Servants' News

May/June 2003

Assemblies of Yahweh Threatens to Sue Norman Edwards Over 3-letter Discrepancy

The ways of our Father are truly wonderful. He has put us here on earth where we are physical—where we cannot mess up the universe for all eternity. But at the same time He has allowed mankind to get into terrible trouble, given us some knowledge of His truth, and given us opportunity to see what we will do.

We can disregard His truth, or we can study it.

If we decide study it, we can sit around and feel good about how much we know, or we can use it to serve others who are in desperate need.

If we decide to serve others, we can choose to serve a little bit, or we can serve others with our whole lives.

1 Corinthians 3:10–15 and many other “eternal judgment” scriptures show that what we do now is important.

Nevertheless, our purpose here can easily become clouded when we begin to equate the work of the Creator with a human organization rather than a spiritual Entity that He manages.

For whatever reason, Jacob Meyer, head of the Assemblies of Yahweh, a non-profit corporation, feels it is important to search the Internet and correct anyone who misuses the name of the corporation—whether purposefully or accidentally. This writer was further mystified that after a lengthy exchange of letters, Nathan Meyer (son of Elder Jacob Meyer) never communicated the fact that the only legal problem with my article was it should have said “Assembly of Yahweh” (singular) rather than “Assemblies of Yahweh” (plural). He may have hoped that I would simply delete the article rather than find the precise problem. By calling the Assembly of Yahweh, a Michigan corporation I found the whole issue was three letters: “ies” instead of “y”.

Nevertheless, many interesting and valuable topics are covered in the correspondence that followed. It contains a threatening letter from the Assemblies of Yahweh’s intellectual property lawyer and my response.

Opening E-mail Letter

Letter: February 26, 2001

I would like to draw your attention to an error that you have on your website: http://www.servantsnews.com/sn9607/s960709.htm. The Assemblies of Yahweh is the registered name of True Worship located in Bethel, Pennsylvania. We are not affiliated with the people in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. Please repair of your error.

—Nathaniel Meyers

Assemblies of Yahweh

Response: Thank you for pointing out this problem. We accurately reported that this group refers to itself as the Assemblies of Yahweh. If you believe that your group is the only one that has preserved the True Worship and that all others are false, please realize that I have read about or worked with hundreds of groups that make the same claim. Some people at that Assemblies of Yahweh conference we attended claimed that they were the faithful few with whom Yahweh is working.

When I write about various bodies of believers, I do not feel it is my place to declare whether specific groups or individuals are “true” or “false”. The Scriptures plainly teach: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you” (Matt 7:1–2). If I declare people to be “false worshippers” because I understand a truth of the Scriptures that they do not, will then Yahweh, in the Judgment, declare me to be a “false worshipper” because I did not understand a truth of the Scriptures that others did understand?

However, this principle of “not judging” is not a principle of “not teaching”. If I know of groups or individuals who are doing things that I believe to be in error, I do not condemn them as “false worshippers”, but teach the truth, if they will listen. Notice what Yahshua taught: “John said to him, Teacher, we saw one casting out demons in your name; and we forbid him, because he followed not us. But Yahshua said, Forbid him not: for there is no man who shall do a mighty work in my name, and be able to quickly to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us’” (Mark 9:38–40). From this scripture, you clearly do not need to be concerned about others who do works using the name of “Assemblies of Yahweh”, but who do not follow your group.

I realize that your group has registered “Assemblies of Yahweh” as a “service mark” and “trademark” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and has sued other groups who attempt to use “Assemblies of Yahweh”. I would guess that you believe you need to do this “in order to protect your members from false worship”. But this is not what was done in the New Testament/ Covenant Scriptures. There are numerous examples of false teachers there, but the Apostles’ efforts were focused on teaching the truth and teaching believers to distinguish between the true teachers and the false. Never once did the true Apostles go to the “state” to enlist their aid in stopping false teachers—or in getting those false teachers to use a different name.

I do not personally know the character of the leaders of the various groups calling themselves “Assemblies of Yahweh”. I make no judgment. However, I am familiar with numerous other groups that have split because of unrighteous treatment of some of the brethren by the group’s leaders. Those that left essentially held to the same doctrines and practices as the original group, and sometimes attempted to call themselves by the same or similar name. Those leaders in the original group then attempted to limit their membership loss by discrediting the split-off group, threatening members who had any contact with it, and sometimes, by various legal maneuvers to get the split-off group to use another name. One would think that if the Holy Spirit were present and obvious in the first group, and lacking in the second, that long-time true believers would be able to tell the difference. One would think that any believer would be happy that there are many groups where “Messiah is proclaimed” (Phil 1:18)—especially if nearly all of their doctrines are the same as yours. The only ones who seem to be sad are leaders who may lose members and the offerings that they give.

