J C d COG News: Emphasizing News of Interest to those Once in the Worldwide Church of God
"For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you" (I Corinthians 11:19).

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02/17/07 a.m. Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

  It’s unbelievable, and sickening to see that the campaign for the next U.S. presidential election is already well underway, and that we’ll have to endure all the posturing for nearly two full years.  But the outcome may indeed have extremely important consequences for the future of our nation.  It’s obvious that the worldwide threat of Islamic extremism will not have been vanquished by that time, and there are a great many politicians who seem to think the problem was created by President Bush.  Does that mean they won’t hate us anymore once he’s left office?  Will the Koran undergo an edit?  Will the diplomats finally achieve peace? 

I agree that we all (in the USA at least) will have to endure the next campaign, as I had similar feeling the past week or so when I saw various ones announce their candidacies.

Do you know that the so-called deuterocanonical books that the Roman Catholic use were questioned by their leaders for centuries?

...the inferior rank to which the deuteros were relegated by authorities like Origen, Athanasius, and Jerome, was due to too rigid a conception of canonicity, one demanding that a book, to be entitled to this supreme dignity, must be received by all, must have the sanction of Jewish antiquity, and must moreover be adapted not only to edification, but also to the "confirmation of the doctrine of the Church", to borrow Jerome's phrase (Reid G. Canon of the Old Testament. Transcribed by Ernie Stefanik. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The protocanonical books of the Old Testament correspond with those of the Bible of the Hebrews, and the Old Testament as received by Protestants. The deuterocanonical (deuteros, "second") are those whose Scriptural character was contested in some quarters, but which long ago gained a secure footing in the Bible of the Catholic Church, though those of the Old Testament are classed by Protestants as the "Apocrypha". These consist of seven books: Tobias (Tobit), Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, I and II Machabees, and three documents added to protocanonical books, viz., the supplement to Esther, from x, 4, to the end, the Canticle of the Three Youths (Song of the Three Children) in Daniel, iii, and the stories of Susanna and the Elders and Bel and the Dragon, forming the closing chapters of the Catholic version of that book...The ancient Greek Old Testament known as the Septuagint was the vehicle which conveyed these additional Scriptures into the Catholic Church. The Septuagint version was the Bible of the Greek-speaking, or Hellenist, Jews, whose intellectual and literary centre was Alexandria (see SEPTUAGINT). The oldest extant copies date from the fourth and fifth centuries of our era...The most explicit definition of the Catholic Canon is that given by the Council of Trent, Session IV, 1546...The order of books copies that of the Council of Florence, 1442, and in its general plan is that of the Septuagint (Reid, Canon of the Old Testament).

St. Melito, Bishop of Sardis (c. 170), first drew up a list of the canonical books of the Old Testament. While maintaining the familiar arrangement of the Septuagint, he says that he verified his catalogue by inquiry among Jews; Jewry by that time had everywhere discarded the Alexandrian books, and Melito's Canon consists exclusively of the protocanonicals minus Esther...


In this period the position of the deuterocanonical literature is no longer as secure...Alexandria, with its elastic Scriptures, had from the beginning been a congenial field for apocryphal literature, and St. Athanasius, the vigilant pastor of that flock, to protect it against the pernicious influence, drew up a catalogue of books with the values to be attached to each. First, the strict canon and authoritative source of truth is the Jewish Old Testament, Esther excepted...Following the precedent of Origen and the Alexandrian tradition, the saintly doctor recognized no other formal canon of the Old Testament than the Hebrew one; but also, faithful to the same tradition, he practically admitted the deutero books to a Scriptural dignity, as is evident from his general usage...


This period exhibits a curious exchange of opinions between the West and the East, while ecclesiastical usage remained unchanged, at least in the Latin Church. During this intermediate age the use of St. Jerome's new version of the Old Testament (the Vulgate) became widespread in the Occident. With its text went Jerome's prefaces disparaging the deuterocanonicals, and under the influence of his authority the West began to distrust these and to show the first symptoms of a current hostile to their canonicity...

The Latin Church

In the Latin Church, all through the Middle Ages we find evidence of hesitation about the character of the deuterocanonicals. (Reid, Canon of the Old Testament).

And notice that even Athanasius in the fourth century really did not consider that the deuterocanonical books were actually scripture, and that Jerome in the fifth century made disparging comments about them. And even into the Middle Ages, the RCC was not sure if the deuterocanonical books were on a par with scripture. Thus, it took until 1546 for these deuterocanonical books to be completely adopted by the Roman Catholic Church.

An article of related interest may be The Old Testament Canon.

02/16/07 a.m. UCG's Peter Eddington reported:

In December 2006 a subscriber development letter was sent to just over 200,000 U.S. Good News subscribers offering them the Bible Study Course. This was the largest number who have received this offer, and the first letter offering the Bible Study Course in two years.

In just a few weeks, we have received 17,000 responses, and they are still coming in! This is already over an 8 percent response, exceeding the 7.8 percent response from our previous BSC offer in December of 2004.

LCG reported the following news item of prophetic interest:

Temple Mount Heating Up! Recent repair work by Israel on a bridge leading to the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount brought an outcry from Muslims world wide. The Hamas Prime Minister, speaking from Mecca, called on all Palestinians to “rise up together and protect al-Aqsa” (The Australian, February 8, 2007). Arabs claim the repair work could destroy the mosque, while Israel claims it will not. Under pressure, Jerusalem’s mayor halted repairs, but allowed archaeological excavations to continue, further inciting Arabs (Khaleej Times, February 12, 2007). In addition, an Israeli archaeologist released research suggesting a new and more accurate location for Herod’s Temple, basing his research on cistern maps created by Sir Charles Wilson in 1866 (WorldNetDaily, February 11, 2007). God prophesied that Jerusalem would be a “cup of trembling” and a “burdensome stone” to all surrounding peoples (Zechariah 12:2-3)—which is happening today in the Middle East and will escalate as prophecy marches on. But God also promises to make this current “hot spot” the “throne of the Lord” when Christ returns (Jeremiah 3:17). We should “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6)!

