Archive for August, 2007

Temple Wall Found in Jerusalem?

Friday, August 31st, 2007

The following news item was of interest:

Possible remains of second temple found in Jerusalem: TV

AFP – August 30, 2007 4:20pm US/Eastern

Remains of the Jewish second temple may have been found during work to lay pipes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, Israeli television reported Thursday. Israeli television broadcast footage of a mechanical digger at the site which Israeli archaeologists visited on Thursday. Gaby Barkai, an archaeologist from Bar Ilan University, urged the Israeli government to stop the pipework after the discovery of what he said is “a massive seven metre-long wall.”

Television said the pipework carried out by the office of Muslim religious affairs, or Waqf, is about 1.5 metres deep and about 100 metres long.

The compound, which houses both Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is located in east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and then annexed. It is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina.

For Jews it as known as the Temple Mount, which they revere as the site of the King Herod’s second temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. It is the holiest site in Judaism…

Actually, the second temple, per se (as opposed to Herod’s second), began to be built much earlier than Herod’s as it was during the time of Ezra and Haggai upon orders from Cyrus.

That temple is discussed in the article The Temple and the Work 

AW Questions Historical Validity of Genesis

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

By COGwriter

This morning I noticed that Gavin Rumney of the anti-COG Ambassador Watch website included the following in his post:

Even more basic is the assumption that Genesis relates real history. Was there truly a garden called Eden in prehistory, a place which we might find if we had H. G. Wells’ Time Machine at our disposal, or are we dealing with another genre altogether? Is the reason why temple symbolism exists in Genesis a wonderful prefiguring of what was yet far in the future, or an indication that the real authors wrote at a time when the Temple stood in Jerusalem, and that they retrojected that symbolism back on the mythical past? To suggest that some kind of Nazarite vow was operative in Adam’s lifetime seems to me to risk making a case based on an obvious anachronism.

Many at the anti-COG sites are atheists, and nearly all discount all or parts of the Bible (and I am only saying “nearly” all because for some reason, some who claim to be in the COG sometimes post at those sites). 

Those who have questions about the Bible should read the LCG booklet by Dr. Winnail titled The Bible: Fact or Fiction?

We in the COGs do accept that Genesis is valid historically.  Furthermore, the Chinese have apparently retained knowledge of parts of the early accounts in Genesis in their writing.  And, they did this, not only before there was a temple in Jerusalem (which did not occur until Solomon’s time), but even before God had Moses write the Book of Genesis.

Chinese characters are essentially the symbolic representation of words. It is my understanding that both the Chinese and Japanese languages share some of the same characters, and though they pronounce the words differently, thus a few of the characters have the same meaning in Japanese as they do in Chinese. There are over 600 symbols Chinese characters, and although some were changed in the 20th century, most still are essentially the same as they were thousands of years ago. (Now since I do not read Chinese, or Japanese, I am relying exclusively on the works of others–most heavily from Kees Noorlander from from which this portion of this paper is indebted to, plus a little bit from Babel Fish by Alta Vista, and quite a bit from and from the book The Discovery of Genesis). It should be noted that in the 1950s China nearly decided to abolish characters and even now most Chinese are not taught the history and tradition behind their writing system.

Anyway, since the characters had to start from somewhere (and biblically they would have started sometime after the construction of the tower of Babel), some have suggested that perhaps these characters help demonstrate that the Chinese characters (and Japanese for that matter) demonstrate that they were familiar with some of the events recorded in the first chapters of the Book of Genesis.

For example, the Book of Genesis records:

The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden…The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden…Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. (Genesis 2:8,9, 10).

The term English term garden can be represented by the Chinese word tièn (also spelled tián). The Chinese symbol for it is four irrigation channels within an area of land. Or it possibly may be the four rivers with a type of tree in the middle of it.

Was that symbol influenced by the events recorded in the Bible or is this a coincidence?

It is difficult to know for certain as there are other Chinese symbols that can be used instead for garden.

However, there are several other characters to explore.

There were two famous trees in the Garden of Eden:

The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9).

Recall that God gave Adam one command after placing him in the garden:

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:15-17).

It is of interest to note that a Chinese symbol for Prohibition is the combination of the symbols for two trees (mù) and command:

jìnjin líng sji
To Prohibit
= Tree + (Divine) Command

It should be noted that God, while He originally prohibited one tree, later prohibited access to the second tree (see Genesis 3:22-24).

