6 a 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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03/04/07 a.m. UCG just posted the following on its COE meeting:

The Council spent nearly all of Monday and Tuesday (February 26 and 27) in closed session. Details of these sessions will be communicated in the near future. The meetings went into open session briefly and the Council passed one resolution on each of those days. The final meeting of the session was on Wednesday morning, February 28.

Monday, February 26

In the meeting on Friday, February 23, Council discussed the need to revise its "Local Congregations Webcasting Guidelines" policy. Peter Eddington presented an edited version, which includes statements about on-demand audio and video of sermons and expands the policy to include national offices. Clyde Kilough offered a resolution to adopt the policy, which the Council unanimously approved...

Tuesday, February 27

Mr. Kilough presented a resolution to include the banking and investment manager as a signatory on the Church's bank account (in addition to the president, treasurer and secretary). The Council unanimously adopted the resolution. 

Wednesday, February 28...

Good News Subtitle

Mr. Kilough revisited an earlier discussion on a possible change to The Good News subtitle. Peter Eddington projected images of mock-ups of two options: "The Good News—Hope Beyond Today's Troubled World" and "The Good News—Hope Beyond Today's World." A third option was also presented, "The Good News—Beyond Today's Troubled World."

Larry Salyer commented that it would be better to take more time to make this decision. Mr. Kilough agreed that, while a change does need to be made, it is not urgent that it be done at this meeting. He tabled the topic until the next Council meetings, in May. 

GCE Exit Poll

Mr. Dick asked the Council members if they felt changes to the exit poll taken at the conclusion of each General Conference of Elders would be helpful, in terms of gathering appropriate information. Bill Eddington suggested that it might be more helpful to send the poll via e-mail to all elders after the meetings, rather than having them fill it out before they leave. Other Council members agreed, that this approach might result in more participation and would give the elders more time to consider their responses.

While most of the world considers that Europe is fairly peaceful, the following news item was of potential interest:

Copenhagen riot as squatters evicted

Mar 3 2007 icWales

Britons were among the 100 people arrested in Denmark for their involvement in street protests against the eviction of squatters.

Protesters erected burning barricades and set cars on fire this morning as a new round of violent clashes hit Copenhagen, sparked by the eviction of squatters from a downtown building.

Hundreds of police officers in riot gear used tear gas to disperse the protesters, pushing away demonstrators and onlookers in order to allow firefighters to put out the blazes which sent smoke billowing into the night sky. http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0700world/tm_headline=copenhagen-riot-as-squatters-evicted&method=full&objectid=18701241&siteid=50082-name_page.html

There are a variety of Catholic prophecies that state that riots and possible civil wars will occur in Europe. Here are a few:

Jeanne le Royer (Sister of the Nativity). The storm began in France, and France shall be the first theatre of its ravages after having been its cradle. (Dupont Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p.59).

Bernhardt Rembordt (18th century). "Cologne will be the site of a terrible battle. Many foreigners will be slaughtered there; both men and women will fight for their Faith. It will be impossible to prevent this horrible devastation. People will wade up to their ankles in blood. At last, a foreign King will appear and win a victory for the cause of the righteous. The remaining enemy will retreat to the Birchtree country. There, the last battle will be fought for the just cause. At that time France will be divided. The German Empire will choose a simple man as the Emperor, who will rule for a short time. His successor will be the man for whom the world has longed. He will be called a "Roman Emperor," and he will give peace to the world. A good and happy era will follow. God will be praised on earth, and war will be no more." (Dupont, pp.34-35)

Melanie Calvat (The Seeress of La Salette, 19th century). "After a frightful war a Great King will arise and his reign will be marked by a wonderful peace and a great religious revival." (Dupont, p.13)

Telesphorus of Cozensa (16th century). "A powerful French Monarch and French Pope will regain the Holy Land after terrible wars in Europe...'' (Dupont, p. 31).

There were three weeks of riots began in Paris in October 2005--if my understanding of true vs. false Catholic prophecies is correct, there will be more civil unrest in France, as well as others throughout Europe, including Italy and Germany. Some Catholic prophecies state that Germany will be the beginning--but it is possible that there will be a minor beginning in France, then more major problems will begin in Germany (other say that "the Great King/Monarch/Emperor" will be French, but also have descent from German royalty). Either way, the Beast power will form.

