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07/31/06 a.m. PABC's Norman Edwards just reported:

For a variety of reasons, some people have moved away from Port Austin Bible Campus. Some of the young people observed that we did not have as much time to help teach them as we had anticipated. We realize that we need to have enough people here who are able and have the time to be the mentors that young people need. We are asking God to provide us with these individuals before we tell young people that we are indeed ready to serve them.

Other brethren have wisely counseled Norman not to sacrifice his health and family to do this project...

While we still do not have definite sources for more than one of the future $5000 payments, and while the Edwards are burdened down with personal debt incurred from this project, the Eternal has provided during the past two years. The present condition and potential future of PABC is brighter than ever before.

Nevertheless, PABC is still a work of faith. A person recently asked if it made sense for him to uproot his home to move to PABC with no tangible way to make ongoing payments. The answer was that it makes no more sense to come to PABC than it made for 2,000,000 Israelites to go into the desert with no tangible way to feed themselves. Remember, they actually went without water for three days and had food shortages. Thanks to our garden, that has not happened here!

There is a MAJOR difference between the Israelites going to the desert and someone going to PABC--God performed many dramatic miracles and told the Israelites to go to the desert, that was clearly God's will--in my opinion, it is a lot more like human reasoning to go to PABC. People need to be careful about what they think God's will really is.

LCG reported the following news item:

European Union wants its own military. Claude-France Arnould, Director of Politico-Military Affairs at the European Council, recently stated at a meeting in Brussels that the multi-national EU Battle Groups were more a tool for political integration than for attaining military objectives, and that they should promote the internationalist agenda. “Troops should be trained at EU level,” he said, “removing completely the national element and sovereignty of the forces.” The chairman of the Committee on Security and Defense that sponsored the meeting afterward declared, “We are on our way to a European Army” (, July 14, 2006). On another front, Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros is reportedly planning to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to foundations in the EU, to encourage Europe to stand up to America and to promote a more focused democratic power…” (BusinessOnline.Com, July 16, 2006). Prophecies indicate that a militarized power will emerge in Europe at the end of the age that will have a major impact on world events (Daniel 11:40-45; Revelation 17:12-14). 

07/30/06 a.m. LCG's Wayne Pyle reported:

...the Tomorrow’s World telecast has added more than 359,000 first-time callers since the telecast began in January 1999.  While this number itself is fairly large, there are aspects of this count that are truly impressive. 

This week our 400th person brand-new to the telecast and the Church was baptized.  These 400 individuals found the Truth and God’s Church through the Tomorrow’s World telecast.  What is impressive is the ratio of baptisms to the number of TV viewers on our mailing list.  Back in the middle 1980s, the Church was baptizing one out of every 1,000 TV respondents who had been on the mailing list for seven years.  Today, we are seeing one out of 200 being baptized who came on our mailing list seven years ago. 

We have also had more than 400 others baptized since 1999, who came on file from the telecast, but they had previous knowledge or contact with God’s Church.  To date, the Tomorrow’s World telecast has been instrumental in more than 800 baptisms that we know about. 

Of the 359,000 viewers added to our files, 45,000 were added just this year, which is 31 percent above last year’s total at the same time.

I have often heard criticism from those outside LCG that suggest that LCG has been wasting funds on television. Yet Jesus taught, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21) and "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16).

The above report suggests that LCG's heart is in the right place and is producing the type of fruits that Jesus spoke about.

My sermonette yesterday was about the heretic Marcion.

In the twentieth century, the scholar HOJ Brown wrote:

The first great heretic broke drastically with the faith of the early church in abandoning the doctrine of the imminent, personal return of Christ...Marcion did not believe in a real incarnation, and consequently there was no logical place in his system for a real Second Coming...Marcion expected the majority of mankind to be lost...he denied the validity of the Old Testament and its Law...As the first great heretic, Marcion developed and perfected his heterodox system before orthodoxy had fully defined itself...Marcion represents a movement that so radically transformed the Christian doctrine of God and Christ that it can hardly be said to be Christian...Orthodox Lutheranism sometimes elevates the contrast between Law and Gospel to a degree reminiscent of Marcion (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 65,67,455).

Notice the following:

Reinhold Seerig (1859-1935)...considered himself very much a Lutheran...Seerig makes Marcion his model:

Marcion consciously sought to reform...he is the first in the chain of Reformers, the last and greatest of which was Luther. His appearance attests to us...that legalistic Christianity had grown stronger in the church...

