Rebuilt Gymnasium in Sardis
The December 2009 issue of CG7’s Bible Advocate has articles that again seem to be aimed at diminishing the role of prophecy. But unlike previous articles, this issue contains more of them and seems to be sending a message that Christians should not give serious thought to considering that these are the end times, that persecution will come, or that the two beasts of Revelation 13 will still rise up against God and His people.
The issue starts with an article from Calvin Burrell, CG7’s former president and current editor for the Bible Advocate:
I Think . . .
I’m in a confessing mood today, ready to admit my heresy. Here it is: I’m not sure that the whole world is becoming only worse and worse, as many Christians claim and a few Bible texts seem to say…we enjoy a higher quality of existence than did those in Bible times, those in the Middle Ages…
The recent spate of bad news about economy (not half as bad as the 1930’s), about government (mostly from one political perspective), and about church (Christianity is on the ebb in Europe and North America, where only 5-25 percent of people attend church) has convinced many folks that Armageddon is near…It may be slow or no growth for Bible-loving, Christ-sharing folks in America, but believers still have it good around here…
I think we should stop quoting a few prophetic clichés to support our negativism and let the Bible paint its own multi-hued version of our present and future. Jesus’ story of wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) suggests this more realistic, balanced view. He planted good seed, and the Devil planted bad. Both grew together until the harvest…
…I think there’s enough good going on around the planet, thanks to Jesus’ seed, to keep us thanking God, sowing more good seed, and trusting that tomorrow will, in many respects, be better than today. What do you think?
What do I think?
I think that this particular issue of CG7’s Bible Advocate contains heresy as Calvin Burrell essentially admits. Now it is true, even until the end, that the gospel should be preached to the world as a witness (Matthew 28:19-20). But that of itself is not proof that the end is not near (actually it should be a sign that the end is near per Matthew 24:14). And while it is true that not everything is getting worse, the Bible indicates that God is not pleased with humankind during the last days (2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Peter 3:1-12). I also think that in the Great Depression the USA was not as vulnerable to collapse as it is now, that no nation in the history of the planet has been in as much total debt as the USA in the 21st century, and that Bible prophecy shows doom for the highly indebted at the time of the end (Habakkuk 2:1-8). The Bible is clear that a dismissive attitude towards prophecy is dangerous (Revelation 3:3,16-19; 2 Peter 3:1-12, Luke 21:34-36).
Here is what is in an article from another former CG7’s president, Robert Coulter (bolding mine):
The dragon (Revelation 12:3) gave this beast its power and authority. The fact that crowns, on the heads of the dragon, are now worn on the horns of the beast (13:1) indicates that the dragon’s authority has been transferred to the kingdoms that developed in western Europe upon the fall of the Roman Empire.
One of the beast’s heads is fatally wounded, but to the astonishment of the world, the wound was healed (v. 3). This wound was to the head representative of Rome. It was initiated by Emperor Constantine, who divided the capital of Imperial Rome between the cities of Rome in the west and Constantinople in the east…
The wound was healed (v. 3) by the Frankish king, Charlemagne, a pretender of Christianity and supporter of the papacy…The second beast of John’s prophecy arose out of the earth (13:11), a succession from within the kingdoms described in Daniel 2 and 7. It had two lamb-like horns and spoke like a dragon, indicating the dual nature of a church (lamb-like) united with civil authority (a dragon). This beast represents the Holy Roman
Empire, the union of the Romish church with the political kingdoms of Europe…
Erecting an image in honor of the first beast because of the power it was given (v. 14b). This addressed the fact that the Roman church’s hierarchy was organized and operated much like Imperial Rome, even to emperor worship in the worship of its popes as “Holy Father.”…
Gave breath (life) to the image of the first beast so that it could spew its blasphemies and require the saints to adopt its heresies, or be killed (v. 15). It did this through the use of its clergy, puppet kings, and magistrates…
This beast forced people to receive a mark in their right hands or their foreheads as a prerequisite to pursuing the ordinary activities of life (vv. 16, 17)…
John calls for wisdom and insight in calculating the number of the beast (13:18a)…Many attempts are made to identify this mysterious figure, but speculation about his identity is unimportant because enforcement of his mark is now history. Although the manifold blasphemies, heresies, and antichristian ideologies of the beast still exist in this apostate church, it no longer exercises the authority to enforce its edicts either through papal decree or through the agency of the state…
Many teach that the mark of the beast is yet to be enforced by a latter-day antichrist. That is impossible if John’s time allocations are taken literally. The time God allowed the saints to be persecuted and overcome was 1,260 days, or three-and-one-half years (12:6, 14; 13:5), equaling 1,260 years. This period indicated by John is identical with the time given to Daniel’s little horn to oppress the saints (Daniel 7:25)…That time is now past.