The following item is apparently a sign of the times in China:

In a China flush with fortune, many now want theirs told

In a culture increasingly focused on personal wealth, many Chinese look to traditional fortunetelling tools to enrich them. Christian Science Monitor - Feb 16, 2007

Forget duck; Peking has been overrun by pigs. As the Chinese New Year approaches, heralding the auspicious Year of the Pig, porkers are everywhere. Fifteen-foot-high inflatable pigs beckon shoppers into electronics stores; fluffy pink pig snouts enliven winter ear-muffs; corkscrew tails and round piggy faces decorate Ikea kitchen aprons. Wherever you look, happy hogs are rearing up on their hind trotters advertising this or that, or simply waving banners emblazoned with the new Chinese credo, for which the coming year is believed to be especially favorable: "Get Rich." Advertising and commercial pressures have swept superstitious consumers into a froth of excitement that reveals how much many Chinese today hope that traditional fortunetelling tools can enrich them as they pursue former Supreme Leader Deng Xiaoping's famously un-Communist exhortation, "To get rich is glorious."

Fortune telling, an ancient Chinese art officially frowned upon by the country's Communist authorities, is a booming industry in modern China. People's belief in divination, life charts, geomancy, and simple lucky numbers is on the rise, say practitioners, followers, and sociologists. http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0216/p01s01-woap.html

Chinese truly interested in the future should Read the Bible. They (and others) may also wish to read the article China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 3: China in Prophecy.

The following news item was of personal interest:

Guidelines on Defections Published in English

Zenit - Feb 15, 2007 VATICAN CITY - The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts has published in English the clarified guidelines for baptized Catholics who formally separate from the Church.

Cardinal Julián Herranz, the then president of the pontifical council, issued a statement on formal acts of defection from the Church last March.

The document was drawn up after many requests for clarifications of the so-called formal act of defection from the Church, mentioned in the Code of Canon Law.

The current Pontiff approved this. Here is the translated document:


Vatican City, 13 March 2006

Prot. N. 10279/2006

Your Excellency:

For quite some time, a considerable number of Bishops, Judicial Vicars and others working in the field of canon law have been posing to this Pontifical Council questions and requests for clarification concerning the so-called actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica mentioned in canons 1086, § 1, 1117 and 1124 of the Code of Canon Law.  The concept therein presented is new to canonical legislation and is distinct from the other – rather “virtual” (that is, deduced from behaviors) – forms  of “notoriously” or “publicly” abandoning the faith (cfr. can. 171, § 1, 4°; 194, § 1, 2°; 316, § 1; 694, § 1, 1°; 1071, § 1, 4° and § 2).  In the latter circumstances, those who have been baptized or received into the Catholic Church continue to be bound by merely ecclesiastical laws (cfr. can. 11).

The issue was carefully examined by the competent Dicasteries of the Holy See in order  to identify, first of all, the theological and doctrinal components of an actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica and then in turn the requirements or juridical formalities that would be necessary so that such an action would constitute a true “formal act” of defection.

After having received the decision of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith concerning the theological and doctrinal elements, and after subsequently examining the entire matter in Plenary Session, this Pontifical Council communicates the following to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences:

1. For the abandonment of the Catholic Church to be validly configured as a true actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia so that the exceptions foreseen in the previously mentioned canons would apply, it is necessary that there concretely be:

a) the internal decision to leave the Catholic Church;
b) the realization and external manifestation of that decision; and
c) the reception of that decision by the competent ecclesiastical authority.

2.  The substance of the act of the will must be the rupture of those bonds of communion – faith, sacraments, and pastoral governance – that permit the Faithful to receive the life of grace within the Church. This means that the formal act of defection must have more than a juridical-administrative character (the removal of one’s name from a Church membership registry maintained by the government in order to produce certain civil consequences), but be configured as a true separation from the constitutive elements of the life of the Church: it supposes, therefore, an act of apostasy, heresy or schism.

3.  The juridical-administrative act of abandoning the Church does not per se constitute a formal act of defection as understood in the Code, given that there could still be the will to remain in the communion of the faith.On the other hand, heresy (whether formal or material), schism and apostasy do not in themselves constitute a formal act of defection if they are not externally concretized and manifested to the ecclesiastical authority in the required manner.

4.  The defection must be a valid juridical act,  placed by a person who is canonically capable and in conformity with the canonical norms that regulate such matters (cfr. cann.124-126).    Such an act must be taken personally, consciously and freely.

5.  It is required, moreover, that the act be manifested by the interested party in written form, before the competent authority of the Catholic Church:  the Ordinary or proper pastor, who is uniquely qualified to make the judgment concerning the existence or non-existence of the act of the will as described above in n. 2.Consequently, only the convergence of the two elements – the theological content of the interior act and its manifestation in the manner defined above – constitutes the actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica, with the corresponding canonical penalties (cfr. can. 1364, § 1).

6. In such cases, the competent ecclesiastical authority mentioned above is to provide that this act be noted in the baptismal registry (cfr. can. 535, § 2) with explicit mention of the occurrence of a  “defectio ab Ecclesia catholica actu formali”.