Seeberg believed in the eighty years between Paul and Marcion Christianity had so deteriorated into legalism that a radical dualistic, anti-Jewish heresy such as Marcion's represented a necessary reformation...Marcion sought to undo what he felt was a pernicious legalism by teaching a radical dichotomy of Law and Grace (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 65-66).

In other words, some Protestant scholars admit that those practicing "legalistic Christianity" in the second century were so substantial that a heretic reformer was needed! And that this reforming had anti-Jewish and anti-law sentiments. It is only because of heretics and heresies that mainstream Christianity holds many of the doctrines it now holds.

And the view on the law remains one of the Differences Between Protestants and the Churches of God today (the other main difference is that the Churches of God believe the Bible over Tradition, yet Martin Luther and his followers never really did believe in the cry of Sola Scriptura).

Perhaps it should be noted that most historians generally accept as accurate the position of Irenaeus that Marcion did not have continuity with the original apostles, but essentially sprang up with his own independent heresy, as did many of the other early heretics:

For, prior to Valentinus, those who follow Valentinus had no existence; nor did those from Marcion exist before Marcion; nor, in short, had any of those malignant-minded people, whom I have above enumerated, any being previous to the initiators and inventors of their perversity. For Valentinus came to Rome in the time of Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and remained until Anicetus. Cerdon, too, Marcion's predecessor, himself arrived in the time of Hyginus, who was the ninth bishop. Coming frequently into the Church, and making public confession, he thus remained, one time teaching in secret, and then again making public confession; but at last, having been denounced for corrupt teaching, he was excommunicated from the assembly of the brethren. Marcion, then, succeeding him, flourished under Anicetus, who held the tenth place of the episcopate. (Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Thus, no one who believes that they should heed Jude's admonition "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) would follow Marcion as Marcion was a deviation, not a faithful reformer.

So, there is now a new addition at my Early Christianity page, an article titled Marcion: The First Protestant?.

07/29/06 a.m. Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

The Arab world is inflamed.  Despite the hopeful sign of Saudi and Jordanian criticism of Hezbollah actions in the early days of the conflict, they’ve changed their tune as their populations have become enraged watching al Jazeera coverage from the south of Beirut.  The monarchs are fearful of their own people, and are now chiming in with support for Hezbollah.  The entire region is boiling with hatred for Israel, hatred for the United States. 


            Israel’s military power to deal with the terrorists is now in serious question, two weeks into the current war.  Consequently, the Muslim world is drunk with the prospect that Israel actually can be defeated!  The United States is obviously not feared either.  We shuttle our diplomats from one Middle Eastern capitol to another, and then to Rome to mouth platitudes, while Israel confronts unconventional terrorists with conventional means...


            Israel is in grave danger.  The United States is in danger as well.  But based on the clear scenario spelled out in Bible prophecy, we know the stage is not yet set for Armageddon.  Things are, however, falling rapidly into place and there may be some mighty violent upheavals between now and then.


            The Arab world is uniting.  Animosity between Shiite and Sunni Muslims is taking a back seat while hatred of Israel and the U.S. burns hot.  The perceived weakness displayed by flying rockets two weeks after Israel set out to put a stop to it, and the pitiful display of U.S. attempts at diplomacy has the Muslim world believing they can prevail.


            There are calls for a peacekeeping force (of Europeans!) to be brought into southern Lebanon to create a buffer zone between the north of Israel and Beirut.  The “disarming of Hezbollah” would look to the casual observer to be impossible, as their arms are hidden in schools, homes, apartments, mosques and hospitals.  Getting European troops involved at all is of great concern due to the fact that Bible prophecy predicts that the final act of this tragedy will see Europe provoked against the Muslim world militarily.

He is correct that "Things are, however, falling rapidly into place" for various prophecies to be fulfilled.

BICOG had a link to an AP news article that stated:

Israeli warplanes struck a minibus carrying people fleeing the fighting Sunday in southern Lebanon, killing three people, Lebanese security officials said, and Israel said it would accept a NATO-led international force to keep the peace along the border.

All of us in the COGs know that there will ultimately be a European presence in the Middle East.

07/28/06 a.m. CEM's Ron Dart posted the following:

If you ever wondered what the Islamists want....

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq."...