It is very important that all of us, who regard ourselves as teachers of some kind, be very careful to be sure that our actions are on behalf of Yahweh, not simply on behalf of ourselves. Now, I realize that you may regard me as an “unbeliever”—even though I have received your publication “The Sacred Name Broadcaster” for seven years, I have never became a member of your organization or baptized by your ministry. Consequently, my words may be of little value to you, but I still regard you as a believer because I know that you do want to hear and head the words of Yahshua the Messiah:

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his Master has set over his household, to give them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Master when he comes shall find so doing. Truly I say to you, that he will set him over all that he has. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Master tarries; and shall begin to beat his fellow-servants, and shall eat and drink with the drunken: the Master of that servant shall come in a day when he expects not, and in an hour when he knows not, and shall severely scourge him, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth” (Matt 24:45–51).

May all who read this heed these words. We need to be doing the work of Yahweh, not using the power of the “state” to punish other teachers whom we believe to be in error.

All of the Scripture quotations herein are taken from the Bible you publish, “The Sacred Scriptures, Bethel Edition” © Copyright 1981, Assemblies of Yahweh, Bethel, PA 19507. At first, I thought that this book was simply a King James Version with “Lord”, “God”, “Jesus”, etc. replaced by “Yahweh”, “Elohim”, “Yashuah”, etc. However, as the above quote shows, someone has done considerable research into the Greek in this difficult passage and has translated it better than most. It does not sound as though these believers are being punished forever, but that they are going to be corrected—which I believe is consistent with other scriptures and also correctly translates the Greek here. I had trouble explaining this verse in some of my previous writings, but will use your correct understanding in future writings on the subject.

Thank you very much—there is much that we can learn from each other.

May Yahweh be praised.

— NSE

Second Letter with Responses

Letter: February 26, 2001

I again would like to point out that the group in Eaton Rapids does not call itself the Assemblies of Yahweh.

Response: Thank you for responding to my questions. If I have indeed made a mistake and misrepresented the True Assemblies of Yahweh in any way, I do want to correct it.

I sat in their conference for a day, and they continually referred to themselves as the “Assemblies of Yahweh”. There were other people at that conference with whom I had previously attended their local assembly, who also referred to their local meetings as the “Assemblies of Yahweh”. But I suppose that they could have another name that they do not mention much. If the Eaton Rapids group has some other “official” name, do you what it is?

Letter: I am a member of the Assemblies of Yahweh because I strive to work on my salvation and I long for eternal life. Philippians 2:12–18. Why am I not a part of another group? 1 John 4:1–3 and Matthew 7:20–21. There is no other group that is upholding the Word of the Messiah Yahshua when He was here on earth. Matthew 5:17–20. There has been only one body down through the ages that uphold the scriptures. We can then choose if we want to be part of Yahweh’s true Assembly or not. Deuteronomy 30:15–20, Ephesians 4:4, Romans 12:4, John 15:4 etc. Scripture shows that if Yahweh sees potential in an individual, He will bring them into one fold. John 10:14–18. What that individual does when they hear the Word decides their relationship with Yahweh. Isaiah 59:1–8 with additional close attention paid to verses 4–8.

Response: I read the scriptures you have cited here and I believe that you have a clear grasp of the Spirit of Yahweh and what He wants for His people. Have you ever considered the timing of how He is doing this? Not everyone learns everything at once. In Romans 14, some believers did not believe in eating meat. The Apostle Saul did not remove them from the assemblies for causing division, but he suggested that others might want to not eat meat at times in order not to offend them. Certainly, Elder Jacob O. Meyer knows that Yahweh does not forbid the eating of meat. But I would think that Elder Jacob O. Meyer would also be as merciful and patient as the Apostle Saul in accepting those who are week in the faith and lacking in understanding of some doctrine.

Letter: One is the judge and lawgiver and we are all compared to Him, how could we assimilate false doctrine when He didn’t? Isaiah 33:22–24. Elder Jacob O. Meyer has sought to keep this Assembly pure and to help people who are sincere seekers of Truth. Matthew 5:48. He takes his position seriously. Jacob 3:1–2 This is the major reason individuals resent him and his ministry. Amos 5:10–17.

Response: I do not resent Elder Jacob O. Meyer’s ministry. I have learned from him and I would guess that many thousands of others have, also. I admire his diligence to learn and teach the Truth of Yahweh, and to keep believers pure and unspotted from the world. But have you considered the letters that Messiah commanded to be written to 7 assemblies? (Rev 1:11; 2; 3) Most of these assemblies had serious error. Yet Messiah does not command them all to join the “true assembly” in Philadelphia—He commanded everyone in each assembly to repent! So today when there are other assemblies, not associated with the Work at Bethel, that teach error, cannot the Messiah speak to them and command them to repent? Can they still be His assemblies?

