IS KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD “LEGALISM”
AND IS “LEGALISM” EVIL?
by Tony Alamo
Is keeping the commandments of GOD “legalism,” as most preachers say today? The answer is “No!” The LORD said to beware of false prophets in these last days, and TV and the airways are full of them.1
Actually, I kept the commandments of GOD before I ever became a Christian. At the time I received the commandment from GOD, it seemed to me it would be the hardest thing in the world for me to do. However, if I didn’t keep the commandment, GOD would have killed me. The command from GOD came to me in a lawyer’s office in Beverly Hills, California. The office was filled with my entourage of seventeen people. It was a lawyer’s office. My lawyer, his wife, and some motion picture people were there.
The people from the motion picture industry and the lawyer whose office we were in, along with my lawyer and his wife, had all invited me to the office that day. They wanted to invest a large sum of money in a promotion I was doing for a singer, a young man for whom I had done a large campaign in Billboard magazine. Billboard magazine is considered to be the “Bible” of the recording (music) industry.
I recorded this singer at Decca Records in Hollywood, and released a few of his songs. They all began hitting number one on the charts. The singer was one of the best songwriters I’ve ever seen. To me, he was easily as good as the Beatles, who, after 50 years, are still considered to be the number one Rock and Roll group. The songs he wrote were so good that, at random, I recorded one myself, under the name of Marcus Abad, and it hit number one on radio station KOIL in Omaha, Nebraska. It sold thousands of records in Omaha. The record stores kept running out, and ordered hundreds every other day. The title of the song was “Little Yankee Girl.”
I did a concert with the Beach Boys in Omaha, and hundreds of teenage girls flooded the hotel where I was staying, bringing bouquets of flowers, trolls, and invitations to very prominent people’s daughter’s birthday parties (one was Mary Elizabeth Storz, whose grandfather owns Storz Brewery in Omaha, Nebraska). Glen Campbell acted as lead singer for the Beach Boys, because Brian Wilson would not fly at that time. I didn’t release “Little Yankee Girl” anywhere else, but I’m sure it would have hit number one on the national charts if I had. This was in 1964.
Also, I did the promotion for Pete Best, the former drummer of the Beatles. He rewarded me for my promotion of him and his new band with a never before released Beatles album, recorded in Hamburg, Germany, in 1961, which his mother had paid for. Altogether, they recorded six albums at that time, and I own one of them. My album is called “The Savage Young Beatles.” I also promoted Sonny and Cher, Elvis, and many others. This is only a tiny bit of my resume. I changed my name to Tony Alamo when I was 16 years old. I was born Bernie LaZar Hoffman. I changed my name because I became involved with show business.
Throughout my life, until I was thirty, I never believed in GOD or JESUS. I never, ever thought of THEM, nor did I ever speak of THEM. I was thirty years old at the time this commandment came to me. I didn’t want any investors in the promotion I was doing for this young man. I had a big ego. I wanted everybody to know that the promotion was all me, and the money was all mine. The money came from another promotion that I did on Oldie but Goodie record albums, LPs. I was the first one to put twenty hits on one album and advertise them on 50,000 watt radio stations. The money I used to promote this young man was from these record album offers. We were traveling around Los Angeles with an escort of six LAPD motorcycle policemen and an entourage of eleven other people, who rode in two Cadillacs and a Lincoln behind our chauffeur-driven stretch limo. A picture of all this was in a four-page spread in Billboard magazine. This campaign I did in Billboard is why the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Herman and the Hermits, Donavan, and most of the other English groups, such as P.J. Proby, wanted me to manage and promote them.
I went to this attorney’s office as a favor to my attorney. He said, “Please, Tony, I owe this guy a favor. You’ll really get me off the hook if you’ll go there tomorrow.” I said, “Okay, but you’re really leaning on me, man, because I’m busy and I don’t have time to visit some lawyer. We’re busy over here, and I don’t want or need his money. I’ll go as a favor to you. But don’t get upset when I don’t let him invest in this promo.”
