed "testing ground" where they had to "qualify" before they would be allowed to rule the universe. Doesn't one find it very curious as to why God would create "physical" matter to test "spiritual" beings?

Let's closely examine the following statement made by HWA:

Evidently if the now fallen angles had maintained the earth in its original beautiful condition, improved it, carried out God's instruction, and obeyed his government, they would have been offered the awesome potential of populating and carrying out a tremendous creative program throughout the entire universe. (p. 88) [emp. mine]

Did any of us ever think to question how do angels "populate"? Do they marry and reproduce? Jesus said they didn't. What was HWA talking about? Could it be that he formulated his theory that man's potential was to inherit the universe, beautifying and populating planets, etc. and then worked backwards to incorporate the angels' rebellion into his "human potential" plan, not realizing that he contradicted the Bible? From where did he get this idea? Let's examine the Mormon teachings about man's incredible human potential and see whether these doctrines were "revealed" to HWA, or whether his "in-depth research" time at the library was spent reading LDS (Latter Day Saints) literature:

  1. After the resurrection, Mormon males (those counted "worthy") will become a God. They prove themselves worthy by obeying the government of the LDS church.
  2. They refer to themselves as "Gods in embryo" until they are reborn in the resurrection.
  3. "Man Becoming God" is known as "Exaltation"—man progressing to the status of Godhood—this is actual "salvation" for the Mormon.
  4. Obeying the commandments of God and keeping the whole law are requirements for salvation.
  5. After the final resurrection, man will become a God of his own planet or planets throughout the Universe.
Don't these teachings sound vaguely familiar? It seems that God has been revealing these "truths" to the Mormon Church long before HWA arrived on the scene nearly 100 years later.

HWA informs us that God created the angelic beings with "MINDS—WITH POWER TO THINK, TO REASON, TO MAKE CHOICES AND DECISIONS!" (p. 69) (Interestingly, HWA says that God allows the angels the freedom to make choices and decisions, have individuality and character, but he never allowed church members this kind of freedom.) He insists that God "could not create instantly by fiat—the same perfect, holy righteous CHARACTER inherent in both God and the Word!" He tells readers that, "such perfect character must be developed." (p. 69). With the Holy Spirit out of the picture, the believer is expected to "work" for his salvation. This term is also known as "qualifying for the Kingdom." This is the false belief that a person can make himself holy by developing "holy, righteous character" through works, thereby "qualifying" himself for salvation (eternal life as a God). HWA doesn't want his readers to know that the Holy Spirit sanctifies them (2 Thes. 2:13; Rom. 15:16) since it is impossible for man to sanctify himself. Without this pertinent piece of knowledge, he is able to enslave the convert with his "works-based" rules.

HWA wants us to believe that the earth was created millions of years ago, that the angels dwelled on it before man did, and that their rebellion brought cataclysmic destruction to the earth and throughout the universe. This is another teaching that HWA has usurped, but pawned off as "God revealing Truth" to him. This doctrine is widely known as the gap theory. The gap theory is also known by other names as the ruin-and-reconstruct theory, the pre-Adamic cataclysm theory, and the restitution theory. It was popularized back in the 1920s—1930s, when HWA began forming his eclectic doctrines. Nowhere in any of his publications does he give credit to the original authors of this theory (Thomas Chalmers), nor does he call it by name. He wants readers to believe this "mystery" about Lucifer and the fallen angels was personally revealed to him by placing this theory under the subtitle: "A Surprising Truth."

Now another surprise for most readers. Here is another bit of the missing dimension in knowledge, actually revealed in the Bible, but unrecognized by religion, by science and by higher education.
From verse 2 of Genesis 1 on the remainder of this first chapter of Genesis is not describing the original creation of the earth. But it is describing a renewing of the face of the earth, after it had become waste and empty as a result of the sin of the angels. (p. 75) [emp. mine]

Now for the clincher: Thomas Chalmers was a 19th century Scottish theologian! In fact, the Scofield Reference Bible, which was first published in 1909, began to publish the "gap theory" in its footnote to Genesis 1:2 by 1917. If you have a Scofield Bible you can look it up yourself. Contrary to HWA's claims, it appears that "religion" had openly recognized this theory by 1917—ten years before HWA began to be personally taught by Jesus Christ in 1927 (p. 24-25, MOA). Remember, God supposedly blinded the world from these "truths" for 1900 years until HWA began proclaiming "the true gospel" around 1934. It is apparent that the world wasn't as blind as HWA wanted us to believe, and that HWA didn't get this information straight from God's mouth, either. The facts speak for themselves. I hope our readers are beginning to question why would "God's Apostle" tell an outright lie?