03/03/07 a.m. In his March letter, WCG's J. Tkach writes:

As a central part of our ongoing work to help parents and congregations teach Jesus’ life-changing love to children, teens and college-age young adults, the Worldwide Church of God has developed Generations Family Ministries, or GenMin...

You are a vital part of these programs. Your prayerful and financial support, both of your local church and our central denominational work in Glendora, California, help make Generations Ministries possible.

"GenMin" is apparently intended to include camps, mentoring, mission trips, and retreats for children, teens, young adults, and families.

Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong asked:

How many al Qaeda agents are living in the U.S.?  Why are Jihadists teaching history at American universities?  What can be done to prevent a nuclear Iran?  Why is the EU suddenly at the center of negotiations regarding the handing over of the bulk of the West Bank to Palestinian terrorists?  How can Iran and its terrorist arm Hezbollah along with so many other entities in the Islamic openly call for the destruction of Israel and maintain the support of most of Europe and the UN?

The real answer is that the king of the North and the king of the South are forming (Daniel 11:27-40) and will ultimately do the US and its leading English-speaking allies harm.

Also in the news:

Putin to Attend to Ecumenical Matters Will Ask For Keys to Orthodox Church in Bari Zenit - March 2, 2007 

ROME - Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Benedict XVI might help progress Vatican-Orthodox relations, says the director of Rome's Russian Ecumenical Center.

Putin will meet the Holy Father in the Vatican on March 13, confirmed Father Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office.

Both biblical and Catholic prophecy suggests that there will be vastly increased cooperation between the Roman and Orthodox Catholics. Please see the article Europa and the Beast of Revelation.

03/02/07 a.m. Oasis' Pam Dewey sent some emails to me which stated:

I recently created a website for the complete collection of issues of magazine, which is published under the sponsorship of the Church of God
Cincinnati/Lexington, with Jim O'Brien as editor...

New Testament Evangelism" was never a "split" from the UCG as if it was some sort of group of congregations and ministers. It was started as a small independent service ministry that offered seminars on the topics of evangelism and developing healthy congregations, with Jim O'Brien, Guy
Swenson, and Bill Jacobs cooperating to present these. Although seminars are still given on occasion, each of these men have now focused on their individual gifts with their own ministries, cooperating extensively with one another to promote one another's efforts.

The last three listed were in UCG, all left about the same time, and ntevangelism was created around the same time. Pam Dewey was once part of CGI, but not UCG.

The following was in the news:

EU torture law has loopholes

EUobserver - Feb 27, 2007

BRUSSELS - The European trade in torture and execution instruments is still ongoing despite a recent EU law aimed at stopping such trade in the EU, according to a report by Amnesty International.

In its report launched on Tuesday (27 February) "European Union: Stopping the Trade in the Tools of Torture" the international human rights group called on the EU to take urgent steps to prevent any exploitation of legal loopholes in the regulation that came into force in July last year.

It also urged the European Commission and the 27 member states to tighten export controls on handcuffs, electric shock equipment, whips and other products which could be used to torture prisoners.

"Equipment designed for "security" purposes but which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment...has still been traded over the last few years by EU companies," the report said.

The group said that items synonymous with torture and executions - including spiked batons, wall handcuffs and specially designed hanging ropes - should be added to the list of banned instruments in the EU mentioned in the regulation...

"Freedom from torture is a human right," Amnesty underlined. http://euobserver.com/9/23585

While I applaud those trying to stamp out torture, I do not believe it will actually happen in this age.

Otto von Habsburg made the Vatican's news:

Christian Statesman - Dr. Otto von Habsburg

 Inside the Vatican - Feb 15, 2007by Cathy Pearson 

At 94, the "uncrowned emperor" and visionary architect of a reunified Europe carries on a thousand-year legacy of Catholic political leadership...


Europe the cradle of Christendom, where Christianity has become politically incorrect. Europe that stopped Islamic invasions at Tours and Lepanto and Vienna, but where now in some of its countries "Mohammed" is the single most popular name registered for newborn boys. Europe the 21st century's amnesiac lost child, bent on demographic suicide yet somehow still hearkening to its unique destiny as the heart of Christian civilization.

If the "problem of Europe" weighs heavily on the heart of this Bavarian pope, no one man better personifies a truly Catholic response to it than does Dr. Otto von Habsburg, heir of the last great Catholic monarchy and visionary architect of today's expanding European Union. His decades of public service in the political arena exemplify the best in Europe's Christian past and its hopes for a peaceful, united and still Christian future. 