In Genesis Eve stated:

We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:2).

It is also of interest to note that the Chinese symbol for Fruit is the combination of the symbols for tree and garden:

guo moe tièn
Fruit = Tree + Garden

While Adam and Eve were in the garden, the devil decided to implement his plan to alienate humans from God. His plan was to suggest that God withheld secret information for the humans in the garden.

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5).

Notice that the Chinese symbol for Devil is composed of the characters for secret, person, and garden:

gui si eer tièn
Devil = Secret + Person + Garden

Sadly, Eve seemed to believe the devil as she desired to benefit from the fruit of the tree that was prohibited:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate (Genesis 3:6).

God decided later to prohibit the second tree lest Eve and others desired it so much that they would go for it as well (see Genesis 3:22-24).

Notice the symbol for the Chinese word lán for desire or greed is a combination of the symbols for woman and two trees:

lá nu líng
= Woman + Trees

After succumbing to temptation, humans noticed that they were naked:

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. (Genesis 3:7).

Notice that the Chinese symbol for being naked has to do with clothing, one tree (the one that Adam and Eve were originally told not to eat from perhaps), and a garden with four irrigation canals:

loor ie moe tièn
Naked = Clothing + Tree + Garden

After Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden they had children. On of their sons was Abel, who raised and sacrificed sheep:

Now Abel was a keeper of sheep…Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering (Genesis 4:2,4).

Notice what a Chinese character meaning righteous is made of:

ie jang so kur
Righteous(ness) = Sheep + Hand + Lance

Interestingly, the New Testament account of Abel refers to:

…the blood of righteous Abel (Matthew 23:35).

Notice how the Chinese symbol agrees with the New Testament account that essentially the sacrifice of sheep (by Abel, for example) was righteous.

Since Christ was our Passover lamb sacrificed us, and that through Him we attain righteousness at least one has speculated that perhaps that is why the following symbol for righteousness was somehow chosen (since the combination of the symbol for hand and lance can mean us):

ie jang wò
Righteous(ness) = Sheep + I, Us

And while it is NOT likely that this was determined by the Chinese after Jesus’ crucifixion, it is a fact that Abel and Noah, who the Bible calls righteous, sacrificed clean animals such as sheep.

Many know that Chinese history contains an account of some type of worldwide flood. There may be a couple of aspects of it preserved in its characters.

Notice a couple of statements in the Bible concerning the flood:

Then the LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. (Genesis 7:1).

…in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water (1 Peter 3:20).

A Chinese word chuán for a type of boat is:

chuán ba kou tso
Boat = 8 + Mouth + Little Boat,

It may be of interest to note that one of the Chinese symbols for flood (chong) is a combination of an inverted symbol meaning “first Earthly branch” and eight (the term for eight may instead mean “person remaining””–that of itself is interesting as that the symbol for eight and “person remaining” look about the same–recall that on the ark there were only eight persons remaining alive).

After the flood, humans stayed together and built a tower:

Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:1-4).

But God did not care for this:

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:5-7).

It is highly likely that when people saw others speaking foreign languages, that they thought that somehow something at this tower affected their mouths. Notice the following Chinese symbol of a tower.

tga tsan toe dzjen ie kou
Tower = Grass + Clay + Mankind + 1 + Mouth

The tower of Babel was built with bricks (grass and clay) and humans originally had one language (or mouth). It is possible that this symbol is showing that the ancient Chinese recognized a connection to the biblical tower of Babel.

The Bible shows that after God confused the languages in Babel that He scattered humans all over:

So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth (Genesis 11:8-9).

The Bible also mentions:

To Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan (Genesis 10:25).

Now whether it was just the scattering of humans that occurred in Peleg’s time, or that the earth had continental divisions at that time is not completely clear. What is clear, however, is that humans did separate essentially by language and ethnicity thousands of years ago.

Notice that:

…the ancient Chinese people were quite familiar with the same record which the Hebrew Moses is popularly given credit for writing some 700 to 1,000 years later. Imagine this information being stored in special characters that were in use hundreds of years before the first page of the Bible was written! (Kang C.H., Nelson E.R. The Discovery of Genesis: How the Truths of Genesis Were Found Hidden in the Chinese Language. Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1979, p. 5)

Notice that the development of Chinese characters predates the writing of the Book of Genesis. Thus, the Chinese characters seem to provide an ‘independent’ account that verifies portions of the accounts in Genesis.

