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09/23/06 a.m. Today, is the Feast of Trumpets which pictures the trumpets of the Book of Revelation and the return of Jesus Christ. Jews call it Rosh Hoshanah. The so-called Jewish holy days were kept by Jesus, His disciples, and the early true Christians. And are kept by true Christians today. Related articles may be:

Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? Did they? Did Jesus?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not?

Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported"

This week the UN has treated us to the most outrageous and shameful spectacle in memory.  It is sad to see our president, the most powerful leader on earth, once again go before this collection of self-important buffoons and try to convince them that the U.S. has a right to protect our national security.  The president’s address was followed within a day by Ahmadinejad of Iran and his fanatical friend Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, with the Iranian talking about his apocalyptic view of the immediate future, and Chavez calling the President of the United States “el Diablo”!   You’ve no doubt heard that Chavez’ speech was followed by roaring, thunderous applause that went on continuously.              


How long will the U.S. continue to fund this ridiculous charade to the tune of some $5 billion per year?  France, true to form, stabbed us in the back on the eve of the president’s speech, saying that there should be no deadline for the Iranians to account for their uranium enrichment!  Chirac is bought and paid for, as are Germany, Russia and China.  How the Bush Administration thinks we can further our national good by appealing to the fractured logic and supposed good will of this collection of “world diplomats” is a mystery.   

The bad news this week has come at a dizzying pace.  We’ll have to do our best to digest it, and proceed with those things that we know we are called to do...We are observing the annual Feast of Trumpets this Sabbath.  A time that looks forward to Jesus’ return to this earth, when the evil bloodthirsty regimes of this world will be crushed and replaced by a divine world ruling empire.

While I do not necessarily agree with all of Mark Armstrong's politics I do agree with the last three statements (which I bolded).

And Philadelphians are called to proclaim and to support the proclamation of the good news of the kingdom of God. Other articles of related interest may be Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?, The Philadelphia Church Era, and Did You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?.

CGG had this news item linked to its site:

In the last 15 years, however, that notion that being normal and being religious are two different things has been changing, says Schieder. One factor driving that change may be the renewed interest over the last two decades in German political economist Max Weber, who linked Calvinism to the rise of capitalism in his seminal work, "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism."

But another key factor, Schieder and other experts agree, is the presence of 2.6 million Muslims in Germany today.

"Some people have claimed that the presence of Muslims in these societies, and the possibility of Turkey coming into the European Union, might actually reinforce in the long run the Christian identity of Europe because it will remind Europeans of what they've been and make them want to recover that," says Timothy Shah at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington.

(c) Copyright 2006 The Christian Science Monitor.  All rights reserved.

We in the COGs have long realized that Europe in general and Germany in particular was going to become more outwardly religious. Recent news events do suggest that the presence of Muslims in Europe and the actions of certain Muslims will be factors in getting Europe to decide what it is and what it really hopes to stand for. Even though what it will end up being will be against the true religion (please see the article Europa and the Beast of Revelation).

09/22/06 a.m. In its latest letter, Legacy Institute's Leon Sextion wrote:

Do we really understand how important it it to observe the Annual Holy Days?

In similar fashion, COGUK (a CGOM affiliate) sent this in an email this morning :

Millions are expecting the return of the Messiah - but do you know what one of his first world-embracing actions will be?...

The first day of the Hebrew seventh month  (our late September/October) is the Feast of Trumpets - celebrated with exposition of the Word, and with festive fare (Nehemiah 8:1-12). It was a time to rejoice...

For Christians there is even greater cause to rejoice. For this first of the autumn festivals has reference to the months preceding the return of our Saviour, and culminating in his taking over from incompetent mankind the reins of government. It is the time, too, of the resurrection to eternal life of all the people of God to serve with their`Saviour.

Tonight at sunset begins the biblical Feast of Trumpets. It marks the first of the Fall Holy days that nearly all true Christians observe (there might be some true Christians in CG7 who do not observe it). Several articles of related interest may be:

Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? Did they? Did Jesus?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not?
The Day of Atonement--Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians "The Day of Atonement". Does it have any relevance for Christians today?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today's Christians?
Last Great Day study paper Was Jesus speaking about the 7th or 8th day of the Feast in John 7:37? UCG says the 7th, but what does the Bible teach? This extensive paper reviews UCG's LGD study paper and includes comments as to where it erred.
Holy Days
This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2012, with their Roman calendar dates.