The Egyptian-born physician said that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants would not be ended with "cease-fires or agreements."

"It is a jihad (holy war) for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahri said. "We will attack everywhere." Spain was controlled by Arab Muslims for more than seven centuries until they were driven from power in 1492.

Most in the West have not figured out that the Moslems really want everyone Moslem and the Romans really want everyone Catholic--and both those groups have used force throughout history to try to accomplish that (regarding Rome, please see article Europa and the Beast of Revelation).

This morning, I added the following to two two articles.

Martin Luther apparently decided that he could not understand God, but that he should teach the unbiblical doctrine of the trinity. Notice what one Protestant scholar wrote:

For Luther, as for the German mystics, God is Deus absconditus, the "hidden God," inaccessible to human reason...

By emphasizing the sole authority of Scripture and downgrading the work of the church fathers and the decisions of the ecumenical councils, Luther created a problem for his followers. One the one hand, Luther wanted to affirm traditional theology with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity and Christ, but on the other those doctrines are not explicit in Scripture. They are the product of church fathers and the councils (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 314).

It should be noted here that NONE of the so-called "church fathers" prior to the end of the second century espoused any trinitarian position.

The two articles are Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? and Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?

07/27/06 a.m. In its Infuse magazine, CGI's Loren M. Chamberlain writes:

Just where in the Bible is the Trinity mentioned? Even though we might search diligently for the word “trinity” in the Bible, it will not be found...

Most religious leaders are very vague when it comes to actually explaining, clearly and precisely, what the Holy Spirit is, and why they support the Trinity Doctrine. Often the term “mystery” crops up. What is a “mystery,” religiously speaking? The Catholic Encyclopedia devotes an entire subsection to the subject of the “Trinity as a mystery” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Trinity, p52)...

The Catholic Encyclopedia even makes this admission, “For nowhere in the Old Testament do we find any indication of a Third Person…” and “the Twofold personality (of Father and Son) is strenuously asserted by the prophets” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Trinity, p49).

There are numerous Encyclopedia articles that give ample evidence of the struggles for pure doctrine that occurred in the first three centuries after the death and resurrection of Christ. A list from the Encyclopedia Americana, dealing with the great controversy over the trinity include articles entitled, “Arius,” “Arianism,” “Athanasius,” “Creeds and Confessions,” “Filioque,” “Nicaea, Councils of,” “Nicene Creed,” and “Trinity Doctrine.” This is only a partial list.

Words of the Apostles

Paul spoke about listening to such “philosophers” and their nonsensical views. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

Thr idea of the trinity, according to historical sources, came from heretics who originally got the idea from paganism. This is documented in the article Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?

The true church, as history shows, held a Binitarian View: of One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning. But historically has been persecuted for simply believing and teaching what the Bible shows (an article of related interest might be The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3).

AOL reported this AP story this morning:

CAIRO, Egypt (July 27) - Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call in a new videotape released Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq."

In the message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahri, second in command to Osama bin Laden, said that al-Qaida now views "all the world as a battlefield open in front of us."

The Egyptian-born physician said that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah and Palestinian militants would not be ended with "cease-fires or agreements."

"It is a Jihad for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahri said. "We will attack everywhere." Spain was controlled by Arab Muslims until they were driven from power at the turn of the 16th century.

He also said that Arab regimes were complicit in Israeli fighting against Hezbollah and the Palestinians. "My fellow Muslims, it is obvious that Arab and Islamic governments are not only impotent but also complicit ... and you are alone on the battlefield. Rely on God and fight your enemies ... make yourselves martyrs."

The fulfillment of biblical prophecy moves ahead. I suspect that Al-Qaida is trying to send the Europeans and Arabs a message, but mainly hopes to strike out against the US.

07/26/06 a.m. In an email to me (and others) yesterday, WCG announced the following written by its Michael Morrison:

Many Christian churches are quite willing to do away with Sabbaths and dietary laws, but some are not willing to do away with tithing. They preach that church members should give 10 percent of their income to the church. Why is this old covenant law different — or is it?...

The new covenant does not specify a percentage, and since we do not have a clear command from Scripture, we cannot command a precise percentage for Christians today.

The Bible clearly enjoins the seventh-day Sabbath, as well as tithing (see articles: The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad and Tithing Questions and Some Answers). What the Tkach WCG failed to state in the above is that it required its ministers to tithe (and still may require this).

