Archive for August, 2007

Ellen White, HWA, & the “Two-Horned Beast”

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

By COGwriter

There was a major split between those in the Churches of God (COGs) and the Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs) in the mid-1800s (please see the article 5. The Sardis Church Era)–mainly due to the influence of Ellen White.

This is still a major area of disagreement.  In today’s post, I would like to show the teachings of Ellen White and Herbert W. Armstrong on the subject of the “two-horned beast” of Revelation 13.

The following is from one of Ellen White’s most popular books (note the prophet she is referring to is the Apostle John):

Says, the prophet, “I beheld another beast coming out of the earth and he had two horns like a lamb.” Revelation 13:11…One nation, and only one. meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakably to the United States of America…

“And he had two horns like a lamb.” The lamb-like horns indicate youth, innocence, and gentleness, fitly representing the character of the United States when presented to the prophet as “coming up” in 1798…But the beast with lamb-like horns “spake as a dragon…”…

But what is the “image to the beast”? and how is it to be formed? The image is made by the two-horned beast, and is an image to the first beast. It is also called the image of the beast. Then to learn what the image is like, and how it is to be formed, we must study the characteristics of the beast itself,–the papacy…

“The beast”…is the first…beast of Revelation 13,–the papacy (White E.G. Will America Survive? 1888; Reprint, 1988 by Inspiration Books East, Jemison (AL), pp. 420-423,425).

That view is not only held by Ellen G. White, but by others who are in the SDA movement.  For example, SDA minister A. Jan Marcussen, in his book, National Sunday Law, also states the United States is the two-horned beast that comes from the earth (pp. 2-3) and cites Ellen G. White’s Cosmic Conflict book, p.388.

I should add, however, that A. Jan Marcussen does consider that a Pope is the 666 of Revelation 13:18 (pp. 21-22, 27) and other SDAs may as well–and the context of Revelation 13 suggests that the two horned beast is involved with the one whose number is 666. But we in the Churches of God do not believe that the Bible teaches that the first beast represents the papacy.

The Church of God Position on the Two Horned Beast

The position held by many in the COGs differs completely that held by the Seventh Day Adventists and its leaders. The following are taken from a booklet written in 1960 by Herbert W. Armstrong, titled Who is the Beast?:

The “Two-horned Beast”

Satan has his civil government on earth. He gave it “his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
_____He also has an ecclesiastical organization — a CHURCH —as his instrumentality in deceiving the world. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, we find Satan is transformed into an “ANGEL OF LIGHT.”According to Revelation 12:9 and 20:3, he has DECEIVED the whole world. How?
_____Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Satan has HIS ministers who pretend to be the ministers of righteousness,but are actually false apostles, deceitful workers, calling themselves the ministers of Christ! Therefore they claim to be CHRISTIAN ministers. They are the MANY, not the few, because all prophecies say it is the MANY, not the few, who have been DECEIVED. Satan’s main labor for six thousand years has been the deceiving of the world. Now turn to the 13th chapter of Revelation, beginning with verse 11:
_____“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth;and he had two horns like a LAMB, and he spoke as a DRAGON.”
_____ Who — what — is this “beast”?
_____ Some say it will be the United States aligned with the papacy. Some believe it is a federation of Protestant churches. Others declared it the Pan-American Union. MOST church organizations ignore this very vital subject completely, or say frankly, “WE DO NOT KNOW!”
_____ Why this ignorance, when the answer is so plain? Yes,why indeed?