Speaking of true Christians, did their leaders focus on sacraments? The following has updated yesterday:


The idea of sacraments, as now understood, came from pre-Christian Roman and Greek practices:

Rome and its laws gave the early church two things: universality and the specifically Roman concept of sacraments...The concept of sacraments, as it has come into the West through Latin-speaking Christianity is a well as mystical, as it was in Greek thought (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 35,36).

From a "Christian" perspective, it appears that a heretic named Marcus may have come up with a version of the Catholic eucharistic and baptismal sacraments/ceremonies. Notice that Irenaeus condemned mystical consecrations and non-immersion baptismal practices:

1. But there is another among these heretics, Marcus by name, who boasts himself as having improved upon his master. He is a perfect adept in magical impostures, and by this means drawing away a great number of men, and not a few women, he has induced them to join themselves to him, as to one who is possessed of the greatest knowledge and perfection, and who has received the highest power from the invisible and ineffable regions above. Thus it appears as if he really were the precursor of Antichrist. For, joining the buffooneries of Anaxilaus to the craftiness of the magi, as they are called, he is regarded by his senseless and cracked-brain followers as working miracles by these means.

2. Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of invocation, he contrives to give them a purple and reddish colour, so that Charis, who is one of those that are superior to all things, should be thought to drop her own blood into that cup through means of his invocation, and that thus those who are present should be led to rejoice to taste of that cup, in order that, by so doing, the Charis, who is set forth by this magician, may also flow into them...

3...Others, again, lead them to a place where water is, and baptize them, with the utterance of these words, "Into the name of the unknown Father of the universe -- into truth, the mother of all things -- into Him who descended on Jesus -- into union, and redemption, and communion with the powers." Others still repeat certain Hebrew words, in order the more thoroughly to bewilder those who are being initiated, as follows: "Basema, Chamosse, Baoenaora, Mistadia, Ruada, Kousta, Babaphor, Kalachthei." The interpretation of these terms runs thus: "I invoke that which is above every power of the Father, which is called light, and good Spirit, and life, because Thou hast reigned in the body." Others, again, set forth the redemption thus: The name which is hidden from every deity, and dominion, and truth which Jesus of Nazareth was clothed with in the lives of the light of Christ -- of Christ, who lives by the Holy Ghost, for the angelic redemption. The name of restitution stands thus: Messia, Uphareg, Namempsoeman, Chaldoeaur, Mosomedoea, Acphranoe, Psaua, Jesus Nazaria...

4...But there are some of them who assert that it is superfluous to bring persons to the water, but mixing oil and water together, they place this mixture on the heads of those who are to be initiated, with the use of some such expressions as we have already mentioned (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book I, 13:1-2; 21:3-4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. KnightBook).

I no longer recall the precise terms that the Roman priests use (as they usually use Latin), but the appearance of these Roman Catholic sacraments seems to bear a strong resemblance to the type of ceremonies that Irenaeus condemned.

I will also state that the Roman Church admits that immersion used to be the norm, without the use of baptismal fonts, like it now uses:

In the Apostolic Age, as in Jewish times (John 3:23), baptism was administered without special fonts (Peterson JB. Transcribed by the Cloistered Dominican Nuns. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

I should probably add that while I do not know if any oil is used with Roman Catholic baptisms, that oil is placed in the baptismal fonts when they are blessed (normally by a bishop or priest).

Regarding priests and sacraments, the Eastern Orthodox teach:

The sacraments are seven in number, and include baptism, chrismation, Holy Easter, repentance, ordination, and holy unction...We see then, first of all, that the priest, as performer of the sacrament, is simply the instrument of the invisible and actual celebrant, the Lord himself...The Orthodox church accepts the above-mentioned seven sacraments, which were known from antiquity in the Orthodox East. They were always believed in, as testified by liturgical practice. The teaching concerning them, however, was not written down, as it was considered to be secret" (Clendenin D.B. ed. Eastern Orthodox Theology, 2nd ed. Baker Academic, 2003, pp. 22,23).