Continuing, the authors of the previous citation go so far as to state:

Moreover we believe that the Chinese actually employed this historical knowledge as one small facet in the process of building their written language. The significance of this claim is broad. But most important, it appears to us to give support and added acceptance of the much slandered account of Biblical Genesis (Ibid).

Thus, the existence of these Chinese characters should be a comfort to the Chinese that their ancestors did have some type of biblical witness, as well as the modern believers that even in a land as removed as it is from the Middle East, the Chinese did know about various portions of the Genesis account. And since their characters were developed prior to Moses writing Genesis, their very existence provides additional verification that the events were known for many thousands of years.

But apparently, some of those against the Churches of God have other views.

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

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 This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge.
Where Did God Come From? Any ideas? And how has God been able to exist?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know?
The Bible: Fact or Fiction? This is a booklet written by Douglas Winnail that answers if the Bible is just a collection of myths and legends or the inspired word of God.
Read the Bible Christians should read the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert Armstrong, and Augustine show?
Bible and Historical Resources on the Internet Electronic bibles, Two Babylons, early Christian literature, photos, and even links to old Herbert W. Armstrong materials.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God’s Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?
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 1: Any Witness? This is a draft of an in-process article about Japan. Have they had any witness?
Japan, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: Prophecy Japan in prophecy. What is prophesied for Japan. Will God save the Japanese?

Fires in Greece

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

A Temple of Zeus in Athens, Greece

The following news item was of interest:

‘Left at the Mercy of God’

Spiegel – August 27, 2007  [excerpts]

Greece on Monday continues battling devastating blazes that have turned vast swaths of the country to smoldering ash…there is hardly a corner of the country that has been spared.

The destruction is of Biblical proportions,”firefighter Nicholas Orphanos, battling blazes in the Peloponnese, told reporters according to Reuters. “There are villages we want to go to and we cannot because the roads are blocked. In 30 years, I have never seen such destruction.”

People in a number of villages have continued calling into Greek television stations asking desperately for help. “We have been left at the mercy of God,” one woman from the Peloponnese village of Nemouta told Greek TV. “We have no water or electricity. We have been fighting the fires with tractors and branches.”

Many farmers have lost their livelihoods with homes and livestock going up in flames. “We are destroyed,” a resident of Artemida, a village near Zacharo, told state television. “Our dogs, our rabbits, our poultry have all been burned. Nothing is left. How can I survive now?”

On Sunday, a major blaze raced toward Ancient Olympia, the site where the Olympic games got their start some 2,800 years ago and one of the country’s leading tourist sites. Firefighters were only just able to save the museum and the archaeological site which includes the ruined temples of Zeus and his wife Hera.                                                                             ,1518,502177,00.html

With the recent turmoil involving the Euro dropping and a variety of fires (plus the riots in Paris and Denmark some time ago), I believe that Europe will continue to have periods of turmoil until it gains dominance in world affairs.

Many feel that the Euro itself will reverse its recent losses:

Euro may resume its climb against the dollar

International Herald Tribune Bloomberg News – August 28, 2007…Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch increased their year-end forecasts for the euro by as much as 6 percent last week as concerns about the rout in subprime mortgages abated. Citigroup says the euro may rise to $1.42 by the end of the year from $1.3667 on Friday.While the euro tumbled as much as 3.5 percent since rising to $1.3852 on July 24, currency strategists now say faster economic growth in the region will prompt a recovery.

As mentioned once before, it is interesting to me that the Greek 2 Euro coin shows a woman (Europa) riding a beast (allegedly Zeus, but biblically something a little different).

Europa Woman Riding the Beast Coin

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

CGOM Against the Place of Safety

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

By COGwriter

The latest edition of CGOM’s New Horizons magazine has an article by Ian Hufton against the concept of a “place of safety”, titled “Do You Want Safety?” 

Here are some lines from that article:

Some earnestly desire and yearn for a place of safety which by itself may place them in great danger.  Jesus Christ said: “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. (Mark 8:35)…

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17)

Spiritual safety would seem to be at the top of the priority list for circumstances such as these…

Christ has commanded us to let no man deceive us. We must be alert and have our strategies in place, to avoid being deceived. Now is the time to have on the whole armour of God.