7. It remains clear, in any event, that the sacramental bond of belonging to the Body of Christ that is the Church,  conferred by the baptismal character, is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost  by reason of any act or fact of defection. With the certainty that the Bishops of your Conference, conscious of the salvific dimension of ecclesiastical communion, will well understand the pastoral motivations underlying these norms,   I welcome this opportunity to renew my sentiments of fraternal esteem.

Faithfully yours in the Lord,Julián Card. Herranz
PresidentBruno Bertagna

This notification was approved by the Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XVI, who directed that it be transmitted to all Presidents of Episcopal Conferences.

Since 1.c. (nor sections 2-7) has not happened to me, apparently I am still considered to be a Roman Catholic by the Vatican. (This also means that when the Beast power is in place, most who are then in Europe will still be considered as Roman Catholic, even if they never really attended mass etc., as many were baptized aas infants).

Perhaps then, the Vatican may be interested in reading an article I put together which mainly includes Roman Catholic-approved writings and references titled What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? or Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome.

02/15/07 a.m. In the Mar-Apr 2007 edition of Together (the old Worldwide News), WCG reported:

Fiji: Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi has pastored our congregations in Fiji for over 25 years. As a former highly respected civil servant, he has often been asked to take on service roles for semi-government organizations, and for many years he served as the Chairman of the Grants Commission of the University of the South Pacific, which is based in Fiji and which has extension campuses in many of the smaller nations of the Pacific. Last year the then Fijian government asked him to accept the honored responsibility of Fijian High Commissioner to Malaysia (equivalent of Ambassador among the British Commonwealth nations), which includes being diplomatic representative to Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Epeli and his wife, Sofi, took up residence in Kuala Lumpur on November 1.

We went to Fiji for the FOT bout 17 years ago. It is sad that Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi, who we met then, went along with WCG's changes. Fiji is an island country that we really liked. But while there will be problems, there is hope for those in the isalnds (please see the article Islands and Bible Prophecy).

Yesterday, Christianity Today reported:

Evangelical Christians in Mexico Increasingly Persecuted by 'Traditional Catholics' Christian Today (UK) - Feb 14, 2007

Evangelical Christians are increasingly attacked by “traditional Catholics” in a southern Mexican state, according to a persecution watchdog group.In the indigenous region of Chiapas state, traditional Catholics – following a blend of Catholicism and native religious practices – are more frequently being accused of various acts of religious intolerance against protestants, such as “threats, intimidation, and robbery or expulsion from their communities, or death,” reported Alfonso Farrera, director of the National Bar of Christian Lawyers, to Compass Direct News.In total, the bar says it has records of 200 cases of unresolved religious intolerance against evangelical Christians in Chiapas state, while incidents of persecution are “accelerating daily in the indigenous regions.”Many of the conflicts arise from community leaders demanding evangelicals pay quotas for Catholic festivals, according to Compass. Some Evangelicals have said that though they are willing to cooperate in community projects, they refuse to fund religious festivals involving drunkenness and immoral behaviour.

Common complaints by Evangelicals include local leaders cutting off the water supply or being denied benefits from government programmes because of their faith...

According to the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission, persecution of protestant Christian is likely the result of Mexico’s association of Protestantism with America. Traditional Mexicans view Protestant Christianity as a threat to their culture, tradition, and Catholic faith, especially given the number of Mexicans in recent decades that have changed to evangelical Christianity after reading the Bible.Mexico is composed of 89 per cent Roman Catholic and only six per cent Protestant.


Now that LCG is on a 50,000 watt radio station near Mexico City, I can envision Roman Catholic pressure to remove us (this has happened to LCG/GCG in Mexico in the past).

Moslem religious leaders do not care for Valentine's Day:

Valentine's Day 'sinful' for Muslims: Aceh Islamic leader

AFP - February 14, 2007

Jakarta, Indonesia - Celebrating Valentine's Day is sinful and forbidden for Muslims, an Indonesian Islamic leader warned.

"This celebration comes from another religion and has no legal basis in the Islamic Sharia law," said Muslim Ibrahim, who is chairman of the highest authority on Islamic affairs in Aceh province.

"Therefore, taking part in celebrating the day of love is haram (forbidden) for Muslims," Ibrahim told the state Antara news agency.

Actually, one of the many valid criticisms that Moslems have of mainstream "Christianity" is its adoption of non-biblical holidays. A while back, I added the following to my Valentine's Day article:

Celebrating the Valentine Day is not permissible because: Firstly, it is an innovated holiday that has no basis in the Sharee`ah...Christians were aware of the Pagan roots of Valentine's Day. The way the Christians adopted St. Valentine's Day should be a lesson for Muslims. In fact, the failure to fully separate Valentine's Day from its pagan roots explains why Islamic scholars and a number of Muslims avoid adopting traditions of non-Muslims, even though they could possibly be Islamicized...We should avoid anything associated with pagan immoral practices - We do not need to honour or celebrate the death of a Christian "saint" - Islam does not encourage flirting or suggestions of romantic relationships before marriage - Love between families, friends and married people does not need to be celebrated on a day with such un-Islamic origins (Ruling on Celebrating Valentine's Day. http://www.contactpakistan.com/news/news144.htm, January 31, 2004).

In other words, Valentine's Day causes the name of Christ (through the term 'Christianity') to be blasphemed among the Gentiles (Romans 2:24; Isaiah 52:5)! Even the Muslims can see that the hypocrisy in this.