I also had to chuckle because WCG's current HQ location is at 2011 Financial Way. Who would want to follow the "Financial Way" that its leadership demonstrated (destroying a $200 million per year corporation, stopping employee "pension" payments, selling off tangible assets, etc.)?

In his latest newsletter, SDA S. Bacchiochi writes:

In theory, our general consensus is that our doctrines and practices are derived exclusively from the normative authority of the Bible. Incidentally, this is the position Ellen White herself maintained: "The Testimonies of Sister White should not be carried to the front. God's Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word of God. . . . Let us prove all our positions from Scripture and substantiate every point they claim from the revealed Word of God" (Evangelism, p. 256).

In practice, however, Ellen White remains for many sincere Adventists the final interpreter of Scripture. This has been evident whenever I attempted to expand or modify our interpretation of such biblical texts as Colossians 2:14 on the ceremonial law nailed to the Cross, or Revelation 13:17-18, on The Mark and Number of the Beast. Some rejected a priori the findings of my investigation, not because they violated the meaning of the texts in their contexts, but because they could not be adequately supported by EGW writings.

Although we in the COGs have been accused of something similar, the truth is that HWA repeatedly and publicly stated, "Don't believe me, believe what you see written in your own Bible!" An article of related interest may be SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.

In archeological news, yesterday ABC reported:

DUBLIN, Ireland Jul 25, 2006 (AP)— Irish archaeologists Tuesday heralded the discovery of an ancient book of psalms by a construction worker who spotted something while driving the shovel of his backhoe into a bog.

The approximately 20-page book has been dated to the years 800-1000...

The book was found open to a page describing, in Latin script, Psalm 83, in which God hears complaints of other nations' attempts to wipe out the name of Israel.

Psalm 83:2-8 states:

2 For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.
3 They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
4 They have said, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more."

5 For they have consulted together with one consent;
They form a confederacy against You:
6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;
Moab and the Hagrites;
7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek;
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assyria also has joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot. (NKJV)

The timing of the find, its announcement, and the page it was found open to is of interest to me. I suspect that Psalm 83:2-8 is consistent with Daniel 11:27, and that the fulfillment of this passage of these scriptures is not too far away.

07/25/06 a.m. I received a report this morning that Raymond McNair's health is declining and he may be near death--but I should add that I only received this from one report and that was NOT an official source, which nearly all my other news items are based on.

I will try to receive additional information on this.

In its latest "Mini-Study" COGUK (a CGOM affiliate) states:

...the Left Behind series places this astounding and momentous event before the Great Tribulation. (It is termed the Pre-Tribulation viewpoint by theologians.) The books envisage that when it happens pilots will be snatched from their planes, drivers from cars and trucks and trains, millions suddenly disappear from the home, the field, the workplace. Clearly with catastrophic consequences for those left behind - two-thirds of world population

...elsewhere, the apostle Paul refers to the same event: "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [ie, die], but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Corinthians 15:51-53). This resurrection, note, is to a state of immortality. Christians are 'changed' from flesh to incorruptible spirit

...but when does this happen? Paul supplies the clue: ' the last trumpet'. A curious expression but one which refers to a specific time in prophecy. The last apostle, John, fills in the details in Revelation
unsurprisingly, the 'last' trumpet is preceded by others. There are seven prophetic trumpets blown by angels - each with reference to successive events on Earth at the end-time. They are unveiled in the book of Revelation chs 8-16. These seven trumpet prophecies culminate in the 'last trumpet' and the return of Jesus

...but before Jesus returns comes 'the tribulation': "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky…" (Matthew 24:29). So - Jesus says: tribulation, then heavenly signs, then the 'sign of the Son of man'

...the 'heavenly signs' are what Jesus calls 'the sixth seal' (Revelation 6:12). This precedes the Seven Trumpets. Recall that the resurrection of Christians is at 'the last trumpet', coinciding with the return of Jesus

...the seventh Trumpet welcomes the returning Christ and the resurrection of the saints. It is also the beginning of 'the Day of the LORD' - God's sentence executed upon rebellious mankind in Christ's presence

...some students stumble by confounding the Tribulation with God's wrath - which is also called, the Day of the LORD. Notice what the apostle Peter adds: 'The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come' (Acts 2:20). That is, the Day of the Lord follows the 'heavenly signs' which in turn follow the Tribulation sum, the resurrection of Christians - called by some 'the Rapture' - takes place, says Jesus, after the Tribulation...

