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04/11/06 a.m. Concerning Jesus' last Passover service, which many now call the Last Supper, The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:
Moreover it seems quite certain that if St. John intended to give a different date from that given by the Synoptics and sanctioned by the custom of his own Church at Ephesus, he would have said so expressly. Others accept the apparent statement of St. John that the Last Supper was on the 13th of Nisan and try to reconcile the account of the Synoptics. To this class belong Paul of Burgos, Maldonatus, Petau, Hardouin, Tillemont, and others. Peter of Alexandria (P.G., XCII, 78) says: "In previous years Jesus had kept the Passover and eaten the paschal lamb, but on the day before He suffered as the true Paschal Lamb He taught His disciples the mystery of the type." (Mershman F. Transcribed by Scott Anthony Hibbs. The Last Supper. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).
It is true that on the 13th of Nisan, Jesus told His disciples to find the room prepared for Passover:
Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat." So they said to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare?" And He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?" ' Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready." So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover (Luke 22:7-13).
When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer (Luke 22:14-15).
The Jewish day of that Tuesday was Nisan 13. When the hour had come, after sunset, it was then Nisan 14.
Today, happens also to be Tuesday, Nisan 13. Tonight after sunset will be Nisan 14. And all who follow the practices of the gospel as understood by at least the Apostles John and Philip, will be observing it tonight.
Around 155 A.D. Polycarp of Smyrna went to Rome to deal with various heretics and he tried to persuade the Anicetus not to change Passover to an Easter Sunday holiday. Irenaeus records this about Passover:
And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points…For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect (Irenaeus. FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF IRENAEUS. 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. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc).
For it was in Rome and Greek Jerusalem that the habit of changing the date of Passover began.
It may be of interest to note "And in Rome ...Anicetus assumed the leadership of the Christians there... But Justin was especially prominent in those days" (Eusebius Church History. Book IV, Chapter 11). This may indicate that the heretic Justin Martyr influenced Anicetus so much that he would not agree to only observe the Nisan 14 Passover.
However, those in Asia Minor, did not change the date in the second century.
Apollinaris was a church leader of Hierapolis in Phrygia of Asia Minor. Around 180 A.D. he wrote:
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).
Melito of Sardis of Asia Minor, probably by 180 A.D., wrote the following on Passover:
Now comes the mystery of the passover, even as it stands written in the law...The people, therefore, became the model for the church, and the law a parabolic sketch. But the gospel became the explanation of the law and its fulfillment, while the church became the storehouse of truth...What is the passover? Indeed its name is derived from that event–"to celebrate the passover" (to paschein) is derived from "to suffer" (tou pathein). Therefore, learn who the sufferer is and who he is who suffers along with the sufferer. Why indeed was the Lord present upon the earth? In order that having clothed himself with the one who suffers, he might lift him up to the heights of heaven...So indeed also the suffering of the Lord, predicted long in advance by means of types, but seen today, has brought about faith, just because it has taken place as predicted. And yet men have taken it as something completely new. Well, the truth of the matter is the mystery of the Lord is both old and new–old insofar as it involved the type, but new insofar as it concerns grace. And what is more, if you pay close attention to this type you will see the real thing through its fulfillment. Accordingly, if you desire to see the mystery of the Lord, pay close attention to Abel who likewise was put to death, to Isaac who likewise was bound hand and foot, to Joseph who likewise was sold, to Moses who likewise was exposed, to David who likewise was hunted down, to the prophets who likewise suffered because they were the Lord's anointed. Pay close attention also to the one who was sacrificed as a sheep in the land of Egypt, to the one who smote Egypt and who saved Israel by his blood. For it was through the voice of prophecy that the mystery of the Lord was proclaimed. And David said: Why were the nations haughty and the people concerned about nothing? The kings of the earth presented themselves and the princes assembled themselves together against the Lord and against his anointed. And Jeremiah: I am as an innocent lamb being led away to be sacrificed. They plotted evil against me and said: Come! let us throw him a tree for his food, and let us exterminate him from the land of the living, so that his name will never be recalled. And Isaiah: He was led as a sheep to slaughter, and, as a lamb is silent