Archive for March, 2012

Journal Out: Canon Controversies & Women Pastors?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

 

COGwriter

The latest issue (print date February 29, 2012) of The Journal just arrived here electronically.

The two main topics of this issue were related to the role of women as possible pastors etc. and arguments about the biblical canon.  It also had various ads promoting unitarianism, conspiracy theories, etc.

And while those type of ads are not new, overall, this was one of the most disappointing issues ever of The Journal.

Typically, I quote, link, and comment about certain parts of The Journal, but today I will not quote it nor link to it.

As as far as the role of women, I believe that the Bible is clear that they are not to be church pastors.  But, I do believe that women can be more involved with various aspects of evangelism, etc. than some in the COGs tend to believe.  For details, please see the article Women and the New Testament Church.

As far as the canon of scripture goes, I absolutely reject the notion that we in the COGs got the Bible from the Church of Rome which is what parts of this issue and the previous issue of The Journal suggest.  In the current issue, there is no discussion of the roles of Peter, John, Polycarp, or Melito in the development of the canon, which in my view, demonstrates lack of biblical respect and knowledge of early church history.

For years I have studied into this subject extensively and strongly believe that the Bible and secular history support the view that the Catholics and the Protestants got their books of the Bible from the Church of God.  Specifically, for two examples, Melito listed the books of the OT in the late second century and when the Catholic saint Jerome was putting his Latin Vulgate version together, he went to Palestine/Judea and met with non-Catholics who seemed to be part of the COG to confirm what was valid. And even though the Roman and Orthodox Catholics accept additional books in the Old Testament that Melito as well as we in the COGs reject (as do the Protestants) and that Jerome included in his Latin Vulgate Bible, even Jerome realized that the so-called deutero-canonical books were not inspired like the 66 books that we in the COGs accept. For details about the canon, I urge those interested to read the articles The Old Testament Canon and The New Testament Canon – From the Bible Itself.

And of course, I do not support unitarianism and do not believe that a purported COG publication should have ads promoting it in nearly every issue.

Those interested in learning more about some of the issues raised may find some of the following articles to be of interest:

Women and the New Testament Church Were women important in the New Testament Church? Which women and how were they involved?
The Cherished Christian Woman: Duty and destiny This is an article by LCG’s Wyatt Ciesielka on women and their potential.
Veils and Other Coverings Do women need to wear veils or similar coverings while praying or attending church services? Here are some scriptures on that subject.
Priscilla and Aquila An early Christian married couple from Rome who moved to Asia Minor.
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible Itself This article, shows from the Bible and supporting sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG/GCI members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.
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.

Scholars and Easter

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

COGwriter

Eash year, scholars have raised concerns about the secularization of Easter:

Is the meaning of Easter being lost?

Some scholars fear the story of resurrection has gone far astray

By KATE SHELLNUTT
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

April 3, 2010, 6:22AM…

Fewer than half of Americans mentioned Jesus’ death and resurrection when asked about the significance of Easter, according to a survey released last month by Christian researchers the Barna Group. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/6942155.html

But the apparent assumption above that Easter was originally observed as a Christian resurrection holiday is in error. Easter is the name of a pagan goddess. It was observed as a pagan fertility holiday with eggs and rabbits as symbols. It was something that compromisers adopted over time as a tool to reach pagans. Easter was not observed by the Apostles or their immediate successors.

Notice another report from another scholar:

The first Christians celebrated the death of Jesus with a Pascha meal (eucharist) on the lunar date of the Jewish Passover (note 1 Cor. 5:7-8).

At first there was no annual celebration of the resurrection. Eventually, in the gentile world, the day of resurrection was added to the Pascha festival. That day was Sunday. At the Council of Nicea (325) it was ruled that Easter Sunday would be celebrated on the Sunday immediately following that full moon which came after the vernal equinox. At the same time the Council decided that the vernal equinox would be March 21 in the Julian calendar (Eusebius, Vit. Const. 3.18). (Synder GF. Irish Jesus, Roman Jesus: the formation of early Irish Christianity. Trinity Press International, 2002, p. 183)

The truth is that the original Christians all observed Passover, and that on the 14th of Nisan. However, because of compromise and fear, some in Rome, Alexandria, and elsewhere adopted Sunday to be observed as Passover. SDA scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi noted that the change to Easter-Sunday and to a weekly Sunday observance was due to persecution (the new Gentile hierarchy he is referring to are Greek bishops in Jerusalem, which took over after the rebellion was crushed in 135 A.D.):

The actual introduction of Easter-Sunday appears to have occurred earlier in Palestine after Emperor Hadrian ruthlessly crushed the Barkokeba revolt (A.D. 132-135)…

The fact that the Passover controversy arose when Emperor Hadrian adopted new repressive measures against Jewish religious practices suggests that such measures influenced the new Gentile hierarchy to change the date of Passover from Nisan 14 to the following Sunday (Easter-Sunday) in order to show separation and differentiation from the Jews and the Jewish Christians…

A whole body of Against the Jews literature was produced by leading Fathers who defamed the Jews as a people and emptied their religious beliefs and practices of any historical value. Two major causalities of the anti-Jewish campaign were Sabbath and Passover. The Sabbath was changed to Sunday and Passover was transferred to Easter-Sunday.

Scholars usually recognize the anti-Judaic motivation for the repudiation of the Jewish reckoning of Passover and adoption of Easter-Sunday instead. Joachim Jeremias attributes such a development to “the inclination to break away from Judaism.” In a similar vein, J.B. Lightfoot explains that Rome and Alexandria adopted Easter-Sunday to avoid “even the semblance of Judaism” (Bacchiocchi S. God’s Festival in Scripture and History. Biblical Perspectives. Befriend Springs (MI), 1995, pp. 101,102,103).

J.B. Lightfoot himself specifically wrote:

But the Church of Ælia Capitolina was very differently constituted from the Church of Pella and the Church of Jerusalem…not a few doubtless accepted the conqueror’s terms, content to live henceforth as Gentiles…in the new city of Hadrian. But there were others who hung to the law of their forefathers…

…the Churches of Asia Minor…regulated their Easter festival by the Jewish Passover without regard to the day of the week, but…those of Rome and Alexandria and Gaul observed another rule; thus avoiding even the semblance of Judaism (Lightfoot, Joseph Barber. Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians: A Revised Text with Introduction, Notes and Dissertations. Published by Macmillan, 1881. Original from Harvard University. Digitized Oct 16, 2006, pp. 317, 331).

It is likely that if Telesphorus made this change at the time to attempt to distance himself from the Jews in Rome. If he was the one who did it, and if he thought that this would spare his life, he was wrong as he was later killed by the Roman authorities (circa 136 A.D.). On the other hand, it is perhaps more likely that Hyginus, who was also Greek decided to introduce the Passover Sunday tradition, perhaps to decrease the wrath of the anti-Jewish Roman authorities.