Truly Ian Hufton is correct that we must put on the “whole armour of God”, but CGOM has neglected to declare what the Apostle Paul referred to as the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).  

Specifically, the above article left out the portions in Revelation 12 (as well as Revelation 3) that discuss physical protection in a place.

Several articles of related interest may include:

Church of God Outreach Ministries This was mainly a CGI spin-off who teaches that it is not a church.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and HWA on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory.
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach?

Norman Edwards on Tomorrow’s Red Moon

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Earlier today, I received the following news item:

On Tuesday, Aug. 28th the full Moon will slip into Earth’s shadow for a two-hour total eclipse…beginning at 5:00 a.m. in Atlanta. The moon will be totally eclipsed at 5:52 a.m. and be fully out of Earth’s shadow by 8:24 a.m. However, we won’t be able to see the end in Atlanta because the moon sets at 7:08 a.m.    Full animation/times at:

And a little later, I received the following from Norman Edwards (who used to put out the independent COG Servants’ News): 

The moon will not completely disappear, but will turn a dark red as it continues to be lighted by refracted light from the earth’s atmosphere.

This brings to mind the three places in the Bible that talk about the moon being “turned to blood”. While we understand the physical cause of the event today, that should not stop us from understanding that it may be a prophetic sign to us from our Father in heaven. I believe that He has given me some understanding of the meaning of these three scriptures, so I am sending this e-mail to those for whom I have addresses.

While these verses certainly have application to the physical nation of Israel, it is also clear that the “children of Zion” are the Church-the body of called out believers wherever they are. The Eternal is promising both a former and latter rain-which appears the outpouring of his Spirit on that Pentecost when the Church began, and at a later time in the future. The first few verses, above are quoted and explained by the apostle Peter:

Acts 2:16-24…Peter clearly shows that the miracles of Jesus (Yashuah), were part of those signs prophesied by Joel. According to the NASA astronomical tables at, there was a very similar lunar eclipse on Passover of 32 A.D., when at least some Chronologists believe that Christ died. The Bible also notes that the sun was darkened for about three hours (Matt 27:45) and that there was a great earthquake (Matt 27:54). This leads us to the final passage about the moon turning to blood, where I include the entire chapter of Revelation 6…

These four horses are the evil powers that have persecuted Christians and mankind in general since the time of Peter until now…

The fourth horse looks obviously bad and its rider is “death”. These are obviously evil forces who cause death by multiple methods (some repeated from the first three horses), but fortunately are limited in their power to only one fourth of the earth. These are the clearly evil empires, such as Joseph Stalin’s USSR, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, etc…

Will something again happen in the next few days to blacken the sun? I do not know. If it does, do these two signs together signal the opening of the sixth seal? Again, I have no revelation on this matter. But I feel compelled to write that others may watch. It may be that some other future atmospheric disturbance, not related to an eclipse, causes both the sun to be blackened and the moon to be red like blood…

I believe that it is significant that this Eclipse occurs in the middle of the Hebrew month of Elul. (Lunar Eclipses can only occur at full-moons which are, by most understandings, always in the middle of the month). The month of Elul has been traditionally seen as a month of repentance, immediately preceding the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement.

It is also interesting that during this same month the financial system in the USA is now closer to collapse than it has been for decades. A stock market crash, closing of the banks and/or hyper inflation are very likely. Since most of it is built on confidence, official sources are slow to talk about how bad it is. But one report I read stated that the Federal Reserve had to create 50 billion dollars of new money in a day to prevent defaults, whereas 1 to 2 Billion had been sufficient in the past. I do not know if these signs of Joel and Revelation are coming to pass in the next few days, or if it will be many years from now.

There is not another “moon turning to blood” eclipse of similar magnitude until June 15, 2011. Also of interest, while slightly weaker in magnitude there will be total Lunar eclipse on both Passover and the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles in the years 2014 and 2015. That is 7 and 8 years from now.

Some readings of Revelation include seven years of tribulation and a year for the “day of the Lord.” Again, I do not have any specific revelation here.

If the “world were to fall apart” during the next few days, would we be confident that our Father would care for us and provide for our needs? Or would we be ready to fight out neighbors to provide for our own needs? Would we be ready to follow a dictator’s every order to keep our food rations coming-even if that meant turning in fellow believers, who are proclaiming this a judgment from God-contrary to the dictator’s decree?

