Rebuilt Gymnasium in Sardis.
This is one of the most impressive remaining buildings in the area of any of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. However, it has been recently and massively rebuilt as its original condition was in ruin. And while it and its size are impressive, it no longer functions as it once did.
CG7-Denver has had major difficulties in the area of prophetic understanding. Here is some of what it had in an article in its Bible Advocate magazine concerning Israel:
Israel in Bible Prophecy
Wesley Walker of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, has served CoG7 as a pastor and in other capacities for more than forty years. He … published his first book, Answers to Bible Questions. Elder Walker’s answers here reflect the Church’s historic views on Israel.
BA: What’s the big picture of land ownership in the Middle East, as you see it?
The present problems there began with Abraham. In Genesis 12 God speaks to Abraham and tells him to leave his father’s house and go into a land that He would show him. Abraham obeyed and left his homeland. Then God gives Abraham the boundaries of his inheritance in Genesis 15:18. Check a Bible map; you will notice the river of Egypt is to the south of Israel and the Euphrates River is to the north. The great sea would be the western border. We do not know exactly how far east it extended, but it may have been into modern Jordan and Syria, east of the river Jordan.
For more than sixty years now Israel has been in the news be-cause of land disputes between her and her Arab neighbors, especially the Palestinians. This conflict will continue until true ownership of the land is established…
BA: What prophecies were fulfilled for Israel in the past century?
The Zionist movement began in 1897, and a few Jews went home. In 1922, when the League of Nations approved a British mandate over Palestine, the British government appointed a Zionist board, and more went home. By the end of World War II and the Jewish Holocaust, six hundred thousand more Jews had returned to their homeland. Today, again, Israel is alive in her own land, with these prophecies fulfilled: Isaiah 11:11, 12; Jeremiah 31:7-12; 32:37-44; and Ezekiel 36:6, 7, 21-24; 37:21-28.
The most convincing prophecy of Israel’s ultimate return may be in Amos 9:14, 15. Through the prophet, God spoke a permanent presence of His people in the land of Israel. They would build, plant, eat, and no one would uproot them again! I believe this has happened in my lifetime...
Israel has not yet gotten all the land that was promised to Abra-ham, but she will. She did not get it all at once in the beginning, nor is she getting it all at once to-day. But little by little, Israel will, and there will be more violent events before she does.
CG7-Denver fails to understand that the prophecies to Israel in the Bible were NOT limited to the tribe of Judah. Furthermore, I do not think that it is at all possible that the current nation of Israel will increase its size to end up with all the land that God promised the descendants of Abraham as this will not happen until after Christ returns.
If that additional land is one of the signs that CG7-Denver is looking for prior to the return of Jesus Christ, then it will sadly not know what is happening when the Great Tribulation begins. Recall that the Bible teaches:
1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis write…3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you (Revelation 3:1,3).
Anyway, what about Wesley Walker’s point about Amos 9:14-15 as the most convincing proof of his position (which according to the Bible Advocate reflects CG7-Denver’s historical view)? Let us look at what the Bible actually says here:
14 I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
15 I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,”
Says the LORD your God (Amos 9:14-15)
Notice that the above indicates that Israel will not be pulled up from the land. Well, there are two significant problems with the nation of Israel and that prophecy applying now:
- The current nation of Israel still has not received all the promised land. Hence, until it does so, the above truly is not being fulfilled.
- The current nation of Israel returned some of the land it did receive to Egypt some years ago as part of a peace deal. Hence, it allowed itself to be “pulled up” from the land.
CG7-Denver may wish to re-think its position here, because the modern nation of Israel has not received all the land and in fact has given some back. (Those who truly wish to understand about Israel in prophecy should read the article Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel.)
Additionally, Wesley Walker cited Jeremiah 32:37-41 (I left out verses 42-44 for space) which states:
37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. 38 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. 41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’ (Jeremiah 32:37-41)
Does anyone really think that the modern nation of Israel has one mind to fear God today? Israel is essentially a secular state that is divided politically. It simply does not fulfill Jeremiah 32.
Perhaps I should add that while Wesley Walker also cited Jeremiah 31:7-12, this is referring to Ephraim and hence is not limited to Judah. But since CG7-Denver refuses to acknowledge the true identity of Israel in prophecy, it overlooked that critically important point.
FWIW, I also looked up Ezekiel 36:6, 7, 21-24; 37:21-28 and disagree that the current nation of Israel has necessarily fulfilled any of these. One of the reason why is that Ezekiel 36:21-24 specifically leads into verses 25-28:
24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:24-28)
Of course, this simply has not happened. And notice that until it does, the prophesied dwelling in the land promised to fathers (like Abraham) will not happen. Also, the prophecies in Ezekiel 37:21-28, do not happen until after other events in Ezekiel 37.
In his autobiography, the late Herbert W. Armstrong included a letter from CG7’s former top leader, A.N. Dugger) who wrote that CG7 would not teach British Commonwealth and United States peoples were descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, even though that leader believed what Herbert Armstrong had written on that subject was true. Notice what A.N. Dugger wrote:
Dear Brother Armstrong:
I…have just finished the manuscript on the Third Angels’s Message and British Israel…You are surely right…I cannot use it…May the Lord bless you…
(A photo of the signed letter from A.N. Dugger, dated July 28, 1929 is in The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstong, 1973 edition, p.372–note that this letter was removed from the 1986 ed. that was produced after his death). A.N. Dugger also admitted the truth of the Anglo-Israelism doctrine to Merritt Dickinson in 1912, but A.N. Dugger would not teach it (Nickels, p. 143).
Of course, CG7 itself does not hold to that. Because it misunderstands many prophetic and doctrinal truths, the fact is that those in CG7-Denver will ultimately learn that CG7 is no place of safety (Revelation 12:14-16). Sadly, unless they repent, those in it will suffer during the final 3 1/2 years before Jesus returns (Revelation 12:17).
Items of related interest may include:
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) 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 Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
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. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Who really is left behind?
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. 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 the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.
Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace their history through this group. Whaid Rose is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?