Born to a 700-year-old imperial dynasty, the present-day head of the House of Habsburg has, in his own way, taken up the same mantle of responsibility borne by the Austrian emperors, and the Holy Roman Emperors before them, without benefit of any of the office's perks or powers. Probably most identified with Dr. von Habsburg is the staggering achievement of European unity in our lifetime after a century of warfare and Cold War polarization. No one has done more to bring about the new Europe, or to manifest it in his own person. A citizen of at least four nations, an orator who switches effortlessly between German, French, Hungarian and other languages, with descendants and extended family members in more countries than one could count, his allegiance goes beyond any national boundary. He himself has recalled as an epiphany the day he first spontaneously answered the nationality question with "I am a European." 

The man who would become "Mr. Europe" began life as the son and heir of the last emperor-king of the Austro-Hungarian Empire -- the recently beatified Karl of the House of Austria -- who had inherited the thrones of the Dual Monarchy as World War I raged...


While still in office and then in exile, Emperor Karl had personally taught Otto as his successor -- both by word and example -- that the office of a ruler is one of holy service and selfless sacrifice for the good of the peoples entrusted to him...


Pope John Paul II, in beatifying Emperor Karl, called him a model for Christian statesmen of today, especially in Europe. Otto himself shows how that ideal is as relevant to a democratic age as it was in the days of monarchy. And his faithful witness to that role began long before he became a public officeholder. Technically, the imperial mantle fell on his shoulders the moment his father passed to eternity...


If Dr. von Habsburg has been at the heart of Europe's transformation into a multinational superpower -- with a multicultural base that has become as "in" today as balkanization into national enclaves was "in" 90 years ago -- he has also been ahead of his time in addressing the challenge of Europe's identity and survival in a larger world. Like Pope Benedict XVI, he is also on the cutting edge of today's topic du jour, European-Muslim relations...


The role of religion in the public square is one of the great unfinished agenda items confronting Europe, as it is for all nations in today's secular world. Dr. Otto von Habsburg is a political leader whose identity as a Catholic is as unmistakable as his identity as a European...


Will Europe ever again hope to see a truly Christian, Catholic civilization?   

And so we asked Archduke Otto, during those joyful October days, "what about the other half, ‘for the good of the Church'?" He answered with great energy and conviction, eyes sparkling, "Oh, it will come -- it will come!" He added there are places where indications of it can be seen already... http://www.insidethevatican.com/articles/otto-von-habsburg.htm  also http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=7982

The late Herbert W. Armstrong knew Otto von Habsburg and often indicated that he was playing a major role in European unity (and the development of the beast power). Note that the Catholic Church and Dr. von Habsburg still intend to make the EU strongly Roman Catholic. Prophecy will be fulfilled (such as those shown in the article Europa and the Beast of Revelation).

03/01/07 a.m. February 2007 was a fairly popular month for the COGwriter website. The following are the top twelve most popular articles accessed last month:

  1. Valentine's Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine's Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true?
  2. Polycarp of Smyrna Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught?
  3. Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
  4. Brief Article on Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God This is Ronald Weinland's group. He claims to be one of the two witnesses.
  5. Why Not the Restored Church of God? This group, led by David Pack, claims to be the most faithful. The information in this article suggests otherwise.
  6. History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?
  7. Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG's I am aware of trace their history through this group. Whaid Rose is its president. Do you know much about them?
  8. Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself 'Philadelphia' does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9), nor does Gerald Flurry calling himself "that prophet" make it so. This article provides quotes from this group which claims to be faithful.
  9. Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, Martin Luther's writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority.
  10. Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
  11. Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation discusses the largest church since the second/third century, which in a real sense is the eighth church mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
  12. Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?

The Valentine's Day article was much more popular than I had anticipated that it would be. I probably updated at least half of the above articles sometime in February (although I did not update the article Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? until late yesterday).

The following item was of prophetic interest:

Rabbis seek to resume animal sacrifices

Jerusalem Post - March 1, 2007 

(AP) - A fringe group of extremist rabbis wants to resume the biblical practice of animal sacrifice at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, members said Wednesday, defying centuries of religious bans and triggering a stiff protest from a Muslim leader.

The group, called the "Re-established Sanhedrin" after the Temple-era religious high court, has decided to buy some sheep and try to find one that is ritually perfect for sacrifice, with an eye toward resuming the practice...