As the compromisers expanded, those in pagan cultures with fertility holidays (which were predominant in many parts of Europe) encouraged the adoption of symbols such rabbits, eggs, etc. And as reported here yesterday, even some 21st century Catholics realize that this is a problem (see Catholic Register: “Easter Bunny Must Die”).

Easter itself is not a Christian term, and its celebration is known by scholars to contain pagan elements. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring…Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter…The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast. Easter has no fixed date, like Christmas, because the 15th of Nisan of the Semitic calendar was shifting from date to date on the Julian calendar. Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method…For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. Philip.

In the rest of the empire another consideration predominated. Every Sunday of the year was a commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ, which had occurred on a Sunday. Because the Sunday after 14 Nisan was the historical day of the Resurrection, at Rome this Sunday became the Christian feast of Easter…

Men and women…In the Neumark (Germany) on Easter Day the men servants whip the maid servants with switches; on Monday the maids whip the men. They secure their release with Easter eggs. These customs are probably of pre-Christian origin (Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Das festliche Jahr, 118)…

The Easter Rabbit The Easter Rabbit lays the eggs, for which reason they are hidden in a nest or in the garden. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility (Simrock, Mythologie, 551)…

The Easter Fire The Easter Fire is lit on the top of mountains (Easter mountain, Osterberg) and must be kindled from new fire, drawn from wood by friction (nodfyr); this is a custom of pagan origin in vogue all over Europe, signifying the victory of spring over winter

(Holweck F. G. Transcribed by John Wagner and Michael T. Barrett. Easter. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, the Roman scholars admit that the name Easter is the name of a pagan goddess, many of its practices are of pagan origin, and that the churches in Asia Minor (which they call the Orient) continued to observe Passover on the date that the Jews did, Nisan 14.

Even news sources are aware of the pagan connections and compromises amongst some who professed Christ related to the Spring festivals:

 The pagan roots of Easter

From Ishtar to Eostre, the roots of the resurrection story go deep. We should embrace the pagan symbolism of Easter

The Guardian, UK – April 3, 2010 by Heather McDougall

Easter is a pagan festival. If Easter isn’t really about Jesus, then what is it about? Today, we see a secular culture celebrating the spring equinox, whilst religious culture celebrates the resurrection. However, early Christianity made a pragmatic acceptance of ancient pagan practises, most of which we enjoy today at Easter. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/apr/03/easter-pagan-symbolism

The Bible itself specifically condemns certain practices, now associated with Easter, such as hot Easter buns/cakes (Jeremiah 7:14), the worship towards the sun in the east (Ezekiel 8:15-18), and the worship of Astarte/Ishtar/Ashtaroth (other spellings of the word Easter). Those who followed the practices of the original apostles never have observed it.

Even Protestant scholars note that the Bible specifically condemns some of the pagan practices:

Jeremiah 7…Cakes to the queen of heaven (v. 18). Probably a reference to the Babylonian fertility-goddess Ishtar, goddess of the planet Venus (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press).

Jeremiah 7… What the sin is with which they are here charged-it is idolatry, v. 18. Their idolatrous respects are paid to the queen of heaven, the moon, either in an image or in the original, or both. They worshipped it probably under the name of Ashtaroth, or some other of their goddesses (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.).

Thus, both Catholic and Protestant scholars acknowledge that Easter/Ishtar/Ashtaroth worship contains pagan elements.

Notice what the Encyclopedia Britannica stated in 1910:

There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers…The first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it of Christ as the true Paschal Lamb and the first fruits from the dead, continued to be observed (Easter. In: The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information Edition: 11 Published by Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910 Item notes: v. 8 Original from Harvard University Digitized Jul 24, 2008, p. 828).

The biblical Passover has to do with the Lamb of God being killed for our sins–and early Christians kept that, not Easter.

Easter, which is named after the pagan goddess Ishtar, has to do with a fertility festival involving rabbits and looking to the east in early morning as pagans did. Those who actually keep Passover can have a much better understanding of the plan of God than those who follow supposedly “Christianized” pagan holidays.

But despite what scholars do and/or should know, most who profess Christ tend to ignore the fact that early Christians kept Passover on the 14th, but instead tend to observe a compromised Sunday holiday with elements of paganism called Easter. I have seen various advertisements in the newspaper that many groups in Southern California will hold special services for Easter. But those groups who hold to the beliefs and practices of the earliest Christians were not among them.

Those who wish to learn more should also study the following articles:

Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins?
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?
How long are three days and three nights? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2017, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :)
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Latest ‘Shroud’ book promotes heresy

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

Next week, a new book related to the Shroud of Turin is to be released:

Penguin unveils secret book on Turin Shroud‎ The Bookseller

The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection by Cambridge art historian Thomas de Wesselow …tackles the question of how Christianity was born. The religion began when, after Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus’ followers claimed to have seen him alive again. In The Sign, de Wesselow argues that it was the Turin Shroud, the cloths Jesus was wrapped in after his reurrection {sic}, which his followers saw, seeing the imprint of Jesus in the cloth and taking it as a sign of resurrection. Though the shroud has been assumed to be a fake created in medieval times, de Wesselow provides what the publisher describes as “conclusive evidence” that the shroud is authentic, based on the fact that the imprint of Jesus’ body is a negative image.

Turin Shroud Led Apostles To Believe In Resurrection of Christ, Claims New Book

‎Huffington Post- Updated: 03/27/2012…

With a US release date of April 3rd (in other words just in time for Easter), the book claims that it was encounters with the shroud itself, rather than seeing a risen Christ, that convinced the apostles that Jesus had risen from the dead…

In the book, he writes:…

“The Shroud’s envelopment of Jesus’s body would have fostered the idea of the transference of his soul from flesh to cloth… Christ’s clothing (like Peter’s shadow) contained or conveyed something of his spiritual presence. The Shroud, which clothed Jesus in the tomb, would surely have been infused with similar power – a power focused and increased by its “miraculous” image.”

…It concludes:

“Finding a peculiar image on the inner surface of his burial cloth, the followers of Jesus became convinced he had been raised from the dead and exalted to heaven. This belief led to the emergence of a new sect within Judaism – Christianity-to-be. The real founder of Christianity was not Peter or Paul or even Jesus – it was the Shroud.”

The shroud, whose existence is first confirmed in the 14th century, is currently held in its own chapel at Turin Cathedral, where it has been since 1694. In 1983, it became the property of the Vatican, which has not proclaimed on its authenticity.

The press reports I have seen about that book suggest that it teaches that it was because of the ‘Shroud’ that the Christian faith grew and spread.  This is major heresy as it is in severe contrast to what the Bible shows.

Here are a few comments on the Shroud of Turin from the Answers.com article titled Is the Shroud of Turin true or fraud?:

There is no record of the shroud during the first centuries of the Christian era, it is first mentioned in the 14th century, having been found in the Diocese of Troyes…

The Gospel writers say that the body of Jesus, after being taken from the stake by Joseph of Arimathea, was wrapped in clean fine linen. (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56) The apostle John adds: Nicodemus also came bringing a roll of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds of it. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it up with bandages with the spices, just the way the Jews have the custom of preparing for burial. John 19:39-42…writers of the third and fourth centuries, many of whom wrote about a host of miracles in connection with numerous relics, did not mention the existence of a shroud containing the image of Jesus. What happened to it at this time, if it did exist, is unknown.