Sadly, the evangelical world has been overly influenced by non-biblical concepts and, partially because of that, will not understand when portions of end-time events occur.

Those of us in the COG believe that God promises protection, but not the way the Protestant evangelicals teach. An article of related interest may be There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra.

LCG's published financial statements are now out (they are included in the Jul-August edition of the Living Church News). UCG and LCG are the two largest COGs and both publish audited financial statements of their US operations which are available for public view. If groups such as COGaic, PCG, or RCG do that, I have never seen them.

UCG has not yet published its statements for the year ending 6/30/06 (it uses a July 1- June 30 fiscal year, unlike LCG who uses a calendar year)--they are normally out just before or just after the Feast of Tabernacles.

Anyway, for its fiscal year ending 6/30/05 UCG grossed $20,087,576. It spent 4,077,687 (20.3%) for 'public proclamation'; it spent 3,977,357 for managing its meetings and 'home office' (19.8%); and 11,500,475 (57.3%) for the field ministry/local churches/FOT/International support, and increased reserves by 532,057. For its fiscal year ending 12/31/05 LCG grossed 10,352,593 and spent 4,429,377 on public proclamation, 711,651 on HQ administration, 5,210,756 to 'feed the flock' and increased reserves by 809.

If you gave $100.00 to the United Church of God or the Living Church of God, here is where your money went:............................................................................United Church of God........Living Church of God
1st Commission to Proclaim the Gospel to the World.............$20.30....................................$42.79
2nd Commission to Feed the Flock (and Field Ministry).......... 57.25.....................................50.33
Headquarters/Home Office......................................................19.80...................................... 6.88
Change in Reserves..................................................................2.65....................................... 0.00 Total...................................................................................$100.00..................................$100.00

I went with LCG because of Gospel and governance. It is interesting that UCG spent about 3 times as high a percentage on governance than LCG does (and over 5 times as much in actual cash, UCG spent $3,977,357 vs. LCG's 711,651). Which form of governance is more cost-effective? Which form places the higher priority on proclaiming the Gospel? With half the income, LCG spends more in actual cash as UCG to proclaim the Gospel. LCG also produces nearly twice the number of magazines (Tomorrow's World vs. Good News) on a per member basis than UCG does, and receives over 20 times the television and media responses in total (well over 50 times on a per member basis).

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Additional information can be found in the article Some of the Differences between the Living Church of God and the United Church of God, IA.

07/24/06 a.m. Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI stated:

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, disciple of the Lord, who plays a principal role in the Gospel. St. Luke presents her among the women who followed Jesus, after having "been healed of evil spirits and infirmities," specifying that from her "seven demons had gone out" (Luke 8:2).

Magdalene would be present under the cross, together with the mother of Jesus and other women. She would discover, on the morning of the first day after the Sabbath, the empty sepulcher, next to which she remained weeping until the risen Jesus appeared to her (cf. John 20:11).

The story of Mary Magdalene reminds everyone of a fundamental truth: She is a disciple of Christ who, in the experience of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been healed by him, and has followed him closely, becoming a witness of the power of his merciful love, which is stronger than sin and death.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Bridget, one of the patronesses of Europe, native of Sweden, who lived in Rome and went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In this way, she invites us to help humanity to find a great area of peace precisely also in the Holy Land.

I wonder if part of why he made these comments was because of the book and recently release of the movie, the Da Vince Code. The Da Vinci Code emphasizes something it calls the divine feminine and essentially suggests that the Roman Catholics excluded the "Gospel of Mary Magdalene" from the New Testament canon to put down women.

Two articles of possible interest may be:

The Da Vinci Code: Some Good, Most Bad Does The Da Vinci Code properly discuss Christianity? What does it have right and what does it have wrong about early Christianity and other gospel accounts?
Women and the New Testament Church Were women important in the New Testament Church? Which women and how were they involved?

Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI also stated:

I take advantage of the opportunity to reaffirm the right of the Lebanese to the integrity and sovereignty of their country, the right of Israelis to live in peace in their state, and the right of Palestinians to a free and sovereign homeland.

The above is a translation from Zenit this morning. Note that the Vatican is attempting to directly appeal to three of the four groups involved (he left out Hezbollah).

