Biblical Answers to the World Mission Society Church of God

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.--1 John 4:1

Are you or a loved one struggling with this group? Do you need Biblical answers about the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCoG or CoGWMS), their founder Ahnsahnghong (Ahn Sahng/Sang-Hong) or their current leader "Mother Jerusalem" (a.k.a. "Heavenly Mother God," Zang/Zahng Gil-Jah, or Chung Gil Cha)? Thank you for coming here. I hope my blog helps you. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Other Mothers - Part 2

Back to my keyword study of "mother" in the Bible.  Just to review, I was looking up references to "mother" that could possibly refer to something other than a natural, human mother, to see if there is any support for a "Mother God."  Continuing with the next verses...

Hosea chapter 2, verses 2 and 4-5 (but read the whole chapter!)
“Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband.  Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. ... I will not show my love to her children, because they are the children of adultery.  Their mother has been unfaithful and has conceived them in disgrace.  She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’
This "mother" represents the nation of Israel who has been unfaithful to God.  If this was any kind of heavenly mother, she would be in trouble!

Hosea 4:5  You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you.  So I will destroy your mother
A reading of Hosea chapter 4 (and the whole book of Hosea) reveals that the "mother" here continues to represent the nation of Israel.
Matthew12:49; Mark3:35; Luke 8:21
These three verses are tell of the same account.  I'll quote Mark 3:31-35:
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.  A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!  Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus was saying that He considers all true Christians as close to Him as family.  It is a metaphor again, not representing a "heavenly mother."

Galatians 4:26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
This is the verse that started my study, the verse that the WMSCOG uses all the time.  I studied it (and their interpretation) in depth in five parts starting here

Hebrews 7:3  Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
Although it may appear at first that this refers to a natural, human mother, examination of Hebrews chapter 7 shows something slightly different.  It does not mean that this priest did not have an actual mother that bore him, nor does it mean that the priest's mother was an unbeliever (as the WMSCOG interprets).  It's talking about the genealogy of a priest.  An Israelite priest must be from the tribe of Levi, but this priest was not from the tribe of Levi.  It was not his genealogy through his father or mother that made him a priest.

Revelation 17:5  The name written on her forehead was a mystery:
Like in Jeremiah 50, this "mother" is specified as the kingdom of Babylon, but symbolizes the root of all the "abominations of the earth".  The WMSCOG says that this Babylon stands for the Catholic church from whom branched off all the all the current denominations of the Christian church that we see today.  (There is a chart on Wikipedia here.)  The WMSCOG also says that all of those denominations are the "prostitutes" mentioned in this verse.  Rev. 17:18 does say, "The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth." which at the time was Rome.  That is a topic for another day, but in any case, the "mother" in Revelation 17:5 is clearly not a "heavenly mother god." 

Isaiah 49:15 and 66:13  Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! ... As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
These two verses use a "mother" as a metaphor for the compassion and comfort of God.  However, the WMSCOG agrees that the God speaking in the Old Testament is God the Father.  These verses show that God the Father also possesses the qualities of a mother Himself, but there is NOT a separate "God the Mother."

I've looked carefully and see no other verses about a "mother" that could possibly be referring to a "Mother God."  If you think I've missed something, please speak up!
The Bible does NOT testify to a second God, the "Mother".

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Thoughts

I'm taking a little break in my study of "Mother" to think about Christmas.
As I'm sure you know, the WMSCOG disagrees vehemently with the mainstream churches on the celebration of Christmas.  I just wanted to share some of my own thoughts on the subject.