The six motorcycle policemen and the stretch limo I rented were from Utter-McKinley Funeral Home, located on Hollywood Boulevard. (It was a funeral escort, but no one knew it.) I called them up, and told them to come over to my apartment. They lined up in front of my apartment house, along with the three other cars that followed us. The chauffeur and I discussed the route we would take from Hollywood to the Beverly Hills attorney’s office. The two lead motorcycle cops would run red lights with sirens on. The other four motorcycle cops and the limo would follow, as well as the three other cars. The motorcycle cops would stop traffic for us.
Finally, all of us were in the lawyer’s office. The Jewish attorney said, “I’m so happy to meet you, Mr. Alamo. I’ve been in show business for thirty-five years, and I’ve never seen a promotion as fantastic as the one you just did in Billboard magazine.” He had my promotion hung up on his walls. He then said, “Hopefully, you could use some money. I’d love to have a piece of your singer-songwriter. I own a piece of the Beatles.” I was just about to answer him, saying something like “I don’t need your blankety-blank money, and I’m not selling a piece of my promotion. I’m only here because I’m doing a favor for my lawyer.” But before I could get the words out of my mouth, my ears closed down to where I couldn’t hear any of the noise in the office or the traffic on the streets. The windows were open, and it was a very beautiful day. We were only one flight up from the street. I felt what I now know was the breath of GOD sweep over and through me, and HIS voice began saying, not in my ears, but throughout my whole body, “I am the LORD, thy GOD; stand up on your feet and tell the people in this room about the LORD JESUS CHRIST, and that HE’S coming back to earth again, or thou shalt surely die.”
I figured, “I’m a genius, and I’m flipping out. It finally has happened.” I’ve heard of geniuses flipping out before. There was Vincent van Gogh, the artist who cut his ear off to send to his girlfriend, but threw it in the trash instead. And a friend of mine, Don Gibson, who wrote many hit songs such as “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Oh, Lonesome Me” had to go to the insane asylum because he drank too much. Eventually, he got out and continued his career. I figured I’d check myself into a private sanitarium, make a few wallets, string a few beads, do some finger-painting, make a few purses, and come out and be okay again after I stopped hearing the voices.
Then the voice came again to me, saying, “Doubt not! I am the LORD thy GOD. Stand up on your feet and tell the people in this room about the LORD JESUS CHRIST, and that HE’S coming back to earth again, or thou shalt surely die.” This time, my mind easily opened up, and I knew there were a Heaven and a Hell. I said to myself, “Man! I’m really ungluing. I’ve never heard of anything like this before, of anyone going this crazy, hearing this voice that says it’s GOD, showing me there’s a Heaven and a Hell, shutting my ears off, and talking throughout my whole body, my legs, my feet, my chest, and my arms.” I thought in my mind that if there was a GOD, there also must be a devil, and how would I know which one this was? I couldn’t say these things in front of all these people. They would call the state insane asylum, put me in a straitjacket, and then put me in a padded cell.
I’ve always wanted to prove I was the smartest person alive, but if I said what this voice was telling me to say, no one would ever believe that I was smart. They would think I was crazy. I said to myself, “I’ve got to get out of here.” So I pushed myself up, and my breath started going in and out of my body. I said, “GOD, don’t kill me! I’ll tell them!” I knew it was GOD. Then I said to HIM in my mind, “LORD, don’t make me tell them now. I’ll call them tomorrow. I’ll wire every one of them.” Then the breath started going out of my body again, in and out, and my heart was pounding. GOD was showing me that HE had total control over my life and my death, just as HE does over yours. So I told GOD in my mind, “Okay. I’ll tell ‘em now! I’ll tell ‘em now!”
So I tried to tell them, in as calm a voice as I could, without any emphasis at all. I said, “You guys know that I’ve never talked about GOD or JESUS, but right now HE’S telling me to tell you that JESUS CHRIST is coming back to earth again.”
I thought everybody was going to go crazy when I said those things to them. Instead, they looked at me like they were watching a movie. Then the LORD started pulling the breath in and out of me again. HIS power was on me so strongly that I knew HE could hear what I was thinking, so I said to HIM in my mind, “What’s the matter, GOD? I told them what YOU told me to say.” Then, in the SPIRIT, HE put three crystal blocks in front of me, showing me how enthusiastic I was about secular promotions I had done in the past. One was for the American Health Studios and Silhouette Figure Form, Intl., showing the promotions we did in Life magazine and on television. We sponsored the “You Asked For it” program. Our slogan was, “Add more years to your life, and more life to your years. Take three inches off your waist in sixty days, and men, add three inches to your biceps and six inches to your chest. Join American Health Studios today. We have a special charter membership.” We were making more than two million dollars a month in the 1950s. In today’s economy, that would be multiplied to many more millions.