The Bible Interpretation

Remember, first, THE BIBLE INTERPRETS ITS OWN SYMBOLS! When men put their OWN interpretation on Bible symbols, their conclusions are always false!
_____Notice, after John saw one BEAST, which we have proved to be the ROMAN EMPIRE, he now sees ANOTHER — a different — beast rise up. We have learned that “BEAST” is a symbol for a kingdom, or government (Dan. 7:17, 23), and the term represents either the kingdom or its leader, as the case may be (Dan. 7:17, 23).
_____So this other beast with the two horns is the prophecy of another kingdom or government. In these prophecies, God pictures to us the earthly Gentile governments as the wild beasts whose characteristics describe them. This two-horned beast appeared as a Lamb. But actually it spoke as a DRAGON— its true characteristic — for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34).
_____What does the word “Lamb” symbolize, in the Bible? The answer is, CHRIST (John 1:29; Rev. 17:14). And “DRAGON” is a symbol of the DEVIL (Rev. 12:9, 20:2).
_____So here is some kingdom or government masquerading as that of CHRIST, or the KINGDOM OF GOD, but actually being a government of SATAN!
_____Christ did not set up a government (kingdom), at His first appearing on earth. After His resurrection the disciples asked Him if He would at that time restore the KINGDOM (Acts1:6); but He did not. The Church is not the Kingdom. Because some thought it was, Jesus spoke the parable of Luke 19:11-27 to show that He first must ascend to His Father’s throne in heaven to receive the royal power to become King of kings, to set up the world-ruling Kingdom of God.
_____But Satan is a deceiver, and he has deceived the world into supposing his (Satan’s) CHURCH, and system of churches, is the Kingdom of God.
_____Now notice carefully (Revelation 13) verse12:
_____“And he exerciseth ALL the power of the first beast before him.”The first beast is the Roman Empire. Here is ANOTHER government, also controlled by Satan, pretending to be CHRIST’S government, the Kingdom of God, taking, exercising, using, employing, ALL the power of the first kingdom, the Roman Empire.
_____Now when? “He exerciseth ALL the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to WORSHIP the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (verse 12). So, it was AFTER the deadly wound (of A.D.476) was healed. It was healed when Justinian brought about the restoration of the Empire in the West in A.D. 554.Consequently this RELIGIOUS government took over, exercised,by ruling, all the power of the Roman Empire AFTER A.D. 554 when it was called the Holy Empire and, later, the Holy Roman Empire.

Did a Church Government Rule Rome?

So here we have pictured a government — a RELIGIOUS government — appearing as CHRIST’S government, masquer-ading as the KINGDOM OF GOD, actually ruling the civil Roman Empire, AFTER A.D. 554. Was there such a government? Indeed there was! And only ONE!
_____Prior to 554, Justinian had written a letter to the pope, acknowledging his supremacy in the West. And when he restored the empire in the West in 554, the popes dominated the Western Empire from Rome. The Roman Empire, thus restored to continue until 1814 (1260 years), became known later as “The HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE.” We read in history that the popes were accepted as the “Vicars of Christ,” which means “IN PLACE OF Christ.” The teaching was that the Second Coming of Christ had occurred — Christ had returned to earth, as KING of kings and as LORD of lords, in the person of the popes. The millennium had begun.
_____For the entire 1260 years, the emperors accepted the popes as such, ruling the nations with a “rod of iron” as Christ is to do WHEN He really comes. Consequently they acknowl-edged the supreme religious power of the popes. The Church was organized as a GOVERNMENT — as a dual, two-fold government (symbolized by its TWO horns or kingdoms — for“horns” symbolize kingdoms also — see Dan. 7:24). It embodied CHURCH government, and it also was a STATE, or civil government, always occupying a certain amount of territory over which it, alone, ruled as an independent sovereign state— in addition to actually ruling over the vast civil kingdom called the Holy Roman Empire. Even today, it is a separate,independent, sovereign STATE. Most nations send ambassa-dors to the Vatican, just as they do to the United States, or to Italy, Britain or the USSR.
_____Notice, this second beast was to wield power over ALL THE EARTH, because it was to CAUSE the earth, and them that dwell therein, to WORSHIP this first beast “whose deadly wound was healed” after 554. In most any encyclopedia, under article “MILLENNIUM,”you will read the history of this very event — of how the“Holy Roman Empire” was called the “Kingdom of God upon earth.” They claimed the MILLENNIUM had arrived!
_____Notice verse 14: “And DECEIVETH them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast.” Verse 13 says “he doeth great wonders.”
_____So notice these three points:
_____(1) This beast performs miracles.
_____(2) He performed them “in the sight of” the Holy Roman Empire, or the first beast.
_____(3) With them he DECEIVED all nations.