"We want to do the sacrifice, but we have political problems," Stein said. "We hope there will come a time when the government will agree. We will push for that to happen." http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?c=JPArticle&cid=1171894541122&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

We in the COGs believe that daily animal sacrifices must begin in order for them to end in fulfillment of Daniel 11:31:

And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation (Daniel 11:31).

It should be noted that Roman Catholics are taught that the above refers to the mass (their "daily sacrifice of Christ"), however we in the COGs disagree.

The following news item may have prophetic ramifications:

Royal cousins fight for defunct Italian throne Telegraph - March 1, 2007

Italy is bracing itself for an unseemly court battle over who has the right to call himself the head of the country's royal family. While the titles and honours of the Italian royal family have not legally been recognised since 1946, when the republic was founded, Prince Victor Emmanuel, 70, has ruled over the House of Savoy since the death of his father, Umberto II, in 1983.

However, his cousin Amedeo, 63, the 5th Duke D'Aosta, strenuously maintains it is he, not Victor Emmanuel, who is the true heir to the defunct monarchy.    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=2KLHOE1HTVTHVQFIQMFSFGGAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2007/03/01/witaly01.xml

The book of Revelation describes a time where ten kings will give power to the Beast:

The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast (Revelation 17:12-13).

Catholic prophecy that I have read also indicates that there will be some type of re-establishment of monarchies in at least parts of Europe.

The Febraury 2007 issue of United News arrived last night. The following was on its front page:

Larry Salyer to Lead Media Team

In order to provide additional manpower and expertise to the Church's rapidly growing media efforts, the Council of Elders approved President Clyde Kilough's request to bring Larry Salyer to the home office. He will serve as the new operation manager for Media and Communications Services.

"It has always been exciting to participate in the Church's work of preaching the gospel to the world," said Mr. Salyer. "I am anxious to get involved in the day-to-day efforts of the Media and Communications Services department, as both the Council and the administration step up plans to reach our fellow man with the good news of God's Kingdom.

"I want to thank Peter Eddington and his staff for laying a good foundation for future growth, and I look forward to working alongside them."

The target date for this appointment will be May or June, when the Salyers can move to Cincinnati and a new pastor can take his place in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Grand Junction, Colorado.

"Mr. Salyer brings to the table a long history of administrative and management background in the Church, much of which involved media matters," said Mr. Kilough.

This would somewhat explain why UCG announced posted that it intends "a projected addition of $1.6 million to the media budget" (see yesterday's update). Larry Salyer was a key figure in the GCG takeover and was not really supportive of RC Meredith's successful media program.

02/28/07 a.m. SDA S. Bacchiocchi writes:

In a few weeks time the Christian world will take time to commemorate the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. The celebration is known as Passover by some Christians (April 3, 2007) and Easter-Sunday (April 8, 2007) by others. The two names and dates trace their origin to the second century, when the Bishop of Rome promoted moving the Passover date to the Sunday after the Nisan 14 Passover, in order, as stated by Constantine, "to have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd." Most Christians ignore that Easter-Sunday is not found in the New Testament.  It came into existence more to show hate toward the Jews, rather than love toward Jesus Christ. You can read about it in my dissertation From Sabbath too Sunday. 
         Our immediate concern is not to discuss the Passover controversy of the early Church, but to propose how our Adventist Churches can participate in the celebration of the ANNUAL FEAST OF REDEMPTION: PASSOVER. Most Adventists assume that the Passover celebration came to an end with the sacrifice of Christ, the Paschal Lamb on the Cross. But there is abundant evidence showing that NT Christians did observe the Christian Passover. In fact, the change from Passover to Easter-Sunday, stirred up more controversy in the Early Church than the change from Sabbath to Sunday. This historical fact is unknown to most Adventists.  
         The NT observance of Passover is acknowledged by Ellen White. For example, she comments on Acts 20:6 ("We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread"), "At Philippi Paul tarried to keep the Passover. . . . The Philippians were the most loving and truehearted of the apostle's converts, and during the eight days of the feast he enjoyed peaceful and happy communion with them" (Acts of the Apostles, pp. 390-391).  Ellen White acknowledges also the importance of Pentecost for Paul when she writes that he shortened his stay at Ephesus, because "he was on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost" (Redemption: or the Teaching of Paul, and His Mission to the Gentiles, p. 65). The implication of these statements is clear. Ellen White believed that Paul celebrated the Feasts of Passover and Pentecost. 
         The typology of Passover was initially fulfilled when Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, was sacrificed to deliver us from the bondage of sin. Yet there is still a future and ultimate fulfillment of Passover at the End, when Christ will deliver His people from the great tribulation and invite them to participate in "the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Rev 19:9). Christ Himself pointed to this future fulfillment of Passover when He said: "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:16). In this statement Christ makes it clear that the ultimate fulfillment of Passover was not at the Cross, but will be at the End with the establishment of God's kingdom. It is interesting to study how Christ took the non-sacrificial elements of the Jewish Passover-the Bread and Wine-to establish the Christian Passover.