02/14/07 a.m. In his latest blog, COGaic's David Hulme writes:

The 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War is coming up in June. It will be a time for reflection on all that happened during those critical days in 1967 when the balance shifted measurably in the Middle East.

There’s no question that it was a watershed event.

From the perspective of Jerusalem, nothing was more significant in the war than the Israeli capture of the Old City...

That event was critical for many reasons, including the fact that this will ultimately result in one or more major European leaders to go to Jerusalem to fulfill biblical prophecies.

Here is some news about the SDAs:

Leaders to Cultivate 'Relationship of Relating'

Between Adventists and Major Faith Groups

ANN - January 23, 2007

"Seventh-day Adventists are not an island in this world. We want to know other faiths better, and we want them to know us better," Dr. John Graz, director of the Adventist world church's department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, said Jan. 23.

With a global membership fast approaching 15 million, the Adventist Church is far from being isolationist...

Mutual understanding does not, as some Adventists might fear, invite the watering-down of doctrine, church leaders assure. "Engaging in dialogue does not mean we are pursuing an ecumenical agenda. It is saying that we want to reach beyond the Christian community and talk with other faiths. It is saying that we want to have good relations," Graz said.

"It will give Adventists the opportunity and the guidelines to talk in a way that connects with other faiths," Ryan added. http://news.adventist.org/data/2007/00/1169580280/index.html.en

Because of the trinity, Christmas, and other changes, SDAs do have reason to have concern about "the watering-down of doctrine". Two articles of related interest may be:

SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?

Since today is called "Valentine's Day", if you do not understand its history, this would be a good time to read the article Valentine's Day: Its Real Origins.

02/13/07 a.m. The Mid-Missouri COG reported:

Mid-Missouri Church of God will have an open house and blessing and dedication of the building at 602 East North Street, Eldon, MO, tentatively, on Sabbath, February 24, 2007. There will be coffee at 11:00a.m. Services will start at 11:30a.m. There will be a potluck after the services. You are welcome to come and share this blessing with us. Please keep us in your prayers as we still have many challenges before us...

Its February 2007 Newsletter also has information from another source about MySpace.com:

We ask three questions of Steve Ensley, executive director of American Family Online, regarding the hazards of My Space. com.

Question 1 –

The Internet is a powerful tool having many benefits. However, Christians need to be discerning as to how they use it and what they use. One concern that has become very alarming is MySpace.com. Are you concerned about MySpace.com and if so why?

Answer –

I’m not sure there are words that are strong enough to express my concerns about MySpace.com, but maybe some examples of what is on the very front page today will say it better. Immediately on the front page, which cannot be avoided if you go to MySpace.com, is an interview with Marilyn Manson making him out to be a cult hero. Also on the front page is a large block ad for My Chemical Romance and the Black Parade whose lyrics are extremely vulgar and dark. And then to demonstrate complete lack of content control, there is a link on the front page to 41,246 new videos uploaded (just today) that have not been monitored or screened and an extremely large number of those videos contain everything from vulgarity to pornography. Should we be concerned? Absolutely! These are just a few of the millions of items on My Space.com that conflict with our Christian values. MySpace is a hookup site. It is designed to get your children or spouse hooked up with every kind of person and their immoral behavior. There is no material that they find unacceptable. It would be safer to have your children or spouse go live in a prison than to spend time surfing on MySpace.com.

I have never been to MySpace.com., but have seen a couple of news items about it. Overall, it certainly does not have a positive reputation from a values perspective. It is not that it could not have some use, but it has been somewhat corrupted.

The following news item of received via email was of interest:

After taking a look at Bush's Budget, David Walker, head of the Government Accountability Office, has diagnosed the U.S. economy as
suffering from "fiscal cancer."

This past weekend, on an appearance on Bloomberg TV, Walker said, "We don't face an immediate heart attack, but we have been diagnosed with fiscal cancer and we need to start treating it.''

Walker also said he "would not be surprised" if Iraq war costs ultimately top $1 trillion.

Having the head of the GAO admit that the US has fiscal cancer should show any who want to know that the USA is heading for rough financial times.

Although we in the COGs consider that Justin Martyr was a major heretic, he did make a couple of supporting comments about the millennium:

But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.

For Isaiah spake thus concerning this space of a thousand years: 'For there shall be the new heaven and the new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, or come into their heart; but they shall find joy and gladness in it, which things I create'...For as Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years. We have perceived, moreover, that the expression, 'The day of the Lord is as a thousand years,' is connected with this subject. And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem; and that thereafter the general, and, in short, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all men would likewise take place (Dialogue. Chapters 80-81).

While Roman Catholics call Justin a saint, they now teach that only heretics accept the millennium. An article of related interest may be Did The Early Church Millenarianism?

More information on the early Church can be found on the History of Early Christianity page.

02/12/07 a.m. Christianity Today has the following on its web pages this morning:

Valentine's Day
February 14
Learn about St. Valentine and the history of the holiday, read real life love stories, and send that special someone an e-card. Whether you're single or married, you'll find numerous articles to help you think biblically about romance and to remind you of God's unconditional love...

Celebrate the Day of Love
What's the most creative Valentine's Day gift you've ever given?

Every year, Christianity Today encourages this non-Christian holiday, while it also sells items to support its observance. An article of related interest may be Valentine's Day: Its Real Origins.

PCG reported:

The greatest benefactor of America’s war in Iraq has been Iran. This, according to a United Press International report, is the growing consensus among many Middle Eastern nations. Why? Unwilling as the United States may be to admit it, evidence continues to mount of Iran’s enormous influence in Iraq—a reality only made possible by America’s elimination of Tehran’s top enemy in the region, Saddam Hussein. Clearly, Iran is working hard to secure all that it stands to gain there...