Let’s quote John 19:39-42 in its entirety:

39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.  (John 19:39-42)

Basically, strips of linen were placed on Jesus’ body somewhat like a mummy (this is also basically what happened to Lazarus, see John 11:43-44).  If the Shroud of Turin was saturated with myrrh and aloes, it would by now be fairly stiff and would tend to look quite differently than it now does.

Notice furthermore that Jesus’ burial cloths, though mentioned in scripture, are basically only mentioned as being folded after the resurrection (and the description of multiple cloths also does not necessarily seem to quite match the Shroud of Turin):

6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,  7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.  (John 20:6-10).

By the time the Apostle John wrote this, if there had been any real special powers, it would have seemed that he would have mentioned them, but he did not.

The apparent view of the book The Sign: The Shroud of Turin and the Secret of the Resurrection being a major conversion tool is inconsistent with the records of the Bible and early church history.  Additionally, the view that the ‘Shroud’ had miraculous power, etc.  is also heretical.

Even if the actual burial cloth of Jesus were the “Shroud of Turin” or some other similar relic, it should not be venerated by Christians.  History records that the early Christians opposed venerating relics. Many do not seem to realize how negatively early Christians viewed such items.

Most know very little about early church history–and what many think they know is clouded by misinformation and misconceptions.

And at least parts of this new ‘Shroud’ book are adding to the misinformation.

Those interested in early Christianity may wish to read the following documented articles to learn more:

What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did Catholic and Orthodox “saints” endorse or condemn idols and icons for Christians?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week? How long are three days and three nights? Was Palm Sunday on a Saturday? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?

Park Romney on Mormon History

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012


Mitt Romney (Gage Skidmore, 2011)

COGwriter

A former Mormon and cousin of US presidential candidate Mitt Romney had some comments about his views of LDS history:

The two visions of Mormonism the Romney cousins present could not be more starkly opposed.

Park Romney, 56, is a former Mormon high priest, who turned against the church.  On the stump Mitt Romney, 65, has avoided mentioning Mormonism, instead talking generally about his faith, but he has been an active lifelong member of the church…

Park Romney’s criticisms of the church are fundamental.

Along with other ex-Mormons, he questions founder Joseph Smith’s prophecies – for example Smith’s translation of an Egyptian scroll, part of the Mormon book of Abraham, which Egyptologists say is a fraud…

“There’s compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and wilfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the Church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable,” says Park.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17487873

While I do not intend to endorse any USA presidential candidate (see Should a Christian Vote?), I, of course, also do not believe that the LDS are somehow the revived remnant of the true church like they claim, and perhaps Mitt Romney believes.

Of course, the same thing applies to the Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, or other Protestants.  All should take a closer look at real church history as most simply do not realize that it is only the faithful Church of God that maintains the same basic doctrines from the time of Jesus to present.  It is not just the LDS that have a problem here.

A review of early Christianity reveals that the bulk of the early Christians were in Asia Minor and that it was leaders in Asia Minor who often first stood up to many heresies that other churches were more tolerant of.  Most would be surprised what the original and faithful early Christians taught and believed when contrasted with what the majority who profess Christ believe today.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Some Dissimilarities Between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Living Church of God The Living Church of God is not related to the Mormons and this article explains some differences and a couple of similarities.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Living Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith.  Do you know much about them? Both groups have some interesting similarities, but many major differences. Would you like information on how to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses?
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. Did Ellen White make prophetic errors? Did Ellen White make false prophecies?
Seventh-day Adventist President Ted Wilson’s Comments on the Remnant Church Ted N. C. Wilson spoke on the SDAs striving to be the “remnant church”, but what do the related scriptures actually teach?
Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Living Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Scholars Realize that Early Christians Kept the Passover, So…

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

History of Early  Christianity

COGwriter

This time of year, those faithful in the Churches of God have been following Paul’s admonition to examine themselves prior to the start of the Passover and other Spring Holy Days (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).

Jesus, of course, kept the Passover and told His followers to follow practices He associated with it:

14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;  16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves;  18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:14-19)

While most people realize that Jesus observed what many consider to be “Jewish” Holy Days, most have apparently not realized that the observance of these days was the practice of nearly all of those who professed Christ in the first few centuries of Christianity.

The first century Christians observed the all holy days listed in Leviticus Chapter 23.  Specifically the New Testament shows that they observed the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 5:7-8), Pentecost (Acts 2:10;20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8), the Day of Atonement (called the Fast, Acts 27:9) and the Feast of Tabernacles (called the Feast, Acts 18:21). And that the fulfillment’s of the Feast of Trumpets is also described in the New Testament (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18; Revelation 8-11).

Catholic and other scholars realize that these practices were continued as well.

For example, The Catholic Encyclopedia states this about Passover:

The connection between the Jewish Passover and the Christian feast of Easter is real and ideal. Real, since Christ died on the first Jewish Easter Day; ideal, like the relation between type and reality, because Christ’s death and Resurrection had its figures and types in the Old Law, particularly in the paschal lamb, which was eaten towards evening of the 14th of Nisan. In fact, the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter celebration…The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast…Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method, and commemorated the death of Christ on the 15th of Nisan and His Resurrection on the 17th of Nisan, no matter on what day of the week they fell. For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. Philip (Holwek F. G. Transcribed by John Wagner and Michael T. Barrett. Easter. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Well, actually those in the true church in the Orient observed the 14th day of Nisan (see article on Polycrates or Apollinaris). However, the basic point is that the Catholic Church admits that Christ was slain on the Passover and that it still should be observed (even though they changed the name, intent, and the date–also the Jews never called it Easter).

For another example, The Catholic Encyclopedia states this about Pentecost:

Pentecost…A feast of the universal Church which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ, on the ancient Jewish festival called the “feast of weeks” or Pentecost (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10)…Pentecost (“Pfingsten” in German), is the Greek for “the fiftieth”…In Tertullian (De bapt., xix) the festival appears as already well established (Holweck F.G. Transcribed by Wm Stuart French, Jr. Pentecost (Whitsunday). The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In the early third century, the Catholic theologian Origen listed the following as being celebrated:

If it be objected to us on this subject that we ourselves are accustomed to observe certain days, as for example… the Passover, or Pentecost…(Origen. Contra Celsus, Book VIII, Chapter XXII. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 4. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

It is likely that other days were also then celebrated. While Origen listed what would be considered to be the Spring Holy Days, some were still keeping those known as the Fall Holy Days.