Although he gets the date of Passover off (it will be observed on Sunday April 1, 2007 after Passover as that is the 14th of Abib/Nisan), his other points are basically correct. Two articles of related interest may be Passover and the Early Church and SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.

UCG has began to report on its latest COE Meetings:

Mr. Dick reviewed the positive income trend. He pointed out that from 1998 until two years ago the Church experienced an income growth rate in the 2 to 4 percent range. Over the past two years the income has tracked in the 7 percent range. He commented that United's original priority of providing pastors for every congregation created a certain amount of overhead expense. Over time the fixed expenses became a smaller portion of the whole, allowing us to move money into other areas such as public proclamation. The proposed budget is an example of this change, with a projected addition of $1.6 million to the media budget...

The Good News print run for the March/April 2007 issue will be 435,000. Although the number of magazines printed each issue has not increased significantly, the goal has been to reduce the number of newsstand and waiting room issues and increase the number of actual subscribers. There are currently over 323,000 U.S. subscribers on file. It is anticipated that the U.S. subscriber circulation will rise to nearly 500,000 as a result of increased advertising this spring...

Beyond Today is currently airing on 188 cable-access channels and broadcasting on 17 radio stations in the United States. Average response per program is 156 and continues to increase. The most popular program so far is "The Coming King of the South," with 316 responses . Through January, a total of 52 programs had been recorded, generating 8,865 telephone and Web responses...

Peter Eddington suggested edits to the Church's "Web Site Policy," which was originally written in March 1999. After Council discussion, Mr. Kilough introduced a resolution to accept the policy as edited, which was approved unanimously.

Mr. Eddington also suggested edits to the "Local Congregation Webcasting Guidelines," which were recently published in the Ministerial Services Newsletter and Journal. The Council discussed the need to clarify that the policy is church-wide (not U.S. only) and to include mention of sermons that are posted on Web sites, as well as those that are webcast. Mr. Eddington agreed to prepare an edited copy of the guidelines for the Council to review.

Since its inception, UCG's has received much less responses than LCG's Tomorrow's World received in just the month of January 2007. However, I have long believed that UCG would have more of a presence and "with a projected addition of $1.6 million to the media budget" it may start to do so.

Speaking of UCG, the February 2007 edition of its World News & Prophecy arrived last night. Since I posted something about the stock markets yesterday, I thought the following comments from Melvin Rhodes' article titled Is America in Financial Decline? may be of interest:

In Daniel 2:21 we learn that God is behind the rise and fall of nations: "He removes kings and raises up kings."

We also see in the same chapter that one more superpower is going to dominate the world before the return of Jesus Christ (verse 44). This superpower will be a revival of the Roman Empire, the "fourth beast" mentioned in verse 40. It will be a union of 10 European nations, symbolized in this passage by "ten toes."

In Revelation 17 these 10 toes are "ten horns which...are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast" (verses 12-13). This short-lived revival of the Roman Empire will be overthrown by the Kingdom of God: "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings" (verse 14).

Before this great military power can come together, the world must move from a U.S.-dominated economic system to one centered on Europe. This is what is now happening with the dollar's decline and the increasing role of the euro, although it could still be some time before the euro fully replaces the U.S. dollar.

Revelation chapter 18 is a prophecy about the fall of the mighty economic system that lies behind the revived Roman Empire. Contrary to what some believe, it is not a prophecy about America's fall, as the United States has not been responsible for the "blood of prophets and saints" (verse 24). This responsibility lies with the Roman Empire and its successors, both secular and spiritual, throughout history.