Also, please consider the state of Messiah’s assemblies since the time of the apostles. Did Elder Jacob O. Meyer learn all of the Truth of the Scriptures at once? Or did Messiah show him truths a few at a time over the years. Do we know where Yahweh’s Assemblies were before Elder Jacob O. Meyer began his ministry? Has the assembly that Yahshua promised to build always existed (Matt 16:18)? Did those who came before Elder Jacob O. Meyer have all of the Truth that he has now—or did Yahweh allow some of them to lose some of it? There are millions of Sabbath-Keepers in China and other remote places. Some understand the Feasts of Yahweh, His Name, and many other Truths. They may know nothing of Elder Jacob O. Meyer, but they may have as much truth as some of the other true Assemblies that went before Mr. Meyer. Who is to say that Yahweh is not teaching them now, planning to bring them into His fold at a later date?

Letter: As per the lawsuit, check the public records and discover the reason the Assemblies of Yahweh had to stand up against people that rejected not only Yahweh’s laws, but also man’s laws. Hebrews 10:26–31.

Response: Can you give me more information about where I might find these public records? I did not find them on the Internet, only references to them.

Letter: I have applied this [statement-support] manner of writing on purpose. What the Assemblies of Yahweh teaches, broadcasts and applies, is backed-up with Scripture, no exceptions. This is one more thing that separates us from others who claim to profess the Truth but can’t bring themselves into subjection to Yahweh’s Word. The infallible Scriptures must be used as the assessment of our human lives, not our own personal interpretation. 2 Peter 19:1–21.

In Yahshua’s Name,

— Nathaniel Meyer

Response: Thank you very much for your diligent desire to explain everything from the Scriptures. However, I do not think that any of the scriptures you cited say that Yahweh’s true assemblies will always be united under a single human leader in every generation. But you certainly have proven that every true believer must be united under Yahshua the Messiah. If you can show me how I misunderstand Romans 14 and Revelation 1–3, I would be glad to learn from you.

It is a wonderful thing that you are following Yahweh in your father’s footsteps. I have a son, (age 9), who also bears the name Nathaniel, whom I hope will follow his Creator all of his days also.

Thank you, and may Yahweh bless your ministry.

— NSE

Lawyer’s Letter Representing Assemblies of Yahweh

Letter: April 2, 2003

Synnestvedt & Lechner LLP
2600 Aramark Tower, 1100 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-2950 USA

Mr. Norman Edwards
P.O. Box 107
Perry, MI 48872

Re: Infringing Use of ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH Mark; Our File No. G-26,793

Dear Mr. Edwards,

We represent Assemblies of Yahweh, a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation, of Bethel, Pennsylvania. This correspondence is responsive to your reply by email dated February 27, 2003 to our client’s initial contact with you by email.

Our client had advised you that the Eaton Rapids, Michigan group has no affiliation with our client. In fact, the Eaton Rapids group is using the ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH moniker without the authorization of our client, the owner of U.S. Registration No. 1508075 (copy enclosed), and in violation of our client’s rights as the federal trademark registrant.

The ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH mark was first used by our client in 1966 and has been in continuous use since that date for “printed matter, namely, magazine and booklets dealing with religion; providing religious instruction services; and evangelistic and ministerial services”. By virtue of this longstanding use of the ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH mark, our client has established that their ministry have become well and favorably known as the legitimate registration for ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH, our client is legally entitled to claim exclusive rights in ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH for the goods and services set forth in Registration No. 1508075.

It is plainly apparent that the unauthorized use by the Eaton Rapids group, and any other unaffiliated groups, of our client’s registered mark evidences an intent to trade on the goodwill and renown that our client has achieved as the rightful owner of the mark. We believe that any such unauthorized use of said mark constitutes infringement of our client’s federal registration of, and common law trademark rights in, its mark, thus subjecting unauthorized users to liability for monetary damages, attorneys’ fees and an injunction.

We request that you acknowledge in writing our client’s legal position as the trademark owner and cease and desist from using the ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH moniker and trademark on your website www.servantsnews.com (and other website) except when referring to our client and the activities of our client. We would appreciate receipt of your confirmation in writing of such agreement no later than April 28, 2003. Our firm’s address is set forth on our letterhead; my email address is bsilver@synnlech.com.

We believe that it is in your best interest for you to communicate with us in compliance with our request in order to avoid unnecessary conflict in the future.