Reports confirm that Iraqi agents of Iran have received millions of dollars to facilitate terrorist attacks and that the now-infamous Shiite death squads are being financed by Iran. And now, Mujahedin-e Khalq, the Iranian opposition party, is accusing Iran of sponsoring fully 132,000 of its own agents in Iraq, including “numerous Iraqi Shiite officials and politicians” (Middle East Newsline, February 6). The fact is, Tehran is the number-one financier of terrorism in Iraq...

The most compelling and disheartening angle of these stories is the candor of Iran regarding its intentions in Iraq, and its total lack of fear for American power and influence. The powerful U.S. military is camped on Iran’s doorstep. Tehran is surrounded by more than 100,000 well-armed American soldiers in Iran and Afghanistan. These forces are equipped with an assortment of sophisticated military hardware. By mid-February, two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and 150 aircraft will be stationed in the waters adjacent to Iran.

Jesus said to "Watch" and that is what we in the COGs should be doing.

02/11/07 a.m. The following item was of prophetic interest:

Arabs call on UN to stop Jerusalem dig

Ynet News - Feb 10, 2007

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee called on Saturday for the international community’s immediate intervention in Israel’s construction works at the Mugrabi Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City, near the al-Aqsa Mosque.

“We do not accept the Israeli government’s excuses on what is taking place.  Israel has no political or legal right to take any action in occupied east Jerusalem,” committee members said in a statement following an emergency meeting in Nazareth attended by all Arab Knesset members and other community leaders.

The committee called on the United Nations, European Union and other countries and organizations to act in a bid to end the controversial dig. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3363225,00.html

We in most COGs believe that the Bible shows that the EU will have a presence in the Middle East.

Why did I say most? Well, CG7 has tended to downplay prophecy so on the above I am not sure what, if anything, they actually believe.

Here is the latest I have seen from CG7 and prophecy. The following is from an article by Richard A. Wiedenheft:

The expression “Day of Lord,” which occurs about twenty-eight times in Scripture, is a general term used to describe God’s intervention in the affairs of people — for punishment or for blessing. Often this is accomplished through human instruments. “Day of the Lord” can certainly refer to a yet future intervention by God at Christ’s return, but it is usually used in the context of past events.

The expression “latter days” does not necessarily refer to the last days of planet Earth. It may mean simply the latter days of the kingdom of Israel, the distant future, or “days to come,” as it is sometimes translated. In addition, New Testament writers frequently referred to their time as the “last days” (Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3)...

Has a prophecy already been fulfilled?

When we consider an Old Testament prophecy, we need to consider whether it is completely fulfilled in the Old Testament context, whether it was completely fulfilled in the first coming of the Messiah, or whether it was only partially fulfilled. For example, the apostle Peter proclaimed about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost: “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people’” (Acts 2:16-21, NIV, cited from Joel 2:28-32). Do we conclude that Joel’s prophecy was completely fulfilled in Peter’s day and that the “glorious day of the Lord” was the incarnation of Jesus? Do we conclude that the grandiose language of “wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below” was figurative so as to underscore the dramatic proportions of what was happening — that the very Son of God laid aside His glory to walk in human flesh and die so that all might be saved? Or do we conclude that while Peter thought he was seeing the fulfillment, he was in fact seeing only a partial fulfillment and that the grandiose language is literal and has yet to be fulfilled in a future outpouring of the Holy Spirit and “glorious day of the Lord”?

How we answer these questions will dramatically affect how we understand New Testament prophecies and the apocalyptic material of Revelation. (Wiedenheft, RA. Important Considerations in Understanding Prophecy. Bible Advocate Press. © 2006 The General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day)).

I agree with that last statement. Sadly, that is how the article ends and CG7 does not really say what it believes. I believe that this is part of why Jesus warned Sardis, "you will not know what hour I will come upon you" (Revelation 3:3).

Three articles of possible interest may be:

Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings
Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord?
The Sardis Church Era

On other matters, here is a picture of the ten commandments in Hebrew. This is one of the oldest fragments found.

02/10/07 a.m. WCG reported:

Ambassador College of Christian Ministry (ACCM) launched two new online programs, an Advanced Diploma in Christian Ministry and a Master of Pastoral Studies, designed especially for pastors. These programs are in addition to ACCM’s Diploma in Christian Ministry, which is designed to equip men and women for more effective and informed service in the work of the gospel.

WCG has forgotten many aspects of the work of the Gospel. An article of related interest may be The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church.

The March issue of Together (AKA the Worldwide News) announced the following:

The graduating class of 1977, Ambassador College Big Sandy, is planning a 30-year reunion for Friday night, August 3 through Sunday noon, August 5 in Dallas, Texas. Plans are to hold the reunion at the Omni Dallas Hotel at Park West, pending a final contract. The graduating 1977 alumni and their spouses, as well as all who entered in the fall of 1973, spring of 1974 or were ever part of the class somewhere in between, are invited to attend...

Details for the reunion are still being finalized, so class members are encouraged to check out the AC Reunion, Big Sandy Class of 1977 website at www.ACReunion.info for updated information.

On other matters, WCG announced four "fellowship cruises" which will be during or near the time of the Biblical Feast of Tabernacles.

