Archive for June, 2007

Pope Says to Contemplate Church History

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

The Pope promoted contemplating church history yesterday:

Pope: Church History a Lesson in Awe

Reflects on Eusebius of Caesarea

Zenit – June 13, 2007

VATICAN CITY – Benedict XVI says contemplating the history of the Church should lead the faithful to be awed by God’s great work of salvation.

The Pope said this today when dedicating his reflection at the general audience to Eusebius of Caesarea, the first to write a history of the Church…

The Pontiff showed that Eusebius covered various topics in his 10-volume “Ecclesiastical History”: “apostolic succession, as the structure of the Church, the spreading of the Message, errors, persecutions by pagans, and the great testimonies which constitute the shining light of this ‘History.’ Amid it all, shine the mercy and goodness of the Savior.”

He added that Eusebius’ writings have a “‘moral intent’ that gives direction to the narrative. Historical analysis is never an end in itself; it seeks not only to get to know the past, but it firmly points toward conversion and to an authentic witness of Christian life on the part of the faithful.”

I agree with Pope Benedict XVI that “contemplating the history of the Church should lead the faithful to be awed by God’s great work of salvation”.

But of course, a knowledge of the truth about church history clearly should show any with “ears to hear” that the Roman Catholic Church is not a continuation of the true Church. That Protestantism is not a continuation of the true Church. And of course, that no branch of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the continuation of the true Church.

Several articles of related interest could include:

History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years.

What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
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?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible?
Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants How the COGs differ from mainstream Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a COG background.
Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this?

Ron Weinland’s 2008 Predictions Are Wrong

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Yesterday, I noticed that my article Concerns About Ronald Weinland’s Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God is currently the most popular article at the COGwriter website. My best guess for this is that since Ron Weinland claims that the great tribulation will come in 2008, that some have decided to learn about more about him, his teachings, and his church in order to determine whether he should be considered to be reliable. My article contains the following:

Concerning his second book 2008 – God’s Final Witness, Ronald Weinland declared:

From now until the latter part of 2008, many prophecies are going to begin to be fulfilled, especially the Seven Thunders of the Book of Revelation, which the apostle John saw but was restricted from recording. Those thunders are revealed in this book, as well as detailed accounts of the final three and one-half years of man’s self-rule on earth, which are recorded in the account of the Seventh Seal of Revelation.

Some of these prophecies concern the demise of the United States over the next two years, which will be followed by man’s final world war. This last war will be the result of clashing religions and the governments they sway. Billions will die! This time will far exceed even the very worst times in all human history.As these events unfold, the world will increasingly become aware of the authenticity of the words in this book and realize that Ronald Weinland has been sent by God as His end-time prophet.This book is primarily directed to the people of the three major religions of the world (Islam, Judaism and Christianity), whose roots are in the God of Abraham. Ronald Weinland has been sent to all three. ( 11/26/06).

I noticed that at the page claims:

Unlike The Da Vinci Code which is fiction, 2008—God’s Final Witness is true and reveals hidden secrets that man has not been able to uncover for thousands of years. No one in the three major religions of the world (Islam, Judaism and Christianity) has ever known the prophecies that are revealed in this book, which are beginning to unfold even now.

2008—God’s Final Witness reveals the Seven Thunders of the Book of Revelation, which the apostle John was not allowed to record! It also gives more specific end-time prophecies that will sharply increase during the next year and one-half when the final tribulation of this world strikes. 

In his second book 2008 – God’s Final Witness, Ronald Weinland declared:

I am to announce, through God’s direct revelation, that I am one of those two witnesses. The other witness will be revealed to the world during the time of the great tribulation—within the final three and one-half years of man’s era (Weinland, Ronald. 2008 – God’s Final Witness. Copyright © 2006 by, inc., Cincinnati. Published October, 2006, p.16).

Although, it is most likely that the two witnesses are alive right now, and maybe we in the COGs will know who they are prior to the final 3 1/2 years, I do not believe that he is one of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 (I believe his writings on governance, the work, Jesus, and prophecy have pretty much ruled him out). But contrary to the claims of Ron Weinland, the great tribulation will not begin in 2008 nor will the seven thunders be fulfilled nor will the United States demise occur by then–various prophetically required events are simply not in place for those events to occur.