It should be noted that the term sacraments is not found in any literally translated version of the Bible. Orthodox claims notwithstanding, there is no evidence that the church in the East ever embraced Easter Sunday or chrismation before the third century or that repentance and baptism were considered to be separate"sacraments". Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that the word of God is complete (II Timothy 3:16-17)--hence there is no essential element to the church that should ever have been considered to be "secret". These practices were secret as they bear relationships to non-Christian practices of various pagans--they are not biblical.

It should be noted that the Roman Catholic Church considers that marriage is a sacrament, even though that is not one of the seven of the Eastern Orthodox. The Roman Catholic Church teaches this about sacraments:

Taking the word "sacrament" in its broadest sense, as the sign of something sacred and hidden (the Greek word is "mystery"), we can say that the whole world is a vast sacramental system, in that material things are unto men the signs of things spiritual and sacred, even of the Divinity...According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, accepted today by many Episcopalians, the sacraments of the Christian dispensation are not mere signs; they do not merely signify Divine grace, but in virtue of their Divine institution, they cause that grace in the souls of men. "Signum sacro sanctum efficax gratiae" -- a sacrosanct sign producing grace, is a good, succinct definition of a sacrament of the New Law...

The Council of Trent solemnly defined that there are seven sacraments of the New Law, truly and properly so called, viz., Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Orders, and Matrimony. The same enumeration had been made in the Decree for the Armenians by the Council of Florence (1439), in the Profession of Faith of Michael (Kennedy D.J. Transcribed by Marie Jutras. Sacraments. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The sacramental concept of confirmation is also not anywhere in the Bible nor in any known writings prior to the third century.

Furthermore, history records that there were those that objected to the Christians being involved in sacraments. The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The Paulicians, as part of their heresy held that...all external religious forms, sacraments, rites, especially material pictures and relics, should be abolished. (Fortescue A. Iconoclasm. Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkler.The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

But who were the heretics?

Was it heretical to object to sacraments and ceremonies that were not in the Bible? The Paulicians (roughly 6th-10th century) were against sacraments and relics (like idols, please see the article What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?) as was the original church. So would they be the heretics or are the real heretics those who changed practices to endorse unbiblical sacramental practices?

(More about the Paulicians can be found in the articles on the Pergamos Church and the Churches of Revelation 2 & 3.)

The above is in the article What Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors? It is one of many articles at the History of Early Christianity page.

09/21/06 a.m. Samuel Martin sent me (and others) the following email last night:

Many of you may have known my late father, Dr. Ernest L. Martin, former head of the theology department at Ambassodor College in Pasadena, California and one of the founders of the Foundation for Biblical Research and ASK.

You may not be aware of me, but I am Ernest's only son and I worked very closely with him for more than ten years. I have received extensive training under him in biblical research and today make my home in Jerusalem in Israel.

I regularly send updates and news from the region and will be starting a new website shortly.

Ernest Martin left the Church of God many decades ago (and died several years ago) and his writings were often cited by Protestants who were against the COG. I presume that Samuel is also anti-COG and that he holds more of a Protestant view. An article of possible interest may be Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants or History of Early Christianity.

09/20/06 a.m. The old Ambassador College was in the news again:

Council approves Westgate project after long night of debate

Pasadena Star-News - Sept 19, 2006

PASADENA - Despite appeals from a powerful residents association, the City Council late Monday gave Westgate developers the green light needed to move forward with what will become the biggest residential project in Pasadena history.

Shortly after 12:30 a.m., Council members approved heavily debated environmental impact report from developer Sares-Regis,' which stated traffic effects from its 820-unit multi-use project would be minimal. More than 75 members of the vocal West Pasadena Residents' Association filled council chambers in opposition, arguing that both developers and the city had understated the 3-city block project's impact on traffic in surrounding areas...

