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Was loss of ‘freedom of the press’ predicted by the old Worldwide Church of God? What about the Bible?

Friday, May 24th, 2019


COGwriter

We keep seeing more censorship, direct and indirect, on the internet.

Was freedom of the press and its demise prophesied?

The old Worldwide Church of God correctly pointed out that it was:

THE MOST important work in the world cannot be done without freedom of the press!

What is that work?

It is the work of announcing that God will restore His Government to the whole earth! But before the Government of God is restored, it must first be announced! The good news of that announcement — the Gospel of the Kingdom of God — must be preached (Matthew 24:14) to all nations (Matthew 28:19). And the nations must choose whether they will want it or resist it.

In this day, God has made the MASS media available to accomplish His work. But reaching a mass audience with the good news of God’s soon-coming Government requires the freedom to PUBLISH. Notice Mark 13:10: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.”

Further, God lays a special duty on his messenger and Church to publicly disseminate certain warnings to certain nations. Ezekiel 33:1-7 describes God’s charge upon the watchman. When the watchman sees “the sword” come upon the land — a prophetic symbol of military devastation — he must “blow the trumpet” or God will hold him personally responsible.

This duty requires that a message warning about some very unpleasant events be published as far and as wide as possible to the latter-day descendants of ancient nations.

Similarly, when God charged the prophet Jeremiah with a message, he also had an affirmative duty from God to spread it to as wide an audience as possible. Jeremiah was given a message so important he could hardly contain himself: “But his [God’s] word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones…” (Jeremiah 20:9).

So God’s servants really have no choice as to exercising the right to publish their message freely. Their message is not for their personal benefit — but to the whole world!

Governmental Reaction

And yet while the Bible places a duty on God’s servants, it also warns that this world — even now and in the future — will not always allow the freedom to publish.

In the past a government’s excuse for persecution was that God’s message IS TOO DISTURBING to be allowed to circulate freely.

In the Old Testament, Elijah, for example, was hauled before King Ahab for the ancient equivalent of the crime of disturbing the peace: “Ahab said unto him [Elijah], Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” (I Kings 18:17).
Elijah’s defense was that he wasn’t troubling Israel, only bringing some very distressing news from God to Ahab’s government (verse 18).

Likewise, the religious and political authorities of Amos’ day tried to subject him to “prior restraint” — from speaking his message at all — because the message he brought from God was TO CONTROVERSIAL!

“Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words…. Also Amaziah said unto Amos… prophesy not again any more at Bethel” (Amos 7:10, 12-13). Amaziah tried to deny Amos a forum for God’s message in ancient Israel. Amos’ message was too upsetting to the political and religious establishments!

The prophet Jeremiah was even subjected to an ancient form of book burning. God commanded Jeremiah to write down “all the words that I [God] have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations…” (Jeremiah 36:2).

Jeremiah put the words on a roll. Eventually, however, possession of the roll came to one of the king’s top aides, who read it to the king (verse 21). After reading “three or four leaves” of the scroll, the aide, ever eager to please a now distraught king, threw the roll into the fireplace (verse 23). Afterwards, the king attempted, unsuccessfully, to seize Jeremiah for putting God’s word to writing.

Earlier, Jeremiah had already endured actual imprisonment for the content of his spoken message (Jeremiah 20:2).

In the New Testament, the authorities tried to prevent the apostles from preaching the Gospel. The apostles were forcibly brought before the council. The high priest asked them: “Did not we straightly command you that you should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine…” (Acts 5:28).

In other words, the civil and religious authorities were seeking to regulate the content of their message!

In response, the apostle Peter declared the firm rule that “we ought to obey God rather than men” (verse 29). Since Peter and company had a God-ordained duty to say what they were saying, the commands of the civil government of Jerusalem were in direct conflict with God’s.

For the future, the Bible prophecy reveals that the time will come when most of this world’s nations will be led by Satan to abolish freedom of the press — and all related freedoms. Why? To prevent any publishing of God’s message from reaching any substantial number of people!

`Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12).

Elsewhere the Bible reveals how this prophesied press clampdown will take place. Revelation 13 describes a great religious-civil power that will arise in the place of the old Roman Empire. This prophesied power will not allow free speech, a free press or the free exercise of any religion — except the official religion of the state.

Why Free Press Important

The Gospel is the good news of a government that will REPLACE the governments of this world. Yet replace is a mild word! The prophet Daniel flatly declares that the Government of God will “break in pieces and consume” the nations of this world that resist Him (Daniel 2:44).

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God proclaims that there is a higher power than human government, another and divine government to whom men, whether they know it or not, ultimately owe allegiance. For this reason early Christians were accused of doing “contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus” (Acts 17:7).

No wonder the governments of this world have historically sought to suppress the publishing of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God — for it is ultimately the news of their overthrow by Christ at His return!

Some have tried to justify the suppression of press freedom on the grounds that the free circulation of false ideas would create havoc for human government.”Lying opinions, than which no mental plague is greater,” wrote Pope Leo XIII, “and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life, should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the state.”

The key error is the failure to see the difference between the government of man and the government of God. God does not reveal the whole of His spiritual truth to society at large — only to those He calls (see Romans 8:30).

Man, cut off from God, cannot be trusted to pass judgment on whether God’s truth is, in fact, “true.” The Bible reveals that Satan has deceived “the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).

Christ said his true church would be a little flock, not a majority of the political community (Luke 12:32). Thus, no human government can ever be really certain that it can tell a “lying opinion” from a true one.

Because men’s minds are limited, men must have the truth revealed to them by God. When God doesn’t reveal it, as He doesn’t to most of society, the safest course open to humans is the greatest possible circulation of ideas. The Bible supports this idea when it declares: “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the MULTITUDE of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).

Even if false ideas circulate under freedom of the press, at least God’s Word will also be able to go out unhindered.