This morning, AOL reported:

WASHINGTON (July 24) - White House officials said President Bush remains opposed to an immediate cease-fire to stop violence in the Middle East, despite personal pleas from ally Saudi Arabia that he help stop the bloodshed.

What is happening is consistent with what I have been writing about--eventually the Arabs will ask the Europeans to get involved, and some day, Israel will accept the Europeans' plan for the area (see Daniel 9:27).

Speaking of prophecy, LCG's Richard Ames reported:

Is Bible prophecy something that we need not—or perhaps cannot—understand? Or is it vital to the daily life, and future hope, of Christians? Why did God give us Bible prophecy? You need to know!

You can click here for the complete article.

07/23/06 a.m. In its latest update (go to lnews.htm), LCG reported:

Fisheries in Peril! During the Day of the Lord, all creatures in the ocean are prophesied to die, “Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every creature in the sea died” (Revelation 16:3). However, the process of annihilating the ocean’s once teaming fish populations is already well underway, and a major source of humanity’s food supply is threatened. The Canadian Department of Fisheries reports that commercially fished roundnose and onion-eyed grenadiers have declined 99.6% and 93.3% respectively in the last 26 years. These species are now critically endangered and could be completely decimated in a few years. Tuna and other fish harvested for food are also in steep decline—due to over-fishing. Commercial fish farming is contributing to the collapse of the world’s fish stocks as weaker farm fish escape and pass on specially inbred genes to their ocean going kin. North Atlantic Salmon are especially susceptible to this danger. Fish farms also use large amounts of antibiotics in fish food which can lead to resistant strains of bacteria that infect fish and humans who eat them. Long ago God warned that as a result of ignoring and violating His laws (including biological laws), “the land will mourn…even the fish of the sea will be taken away” (Hosea 4:1-6). We are witnessing this happening today. 

Prophetic events are occuring before our eyes, yet most seem to wish to ignore or overlook them.

In the latest edition of its Good News magazine , UCG's John Ross Schroeder writes:

Peter's contribution to canonicity

Near the time of Peter's martyrdom, he became even more deeply concerned about the preservation of the apostles' teaching. "For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent [body], to stir you up by reminding you" (2 Peter 1:12-13, emphasis added throughout).

Now carefully consider the key passage that follows in verse 15: "Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease. " How could this possibly be accomplished except by deliberate preservation of a written work?

Then he continues the theme of reminding the brethren of basic doctrinal truth in chapter 3: "Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the Holy Prophets [in the Old Testament], and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior [the beginnings of the New Testament]" (2 Peter 3:1-2).

Peter's closing words make it clear that he fully realized what constituted written Scripture up to that time, and it was not just the Old Testament:

"Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" (verses 15-16, NIV).

Thus, Peter obviously equated the apostle Paul's letters with Scripture—and not only that, but the clear implication is that these letters most probably already existed in a copied, collected, and distributed form. Perhaps they were even in Peter's hands as he wrote these words.

Unlike The Da Vinci Code and Roman Catholics, we in the COGs believe that the true Church always knew (by the time of John's death) all the books that constituted the Old Testament Canon and the New Testament Canon. JRS's comments provide additional support.

Today I noticed at the xCG site, that Jared Olar posted his third in a series articles about why he abandoned the true Church of God and embraced Roman Catholicism. Amazingly, he admits that it was a writing from Justin the Apostate--who he refers to as St. Justin--that was a major factor in his decision. Having read and studied Justin's writings, it seems illogical that any would rely on what he wrote for doctrine, yet the fact is that Justin's writings ARE THE major proof for Sunday and certain other non-biblical practices. Those interested in more information should read the article, which contains many quotes from Justin to determine for themselves whether Justin was a Saint or Apostate. The article, clearly enough, is titled Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate?

07/22/06 a.m. Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

Haifa remains under siege, with dozens of incoming rockets daily.  Even Nazareth, with a predominantly Arab population inside Israel, took a direct rocket hit in which two young Moslem boys were killed.  We certainly have a tremendous volume of information coming from the scene, and there is no point in reiterating the details.  We will stay right on top of the larger situation, particularly as the United States is implicated in the standoff with Iran.  And of course we’re keeping close tabs on Europe’s reaction as well, keeping in mind the end time prophesies which focus directly on this region. 

There ARE prophetic implications in this current situation. Jesus said to watch, and that is what many of us in the COGs are doing.

