Archive for December, 2009

Catholics and LCG on Christmas

Thursday, December 24th, 2009


As mentioned earlier, the early Catholic Church did not celebrate Christmas.  And this is clearly admitted as The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:

Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church (Martindale C. Transcribed by Susanti A. Suastika. Christmas. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

It’s observance was condemned as pagan around 200 A.D. by Tertullian:

The Minervalia are as much Minerva’s, as the Saturnalia Saturn’s; Saturn’s, which must necessarily be celebrated even by little slaves at the time of the Saturnalia. New-year’s gifts likewise must be caught at, and the Septimontium kept; and all the presents of Midwinter and the feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the flamens’ wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honoured on the appointed holy-days. The same thing takes place on an idol’s birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian master, unless it be he who shall think them suitable likewise to one who is not a master? (Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter X. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

But, however, the majority (of Christians) have by this time induced the belief in their mind that it is pardonable if at any time they do what the heathen do, for fear “the Name be blasphemed”…To live with heathens is lawful, to die with them is not… But if we have no right of communion in matters of this kind with strangers, how far more wicked to celebrate them among brethren! Who can maintain or defend this?…By us,…the Saturnalia and New-year’s and Midwinter’s festivals and Matronalia are frequented–presents come and go–New-year’s gifts–games join their noise–banquets join their din! Oh better fidelity of the nations to their own sect, which claims no solemnity of the Christians for itself!…(Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter XIV. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Despite the fact that by the third century, the Church of Rome did not adopt Christmas until the fourth century.  It is well known that the date of December 25th was observed by non-Christians as part of the celebration of Saturnalia as well as the date of the birthday of the sun-god Mithra (or Mithras).

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

Mithraism A pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-god Mithra. It entered Europe from Asia Minor after Alexander’s conquest, spread rapidly over the whole Roman Empire at the beginning of our era, reached its zenith during the third century, and vanished under the repressive regulations of Theodosius at the end of the fourth century…Helios Mithras is one god…The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigours of the season (Arendzen. J.P. Transcribed by John Looby. Mithraism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The World Book Encyclopedia notes:

In 354 A.D., Bishop Liberius of Rome ordered the people to celebrate on December 25. He probably chose this date because the people of Rome already observed it as the Feast of Saturn, celebrating the birthday of the sun (Sechrist E.H. Christmas. World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 3. Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, Chicago, 1966, pp. 408-417).

It needs to be understood that some scholarly sources believe that the celebration in Rome of Christmas may have began 2-3 decades earlier (by Constantine, who had been a follower of Mithraism), but none I am aware of suggest it was prior Constantine in the fourth century. There have been scholars who believe that Constantine was involved as tradition claims a certain church in Rome as the first site of a December 25th “Christmas” celebration as the following news account indicates:

The church where the tradition of celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 may have begun was built near a pagan shrine as part of an effort to spread Christianity, a leading Italian scholar says…the Emperor Constantine built the Basilica of St. Anastasia, where some believe Christmas was first celebrated on Dec. 25…

It opted to mark Christmas, then celebrated at varying dates, on Dec. 25 to coincide with the Roman festival celebrating the birth of the sun god, Andrea Carandini, a professor of archaeology at Rome’s La Sapienza University, told reporters Friday. The Basilica of St. Anastasia was built as soon as a year after the Nicaean Council. It probably was where Christmas was first marked on Dec. 25, part of broader efforts to link pagan practices to Christian celebrations in the early days of the new religion, Mr. Carandini said. “The church was built to Christianize these pagan places of worship,” he said. “It was normal to put a church near these places to try to ‘save’ them.” Rome’s archaeological superintendent, Angelo Bottini, who did not take part in Mr. Carandini’s research, said that hypothesis was “evocative and coherent” and “helps us understand the mechanisms of the passage from paganism to Christianity.” (Scholars link 1st yule church to pagan shrine. Washington Times – Dec 23, 2007 ROME (AP). viewed 12/24/07).

And the December 25th date was adopted apparently because the Greco-Roman church was filled with people who were not bothered by the fact that this was the Saturnalis/Mithra birthday, so calling it by the name of Christ somehow was believed to make the sun rebirth activities more acceptable.