Notice what a respected Protestant scholar reported about the second century:

The most important in this festival was the passover day, the 14th of Nisan…In it they ate unleavened bread, probably like the Jews, eight days through…there is no trace of a yearly festival of the resurrection among them…the Christians of Asia Minor appealed in favor of their passover solemnity on the 14th Nisan to John (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A Text-book of Church History. Translated by Samuel Davidson, John Winstanley Hull, Mary A. Robinson. Harper & brothers, 1857, Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Feb 17, 2006, p. 166).

So, like the Apostle John (the last of the original apostles to die), the early faithful Christians observed Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.

The early Church clearly kept the what are now known as Jewish Holy Days and saw Christian fulfillment’s in them (especially the Spring ones). And since the Apostles observed them in the New Testament, shouldn’t they and not Christmas be celebrated by true followers of Christ. Gradually, those under Catholic influence stopped celebrating the Fall Holy Days.

A book called The Life of Polycarp contains some possibly helpful information about Polycarp. Polycarp is considered to have been a saint by the Church of Rome, the Eastern Orthodox, and the Living Church of God.

For example, it specifically mentions the Sabbath, Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and the Last Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles. And it endorses keeping them:

In the days of unleavened bread Paul, coming down from Galatia, arrived in Asia, considering the repose among the faithful in Smyrna to be a great refreshment in Christ Jesus after his severe toil, and intending afterwards to depart to Jerusalem. So in Smyrna he went to visit Strataeas, who had been his hearer in Pamphylia, being a son of Eunice the daughter of Lois. These are they of whom he makes mention when writing to Timothy, saying; Of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice; whence we find that Strataeas was a brother of Timothy. Paul then, entering his house and gathering together the faithful there, speaks to them concerning the Passover and the Pentecost, reminding them of the New Covenant of the offering of bread and the cup; how that they ought most assuredly to celebrate it during the days of unleavened bread, but to hold fast the new mystery of the Passion and Resurrection. For here the Apostle plainly teaches that we ought neither to keep it outside the season of unleavened bread, as the heretics do, especially the Phrygians…but named the days of unleavened bread, the Passover, and the Pentecost, thus ratifying the Gospel (Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 2. Translated by J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp.488-506).

What must one say, when even He that was gentler than all men so appeals and cries out at the feast of Tabernacles? For it is written; And on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, If any man thirsteth, let him come to Me and drink (Chapter 19).

And on the sabbath, when prayer had been made long time on bended knee, he, as was his custom, got up to read; and every eye was fixed upon him. Now the lesson was the Epistles of Paul to Timothy and to Titus, in which he says what manner of man a bishop ought to be. And he was so well fitted for the office that the hearers said one to another that he lacked none of those qualities which Paul requires in one who has the care of a church. When then, after the reading and the instruction of the bishops and the discourses of the presbyters, the deacons were sent to the laity to enquire whom they would have, they said with one accord, ‘Let Polycarp be our pastor and teacher’ (Chapter 22).

And on the following sabbath he said; ‘Hear ye my exhortation, beloved children of God…’ (Chapter 24).

Hence there is an ancient document that claims that Polycarp did keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days (of course, other ancient documents, as shown in this article, support this). And there would have been no reason for Greco-Roman supporters in the 4th century to change the document to indicate that he did so, hence The Life of Polycarp does claim that Polycarp kept the Sabbath and the Holy Days.

Polycrates, who was bishop of Ephesus, wrote the following around 195 A.D.:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead ? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man’…I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24).

This shows that he and many people considered to be saints by the Greco-Roman churches observed Passover on the 14th. There is no doubt that the so-called “Jewish” Holy Days were still observed by the faithful Christians in Asia Minor and elsewhere for centuries after Christ did. Gentile leaders kept the Holy Days.

What was not observed, until probably the 4th century, even by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, was Christmas. Birthdays were also not observed until about that time. Nor was a 40 day period called Lent, nor Valentine’s Day, nor many other days that many observe today.

In apparently the third century Apollinaris (who is generally considered to have been a bishop and saint) wrote,

There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for blame — it rather needs further instruction), and say that on the fourteenth day the Lord ate the lamb with the disciples, and that on the great day of the feast of unleavened bread He Himself suffered; and they quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. Wherefore their opinion is contrary to the law, and the Gospels seem to be at variance with them…The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb (Apollinaris. From the Book Concerning Passover. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors; American Edition copyright © 1885. Copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby).

Apollinaris is showing then that the Passover is (Nisan 14) and that it signifies the sacrifice of Christ, both of which are the positions of the Churches of God.

There is no doubt that early Christians kept the Passover.  Both the Bible and history show this.  Furthermore, the fiathful hav tended to do this throughout history.

 

For example, Adventist researcher Daniel Liechty reported Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania in the 1500s and later kept the biblical Holy Days (such as the Feast of Trumpets called Day of Remembrance below) (and those are days his church does not observe):

The Sabbatarians viewed themselves as converted Gentiles.. They held to the biblical holidays. Passover they celebrated with unleavened bread…The first and last seventh day of Passover were full holidays…There is no mention of circumcision, so it is unlikely that they practiced circumcision (Liechty D. Sabbatarianism in the Sixteenth Century. Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs (MI), 1993, pp. 61-62).

The biblical Holy Days are still observed by faithful groups in the 21st century like the Living Church of God.

So, do you follow the practices of the early faithful Christians?  Passover this year begins after sunset on the 5th of April.

Some articles to assist in your studies may include:

Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Hebrew Calendar This John Ogywn writing explains why we in the Living Church of God use the calendar that we do and answers such questions as “Did Jesus Observe the Postponements?”
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins?
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well.
TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th? While the LCG observes Passover on the 14th, some observe it on the 15th. Why is the 14th correct?
The Night to Be Observed What is the night to be much observed? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date?
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers.
Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many “Christians” somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means? It is also called the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks, and the day of firstfruits. What about “speaking in tongues”?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2017, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :)

‘Hunger Games’ and Hunger Future

Monday, March 26th, 2012


COGwriter

The movie The Hunger Games came out a few days ago and is wildly popular (it has the biggest three-day opening weekend take of any original, as opposed to sequel, movie, per Erica Orden.  ‘Hunger Games’ Triumphs. Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2012, p. B9).  Here are some comments about it from an official website:

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games…

THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross, with a screenplay by Gary Ross and Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik.  Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, the first in a trilogy published by Scholastic that has over 23.5 million copies in print in the United States alone, has developed a massive global following. It has spent more than 160 consecutive weeks/more than three consecutive years to date on The New York Times bestseller list since its publication.  www.thehungergamesmovie.com/

Though I have seen previews of the movie and talked to some who have seen it, I have not seen it yet.  Those who have seen it that I spoke with liked it. From what I know about the movie, it portrays a post-ruined USA in a better light than I believe that Bible prophecy allows (and no, I did not expect this Hollywood movie based upon a novel to try to convey biblical prophecy).  Yet, perhaps because it indicates that the USA can be ruined, The Hunger Games will give viewers reasons to consider that the USA is changing.  And mostly in a direction that is not good.