All Nations Deceived

Where else, in the Bible prophecies, do we find these same identical facts?
_____First, note Rev. 17. Here is pictured a woman. In II Cor.11:2, Eph. 5:22-27, and elsewhere, we learn that “woman” is a symbol for CHURCH…

_____Now notice the last battle of “the great day of God Almighty.” It is in Rev. 19:19-20. Here is pictured the beast —“and WITH him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, WITH WHICH HE DECEIVED them that had received the MARK of the beast, and them that had worshipped HIS IMAGE.
_____”Note it! Compare with the two-horned beast of Rev.13:11-17.
_____(1) BOTH perform miracles.
_____(2) BOTH perform them before, or in the sight of, the beast.
_____(3) WITH them, BOTH the false prophet and two-horned beast DECEIVE them that have the MARK of the beast — cause them to receive that mark (Rev. 13:16).
_____Certainly, then, this two-horned beast, the false prophe…and the woman that rode the beast are all one and the same thing — the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH with its pope, its other bishops, its priests and deacons, comprising the hierarchy of order!
_____Now did the two-horned beast deceive the very ones who have the MARK of the beast? He did! Continue in Rev. 13:
_____“And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth” — HOW?“…saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an IMAGE to the beast, which had the wound by the sword and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and CAUSE as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. AND HE CAUSETH ALL, BOTH SMALL AND GREAT,RICH AND POOR, FREE AND BOND, to receive a MARK in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell [trade, earn a living, hold a job], save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (verses 14-17).
_____So, notice: This two-horned beast not only CAUSED people to receive the MARK of the beast (compare Rev. 19:20), but also perpetrated the forming of an image that caused the martyrdom of saints. As many as would not worship this image were caused to he killed. This false church did not kill them — she CAUSED them to he killed. History shows that the civil government of the Roman Empire martyred millions who were declared “anathema from Christ,” or “heretics” by the church.
_____Compare with the WOMAN who rode the Beast in Rev. 17:“And I saw the woman DRUNKEN WITH THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS, AND WITH THE MARTYRS OF JESUS’ (verse 6).
Certainly these are one and the same!

The IMAGE of the Beast

Now this great church, which is a twofold government,deceived the people by SAYING THEY SHOULD MAKE AN IMAGE OF THE BEAST. Note it (Rev. 13:14) — that is HOW this church deceived people. What is an IMAGE? The dictionary says a “likeness,” a“copy, representation, model, semblance, counterpart.” So here is a great CHURCH saying, “Let us make a MODEL, or counterpart, of the civil Roman GOVERNMENT” — for that is what the BEAST is — a PAGAN GOVERNMENT.

Or to put it more succinctly, the COG teaches that the two-horned beast represents the final large church ran by the false prophet  claiming the papacy, while the other beast is the revived Roman Empire (which we normally believe is the going to arise out of the current European Union).

Hence this one major prophetic difference between Ellen White and HWA, and hence a major difference between the SDAs and COGs.

FWIW, like the COG, even scholars in the Roman Catholic Church teach that the false prophet is the two-horned beast who came up from the earth:

By the beast, then, coming up out of the earth, he means the kingdom of Antichrist; and by the two horns he means him and the false prophet after him (Hippolytus. On Christ and Antichrist, chapter 49).

…the false prophet (the beast of the earth) (Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, p.108).

While Catholic prophecy allows for the fact that the false prophet could be a pope (or more precisely an antipope–one who claims to be pope, sits as pope, but, in this case, cannot be a “true” pope because of demonic influence), the COG position is that a pope/antipope will fulfill that role.

Three articles of related interest may include:

SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The COG is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, and differences in approaching doctrine.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D.  The COG/SDA split is mentioned in this article.
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? This documented article answers those questions.

CBCG: New Laser Weapon

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

In its August 15th newsletter, CBCG’s Fred Coulter reported:

In a recent sermon, Current News & How Much Time is Left? (7-21-07), I read a report about a fantastic new weapon the Unites States is perfecting. In a class of its own, the airborne weapon uses a powerful laser beam mounted in a 747 jet airplane to instantly destroy enemy missiles and rockets. As I mentioned in the sermon, this changes all future warfare. The power of a laser light beam is instantaneous because it travels at the speed of light—186,000 miles per second. There is no defense against such an accurate, deadly weapon—no time to react or fight against it. All other weapons are rendered obsolete. Fighting against such a weapon would be like going to war with bows and arrows against atomic bombs.

During the sermon I asked, “I wonder if Satan went to God for permission to let men discover this technology?” I mentioned this because I had recently watched a program called “The Fourth Reich and the Occult” on the History Channel. It showed the connection between Germany’s advanced technology and the occult during WW II. When men use the occult, they are in contact with satanic and demonic powers…

“So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth” (Gen. 11:5-9).