in the presence of the one who shears it, he did not open his mouth. Therefore who will tell his offspring? And indeed there were many other things proclaimed by numerous prophets concerning the mystery of the passover, which is Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen. When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death. For this one, who was led away as a lamb, and who was sacrificed as a sheep, by himself delivered us from servitude to the world as from the land of Egypt, and released us from bondage to the devil as from the hand of Pharaoh, and sealed our souls by his own spirit and the members of our bodies by his own blood. This is the one who covered death with shame and who plunged the devil into mourning as Moses did Pharaoh. This is the one who smote lawlessness and deprived injustice of its offspring, as Moses deprived Egypt. This is the one who delivered us from slavery into freedom, from darkness into light, from death into life, from tyranny into an eternal kingdom, and who made us a new priesthood, and a special people forever. This one is the passover of our salvation. This is the one who patiently endured many things in many people: This is the one who was murdered in Abel, and bound as a sacrifice in Isaac, and exiled in Jacob, and sold in Joseph, and exposed in Moses, and sacrificed in the lamb, and hunted down in David, and dishonored in the prophets. This is the one who became human in a virgin, who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from among the dead, and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven. This is the lamb that was slain. This is the lamb that was silent. This is the one who was born of Mary, that beautiful ewe-lamb. This is the one who was taken from the flock, and was dragged to sacrifice, and was killed in the evening, and was buried at night; the one who was not broken while on the tree, who did not see dissolution while in the earth, who rose up from the dead, and who raised up mankind from the grave below. This one was murdered (Melito. Homily On the Passover. Verses 11, 40,46-47, 58-72. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology , http://www.kerux.com/documents/KeruxV4N1A1.asp 09/14/05).
Click here for a complete version of The Homily On the Passover by Melito.
A decade or so after Melito's death, Roman Bishop Victor tried to enforce the preferred Roman Sunday date for Passover and stop Christians from following the biblical date of Nisan 14.
The Orthodox Church reports this brief explanation of events in one of its timelines:
193 A.D. - Council of Rome, presided over by Bishop Victor, condemns the celebration of Pascha on Nisan 14, and addresses a letter to Polycrates of Ephesus and the Churches in Asia.
193 A.D. - Council of Ephesus, presided over by Bishop Polycrates, and attended by several bishops throughout Asia, reject the authority of Victor of Rome, and keep the Asian paschal tradition (Markou, Stavros L. K. An Orthodox Christian Historical Timeline. Copyright © 2003 OrthodoxFaith.com).
The Catholic writer Lopes noted this about the Roman bishop Victor:
14. VICTOR I, ST. (189-199) An African...Victor tended not to advise other churches but to impose Rome's ideas on them, thus arousing resentment at times in bishops not inclined to accept such impositions. This was the case of Polycratus, the Bishop of Ephesus, who felt offended at this interference. The question was again that of Easter. Victor reaffirmed the decisions of Soter and Eleutherius both with regard to the date, which had to be a Sunday, and with regard to several customs of Jewish origin which were still practiced in some Christian communities...Polycratus justified himself before the pope with a letter containing the phrase "...it is more important to obey God rather than men" (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997, p. 5).
The Catholic writer Eusebius recorded that Polycrates of Ephesus wrote the following to the Roman Bishop Victor who, as the previous writing showed, wanted all who professed Christ to change Passover from the 14th of Nisan to Sunday:
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' (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
Notice that Polycrates said that he and the other early church leaders (like the Apostles Philip and John, and their successors like Polycarp, Thraseas, Eumenia, Sagaris, Papirius, Melito) would not deviate from the Bible, and that they knew the Bible taught them to keep the Passover on the correct date, and not on a Sunday. Also notice that they always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. Polycrates also reminded the Roman bishop that true followers of Christ "obey God rather than men".
Hence it is clear that throughout the second century, the churches in Asia Minor continued to observe the Passover on the 14th of Nisan (and for doing so, they were labeled as Quartodecimans by the Romans), unlike the Romans, and they refused to accept the authority of any Roman bishop over scripture.
And those who are truly Christians still do that today.
04/10/06 a.m. US News & World Report has the following story:
The story sounds almost familiar. On the night he was betrayed, Jesus of Nazareth, considered the rightful king of Israel by his growing following, came together with his Council of Twelve on the upper floor of a Jerusalem guesthouse...