But after hours of debate, the council was in no mood for a continuance. “You [Madison] could convince me we were holding this meeting in an igloo,” Councilman Chris Holden said responding to his request. “You are an excellent litigator. But once I stopped spinning around, I said ''wow, he's wrong'.” Before voting, several council members said that Sares-Regis had complied with every condition placed upon them by the city, including voluntarily paying more than $2.2 million in traffic mitigation fees the group wasn't legally obligated to pay.

 “They have done everything we have asked them,” said Councilwoman Joyce Streator, adding “there's always going to be people who don't want it in their neighborhood” Irvine-based developer Sares-Regis purchased the 12-acre east campus of the former Ambassador College from the Worldwide Church of God in 2004 for an undisclosed amount.

Along with residential units, the development will feature more than 22,000 square-feet of ground-floor retail space along three city blocks on the western edge of Old Pasadena. The project area is bounded by Green Street and Del Mar Boulevard on the north and south, and De Lacey Avenue and Pasadena Avenue on the east and west.

Barnabas Ministries reports:

God Blesses Site with Another Record-Breaking Year! 

On September 14th EXCEEDED the number ofvisitors it attracted for ALL of 2005! Year-to-date the site has helped 1,447,674 visitors from morethan 150 countries understand the precious truths of God's word. 

This year it is projected more than 2.1 million visitors will benefit from the site's large library of excellent study materials.

The above site is ran by Alan Ruth.

UCG got a very positive plug in the news:

Denenberg: Finding All Of 'The Good News' On Freebies

The Evening Bulletin (Philadelphia) - Sept 15, 2006         

By: Herb Denenberg--The Advocate, Special To The Evening Bulletin

This was a really positive piece.

09/19/06 p.m. The European Union has defended the Pope's statements. The following is from Zenit:

European Commission Defends Pope After Remarks

BRUSSELS, Belgium, SEPT. 18, 2006 ( The European Commission described as unacceptable the "disproportionate" reactions that "reject freedom of speech," such as those expressed after Benedict XVI's words on Islam at a German university.

"Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of the EU's values, as is respect for all religions, Christianity, Islam, Judaism or laicism," said commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger in a press conference today.

I found the above an interesting development.

Yesterday PCG's Ron Fraser reported:

Why would this pope, this German pope, choose this moment—in this, his own home state of Bavaria, the very heartland of Catholicism in Middle Europe—to draw his verbal sword against Islam?

Think. Consider. Reflect. Reflect on history.

Reflect on the nature of the Germanic peoples. They hate disorder. They are expert at creating a crisis then initiating a solution, as that inveterate watcher of Germany Rodney Atkinson has observed.

The pope knows that if Rome is to return to its former glory, given the present disordered state of the world, he needs urgently to unite his over 1 billion faithful who have suffered for decades from the impact of divisive secular thinking on their religion. He knows the best way to do this is to unite Catholics at their historic cultural base, the European continent! He knows that Islam poses the greatest threat to Catholicism in Europe. He sees this as his greatest cause—that he has been chosen for this moment.

What better way to unite Europe and return it to its former imperial days of glory than to provide people with a single common cause that overrides all else and counteracts all tendencies for division? So, in his own very Germanic way, Benedict, this Bavarian pope, has simply lit the touch tape to an already smoldering issue of concern to all Europeans, the threat of Islamic jihad.

In so doing, he has sparked the crisis that will, inevitably, lead to the eighth, and final, great Crusade against its old Islamic foe.

While there is some truth in the above (please see the article Is There A Future King of the South?), the reality is that the Bible shows that the Europeans and the Arabs will, in spite of the their historical and current differences, work together for the destruction of the descendants of Israel

Notice Psalm 83:4-8:

They have said, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more." For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You: The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot.

Most in the COGs consider that Germany represents modern Assyria.

09/18/06 a.m. Here are five follow-up news items regarding the Pope and his comments, the first from Christianity Today:

Are Muslims "acting in accordance with reason" in response to Pope Benedict's remarks?
The Muslim world is outraged by Pope Benedict's criticism of "violent conversion" and references to the siege of Constantinople. A lawmaker from the Turkish ruling party said Benedict's speech on the universality of reason "looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades" and that Benedict "is going down in history in the same category as leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini." Pakistan's parliament unanimously condemned the Pope and his remarks. In Srinagar, India, a group of Muslims burned an effigy of Benedict and shouted, "Those who dare to target Islam and the Prophet will be finished!"