But today we are in the last days—and you can be sure that God will no longer restrain men in what they imagine to do, or in the weapons they devise under Satan’s inspiration.

Peace Through LightAfter one member heard this particular sermon, he sent us this artwork of the official insignia of the “Airborne Laser” unit that is testing this futuristic weapon.

As you can see, the emblem depicts a serpent shooting a laser beam at a missile. The serpent—an obvious symbol for Satan—apparently gives the weapon its power. The motto Peace Through Light certainly hearkens back to Genesis 3. And Satan does appear at times as an angel of light. Remember, Jesus said that conditions in the last days would become so perilous that only His return could stop the downward spiral—or no flesh would be saved alive!

One final thought: Once this powerful weapon is perfected by the US, will the nations demand that it be controlled by a “world body” as opposed to a single nation? Will the Beast ultimately control this weapon, so that “no one is able to make war against him”? (Rev. 13:4). As the nature of warfare changes through advanced technology, does this indicate that there is more time left than previously thought? We simply cannot know. Remember what Jesus said, “But concerning that day, and the hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36).

It is unclear to me if the USA will be able to actually use the above weapon in warfare.  But if it becomes truly functional, I would suspect that the European Beast will ultimately use it.

Speaking of warfare, CNN has a three-part series on religious warriors.  Last night was titled something like “God’s Jewish Warriors”, tonight is supposed to be something like  “God’s Islamic Warriors” and tomorrow night is supposed to be something like  “God’s Christian Warriors”.

The CNN series seems to be trying to tell everyone that religion, taken too seriously, is very dangerous.  Sadly, CNN fails to realize that Jesus taught that His servants would not fight in carnal warfare.  Also, I doubt that CNN is going to explain that early Christians would not participate in the military.

Those interested in scriptures and historical positions on this subject may wish to read the article Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?  

USA: Weather and Financial Problems

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

While Hurricane Dean has mainly caused problems in the Caribbean (and still is in Mexico and other places), the USA itself is facing a variety of weather and other problems at this time.

Notice what two news stories reported yesterday:

The wrath of 2007: America’s great drought

The Independent (UK) – June 11, 2007

America is facing its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Or perhaps worse still.

From the mountains and desert of the West, now into an eighth consecutive dry year, to the wheat farms of Alabama, where crops are failing because of rainfall levels 12 inches lower than usual, to the vast soupy expanse of Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida, which has become so dry it actually caught fire a couple of weeks ago, a continent is crying out for water.

In the south-east, usually a lush, humid region, it is the driest few months since records began in 1895. California and Nevada, where burgeoning population centres co-exist with an often harsh, barren landscape, have seen less rain over the past year than at any time since 1924. The Sierra Nevada range, which straddles the two states, received only 27 per cent of its usual snowfall in winter, with immediate knock-on effects on water supplies for the populations of Las Vegas and Los Angeles…

A lot of people think climate change and the ecological repercussions are 50 years away,” Thomas Swetnam, an environmental scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, told The New York Times a few months ago. “But it’s happening now in the West. The data is telling us that we are in the middle of one of the first big indicators of climate change impacts in the continental United States.” Across the West, farmers and city water consumers are locked in a perennial battle over water rights – one that the cities are slowly winning. Down the line, though, there are serious questions about how to keep showers and lawn sprinklers going in the retirement communities of Nevada and Arizona. Lake Powell, the reservoir on the upper Colorado River that helps provide water across a vast expanse of the West, has been less than half full for years, with little prospect of filling up in the foreseeable future. source:

U.S. Treasury bills rally, credit fears return

Reuters – August 20, 2007 6:22PM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury bills rallied on Monday, with the three-month yield posting its biggest one-day drop since the stock market crash of 1987, as investors sought shelter in the safest of government securities.

Professional investors who manage portfolios ranging from plain-vanilla money market funds to high-risk portfolios with exotic strategies, dumped risky assets and socked money into ultra short-dated U.S. government securities, analysts said.

“It’s very abrupt and disorienting,” said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP in New York…source:

Eventually, the world will NOT run to US Treasury Bills when the financial markets get shaky because of the overwhelming US debt. This eventually will lead to the fulfillment of prophecies in Habakkuk such as:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry…
6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him,
And a taunting riddle against him, and say,
‘Woe to him who increases
What is not his–how long?
And to him who loads himself with many pledges’?
7 Will not your creditors rise up suddenly?
Will they not awaken who oppress you?
And you will become their booty (Habakkuk 2:2-3,6-7).