While pretending to reveal these mysteries about angels and evil spirits, HWA will progressively transfer his government in place of God's authority. The reader will think he is being given interesting knowledge about angels, when in fact HWA is shifting focus away from the angels and onto a cleverly hidden agenda of adopting his government structure. Once the reader is convinced that rebellion against "God's government" is the ultimate sin one can commit (since Satan himself committed it against God), he has unwittingly fallen into another carefully laid trap. A master at progression, HWA knows this, and will later introduce the government structure enforced within his church. He leaves little doubt in the reader's mind that his church is the only one executing "the government of God3 on earth today." (p. 86)

The words "government of God" and "government" are used 31 times in this chapter, which is supposed to be about the spirit world. Even though this chapter says it's about angels and evil spirits, one can begin to see that it is actually a set-up to infuse the concept that "rebelling against the government of God" is the highest sin anyone can ever commit. HWA understands that once this idea is internalized, the convert will fear leaving. Once the convert has been emotionally exploited, HWA can then begin to financially exploit him. This heavy financial burden will be required of the convert throughout his membership until he is either put out, or he voluntarily exits the group.

After reading this chapter, one would be led to think that the "government of God" must be a very important Bible doctrine. When they enter the church, they will hear sermon after sermon about it. Yet, believe it or not, there are only four verses in the Bible that use the word "government," (Isa. 9:6, Isa. 9:7, Isa 22:21, and 2 Pet 2:10) and three of them are speaking about Jesus—not about angels, not about "the Church" or it's internal structure or policies. The verses that contain the word "government" are used in Isaiah's prophesy about the coming King, which Jesus fulfilled. Can one begin to see how HWA, once again, shifts focus from Jesus and onto his church?

HWA insists that the government of God was administered on earth while one third of the angels dwelled upon it. Let's see HWA's definition of the government of God:

Bear in mind the government of God is based on the LAW of God, which is the way of life of outflowing LOVE, cooperation, concern for the good of the governed. (p. 50)
Since sin is the transgression of God's law, these angels rebelled against God's law, the basis of God's government. (p. 72, repeats p. 73)
God intended him [Lucifer] to rule the earth by administering the government of God over the earth. And the government of God was administered on earth until the rebellion of the sinning angels. (p. 73)

So this "government of God," which HWA says is based on the Law of God, is what Lucifer and the angels rebelled against. The truth is that HWA performed a bait and switch on the reader. He first explains that the "government of God" is based on the Law of God, which his sums up as "love"—outgoing concern, the way of give—which produces "peace, happiness, prosperity and well-being." (p. 92) Once the reader takes the bait, this "law of love" will be switched to "keeping the Commandments." The reader will discover later that these commandments require Sabbath keeping and other O.T. laws. Now one must "qualify" through "strict commandment keeping," and one must obey the government "administered" by "Headquarters." Apparently, the angels had to abide by one standard and humans had to abide by a different standard. Why? This is nothing more than redefining the "spiritual" law into a "physical" law in order to suit HWA's purposes.

Now let's go back to Chapter One of MOA, where HWA first introduced God's government and compare what was said:

The very fact of law presupposes GOVERNMENT. Government is the administration and enforcement of law by one in authority. This necessitates authoritative leadership—one in command. (p. 48)
…there was GOVERNMENT, with God in supreme command. The government of God is of necessity government from the top down. It cannot be "government by the consent of the governed." (p. 49)
Bear in mind the government of God is based on the LAW of God, which is the way of life of outflowing LOVE, cooperation, concern for the good of the governed.

Even though HWA describes God as "one in command," there is no question that HWA positioned himself as the God-ordained, unquestioned "one in command" within his church. He wants the reader to believe this form of government was given to him by God to administer on earth. Notice the capitalized words "government," "law" and "love." HWA is indoctrinating the reader to believe that "love" is equated to obedience of the government and laws (practiced within his church), instead of close, personal fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice carefully: Is the description of government outlined in the above paragraphs a picture of love—or of a dictatorship disguised as love?

So we can readily conclude that HWA has emphasized this "government of God" as the pinnacle of importance, when in fact, the lack of Scriptures in the Bible on this central topic should make one question "why" HWA would emphasize something the Bible does not, while de-emphasizing what God emphasizes—the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the government being established on HIS shoulders. (Isaiah 9:6)

Did the angels inhabit the earth before man was created? HWA quotes Job 38:4, 7 to prove that angels were created before the earth.