"This is not an effective way to argue against someone who has questioned your religion's relationship to violence," notes Catholic blogger Amy Welborn.

Somali cleric calls for pope's death
AFP - Sept 17, 2006

A HARDLINE cleric linked to Somalia's powerful Islamist movement has called for Muslims to "hunt down" and kill Pope Benedict XVI for his controversial comments about Islam.

Sheikh Abubukar Hassan Malin urged Muslims to find the pontiff and punish him for insulting the Prophet Mohammed and Allah in a speech that he said was as offensive as author Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses.

"We urge you Muslims wherever you are to hunt down the Pope for his barbaric statements as you have pursued Salman Rushdie, the enemy of Allah who offended our religion," he said in Friday evening prayers.

"Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim," Malin, a prominent cleric in the Somali capital, told worshippers at a mosque in southern Mogadishu.

Gunmen slay Italian nun in Somali capital

AFP - Sept 17, 2006

MOGADISHU (AFP) - Gunmen shot and killed an elderly Italian nun at a children's hospital in the Islamist-controlled Somali capital amid outrage over Pope Benedict XVI's comments about Islam, witnesses said.

Two attackers entered the Austrian-funded SOS Hospital in Mogadishu's Huriwa District on Sunday and opened fire, killing the nun and a Somali bodyguard before escaping in the ensuing confusion, witnesses and medical workers said.

"They came into the compound and shot the nun and then ran away," one medical worker told AFP. "We don't know who they were."

Officials with the local Islamic court in Huriwa told hospital officials that one of the gunmen had been arrested and that a search was underway for the other.

"There were two attackers, one was captured," a hospital official said.

The nun, believed to be in her 70s, was one of the longest-serving foreign members of the Catholic church in Somalia, a former Italian colony, and was shot while walking from one part of the hospital to another, witnesses said.

Details of the incident were sketchy and there was no immediate indication of a possible motive for the attack but it came amid fury among Somalia's powerful Islamist movement over the pope's comments about Islam.

On Friday, a prominent Mogadishu cleric called for Muslims to "hunt down" and kill the pontiff for his remarks.

Political error or calculated move?

Pope Benedict XVI succeeded in galling the Muslim world by citing a quote that the Prophet Mohammed brought "only evil and inhuman things" to the world, but also succeeded in instilling fear into Christians in general and Catholics in particular. Christians now fear the new pope seeks to push the Catholic Church in an extreme conservative, if not reactionary, direction. It is not for nothing that a columnist in yesterday's Guardian suggested in his analysis of the incident that "God's Rottweiler" was "show[ing] his teeth."

The outcry followed Pope Benedict's speech last Tuesday in Regensburg, Germany, which was devoted to an attempt to displace science as the central pillar of contemporary secular thought. But from the beginning the pope came into sharp conflict with Islam.

Vatican sources say Pope Benedict writes his own speeches. If so, why did he say these things? Perhaps out of political inexperience. Before becoming pope, Joseph Alois Ratzinger was a theologian. His last position was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the contemporary incarnation of the Holy Inquisition. Unlike his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, Ratzinger has little contact with the outside world. Perhaps he was unaware of the consequences his remarks would bring.

But maybe this was a calculated move. 
A few months ago, when the issue of Turkey's accession to the European Union was mentioned, Pope Benedict opposed it in the name of preserving Europe's Christian character. A few months ago he downgraded the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and merged it with the Council for Culture. Now the talk is of reciprocity: Europe cannot provide religious freedom to Muslims when the Muslim world does not give Christians religious freedom.

ABC News: Pope Sorry for Reaction to His Remarks

Pope Says He's 'Deeply Sorry' About the Angry Reaction Sparked by His Comments on Islam 


CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy Sep 17, 2006 (AP)— Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was "deeply sorry" about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that didn't reflect his personal opinion. "These (words) were in fact a quotation from a Medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought," Benedict told pilgrims at his summer palace outside Rome. The pope sparked the controversy when, in a speech Tuesday to university professors during a pilgrimage to his native Germany, he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's founder, as "evil and inhuman." "At this time I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims," the pope said Sunday. Muslim leaders in the Mideast gave mixed reactions to the pontiff's apology.