The Pasadena Star reported the following:

Ambassador debate Church protests size of condo project

 Pasadena Star-News - Jan 29, 2007 

PASADENA - Harvest Rock Church, owner of Ambassador Auditorium since 2004, has mounted a campaign to reduce the scale of a proposed neighboring six-story senior condominium project the church's pastor says will "forever dwarf and overshadow" the landmark building.

Sunrise Senior Living Inc.'s plan for 200 luxury condominiums plus 48 assisted-living rental units on the corner of Green Street and St. John Avenue will come up for City Council review Feb. 26 after a decade of wrangling over development of the former Ambassador College west campus.

Che Ahn, Harvest Rock senior pastor, said he is "pretty confident" he can rally community support to reduce the size of the building, although the influential West Pasadena Residents Association has come out in favor of the project...

Plans for the former Ambassador College site have gone through several incarnations since Worldwide Church of God sold off its 46-acre campus in three pieces after dropping plans to build more than 700 houses there. Glendale-based master developer Dorn-Platz was involved in the purchase of the 13-acre lower campus, where Maranatha High School moved from Sierra Madre. The children of its president, Greg Galletly, attend the private Christian school.

Galletly said Harvest Rock had been suggesting a scaled back building for months, but the complicated project is consistent with the city's Western Gateway Specific Plan...http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_5116434

Late yesterday, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

Twice this week, Iran’s chief religious leaders threatened the United States and its interests all over the world.  First the ayatollah Khamenei said that Iran was prepared to strike back in the event of any attack against them, followed up by a deputy ayatollah who said that the U.S. was within Iran’s firing range.  These guys may be talking out of their turbans at least part of the time, but there is no question that they are working hard toward their ultimate goal of igniting a world war.

LCG reported the following:

China and Twenty-First Century Warfare.  On January 11, China launched a ground-based missile to shoot down one of its own antiquated weather satellites, catapulting the worldwide arms race into space.  China’s economy depends on sea-borne shipping, yet for decades the United States Navy has controlled the world’s oceans—a situation unacceptable to an aspiring Asian superpower.  American naval power has been a threat that has prevented China’s land-bound People’s Army from invading the island nation of Taiwan.  In the event of a war, U.S. Navy destroyers could bring China’s economy to its knees by turning back all ships bound for Chinese ports.  Though it would take decades for China to build a navy able to challenge America, China can “level the playing field” if it can succeed in knocking out America’s space-based spy and navigation satellites, on which the military relies.  America’s conventional military superiority depends on its advanced satellite technology, without which it is just another “kid on the block” (Stratfor, January 23, 2007).  The money that fuels China’s booming economy and expand its military comes largely from selling manufactured items to the U.S.  China, in turn, purchases American securities—which enables America to buy additional Chinese goods.  This American dependency on infusions of Chinese capital is fraught with dangers—as the Bible warns that the borrower eventually becomes a servant to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). 

An article of possible interest may be China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 3: China in Prophecy.

The following news item was of interest:

Definition of 'evangelical' unclear  UPI - February 8, 2007  

One out of every four adults who call themselves "evangelical" is not a "born-again" Christian, according to a recent report from the Barna Group. And that's just the beginning of the confusion surrounding the term "evangelical." 
For instance, some political pundits tend to qualify evangelicals mainly as people who vote against abortion rights and gay marriage. Many Roman Catholics think they're evangelical. Most Mormons don't, Associated Baptist Press reported Thursday. 
The confusion has progressed so far that some "progressive evangelicals" have decided to forego the term completely, opting instead for the ambiguous label of "red-letter Christian." 
What's the real cause of the misunderstanding and misuse? The very nature of what makes an evangelical has fluctuated for decades. 
Barna's Jan. 22 report calls people "born again" if they have made a personal commitment to Jesus and believe they'll go to heaven because they confessed their sin and accepted Jesus as savior. But many who also call themselves evangelical just don't fit that bill, Barna Group founder George Barna said. 
His report differentiates between two kinds of evangelicals: people who self-identify as evangelicals and people who meet a nine-point theological criterion that defines the identity. 
All told, 84 million adults in the United States call themselves evangelicals, while only 18 million qualify as such using the nine-point filter, the report said. 
Either way, "evangelical" was not used in the Bible and has become a "sloppy" way to label believers, Barna said. 
"Responsible analysts ... should be encouraged to re-examine the term and the measures they are using," he said in the report. "Political commentators, reporters, educators and researchers continually make important claims about the spiritual life, lifestyle patterns, voting preferences and issue stands of evangelicals, even though it is clear that the criteria they use for identifying evangelicals are misleading at best." 
Barna's nine criteria are based on earlier assessments conducted by the National Associations of Evangelicals. They include the two qualifiers for the born-again label, plus belief that faith is "very important" in life; belief that Christians have a responsibility to tell others about Christ; belief that Satan exists; belief that unending life is possible only through God and can't be earned through works; belief that Jesus lived a sinless life; belief that the Bible is complete and accurate; and belief that God is an all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created and participates in the universe. 
Survey respondents were not labeled based on whether or not they attended church. 
Nancy French, an author and former political columnist for Philadelphia's City Paper, questions some of Barna's analysis, especially when it comes to the nine-point criteria. As co-founder of Evangelicals for Mitt, a group supporting Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) for president, French defines evangelicals simply as "people who believe in the Nicene Creed." 
"I think Barna's restrictive definition of 'evangelical' skews the numbers," she said. 
Analysts say Romney will have to capture the evangelical vote to compete as a presidential candidate. 
One big differentiator in the term's uses involves Satan. By Barna's standards, Christians who are not sure who Satan is — a spirit, a demon, a person, a fallen angel — wouldn't be considered evangelical, French pointed out. 
New and "born-again" Christians are commonly confused over that question, but ambiguous feelings about Satan shouldn't disqualify them from the evangelical camp, she said. What's more, many Catholics consider themselves evangelical because they live the gospel message in their daily life and strive to spread it around the world, she said, and they shouldn't necessarily be disqualified either. 
Along with the claim that not all evangelicals are born-again, the study found other discrepancies between the popular perception of who — or what — an evangelical is and who meets the Barna litmus test. 
Researchers found that self-proclaimed evangelicals are less likely to have graduated from college than their nine-point counterparts (29 percent versus 39 percent), were less likely to be married (63 percent versus 77 percent) and had lower household incomes ($40,250 for self-reporters compared to $49,194). 
They also found political opinions misaligned somewhat between self-described evangelicals and nine-point evangelicals. For instance, the former are less likely to be socially conservative — 45 percent of them are, compared to 65 percent of the latter. 
All told, "there is only a seven-percentage-point difference in the number of Democrats and Republicans among the self-defined evangelicals but a 25-point difference among those who are deemed evangelical by virtue of their beliefs," the report said. 
Data for the survey came from nationwide telephone surveys conducted in January, April, August and October of 2006. In total, 4014 adults were interviewed. 
For political activists like French, targeting every pocket population of evangelicals is near impossible. And her team hasn't "reached out" to evangelicals to draw them to the website, she said. Those who happen to find www.evangelicalsformitt.org stick around because they share common values and beliefs, she said. 
"Politically, our site appeals to those who are pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional marriage," she said. "Democratic evangelicals like the ones in the Barna group who might be pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, etc., are not our target demographic." 
Still, conservative values do seem to resonate with evangelicals in general, she added. 
Other critics have noted that the Barna report hints at only one — mostly theological — side of the inevitable conundrum pollsters and pundits face in classifying the group. Historically and geographically, however, usage of the word has varied widely. 
Since the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, for instance, Lutheran churches in Europe have been called "evangelical" to distinguish them from the Reformed churches of John Calvin and his followers.       
The Puritans also used the "evangelical" label to separate themselves from the 17th century's Church of England. And in the 1700s, the Methodist Wesleyan revival provided the impetus for some Anglicans to create the "Evangelical Party." 
The First Great Awakening, a movement among American colonists in the 1730s, is usually credited with starting modern evangelicalism in the United States.  http://www.religionandspirituality.com/currentEvents/view.php?StoryID=20070208-082654-8427r