Again, I do not know if the “moon turning to blood” next Tuesday portends any imminent disaster. But it certainly can serve as a reminder of the prophesied events that will come to pass. Whether it be this year, 2014 or some distant future year, we need to be doing our Father’s work in faith and strength.

This the first I have heard from Norman Edwards in a while.  And the first time I recall him getting into prophetic speculation relalted to a natural event like this before. 

Perhaps I should add that we in the COGs normally tend to believe that the crucifixion was prior to 32 A.D., nor do we all agree with too much of what he wrote above.

FWIW, I specifically will state that the end is not going to start in a couple of days.  There is another small independent who I may report on earlier who years ago indicated that the end would begin in the Fall of 2007.  He is in error.

However, the 2014/2015 years that N. Edwards mentioned are possibilities–but most of us in the COGs believe that the end will begin in the Spring, not the Fall (although people on the fringe who once were in the COG, like Ronald Weinland–please see the article Concerns About Ronald Weinland’s Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God,–seem to think the end will start in the Fall season).

COGaIC: Early Christianity Different

Monday, August 27th, 2007

History of Early Christianity
COGaIC reported:

Oxford University hosted its Fifteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies, an event conducted by the University every four years.  This event brings together over 500 academics from the four corners of the globe and from all denominations. “Patristics” is a name given to the study of the Church Fathers from the post apostolic time of Clement I of Rome into the fifth century of this era. 

Delegates attended lectures and workshop sessions covering subjects often defined by century, geographical location and language: either Greek, Latin, Syriac, and or Coptic. Of particular interest to me were the sessions covering the Jewish and Christian interaction in the third century. 

Several papers were presented on various writings of Origen who wrote in some detail of the interactions he had with either Jewish Christians and/or Jews in both Alexandria and in Caesarea. The strength of his polemic against such people is indicative of the sense of challenge that existed even in the early third century to define Christianity as it appears today.Clearly in Origen’s time, people were very much more aware of the Jewish roots of Christianity, in a way that would surprise most present day people who claim to be Christian. The subject of identity formation of the emerging Christian community is currently well considered in academic circles, but conferences such as this highlight how antithetical so many of the leaders and opinion formers of this earlier period were to the foundation that Jesus Christ had laid. The result is a movement that would not even recognize its founder if he appeared today. 

Comments by COGwriter:

I agree with COGaIC  that most who profess Christianity would not recognize its founder, His teachings, nor the practices of its original followers.  However it is interesting that Origen, although too often an allegorist, actually held relatively close to one COG doctrine, Apocatastasis (more on Origen is in the article Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants)

Several articles of related interest may 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?
Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath Did Ignatius write against the Sabbath and for Sunday? What about the Didache? What does the actual Greek reveal?
Ancient “Christian” Sermon This is believed to be the oldest complete surviving post-New Testament sermon. Have you ever read it?
Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians This is Roberts and Donaldson’s translation, corrected by me in one place, where they made a small error in translating Latin by omitting one word.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?

Four Short News Items

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

LCG reported on the following news items:

The Vatican’s Growing Influence.  Although we live in an increasingly secular society, the Bible predicts an end-time religious re-awakening and that a mother church will wield unparalleled political influence.  The July 21, 2007, issue of The Economist contained an article chronicling the rising political power and influence of the Catholic Church.  The “Roman Catholic church, alone among faiths, is a diplomatic playerOver the past century—despite the march of secularism—the Vatican’s role in world affairs has expanded.”  Pope John Paul II greatly expanded Catholic political influence and Pope Benedict XVI is following in his footsteps.  The Roman Catholic Church currently has full diplomatic relations with 176 states.  “It sits in on the deliberations of 16 inter-governmental bodies, including the United Nations, the African Union and the Organization of American States.”  Although the Vatican is a sovereign state within the city of Rome, under a 1929 accord with Italy, “the pope’s diplomats represent the Holy See—not the Vatican state.”  Although our society is becoming more secular, events are taking place behind the scenes that will ultimately culminate in a church wielding the great political power we read about in the Scriptures (see Revelation 17).