  1. It will come as news to most readers that angels were created before the earth and the physical universe were brought into existence. Job 38:1-7 shows the angels shouted for joy when God first created the earth. (p. 62)
  2. It will come as a surprise to many to learn that angels inhabited this earth BEFORE the creation of man. This passage from Job implies it. (p. 72)
  3. Angels inhabited this earth before the creation of man. (p. 73)
  4. …over the angels who inhabited the whole earth. (p. 84)
  5. What God gave them was THIS EARTH as their abode…(p. 92)

Let's examine these verses in Job 34:

Verse 4: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?..."

Verse 7: "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

These verses plainly show that the angels shouted for joy when the earth was created, but where does it say that the angels dwelled upon it? It doesn't. But if you are already leaning in the direction that HWA is God's messenger, then you will readily believe his interpretation of Scripture. He states that this passage implies it, but it doesn't. For example, if you build a new home and show it to me, and I shout, "Wow! What a beautiful house!" I hope my reaction doesn't imply that I'm going to inhabit it! Notice how, in the first sentence above, HWA introduces the correct concept that the angels shouted for joy when earth was created, but plants the false belief that the angels inhabited the earth in the second sentence. By the third, fourth, and fifth sentences, he authoritatively states it as "fact" and will continue to do so throughout the remainder of this book.

HWA taught that the angels were placed on the earth to finish it:

What had been created was perfect as far as it existed up to that point. But it was not yet a finished or completed creation. God intended the angels to add their own workmanship to the earth's surface. He intended them to work over the surface of the earth, to improve it, to embellish it, beautify it—in other words "put the icing on the cake. (p. 77) [emp. mine]

Now let's go back a few pages and see what HWA says about the earth:

This first verse of the Bible actually speaks of the original PHYSICAL creation in its entirety—the universe—including the earth, perhaps millions of years ago—as a perfect creation, beautiful and perfect as far as its creation was a finished, completed work. God is a perfectionist! (p. 71) [emp. mine]

So which is it—finished or unfinished? Besides this contradiction, there is a clear lack of Scriptures to support this "icing on the cake" idea. Apparently, the angels didn't enjoy their earthly assignment and took matters into their own hands.

HWA describes the process that Lucifer used to turn the angels against God. He ponders the length of time "it must have taken the soured and embittered Lucifer to turn millions of holy angels into resentment, bitterness, disloyalty, and finally open and vicious rebellion. It could have taken hundreds, thousands or millions of years." (p. 86). There is no Biblical basis for this statement, either. There are no Scriptures to support his hypothesis, which he tries to pawn off as "revealed knowledge." Why would God allow this kind of wickedness to go on for such an extended length of time? How can an omnipotent, omnipresent God be oblivious to what was going on? Do we really believe this? But this is exactly what HWA is saying! Ironically, HWA wants us to believe that God allowed untold "years" for the angels to stew in their rebellion before "doing something," while church members who are identified as "rebellious" are swiftly put out of his church. See HWA's quote about throwing the rotten apples out early on page 86 of MOA. Apparently Herbert is wiser than God when it comes to rebellion in the ranks.

HWA also wants us to believe that "universal sin brings universal destruction." (p. 72). He uses Noah's flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah as examples. Let's say his hypothesis is true. According to HWA, "all flesh was corrupted, so God destroyed the whole earth" during the time of Noah. The "sins of Sodom and Gomorrah spread over the territory of those two cities," so "their entire area" was destroyed. Let's see if this holds true. Using HWA's formula, one could understand why the "whole earth" would be destroyed because of the sin of the angels, but remember he says the destruction was "universe wide" (p. 73). The "rebellion/destruction ratio" of one-third of the angels doesn't follow HWA's formula. Why would God destroy the whole universe for the sin of only one-third of the angels? What about the other two-thirds that remained loyal? This formula is simply man-made logic, and not Biblical revelation.

The word "rebellion" is used 13 times in this chapter of MOA. On an interesting note, the words rebel, rebelled, rebellion, and rebellious are never used in the New Testament. These words are used in reference to ancient Israel, and are never used when speaking of angels or fallen angels for that matter. I realize that this does not negate the fact of the angelic rebellion anymore than the lack of word "Trinity" in Scripture negates its existence, but it is apparent that HWA has emphasized the use of this particular word "rebellion" to further his objectives.