Irrespective of what happens to the US stock market, it should be noted that there is likely to be "some bumps in the road" for Europe before the currency of the Beast power (which probably will be the Euro) becomes the dominant currency of the world. An article of possibly related interest may be Europa and the Beast of Revelation.

02/27/07 p.m. The following item may have noticeable economic ramifications:

World stocks plummet on China woe BBC - Feb 27, 2007  
Global stock markets have slumped, with the US Dow Jones index plummeting by more than 400 points and London's FTSE 100 index also posting sharp losses.

The sell-off was sparked by a near-9% slide on the Shanghai Composite Index, as investors worried that China may pass rules to limit demand for stocks. The Dow Jones fell more than 500 points at one point, before closing down 416.02 points, or 3.29%, at 12,216.24. The FTSE 100 closed on a fall of 2.3%, or 148.6 points, to 6,286.1. Elsewhere on Wall Street, the technology-laden Nasdaq index closed down 3.86% at 2,407.87, while the S&P 500 index closed down 3.47% at 1,399.04. The New York Stock Exchange instituted trading curbs at 1303 EST (1803 GMT) in a bid to stem falls on the US stock market, although the move was not enough to prevent the Dow plunging by more than 500 points in late trading. Earlier in the day, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index had ended trading on a loss of 1.8%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 index slid 0.5%. "The sell-off in China continues to have a profound effect on stocks across the board, since the largest unwinding in the Shanghai Composite Index since 1997 leaves investors questioning the sustainability of stock gains everywhere," said analysts at Briefing.com.

'Sense of panic'

Investor sentiment on Wall Street was also knocked by figures showing that US growth may be slowing down more than anticipated, with a government report earlier showing that orders for durable goods in January had dropped by the largest amount in three months. "As the afternoon has progressed, there seems to be a sense of panic among some professional investors," said Andre Bakhos, president of Princeton Financial Group. "There seems to be just an air of nothing is safe anymore, there's nowhere to go and people are rotating into bonds as a safe haven." China has been one of the main emerging markets for many investors as the country's economy has grown strongly and the government has sold stakes in some of its biggest and most attractive companies. However, the government has been looking at ways of slowing growth in order to stop the economy from overheating, and many investors are worried that it may lead to tougher regulations that will limit stock-market investment. At the same time, there are concerns that interest rates will have to be raised in order to rein in economic and price growth, further denting domestic demand for shares. "Foreign companies which are particularly exposed to China have been badly affected," said Peter Dixon, an economist at Commerzbank. "These companies basically will suffer in the event of things going sour in the Chinese market." Standard Chartered, a lender that focuses on emerging markets, was one of the biggest UK decliners on Tuesday despite reporting earnings that topped analysts' forecasts. Standard Chartered was down 4% at 1,450 pence.

Digging down

Also hurting UK shares was a newspaper report that South Africa may consider asking companies in the mining industry to pay an extra tax. The news hit shares of mining firms, with Xstrata losing 6.7%, Vedanta Resources shedding 4.9%, Anglo American down 4.7%, BHP Billiton falling 6.2%, and Rio Tinto sliding 4.8%. South African newspaper Business Day said the government may ask mining companies to pay an additional tax on top of the royalties they already pay when commodity prices climb above a certain level. Commodity prices have climbed to record levels in recent months. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6400789.stm

At some point in time, there will be much more panic than the above is causing. We all need to place our trust in God.

02/27/07 a.m. UCG Council member V. Kubik reports:

Helicopter carrying Navy warship pulls into San Diego harbor in front of our hotel late Thursday afternoon February 22, 2007
The UCG Council of Elders meets in San Diego from Friday February 23 to February 28.

Normally UCG posts information throughout the meeting, but as of this morning, none are posted at the relevant portion of UCG's website.

In his booklet titled Time Has Run Out, Ronald Weinland wrote:

This restoration of truth, which occurred during the leadership of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and the period of time we know as Philadelphia, should be an easy thing to acknowledge. Yes, God revealed foundational truth to His Church once again. This era kept His word and did not deny His name. Sardis was known for just the opposite- letting the word of God die out as they themselves were dying spiritually- denying the life of God to live in and through them.

Our history is a testimony to the truth that God used Mr. Armstrong to restore truth to His Church. Doors were opened by God that made this task possible- doors that no one could shut...