In his perhaps longest ever ad in The Journal, SCG's Arlen Berkey states:

Listen, DIVISION in God’s Church today is a DIRECT RESULT of ministers not fulfilling all their responsibilities AS JESUS CHRIST HAS INSTRUCTED through the apostle Paul and His late apostle, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong! They are not speaking nor teaching the same things as instructed in I Corinthians 1:10. Ephesians 4 explains the ministry is given to the Church in order to bring unity not division!...

Actually, there is some truth in that. But sadly, groups like SCG are guilty of that.

The ad then gets into the subject of make-up and devotes several paragraphs to apparently attack me and LCG because of what I have written on the subject of make-up.

Let me make this perfectly clear: One can be a member of LCG and not wear (or support the wearing of) make-up. One, however, at this time, cannot be separate from LCG and be supporting the main group that is getting the gospel out and the only group to truly be the remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God based upon the criteria established by Jesus Christ (Revelation) and understood by HWA (the 18 truths, PLUS having the Philadelphia work).

Furthermore, here is some of what SCG ad is publicly proclaiming:

Not one evangelist today is known to be holding fast to this doctrine of make-up as taught by God’s apostle, especially the very ones trained personally by Mr. Armstrong himself. Most evangelists in God’s Church today say they are holding fast to all doctrines as taught by the apostle. But is this the truth? Not at all! You might say this doctrine is just a small thing. You are right. Mr. Armstrong said the same thing (Berkey, Arlen. Church of God Ministers HELD IN CONTEMPT OF THE SUPREME COURT!. Ad in The Journal. May, 31, 2006).

SCG should realize that perhaps the reason not one evangelist that HWA ordained teaches against make-up is that they all knew HWA and perhaps did understand what HWA really intended. The above is of interest because for a while it appeared that SCG liked Raymond McNair (mainly because of his Elijah position), but because I know RM's wife wears no less than the average amount of make-up (seems more the few times I have seen her personally), this probably was a partial reason why SCG made the above statement.

And while SCG does partially quote HWA on make-up in its ads, SCG misunderstands the fact that I feel that God led HWA to indicated that it might be changed after he died (essentially the current ad suggests that I misunderstand). The fact is that SCG, like the Pharisees (Matthew 15:1-9;23:23), seem to miss the point.

Some articles of related interest may be:

Makeup and the Philadelphia Era of the COG Some consider makeup to be a doctrine more significant than proclaiming the Gospel; are they right or focused on a twig?
It's Not Stedfast This is one of the newest groups to claim it is the most faithful, but like others has different priorities.
Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees? Discusses similarities of the Sadducees and Pharisees to various COGs in this end-time.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is a short, but very helpful article, for those who wish to easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D.

07/21/06 p.m. WCG announced the following:

Dwight Armstrong hymns in public domain

Worldwide Church of God officials announced on June 26, 2006, that it is placing all Dwight Armstrong composed hymns to which it owns the copyright into the public domainEffective immediately, any person or group who wishes to copy or use these hymns may do so without receiving permission from the Church. "Time has proven that numerous persons wish to use these hymns in praise and worship and the Church wishes to facilitate such use," said Joseph Tkach, President and Chairman. Church officials have said that the works released into the public domain are only those hymns by Dwight Armstrong to which  the Church holdthe copyright. No other hymns or materials of any kind are being placed into the public domain, and the responsibility is on the user to ascertain whether the work it wishes to use is one of the released hymns.

From (search site for: Dwight Armstrong). WCG had already made arrangements with groups like UCG and LCG to use the songs.

07/21/06 a.m. The latest edition of The Journal is now available. You can click here for a pdf file of its page 1 and page 20.

The front page had this in an article:

In what has become an annual tradition, Ken Westby of Auburn, Wash., again invited brethren from all over the country to gather to study the nature of our God. The fifth annual One God Seminars took place in the Atlanta, Ga., area Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 19-21. “Is there any doctrine more important than the knowledge of God?” asks Mr. Westby in a printed promotion of the seminars...

Those who believe in “one God”—that Jesus is not God—are sometimes referred to as unitarians or unitary monotheists. Christians of the Church of God tradition who believe God is a family of two beings are generally referred to as binitarians and sometimes ditheists or bitheists. Believers in the traditional Christian view, that God is three “persons” in one Godhead, are Trinitarians.