Those who consider that they are "born again" may wish to read the article Born Again: A Question of Semantics? Two articles related to Martin Luther would be Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? and The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong.

02/09/07 a.m. Yesterday, UCG posted the following by John Ross Schroeder:

Britain Debates Life's Ultimate Question

Especially in the last year, the reemergence of media coverage about aggressive atheism has helped focus British attention on that most crucial of all questions: Does God exist? Even scientists are arguing the question. In spite of a rather vigorous defense, atheism certainly appears to be gaining ground in Britain and Europe.

Interestingly, while I did not know until this morning that UCG did that, yesterday I updated the following three articles:

Is God's Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God's Existence Logical, Part II

What is the Meaning of Life? What is your ultimate destiny?

I received LCG's latest co-worker letter last night, in it was the following from R.C. Meredith:

Greetings from Charlotte, NC! Are we in for the most violent springtime in recent memory? Shakespeare wrote of the ancient Roman “Ides of March!” This may have been meant to invoke the ancient biblical principle where the scriptures indicate that in the springtime nations went to war.


      Regardless, this March to July period looks to be a very dangerous time in the Middle East! Britain’s The Independent newspaper just headlined, “Military strike is only way to stop Iran,

says top Israeli strategist. A top Israeli strategic analyst says armed force is the only way to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons if the international community does not impose effective sanctions. Zvi Shtauber, director of Tel-Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, was speaking last night after the Foreign Ministry denied a report in The Sunday Times that Israeli pilots were already training to strike three targets with low-yield nuclear weapons…. But Mr. Shtauber said: ‘Experience shows that it is very hard to stop a state which is determined to build nuclear weapons’” (January 8, 2007).


      The Jews lost about six million of their people in Hitler’s Holocaust. The emotional refrain, “Never again!” resonates very powerfully with these people who have suffered so terribly. As former Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu recently stated on American television, “We must take some action since our very survival is at stake!”


      Meanwhile, dozens of news reports are indicating that Iran is very heavily involved in financing, training and encouraging terrorists in Iraq, who are deliberately trying to sabotage our efforts to bring about a western style democracy there. As The Washington Times reported, “‘Al-Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards is stepping up terrorism and encouraging sectarian violence in Iraq,’ says Alireza Jafarzadeh, president of Strategic Policy Consulting in Washington, an Iranian dissident who keeps close contact with the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MeK. It was Mr. Jafarzadeh who first revealed the existence of the Islamic Republic’s clandestine nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak in August 2002…. They secretly build improvised explosive devises, or IEDs, train, finance and arm an extensive terrorist network in Iraq, says Mr. Jafarzadeh. ‘Iran’s goal is to create insecurity in Iraq and compel the coalition forces to leave in order to establish an Islamic Republic in Iraq’” (January 9, 2007).


      An “Islamic Republic” in Iraq?


      My friends, that is a lot more likely to happen than President Bush’s goal of “democracy” for much of the Middle East! As I have been telling you for the last few years, these Muslims have had no experience with democracy. They are accustomed to authoritarian rule and their idea of “Allah’s will” plays very heavily into their approach to politics—much more than President Bush or his advisors seem to realize. So the real future of the Middle East will not be “democratic.” Rather, a continuing series of violent incidents, wars and strife will affect that region until the return of Jesus Christ.