For all practical purposes, the beasts of Revelation 13 have been rendered impotent, even if the dregs of their heresies and idolatries linger on in the world. (Coulter R. The Persecution of Christianity. Bible Advocate, December 2009)
Now while I personally like Robert Coulter, the teaching that Revelation 13 is completely past or impotent for the future is a major heresy. The whole world has not yet worshiped the beast (Revelation 13:3-4), his mark is not past, and people were able to buy and sell without the “mark of the beast” during the Middle Ages, hence Revelation 13 has not yet been fulfilled. A careful read of Daniel 7:25-27 shows that God’s kingdom is established right at the end of that particular, and future, persecution. Persecution also clearly affects Christians just prior to and during the Great Tribulation according to what is recorded in Matthew 24:9-22, Mark 13:9-20, Luke 21:12-24, and Revelation 12:13-17. Daniel clearly teaches that this happens at the appointed time of the end (11:28-39, 7:25). To teach otherwise is wrong, major heresy, and dangerous.
Additionally, the Bible is clear that the beast powers persuade the world through sorcery (Revelation 18:23; 13:12-15), and while some may have occurred during the Middle Ages, the reality is that it was a political-religious alliance that existed in the Middle Ages as opposed to a highly sorcery-based empire. The prophecies related to the sorceries have not come to pass as the merchants of the world did not mourn the fall of the “Holy Roman Empire” which they will for the coming Babylonian one (Revelation 18:23).
Another article stated the following in that issue from a CGOM-UK member:
Much of the Olivet prophecy (Matthew 24) came to pass in Palestine by AD 70… (McBride J. Prepare to Meet Your Doom? Bible Advocate, December 2009)
Now although there was some ante-type events in 70 A.D., the Olivet prophecy was NOT fulfilled in 70 A.D., the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24:21 still has not come to pass, nor have many other steps in that chapter of the Bible. Pretty much all of the “Olivet prophecy” still has a future fulfillment. Notice that it was events for, and leading up to, the end of the age that disciples were asking about:
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)
Thus, the focus of the Olivet message (when Jesus answered those questions) is the end, not mainly events that were to happen over 1900 years ago.
Yet, another article in this issue of the Bible Advocate also stated:
The Second Coming has been explored with many viewpoints since Jesus spoke directly to it in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew
24, Mark 13, Luke 21)…
Comparing Jesus’ words to events since He spoke tells us that most of those events have come to pass. (Kaeur DM. Is Jesus Coming Soon? Bible Advocate, December 2009)
Luke 21 has not basically been fulfilled as that article indicates. If it were, there would have been no reason for Jesus to state the following in Luke 21:
34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36).
Those who get taken in by CG7′s message of future prophetic minimalization will likely not watch events as Jesus warned, will not be praying to escape all these things as Jesus advised, and will allow “that Day” to come upon them unexpectedly because they ignored what Jesus taught.
Now CG7 admits in another article, “Very possibly we do live in the last days.” But the emphasis of this particular issue of its Bible Advocate is that these are probably not the last days, many things are improving, there are not two future beasts of Revelation 13, no great Christian persecution is coming, and be not concerned as Jesus will come some day.
But by dismissing most of Matthew 24, Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13, and other future prophecies as past, those in CG7 simply do not understand how world events are aligning with biblical prophecies.
Notice what Jesus warned the Church of God in Sardis:
3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,
‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you…” (Revelation 3:1-3).
CG7 seems more and more determined to minimalize end time prophecy. Officially they seem to be teaching against following Jesus’ admonitions here, in the Olivet prophecies, and elsewhere to “watch” (Matthew 24:42, 25:13; Mark 13:9, 33-37; Luke 21:36; Revelation 3:3).
Perhaps those in CG7 who wish to hold to the teachings of the Bible will realize that the Bible teaches:
10 Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).
The Bible is clear that prophecy is important or nearly 1/3 of its pages would not contain prophecies.
CG7 is no place of safety for former WCG members. The Bible is clear that just because one keeps the commandments and believes in Jesus that they still are subject to persecution during the end time by Satan the dragon and his supporters:
17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17).
CG7-Denver has, in my opinion, clearly crossed the line on prophetic interpretations with this particular issue of the Bible Advocate. Thus, unless its members individually repent, all associated with it will suffer the fate that Jesus warned of when He spoke about Sardis in Revelation and those who do not watch in Luke 21. The specific fate that awaits is shown in Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:17, and apparently Revelation 14:12-13.
The time to heed Jesus’ admonitions is now.
For more information about CG7 and other subjects in this post, please prayerfully study the following:
Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace their history through this group. Whaid Rose is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the Living Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation discusses the largest church since the second/third century, which in a real sense is the eighth church mentioned in the Book of Revelation (it also endorses “eighth day” worship). What church would support the Beast?
SDA/LCG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The Living Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer.
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.