While the above titles are used, there are major differences between those three views. But only one view is correct. Articles of possible interest may include:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The DaVinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
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.

The following item was on its back page:

THE JOURNAL’s webmaster, Alan Ruth, has released statistics about this newspaper’s Web site ( for the period January to June 2006.
Mr. Ruth noted that during that time:
􀂄 The site attracted 175,922 actual visitors.
􀂄 A total of 944,327 site articles and study materials (page views) were requested by visitors.
􀂄 The site is running 66 percent above the same period last year in terms of number of visitors attracted.

That is a major increase. The COGwriter site is up about 20% for the same period.

An article by COG-BS's Wesley White concluded with:

We must follow Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians where he says we are to submit ourselves to one another. If the current members of God’s church do not complete the assignment of preaching the gospel and feeding the flock, our Savior and King may remove our candlestick and give it to others who will indeed figure out how to work together harmoniously within the group called the Body of Christ.

The fact is that independents, according to at least UCG, PCG, RCG, and LCG are most likely Laodiceans (perhaps I should add that, in my opinion, nearly all in the first three groups I just listed are most likely not Philadelphian). Some articles of possible interest may include:

Independent Members of the COG: HWA Comments, Plus Questions and Answers What did HWA teach about being independent of the organized Church? Should independents who claim to accept HWA's teachings be part of LCG?
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D.
The Laodicean Church Era was predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present

07/20/06 a.m. Yesterday, PCG's Gerald Flurry posted:

U.S. President George W. Bush tried to get the world’s most powerful leaders to sign a document condemning Iran (and its puppet Syria) for causing the current Middle East conflict between Israel and the two terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas. The whole world knows that Iran is the primary sponsor of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. But Russia, China and other nations said there was no evidence to support such a view at this point!

There are years and years of mounting evidence that Iran sponsors these terrorist organizations and that it is the number-one nation sponsoring terrorism today.

The evidence that Iran is causing this crisis is overwhelming. To say there is no evidence supporting this view is laughable—if the fate of the world weren't at stake!

“The situation took a sharp turn when Tehran and Damascus made the decision to enter the fray” (Stratfor, July 12). This intelligence organization and most of the other good ones clearly see who is behind Hamas and Hezbollah...

The Jews lack the will to win. The radical Arabs see this dangerous weakness and are brimming with the will to win! Like sharks who smell the blood in the water, they are moving in for the kill...

Bible prophecy reveals that one half of Jerusalem is about to fall to the Islamists—that half already inhabited by Arabs (Zechariah 14:2-3). That could easily happen this year. The mind-dazzling solution lies in the last part of that prophecy...

Christianity doesn’t know that the little nation called Israel is really biblical Judah (“Jew” is a shortened version of “Judah,” which was only one of the 12 tribes of Israel anciently). These prophecies are aimed mainly at America and the British peoples, which are also a part of biblical Israel.

Gerald Flurry calls himself "that prophet" (please see the article Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God)--and though he gets some things right, he gets some things wrong. As I have already posted, I suspect that Israel may hit hard enough that the Arabs will ask the EU to eventually get highly involved here. I disagree that Israel does not have the will to win--they (like most sane people) prefer no war, but if they do not hit hard this time it probably will be because of international pressure, as opposed to lack of will.

From New Zealand, Bruce Porteus reported:

New Zealand is about to experience economic collapse.  A national tragedy of apocalyptic magnitude is about to unfold.  Yet the nation is totally unaware of the disaster that lies ahead.  While this article relates specifically to New Zealand, the same scenario also applies to Australia, UK, Canada, USA, and South Africa, countries which have adopted similar economic policies.  

For many years New Zealand has had a current account deficit which has been financed through inflows of capital through overseas investments and borrowing.  The country’s external debt continues to accumulate, now $NZ177 billion and 113.6% of GNP. What is so alarming is the total dependence the New Zealand economy has now become on the inflow of overseas capital to sustain its current level of economic activity, and what will happen when the country can no longer afford to borrow from other nations.  Just in the last 12 months the external debt grew by $NZ10.6 billion.  Clearly this can not continue much longer and crunch day is rapidly coming. Like a drug addict who uses with wanton abandon and does not consider what will happen when the drugs run out, so is the nation of New Zealand today.

Although I have reported a lot about the US' financial problems, other descendants of Joseph (like Canada and New Zealand) are facing similar problems.

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Volume 10, issue 15 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2006