Another promotion I did in the 1960s was several Oldie but Goodie album offers. My ad was done by Earl McDaniel, the number one disc jockey on the number one station in Los Angeles, KFWB. The ad went like this: “Hi there! This is Earl McDaniel with the most fantastic record offer of all time! Twenty smash hits on one big album for only (under five dollars).”
The current promotion I was doing was with a young singer whose name I will not mention. My ads read, “The world’s next phenomenon (and then the young man’s name).”
Then GOD said to me in the SPIRIT, “Now that you know that I’m here, aren’t you going to put as much emphasis on ME as you did these three worldly, nothing things that you promoted?” I said, “Oh, GOD! I’m so sorry.” HE said, “Convince them!”
I remembered a movie called “Elmer Gantry” I had seen a few years before. I walked out on it because it was religious, like a religious scam, but I remembered a few words from the movie, which were, “Repent of your sins! Repent or perish!” I didn’t know what else to say because I had never read the Bible, but I began saying that anyway, and even though I hadn’t been saved and didn’t know the Bible at all, I began doing the very thing GOD tells every saved person to do, even though most of them don’t do it.
I began trying to convert all the people in that room. I certainly wasn’t a preacher, and if I was, I certainly wouldn’t be the kind of preacher that flatters anybody with “GOD loves ya, brother,” or “GOD loves ya, sister.” GOD shocked me out of my wits, and HE wanted me to shock them out of their wits.
My hearing started coming back in my ears, and I could hear the little Jewish attorney saying, “Get him out of here! He’s meshuganah (crazy).” I thought to myself, “You’re calling me meshuganah, and you’re the one that asked me to come in here? If I’m crazy, I sure got you hyped out of your mind!” But at that time GOD told me by the SPIRIT, “That’s enough.” I was very relieved that this ordeal was over. I started walking down the one flight of stairs, and the entourage of seventeen people followed me. They were all laughing and saying, “Man, Tony! You really put that dude on a trip.” They also said, “He’ll have to go to a mental institution for several years before he recuperates.” I said, “I wasn’t kidding. I wasn’t putting the guy on a trip. GOD really was talking to me.” They said, “Why would GOD talk to you? You’re worse than all of us.” By this time, we were downstairs. I told them to get back on their bikes and in their vehicles and go on back to Hollywood, and I would walk. I wanted to be alone with GOD. After threatening them, they got on their bikes and in their cars, and they left.
The whole world looked different to me at that point. It was wonderful to know that there was this GOD in Heaven that talks to people and gives them commandments, things to do. It was also good to know that there was someone smarter and more powerful than me. I said to HIM, “FATHER, GOD! I know that YOU’RE there now. Tell me what to do. Show me where to go, to a place that will teach me your ways and what you want from me.” I got no answers. I figured the big Catholic Church on Sunset Boulevard must know the most, because they were the biggest. This was about 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. I went to the back door of this big monastery and rang the doorbell. A nun came to the door and said, “What do you want?” I said, “I want to talk to the priest, the head of this monastery.” She said, “You can’t see him. It’s too early in the morning.” I told her, “Get him, Sister! This is important!” So she got him.
He invited me in and offered me a cigarette. He said, “What’s the problem?” I told him what happened in the lawyer’s office. He asked me if I was Jewish. I said, “Why are you asking me that?” He said, “Because you’re one of GOD’S chosen people, and GOD is doing work among the Jews these days.” I said, “Well, what am I supposed to do?” He answered, “Just have it in your heart to be baptized.” I said, “Why don’t you just baptize me instead of just telling me to have it in my heart to be baptized? I don’t know how to be baptized in my heart. Look! You’re the head of this big monastery. How is it you don’t know what to tell me to do? You’re supposed to be a man of GOD. Tell me what to do!” He then, in a very fearful voice, said, “Just have it in your heart to be baptized.”
“Man! You don’t know GOD as well as I do, and I just learned about HIM today. What a waste to have you in charge of this big monastery.”