More Proof of the Bible. A tablet discovered in Bagdad was recently deciphered by Dr. Michael Jursa from Vienna, and is now being touted as the greatest archeological find in 100 years. The tablet, slightly smaller than a playing card, contained a record of the chief eunuch of King Nebuchadnezzar, Samgar-Nebo Sarsechim, depositing gold into a local temple in Babylon. The tablet identified the eunuch as the same one mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3. According to Dr. Jursa, “This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find… If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed? A throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true. I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power.” (The Telegraph, July 13, 2007). This small cuneiform tablet lends archeological and scientific credence to the historical accuracy not only of the book of Jeremiah, but also of the rest of the Old Testament—putting additional pressure on skeptics who doubt the validity of the Bible. Jesus prophesied of the end times: “For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light” (Mark 4:22).  As we approach the end of this age, will God provide clear proofs to those who have “eyes to see and ears to hear” that He does exist and that the Bible is His inspired word (v. 23)? This recent discovery may be one more of these proofs! 

World Food Prices Set to Rise. The global commodities market is booming, and prices are rising due to drought and famine, while nations like India and

China demand more high protein food sources, such as dairy and meat. Also, world droughts have caused “panic buying” of wheat by grain-dependent nations like Egypt and Morocco, driving up global prices. Trickle-down effects are being felt in other food industries that rely on scarce products such as dairy and grain, including the candy industry and the poultry industry (which relies heavily on corn). Other critics blame the European Common Agriculture Policy for reduced availability of dairy products. Experts warn that food prices will soon follow the rise in the commodities market (Financial Times, August 8, 2007; CNN, August 7, 2007). God gives numerous warnings about food at the time of the end, including: famine and hyperinflation (Revelation 6:5-6), difficulty growing and harvesting crops (Deuteronomy 28:17-21, 23, 24), and the produce of the land being consumed by a nation you do not know (Deuteronomy 28:33). These prophetic events are coming to pass with increasing frequency and accuracy—indicating that the return of Christ is drawing near.Gary Scott of xCG announced the following item:

About six months ago, I started preparing a final post, but I kept putting it off. I thought, “Maybe I’ll just write a little here, a little there,” for a while. Several have noticed and commented on this, and I have remained silent as to the cause of this dip in output…

We have twenty-four hours in a day. We work at least eight of them; we sleep six to eight of them; we wash, shave, cook, eat, clean, drive, exercise and a million other forms of maintenance for another three or four a day. That leaves us with precious few hours a day for ourselves.

What do we do with that time?

Until recently, I spent time looking at, analyzing, and even mocking the beliefs and actions of a group of people I no longer have anything in common with.

Recent developments in my life now make that a less-than-ideal way to spend my free time.

I thought that Gary Scott was planning on phasing his anti-COG site out.  I have long thought that those who are against the COGs would realize the truth, as in the last two sentences that he wrote above.

On the other hand, there are those of us who ARE COMMITTED to learning, growing in grace and knowledge, trying to get the good news of the Kingdom of  God to the world, and wish to be part of the Church of God.  So, the COGwriter site has no intentions of shutting down.

ICG Points Out A Basic Flaw in Evolution

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

The View From the Cave in Patmos: Did Plants Just Happen? 

In its update last night, ICG’s Mark Armstrong commented (bolding mine):

One of the big news stories released today is about the scientific report released regarding a recent discovery of a “handful of teeth from the earliest direct ancestors of modern gorillas ever found.”  According to the story, the find “shows that humans and apes probably split six or seven million years earlier than widely thought, according to the landmark study released Wednesday.”  Every time an anthropologist discovers a bone, the entire evolutionary theory has to be wildly “adjusted” to account for the new discovery.  And they call it science!

The fact is that evolution as the origin of life is simply another man-made false religion.  Essentially it is a godless religion that claims to be based on truth and science, while it is actually a false theory that many of those who do not wich to believe in God cling to in order to justify ignoring God and His laws.

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

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 This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know?
The Bible: Fact or Fiction? This is a booklet written by Douglas Winnail that answers if the Bible is just a collection of myths and legends or the inspired word of God.
Read the Bible Christians should read the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert Armstrong, and Augustine show?
Bible and Historical Resources on the Internet Electronic bibles, Two Babylons, early Christian literature, photos, and even links to old Herbert W. Armstrong materials.

