The US is looking for a strongman to lead. The world will look for a strongman to lead as terrorism and civil unrest rise. What about the Church?
An introduction to idolatry in the Church of God organizations
Undoubtedly, the next few posts will make me rather “popular” in Church of God (COG) circles.The world looks for, yearns for and actively seeks out a strongman to lead them. Yet, the Church has not truly come out of the world. It too, in general terms, is looking for a strongman to lead them. It is a specific form of idolatry that in some cases underlies all the other idolatries in the Church of God.
I have found that whenever and wherever you attack people’s idols, they often react with fear, hatred and sometimes violence. The extreme example of this would be the Islamic State movement. Threatened by western “values” (and is there such a thing any longer?), their idolatry of a false prophet motivates them to fear, hatred and very real violence. Yet, how much does American politics do the same? How different are the various sects within the COG movement?
Maybe not as much as you think.
Ironically, critics of the Churches of God, some which lie and claim to be “Christian”, often throw out the baby with the bath water and engage in their own form of idolatry(-ies). One even goes so far as to criticize UCG’s declaration that they follow Christ and not some dead guy (my paraphrase), when they hypocritically claim to do the very same thing. That is because they have their own form of idolatry, but I’ll leave that for another day.
The point is that one form of idolatry almost always leads to another, which leads to another, etc, until you can no longer distinguish a particular group from any of Satan’s churches. In fact, I have previously proven that some that claim to be a “Church of God” really are part of the synagogue of Satan!
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
~ 2Co 11:13-15
Herbert W Armstrong’s View
Herbert W Armstrong spoke and wrote about the “Strong Man of Europe”, Dr Franz Josef Strauss. I believe that he and perhaps a few others really understood that world events would cause fear and panic, thus people would seek out a strong leader to bring people together in safety.
To be honest, there is a contradiction in human nature that, on the one hand, seeks freedom and the pursuit of one’s desires and yet, on the other hand, seeks security and the ability to blame someone else when things go wrong.
I have written over and over since 9/11 that people will give up freedom for security. The Patriot Act is still alive and well, and, if anything, has been strengthened under the leadership of a group of hypocrites who once espoused even more freedoms than what the US Constitution provides.
The recent struggle between the FBI and Apple is portrayed as “privacy vs security”. The media and your corrupt politicians would have you believe that they are mutually exclusive. Hypocrites like Diane Feinstein get all bent out of shape, however, when it is their privacy being put to the test, yet will still tout flagrant violations of the Fourth Amendment for everyone else.
However, if privacy and security are truly mutually exclusive, then I call upon the US government to immediately de-classify all documents no matter the material or source. Furthermore, everyone who claims that privacy and security cannot co-exist should publish their social security numbers online. Put your money where your mouth is!
In reality, though, security is about keeping things private that should be private. Banking security keeps the bad guys out!
The founding fathers knew that corruption can and does exist in any form of government, so they created a series of checks and balances that prevents the government from running roughshod over its citizens rights. These they called “The Bill of Rights” for a reason.
Yet, Americans do not learn from history. In fact, history, especially world history, is rarely taught any longer. American politics and government are abandoned. That is why we accept people running for office in flagrant violation of laws that exist.
And, fear is a motivator. Fear of terrorists coming across our border, fear of another recession, fear of not being able to afford a good education or good healthcare, etc.
Now Americans are looking for a strongman to fight against the corruption and lies that establishment politicians are engaged in all of the time. Europe is waking up to the fact that IS has brought terrorism to their lands, and they will respond in the same way of seeking out strong leadership to fight against the threat of terrorism. They may even to some begrudging degree begin to accept that Trump is a strongman that is needed to lead this fight — at least initially. Sooner or later, they will be looking for a strongman of their own and discard the United States as world leader.
HWA predicted a strongman of Europe that will take over as world dictator, that events would compel people to seek safety and shelter under his rule and that would lay the foundation fo the most atrocious time in human history. What he did not foresee, or so it would seem, is that American would be doing the same. In fact, part of the rise of the Beast power could be attributable to Europe seeking a counterbalance against the rise of a dictator or near dictator in the United States.
It is nothing new.
8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.
9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.
10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.
~ Ge 10:8-10
There is much packed into those short verses, but it is worth looking at.
Nimrod was “a mighty hunter”, which implies that more was going on than simply supplying food to the masses. In general, animals reproduce at a much faster rate than humans, and perhaps the world was becoming overrun by wild animals. Otherwise, this statement does not seem to make any real sense to be included.
Nimrod was “before the Lord“. More accurately, he was “against” the Lord. The Tower of Babel and the entire history of Babylon reflect a working directly against Almighty God.
Again, fear was likely a great motivator. Hints of what was going on in their minds can be seen in the story of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian version of Noah. In this story, however, Gilgamesh was a builder of fortified walls, much like Nimrod was. He was seen as the defender of his people. He survived the Great Flood, according to the stories, after being told to build a large vessel to save his family.
It is very likely that the story took on certain characteristics from Nimrod himself, and that Tower of Babel was more about thumbing their noses at God than anything else.
4 And they [the people after the Flood] said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
~ Ge 11:4
The Hebrew word for “heaven” could refer to the atmosphere, space or God’s Throne (aka “Third Heaven”, S. 2Co 12:2). It is unlikely they actually believed they could build something so high as to reach Heaven itself, but they could conceivably believe that they could build up something high in the atmosphere, well above flood range. Our modern skyscrapers are evidence that mankind has the ingenuity to accomplish such a thing, and even God says, “nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (v6, HCSB).
Nimrod was a politician’s politician, the first emperor. He was the arch-typical strongman.
Thus, it has continued through history, whether we are speaking of Julius Caesar, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Mussolini or Hitler.
Even Israel Went Looking for a Strongman
You would think that a God Who brought Israel out of Egypt with a strong hand would enjoy their freedom rather than seeking a dictator to rule over them, but what happened?
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
~ 1Sa 8:4-5
Unfortunately, Samuel’s sons were wicked and took bribes. They were corrupt! The people became fed up with the corrupt establishment of their day and were willing to demolish what existed, even if it was painful.
10 And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.
11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.
God outlines all the reasons for not having a king. God predicts that the king’s rulership will be oppressive, but He will not listen when it becomes so.
How did the people react? Were they reacting with their minds or their hearts?
19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
~ v 19
They would not listen to reason. Just like today’s political climate, they wanted to raze the current system to the ground. They wanted to scorch the earth and start over. The problem is that the “solution” is often worse than the problem it is supposed to solve!
Is the Church Looking for a Strongman?
The OT is supposed to contain lessons for Christians today. The examples of God’s physical people in the past is supposed to be a lesson for God’s spiritual people now (1Co 10:11).
So, why do so many in God’s Church engage in outright idolatry today?
Unfortunately, HWA often taught the idolatry of a “one-man government”, as though ancient Israel were righteous in demanding a king. It is unbiblical, and in most cases is a source of sin to seek out a strongman to lead the organization. I am being kind here. I honestly cannot think of a single good reason to seek out a strongman when we already have Jesus Christ as our head.
Yet, people have gnashed on me with their teeth, not willing to give up their blatant, unrepentant and ungodly idolatry. You can tell the source from its fruit. When they foolishly follow prophets, apostles, pastor generals and other titles of men, giving away all of their savings for grand schemes and live in poverty, misery and oppression, then it become evident that you really do reap what you sow.
My fear is that those people will cry out in utter pain, but God will say, “and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”
If you are angry, offended or insulted, then look in the mirror for the cause. Otherwise, this is only the introduction.