Having just returned from my third European trip in three years, I will state that the Europeans are simply not ready to fulfill their role as the supporters of the King of the North-the Final Beast Beast power yet. The Europeans do not consider that they are united, they have not accepted any type of universal religion (and while Pope Benedict XVI is working on that–this still is not ready), have not completed their Galileo project (a “GPS” system that will allow them to work independently of the US military’s system), have not finished their systems for “international prosperity”, have not acknowledged ten kings which need to be determined (Revelation 17:12), have not strengthened/unified their military enough, etc. And while “Galileo” itself is not a biblical requirement, the idea of having its own powerful military clearly is (see Revelation 13:4). There are also events in Daniel 11, Matthew 24, and other prophecies that I do not believe have been fulfilled to the degree necessary for the actual final 3 1/2 year great tribulation to begin in 2008 (though it will start in the future, and actually could begin several years from now).

2008 is not going to be the beginning of the great tribulation. Those who follow any who state this are allowing themselves to be deceived.

On the other hand, those who do not believe that the end will come are also deceived. The Bible warns against people who do not believe that the end will come:

…knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:3-7).

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26-30).

The USA is so far in debt, it has no realistic way to get out of it. The current apparent prosperity in the USA has really come as the result of the greatest shift from being a creditor to debtor nation that the world has ever seen. It is unsustainable and according to the Bible will contribute to the destruction of the USA (c.f. Habakkuk 2:6-8).

A few articles of possible interest related to prophecy may include:

Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist. This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666.
Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 This article explains how the COG views this, and compares this to Ellen White.

Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation?
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur.
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Is There A Future King of the South? Some no longer believe there needs to be. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? What does the Bible say?
The Bible and the Arab World In History and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam?
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 3: China in Prophecy What is Ahead for China? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese?
Japan, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: Prophecy Japan in prophecy. What is prophesied for Japan. Will God save the Japanese?
Islands and Bible Prophecy What’s ahead for islands? What does the Bible prophesy about them?
Modern Nations and God’s Ancient Plan Many peoples are mentioned in the Bible. And other than the fact that the nation of Israel represents the ancient kingdom of Judah, do you know who any of these people are now?
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach?

NWCOG: Jesus Christ, God of the Old Testament

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

In its June 2007 posting, North West Church of God (a UK-based group) reports:

Jesus Christ, God of the Old Testament.
Over the years, many who believe themselves to be Christians have come to almost ignore the Old Testament because they look to Jesus Christ as their Saviour and believe the God of the Old Testament to be quite another person, with a more severe approach to His Law. Jesus, they have been told, replaced the Law with just one word, LOVE, and so for them there is less relevance in the Ten Commandments, much less the other statutes and laws of the Old Testament.

This belief we will show to be a total fallacy.

The God of the Old Testament, specifically the one who dealt with the ancient Israelites, was, in fact Jesus Christ, and the lessons the Old Testament
contains were provided for Christians today. –

Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
Matt 5:18. “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

We will see that without the instructions and examples the Old Testament contains, it is impossible to please God, for a true Christian will always be a diligent follower of the whole of God’s word in order to understand and obey his creator. –

1 Corinthians 10:11-12. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

The Bible teaches a lot about the Ten Commandments that many who profess Christianity do not seem to understand. Several articles of related interest may include:

Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai? Some have said not. This article provides biblical quotes to answer this important question.
Job and the Ten Commandments Was Job written prior to Mount Sinai? Did Job know about the ten commandments? This article provides biblical answers to those questions.
What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments? This article quotes what Jesus actually said about them (His words are in red).
Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? Some have said so. This article provides some biblical quotes to answer this important question.
What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments? Many say Paul taught against the ten commandments. Is this true? This article quotes Paul with his words in green.

Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well.
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?

The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings.

Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants How the COGs differ from mainstream Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a COG background.
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.
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?