While hunger is not a game (and some of those behind the movie are trying increase people’s awareness of hunger in the USA and elsewhere; see The Hunger Games Movie Teams Up Against Hunger.  http://feedingamerica.org/), the movie draws attention to untrusty powers that can cause problems for individuals.

And while I do not believe that the movie The Hunger Games goes into the details that biblically-immoral choices by the nation are a major hunger risk (it seems mainly focused on governmental immorality), the reality is that hunger is not just something that will affect children and poor in the USA, many in the USA will die from lack of food in the future and be taken captive.  Notice:

47 “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. 51 And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you. (Deuteronomy 28:47-51)

9 Her uncleanness is in her skirts; She did not consider her destiny; Therefore her collapse was awesome; She had no comforter. “O Lord, behold my affliction, For the enemy is exalted!”  (Lamentations 1:9)

19 “Arise, cry out in the night, At the beginning of the watches; Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children, Who faint from hunger at the head of every street.”  (Lamentations 2:19)

9 Those slain by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger; For these pine away, Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field. 10 The hands of the compassionate women have cooked their own children; They became food for them in the destruction of the daughter of my people.  (Lamentations 4:9-10)

4 We pay for the water we drink, And our wood comes at a price. 5 They pursue at our heels; We labor and have no rest. 6 We have given our hand to the Egyptians And the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. 7 Our fathers sinned and are no more, But we bear their iniquities.  8 Servants rule over us; There is none to deliver us from their hand”. (Lamentations 5:4-8)

10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.  (Luke 21:10-11)

5 When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.”  (Revelation 6:5-6)

It will probably take a “perfect storm” of events for this to occur including droughts, floods, earthquakes, civil unrest, hurricanes, tornadoes, gmo and other crop failure, combined with foreign events and/or the increasingly increased debt of the USA to trigger some of this (and not all will be related to, or limited to, the USA), but it will happen.

Towards the end of the last century, I started to get published for my positions against genetically-modified foods (Thiel R. Labeling of genetically modified foods should be a fundamental consumer right. HealthKeepers, 2000; 2 (3):16-19; Thiel R. ANMA’s official position on genetically-modified foods. ANMA Monitor, 1999;3(4)5-8).  The increased dependance upon genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) for the American food supply is putting the USA at tremendous risk for famine and pestilences (cf. Matthew 24:7-8). This is a food concern for 2012.

In more recent times I warned:

In the “Great Depression” most Americans and Brits had skills in growing food. This is no longer the case. Furthermore, modern crops have gotten more complicated as so many seeds are hybrids that they will not actually grow the type of foods most in the USA and UK are used to having. The coming food problems will also get worse once one or more genetically-modified crops suffers from some type of pestilence. The USA, to cite one example, could lose virtually all of its wheat or corn because of the dependence on genetically modified versions (which is especially true for crops like corn and soy). Prophecy for famines will be fulfilled (Matthew 24:7-8). (From China Buying USA Food, In Depression Will Chinese Eat While Americans & Brits Starve? May 21, 2010)

Notice something that Ezekiel was inspired to write:

15 ‘So it shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the Lord, have spoken. 16 When I send against them the terrible arrows of famine which shall be for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, I will increase the famine upon you and cut off your supply of bread. 17 So I will send against you famine and wild beasts, and they will bereave you. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I, the Lord, have spoken.’” (Ezekiel 5:15-17)

Notice that this shows famine, then pestilence, and then the sword. The above sequence seems to be slightly different than that Jesus listed as part of the “beginning of sorrows” (Mathew 24:7-8) as the sword comes afterwards. But since the sword should begin the Great Tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), this may be part of how the beginning of sorrows ties into the Great Tribulation–this also may suggest hunger and disease problems for the Anglo-nations prior to the start of the Great Tribulation.

The increasing use of genetically modified organisms for many of the grain crops in the USA is putting parts of humanity at major increased risk of unintended consequences such as famine and disease pestilences. Most of the corn and soy beans produced in the USA are genetically-modified. Soon, much of the wheat will be. Directly and indirectly, the USA and its Anglo-allies will cause most of the problems that it will be experiencing in the next several years.

As Jesus said:

37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch! (Mark 13:36-37)

Tougher times are coming. And for some parts of the world these tougher time may be here now. People who can prepare, should: both spiritually and physically. (From Super Wheat: Solution or Disaster Awaiting? June 10, 2011)

So, it may be that the Anglo-nations will experience some real hunger as well as disease and/or other pestilences (that could possibly at least partially be triggered by excessive reliance on genetically-modified organisms as part of their agricultural production) that will weaken them enough so that the USA and its Anglo-allies will then be considered attackable by some of their enemies…

Because of sin, greed, and ignorance, America has been into producing genetically-modified foods. These “foods” are genetically identical which makes them susceptible to total elimination via famine-causing pestilential organisms. I have long suspected that the time will come when some type of pestilence will hit America’s genetically-modified grain crops like corn and wreak havoc on the land. Enough so, that this may embolden its enemies to attack Britain and/or the USA to begin the Great Tribulation. (Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2011, 2012, or 2013? Spring 2011)

Basically, I have long suspected that likely crop failures associated with GMO grains are putting the USA at extreme risk of being destroyed economically and otherwise. Most Americans do not like to accept this, but it is nonetheless true.

The time is coming when the USA will have severe food shortages and many more Americans will be hungry.  This may happen at a time when the USA may have to provide grain to China and other creditors that it owes, despite the likelihood that many Americans will be starving.  The reliance on genetically-modified grain crops will likely contribute to disaster in the USA.  Problems in the past year with gmo-corn help demonstrate that this is starting to become a risk that others noticing (see Pestilence Issues and Genetically-Modified Corn).

While we are not there yet for a time of total crop failure, this time is coming soon (and is likely to be the result of weather and other factors as well). Famines and pestilences are part of what Jesus called “the beginning of sorrows: (Matthew 24:4-8).

A hunger future will, for a while, happen for many more.

Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians. We all know the Bible prophecies famines. Should we do something?
End of Mayan Calendar 2012–Might 2012 Mean Something? Are there Mayan calendar predictions for change in 2012? Changes were centuries ago predicted by the Hopi Native Americans. Do Mayan/Hindu/Hopi/Buddhist/New Age/Nostradamus prophecies have any value here? Why might Satan have inspired this date? Does the Dresden codex show destruction of the earth by flood? Can the great tribulation start before 2012? How might Barack Obama be involved in 2012?
2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect This is a link related to a book by Bob Thiel (COGwriter). This link also has YouTube videos. This book documents and explains hundreds of prophecies. And since it was published, world events have aligned with at least 20 predictions in the book and many more will to come to pass.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for China? Is it a “King of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, and others of Asia? China in prophecy, where?
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? When does the six thousand years of human rule end?
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Are there biblical and non-biblical prophecies about Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist? Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as his timing and at least one Shiite prophecy suggests? This is the longest and most detailed of the articles here at COGwriter related to prophecy and Barack Obama.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States Some claim that Barack Obama is the prophesied “son of Kenya”. Might Bible prophecy be fulfilled since he is to be the USA president?
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2012, 2013, or 2014? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?