In a commentary today, LCG’s Davy Crockett wrote:

The sounds, the smells, the colorful lights and decorations; folks being thoughtful and remembering the poor, good feelings all around; what could possibly be wrong with any of this? Short days, cold, long nights can use some brightening up and some cheerful activities, so “Just leave me alone” the devotees to Christmas might say to those who decry the celebrations of the season…

This greatest of all the “Christian” holidays began in antiquity, as a pagan observance of the winter solstice, and has morphed into a quasi-religious observance that is really a great merchandising opportunity for merchants who cater to every whim, as people scramble to buy gifts for family, friends, and business associates. Surely, one can’t be against booming commerce which brings jobs and prosperity to so many people…

Consider that the Bible says that truth is important. Notice John 8:32: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” I’m certain you are aware that one of the basic ten commandments given by God on Mt. Sinai concerned being truthful: “You shall not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16). With that in mind, consider that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. So, the basic premise of the observance is based on an untruth – that’s right – a lie!…

Revelation 21:8 states: “…all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Clinging to traditions is not new. Jesus dealt with the subject when He strongly corrected the Pharisees and Sadducees saying: “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:9). In another place, Jesus explained that paying lip service and using His name is not what is required. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). What is His will?  That we worship him with sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:8; cf., 1 Peter 1:22).

Christmas is not the only popular tradition or teaching that is not biblical.

Since no early Christians celebrated Christmas, it is obviously a tradition that some adopted based upon practices that were not held by the original apostles.

Is it your practice?  Should it be?

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?

Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day.

Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?

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. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.

Ronald Weinland’s Earlier Statements About the End-Time Elijah and Apostle Condemn Him Now

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009



For many years, I have pointed out how Ronald Weinland is not what he claims to be (prophet, one of the two witnesses, etc.).  In the past month or so, he has taken two additional titles to himself, apostle (see Ronald Weinland Apostle? Another False Declaration) and the final end-time Elijah (see Ronald Weinland Now Also Claims to Be the Elijah).

Perhaps his followers would be interested in seeing what he previously declared on these matters.

In 2005, he wrote:

The job of witnessing has been set aside for “two” to accomplish by the power of God. No church organization is going to do it, and no individual is going to be able to set himself up as God’s apostle to do it (Weinland Ronald. Time is Running Out. Copyright © the CHURCH OF GOD-PKG. 2005).

Yet, in a sermon last month, Ronald Weinland declared:

In addition to…being God’s witness at this time…He also gave me another job…I have always believed that Herbert W. Armstrong was the final apostle for the last time…I too am both a prophet and an apostle…I am an apostle. And if people don’t like it, they don’t like it. (Weinland R. Our Journey of Faith, part 3. Sermon, Bowling Green, KY, November 14, 2009).

Ronald Weinland apparently fails to see a contradiction here.

As reported earlier, Ronald Weinland also declared himself to be the “Elijah to come” on December 19, 2009:

I also am an Elijah to come, okay? …

I am the final fulfillment of the Elijah-to-come.

(Weinland R.  The Elijah to Come, Part 1. Sermon, 12/19/09).

With his history of false prophecies, etc. Ronald Weinland is not the final Elijah to come (but a final Elijah will someday be recognized, for details, see The Elijah Heresies).

But readers should carefully notice what Ronald Weinland himself had previously written on these matters. Specifically, he wrote,

The end-time Elijah had a commission to restore truth, but only to the Church (Weinland R.  The Prophesied END-TIME. 2004, p. 89)

Herbert W. Armstrong never taught that the message of the truth was only to the Church (also, more information on Elijah can be found in the article The Elijah Heresies). So is Ronald Weinland declaring that since Ronald Weinland  is now the final Elijah AND one of the two witnesses, that his only witness is to his church? That would seem to contradict the idea of God having two witnesses to warn the world in the end-times.  And if not, he is again contradicting his own words in another way.

Ronald Weinland also wrote:

He was not only the end-time Elijah that was prophesied to come before Jesus Christ’s coming, but he was also the only apostle that God would give to the world at the end time…

Who was this man?…In January of 1986, the work of the end-time Elijah came to an end when he died. His name was Herbert W. Armstrong…the spirit of Elijah…One would come at the end time…

The end-time Elijah…That man was Herbert W. Armstrong—the very one who would fulfill the role of the prophetic end-time Elijah…It will become far more significant later, but Herbert W. Armstrong understood that he fulfilled the prophecies of the end-time Elijah to come, that he was the end-time apostle to the Philadelphian Era, and that his commission was summed up in Matthew 24:14.  (Weinland R.  The Prophesied END-TIME. 2004, pp. 73, 75, 85, 89, 106, 108)

Now this is a major problem for Ronald Weinland.