UCG Announces Its 2007-2008 Budget

Monday, June 11th, 2007

UCG’s United News states:

$25 Million 2007-2008 Budget Overview Outlined

At the annual meeting May 6, the General Conference of Elders approved a $25 million budget for the fiscal year 2007-2008, which begins July 1…

Increases for Preaching the Gospel and Preparing a People

The budget includes “a substantial increase (over $1.6 million)” for preaching the gospel, “the largest year-to-year increase for this purpose in the history of the United Church of God.”

The budget also includes funding to hire up to five additional ministerial trainees, expansion of the ministerial development program, several three-day regional ministerial conferences and “a significant increase in support of the Youth Corps program.”

The executive reserve of $1.65 million includes $1.5 million set aside for the home office relocation project…

Budget Amounts

The amounts budgeted for the various programs are:

Council of Elders — $174,900

Home Office — $1,317,013

Public Proclamation — $6,196,980

International — $2,017,665

Ministerial Services — $10,059,177

Festivals — $1,074,165

GCE — $80,000

Insurance — $1,880,100

403(b) — $550,000

Executive Reserve — $1,650,000

Total: $25,000,000

Dr. Kirkpatrick said the 2007-2008 budget “reflects the ongoing grace and generosity of God in blessing the Church with a steady and growing provision of financial resources to help with carrying out its mission.”

The above reflects a shifting in UCG spending that I have long expected–once it had enough reserves (it has taken them 12 years) it would increase spending on public proclamation.  Increased spending on public proclamation is a good thing.  But even with this increase, UCG will only be spending about a 1/4 of its income on that objective.

Brian Knowles in CG7’s Bible Advocate

Monday, June 11th, 2007

This morning, I noticed that CG7 listed the following article in the June 2007 edition of its Bible Advocate:

Sex: A God’s-Eye View — by Brian Knowles

Brian Knowles once wrote for the Plain Truth. But now is affiliated with ACD, a unitarian group (he is one of the three writers of its blog). It is shocking, to me at least, that CG7 would include an article in one of its publications from one who apparently does not believe that Jesus is God (August 5, 2007 note: Brian Knowles has since written “I do believe that Jesus the Messiah was an incarnation of God.“.  However, I still do not believe if he is in the COG he should have the type of affiliation he does with ACD).

Several articles of possible interest may include:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

Kuwait Dinar No Longer Pegged to Dollar

Monday, June 11th, 2007

PCG reported the following news item:

Kuwait decided to stop pegging its currency to the U.S. dollar and joined a growing list of nations that set the price of their currency to a basket of currencies. As Jim Jubak of MSN Finance quipped, you know your currency has become a 98-pound weakling when Kuwait can kick sand on it. Indeed, global U.S. dollar demand is in decline.

Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah, governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, said the fall of the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar has “contributed to local inflation” and had “negative effects” on the economy. He said the move away from the dollar was in Kuwait’s “national interest”…

Demand for the U.S. dollar is dwindling, and its desirability as a world reserve currency is fading.

In turn, the downturn in the demand for U.S. dollars could be a wider reflection of dwindling confidence in the U.S. economy and a shift in focus toward the European Union economy, which has begun to gather steam. Kuwait’s shift from the dollar, while not being seismic in scale, confirms that the U.S. dollar is on the way out. Other nations appear set to increasingly dump the dollar for the fast-growing alternative: the euro.

Of course, the fact that the USA liberated Kuwait so that it could actually exist as a nation is insufficient for Kuwait not to make this change. Slowly, the steps are falling into place for the USA to decline economically and for the Arab World to form the King of the South.

China in the 21st Century

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

In the latest edition of the Living Church News, LCG’s RC Meredith reported on his visit to China:

The next morning, we headed for China! While planning the trip to the Philippines, I had noted on the map that China appeared to be only a two-and-a-half or three-hour flight from Manila. Since I have for years wanted the Work to somehow get into China, I thought it would be worth the time and the effort on my part—even at the end of this strenuous trip—to visit that part of the world and get a “feel” for the people of China. Remember brethren, more than one-third of the world’s entire population lives in either China or India! These fellow human beings must be reached with the message of the soon-coming Kingdom of God (see Mark 16:15). So it is vital that we start making plans as to how we can best reach this one-third of all humanity.