Free societies pay a very high price for freedom of the press — pornography circulates freely because human courts say they can’t really tell the difference between pornography and other kinds of writing or expression. This is a very high price — but at least it does insure the free circulation of God’s truth, as well as other religious ideas.

If you grant human government the authority to censor what is printed or spoken, you allow the government to stop any message it doesn’t approve of.

Government tried to suppress Elijah, Amos and Jeremiah; it is prophesied to suppress God’s true Gospel again in the future. The power to censor bad writing easily becomes the power to suppress good writing.

There is a reason why God began, and based, his end-time work in the country on earth where freedom of the press is greatest — and why God’s Church has grown the most, as a rule, in countries where press freedom is substantial. Since the spreading of God’s Word is the most important activity on earth — the preservation of freedom of the press is one of the most awesome responsibilities God lays on human government. (Calkins J. FREE PRESS IN THE BIBLE? Was It Prophesied? Plain Truth. May 1981)

The Philadelphia portion of the Church of God did begin in the USA and its most faithful remnant, the Continuing Church of God, is still based out of the USA.

But now, in the USA and especially out of it, we are seeing more and more calls for restrictions and censorship.

Notice that Pope Francis seems to be on the side of limiting speech of those who disagree with other’s religions. Notice something from 2015:

January 15, 2015

The pope, speaking to reporters as he flew from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, made the comments in relation to an attack by Islamists on the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical attacks on Islam and other religions, that killed 12 people.

Francis has defended freedom of expression, but he said it was wrong to provoke others by insulting their religion and that one could “expect” a reaction to such abuse.

“You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,” he told reporters Thursday.

‘You cannot provoke’

By way of example, he referred to Alberto Gasparri, who organizes papal trips and was standing by his side. Francis said: “If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. … You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others. … In freedom of expression there are limits.” …

“Everyone has not only the freedom and the right, but the obligation to say what he thinks for the common good. … We have the right to have this freedom openly without offending,” he said, according to Reuters. http://www.voanews.com/content/pope-francis-speaks-against-insulting-others-religions/2599338.html

The Pope’s words go against the Bible. Limits on freedom of expression should NOT be limits on truth. People who are believing lies may well be offended at the truth, but the truth still needs to be told.

The Bible teaches:

1 Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

Many are offended to be told that they are sinning, but the Bible says to tell them anyway.

Is Pope Francis also trying to say that one cannot give one’s opinion about religions that one feels is false?

Whether he is or not, his comments are helping to set the stage for more censorship.

Explaining that the Bible teaches that a Babylonian religion with daughters who oppose biblical doctrine should be warned against (Revelation 17-18) is something that the most faithful should be doing now (cf. Isaiah 58:1; Matthew 24:14)–this is not the time to hold back out of fear of offense or being called names. Pope Francis has called it the “devil’s work” to oppose his interfaith plans, whereas the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew has stated that those who oppose ecumenical dialogue are “unacceptably fanatical” (see Pope Francis misunderstands the devil’s unity).

Even media sources like the Guardian of the UK are supporting censorship (see Totalitarian controls getting closer–The Guardian pushing internet censorship).

The faithful will be saying things that are not “politically correct” to the point that one or more governments will take action. This is especially the case, if we are saying, and I expect to help do this, that a certain individual is the King of the North and that he will invade and destroy the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, etc., and then the Middle East/North Africa. Many will hear that message.

The King of the North will talk of peace and safety, but will bring destruction. This is prophesied:

3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:3-4)

21 And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22 With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. 23 And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. 24 He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time. …

29 “At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. 30 For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage.

“So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. 32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. 34 Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. …

39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.

40 “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. (Daniel 11:20-24; 29-35; 39-40)

Yet, God’s work still will be accomplished and the final phase of the work completed. Even lay Christians will be involved in this short work. Notice again, verse 33:

33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.

This is most definitely a reference to a SHORT WORK. The word “many” is not in the original Hebrew, but was improperly added by the NKJV translators. Notice it is “the people who understand shall instruct many” for days. These people are doing part of the short work–many of them are simply members of the true Church that volunteer to do what Jesus would have them do–they are Philadelphians who will not deny Him:

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. (Revelation 3:7-8)

32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33).

The work will get done–though many who claim to be Christian, including the Laodiceans, will not support it as they should (cf. Revelation 3:14-22):

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

Once the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as Matthew 24:14 teaches is sufficiently proclaimed as a witness according to God, the end will come. Notice again that the Prophet Amos was inspired to record the following:

11 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,
“That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
And from north to east;
They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord,
But shall not find it. (Amos 8:11-12)

Notice that the Bible tells of a time that will come when the word of God will not be found. And that would seem to be because truth from it will be taken off the internet. In the 21st century, the internet is accessed by people in every country, and thus some type of internet restriction/suspension/site removal is coming.

We are getting closer to this time. More and more are starting to see that there are plans to censor speech from the internet.

That is part of why we in the Continuing Church of God are preparing for the ‘short work’ (Romans 9:28) and the coming ‘famine of the word.’ That is part of why our booklet Gospel of the Kingdom of God has been translated into 100 or so languages (for a language listing go to www.ccog.org).

If you are or have been Laodican, realize that God wants you to not be off just on your own, but to support His work. A work that will be cut short (Romans 9:28), but a work that will be accomplished before Jesus returns (cf. Matthew 24:14).