Very truly yours,

Bryna S. Silver

Int. Cls.: 16, 41 and 42
Prior U.S. Cls.: 28, 100 and 107                                             Reg. No. 1,508,075

United States Patent and Trademark Office Registered Oct. 11, 1988

TRADEMARK
SERVICE MARK
PRINCIPAL REGISTER

ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH

ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH (PENNSYLVANIA NON-PROPFIT CORPORATION)

BETHEL, PA 19507

FOR: PRINTED MATTER—NAMELY, MAGAZINE AND BOOKLETS DEALING WITH RELIGION, IN CLASS 16 (U.S. CL. 38).

FIRST USE 3-0-1966; IN COMMERCE
3-0-1966.

FOR: PROVIDING RELIGIOUS INSTRUTION SERVICES, IN CLASS 41 (U.S. CL. 107).

FIRST USE 3-0-1966; IN COMMERCE
3-0-1996.

FOR: EVANGELISTIC AND MINISTERIAL SERVICES, IN CLASS 42 (U.S. CL. 100).

FIRST USE 3-0-1966; IN COMMERCE
3-0-1966.

NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “YAHWEH”, APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN.

THE WORD “YAHWEH” IS THE HEBREW NAME FOR THE ALMIGHTY.

SER. NO. 196,975, FILED 12-15-1978.

 

ROBERT M. ANDERSON, EXAMINING ATTORNEY

 

Edwards’ Reply to Lawyer

April 29, 2003

 

Bryna S. Silver,
Synnestvedt & Lechner LLP
2600 Aramark Tower
1101 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-2950

 

Dear Bryna S. Silver,

This letter is in response to your letter of April 2, 2003, Your File G-26,793

Thank you for sending a copy of U.S. Registration No. 1508075. I acknowledge that your client, Assemblies of Yahweh, a Pennsylvania non-profit Corporation, has exclusive rights to the commercial use of the name “ASSEMBLIES OF YAHWEH” in the United States. However, it is my religious belief and historical understanding that the first century Assembly started by Yashuah, the son of Yahweh, was not a commercial enterprise and did not form as a corporation under the Roman government at that time.

You or your client could have been more helpful by more clearly explaining the nature of the problem. The references in my writing to which you took exception were actually about the Assembly of Yahweh, a Michigan Corporation, headquartered in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. The only errors in my writings were incorrect plural forms, “Assemblies” instead of “Assembly”. Your client mentioned officers of this corporation in his email to me, and has corresponded with them in the past.

I believe I have made a good faith effort to correct every file on the www.servantsnews.com website to correctly say “Assembly of Yahweh” when the reference was not to your client. This involved the changing of the following files: litlst10a.pdf, litndx10.pdf, s96092.htm, s960709.htm, s961233.htm, s961235.htm, sn9607.pdf, sn9608.pdf, sn9609.pdf, sn9612.pdf. I have also deleted files litlst09.pdf, litndx09.pdf and snlist.pdf which were obsolete. Please be advised that there are some references on said site to “Assemblies of Yahweh” which do accurately refer to your client.

If you are able to find any other incorrect references on the www.servantsnews.com web site, please let me know and I will correct them. If I do not hear from you by May 30, 2003, I will consider this matter closed.

Sincerely,

Norman S. Edwards

 

Email Confirming Receipt of Edwards’ Letter

April 30, 2003

Dear Mr. Edwards:

We received your telefax of April 29, 2003 today regarding our client Assemblies of Yahweh of Bethel, Pennsylvania. We will forward a copy to our client for their review and comment and will correspond again with you when we believe necessary.

Yours very truly,

Bryna Silver

 

Concluding Remarks

There was virtually nothing religious about the Lawyer’s letter. They were not representing the Eternal or His Assembly, they were representing a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation—a creation of the state—and threatening to collect damages due to infringement of its commercial interests.

The above e-mail was the last communication in the series, and I do not expect any more. I made the minor corrections to the numerous files—changing “Assemblies” to “Assembly” where appropriate, then propagating the change to local computers.

Had the dispute gone further, I might have raised a very intriguing question. The Assemblies of Yahweh literature teaches: 1) “Assemblies of Yahweh” is the proper translation of the Greek words rendered “Churches of God” in most translations, 2) true believers must meet under this name, 3) this name is reserved by the U.S. for them only. Essentially, they are saying that they have state enforcement for making themselves the only true church (assembly). This violates the First Ammendment. Indeed, if some other group wanted to use the name “Assemblies of Yahweh”, courts might decide that guaranteeing freedom of religion takes priority over trademark issues. Furthermore, if the name is the only correct translation of a thousand-year-old phrase that is “public domain”, courts may void the trademark.

There is some value in getting practice in defending oneself in a legal setting. The Apostles represented themselves defending many charges. But there are many other things that believers need to be doing right now. Let us do them!

— NSE


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