Before eating the meal, which he declared would be his last with the disciples until the coming of the Kingdom of God, Jesus blessed it in the usual Jewish fashion, giving thanks for the wine and then the bread. Afterward, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and then announced that one of them would betray him. Judas Iscariot promptly left, triggering the events that would lead to Jesus's Crucifixion the following day.This account, much of which comes from the New Testament, conforms in certain respects with the traditional Christian story of the Last Supper. In important ways, however, it does not. According to tradition, the Last Supper was a Passover meal...Jesus would have initiated the ceremony that came to be known as the Eucharist, asking his disciples to eat the bread as his body and to drink the wine as his blood in remembrance of his sacrifice. To leave out this crucial innovation, or to have Jesus offer a standard Jewish blessing, is to tell a vastly different story. It is to put aside the "Christ of faith" and to join the centuries-old search for the "Jesus of history."
The investigator in this case is James Tabor, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. And his provocative new book, The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity, takes the search for the historical Jesus to a bold--some would even say fanciful--new level. According to Tabor, Jesus, in partnership with his cousin John the Baptizer, saw himself as the founder not of a new religion but of a worldly royal dynasty. Fulfilling ancient prophecies, the dynasty, descended from King David, was destined to restore Israel and guide it through an apocalyptic upheaval culminating in the Kingdom of God on Earth. And all of this was to happen not in the distant or metaphorical future but in the very time in which they lived. Although their message was one of peaceful change, Jesus knew that he and John had aroused the suspicions of the native Herodian rulers of Palestine as well as their Roman overlords. To carry out his work, Tabor says, Jesus had established a provisional government with 12 tribal officials and named his brother James--not Peter, as traditional Christianity holds--as his successor. And indeed, according to Tabor, James later became the leader of the early Christian movement.
Dr. Tabor was once part of WCG and now teaches theology at the University of North Carolina. Regarding church leadership, he and I apparently have a different understanding of what occurred originally. However, I will state that I believe that the Bible clearly shows that Peter, James, and John had significant leadership positions.
CBCG's Fred Coulter reported:
I am pleased to announce that we will be having our Elders' Conference May 12-14, 2006...Florence, KY 41042
This morning the Vatican supporting Zenit reported:
Q: Has Holy Week been observed as such since the beginning of Christianity?
Father Flores: The most ancient original core of Holy Week is the Easter Vigil, of which there were traces already in the second century of the Christian era. It was always a night of vigil, in remembrance and expectation of Jesus Christ's resurrection.
That is an interesting answer. It is true that traces of apostasy began in the second century. At first it was a switch of the date of Passover from the 14th of Nisan to the Sunday afterwards--and that did occur in the second century. Other non-biblical practices followed--with the day eventually (hundreds of years later) renamed Easter.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states:
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...
Hence, even the name Easter is of pagan, non-biblical, origin.
04/09/06 a.m. Today marks the beginning of what most Roman Catholics, and many others, term "Holy Week". What is unique about this week this year, is that from both a Roman Catholic and COG perspective, is that the events fall on the same day of the week that they did in 31 A.D. A Roman Catholic I know gave me a copy of the WORD among us--The #1 Monthly Devotional for Catholics. 2006; Volume 25, Number 4. This week, I plan to share some of that information with those of you who visit this site.
Today itself is the day that the Romans call Palm Sunday. However, based upon the events of the week, it actually would not make sense from a biblical and Roman Catholic perspective that Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem on this day as if He did, He would have had to die on a Thursday (He actually died on a Wednesday), as He came into Jerusalem on the 10th of Nisan and held Passover on the 14th.
Now Palm Sunday was not observed by the early church. Some believe that it began in Mesopotamia in 397. However, Roman Catholics did not seem to adopt it until much later. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:
Binterim, V, i, 173, on the authority of Severus, Patriarch of Antioch, and of Josue Stylites, states that Peter Bishop of Edessa, about 397 ordered the benediction of the palms for all the churches of Mesopotamia. The ceremonies had their origin most probably in Jerusalem. In the "Peregrinatio Sylviæ", undertaken between 378 and 394...
In the three oldest Roman Sacramentaries no mention is found of either the benediction of the palms or the procession. The earliest notice is in the "Gregorianum" used in France in the ninth and tenth centuries.
But now it is considered a relatively big deal by Roman Catholics (as well as Greek Orthodox).
On other matters, Zenit reported:
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2006 (Zenit)- Benedict XVI told those gathered for the general audience that "the Church of love is also the Church of truth."