No country on earth has ever loaded itself with more “pledges” (promises to pay debt) than the USA.

And it may well be that when the effects of weather difficulties severely affect the production of food/grain crops in the USA, that the creditors of the world will realize that the USA is NOT going to be able to pay back its massive debt.

Europa Woman Riding the Beast Coin

But what about the Euro?

Now while Europe is also having some financial and weather issues, Bible prophecy indicates that it will rise while the USA will fall.  Investors still are staying mainly in the US dollar, but that will eventually change.

And although the Euro will have some rough times ahead, eventually it or something similar appears destined to dominate the world financial scene. 

Two articles of possible interest may include:

Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation?
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?

WCG No Longer Related to the Plain Truth

Monday, August 20th, 2007

WCG’s J. Tkach (Jr.) reported:

SPECIAL LEGAL NOTICE to all U.S. and International Pastors, Mission Directors and National Directors

As most of you know, the Worldwide Church of God, USA (“WCG”) and Plain Truth Ministries Worldwide (“PTM”) became totally separate and distinct legal entities, effective January 1, 2006, in a friendly disassociation approved by, among others, the Board of Directors and the Advisory Council of Elders. Subsequently, on August 4, 2006, the WCG transferred to PTM all its right, title, and interest to the United States Trademark “The Plain Truth” (the “Trademark”).

WCG has no rights to the Trademark (subject to an exception that WCG may mention the magazine in reciting the WCG history, but no one should rely upon this exception without first discussing it with the Legal Department).

So as to be clear, in the present case the Trademark is a title – i.e. the words “The Plain Truth.” When I refer to “the Trademark,” I mean this title or its legal equivalent, the title “Plain Truth.”

Since WCG no longer owns the United States Trademark, WCG is directing that all entities under the legal control of WCG (defined below) discontinue all present mentions of the Trademark in any U.S. media and refrain from any future use or mention of the Trademark in the United States.

This thus shows a significant separation between WCG and Greg A’s Plain Truth Ministries.  In the 1980s, WCG used to produce about 7 million Plain Truth magazines per month, but after the death of HW Armstrong, it changed the message as well as its approach to the magazine.

CG7 on Holy Days, Birthdays, & “Other Days”

Monday, August 20th, 2007

The September 2007  Bible Advocate magazine by the Church of God (7th Day) Denver contained the below editorial by the editor, Calvin Burrell:

Beyond Sabbath

Fifty-seven delegates representing twenty-three member nations of the International Ministerial Congress sit with me in a crowded hotel conference room as I begin this writing in early July.  Their fraternal discussion to advance our global mission mixes with my editorial thoughts, but I write on so you can have this BA by August’s end.

An item of study for this congress in Kansas is titled “Other Days.”  It’s on our agenda because among seventh-day churches around the world are those who also observe one or more of the following:  birthdays, wedding anniversaries, national holidays, Mother’s and Father’s days, thanksgiving days, days of fasting, annual Hebrew festivals of Leviticus 23, and more. 

This study reflects on our freedom in Christ for such celebrations and on our attitude toward those whose celebrations do not exactly match our own.  Some Christians observe more days than we, and some less.

While not for official action here, this topic is being presented simply to stimulate thought and study.  The delegates’ response suggests that they understand Paul’s counsel in Romans 14 regarding such doubtful issues – those not settled in Scripture:  “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike” (v. 5a).

Based on the gospel of Christ and the liberty it brings, the congress seems to say we are free to observe or not observe days according to personal persuasion (vv. 3-13).  Lest this liberty be abused, however, they note these provisions for celebrating “other days”:

    1. Celebrations may not violate clear Bible teaching (v.22b).
    2. They must be done in faith, not as a legal requirement (vv.18, 22a, 23).
    3. Observers and non-observers alike should take care not to offend others by their freedom, nor to impose their convictions upon others (vv.15-21).

This CoG7 congress continues its firm commitment to the weekly Sabbath of Scripture.  Beyond Sabbath, the tolerance of Romans 14 to regard other days – or not – is accepted:  “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore” (v. 13).  In my opinion, this demonstrates Christian maturity and increases our opportunities to work in concert with more of God’s people on the planet.  What do you think?