Do not be lukewarm about this (Revelation 3:14-22). Do not harden your heart (Hebrews 4:7). Do not let negative past experiences, no matter how much you may have been hurt, “take your crown” (Revelation 3:11). Support the Philadelphian end time work as Jesus would truly want you to (Revelation 3:7-13). For truly the famine of the word will be coming. As prophesied, true freedom of the press is going away.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Internet Censorship and Prophecy Are concerns about internet censorship limited to nations such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. But what about the USA, Canada, and Germany? What about the European Union? What about internet media companies such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, or email services like MailChimp? Has the attempt to control information been made by various ones over the centuries? Was the New Testament affected by it? What about the church throughout the centuries? Has the Bible already been partially censored? Which Bible prophecies point to coming Internet censorship? What about the Book of Amos? What about the coming 666 Beast and final Antichrist? Is there anything that can be done about this? Should Philadelphian Christians be working on anything now? Will preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God vs. a highly media-supported alternative lead to a ‘famine of the word’? More internet censorship is coming as various statements in the Bible support.
Orwell’s 1984 by 2024? In 1949, the late George Orwell wrote a disturbing book about a totalitarian government called “nineteen-eighty four.” Despite laws that are supposed to protect freedom of speech and religion, we are seeing governments taking steps consistent with those that George Orwell warned against. We are also seeing this in the media, academia, and in private companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. With the advent of technology, totalitarianism beyond what Orwell wrote is possible. Does the Bible teach the coming a totalitarian state similar to George Orwell’s? What about the Antichrist and 666? Will things get worse? What is the solution? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more in this video.
Canadian censoring of the Bible In 2017, Lauri Skori of the Battle River School board told a religious school in Alberta, Canada that it could not teach/read certain portions of the Bible. In 2002, a court in Canada ruled against one who referred to certain scriptures that some homosexuals objected to. In 2017, there was “An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code” related to those who wish to be considered transgendered. Government officials in Canada and elsewhere have been ruling against the Bible. Is any of this prophesied? Will this get worse? What was the prophet Amos inspired to write? This is a video.
Internet Control, Famine of the Word, and 666 Is the internet going to be used to suppress the teaching of the word of God?

Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.

Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. A video of possible interest may be Will Will USA Spying Help the Beast Power?
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? In the Spanish language check out ¿Quién es el Rey del Norte? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no Final End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Quién es el Rey del Occidente? ¿Por qué no hay un Rey del Occidente en la profecía del tiempo del fin? A related sermon is also available: The Bible, the USA, and the King of the West.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.

Have you seen what Joseph Tkach, Sr. once referred to as ‘Satan’s Throne’

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019


Cathedra Petri’ (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Numerous times, my wife Joyce and I have been able to see and visit what could be ‘Satan’s throne,’ if the devil does in fact have a physical throne on the earth.

The first time we saw it was back in 1987 on a tour of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Those of us on that tour (all WCG members) were told by a Worldwide Church of God minister who was conducting the tour that Joseph Tkach, Sr. (who was then the Pastor General of WCG–he died in 1995) stated that he felt that the Cathedra Petri was “Satan’s throne.”

The WCG tour guide minister also said that that there was a tradition/legend (which possibly can be tied to one interpretation of a 12th century prophecy by the Bishop Malachy) that the final pope would sit on this throne. This particular throne is black and the bottom of its legs are about 5 feet off of the ground. Despite odd claims, no one allegedly has ever sat on this final version of it.

Here is a little bit of history about it:

As a young boy Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) visited St. Peter’s with the painter Annibale Carracci and stated his wish to build “a mighty throne for the apostle”. His wish came true. As a young man, in 1626, he received the patronage of Pope Urban VIII and worked on the embellishment of the Basilica for 50 years…Bernini then turned his attention to another precious relic, the so-called Cathedra Petri or “throne of St. Peter” a chair which was often claimed to have been used by the apostle, but appears to date from the 12th century. As the chair itself was fast deteriorating and was no longer serviceable, Pope Alexander VII determined to enshrine it in suitable splendour as the object upon which the line of successors to Peter was based. Bernini created a large bronze throne in which it was housed, raised high on four looping supports held effortlessly by massive bronze statues of four Doctors of the Church, Saints Ambrose and Augustine representing the Latin Church and Athanasius and John Chrysostom, the Greek Church. The four figures are dynamic with sweeping robes and expressions of adoration and ecstasy. (St. Peter’s Basilica. Wikipedia, viewed 07/21/12)

While there is no actual evidence that Peter had his chair (or a bench he sat upon) turned into this (or presumably part of it), the reality is that some chair/throne/seat has existed for some time, and now is overlaid as the large black one shown. The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches about at least two:

From the earliest times the Church at Rome celebrated on 18 January the memory of the day when the Apostle held his first service with the faithful of the Eternal City… This double celebration was also held in two places, in the Vatican Basilica and in a cemetery (coemeterium) on the Via Salaria. At both places a chair (cathedra) was venerated…In its present (ninth-century) form the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum” gives a second feast of the Chair of St. Peter for 22 February, but all the manuscripts assign it to Antioch, not to Rome… by the ninth century one of the two feasts of the Roman cathedra had drifted away to Antioch, shows that the cathedra of the Via Salaria must have perished as early as the sixth or seventh century. We come now to the question, where stood originally the chair shown and venerated in the Vatican Basilica during the fourth century? On the strength of ancient tradition it has been customary to designate the church of Santa Pudenziana as the spot where, in the house of the supposed Senator Pudens, the two great Apostles not only received hospitable entertainment, but also held Christian services. But the legends connected with Santa Pudenziana do not offer sufficient guarantee for the theory that this church was the cathedral and residence of the popes before Constantine… In 1776 there was excavated on the Aventine, near the present church of Santa Prisca, a chapel with frescoes of the fourth century; in these frescoes pictures of the two Apostles were still recognizable. Among the rubbish was also found a gilded glass with the figures of Peter and Paul. The feast of the dedication of this church (an important point) still falls on the same day as the above-described cathedra feast of 22 February; this church, therefore, continued to celebrate the traditional feast even after the destruction of the object from which it sprang. In the crypt of Santa Prisca is shown a hollowed capital, bearing in thirteenth-century letters the inscription: BAPTISMUS SANCTI PETRI (Baptism of Saint Peter), undoubtedly the echo of an ancient tradition of the administration of baptism here by Peter. In this way we have linked together a series of considerations which make it probable that the spot “ubi secundo sedebat sanctus Petrus” (where Saint Peter sat for the second time), must be sought in the present church of Santa Prisca; in other words, that the chair referred to by St. Damasus was kept there in the period before Constantine. It was there, consequently, that was celebrated the “natale Petri de cathedrâ”, set for 22 February in the calendars beginning with the year 354… How Pope Damasus might be led to transfer the cathedra Petri from Santa Prisca to the Vatican, can be readily understood from the circumstances of that time. From the reign of the first Constantine the Lateran had been the residence of the popes, and its magnificent basilica their cathedral, while the neighbouring baptistery of Constantine served for the solemn administration of baptism on the eve of Easter. In the half-century from 312 to 366 (date of the accession of Damasus), the importance of Santa Prisca, its baptistery, and its cathedra must naturally have declined. Damasus could therefore be certain of the approval of all Rome when he transferred the venerable Apostolic relic from the small chapel in Santa Prisca to his own new baptistery in the Vatican, where it certainly remained to the first quarter of the sixth century, after which it was kept in different chapels of the Vatican Basilica…We conclude, therefore, that there is no reason for doubting the genuineness of the relic preserved at the Vatican, and known as the Cathedra Petri. (Waal, Anton de. “Chair of Peter.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 21 Jul. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03551e.htm>)