It actually is astounding how much they know, yet do not seem to understand. This will become clearer this week as I share some of what they seem to know. If they truly have a love of truth, they would be with us. Notice what Paul and John wrote:
...they did not receive the love of the truth... (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us (1 John 2:19).
John kept the Passover on the 14 of Nisan, yet the Romans changed that. Paul said to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread, yet the Romans do not do that either.
Speaking of dealing with truth, tonight many will become fascinated with the so-called Gospel of Judas. I will let others explain about it:
The Christian Post - Saturday, Apr. 8, 2006
As commentators, scholars, and the media build up sensation that the “Gospel of Judas” may force a reexamination of the traditional Gospel understanding of Judas, Jesus, and Christianity, some of the nation’s most respected theologians are stepping in to quell the hype.
Just days before Easter, the English translation of the “Gospel of Judas,” which portrays Judas as a favored disciple who turned Jesus in at his request, was made public Thursday by the National Geographic Society, causing some to question the central events leading to the death of Jesus on the cross.
“According to some commentators, the publication of this new document will force a complete reformulation of Christianity and our understanding of both Judas and Jesus,” stated Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“In reality," he added, however, "nothing of the sort is in view.”
Mohler is one of a number of respected theologians who have come out to expose that the ‘‘Gospel of Judas’’ shows strong Gnostic characteristics and to confirm the authority of the four canonical Gospels.
In a commentary posted by the president of one of the world’s largest seminaries on Friday, Mohler called the newly translated document “highly interesting” but asserted that the text does not conflict with the four Gospels but only offers a glimpse into the thinking from heretical groups with alternative understandings of Christianity.
Despite claims that the ancient text was written by Judas, Mohler said the document was “certainly” written in the third century after Christ, long after Judas’ death.
Furthermore, the text strongly displays Gnostic characteristics such as in its ideas and word choice.
“The most remarkable feature of this text is its thoroughly Gnostic character,” wrote Mohler, who has been asked to represent the Christian voice on programs including CNN’s “Larry King Live,” NBC’s “Today Show,” and “Dateline NBC” and been quoted by publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. “The substance of this gospel bears virtually no resemblance to orthodox Christianity – a fact which explains why the early church recognized this writing for what it is, and rejected it as neither authoritative nor authentic.”
Examples of Gnostic character in the text were pointed out such as in the text’s conversation between Jesus and Judas where Jesus uses Gnostic categories such as “aeons” and an “eternal realm.” Mohler also highlighted the fact that Judas is also called the “thirteenth spirit” in the “Gospel of Judas” and is selected to free Jesus from his physical body so that he can enter the spiritual world.
A key concept of Gnosticism is its focus of secret and mysterious knowledge and emphasis on the dualism between the material and spiritual worlds.
“In essence, the Gnostics sought to escape the material world and to enter the world of spirit,” explained Mohler.
The complete article is available at http://www.christianpost.com/article/education/1146/section/top.baptist.seminary.head.refutes.gospel.of.judas.claims/1.htm
I should also mention that scholars (and others) who believe in Easter (as well as those interested in the truth on this matter), really should read the article Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?
LCG's latest news update contained this sobering information:
Drought, Hunger, and Catastrophe in
Africa. “More than half of Africais now in need of urgent food assistance…” Nearly 200 million people are malnourished and this number is rising (see Matt 24:7; Rev 6:5-6). Although drought is a major factor in the food-shortage situation, many experts, both within and outside of Africa, cite civil unrest and corrupt leadership as primary reasons for the dire situation. In fact, with honest and caring leaders, many assume that numerous African nations could be food exporters and eliminate the problems of hunger currently ravaging the continent (BBCnews, Jan. 31, 2006). God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his seed (Gen 26:4). As God begins to remove His blessings from the continually sinning nations of , and as these nations pull out or are thrown out of other countries, many other nations of the earth are suffering. As the world suffers, we need to pray more fervently for God’s Kingdom to come and bring the “times of refreshing” this world so badly needs (Acts 3:19). Israel
For an article about the Kingdom, please read The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church.
04/08/06 a.m. In yesterday's Home Office Update, UCG reports:
Beyond Today is scheduled to air on more than 160 channels at present. During our program start-up during the last week of December 2005, we received 63 responses to Beyond Today, and then for January 2006 we received 262, then 306 for February and now 461 for March...
This compares to 2000-3000 responses for March that ICG received and over 10,000 for LCG. I should mention that this does, however, represent a huge increase for UCG compared to its radio efforts.