  • There is a fantastic video called "The Star of Bethlehem."  If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.  It's the kind of thing that makes you sit back in awe.  Really, very interesting!
  • The celebration of Christmas is NOT a requirement for salvation.  The WMSCOG says we are following rules made by men, but no, it is NOT a rule that must be followed.  We celebrate Christmas because we love the story of Jesus' birth and wish remember it, joined together in one accord.
  • Of course we do not know the actual date of Jesus' birth, but there is nothing unusual in celebrating a birthday on a different day.  In the UK, there is an official day set aside to celebrate the Queen's (or King's) birthday, and if it happens to be on the monarch's actual birthday, it's just a coincidence.  How many times are you (or your children) invited to birthday parties held on a different day than the actual birthday?  Does it make the celebration any less special?  Should we avoid celebrating unless we can do it on the actual birthday?  No, of course not.
  • Isn't it interesting that in our society (in the United States), there are religious groups (not just the WMSCOG) who do not celebrate Christmas because of its secular or materialistic or non-Christian aspects.  At the same time, there are atheists and other non-Christians who will not celebrate Christmas because of its distinctly Christian themes?
  • Christmas is widely known as the celebration of the birth of Jesus, despite all its secular (Santa Claus) and materialistic (gift giving) trappings.  We must admit that with all the focus on Jesus' birth, it is a fantastic witnessing upportunity.  When so many people are willing to come to church for Christmas, who may avoid church all the rest of the year (except maybe Easter), refusing to acknowledge Christmas is also refusing a chance to explain the the wonderful story to people who may not want to listen any other time.  Let's tell it with joy and excitement, not with condemnation that they shouldn't be celebrating Christmas Day.  That's what I think.
But here's the main thing I'd like to write about -- what about Christmas's relationship to pagan festivals?
You've probably heard about origins of the Dec. 25th celebration of Christmas and its various traditions like the Christmas tree.  For one thing, Wikipedia indicates that it may not all be as pagan as the WMSCOG claims.  Check out their articles on Christmas and Sol Invictus and the Christmas Tree.  But what if it does have its beginnings in paganism?

Paul said, "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.  To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.  To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.  To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.  To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.  I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.  I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." (1 Cor. 9:19-23)

And when Paul was in Athens, he said, "People of Athens!  I see that in every way you are very religious.  For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.  So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you." (Acts 17:22b-23)

Paul used the people's own cultures to teach them about God, even if it was a pagan culture.  Isn't it entirely likely that Paul and the other early Christian may have used the festivals in place at the time, showed the people truth about God using what they were already familiar with, and redirected them toward the one true God?

Why should Satan have permanent control over certain days?  Can they not be redeemed for the Lord?  I say, yes they can!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Luke 2:8-14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Other Mothers - Part 1

I wanted to know, besides Galatians 4:26 (which the WMSCOG misinterprets), are there any other references to a "mother" that would indicate a "Heavenly Mother" as the WMSCOG preaches?

I did a keyword search for "mother" in the Bible.  In the NIV there are 320 results.  The vast majority of those refer to actual, human mothers.  But what about the others?  Here are the verses about a "mother" that is not an actual, human mother....

2 Samuel 20:18-19  She continued, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Get your answer at Abel,’ and that settled it.  We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the LORD’s inheritance?”
This is when Joab was pursuing Sheba to the city of Abel Beth Maakah.  This is another city being likened to a mother.  It's not a heavenly mother.

Job 17:14  if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’
Here is Job lamenting about the grave, calling his mother the worm that will destroy his physical body.  It's not a heavenly mother.
Isaiah 50:1  This is what the LORD says: “Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce with which I sent her away?  Or to which of my creditors did I sell you?  Because of your sins you were sold; because of your transgressions your mother was sent away.
These verses talk about Israel being sent into exile in Babylon.  The "mother" here is the nation of Israel, not the WMSCOG's "Heavenly Mother."

Jeremiah 50: 11-13  Because you rejoice and are glad, you who pillage my inheritance, because you frolic like a heifer threshing grain and neigh like stallions, your mother will be greatly ashamed; she who gave you birth will be disgraced.  She will be the least of the nations—a wilderness, a dry land, a desert.  Because of the LORD’s anger she will not be inhabited but will be completely desolate.  All who pass Babylon will be appalled; they will scoff because of all her wounds.
In this passage, the "mother" is the nation of Babylon, the ones who have pillaged Israel and aroused the Lord's anger.  Could this represent the WMSCOG's "Heavenly Mother"?   Hmmmm....