Obama suggests compromise with Russia after US re-election

Monday, March 26th, 2012

COGwriter

US President Obama was unknowingly recorded while hinting of a compromise with Russia:

26 March 2012

(CBS News) SEOUL, South Korea – Unaware that a microphone was recording him, President Barack Obama asked outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for “space” until after his re-election to negotiate on NATO’s planned missile defense system for Eastern Europe…

“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Mr. Obama told Medvedev.

Medvedev replied, “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you.”

“This is my last election,” President Obama said. “And after my election, I have more flexibility.”

The Russian leader responded, “I understand. I transmit this information to Vladimir.”  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57404379/obama-asks-russia-for-space-on-missile-defense/?tag=stack

This is not a surprise. Barack Obama has made various statements that suggest there are many decisions he might make now if he was not concerned about his re-election.

His latest admission may give those in Europe additional reasons to strengthen their own military defenses since the US President has suggested that he will compromise further.  Missile defense systems are expensive and compromising on them would likely save the USA money.

Things are changing in the world, and the US President’s comments indicate that the USA plans to weaken defenses.  This is, of course, consistent with other steps along that line that Barack Obama has made.

And consistent with something my 2009 book, 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect, stated:

Because of domestic economic concerns and international pressures, Barack Obama is shifting priorities away from defense spending, while encouraging the Europeans to increase their military might.  This will help lead to the destruction of the United States, when the Europeans are ready and the U.S.A. is not.

The USA is placing itself at risk, and its President, would prefer not to make this a 2012 campaign issue.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2012 or 2013? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What is the “beginning of sorrows”? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
Will the Anglo-Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people?
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Eight reasons why Barack Obama is apocalyptic and eight reasons why Barack Obama is not the Antichrist. This article includes many biblical and non-biblical prophecies, from around the world, that seem to discuss Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist? Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests? This is the longest and most complete article on this page on Barack Obama prophecies. Read it and decide for yourself if President Obama seems to be fulfilling various prophecies.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States
Some claim that Barack Obama is the prophesied “son of Kenya”, based up an early 20th century writing.
Russia: Its Origins and Prophesied Future Russia in prophecy. Where do the Russians come from? What about those in the Ukraine? What is prophesied for Russia and its allies? What will they do to the Europeans that supported the Beast in the end?
Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach?
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe?
Should a Christian Vote? This article gives some of the Biblical rationale on this subject. Would Jesus vote for president/prime minister? Is voting in the Bible? This is a subject Christians need to understand.

100,000 Apparently Consider Pic de Bugarach a 2012 ‘Place of Safety’

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

COGwriter

In 2009 Sony released its 2012 movie.  The movie portrays Los Angeles, India, the Vatican, and other places being destroyed by a flood, starting December 21, 2012.  The main ones that survive, survive on what could best be described as flotilla of modern versions of Noah’s Ark.

Because the date of the start of the “Mayan flood” is getting closer, it is making the news again.  There apparently are about 100,000 people who hope to flee to Pic de Bugarach, France this year, many of whom supposedly also expect to get saved, not by a boat, but by an alien space ship:

Hippies head for Noah’s Ark
Independent, UK – March 25, 2012…

A rapidly increasing stream of New Age believers – or esoterics, as locals call them – have descended in their camper van-loads on the usually picturesque and tranquil Pyrenean village of Bugarach. They believe that when apocalypse strikes on 21 December this year, the aliens waiting in their spacecraft inside Pic de Bugarach will save all the humans near by and beam them off to the next age…

For decades, there has been a belief that Pic de Bugarach, which, at 1,230 metres, is the highest in the Corbières mountain range, possesses an eery power…Upwards of 100,000 people are thought to be planning a trip to the mountain, 30 miles west of Perpignan, in time for 21 December…http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hippies-head-for-noahs-ark-queue-here-for-rescue-aboard-alien-spaceship-7584492.html

Since the area is isolated and some consider the village of Bugarach is in “sacred mountains,” the 189 regular residents there have been concerned that thousands will descend upon it and overwhelm the local population.    It has been getting a lot of visitors who are checking it out, just in case they wish to flee there.  ’2012′, however, has greatly enhanced its tourism revenues.

It should be noted that the Bible clearly does teach that there will be a physical place of safety/protection for the faithful Philadelphian Christians and that the less faithful actual Christians will then face a time of intense persecution:

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write…10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:7,10)

14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 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 12:14-17)

Yet, even if   the village of Bugarach could possibly be the place, this cannot happen in 2012, nor will an alien spaceship “save all the humans near by and beam them off to the next age” as tens of thousands apparently hope.  Others probably do not expect a space ship, but likely hope that the elevation would save them from a massive flood.  But a worldwide destructive flood will not happen.

Now, unless the French village is bombed or some major disaster strikes it, I believe it will survive December 21, 2012 and be fine on December 22, 2012 (though possibly a bit crowded).  Yet, I believe that the same is true for Los Angeles, India, the Vatican, and other places that Sony’s 2012 movie shows will be destroyed by flood.

Why?

Because the world will not end in a flood (Genesis 9) nor can the end come in 2012.

Now, in Sony’s defense, the movie it produced was based on one particular interpretation of a centuries old Mayan prophecy.

In the 16th century Mayan writing known as the Chilam Balam there is the following:

But when the law of the katun has run its course, the God will bring about a great deluge again which will be the end of the world. When this is over, then our Lord Jesus Christ will descend over the valley of Jehoshaphat beside the town of Jerusalem where he redeemed us with his holy blood (José Hoíl J, Roys R. The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel. Roys Publisher, 1933. Reprint Forgotten Books, 1967, p. 62).

Since the Mayan calendar ends when one of the katuns is finished (December 21, 2012), some interpret that the world will end in a flood that begins that date, and that presumably all we see by December 22, 2012 until most drown (others have other interpretations, with many indicating that the Mayans just saw a different age dawning after the end of their long count calendar).

Notice that the particular Mayan prophecy, which by the way seems to be the most explicit one about the world ending in a flood (prior to the 16th century the Mayans did not write, but essentially used a picture written communication system which 21st century scholars interpret in various ways), says that Jesus will return.  As it turns out, the book that mentions Jesus the most, the Holy Bible, has this to say about a disastrous flood:

8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: 9 “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth. 11 Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  (Genesis 9:8-11, NKJV)

So, no, the world as we know it will not be destroyed by December 22, 2012.  People do not need to live in fear that their county will be destroyed like the 2012 movie portrays.  The Bible is clear that the world will not be destroyed by a flood.

So, no, we do not need to take steps today to prepare for the end of the world and return of Jesus Christ on December 21/22, 2012.