               – Calvin Burrell

What do I think?  I think that WCG and CG7 have taken the same approach on certain doctrines that they believe are controversial–and that is to attempt to accept two sides of some issues (WCG demonstrated this fairly recently–please see the post WCG Announces 35 Beliefs Book).  But I am pleased that CG7 is now, almost officially, more accepting of God’s Holy Days.

Unlike Elder Burrell, I think that the Holy Days are NOT the subject of Romans 14 and that the weekly Sabbath AND the biblical Holy Days have essentially the same type of support in the New Testament–as well as in early Christian history.

While the Bible does allow for the observance of national holidays, I think that those in CG7 need to read and heed what the Bible shows and observe the biblical Holy Days and NOT celebrate birthdays.

Below are several articles of related interest:

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 the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D.
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.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach?
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? This article supplies some biblical answers.
UCG and Its Unleavened Bread Study Paper What does the Bible say about eating unleavened bread for seven days? What has UCG officially said about it?
Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many “Christians” somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means? It is also called the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks, and the day of firstfruits.
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? Did they? Did Jesus?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not?
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement”. Does it have any relevance for Christians today?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians?
Holy Days This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2012, with their Roman calendar dates.
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?

Hurricane Dean Poised to Hit Land

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Dean Poised for Direct Hit on Jamaica

The Caribbean nation converts schools, churches and the indoor national sports arena into shelters and authorities urge people to take cover ahead of a hurricane that could rake the country with winds of 145 mph and dump 20 inches of rain.

Interestingly, LCG reported a couple of days ago:

Apocalyptic Weather Events and Prophecy. Some question the validity of claims involving global climate change. Yet, it is instructive to consider these claims in light of Bible prophecy.  Jesus predicted that in the last days, there would be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places (Matthew 24:7). John foresaw a great earthquake, the sun becoming black as sackcloth, the moon turning blood red and every mountain being moved out of place (Revelation 6:12-15). Given these clear prophecies, it is worth noting what climatologists expect will happen with rising sea levels: increased earthquake activity due to increased pressure on the continental plates from rising sea levels, increased tsunami activity and more major landslides. Increased volcanic activity will produce more ash and soot in the air—making the sun black and the moon red as predicted by John. A one-meter sea level rise would also destroy one-third of the world’s agriculture (Guardian Unlimited, August 7, 2007). Some doubt the concept of global climate change, but the predicted outcomes of this apparent weather phenomenon correlate closely with the end-time events of the Bible. Whether or not climate change is “caused by man” is of little consequence—what is important is that God can use it to chastise the rebellious nations of the world.

The Bible does have some dire warnings for those living in islands.  Information can be found in the article Islands and Bible Prophecy.

Postscript from LCG 8/23/07:

Hurricane Dean

As Hurricane Dean followed its path over the Caribbean and the Antilles, our brethren were protected and did not suffer any personal injuries.

Etienne Duval, our deacon in Martinique, reported, “We were forced to cancel Sabbath services on August 18. I have been able to visit all the brethren except two. Their properties suffered very little damage, overall, but must of us still don’t have water or electricity in our homes.”

From Haiti, our deacon Jove Jean-Pierre, reported, “Thanks to God, this natural disaster did not cause too much destruction in the capital. All the members of the Church in Port-au-Prince are safe.”

Reporting on Jamaica and Barbados, Mr. Shumway wrote, “Barbados was spared from the brunt of the storm. Trees were knocked down and there was some flooding. It appears that our members were not directly affected…. Thankfully, Hurricane Dean veered about 50 miles south of Jamaica, which prevented a direct hit. Power and water supply were disrupted nationwide. We have been able to contact most of our members and all are doing well. We were especially concerned about our members on Portland Point, the southernmost part of the island. One widow there commented about her home, ‘There wasn’t even a leak!’ Power was restored to our Jamaica office last night. Today is the first day the office has been able to operate since the hurricane. The Jamaica Grande Resort, our Feast site located to the north in Ocho Rios, was not adversely affected. We are deeply grateful to our Great God for His protection. The members in Jamaica thank all their brethren for their heartfelt prayers. God does certainly hear!”