After that morning, I spent a lot of time going from one church to another—the Mormons, the Catholics, the Baptists, the Greek Orthodox, the Pentecostals, the Methodists, the Presbyterians—I went to them all, and they were all preaching the opposite of what GOD told me. They were all preaching that you don’t have to keep the law. They called the law “legalism.” They said that keeping the commandments of GOD was “legalism,” and that GOD doesn’t require us to keep the law anymore.2 But I had to keep the command of GOD that day in the office, or I would be dead.
I wondered what law they were talking about. There are several laws in the Bible. There’s the law, the moral law. Then there is the Levirate law, which says if your brother dies, and if he bore no male child, the wife must go to the brother until he raises up seed, a son, to carry his name (Deut. 25:5-6). Then there’s the law of burnt sacrifices,3 which was done away with after the true sacrifice, JESUS, came into the world and died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. These burnt animal sacrifices were done away with because they were only symbolic of the coming of CHRIST.4 Then there is the law of sin and death, and if a man follows this law, he will spend eternity in Hell, then the Lake of Fire.5
Then there is the law of the SPIRIT of LIFE in CHRIST JESUS, which enters us at salvation (Romans 8:2). This is when the SPIRIT, or the BREATH of GOD (the COMFORTER, JESUS), which is GOD’S very LIFE, enters into us at the time of salvation, at the time we are saved. This is the same BREATH of GOD that hovered over the waters, the deep, mentioned in Genesis 1:2: “And the SPIRIT [the BREATH] of GOD moved upon the face of the waters,” giving LIFE to the waters at the beginning of time, at the beginning of creation. GOD’S SPIRIT, GOD’S BREATH or LIFE, gave LIFE unto the waters so that all the things in the waters would be able to sustain their lives: all fish, all creatures of the sea, and all plant life in the sea. The SPIRIT gave LIFE to the waters, and to everything that was in the waters, the rivers, and the streams, so they could sustain life, because all life in the waters naturally does everything that GOD wants them to do. When the SPIRIT of GOD enters into a human at the time they are saved, they will naturally keep the moral law, because it is the law of LIFE. They will no longer continue sacrificing burnt offerings, animals, which were only symbolic of CHRIST, because CHRIST has already come and done HIS work. They will no longer keep the Levirate law. You don’t have to marry your brother’s wife if he never had a son. And we no longer have to keep the law of sin and death because “the soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20), and “He that committeth sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). The entire Bible says the same thing.
The seventh chapter of the book of Romans is concluded when the Apostle Paul says in verse 24, “Who is able to deliver me from this wretched war that dwells in my flesh between my flesh and the HOLY SPIRIT that dwells in my body, lives in my body?” The solution is written in verse 25, which states, “I thank GOD through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of GOD; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Therefore, if we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we will not be able to walk in the flesh. We must walk in the “law of the SPIRIT of LIFE in CHRIST JESUS.” We see this in the first verse of chapter eight of Romans, which plainly says so. Chapter eight, verse one says, “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in CHRIST JESUS, who walk not after the flesh, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT.” This is not “legalism;” this is GOD’S commandment. This is a MUST! Verse two tells of the law that we must walk in: “FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE ME FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH.”
Don’t you want to be free from the law of sin and death? If you walk in that law, you will spend eternity in Hell and the Lake of Fire after death and Hell have been thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14). Is keeping the commandments of GOD, which is the same as walking after the SPIRIT of LIFE in CHRIST JESUS, “legalism?” Of course it is not, but whether it is or not, it is most necessary.
All preachers will do well to use this message to preach from, rather than to keep using the message they’re currently using. We must, in order to not walk in the flesh, walk after the law of the SPIRIT of LIFE in CHRIST JESUS. And those that call it “legalism” or not—don’t ever, with a scowl on your face, call that law evil, because I’d like to see your soul in Heaven with the rest of us.
First John 2:4 says, “He that saith, I know HIM [JESUS], and keepeth not HIS commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” JESUS said, “If ye love ME, keep MY commandments. And I will pray the FATHER, and HE shall give you another COMFORTER [which is the Baptism of the HOLY SPIRIT, CHRIST living in you by the SPIRIT], that HE may abide with you for ever” (John 14:15-16).