Mahmoud Ashour, the former deputy of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque, the Sunni Arab world's most powerful institution, told Al-Arabiya TV immediately after the pope's speech that, "It is not enough. He should apologize because he insulted the beliefs of Islam. He must apologize in a frank way and say he made a mistake."

The Pope really did not apologise (nor am I suggesting that he should) as some Moslem leaders have noticed. Obviously, as head of the Roman Catholic Church, he would not endorse Islam and would expect to have many differences with it.

On other matters, I was rereading the book History of the Seventh Day Church of God from the late R. Nickels lately. Here is a report of early CG7 doctrines in it:

Dugger's report in the 1936 Census on the Salem group's doctrinal beliefs gives much information as to what their original position was:

1. The Bible was held to be the only inspired writing.

2. The Holy Spirit is that which abides in the believer and not a third person.

3. Christ was in the tomb exactly three days and three nights, rising at the end of the Sabbath.

4. The apostolic organization and government must be followed today.

5. The "Church of God" is the inspired Bible name for God's people.

6. Prayer and anointing will save the sick.

7. Laying on of hands (at baptism) is to be practiced.

8. Lord's Supper is to be observed annually at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan.

9. The Sabbath is to be observed from even to even.

10. Payment of tithes on increase is obligatory.

11. Participation in carnal warfare is condemned.

12. The Law of clean and unclean meats is to be observed in this age.

13. Habitual use of narcotics and habit-forming drugs, alcohol and tobacco is condemned.

14. Under this gospel age the judgment is upon the house of God.

15. The return of Christ will be literal, personal and visible, is imminent, and He will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem, ruling the world with the righteous saints on the earth.

16. Righteous saints will be resurrected at His second coming.

17. There will be a final regathering of the dispersed nation of fleshly Israel.

18. The dead are unconscious.

19. The wicked dead are resurrected to final judgment, with no probation but will be eternally destroyed.

20. The Third Angel's Message is a present day message.

21. The seven last plagues are literal and fall at the end of the gospel age.

Two articles of related interest may be Teachings of the Church of God, Seventh Day and The Sardis Church Era. Many of the belief s listed above are discussed in depth at the History of Early Christianity page.

09/17/06 a.m. Here are two follow-up news items regarding yesterday's post about the Pope and his comments:

Deutsche Welle - Sept 16, 2006

A spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI Saturday apologized to Muslims for citing a controversial passage that appeared to link Islam to violence.

The remarks, which Pope Benedict made in a speech in Germany on Tuesday, set off widespread outrage across the Muslim world. In the wake of the comments, leaders of the faith demanded apologies, Egypt and Morocco took diplomatic action, and Palestinian gunmen attacked churches. 

Earlier Saturday, the head of the Roman Catholic Church said through a representative that his speech had been intended as a rejection of religiously-motivated violence from any side....


'Not an apology' As is usually the case with texts of this kind, Benedict XVI prepared his address alone and did not show copies to advisors before he gave the speech. Initial Muslim response to the apology was mixed. British Muslim groups welcomed the statement, although one group said it might not be "enough of an apology." But Egypt's opposition Muslim Brotherhood said Benedict XVI's statement, "did not constitute an apology." 


"The Vatican secretary of state says that the pope is sorry because his statements had been badly interpreted, but there is no bad interpretation," Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh, a senior official with the group, told AFP news service...


5 churches attacked in Palestinian areas

following Pope's comments on Islam
The Canadian Press - Sept 16, 2006
ALI DARAGHMEH NABLUS, West Bank (AP) - Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches in the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, following remarks by Pope Benedict that angered many Muslims.

No injuries were reported in the attacks, which left church doors charred and walls pockmarked with bullet holes and scorched by firebombs. Churches of various denominations were targeted.

Relations between Palestinian Muslims and Christians are generally peaceful, and the attacks on the churches sparked concern that tensions would heighten.