It should be stated that it is by tradition, as opposed to historical fact, that Peter was actually ever in Rome and there is no evidence that he conducted any church service in Rome on a chair. The admission that at least one of the Roman chairs must have been destroyed and others may have come from elsewhere should help persuade those interested in the truth that the Cathedra Petri is not really Peter’s “throne,” or a place from whence he “ruled” all Christendom. It also should be pointed out that even the Vatican does not believe that its ‘cathedra’ chair is in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, but is actually in Rome in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. While a Pope (Damascus) apparently believed he was transferring a seat/chair of Peter to the Vatican, that does not make it so (and even if there actually was a seat that Peter once sat on that is now in St. Peter’s Basilica, this proves nothing other than a seat Peter sat on still exists). The throne that is now built over Cathedra Petri provides no actual proof that it was some place that Peter actually sat upon.

The “no reason to doubt” conclusion in The Catholic Encyclopedia should be understood to mean “no real proof,” despite claims otherwise. Other sources claim that part of the reason for the legend of Cathedra Petri, as well as why there were multiple “seats/chairs/thrones,” was essentially that in the late second and third centuries competing power blocks made the stories up to attempt to gain dominance (e.g. Sabatier A. Religions of authority and the religion of the spirit. Volume 16 of Theological translation library, 2nd edition. Translated by Louise Seymour Houghton. McClure, Phillips & Co., 1904. Original from the New York Public Library, Digitized Feb 9, 2011, p. 112). It has also been asserted that the seat underneath could never have been Peter’s as it came from the 8th century or simply the 17th century (Greatest Forgery in History: Chair of Saint Peter. Copyright © One-Evil.org 2011. http://one-evil.org/acts_forgery/forgery_chair_of_st_peter.htm viewed 07/22/12).

Anyway, some believe that the final pope on the Catholic Bishop Malachy’s list, Peter the Roman, will sit on the Cathedra Petri (some consider that he will be an antipope, and thus a henchman for Satan) in St. Peter’s Basilica. And for those unfamiliar with Malachy’s list, in the 12th century he predicted, with what some believe is complete accuracy, every pope since 1143. When Malachy’s list became public in the 16th century, it was considered to have been so accurate in predicting the 12th – 16th century pontiffs, that some thought that it had not been written until the 16th century. Here is what The Catholic Encyclopedia reported about it:

In 1139…St. Malachy gave his manuscript to Innocent II to console him in the midst of his tribulations, and that the document remained unknown in the Roman Archives until its discovery in 1590…These short prophetical announcements, in number 112, indicate some noticeable trait of all future popes from Celestine II, who was elected in the year 1143, until the end of the world. They are enunciated under mystical titles. Those who have undertaken to interpret and explain these symbolical prophecies have succeeded in discovering some trait, allusion, point, or similitude in their application to the individual popes, either as to their country, their name, their coat of arms or insignia, their birth-place, their talent or learning, the title of their cardinalate, the dignities which they held etc.

It does need to be pointed out, especially for Catholic readers, that Malachy’s list is only “accurate” if several admitted “antipopes” are counted, and the final one on the list, is believed by some to be the final Antichrist:

Catholic Priest Connor: [W]hen Malachy visited Pope Innocent II in Rome in 1139, he was given a vision of all the Holy Fathers of the future…A study of the entire prophecy shows that fulfillment is made possible only by including anti-popes...(Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, pp. 7-9) D. Lindsey: After the 266th pope, according to St. Malachy, there will be no more popes. In addition to being the last pontiff, some visionaries hint that the 266th pontiff will be the Antichrist. (Lindsey DM. The woman and the dragon: apparitions of Mary. Pelican Publishing, 2000, p. 65)

Here is what Malachy wrote in Latin about the last pope on his list:

In persecutione extrema SRE sedebit. Petrus Romanus, quipascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, et Iudex tremendus iudicabit populum suum. Finis. (Gurugé A. The Next Pope. Anura Guruge, 2010, p. 221)

Here is a translation of parts of it:

During the persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit upon the throne, Peter the Roman…the City of Seven Hills (Rome) will be utterly destroyed and the awful Judge will then judge the people. (Culleton, R. Gerald. The Prophets and Our Times. Nihil Obstat: L. Arvin. Imprimatur: Philip G. Scher, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, November 15, 1941. Reprint 1974, TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 138)

Here is some of what a Catholic writer commented about the last one on the Malachy list:

There are many, around the world, who, thanks to this prophecy, are totally convinced that the next pope will indeed call himself ‘Peter’–most not considering or caring what the implications of this could be. In the considered opinion of the author, it is highly improbable that the next pope will be ‘Petrus Romanus‘ or even ‘Petrus II.’ For a start, given the Last Judgment implications, many respected Catholic sources have tried to point out, for quite a long time, that the pope talked about in motto 112 does not have to necessarily be the pope who follows the one described by motto 111; this 111th pope now being the current pope, Benedict XVI (#266). The justification for this “hedging’ is that the mottos were not numbered in de Wyon’s 1595 Lignum Vitae. The numbering, to facilitate manageability, came later. Consequently, it can be contented that the author of this prophecy, whoever it was, did not necessarily mean that the pope described in the last motto would come immediately after the one identified in the previous motto. Basically, the last, very long, atypical motto describes the last pope. This last pope may come to be at a much later time–with an indeterminate number of intervening popes between him and the one described by motto 111. Therefore, this last motto may not actually apply to the next pope, in which case, the expectation of ‘Petrus Romanus‘ becomes mute. But what the proponents of the ‘Petrus Romanus‘ belief do not appear to appreciate is that the next pope, by the sheer necessity of the duties confronting him, is not going to be naive. Naiveté…is not a characteristic that one readily associates with today’s cardinals. They know the ways of the world and are world politic. There will be none amongst them who is not familiar with the Malachy prophecy. They all understand what the ramifications would be if the next pope surprised them all by stating that he will be called ‘Petrus Secundus.’ The protodeacon announcing ‘Petrus Secundus‘ from the balcony of St. Peter’s would be worse than shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. There would be mayhem in what is likely to be another jam-packed St. Peter’s Square. People would panic. There could be a stampede, people could get hurt. The authorities in Rome and the Italian government would be forced to take immediate action to quell the understandable alarm. It would be considered, quite rightly, a security threat! For the first time in over a century there could be troops, Italian, NATO or both, surrounding the Vatican. There would be no celebrations, The Urbi et Orbi blessing, if it was to take place, would be viewed with understandable askance. It is difficult to imagine the next pope doing anything this reckless. It is difficult to envision the cardinal electors permitting him to do anything this reckless. Hence, it is extremely unlikely that the next pope will be ‘Petrus Secundus,’ let alone ‘Petrus Romanus.’ If he is, head for the hills, and hope for the best. (Gurugé, pp. 221-223)

Now, I agree that the current pope Francis (who could be the last pope and is the one following #111 on the Malachy list) may or may not ever chose the name Peter II or anything similar–but that does not mean that he could not fulfill that prophecy (though his age has tended to suggest he is not the final Antichrist/antipope).

It needs to be clear, whether any pope does or not pick that name, the final major pope will be a destructive antipope. Malachy’s list did not actually name pontiffs, but basically gave short descriptions. And while some have concluded that Petrus Romanus is a name, it could be a description. The description could signify that he is a pebble (or “rocky” which is what the term petrus signifies) supporting the final Roman empire. Notice also the following translation of Malachy’s predicted final pope:

Malachy (12th century): During the persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit upon the throne, Peter the Roman who will feed his flock through many tribulations. After which the City of Seven Hills (Rome) will be utterly destroyed and the awful Judge will then judge the people. (Culleton, R. Gerald. The Prophets and Our Times. Nihil Obstat: L. Arvin. Imprimatur: Philip G. Scher, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, November 15, 1941. Reprint 1974, TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 138)

Notice that the Bible warns against the religious city that will rule from the seven hills:

9 This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits…18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:9, 18, NIV)

So, perhaps the above photos do show at least one of Satan’s physical thrones on earth.

Why do I say at least one? The Bible does specifically use the expression Satan’s throne once:

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,

‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (Revelation 2:12-13, NKJV)

Smith’s Bible Dictionary notes, “It is called “Satan’s seat” by John, which some suppose to refer to the worship of Æsculpius, from the serpent being his characteristic emblem. Others refer to it as the persecution of Christians which was the work of Satan” (p.500).

And that particular throne/seat, presuming it involved a physical one, probably was not the same physical one as the one shown above. The main period of the Pergamos Church era was from 450-1050. Just as the initial local Church at Pergamos (time of the Apostle John) was situated in a city where Satan swayed human politics, much of this work of God’s church during 450-1010 A.D. occurred within the bounds of the government of Satan’s Eastern Roman Empire. Yet, whether it physically is or not, in a spiritual sense it seems to be the same throne.

Why?

Four basic reasons.

The first is that the old Roman Empire had two divisions, the West (based out of Rome) and the East (based out of Constantinople/Byzantium). While in the West, the “fall of Rome” is taught in history, the fact that the eastern leg of the empire lasted nearly a thousand years longer is relatively unknown–and it existed before and after the entire time that the Pergamos era predominated. Furthermore, prophetic writers, including Catholic ones, have tended to consider that the two legs of the image of the Beast in Daniel 2 have to do with the division of the old Roman Empire. And while the old Roman Empire is no more, there still is a difference between the West (which tends to be Roman Catholic, with Protestant daughters) and the East (which tends to be more Eastern Orthodox). But historically (the “great schism of 1054 not-with-standing) they have supported the same goals, the same body, the same throne.

And the second is because the Bible also teaches that the harlot woman, who would presumably have two legs or two lungs (Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders have stated that they are two “lungs” in the same body) and who sits on the seven hills (both Rome and Constantinople are cities of seven hills/mountains), has a history of persecuting the real saints, those in the genuine Church of God:

1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. (Revelation 17:1-6)

So, from the above we see that the harlot woman reigns and has a history of persecuting the saints. This is the same woman/city that sits on the seven hills and reigns (both Rome and Constantinople are known for having seven hills/mountains). And the throne known as the Cathedra Petri is considered to be a throne of importance to at least Rome.