CGG Adding On

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Last week, CGG reported:

A construction crew has been hard at work all this week in stifling temperatures and humidity, erecting the structural steel for the office addition. Temperatures reached 104°F on Thursday {8/9/07}, an all-time record for the Charlotte area, but the men worked steadily all day, completing the perimeter steel and hanging a large part of the insulation and aluminum skin. Once the addition is completely enclosed, securing the building, the interior work can begin in earnest. Please pray that the construction crews for the various trades can be scheduled efficiently to allow the addition to be finished before the Feast of Tabernacles. Thanks!

Many COGs have been adding on to their facilities.  CGG, like LCG, is based out of Charlotte, NC.

To learn more on CGG doctrines, you may wish to read the article Church of the Great God.  

Living University Begins

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

LCG’s D. Winnail reported:

…on August 15, 2007, Living University began offering online classes—60 years after Mr. Herbert Armstrong started Ambassador College in the fall of 1947. To date, we have received more than 200 applications and have about 150 students enrolled in classes. The University is dedicated to the concept that the word of God is the foundation of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), and to recapturing true values (Matthew 17:11). In spite of a series of unforeseen challenges with computer software that resulted in lost e-mails, and other difficulties that have necessitated changing to another software program, we should be operating more smoothly within a week. 

Please announce that due to these start-up difficulties, assignment deadlines will be eased for the first few weeks.  We need to remember that this is Satan’s world (II Corinthians 4:4) and that he will do all he can to create difficulties and confusion in this effort to make God’s Truth available to people around the world.  Your prayers and patience are appreciated…

Are You Positive or Negative? The Apostle Paul urged Christians to focus on the positive and to avoid murmuring, grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:14; 4:8). He also noted the tendency of the ancient Israelites to murmur against their leaders (I Corinthians 10:10; see Deuteronomy 1:27). When Moses sent twelve men to scout the Promised Land, only two gave positive reports that their mission was possible, while ten gave negative reports that the road ahead would be too difficult and taking over the land could not be done—which discouraged the people (Numbers 13-14). Because the Israelites refused to trust God they had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. When Nehemiah returned from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem, he too faced difficulties from adversaries who ridiculed and tried to disrupt the work by sowing doubts and confusion. However, against the odds, Nehemiah urged the people forward and finished the job. Looking back, they saw “this work was done by our God” and that God had put it in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 1:3-4, 11; 2:5, 12, 17; 6:16). 

Today, some have ridiculed the idea of starting Living University and claimed that it should not be done, while others have rejoiced at the opportunity to learn and grow in the truth of God—and they see this as an “inspired decision.” We need to remember that Satan is the adversary of those commissioned to spread the Truth (I Peter 5:8-9). We also have been warned that in the last days there will be scoffers, murmurers and complainers who seek to cause division and disrupt the Work because they lack God’s Spirit (Jude 16-19). We also need to remember that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), and as Gamaliel warned his contemporaries, “if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it” (Acts 5:34-39). We have been commissioned to preach the gospel, warn the world and prepare a people to reign with Jesus Christ (Luke 1:17). The Living University can become a powerful tool for achieving this mission. Let’s look ahead confidently and in faith for God’s guidance and blessing on this effort. 

Computers are wonderful, but sometimes frustrating, tools.  If I gave up every time I had a computer software problem, the COGwriter site would have closed 10 years ago.

And there still are technical problems to deal with (the week before last was particularly difficult for me).

In my view, Living University fits into the overall plan of supporting LCG fulfill Matthew 24:14, and hence it will accomplish what it needs to in accordance with God’s plans for it.  And its online format, in spite of software glitches, should enable it to be a highly cost effective educational tool.

A couple of articles of general interest may include:

There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG members or any interested in supporting the faithful church.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and HWA expect from evangelists?

Another UCG Doctrinal Change?

Friday, August 17th, 2007

A long-time reader of the page, who is not a member of the Living Church of God, sent me the following (note the “me” or “my” below is from the one who wrote the following–it was not by COGwriter–my comments, which follow, are all in italics) and asked me to post it:

The United Church of God has recently come out with a new booklet on “The New Covenant   Does It Abolish God’s Law?” © 2007 

This booklet is quite lengthy (160 + pages) and seems to cover a lot of things to explain the new covenant, plus other various subjects.

The question some have is this: does this new book promote long time teachings of the Church or has it come up with new ones unique to this era of Laodicea? It makes this observation on page 20, Quoted with my own emphasis:

The prophets became God’s spokesmen. The messages they received from God, often written in books for later generations, were to be obeyed as “the word of the Lord” (see Isaiah 8:  Jeremiah 1: -5; Ezekiel 6:1- ). This same authority was later given to Christ’s apostles (Acts: 9- 1).”