UCG and LCG Approaches to Prophecy

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Here is an excerpt from United Church of God’s August 2007 “World News & Prophecy” editorial:

“Too often when we study prophecy, we get caught up in the speculative aspects of “when will Christ return?” or “who are the two witnesses of Revelation?” Granted, these are among the most interesting parts of the subject. But everyone who gets too specific on these and other points always ends up looking like, well, a false prophet”.

…”Everyday life is taking place. People are “marrying and giving in marriage.”…God did not determine that we would always be hyped up in alert mode. Prophecy is not to be used that way…Enjoy the life you have and make the most of it within the framework of God’s way of life. Understand that at times life is experienced while sitting on a “front porch.”


Attitude towards prophecy is one of the many differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God. 

For example, here is some of what LCG reported this morning in its latest commentary today titled “Why Flooding and Drought? by Don Davis:

What’s going on? After nearly two weeks of 90-to-100+ degree weather with no appreciable rainfall, the foliage is becoming so stressed that it is shutting down ahead of schedule. Some of our friends are going river canoeing today, but the water level in the French Broad River is so low that they may need to carry their canoes for part of the way.

Similar conditions are occurring in many parts of the United States, Britain and Australia, and in other nations around the globe, while other areas are being flooded. 


There is a God in heaven, but our nations have been giving Him only lip-service – or have ignored Him completely. Because of our individual and national sins, He is withdrawing His protection and blessings. 

But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? When you saw a thief, you consented with him, and have been a partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will reprove you, and set them in order before your eyes” (Psalm 50:16-21). 

How will our Creator “set them in order” before our eyes? He will do this by showing mankind His power over the weather, and His authority in our lives. “Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver” (v. 22). 

God will reverse the cycle of flooding and drought we are entering, if we as a people cry out to Him, turn from our evil ways, and begin to seek Him and obey His commandments. He tells us: “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14). 

The punishments coming upon the sons of Jacob – and the rest of the world – will not be brought about for any other reason than to bring us back to the God and Father who loves His creation and must bring mankind to repentance before He can bless us. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6). 

God spells out clearly what He will do for those who humbly obey Him (Deuteronomy 28:1-14), as well as the consequences for disobeying Him (vv 15-68). God is not “kidding around” with us! He is real, and He rules over all that exists. He will bring mankind to its knees (Philippians 2:9-11). If we do not bow to Him now, and receive His protection, we will have no choice but to do it later when everything around us is in ruin. Which way do you choose? 

Send for our free booklet Who Controls the Weather?

Two articles of related interest may include Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God and There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God?

Japan, the Vatican, & Prophecy

Friday, August 24th, 2007

  Pope Benedict

                                  Pope Benedict XVI  

The pro-Vatican newservice, Zenit reported:

The Vatican: A Japanese Perspective

Interview With Ambassador Kagefumi Ueno

Zenit – August 23, 2007

VATICAN CITY – Japan and the Vatican have a lot of reasons to intensify relations in the coming years, especially regarding cooperation in Africa, says the new Japanese ambassador to the Holy See.

Ambassador Kagefumi Ueno, who began his mission at the Vatican in November, adds that “there is a lot of scope for teamwork and coordination between Japanese aid agencies and some important Catholic players in Africa.”…

The Pope is, in this context, a kind of “guardian” over the international situation. The international community expects him to talk about peace and justice…

The policy dialogue between Japan and the Holy See is expected to intensify.

On a practical and operational level, there is a lot of scope for teamwork and coordination between Japanese aid agencies and some important Catholic players in Africa, such as Caritas International and the Community of Sant’Egidio, among others, in coming years…

Thus, there are some basic and fundamental philosophical differences between the two cosmologies, which, though vaguely, accounts for a relatively low proportion of Christians in Japan.

However, we should not overlook another side of the coin — that many Japanese accept 70%-80% of the teachings of Catholicism.

For instance, they accept almost all of the Ten Commandments. There are a lot of common denominators between the two cosmologies.

I would say Christianity has had many positive effects on Japanese society.  source:

Roman Catholicism has changed many of the doctrines and practices of true Christianity.  The Bible warns all peoples, including the Japanese to NOT accept a future version of Catholicism which prophecy shows will affect the whole world.

Three articles of related interest may include:

Japan, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Any Witness? This is a draft of an in-process article about Japan. Have they had any witness?
Japan, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: Prophecy Japan in prophecy. What is prophesied for Japan. Will God save the Japanese?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which one represents true Christianity today? This documented article answers those questions.