Notice that he wrote that there would be one Elijah to come, not two. Notice that he taught that God would only raise one end time apostle, not two. And since Ronald Weinland wrote that Herbert W. Armstrong was the one for both of those roles (and that the work of the end-time Elijah ended in 1986), then Ronald Weinland’s declarations show that he has again contradicted himself.

Now, while he might want to state that he misunderstood this matter when he wrote that in 2004, notice carefully what he wrote about that The Prophesied END-TIME book:

Two things will be achieved by this book. First, a very small number will begin to be moved…

Secondly, this book will stand as a witness–a true testimony of God against all who refuse and oppose what is written. The contents of this book do not have to be justified–not by argument, debate, science, scholarly dissertation, or any such thing. It is simply fact–truth from God–the Almighty God of all the universe, and “time” will prove the authenticity (Weinland R.  The Prophesied END-TIME. 2004, p. 74).

Time has proven Ronald Weinland’s writings false and not authentic.  They did not come from God.

The witness should be clear. Ronald Weinland’s writings in his The Prophesied END-TIME book contradict what he now teaches.

Thus, his own writings clearly condemn him now.  Perhaps his remaining followers will figure that out.

Some articles of related interest may include the following:

Concerns About Ronald Weinland’s Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God Ronald Weinland falsely claims to be one of the two witnesses God is raising up and that the end will come in 2008 (first April 17th, then June 2008, now December 14, 2008). Why does the Bible show that Ron Weinland is a false prophet? He also has at least one other view that suggests that he is not part of the Church of God.
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2010, 2011, or 2012? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
Who Are The Two Witnesses? What is their job? What does the Bible reveal? What has the Church of God taught on this subject? Might even Roman Catholic prophecies give some clues here?
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.

Japan Moving Closer to India and China and Further From USA

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Tokyo, Japan


The government of Japan is taking steps to get closer to India:

India and Japan: Strengthening Defence Co-operation
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses – Dec 22, 2009
by Rajaram Panda  [IDSA is funded by the Indian Ministry of Defence.]

The government of Japan is taking steps to get closer to China:

Japan’s Risky Rapprochement With China
Tokyo’s embrace of Beijing could jeopardize Japan’s security relationship with the U.S.
Wall Street Journal – Dec 21, 2009

These steps are likely to move Japan further away from the USA.  This is consistent with a report here when Japan changed its government (see Japan Changed Government).

And these steps are consistent with biblical prophecy that suggests that Japan, India, China, and other Asian nations (like Korea) will ultimately cooperate militarily.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Japan, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Any Witness? This is a brief 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?
India, Its Biblical Past and Future: Any Witness? The Bible discusses the origins of those of Indian heritage and discusses some of the witness to them (including those in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).
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?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?
Korea in Prophecy, Any Witness? Does God have a plan for the Koreans? Is Korea mentioned in any prophecies? Will Koreans be among the first in the Kingdom of God? 한국의 언어로 : 한국 예언, 모든 증인에?

Mayan Calendar Shows World Ending By Three Years from Today?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009


The Mayan calendar (“the law of the katun,” or at least the current baktun) ends late on 12/21/2012.

Because of my book, 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect, I have paid more attention than I perhaps otherwise would to events related to the Mayan calendar.

Notice the following 16th century Mayan prophecy cited in my book:

But when the law of the katun has run its course, the God will bring about a great deluge again which will be the end of the world. When this is over, then our Lord Jesus Christ will descend over the valley of Jehoshaphat besides the town of Jerusalem where he redeemed us with his holy blood. (Chilam Balam, cited in 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect)

Now, since people who believe the Bible realize that the world will not end in a flood per God’s promise in Genesis 9, why does any of this Mayan stuff matter?

Because when people wake up three years from now, on December 22, 2012, and the world has not been destroyed by a flood, there will be several reactions.

Some will dismiss all prophecy.  The Bible warns of that (2 Peter 3:19) and says that the prophecies of God will come to pass.

Others will declare that a new age of peace is dawning on humanity–perhaps the main reason that “2012” became popular initially is that the New Age  Movement felt that the Mayan’s were not predicting the destruction of the world, but a new age.  A peaceful one.