Yet, Jesus will return and the world as we know it will end.  And there is a physical place of protection for the remnant of the Philadelphian-era Christians.  But that will not be for some years later that 12/21/12.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

End of Mayan Calendar 2012–Might 2012 Mean Something? Are there Mayan calendar predictions for change in 2012? Changes were centuries ago predicted by the Hopi Native Americans. Do Mayan/Hindu/Hopi/Buddhist/New Age/Nostradamus prophecies have any value here? Why might Satan have inspired this date? Does the Dresden codex show destruction of the earth by flood? Can the great tribulation start before 2012? How might Barack Obama be involved in 2012?
2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect This is a link related to a book by Bob Thiel (COGwriter). This link also has YouTube videos. This book documents and explains hundreds of prophecies. And since it was published, world events have aligned with at least 20 predictions in the book and many more will to come to pass.  Those who purchase the book at the www.thesecretsect.com website receive a lengthy bonus report documenting world events that aligned with the book.
2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect (English Kindle edition).  This is the 2nd edition of the book, released in January 2012, and includes a summary of the 20 predictions that world events have aligned with since the book originally came out in September 2009.
2012 y el surgimiento de la secta secreta 2012 libro del Dr. Thiel en Español.
2012 und das Auftreten der geheimen Sekte (German Edition) 2012 Buch von Dr. Thiel in deutscher Sprache. 2012 und das Auftreten der geheimen Sekte (German Kindle Edition)
2012 e o Surgimento da Seita Secreta (Portuguese Edition) 2012 livro do Dr. Thiel em português. Este livro documenta e explica centenas de profecias. E desde que foi publicado pela primeira vez, pelo menos 20 já começaram a acontecer.
2012 e o Surgimento da Seita Secreta (Brazilian Portuguese Edition) 2012 livro do Dr. Thiel.  Edição em português do Brasil. Este livro documenta e explica centenas de profecias. E desde que foi publicado pela primeira vez, pelo menos 20 já começaram a acontecer.
What is a True Philadelphian? Many claim to be part of the Philadelphia era of the Church, but is claiming enough? This article has biblical and historical evidence about who really are the Philadelphians.
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.

COGaIC’s David Hulme remaining ‘vision-less’ on Middle East

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

COGwriter

Although they may be the fifth or sixth largest COG, I rarely post much about COGaIC.  The reason is that they do not seem to have a whole lot going on worthy of report (and have also restricted certain information that other COGs tend to make public).  David Hulme, who leads it, was the first president of UCG before he was voted out in 1998, then went out on his own.  Vision.org is COGaIC’s main public website.

Although he is repeatedly referred to at the Vision website as “Middle East scholar David Hulme,” as of this morning, the latest post shown on David Hulme’s Causes of Conflict: Thoughts on Religion, Identity and the Middle East blog is dated November 13, 2010.  Apparently the “Arab Spring,” Middle East protests, and governmental changes since then have never been worthy of his thoughts and comments (I should perhaps add that David Hulme sometimes will tweet via Twitter an article on the Middle East from secular sources).  The “causes of conflict” in the region are leading to the rising up of a power that appears likely to fulfill the prophesies related to the final King of the South that the Bible tells of (Daniel 11:40-43).

Considering all that has been happening in the Middle East (like in Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Libya, and in particular the rising of the Muslim Brotherhood), and the fact that David Hulme holds a doctorate in International Relations with an emphasis on the Middle East, this lack of coverage at the Causes of Conflict blog seems unusual. One might still ask, “Where’s the vision?”

And while the Vision website once had an Alexa ranking of about 100,000, which is quite good (COGwriter’s Alexa ranking is currently 206,550), Vision’s Alexa ranking dropped a lot and currently is 817,615 (the lower the Alexa number the greater the impact–Google and Facebook hold the first and second positions).  The ranking drop suggests that Vision is having much less of an impact on the web than it once did and that many times more people visit the COGwriter website than COGaic’s.  And the web seems to be the primary media of public proclamation that COGaIC is currently utilizing. There are less people going to COGaIC’s Vision site. The site has in many ways became vision-less.

If you are or were part of UCG/COGaIC/COGWA, or even if you were not, and are confused about what to do, please pray, fast, and study the Bible about this and the events of the past few years, or even past 20 or so years. All should be “zealous” as Jesus said in Revelation 3:19 and not be satisfied with something less than a Philadelphia type of work and Philadelphia form of church governance (see also Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel?).

Ask yourself what are the true priorities that the Bible indicates that the church most faithful to the words of Jesus would do and act appropriately. This Holy Day season may be an excellent time to reflect upon that.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Church of God, an International Community (COG aic) This is the group led by David Hulme. It seems to minimize parts of biblical prophecy and be restrictive on doctrinal statements.
Is There A Future King of the South? Some no longer believe there needs to be. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi? What does the Bible say?
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims?
Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had?
Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it?
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG/GCI members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.
Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association Known as COGWA, this seems to be the largest group that came out of the United Church of God. Here is some history and concerns about it.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from evangelists?
What is a True Philadelphian? Many claim to be part of the Philadelphia era of the Church, but is claiming enough? This article has biblical and historical evidence about who really are the Philadelphians.
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 essentially 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.

Today is Temple Mount Awareness Day

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

The Ark of the Covenant
Depiction of Levites Carrying the Ark of the Covenant

COGwriter

Today has been declared Temple Mount Awareness Day:

March 25, 2012…

The Temple Mount Institute chose Sunday, the second day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, to stage the Temple Mount Awareness Day because it is the anniversary of the dedication of the Holy Tabernacle, and the first day of the Divine service.

The day is bound up with the entire concept of the Holy Temple,where the Bible records that Hashem accepted holy sacrifices with the Divine Presence.

The joyous celebration of Temple consciousness and renewal is a festival intended to open up a window to the multi-faceted world of the Temple Mount and the promise of a rebuilt Holy Temple.  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/154112

It should be noted that although a physical temple in Jerusalem is a significant goal of the Temple Institute, that the Sanhedrin and others in Jerusalem who are somewhat associated with it realize that the Bible does NOT require that there will be a temple in Jerusalem for animal sacrifices to take place.

All that is required is having the trained priesthood use a proper altar with various implements, and all of that exists.  The Temple Institute is basically awaiting Israeli government permission to begin the sacrifices at any time–including without having a physical temple.

Until Solomon built the first temple (1 Kings 6:14), the Bible shows that the Jews sacrificed on altars. David, Solomon’s father, for example sacrificed on an altar (2 Samuel 24:25), as did Aaron and his descendants (Exodus 20:24; Leviticus 1:10-11).  And prior to all of that, Abel (Genesis 4:4), Noah (Genesis 8:20), Abraham (Genesis 22:9-13), and others sacrificed animals to God.

So for over 3,000 years, animal sacrifices were offered without a Jewish temple.  Notice an interesting scripture from Ezekiel:

12 This is the law of the temple: The whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Behold, this is the law of the temple. (Ezekiel 43:12)

Biblically, all that is required are Jewish religious leaders willing to sacrifice in Israel, and anywhere on or sufficiently near the Temple Mount would apparently do.