Yesterday, the following was in the news:
Germany wants to have the EU constitution ratified across the EU by 2009, suggesting a change in the name of the charter to "Basic treaty for Europe," according to a German daily.
Die Welt reports that German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has indicated Berlin will present a "strategic plan" for ratification of the constitution at the end of its EU presidency, in early summer 2007.
The treaty should then be ratified in 2009 at the latest, probably under the name "Basic Treaty for Europe."
But Die Welt also writes that the expected bad state of the European economy in the next two years could derail the plan. http://euobserver.com/9/21342
The EU (or some version of it will happen). And it actually might take economic motivations to do that.
Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:
I’m sure that all of you are giving serious thought to the Passover (Lord’s Supper) and Days of Unleavened Bread coming up. We know that engaging in these commanded activities cannot earn salvation, but God does require it of His people. It is comforting to know that we are doing what is good and pleasing to God at a time when most of what’s going on here on earth is anything but.
It seems that big problems that carry real dangers to the United States and our way of life continue to arise and escalate. The constant threat of terror; the boiling cauldron of the Middle East that threatens the economic security of the entire civilized world; the illegal immigration issue sending hundreds of thousands into the streets of American cities, with more to come… And I could go on. These are but a handful of very consequential problems that cannot be solved in the social/political environment of the early 21st century.
Many who left the COGs act like nothing of prophetic magnitude is happening, but the plain truth is that the US dominated world as we have known it cannot and will not continue for too many more years.
04/07/06 a.m. CG7's Bible Advocate ran an article whose subtitle stated:
The problems associated with Christmas and Easter should not keep us from celebrating Christ’s birth and resurrection. The problems associated with Christmas and Easter should not keep us from celebrating Christ’s birth and resurrection The problems associated with Christmas and Easter should not keep us from celebratingThe problems associated with Christmas and Easter should not keep us from celebrating Christ’s birth and resurrection Christ’s birth and resurrection
My response is two-fold. First, neither are taught to be observed in the Bible. And the second is that neither were observed by early Christians.
One related interest may be Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?
Another problem with the focus on pagan holidays is that they take away the focus of God's Holy Days. Since we are about to enter the Spring Holy Day season, the following two articles may be of interest to Bible-believing Christians"
Passover and the Early Church
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?
The article on the Passover is new. And this is the first time I have announced it.
On a related note, UCG's website announced information about the the Days of Unleavened Bread. Those truly interested in UCG's view on that subject may wish to read the paper UCG and Its Unleavened Bread Study Paper.
04/06/06 a.m. In his latest commentary, LCG's Don Davis wrote:
This new Muslim empire will come about—and sooner than most can imagine! How do we know? Because God’s word says it will happen: “Son of man, set your face toward the south; preach against the south and prophesy against the forest land, the South, and say to the forest of the South, ‘Hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree in you; the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be scorched by it. All flesh shall see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched”’” (Ezekiel 20:46–48).
In Scripture, all compass directions are given in relation to
. Keeping this in mind, where does “south” bring us? Strong’s Concordance (#5045) tells us that the Hebrew word negeb – “south” – comes from a root meaning “to be parched” (as if from drought, or as if desert). The Bible uses this word to describe not only the desert portions of southern Jerusalem Judah(e.g. the Negev Desert), but also sometimes Egypt, another desert land to the south of . The word negeb also can refer more generally to lands south of Jerusalem . Jerusalem
The recent Palestinian election in the West Bank and
has brought the radical Hamas movement to power. Elected Palestinian leadership is now coming from a political-terrorist movement largely funded by supporters outside Gaza Palestine– particularly from . Iran Iran’s president Ahmadinejad has spoken openly of his wish to see Muslim power increase across his region, a goal reminiscent of al Qaeda’s plan to unite all Muslims under one banner and then use its control of oil to force its will on the United States, Europeand the rest of the world.
Bible prophecy shows that Muslim powers will unite into a “kingdom” in the south, seeking to work together for world dominance. But this quest for overlordship will be their ruin! The old “Crusader” nations of Europe will not be bullied, and will take the oil they need to survive: “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the
Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, , and the prominent people of Ammon [none of which have oil!]. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the Moab shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels” (Daniel 11:40–43). (For more in-depth information, read our booklet The Middle East in Prophecy) landof Egypt
The complete commentary is available at http://www.lcg.org/cgi-bin/tw/commentary/tw-comm.cgi?action=view_commA related article of interest may be Is There a Future King of the South?.