The third has to do with the fact that it has a sun on the top of it. While that of itself is not proof, consider something that the old Radio Church of God published:

In Rev. 2:13-14, Christ, speaking to the Church of Pergamos, says, “I thy works, even where Satan’s seat is… thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam.” In Pergamos, which was outstandingly “Satan’s seat,” the SUN-DIVINITY BAAL — Balaam’s doctrine was idolatrous sun worship (Num. 25:1-3; 31:16) — WAS WORSHIPPED UNDER THE FORM OF A SERPENT and under the name of Aesculapius, “the man-instructing serpent” (Macrobius Saturnalia, book I, p. 650). In Satan’s seat, over 60 years after Christ’s time, the main worship was sun and serpent! This sun and devil worship was TRANSFERRED to Rome when Pergamos became part of the Roman Empire. According to the fundamental doctrine of the Mysteries, as brought from Pergamos to Rome, THE SUN WAS THE ONLY GOD. In Pergamos the sun had been worshipped as a serpent! (Meredith C. Paul. Today’s Religious Doctrines… how did they begin? – Installment 4. Plain Truth, February 1960)

The connection of Pergamos to the sun god along with the sun on the Cathedra Petri, along with the other information gives pause to consider that it could be Satan’s throne as he has long advocated sun god worship.

The fourth is simply that the foundation of the so-called Cathedra Petri is supposed to be four “Doctors of the Church.” Two are Latin (Roman Catholic) and two are Greek (Eastern Orthodox). So, it apparently has long been the intent that the the so-called Cathedra Petri is to portray Greco-Roman unity–they all are shown supporting the same throne. From a Church of God perspective the four individuals are interesting (they are somewhat listed based upon chronological impact of their teachings):

  1. Athanasius: He was at the Council of Nicea (325) and was able to persuade Emperor Constantine to support the idea of a trinity, which at the time was a very small minority position among the Greco-Roman bishops who attended. Additionally, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia article on the “Holy Ghost,” his circa 360 paper was the first to “clearly and fully” explain the current Greco-Roman doctrine of the Holy Spirit (see also Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?). Catholic prophecy warns that in the end time it will have to deal with a group (like the Church of God, and likely it) that denies its (and Athanasius’ view) of the “unity of God.”
  2. Ambrose: He was a major factor in promoting and getting Athanasius’s view of the Holy Spirit adopted. He and the other four also heavily pushed celibacy. The trinitarian view that he helped get adopted by the Council of Constantinople in 381 that resulted in Church of God persecution at that time and since. He is also known for his work on Catholic “sacraments” (see Duties of Elders/Pastors).
  3. John Chrysostom: He was a big advocate of Greco-Roman religious holidays and, in 387, a big condemner of God’s holy days as observed by the Church of God (see Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? and What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?). His views have been cited throughout history and likely will be against the faithful in the Church of God in the end.
  4. Augustine: Mainly in the fifth century, he used the writings of Ambrose to expand upon sacraments. While he was not the first to turn against teaching the biblical doctrine of the millennium, he has been one of its main “intellectual” discounters that the Greco-Roman churches have relied on. Since the millennial teaching is the only doctrine listed in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194), it is likely that Satan’s supporters will use his writings against those of us in the true Church of God that will continue to teach this (more on the millennium can be found in the article Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? ).

So the foundation, holding up the so-called Cathedra Petri is based upon Greco-Roman leaders who often took strong intellectual positions against the Church of God. This is another reason that, spiritually at least, it seems to represent Satan’s throne.

Biblical, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox prophecy suggests that the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics will unify. They will strongly support (for a time) leaders that Satan inspires (cf. Revelation 16:13-14). False leaders likely to have complete access to Saint Peter’s Basilica and the so-called Cathedra Petri, and who for a while, will advocate the positions of the foundational doctors of the throne.

The Bible tells of a time when the King of the North will set up the abomination of desolation in Jerusalem and the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God” in the end times:

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

3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

If this Cathedra Petri (or the one in the Basilica of St. John Lateran) is moved to an area of the Church of God in Jerusalem’s Western Wall (commonly called the Cenacle), it is possible that it could fulfill some of the above prophecies. We will see.

In the end times, it is possible that Satan or one of his demonically-inspired representatives (cf. Revelation 16:12-13) may literally sit upon the black throne shown above. And while it may or may not literally be the throne of Satan, the basis of the so-called Cathedra Petri and its anti-Church of God foundation suggests reasons why it spiritually seems to at least partially represent Satan’s throne.

Items of possibly related 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? What about “the Beast”? Who is the king of the North?
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ Here is a link to a related English sermon video titled: The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’.
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.
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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?
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final Antichrist?
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 group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Joyce’s Photos of Pergamos Pergamos (also known as Pergamum, but currently known as Bergama, Bergamo, or Bergamum) was one of the seven churches of Revelation. Joyce’s Photos of Rome, St. John’s Basilica, and the Vatican Rome has been a major world city for centuries. Since the late second century, it has made claims of prominence over Christianity. There are also two views of the Cathedra Petri shown.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.

Hank Hanegraaff, GCI, and the Eastern Orthodox

Sunday, May 19th, 2019

TRANSFORMED FROM TRUTH

Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales

COGwriter

Mike Gendron had the following titled “The Consequences of Departing from the Faith” as his lead article in one of his newsletters:

Hank Hanegraaff, known as the Bible Answer Man, was chrismated into the Orthodox Church last month. According to Orthodox teachings, Chrismation is the mystery by which a person is granted the gift of the Holy Spirit through the anointing of Holy Chrism. How could a man who spent so many years helping Christians identify various counterfeits now make the most foolish decision to join a counterfeit form of Christianity? Like its former protagonist, the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox also teach a false and fatal gospel of salvation by sacraments and works. They are both to be accursed for teaching a gospel contrary to the Gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-9).