To deny that Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong was the Elijah to come before the end-time is either ignorant or willing denial of what is true concerning our history and what God did through him. It is God who restored necessary truth to the Church so that a people would be ready for the second-coming of Jesus Christ.

One of the foundation truths that HWA taught was that God is a family and that both the Father and the Son are God. Yet Ron Weinland denies the deity of Jesus. It is true that God Used Herbert Armstrong to Raise Up the Philadelphia Era of the Church of God. However, two additional articles of related interest may be: Brief Article on Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God and The Elijah Heresies.

02/26/07 a.m. Here is a sad news article to report:

Religion was key to slain Lessard family, relatives say

The Journal News (New York) - Feb 24, 2007

Steven and Kathy Lessard of Lake Peekskill were quiet people who met at a church event as young adults and deepened their devotion to God as they traveled to religious festivals around the country.

Polite. Generous. Personable.

These are the qualities people who knew them - whether intimately or just in passing - attributed to the couple and their only child, Linda.

"If you're standing in line and somebody looks in your basket and sees you've got fewer things and lets you go by - that's the kind of kindness I'm talking about," said the Rev. Jeffrey Broadnax of the Worldwide Church of God, an evangelical Christian denomination. "They were always just really pleasant people, and you just enjoyed being around them."

But the family's final chapter ended in tragedy last week, authorities said, when Steven Lessard strangled his wife and 14-year-old daughter before thrusting a steak knife into his groin to kill himself. http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070224/NEWS04/702240358/1023/NEWS07

I believe that Satan is determined to make former members of the WCG look unstable publicly, when possible. Of course, even the New Testament records that people such as Judas and Simon Magus were affiliated Christ's message.

A Protestant author wrote:

History conclusively denies both apostolic succession and papal infallibility. And in fact, many popes denied the latter also, among them Vigilius (537-55), Clement IV (1265-8), Gregory XI (1370-8), Adrian VI (1522-3), Paul IV (1555-9) and even Innocent III (1198-1216)...(Hunt D. A Women Rides the Beast. Harvest House Publishers, Eugene (OR) p. 117).

Of course, the truth about Rome not having Apostolic Succession is known by Roman Catholic scholars. And here are comments from two Catholics (Hans Kung and Pope John XII) regarding papal infallibility:

Catholic theologian Hans Kung writes:

With regard to the origin of the Roman doctrine of infallibility:...[it] did not slowly "develop" or "unfold," but rather it was created in one stroke in the late 1200s [by] an eccentric Franciscan, Peter Olivi (d. 1298), repeatedly accused of heresy. At first no one took Olivi's notion seriously...

Olivi's theory was soon denounced by a pontiff...Pope John XXII...John produced his Bull Qui quorundam (1324)...In it, John XXII reviled the doctrine of papal infallibility as "the work of the devil." (Ibid, pp. 112-113).

Here is some of what John XXII wrote:

Because the father of lies is said to have so blinded the minds of certain [men], that they by [means of] false madness have obscured Our constitutions...Moreover, they have used as much as word as writing to impugn the aforesaid constitutions, for the alleged reason, as is shown: They say that "That which the Roman Pontiffs had defined by [means of] the key of knowledge, in faith and morals, once for all, persists unchangeable to such an extent, that it is not lawful for a successor to call it again into doubt, nor to affirm the contrary," although concerning those things, which have been ordained by [means of] the key of power, they assert it to be otherwise...

On account of which moreover, since it was previously mentioned in the aforesaid consideration, namely, that "It is not licit for their successors to call again into doubt those things, which were defined once for all by the key of knowledge in faith or morals by the Supreme Pontiffs, although it is otherwise," so they say, " in regards to those things, which have been ordained by the Supreme Pontiffs by [means of] the key of power," it is evidently clear from the following things [that] this is directly contrary to the truth...

If therefore after an interdict of a general council it was lawful for the supreme Pontiffs to confirm orders [that] had not been confirmed, and for their successors to dissolve completely [those which] had been so confirmed, is it not wonderful, if, what only the supreme Pontiff may declare or ordain concerning the rules of [religious] orders, it is lawful for his successors to declare or to change to other things...

We do declare that each and every [person], who by word or writing on his own or by means of another or others presumes [to do] such things publicly, and that also they, who teach these in regards to such things and do as has been aforementioned, have fallen into condemned heresy, and [are to be treated] as heretics to be avoided. If anyone, moreover, would presume by word or writing to knowingly defend or approve, one after the other, the heresies condemned by the constitution "Quum inter praedictam," or either of them, after [having taken] counsel of the same brother [cardinals], We judge that he is to be visibly treated as a heretic by all.