The xCG site has the following:
Quote of the week:
“the long dance with Mr. Thiel is over.”
This is the second time Jared Olar has said something like the above. If he means it this time, that will be interesting.
On the other hand, no one really expected Jared Olar to explain why the Roman Catholics neither rely on the Bible nor the early traditions of the church for their anti-millennial views, did they? I did not. Why?Because he would have had to admit that the real doctrine of the Roman Church is determined by what the Pope says it is, and not the Bible, nor early church writings prior to 200 A.D.
A possible article of interest may be Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?--which explains the teachings of the early church on the reign of Christ on earth. The plain truth is that, unlike the Roman position, the COG position on this subject is consistent with the Bible and the documented beliefs of the early church. Another article of interest may be Tradition and the Bible--which discusses the position of the Bible and the Roman Catholic Church on doctrine.
04/05/06 a.m. WCG somewhat made the news:
Two former public relations executives are to go on trial Tuesday on federal charges of conspiring to pad their bills to the city of Los Angeles, bilking taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars...
Stodder and Dowie are accused of overbilling the city a total of about $325,000 in 2000, 2002 and 2003. In addition to overcharging the DWP, they are accused of directing schemes to pad bills under smaller contracts with the Port of Los Angeles and two private entities, the firm of architect Frank Gehry and the Worldwide Church of God.
Dowie participated in fraudulent billing "by encouraging and bullying his subordinates to bill time that had not in fact been worked" over four years beginning in January 2000, Adam D. Kamenstein and Cheryl O'Connor Murphy, assistant U.S. attorneys, alleged in newly filed court papers. http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-dowie3apr03,1,3995766.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california
Almost anyone can be cheated that way, thus my posting of the above is not intended as a reflection on WCG. Last week, I reported that LCG and UCG both warned about the coming collapse of the US dollar. Here is something from PCG that just came out this morning:
When the big boys get knocked out, they go down with a thud. If China and Japan were to stop supporting the U.S. dollar, the dollar would crash to the mat like the biggest heavyweight boxer ever.
But China and Japan are America’s friends, you might say. At least, they aren’t enemies any more, right? After all, they hold more than $930 billion in U.S. government debt and are now among America’s largest financers. Besides, it is in their best economic interests to keep supporting the dollar, isn’t it?
Yes, many economists feel that China and Japan have a symbiotic relationship with the United States and that it is in their best interest to support the dollar—and up to now, they have been right. Countries like Japan and China, which sell goods to the U.S., benefit when the U.S. has a strong currency because a strong dollar means that Americans can purchase more foreign goods. It also means that the people in those foreign countries are less likely to purchase things made in America because they can buy them cheaper at home, thus helping their local economies.
While European and Japanese consumers have been faced with poorer economies over the past several years, they have cut back on spending and have increased their savings. Consequently, free-spending Americans have become the consumers of choice for many of the world’s exporting nations.
This has led exporting nations to use the profits earned by selling to Americans to purchase U.S. government Treasuries and bonds to keep the dollar strong—and thus keep Americans buying their products. Americans have been satisfied with this relationship too, because a strong dollar means they can buy more cheap foreign imports.
Thus the cycle continues: Americans buying cheap foreign goods, and those foreign nations using their profits to purchase U.S. Treasuries to prop up the dollar.
But this relationship has led to structural problems in the U.S. economy. Easy borrowing from foreigners, who have been only too happy to lend the money necessary to keep the dollar strong, has in part led to huge national debts and an overvalued dollar.
Since 2000, the national debt has risen by an astonishing 48 percent, while the amount of U.S. public debt held by foreigners has climbed by an even more astonishing 100 percent. The amount of U.S. debt that is held by China alone has gone from $60 billion to over $262 billion. American debt held by Japan has grown from $317 billion in 2000 to over $668 billion today.
As if an overvalued dollar and massive debts were not bad enough, there looks like there might be worse news: China and Japan may no longer need the U.S.
On March 20, the Wall Street Journal reported on an important shift taking place in the global economy: “In a trend that has caught many economists by surprise, companies and consumers in the euro zone and Japan, the world’s second- and third-largest economies after the U.S., have started spending again … for the first time in years.”
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Volume 10, issue 2 COGwriter B. Thiel (c) 2006