Yet the Bible warns that false declarations of peace:

8 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have spoken nonsense and envisioned lies, therefore I am indeed against you,” says the Lord GOD. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who envision futility and who divine lies; they shall not be in the assembly of My people, nor be written in the record of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord GOD. 10 Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace–and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar– 11 say to those who plaster it with untempered mortar, that it will fall. There will be flooding rain, and you, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it down. 12 Surely, when the wall has fallen, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the mortar with which you plastered it?’ ” 13 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “I will cause a stormy wind to break forth in My fury; and there shall be a flooding rain in My anger, and great hailstones in fury to consume it. 14 So I will break down the wall you have plastered with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be uncovered; it will fall, and you shall be consumed in the midst of it. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. 15 Thus will I accomplish My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it with untempered mortar; and I will say to you, ‘The wall is no more, nor those who plastered it, 16 that is, the prophets of Israel who prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,’ ” says the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 13:8-16,NKJV)

So, on December 22, 2012 (and for some period after that date), we are likely to hear of more people discounting prophecies as well as more people looking at believing declarations of false times of peace.

This will affect nearly all who live at that time irrespective of what they now may believe about 2012.  Disaster will occur in the years following 2012, whether people believe it or not.

Those who wish to learn more about 2012 may wish to check out the following articles:

End of Mayan Calendar 2012–Might 2012 Mean Something? Are there Mayan calendar predictions for change in 2012? Changes were centuries ago predicted by the Hopi Native Americans. Do Mayan/Hindu/Hopi/Buddhist/New Age/Nostradamus prophecies have any value here? Why might Satan have inspired this date? Does the Dresden codex show destruction of the earth by flood? Can the great tribulation start before 2012? How might Barack Obama be involved in 2012?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect This contains some concepts related to 2012 and a book.  This also has YouTube videos related to 2012.

Constantinople Patriarch on 60 Minutes

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople

Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople


Although to the consternation of many Eastern Orthodox, it got certain facts wrong, 60 Minutes interviewed the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople Sunday.  Here is a report from CBS:

Patriarch Bartholomew Feels “Crucified”

Leader of 300 Million Orthodox Christians Talks to 60 Minutes About The Hardships He And His Followers Face in Turkey…

Although to the Orthodox Constantinople was the “most important city in the Christian world”, those associated with Rome and the Church of God would take exception to that.  However, for nearly a thousand years the eastern leg of the Roman Empire was more powerful than the western portion (roughly 6th century to its defeat in the 15th).  Some equate political power with spiritual power.

For more on the beliefs and history of the Eastern Orthodox churches, please check out the following articles:

Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view?  Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches?  What about Constantinople?  Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!

Jesus Era House in Nazareth Found

Monday, December 21st, 2009


A house dating from the time of Jesus in His town of Nazareth has been apparently found:

Associated Press – Dec 21, 2009

NAZARETH, Israel — …archaeologists on Monday unveiled what they said were the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus — a find that could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a boy.

The Bible itself teaches that “Jesus” would “be called a Nazarene” (Matthew 2:1,23).  Seventeen times the Bible (NKJV) uses the expression “Jesus of Nazareth,” probably because Jesus used to live there (Matthew 2:23).  The New Testament uses the expression Nazareth, Nazarene, or Nazarenes thirty-one times.

In the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul was considered to be a leader of the Nazarenes by his enemies (Acts 24:2,5).

More on the original Nazarene Christians can be found in the following articles:

Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Arabic Nazarenes May Have Kept Original Christian Practices Were their faithful Arabs who held to original Christianity?

Volcanic Earthquakes in the Philippines

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Mayon Volcano


There have been around 2000 volcanic earthquakes in the Philippines so far this week:

Mayon’s booming convinces more residents to leave

By Rey M. Nasol
Inquirer Southern Luzon
First Posted 21:55:00 12/21/2009…

“More than 100 rumbling sounds were audible at the Liñgon Hill Observatory center, which is 11.5 kilometers away from the crater. How much more at a near distance?” resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta said…

Governor Joey Salceda, Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) chair, said the Mayon eruption has been the most dangerous type of calamity in Albay.

This has been a difficult year in the Philippines with storms, typhoons (Philippines Typhoon and Updates) , and major flooding (Flooding in Manila, Philippines).