Ezekiel 16:1-3  The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.  (also in verses 44 and 45)
Talking about nations again, in Ezekiel 16 the Lord is telling how He chose the nation of Israel despite her miserable heritage.  He loved her and blessed her even though she was unfaithful.  If the WMSCOG can use Gal. 4:26 to prove that there is a "Heavenly Mother" then perhaps they can use this verse to prove there is a "Heavenly Grandmother"?  (I'm being sarcastic here, can you tell?)

Ezekiel 19:1-2, 10  “Take up a lament concerning the princes of Israel and say: “‘What a lioness was your mother among the lions!  She lay down among them and reared her cubs.... “‘Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches because of abundant water.
Once again, the "mother" here is the nation of Israel.  In poetic language, Israel is being compared metaphorically to a lion and a vine.  It is not a heavenly mother.

Ezekiel 23:2, 4  “Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother.  ... The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
And here we are again in Ezekiel with "mother" symbolizing the nation of Israel.  Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom, and Jerusalem was in the Southern Kingdom.  More poetic language, but not about a heavenly mother.

I'm not quite done with the list yet, but I think that's enough for today.  To be continued...

Click here to go on to Part 2.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Galatians 4:26 -- Part 5

Well, I hope my internet browser is going to work today long enough to get this posted.  Now where were we?....  Ah, yes...

Galatians 4:26  "But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother."
So we've seen already some of the WMSCOG's misinterpretations regarding how Abraham repsresents God and how Isaac was chosen as heir.  The WMSCOG then goes on to explain how since Isaac was born from the free mother, so must we become a child of the "Heavenly Mother Jerusalem" (aka "Mother God") so that we can have the inheritance of eternal life.

But what is the message Paul really has for us in this verse?
I suggested it earlier, but if you haven't already read the book of Galatians, go ahead and read it, the whole thing.  It's not that long.  Then focus in again on the passage in question, chapter 4, verses 21-31.

First of all, Paul says in verse 24, "These things are to be taken figuratively...."  That means he's speaking in symbolism and allegory.  He's already warned us not to take the example literally--it's a metaphor.  "The women represent two covenants."  He tells us directly that he's going to use this metaphor to compare two covenants.

"One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.  Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children." (Gal. 4:24-25) 

He is using Hagar and the present city of Jerusalem to represent the Law, the covenant with Moses.  Those who trust that following the law will save them are slaves to that law.

Ishmael was born to the slave woman, Hagar.  Abraham and Sarah knew God had promised them a son, but it wasn't happening.  So they used their own efforts to make it happen, through Hagar.  There was nothing special about Ishmael's birth.  It's not unusual for elderly men to father children.

Those who trust in following the law, are also trusting in their own efforts to save them, just like Abraham and Sarah, through Hagar, used their own efforts to get a son.  But Ishmael was not the son that God had promised them...

But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother....  Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise....  Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. (Gal. 4:26, 28, 31)

Sarah was the free woman, and Isaac, her son, was not born in the ordinary way.  Sarah was 90 years old when Isaac was born.  How can a 90 year old woman become pregnant and bear a son?  Only by a miracle of God.  When God promised them a son, it was Isaac he had in mind.  Isaac was born to fulfill that promise, and it was Isaac, not Ishmael, who became the heir of God's special covenant. (Gen. 17:19-21)

The descendants born to Abraham through Isaac were children of that promise.  By our faith, we Christians are considered the "spiritual seed" of Abraham, and we are heirs and children of God's promise too. (Gal. 3:26-29)

But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” (Gal. 4:30)

The one who strives to accomplish salvation through their own efforts by following the law ("the slave woman's son") will not be able to share the inheritance of God that is only available to the one who has accepted God's gracious gift of salvation, by faith and not because of their own efforts ("the free woman's son").

Hagar and the "present city of Jerusalem" stand for the Jewish church at the time, which relied on following the law (think of the Pharisees), and likewise for all the current churches which teach that salvation must be earned by following the law.

Sarah and the "Jerusalem that is above" stand for the true church (not talking denomination here, but the general body of believers), which is in a state of freedom (see also Col. 2:14).

This fits with the theme of the book of Galatians.  By faith we are set free from slavery to the law.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)