I want to draw the reader's attention to sentences on pages 85 and 86. While describing the rebellion of Lucifer and the fallen angels, HWA craftily inserts the idea that anyone who rebels against God's government (which readers will learn in later chapters he is speaking of his church), is being used by Satan himself to stir up rebellion within the ranks.

He [Satan] uses the same method still today in leading deceived humans into disloyalty, rebellion, and self-centered opposition against God's government….And as each rotten apple rots those next to it until the whole crate is rotten, so Satan proceeds. (p. 85)

What happens to this member, who is labeled as "disloyal, self-centered, rebellious"? (also called "dissidents," "Laodiceans," etc.) On page 86, HWA clearly describes the process:

If, in the government of God on earth today, the "rotten apples" are not thrown out early enough, they would destroy the whole government. But once thrown out of the crate, they cannot do any more damage to those in the crate. (p. 86)

What the uninformed reader doesn't understand is that he is being groomed to accept HWA's disfellowshipping policy. Observe again, the method of appealing to the reader's sense of right and wrong. HWA paints an idyllic picture or a perfect earth, filled with complete joy and happiness, as long as the angels were obeying God's government.

As long as Lucifer continued in this perfect way, there was happiness and joy unspeakable over the whole earth. There was glorious peace—beautiful harmony, perfect love, cooperation. The government of God produced a wonderfully happy state—as long as Lucifer was loyal in the conduct of God's government. (p. 85)

Contrast this with HWA's description of the sinning angels and the result of their actions:…

[Lucifer] had resorted to wrong reasoning and made a diabolical perverted decision….He worked on the angels under him until he turned their minds to rebellion also.
When Lucifer allowed thoughts of vanity, jealousy, envy, lust and greed, then resentment and rebellion, to enter and occupy his mind, SOMETHING HAPPENED TO HIS MIND! His mind became perverted, distorted, twisted! His thinking became warped. God gave him and the angels control over their own minds. They can never straighten them out—never again think rationally, honestly, rightly. (p. 93)
In other words, the earth, originally created perfect and beautiful, had now become chaotic, waste and empty…(p.75)

HWA paints a frightful picture here. The reader becomes convinced that he must obey God's government and not be part of this world's system and be in alliance with Satan. He feels that God is justified in tossing out the rotten apples in order to prevent destruction of God's right way of life. So the reader subconsciously adopts the idea that obeying God's government is for the betterment of mankind. It would not only fill his life with peace and happiness, but he wouldn't be furthering Satan's evil agenda either.

Once the convert enters the church, he will soon discover that God's government does not produce the heavenly peace and happiness portrayed in its literature. He will quickly become familiar with "marked from the pulpit" announcements. He hears about "bitter dissidents" or "Laodiceans" and is admonished to avoid them, lest he become contaminated. He is reassured that "putting them out of the church" is actually good for them and protects the Body. An example of an erring child being sternly, but lovingly, disciplined is used. What he isn't told is that nobody locks the child out of the house and tells his friends and relatives to shun him! This isn't discipline—it's emotional cruelty!

HWA says that "The penalty for the sin of the angels is not death, as it is for a man." (p. 74) But the reader must go all the way to page 92 to find out what their penalty is: "…DISQUALIFICATION—and forfeiture of their grand opportunity…" Where are the Scriptures that support this? Can you begin to see the gradual shift in who has the final authority? The reader doesn't realize that he is beginning to believe HWA's speculations over what the Bible actually says.

HWA relentlessly preached to his members about "qualifying" for the Kingdom. Over and over again, he admonished his followers to "qualify" for their salvation.4 One would expect that he is emphasizing a major Bible doctrine, correct? I want to challenge the reader to open their Strong's Concordance and find how many times the word "qualify" is mentioned in the Bible. Now look up the word "grace." Can you find "license to sin" as its Biblical definition? (Remember, HWA says the Bible interprets itself). Why would HWA misrepresent and taint the word "grace," which is found in the Bible, while magnifying the word "qualify," which isn't found in the Bible? [Note: more is covered on Grace and "license to sin" in Chapter 6, Pt. 4]

HWA tells us that because of the angels' rebellion, God had to switch to his contingency plan. He says:

God saw that nothing less than himself (as the God family) could be absolutely relied upon to carry out that supreme purpose in the entire universe. (p. 94)
God then purposed to reproduce himself, through humans….(p. 94)
And that is why God put man on the earth! That is what caused God to do this most colossal, tremendous thing ever undertaken by the supreme, almighty God—to reproduce himself! (p. 95)

Now one would expect "God's chosen Apostle" to know Scripture better than anyone on earth today. After all, he enlightened us to the fact that the Bible is a coded book, and he is the only one that can decode it properly, because everyone outside of his church is deceived. So after much decoding, HWA informs us that God is reproducing himself through humans. Unfortunately, he missed one very important piece of the jigsaw puzzle:

"Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour." (Isaiah 43:10-11)

God plainly says that there will not be any gods formed after Him. HWA says the opposite. Who are you going to believe? HWA or the Word of God? Can you begin to identify HWA's pattern of omitting Scriptures in order to paint the picture he wants to paint? There's a word for this. It's called "deception."