How could the Bible Answer Man disregard the Bible when making a decision that has eternal consequences? Hanegraaff said, “I’ve been impacted by Eastern Orthodox people who have a very keen sense of Church history and have absolute fidelity to the essentials of the historic Christian faith.” It is hard to believe that someone who claims to know the Bible so well can say the Orthodox religion has “absolute fidelity to the essentials of the historic Christian faith.” Does Hanegraaff not know that the primary essential of the Christian faith is the non-negotiable Gospel of Christ? (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

The Orthodox people do not believe or proclaim the one-time, all-sufficient, unrepeatable sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ for the finished work of redemption. Instead, their priests continue to offer what they believe is the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ everyday on an altar. This Eucharistic sin-offering not only blasphemes Christ, but also rejects His victory cry, “It is finished” (John 19:30). By continuing their sacerdotal priesthood, the Orthodox also reject Jesus as the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). In the Orthodox Church forgiveness of sin and salvation can only come through its priests and its sacraments.

One of the immediate consequences for Hanegraaff’s conversion to the Orthodox Church was having his radio program booted from the Bott Radio Network. We applaud the network’s decision to discontinue the Bible Answer Man program after carrying it since the 1980’s. Hanegraaff’s perplexing decision to join an apostate church that long ago departed from the faith of the apostles, may have eternal consequences also. The Orthodox religion holds its people captive through an utter dependence on a superfluous priesthood for salvation, along with the idolatrous worship of icons, necromantic prayers and worship for the dead. … Hanegraaff has submitted to a much more corrupt religion (Gal. 2:5).

Throughout the New Testament, we are warned that there will be false converts, false teachers, and apostates in the church. We cannot judge anyone’s heart, but we must be fruit inspectors (Mat. 7:15-20). Only God knows if Hanegraaff is a true or a false convert. However, it is inconceivable that a true Christian would exchange a relationship with the One Mediator for a religion that offers ungodly mediators. Hanegraaff’s departure is not unprecedented. “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

We need to remember that the last days will be marked by widespread deception and growing apostasy. “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Paul exhorts the church to be on the alert. He wrote: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30). Only time will tell how many undiscerning people will follow Hanegraaff on the wide road to destruction.

We are living in a church age where many people are choosing to follow persuasive personalities rather than the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. These undiscerning people need to be warned that there are eternal consequences for those who follow the teachings of men without testing them with the supreme authority of God’s Word. The only way false teachers can succeed is when professing Christians put up with them (2 Cor. 11:4). May God give us the courage and boldness to contend earnestly for the faith that was signed, sealed, and delivered 2000 years ago (Jude 3).

How could “The Bible Answer Man” drift further away from the Bible?

To me that is an easy answer, I never believed that he truly believed the Bible. I reported some news of his transformation to Eastern Orthodoxy last month when I first heard of it (see CRI’s Hank Hanegraaff, who advised WCG to apostatize, converted to Eastern Orthodoxy).

As far as the Eastern Orthodox go, they are NOT a Bible-based church, but often rely on traditions and councils of men that differ from original Christianity. They actually sometimes have referred to themselves as the “Church of the Seven Councils.” For documented details, check out the article: Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God. As far as the additional books that the Eastern Orthodox accept, check out the article The Old Testament Canon.

As readers of this page may recall, Hank Hanegraaff, himself, assisted in causing a major falling away from the truth (see also The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).

Here is a report related to Hank Hanegraaff and the apostate leadership of the changed Worldwide Church of God:

WCG leaders aired doctrinal views on CRI’s radio program

By Dixon Cartwright

The pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God described to an international radio-talk-show audience Jan. 4, 5 and 12, 1996, the transformation of the WCG from a legalistic sect whose members were plagued by cognitive dissonance into a fledgling Protestant denomination coming out of a cave and seeking acceptance by the world of mainstream churches. Joseph Tkach Jr., WCG pastor general, and Greg Albrecht, editor in chief of the WCG’s Plain Truth magazine, appeared on The Bible Answer Man radio talk show with host Hank Hanegraaff on segments originating in a studio in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. The Bible Answer Man is sponsored by Mr. Hanegraaff’s Christian Research Institute (CRI), which was founded by the late Walter Martin, who wrote Kingdom of the Cults, a book dedicated to exposing what he termed non-Christian sects, including the Worldwide Church of God. …

Mr. Hanegraaff noted that WCG leaders had contacted him “probably two or three years ago” and “we have spent quite a bit of time together over the last few years.”

On fire to help

Mr. Albrecht commented that he was “a longtime listener of the program, so it’s great to be on the show with you.” Mr. Tkach said he and other WCG leaders—he named specifically Mr. Albrecht, church-administration director Mike Feazell, treasurer Bernie Schnippert (who died in 2014) and computer-information-systems manager David Smith—“all have a fire in our belly to help others realize the pain of legalism and to escape it.”

Mr. Tkach said he hopes the experiences of the Worldwide Church of God will promote a “ripple effect throughout the entire Saturday-Sabbath-keeping community” so Sabbatarians can “realize the Sabbath in its proper perspective.”

Although Mr. Tkach and Mr. Albrecht couched their phrases in diplomatic terms when it came to describing the WCG of old and its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, Mr. Hanegraaff was more to the point in saying that Mr. Armstrong espoused “false doctrine.”

Mr. Albrecht noted that he could not “stand in judgment” of Mr. Arm- strong “in terms of the basis of his sal- vation,” but Mr. Hanegraaff noted that the WCG has “judged his [Mr. Armstrong’s] writings, and that is why you’ve changed them.”

Mr. Tkach responded, “You said that very well.”

The talk-show host asked Mr. Tkach to confirm that he personally, as well as the Worldwide Church of God, repudiates many of the former WCG teachings espoused by Mr. Armstrong: “You are comfortable in saying that Herbert W. Armstrong did deny essentials of the historic Christian faith; the Trinity would be a good example?”