Now, when GOD gave me a commandment before I was saved, I did what HE said. What about you? JESUS said you must be born again of the SPIRIT (John 3:3-7). GOD told Moses that no one would serve HIM unless they feared HIM.6 “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for GOD is come to prove you, and that HIS fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Exodus 20:20). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding”
(Proverbs 9:10). So if you wish to live after the law of the SPIRIT of LIFE in CHRIST JESUS, you will be considered by GOD to be most wise. You may do so now by simply saying this prayer:
My LORD and my GOD, have mercy upon my soul, a sinner. 1 I believe that JESUS CHRIST is the SON of the living GOD. 2 I believe that HE died on the cross and shed HIS precious blood for the forgiveness of all my former sins. 3 I believe that GOD raised JESUS from the dead by the power of the HOLY SPIRIT 4 and that HE sits on the right hand of GOD at this moment, hearing my confession of sin and this prayer. 5 I open up the door of my heart, and I invite YOU into my heart, LORD JESUS. 6 Wash all of my filthy sins away in the precious blood that YOU shed in my place on the cross at Calvary. 7 YOU will not turn me away, LORD JESUS; YOU will forgive my sins and save my soul. I know because YOUR WORD, the Bible, says so. 8 YOUR WORD says that YOU will turn no one away, and that includes me. 9 Therefore, I know that YOU have heard me, and I know that YOU have answered me, and I know that I am saved. 10 And I thank YOU, LORD JESUS, for saving my soul, and I will show my thankfulness by doing as YOU command and sin no more.11
Now that you are saved, serve GOD with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). Be baptized, fully submerged in water, in the name of the FATHER, the SON, and the HOLY SPIRIT (Mark 12:30).12 Diligently study the King James Version of the Bible, and do what it says until the day you die.13
Then, as JESUS commands, be a soul-winner. You can do this by becoming a distributor of Pastor Alamo’s literature. We print Pastor Alamo’s literature in many languages, and we ship them all over the world free of charge. We spend millions of dollars on paper and shipping, so we need your prayers and financial help. If you want the world saved, as JESUS commands, then don’t rob GOD of HIS tithes and offerings. GOD said, “Will you rob GOD? Yet ye have robbed ME. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed THEE? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed ME, even this whole nation [and this whole world]. Bring ye all the tithes [a ‘tithe’ is 10% of your gross income] into the storehouse, that there may be meat [Spiritual food] in MINE house [souls saved], and prove ME now herewith, saith the LORD of HOSTS, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of HOSTS. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of HOSTS” (Malachi 3:8-12).
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Is Keeping The Commandments of God "Legalism" And Is "Legalism" Evil? footnotes:
1. Psa. 51:5, Rom. 3:10-12, 23 return
2. Matt. 26:63-64, 27:54, Luke 1:30-33, John 9:35-37, Rom. 1:3-4 return
3. Acts 4:12, 20:28, Rom. 3:25, I John 1:7, Rev. 5:9 return
4. Psa. 16:9-10, Matt. 28:5-7, Mark 16:9, 12, 14, John 2:19, 21, 10:17-18, 11:25, Acts 2:24, 3:15, Rom. 8:11, I Cor. 15:3-7 return
5. Luke 22:69, Acts 2:25-36, Heb. 10:12-13 return
6. I Cor. 3:16, Rev. 3:20 return
7. Eph. 2:13-22, Heb. 9:22, 13:12, 20-21, I John 1:7, Rev. 1:5, 7:14 return
8. Matt. 26:28, Acts 2:21, 4:12, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14 return
9. Matt. 21:22, John 6:35, 37-40, Rom. 10:13 return
10. Heb. 11:6 return
11. John 5:14, 8:11, Rom. 6:4, I Cor. 15:10, Rev. 7:14, 22:14 return
12. Deut. 4:29, 6:5, 10:12, 11:13, 13:3-4, 26:16, 30:6, Josh. 22:5, Matt. 22:37-40, Mark 12:29-31, Luke 10:27 return
13. Deut. 4:29, 13:4, 26:16, Josh. 1:8, 22:5, 2 Tim. 2:15, 3:14-17, James 1:22-25, Rev. 3:18 return