Let's pretend for a moment that HWA's theory is true—that God's purpose for making man was to reproduce Himself. Let's look further into HWA's ideas on this:

…it left God himself as the only being who would not and cannot sin. (p. 94)
God saw that no being less than God, in the God family, could be certainly relied on never to sin—to be like God—who cannot sin. (p. 94)
God then purposed to reproduce himself, through humans….(p. 94) [emp. mine]

According to HWA's own writings, God is reproducing Himself because He is the only Being who would not—could not—ever sin. So he creates humans to replace the disqualified angels. Now if we follow HWA's reasoning to the letter that God's purpose was to reproduce beings that were like Him—that could never sin—then God has already proven Himself incompetent, because humans did indeed SIN! It appears that in HWA's manmade scenarios, God has no control over His creation! HWA's contrived doctrines, once again, has undeniably proven to be filled with errors.

What does the Bible say about the real purpose that God created man? The Apostle Paul tells us that God's purpose is to adopt His people as His own children:

"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will," (Ephesians 1:5)

We cannot exit this chapter without mentioning the wily tactics used by HWA, following the same pattern used in the previous chapter. Beginning on page 78, HWA starts out discussing Lucifer's transformation into Satan, but diverts the reader's attention onto the "soon-coming Holy Roman Empire." He covertly introduces his British-Israelism doctrine and entices the reader about the identity of Israel—"if you know who Israel is today, and I do not mean Judah, known as the Israelis today." Of course, he offers his free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy that will develop on this false doctrine. He lets the reader know that these prophecies5 will come to pass "in the years very shortly ahead of us." Curiosity, fear, and a sense of urgency are used to motivate the reader to write in for the book, which will further poison the mind of the unwary reader.

All Bible-based cults delve into "extra-Biblical revelation" and this second chapter of MOA is nothing more than that. HWA pieces together a few Bible passages about Lucifer, while stealthily promoting his doctrines of healing, disfellowshipping, the government of God, man's "God potential," and the gap theory. This mishmash of ideas is known as "eclecticism"—and since HWA brags that he didn't get his teachings from any "theological seminary," it would stand to reason that he is free to make up whatever doctrines he desires. Jesus said that a good tree doesn't bear bad fruit, and so far, we've seen nothing but bad fruit coming from this tree.

By Kelly Marshall
Exit & Support Network™
June 2004
Updated February 8, 2012

Next to MOA Chapter Three

Preface | Intro | Chap. 1 | Chap. 2 | Chap. 3 | Chap. 4 | Chap. 5 | Chap. 6 | Chap 7

Footnotes for Chapter Two:

1 Craig Winters' son, Jacob, age 25, died of Addison's Disease on January 13, 2002. His death could have been prevented with life-saving medicine. No doubt he complied with these "written conditions." Read: Run From Death That Resides in PCG!

2 This is the step-by-step process used in most Bible-based cults. Read: How Did Herbert W. Armstrong Recruit People?

3 The words, "government of God" are not mentioned in Scripture. In fact, there is no military model of government even found in the New Testament. (See chapter 9 of Damaged Disciples by Ron and Vicki Burks. Note: This book is now out of print. Check your library, used book stores, or an inter-library loan.) While the Scriptures testify that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and will rule over all, the emphasis is always placed on Him and what He has done for us through His grace. Although HWA used 2 Peter 2:10: "...despise government.." to try to correlate this somehow with "God's government" (which translates in members' minds to the leader and headquarters), the verses 10 through 16 are describing false teachers in the first century of the church. The word "government" in 2 Peter 2:10 really means "dominion" and occurs few times in the Bible.

4 HWA did teach that members had to qualify for the Kingdom of God. Read: I heard HWA say that we aren't saved by works.

5 Herbert Armstrong gave over 200 false prophecies and these are listed on the Internet.

Back to Articles on Grace and Law (and other teachings)