Jesus warned that earthquakes would be part of the biblically prophesied “sorrows” (Matthew 24:7-8).  The Philippines has had many troubles this year.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Islands and Bible Prophecy What’s ahead for islands? What does the Bible prophesy about them?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Asian?  Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2010, 2011, or 2012? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?

Ronald Weinland Now Also Claims to Be the Elijah

Sunday, December 20th, 2009



Yesterday, in a sermon in Georgia, Ronald Weinland of CGPFK declared that he was the Elijah to come.  He said “by their fruits you should know”.  He then specifically said, “I also am an Elijah to come, okay?” (Weinland R.  The Elijah to Come, Part 1. Sermon, 12/19/09).

This is the second new title he took to himself in 2009.  Quite a few years ago, Ronald Weinland declared that he was a prophet.  Then about 4 years ago, he declared himself one of the two witnesses.  On April 17, 2008, he declared his wife Laura as the other of the two witnesses.  Last month he declared himself to be an apostle.  And so now he has added the Elijah to come title to himself.

Now in that sermon, Ronald Weinland correctly stated that the late Herbert W. Armstrong said that he realized that he may not have been the Elijah to some.  But that is not to say that Ronald Weinland is (or even can be) the Elijah to come.  Ronald Weinland also declared yesterday that he does “not want an advisory council of elders”.  He mentioned something about false prophets as well, but did not apply that to himself.  But he also claimed that now he is an Elijah to come that this will somehow have major ramifications–I consider the ramifications are that he is either delusional and/or he is intentionally deceiving people.

Ronald Weinland has frequently made false predictions that he claimed he did on the authority of God (for two examples, he first claimed that the Great Tribulation began on April 17, 2008, then changed that to December 14, 2008–he still claims that the Great Tribulation began over a year ago).  And when he was proven wrong on certain of his predictions (like the USA would be nuked by the summer of 2008), he did not cease preaching as he said he would.  Instead, Ronald Weinland persists in adding titles to himself.

Now Ronald Weinland is not the only one to add many titles unto himself.  PCG’s Gerald Flurry declared himself a prophet quite a few years ago, then he later added many titles to himself.

In the July/August 2000 edition of Royal Vision, Gerald Flurry specifically calls or refers to himself the following variety of titles (listed in the order they occur in that issue): that prophet, the last voice, a third voice, the physical head of God’s work, the last and final voice, a prophet, God’s man, one that was prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel, this watchman, end-time watchman, a prophet to the nations, Christ’s man, a breaker, a modern type of Micah, this king, this counselor, the breaker whom God has chosen, God’s watchman, prophesied by Habakkuk, a lawgiver, His lawgiver, God’s leader, an end-time Malachi-type prophet, the one who fulfills Zechariah’s role in the end-time, ruler over His household, a type of Elisha, the conduit, God’s true prophet, the voice, that voice, type of Joel, a preacher of righteousness, this man (of God), an end-time Obadiah, a warrior for God, the one God actually wants us to focus on, and only a messenger–at least one of those titles he is taking refers to Jesus. The titles of the articles, all of which were written by Gerald Flurry were (in order of appearance, all CAPS from G. Flurry), THAT PROPHET PART ONE: WHO IS ‘THAT PROPHET’?, THAT PROPHET PART TWO: A NEW THING, THAT PROPHET PART THREE: GOD’S WATCHMAN, THAT PROPHET PART FOUR: THE THRONE AND LAWGIVER, GOD’S COMMAND, ZECHARIAH’S FLYING SCROLL, THAT PROPHET PART FIVE: THE ELISHA WORK, and THAT PROPHET PART SIX: THE VOICE OF THE DAY OF THE LORD. He also calls PCG “God’s greatest gift” (p.12).

Furthermore, Gerald Flurry wrote,

And I have been the conduit for revelation from all the major and minor prophets, Colossians, Lamentations, Daniel, Revelation, the former prophets and other books. All this prophetic revelation has come from God through THAT PROPHET (p.33).

Anyway, I do not accept that Gerald Flurry nor Ronald Weinland are prophets of God.  Nor do I accept that they hold the other titles that I have mentioned here that they have taken to themselves.

Please compare their teachings with the Bible and world events, and you will see that as well.