No matter how this current matter shakes out, as I posted yesterday, eventually, the Bible shows that those aligned with the King of the North (Europe) will invade the King of the South (an Arab-Islamic confederation).

Background on Rome can be found in the article What Does Rome Actually Teach About Early Church History? That and other articles are available at the Early Christianity page.

In the lead article of the current issue of Vision, COGaic's David Hulme writes:

Asking what makes human beings unique brings to mind an interesting list of attributes and activities, both positive and negative. From self-awareness to free moral agency, from conscience to the capacity to imagine, these traits distinguish us from other species. Then there’s the capacity for spoken language, which some say is the most distinctive difference, even innate. Others would claim that the sophisticated human hand is a key to human superiority over animals. More troubling, some might list the deliberate decision not to reproduce ourselves, and more darkly still, the willing invention of weapons that assure mutual mass destruction, threatening extinction of the species. Nothing else in nature does that...

How does this likeness with God translate to the human mental sphere? Here we come upon another essential difference. The book of Job states, “It is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand” (Job 32:8, ESV). Indicating that there is a nonmaterial difference between humans and animals, the wisdom book of Ecclesiastes ponders, “Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:21, ESV). And Paul asks, “Who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him?” (1 Corinthians 2:11, ESV). Thus the biblical accounts show that the “spirit in man” is unique to humans. One effect of this spirit is that it promotes imagination, because additionally God “has put eternity into man’s heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, ESV). We can imagine the future. We can have a sense of destiny and purpose.

What else makes humanity unique from the biblical perspective? There is yet one more spirit that can play a role in human life. The truth about it is the capstone on human difference and uniqueness. Paul teaches that the human spirit can interface with the Spirit of God to fulfill the ultimate purpose of God’s creation. He says, “For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16, New Living Translation).

On related matters, I made a few updates to my article on The Teachings of COGaic.

One of the sections I added to that article was:

Possible Reaction to this Article

This article on COGaic was first announced in early 2006.

Within a few weeks of the original posting of this article, COGaic posted the following at its website:

In order to access the site you will need to logon with your username and password. If you do not have a username and password, please email us to request access. In your email, please give us your name, where you reside. We do not need your complete address but it would be helpful to know your city, state or province, postal code and country. If you are not a current member or supporter please let us know how you found us and your interest in accessing our site.
Thank you.

I suspect that they did this as this article contained several statements that perhaps COGaic felt should not have outside commentary on and/or because they see no need for certain ones outside their fellowship to have access to some of their information.

While COGaic was normally somewhat vague, it has now become somewhat secretive. For example, its COG News used to be available for anyone who wished to see it online. Now the following message is what one receives:

Authorization Required

This server could not verify that you are authorized to access the document requested. Either you supplied the wrong credentials (e.g., bad password), or your browser doesn't understand how to supply the credentials required.

Again, it appears to me at least that COGaic wishes to make it difficult to know what it teaches and/or how it has changed doctrine.

That and more is in the article on The Teachings of COGaic.

In its latest update, LCG announced:

Spanish Work Update 

New Radio Station in Santiago. From Santiago, Chile, our deacon reports that last July 24, we began broadcasting the Spanish radio program El Mundo de Mañana on Radio Arco Iris 105.3 FM every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00-9:00 p.m. We are also airing spots every two hours to promote the program. On August 21, we added another hour of broadcasting on the same days from 12:00-1:00 p.m. The cost per hour of transmission is approximately US$8. Another door that has been opened to us in Chile is a permanent ad in the religious bi-monthly magazine La Vitrina, through which we offer the Bible Study Course and our booklets in Spanish. 

Spanish Web site and Magazine. In an effort to preach more effectively the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as a witness to the Spanish-speaking world, we began remodeling the Spanish Web site earlier this year. At this new and improved site, you will find three issues of the online Spanish version of the Tomorrow’s World magazine, titled El Mundo de Mañana, several new articles, and booklets that can be downloaded. We also hope to upload the Spanish radio programs presented by Mr. Hernandez soon.

LCG's radio and television presence continues to increase. Wayne Pyle reported that LCG just went on five new television stations. Thus LCG is now on approximately 200 television stations--the most of any COG. An article of related interest may be Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on the Work of Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority?