…The Chinese people are very industrious and, on the surface, reasonably happy. But the poor air quality and the polluted water were obvious in the Chinese cities we visited. Especially in Beijing, the government is trying to put its “best face forward” in preparation for the 2008 Olympics. We found Beijing to be more pleasant than Shanghai, however, because there was a little less air pollution and somewhat less crowded conditions.

Many publications have suggested that the 21st century will be “China’s century.” Even though the Chinese are fiercely moving forward, and their progress in developing their industries is obvious, these publications are dead wrong for two reasons. First, the inspired word of God describes specifically how a coming European Union will be the dominant force in this world—obviously within the next several years. Therefore, brethren, I would like to focus your mind on this matter so you can more intelligently “watch” world events along this line as they unfold before your very eyes. In the coming years, you will perhaps even see a revolt of the peasants in the outlying Chinese cities, who have lagged far behind the standard of living afforded those who have moved to Beijing and Shanghai. Plus, the tremendous pollution of the water, air and foodstuffs may bring about massive disease epidemics and other problems for the Chinese.

In addition, distracting wars and other events may— as God chooses to guide it—greatly undermine the material progress now being made by the Chinese. Meanwhile, you will soon see the European Union evolve into an absolutely powerful and dynamic force in the world— ultimately to become the “Beast” as revealed in Revelation 17 in your own Bible!

So the 21st century will not be the “Chinese century!” Rather it will appear to become the European century for a few years, until the magnificent return of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. From then on, the 21st century will be, indeed, “Christ’s century!” And all of us who are able to understand the “Big Picture” of world events from God’s point of view should be preparing to help straighten out the appalling degree of suffering, starvation and misconduct we find on this earth today in virtually every nation.

Portions of the above and other comments were added to the articles China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God’s Witness in China and China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 3: China in Prophecy.

UCG and the Kings of the North and South

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

In the latest edition of UCG’s World News & Prophecy, its Cecil E. Maranville concluded an article on China with:

Two sets of biblical prophecies help us anticipate what will happen: (1) Those that say modern-day Israel would shrink from its dominance of world affairs and (2) those that foretell an alliance of nations south of Jerusalem will provoke a major war with another alliance located north of Jerusalem.

In the first set of prophecies, modern Israel includes the United States, Great Britain and members of its commonwealth, as well as the state of Israel. As shocking as it seems today, American military, political and economic power will indeed cease to lead the world.

The second set of prophecies springs from Daniel and Revelation; they are summarized in Daniel 11:40-45. These verses tell of a “king of the South” doing something so provocative to a “king of the North” that he reacts by taking over the region of Palestine. On the basis of what we can observe today, we anticipate that the king of the South will be an alliance of Muslim nations from northern Africa through the Middle East and that the king of the North will be a core of European nations, smaller than the present EU configuration.

And while the above says pretty much nothing about China (though other parts of the article do) it does give insight into what UCG believes about the King of the North and the King of the South.

WCG and Women

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

Yesterday, WCG reported:

Paul’s Policy on Women: Three Key Questions: In 1 Timothy 2, verse 12, Paul writes: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” Primarily because of this verse, we as a denomination did not ordain women as elders until the year 2007. Our change of policy involved a change in the way we understood this verse.

Of course, that is only one of the many changes at WCG. An article that reaches different conclusions than WCG does about women would include Women and the New Testament Church.

COGCDS sent an email stating:

I have enclosed the list of “Herbert W. Armstrong” messages I have on CD’s and DVD’s in the email below. It is over 20 pages long.I now have the new Atonement message dated 9-20-80, on a cassette tape. Once we clean it up I plan to share it as usual. If you have any new HWA messages I don’t have. please do share with me ASAP. Please do check your church library for new HWA material I don’t have. If any website posts messages I don’t have, please send me the exact link to it.I will in turn share with all of Gods scattered people interested in this material free of charge. If you have benefited in ANY way in the material I have shared with you (like using it in your church), please return the favor and share with me. God sees the heart, He knows if we are sharing the Truth we were freely blessed with. He also sees if we will NOT share what others have given us.Please do share this list with all “HWA Producers” who value this material. I try to work together as a team with all who value these teachings.Thank you! COGCDS…Website:

There are various HWA resources on the net. The above one is growing.