Some articles of related interest may include the following:

Concerns About Ronald Weinland’s Church of God-Preparing for the Kingdom of God Ronald Weinland falsely claims to be one of the two witnesses God is raising up and that the end will come in 2008 (first April 17th, then June 2008, now December 14, 2008). Why does the Bible show that Ron Weinland is a false prophet? He also has at least one other view that suggests that he is not part of the Church of God.
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2009, 2010, or 2011? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
Who Are The Two Witnesses? What is their job? What does the Bible reveal? What has the Church of God taught on this subject? Might even Roman Catholic prophecies give some clues here?
Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself ‘Philadelphia’ does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9), nor does Gerald Flurry calling himself “that prophet” make it so. This article provides many quotes from this group which tries to look faithful.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong?

SDA Samuele Bacchiocchi Remembered

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Samuele Bacchiocchi


Famed SDA scholar and historian Samuele Bacchiocchi died on December 20, 2008.  On this anniversary of his death, I would like to reflect on some of what he did that influenced my own work and research.

Samuele Bacchiocchi was challenged on the biblical holy days, and even though most Adventists do not observe them, he correctly decided that the Bible taught otherwise.  He also wrote several books about them, which I purchased and have found helpful.

Dr. Bacchiocchi realized that biblical scholarship supported the seventh-day Sabbath, and even was able to receive his doctorate from the the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was awarded a gold medal by Pope Paul VI for his summa cum laude class work and dissertation, “From Sabbath to Sunday: A Historical Investigation of the Rise of Sunday Observance in Early Christianity.”

Samuele Bacchiocchi realized that although many SDAs were observing Christmas, that this would not biblically appropriate.  He correctly observed, “It is a known fact that the pagan feast of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti – the birthday of the Invincible Sun, was held on that date.”

Samuele Bacchiocchi’s writings helped me better document changes that his church made in regards to its understanding of the Godhead. (The SDAs were once “semi-Arians” but now are almost exclusively trinitarians.)

Samuele Bacchiocchi and I occasionally corresponded through emails.  He encouraged my project on Ignatius and the Sabbath (see Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath) and I encouraged him to update the book based upon his dissertation as it had one or more referential issues that needed correction as some where relying on an error he had made (see TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th?).

Anyway, Dr.  Bacchiocchi was a valuable resource to me and personally he seemed to like me.  Because of him, I also made other contacts within the SDA movement that has helped me with some other research projects.  Samuele Bacchiocchi is still missed, however, a year after his death.

Those interested in some of the differences between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Living Church of God may wish to check out the following article:

SDA/LCG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The Living Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White.

WCG and LCG on Christmas

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales


GIC (formerly WCG) sent out an email yesterday announcing an article by its J. Tkach which stated:

Early in my Christian walk, I found the Christmas season annoying and irritating rather than inspiring and enjoyable. That’s because I believed Christmas was really a pagan holiday masquerading as Christian, and as such, God must hate it. I thought people who call themselves Christian but participate in such pagan revelry must disgust God.

But something the apostle Paul wrote gave me pause to reflect on my assumptions about Christmas, as well as Easter, another holiday I took for pagan debauchery. It’s in Philippians 1:15-18…So what does that have to do with Christmas? It showed me that when Christ is preached, that’s a good thing, regardless of the reasons or setting for it..The Christmas tree, which is an evergreen, symbolizes the everlasting life…

We don’t even avoid most of the things pagans did in worshipping their false gods, nor does God expect us to. Pagans don’t own December 25. That day belongs to God like every other day.

While pagans do not “own” any particular day, this does not mean that Christians should follow pagan worship practices.  J. Tkach seems to have overlooked certain biblical passages such as Jeremiah 10. Here are two translations of it:

Listen to the Message that God is sending your way, House of Israel. Listen most carefully:    “Don’t take the godless nations as your models.  Don’t be impressed by their glamour and glitz, no matter how much they’re impressed. The religion of these peoples is nothing but smoke. An idol is nothing but a tree chopped down, then shaped by a woodsman’s ax. They trim it with tinsel and balls, use hammer and nails to keep it upright.  It’s like a scarecrow in a cabbage patch—can’t talk!  Dead wood that has to be carried—can’t walk!  Don’t be impressed by such stuff. It’s useless for either good or evil… (Jeremiah 10:1-5, 11, The Message).

1Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:  2Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 5They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good…11Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens…Tell them this, ‘The stick gods who made nothing, neither sky nor earth, Will come to nothing on the earth and under the sky (Jeremiah 10:1-5, 11, KJV).