With the Holy Days coming up soon, here is a link to LCG 2006 Feast of Tabernacles' Information.

09/16/06 a.m. PCG reported:

The Roman Catholic Church is taking steps that will reignite religious debate surrounding the European Union constitution.

On September 11, a high-profile group of Roman Catholics held their first meeting to draft a report on the EU’s common values at the behest of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (comece). The report is intended to fuel the debate for Catholic representation in text of the new EU treaty.

Philippe de Schoutheete, former Belgian ambassador to the EU, said one purpose of the project is to increase public awareness of European (Catholic) values. There is “something more” to the EU that most people, he said, are “totally ignorant or unaware” of. The report will identify the values that motivated the
EU’s founders and that can be “linked to Christian faith.

“The EU process has clearly been based on a certain number of values, but in the course of the process they have been largely forgotten,” said Schoutheete.

An article of related interest may be Europa and the Beast of Revelation.

Pope Benedict XVI offended the Moslem world because of a couple of quotes he used:

Deutsche Welle - Sept 15, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI returned to Rome after a six-day visit to Bavaria. While the trip was mostly personal, remarks he made about Islam have Muslim leaders around the world calling angrily for an apology.

Muslim leaders from various quarters have called for an apology and a clarification of the remarks the pontiff made that implicitly link jihad, or holy war, with terrorism. In his speech at the University of Regensburg on Tuesday, Benedict quoted criticism of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad by 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who allegedly said: "'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."


The speech explored the historical and philosophical differences between Islam and Christianity, and the relationship between violence and faith. Benedict, who used the terms "jihad" and "holy war," repeatedly quoted Manuel's argument that spreading the faith through violence is unreasonable, adding: "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul." 


Benedict said "I quote" twice to clarify the phrase was not his own.


Vatican apology 


The Vatican issued a statement on Thursday evening to say the pope had never meant to offend Islam. "It was certainly not the intention of the Holy Father to carry out an in-depth study of jihad and Muslim thinking about it, even less so to offend the sensitivity of the Muslim faithful," the Vatican press office said in a statement. 


Muslim anger

Pakistan's parliament on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the pope for what it called "derogatory" comments. They have asked him to apologize for hurting the sentiments of Muslims. 


Kuwaiti official Haken al-Mutairi, secretary general of the emirate's Umma (Islamic Nation) party, also urged the pope to apologize immediately "to the Muslim world for his calumnies against the Prophet Mohammed and Islam." 


Turkey's top Islamic cleric, Religious Affairs Directorate head Ali Bardakoglu, asked the Pope to take back the remarks, while several of Turkey's top Muslim leaders now oppose the pontiff's planned visit to Turkey in November, his first to a Muslim country.  

Eventually, the Bible shows that those aligned with the King of the North (Europe) will invade the King of the South (an Arab-Islamic confederation).

ICG's Mark Armstrong reported last night:

In keeping with those thoughts, is it not interesting that France continues to be named as a target for terrorism by the infamous al Qaeda boss al-Zawahiri?  This despite France’s reliable opposition to everything the U.S. has done regarding the war against terrorists.  Does nothing compute for these people who seem to believe that appeasement will satiate the violent hatred of radical Islam?
            Now they’re burning the pope in effigy as the Muslim world finds yet another excuse to flood into the streets expressing their fury.  They are still fighting the crusades!  Iran is talking about entering talks on its program of uranium enrichment, another obvious stalling tactic.  Military confrontation with Iran looks inevitable unless the world is prepared to live under the abject fear that would grip Israel, Europe and the U.S. once Iran possesses nuclear weapons. 

On other matters, since switching this site to and having better statistical information available, I have noticed that each month one of the terms that many have found this site is the name "a. jan marcussen" (which presumably people type in capitalized, but that is not how the statistical report displays it). Anyway, A.Jan Marcussen is an SDA minister and as far as I can tell has only ever been mentioned in one of my articles SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666. He like Ellen White teaches that the United States is the two-horned beast that comes from the earth--which is not what the COGs teach.

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Volume 10, issue 21 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2006