      Underscoring this, a huge buildup of American air and sea power in the Middle East is now underway. As the DEBKAfile reported on January 4, 2007, “The USS John C. Stennis strike group will this month join the USS Dwight Eisenhower aircraft carrier group and USS Boxer strike force in the Persian Gulf ‘as a warning to Syria and Iran’ in face of acts seen as provocative, and to give commanders more flexibility in the region. Continuation of Iran’s banned nuclear activities would come under the heading of ‘provocative.’ This is the second buildup of US naval, air and marine strength in the strategic waterway in four months. Deployment of the Stennis group puts a total of 16,000 US sailors in the region as well as another nuclear carrier and 7 escort warships, 10 air squadrons, 2 submarines and helicopters to support amphibious landings on enemy soil. DEBKAfile’s military experts see in the new deployment evidence that President George W. Bush has rejected the key Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group’s recommendation to engage Iran and Syria for an exit strategy on Iraq. He has instead come down finally behind his own fundamental conviction that the Iraq war is winnable and Iran can be simultaneously confronted.”


      Did you catch that last phrase? “Iran can be simultaneously confronted”!


      This massive array of US weaponry is probably in the region not only to help stabilize the situation in Iraq. It may well be sent there because a powerful strike against Iran’s nuclear sites is coming—soon!


      Jesus Christ’s prophecies indicate that we should watch the Middle East. After describing the specific end-time prophetic events leading up to His Second Coming—including another conquest of Jerusalem by a Gentile power—Jesus instructed His followers, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). So all of us who have real wisdom and understanding should be praying—and doing our part in preparing for the soon-coming Kingdom of God. We in this Work are certainly going “all out” to do that very thing!

Three articles of possibly related interest may be Is There A Future King of the South?, There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra, and There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God?

I received a letter this week from the Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God which reported that Ron Weinland's first book, The Prophesied End-Time, has gone to over 130 countries and his latest book, 2008-God's Final Witness, has gone to over 90.

Because of his denial of the deity of Christ, and I believe the falseness of other parts of his writings, I doubt that CG-PFK is an actual COG. Here is Brief Article on Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God.

Speaking of books, earlier this week I read a booklet from an independent COGr on the image of the beast. One of his points was that participating in holidays such as Christmas and Valentine's Day is a fulfillment of prophecies concerning worshipping the image of the beast. Is Valentine's Day that pagan?

An article of possible interest may be Valentine's Day: Its Real Origins.

Here are two items of international news:

Violence erupts at Jerusalem holy site
By DALIA NAMMARI Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM -- Israeli police stormed the grounds of Islam's third-holiest shrine Friday, firing stun grenades and tear gas to disperse thousands of Muslim worshippers who hurled stones, bottles and trash in an eruption of outrage over Israeli renovation nearby.

The clash at the end of noon prayers came after days of mounting tensions over the work and raised concern that protests at the site could spread to the West Bank and Gaza, as they did at the start of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000. No serious injuries were reported...

Even as the violence subsided, passions remained inflamed.

"There is no justification for what they did today, and we think it was pre-orchestrated to bring fears to the spirits of the worshippers angry about the Israeli dig," said Adnan Husseini, chairman of the Waqf, the Muslim trust that oversees the shrine.

Israeli authorities have insisted that the replacement of a ramp leading to the compound, which was damaged in a 2004 snowstorm, would not harm the holy site, about 60 yards way. But as work began earlier this week, it drew fierce protests in the Arab world, where many leaders accused Israel of plotting to harm Muslim holy sites.

"This is an aggression against the mosque," Mohammed Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, said by telephone from inside the walled compound. "I don't know what impact this aggression will have on the Palestinian territories, but past experience has shown that every time there were clashes at the mosque, it engulfed the other parts of the West Bank and Gaza." http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/4540054.html

Israel National News - Feb 8, 2007 

MK Eldad: The Mughrabi Gate struggle is not over a bridge, but over the principle of Jewish presence.

Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) says that if the State of Israel is not able to carry out safety maintenance work at the Western Wall plaza, "it means that we are on a dangerous path towards disappearing from the political map of the Middle East."

Speaking with Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine, Eldad said, "The struggle is over the preservation of the only Temple Mount gate left out of Wakf [Muslim Authority] hands and in Jewish hands."

"The Arabs actually want the Mughrabi Gate passway to collapse," Eldad said, "so that they will be able to close the only gate that is under Jewish control. That will end the era of Jewish visitation rights to the Temple Mount. They have been waiting for this for a long time, and that's why they don't want us to refurbish it."

The bridge in question leads from the plaza leading to the Western Wall up to the Temple Mount, and is considered a safety hazard in its current condition. Israel's Antiquities Authority is carrying out archaeological works there in anticipation of its refurbishing. Arabs around the country have taken advantage of the situation to accuse of Israel of trying to destroy the Temple Mount complex, and have called for a response sharper than the previous intifadas. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=121206

The two scriptures that came to mind when I read those accounts were the first for the present and the second for the future:

The way of peace they have not known (Isaiah 59:8).

N either shall they learn war any more (Micah 4:3).

Click here for previous COG news (includes comments on the China, Norman Edward's trial, How PCG tries to look like WCG, Roles of Women, Valentine's day, apokatastasis, Russian Religion, Ron Weinland, ICG, Israel, Jordan, etc.)

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Volume 10, issue 37 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2007