Even after the first Jerusalem temple was built and left in ruins, the Bible itself specifically shows that sacrifices were made in the time of Ezra BEFORE the second temple was ready (but apparently on the temple mount area):

6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid. (Ezra 3:6)

One may argue that since it takes the participation of Jewish religious leaders in order for Jewish animal sacrifices to be resumed, that the above scripture is a moot point.

And it might be if there were no Jewish religious leaders that thought that they could not sacrifice without a temple.

But the fact is, that although they are in the minority, there are significant numbers of Jewish religious leaders who are intent on starting animal sacrifices as soon as possible.  And these Jewish leaders do not believe that they have to wait in order for a temple to rebuilt in order to do so.

Some years ago, a group of Jewish religious leaders got together and formed a new Sanhedrin:

The 71 members of the “Re-established Sanhedrin” say they want to begin sacrificing animals again, despite the absence of the Temple, the ritual altar and all the required implements listed in the Bible. Rabbi Dov Stein of the group admitted…

“We want to do the sacrifice, but we have political problems,” Stein said. “We hope there will come a time when the government will agree. We will push for that to happen.” (Rabbis aim to renew animal sacrifices. Associated Press. Feb 28, 2007. http://www.jpost.com)

The “Sanhedrin” group referred to above began to form in 2004 and claims to have “the consent of hundreds of rabbis, scholars and leaders” (http://www.thesanhedrin.org/en/index.php/The_Sanhedrin_Initiative viewed 09/11/08).   It also has been working on implements, including those related to having an altar.

For further clarification of the position of the reconstituted Sanhedrin, I (COGwriter) contacted that group and asked why it felt that sacrifices can be started before a temple is rebuilt.  The response received was:

Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander wrote:

רמב”ם, מעשה הקרבנות, פרק יט , הלכה טז והלכה יז:

טז [טו] מִי שֶׁשָּׁחַט קֳדָשִׁים בַּזְּמָן הַזֶּה, וְהֶעֱלָה חוּץ לָעֲזָרָה–חַיָּב: מִפְּנֵי שְׁהוּא רָאוּי לִקָּרֵב בִּפְנִים–שֶׁהֲרֵי מֻתָּר לְהַקְרִיב, אַף עַל פִּי שְׁאֵין בַּיִת, שֶׁקְּדֻשָּׁה רִאשׁוֹנָה קִדְּשָׁה לְשָׁעָתָהּ וְקִדְּשָׁה לָעֲתִיד לָבוֹא, כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ.
יז [טז] הַשּׁוֹחֵט קָדְשֵׁי גּוֹיִים בַּחוּץ, חַיָּב; וְכֵן הַמַּעֲלֶה אוֹתָן בַּחוּץ. וְהַגּוֹיִים מֻתָּרִין לְהַקְרִיב עוֹלוֹת לַה’, בְּכָל מָקוֹם–וְהוּא, שֶׁיַּקְרִיבוּ בַּבָּמָה שֶׁיִּבְנוּ. וְאָסוּר לְסַיְּעָן, וְלַעֲשׂוֹת שְׁלִיחוּתָן–שֶׁהֲרֵי נֶאֱסַר עָלֵינוּ לְהַקְרִיב בַּחוּץ; וּמֻתָּר לְהוֹרוֹת לָהֶם, וּלְלַמְּדָם הֵיאַךְ יַקְרִיבוּ לְשֵׁם הָאֵל בָּרוּךְ הוּא.

Translation:

Hichot Maasei HaKorbanot [The Procedures of Offering Sacrifices]

Chapter 19

Paragraph 17:

He who slaughters a Sacrifice in this period [when we have no Temple], and offered the sacrifice outside the Azara [the alloted area of the Temple] – is culpable, because the offering must be performed in the Azara, SINCE IT IS PERMITTED TO PERFORM SACRIFICES despite having no Temple, since the sanctity of the Temple is eternal.

Paragraph 18:

He who slaughters the sacrifice of a gentile outside the Azara is culpable, as is one who performs the offering. NON JEWS are permitted to offer burnt-offerings anywhere, on an alkter which they built. Jews may not help them in the performance of this sacrifice, since Jews may not offer sacrifices outside the Azara. But we may instruct them and teach them how to perform sacrificesto the ASlmighty God, Blessed be He.

Additionally, it is worth noting that on 5766, Rabbi Benyamin Fuss published a 445 page book on Sacrifices of non-jews, of which the text proper is of 372 pages [the rest are indices, etc.] called Torat Habamah: Regarding sacrifices on an Altar outside the Temple. (Email from the Sanhedrin webmaster Abrahamson to Bob Thiel September 17, 2008).

Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander is the English language spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin.

The webmaster of the Sanhedrin added the following in a subsequent email:

This quote comes from Maimonides’ (Rambam) work the Mishneh Torah.

The nascent Sanhedrin sees itself as the continuation of rabbinic jurisprudence, and must take into account all halachic works written to date, and proceed from there. (Email from the Sanhedrin webmaster Abrahamson to Bob Thiel September 17, 2008).

Thus, it appears to be a longstanding position of some Jewish scholars that Jewish sacrifices can be started on an altar and, as long as it is in the area of the old temple, that a physical temple is not first required.

This is consistent with Ezra’s previously quoted practice as well as what was recorded by Ezekiel.

Now, every year, some Jews want to sacrifice at the Temple Mount.  For many of the past several years, one or more Jews petition the courts to get permission for animal sacrifices for Passover.  And when this happens, the Israeli courts have ruled that although Jews have this right, that the political situation does not yet allow that, so they are denied.

However, the time is coming when those sacrifices will once again be started as they will be stopped by a prince (Daniel 9:26-27) who will become the end time King of the North (Daniel 11:31-40).

Temple Mount Awareness Day is a step to remind Jews that they once had a temple and that they did have animal sacrifices.  Some time after a deal (probably a peace deal per Daniel 8:25 and Daniel 11:23-24) that Daniel 9:27 refers to, one or more Jewish leaders will feel politically safe enough to allow the sacrifices to resume.

Of course, it might take a regional war involving Israel for such a deal to take place.  But with all the concerns about Iran and Syria, etc. it could happen this type of war could happen this year, with a peace deal following shortly thereafter.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? What does the Bible teach about the temple in the end-times?
Solomon’s TempleThis is a a 5 minute animated film that shows one artist’s understanding of the details about Solomon’s temple.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Hebrew Calendar and “Postponements” This John Ogywn writing explains why we in the Living Church of God use the calendar that we do and answers such questions as “Did Jesus Observe the Postponements?”
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins?
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well.
TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th? While the LCG observes Passover on the 14th, some observe it on the 15th. Why is the 14th correct?
The Night to Be Observed What is the night to be much observed? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date?
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers.
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States?
Might German Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg become the King of the North? Is the German Defense Minister one to watch? What do Catholic, Byzantine, and biblical prophecies suggest?
Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2012, 2013, or 2014? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Why might Daniel 9:27 be referring to a peace deal? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000?