Note that God does NOT endose adding trees to worship of Him as the pagan do.  Nowhere in the Bible do we see anything that suggests that God’s people should decorate trees in honor of Jesus.  I should add that the in the passage in Philippians 1:15-18 that J. Tkach cited, Paul was saying that getting the MESSAGE out was good, even if the motivation was not.  But Paul did not say that it was fine to preach an inaccurate message about Jesus.  Notice that Paul actually Paul condemned those who preached a false, changed gospel:

8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9, NKJV)

Christmas observance actually changes the focus of the gospel and it is NOT a day that the Bible suggests should be observed as the heathen once did.

This morning, in his latest commentary, LCG’s Wyatt Cieselka stated:

The Catholic Encyclopedia reveals: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts…” (vol. 3, pp. 724, 728).  Christmas was even briefly outlawed in Massachusetts in 1659 and in England in the mid 1600s as being unbiblical.

Understand.  Before Christmas was the Roman Saturnalia, upon which Christmas is founded.  Tertullian; considered an early Catholic church father, wrote that during the Saturnalia, presents were exchanged and “every pomp of the devil is frequented” (On Idolatry, circa 200 – 206 A.D.).

But, the Saturnalia was simply an adaptation of something earlier – Persian Mithraism.  As the Catholic Encyclopedia records: “In Mithraism, the highest god was Aion, Kronos, or Saturnus.  Saturnus; the name popularized by the Roman world, was no other than the ancient Iranian [Persian] god; Zervan (“Mithraism”).

The Romans eagerly adopted Mithraism in the form of the Saturnalia.  Emperor Diocletian built a temple to Mithra in Carnuntum, and “The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun” (ibid).

In Mithraism, the mid-winter festivals began with worship of Zervan, whose celebrations ended on December 24.  The celebrations then transitioned to worship the reborn Zervan as the newborn Mithras, the new Saturn, born on December 25 who brought back the sun after the winter-solstice (Mithras, the Secret God, M.J. Vermaseren).

The pagan god Zervan was depicted as a winged, part-human, part-lion figure.  Thus, we see that Zervan depicts angelic cherubim characteristics (2 Chronicles 3:13; Ezekiel 10:14).  Further, Zervan was typically accompanied by snakes wrapped around his legs, arms or body (The Mysteries of Mithra, by Franz Cumont, 1903, page 93).  Scripture reveals that Satan (formerly Lucifer) is a fallen cherub (Ezekiel 28:14-16), and is associated with the snake (Genesis 3:1-14; Revelation 20:2).

A righteous angel will not permit himself to be worshipped (Revelation 19:10; 22:9).  And Revelation 9:20 warns that idolaters are actually worshipping demons.  Clearly, the cherub who demands his worship at the winter-solstice is no righteous angel.  Whether calling himself Zervan, Saturn or another eponym, this deity is a proxy for no other than Satan, the fallen cherub!

But even the Roman Saturnalia and Persian Mithraism was an adaption of an even earlier mystery religion – the Babylonian mystery cult.  The ancient Babylonians celebrated the reborn Nimrod as the newborn Tammuz by worshipping an evergreen tree (now the common Christmas tree).  The Babylonians also celebrated this rebirth during the winter solstice.  Jeremiah condemns ancient Israel for copying this terrible paganism, and even specifically mentions the evergreen tree in Jeremiah 3:13.

Regardless of fond memories or whether “everyone does it,” a true Christian will reject Christmas, not only because of the commercialism, the pagan influence, and the impossibility of Jesus being born mid-winter, but more fundamentally because Christ refuses to have any part with idolatry (2 Corinthians 6:15-16).  Christ was never part of Christmas and He will not be “put back” in Christmas.

God commands us to “learn not the way of the heathen” (Jeremiah 10:2, KJV), reveals that pagan celebrations are abominations to Him (Jeremiah 10:3-4; Ezekiel 8:13-14), and tells us to not change what was taught through Christ and the Apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:15).  Once this truth is understood, a true Christian will shudder at the idea of celebrating Christmas, realizing that these winter solstice celebrations are indeed Satan’s celebrations.

To learn more, watch the powerful Tomorrow’s World telecasts, Origins of Christmas and Insight into Christmas, or read the insightful article “What is Hidden by the Holidays.”

I realize that most people who celebrate Christmas believe that this a good and biblically proper thing to do.  However, if they looked more into this, I believe that most would realize that Christmas observance actually detracts from the message of the Bible and encourages compromise with traditions of men.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
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?