This seems to fail to acknowledge Herbert W. Armstrong as an apostle of Jesus Christ with this same kind of authority, as one who restored truth to the Church. 

Let me give another quote from the book, and then explain what I am saying. Below are a couple more quotes from this book on page 157:   

“Having agreed to the New Covenant, the Church is now betrothed to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). It is under the terms of the New Covenant but still awaiting the coming fullness of the New Covenant marriage to begin at “the marriage of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:6-9).All mankind brought into that relationship—“yet God intends to offer this marriage relationship to all human beings.”“When Jesus returns and joins into the fullness of marriage with His Church, He will then also extend His engagement proposal to all mankind.”

“And as all of mankind is brought into this relationship,”—This teaching would virtually make all mankind equal, if they are to all be married to Christ and experience the “Marriage relationship”.  

Below is what HWA taught on this subject of the marriage relationship and Bride of Christ:

“Notice again: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21). Those who shall reign WITH Christ, when He comes to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, MUST OVERCOME (and that includes overcoming SATAN), EVEN AS JESUS DID!  Now does this apply equally to those who shall be converted after Christ comes, during the Millennium?  The answer is NO! These– quotations are found in Jesus’ message to the seven CHURCHES that span this CHURCH AGE! They do NOT apply to those called later!” (Page 158, the top section—From THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL © 1978—FIRST EDITION—SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE EDITIONHanded out at the F.o.T.—with some emphasis added.)

H.W.A. says this also from page 160, same book:

“But the KINGDOM of God is BOTH the GOVERNMENT of God and the FAMILY of God. Those now being saved spiritually will, in the resurrection, INHERIT the Kingdom of God. They shall have been BORN of God — born into the Divine FAMILY of God. They shall be married to Christ. Of this divine spiritual marriage, children of God will be begotten and born spiritually all during the thousand years commencing with Christ’s return to earth as KING.”

Mr. Armstrong said this same thing many times and wrote in other writings, reiterating that the bride would bring forth children. He died without changing this teaching which is based on several different passages of scripture.

It certainly appears that UCG has come up with a new teaching that is unique to its own organization, which veers away from previous teachings of an apostle of Jesus Christ. Are they right or wrong?  Is this based solidly on scripture? You, the reader have to decide.

While I (COGwriter) have found certain aspects of The New Covenant  Does It Abolish God’s Law? helpful (though misleading in at least one place), I do not intend to comment on the above other than to state that UCG has made a lot of changes in doctrine, and of course, governance.

Those interested in some of what UCG teaches and what it changed may wish to read one or both of the following articles:

Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
In Their Own Words: Doctrinal Differences Between the old United Church of God and the old Global Church of God Older quotes from the leadership and some of the membership of these two organizations are included without added commentary (until the end and the 7/31/98 update) which highlighted some of the differences between them.

7.9 Earthquake in Peru

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Hundreds Die in Powerful Peruvian Quake


Posted: 2007-08-16 07:22:45

LIMA, Peru (Aug. 16) — A powerful 7.9-magnitude earthquake shook Peru’s coast near the capital, killing at least 337 people and injuring more 827 others, the Civil Defense said early Thursday.

Civil Defense Commander Aristides Mussio released the figures on Peru’s state television station, saying one person was killed in Lima and 336 in the region of Ica… 

Deputy Health Minister Jose Calderon called the situation in Ica “dramatic.”

There have been a lot of “natural” disasters lately, and my prayers are with those in Peru.  COGs, such as LCG, have members in Peru.

However, those in LCG, at least, appear to be safe, as LCG reported:

Mario Hernandez sends the following report concerning the devastating two-minute earthquake that struck yesterday the nation of Peru: “Our brethren in Peru are all safe. Thanks to God, none of them were injured. I was unsuccessful in communicating with anyone in Peru last night, but this morning I spoke with Eden Hurtado, our host in Lima. Even though the earthquake was violent and prolonged, causing collective panic among the people, Lima was not greatly affected—and we thank God for protecting the brethren.”

It was nice to get the above report from LCG.

Earthquakes, of course, are predicted. 

Jesus warned that “there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows” (Mark 13:8).