(John XXII. Quia quorundam. November 10, 1324 A. D. English translation made from the latin text, transcribed from "EXTRAVAG. IOANN. XXII. TIT. XIV. DE VERBORUM SIGNIFICATIONE CAP V [1]", DECRETALIUM CCOLLECTIONES, AKADEMISCHE DRUCK - U. VERLAGSANSTALT GRAZ, 1959, which was published as a second volume in a reprint of Codex Iuris Canonicis, ed. B. Tauchnitz, Leipzig,1879.)

Of course the logical question is if popes are infallible, then John XXII was infallible when he basically denounced papal infallibility and said that "the supreme Pontiff" can change what other popes taught? But for some reason, Roman Catholics tend to accept such contradictions.

An article of possible interest may be What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?

It should be noted that early popes did not have liturgical vestments as the Catholic/Orthodox priests and others now wear, as they did not exist before the fourth century.

Notice that The Catholic Encyclopedia admits this:

Stephen 1...it is generally believed that he was consecrated 12 May, 254, and that he died 2 August, 257...In his days the vestments worn by the clergy at Mass and other church services did not differ in shape or material from those ordinarily worn by the laity (Mann H. Transcribed by Kenneth M. Caldwell. Pope St. Stephen I. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The liturgical vestments have by no means remained the same from the founding of the Church until the present day. There is as great a difference between the vestments worn at the Holy Sacrifice in the pre-Constantinian period, and even in the following centuries, and those now customary at the services of the Church, as between the rite of the early Church and that of modern times...Four main periods may be distinguished in the development of the Christian priestly dress. The first embraces the era before Constantine. In that period the priestly dress did not yet differ from the secular costume in form and ornament. The dress of daily life was worn at the offices of the Church. In times of peace and under normal conditions better garments were probably used...The second period embraces the time from about the fourth to the ninth century. It is the most important epoch in the history of liturgical vestments, the epoch in which not merely a priestly dress in a special sense was created, but one which at the same time determined the chief vestments of the present liturgical dress (Joseph Braun. Transcribed by Michael T. Barrett. Vestments. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In other words, up until at least the fourth century, even Catholic leaders did not dress differently than members.

Jesus did not wear distinctive clothing else Judas would not have had to point Him out:

Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him." Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him (Matthew 26:48-49).

Paul did not wear distinctive clothing or he would not have been misidentified:

Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, "May I speak to you?" He replied, "Can you speak Greek? Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?" (Acts 21:37-38).

There is no record in the New Testament of any instruction for the clergy/ministry to dress differently than the lay members. The true leaders from Jesus to Paul to Polycarp to beyond simply did not dress in special vestments. Thus there was no biblical reason considered necessary for vestments, etc.

The ministry of the various COGs wear clothing appropriate for their respective cultures. There is no clear distinction in dress for the ministry compared to the laity.

Actually, because of persecution, it would have been dangerous for elders/presbyters/bishops to adopt the type of dress they now wear in the days of early Christianity. It should be noted that early leaders/elders/priest did not have liturgical vestments as the Catholic/Orthodox priests and others now wear, as they did not exist that early. This is a minor, but noticeable, physical example of how the COG is more faithful to the original practices of the Christian church than many churches are.

So where did priests, bishops, and other religious leaders get the idea of special clothing? Apparently by following the example of Emperor Constantine. Notice what was written by a Roman Catholic named Peter de Rosa:

...it is plain that the Bishop of Rome looked like Constantine, lived like him, dressed liked him, inhabited his palaces, ruled over his lands, had exactly the same imperial outlook. The pope, too, wanted to lord it over church and state.

Only seven hundred years after Peter died, the popes had become obsessed with power and possessions. Peter's [alleged] successors [became] not the servants but the masters of the world. They . . . dress in purple like Nero and call themselves Pontifex Maximus (Cited in Hunt D. A Women Rides the Beast. Harvest House Publishers, Eugene (OR) p. 141).

Pontifex Maximus was a title, literally meaning bridge-builder (but figuratively meaning the link between God and man) that Roman Emperors, including Constantine, used for themselves.

The above information is included in the article What Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors?

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Volume 10, issue 39 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2007