“Absolutely,” replied Mr. Tkach. “I have no reservations in saying that some of the things that Mr. Armstrong taught were in major error.”

Of course, the statement that the WCG has repudiated its own core doctrines— and by extension the doctrines of the other Sabbatarian groups with origins in the Worldwide Church of God—is no surprise to readers of this newspaper. But it is instructive to hear some of the testimonials of their newfound faith from the lips of two of the principal apologists of the new teachings. (Cartwright D. The Journal: News of the Churches of God, #173, print date May 31, 2015)

I remember some of the false information that WCG leaders were giving at the time and recall a little bit from the falsely named ‘Bible Answer Man.’ WCG leaders kept telling the membership that the changes were not planned, but more information points to a plot to introduce heretical doctrines. WCG is now named Grace Communion International and is basically just another Protestant sect. Real Church of God groups, like the Continuing Church of God are NOT Protestant, as our histories and doctrines greatly differ (see details, for two examples, in the booklets Where is the True Christian Church Today? and Continuing History of the Church of God).

Hank Hanegraaff also wrote the Forward to J. Tkach, Jr.’s absurd Transformed book:

Foreword to Transformed by Truth, by Hank Hanegraaf

Foreword to Transformed by Truth, by Joseph Tkach

The Worldwide Church of God has embarked upon a course virtually uncharted in church history—a course that has taken them from the kingdom of the cults to the kingdom of Christ. In Transformed by Truth, Joseph Tkach, leader of the Worldwide Church of God, candidly describes the movement’s transformation from the perspective of his own personal awakening. During their pilgrimage from cultism to the cross, I have come to know Joseph as both a friend and as a brother in Christ. I have observed firsthand his courage, his integrity, and his absolute commitment to Scripture as the final court of arbitration.

The above related to the Bible is fantasy. It is false.

Joseph Tkach now endorses things like Easter, the Trinity, and Christmas–none of which came from the Bible. The Eastern Orthodox do as well, plus have many doctrines that are in conflict with an “absolute commitment to Scripture as the final court of arbitration”–for details, check out the article Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God.

Hank Hanegraaff’s assessment of J. Tkach’s theology, as well as his own, were and remain flawed.

They are practicing a version of Mithraism (see also Do You Practice Mithraism?).

Neither of those men are following the biblical faith, which was the faith of the original faithful followers of Jesus, which is the faith still practiced in the Continuing Church of God.

As far as the old Worldwide Church of God goes, after Hank Hanegraaf’s ‘assistance’ it went further away from “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). It also sold its properties in Pasadena, changed its name to Grace Communion International (GCI), and has now relocated its main office to Charlotte, NC (see GCI purchased new facility in Charlotte, NC) and GCI’s J. Tkach reported on its move).

Both Hank Hanegraaf and GCI have gotten further and further away from the original Christian faith.

Some items of related interest may include:

Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
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 December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants) Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
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. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A related sermon is available: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach 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.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

America the medicated, America the drugged, America the deceived

Friday, May 10th, 2019


COGwriter

Those in the USA use a lot of medications:

If it seems like about half the country is on drugs, that is because it is actually true.  According to a new survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, almost half of all Americans have taken a pharmaceutical drug within the past 30 days, and that officially makes us “the most medicated country in the world”.  And needless to say, those dealing these drugs are becoming exceedingly wealthy at our expense.  The average American spends $1,200 a year on prescription drugs, but of course many Americans spend far more than that and others spend nothing at all.  …

Without a doubt, there are some pharmaceutical drugs that greatly help people.  In fact, many people wouldn’t be alive today without them.

On the other hand, it has been estimated that Americans spend somewhere around $200 billion a year on drugs that they do not need, and this new survey from the National Center for Health Statistics discovered that 46 percent of all Americans have taken a prescription drug within the last 30 days

I am sorry, but there is no way that half the country needs to be hooked on drugs.

And for senior citizens that number is much higher.  In fact, the survey found that a whopping 85 percent of Americans over the age of 60 are currently on at least one pharmaceutical drug.

For adults under the ago of 60, antidepressants are being taken more than anything else

For young adults antidepressants are king. According to the most recent numbers, 11.4 percent of 20- to 59-year-olds had taken a drug to help with their mood in the last month when they took the survey.

Could this help to explain why so many people are walking around like zombies these days?

And since nearly all mass shooters have been found to be on some kind of mind-altering drug, perhaps Congress should finally take some action in this area.  It can be exceedingly difficult to get off these insidious drugs, and many that get hooked on them end up staying on them for the rest of their lives.

Of course antidepressants are just one part of the problem.  For example, opioids are some of the most addictive drugs on the entire planet, and their overuse has destroyed countless lives all across America. 05/08/19 http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-most-medicated-country-in-the-world-46-of-americans-have-taken-a-pharmaceutical-drug-within-the-last-30-days

Plus, more and more are accepting the use of marijuana. Many have been deceived about medications and drugs like marijuana.

Before going further, note that there are side effects also from medications. Notice this report:

Diabetes drug may cause infection that destroys genitals, study warns

A certain type of drug used to treat diabetes may help manage the disease, but a new study advises physicians to look for troubling signs of a dangerous flesh-eating infection in patients taking that drug—one that could even kill.

Per USA Today, the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine examined ties between sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, used in Type 2 diabetes treatment, and a genital infection called Fournier gangrene, an “extremely rare but life-threatening” disorder, per the Food and Drug Administration, which looked at 55 cases of patients with the infection. https://fox8.com/2019/05/09/diabetes-drug-may-cause-infection-that-destroys-genitals-study-warns/

As far as medications and costs go, notice that an earlier report found that the United States spends more on medications than other developed nations, yet Americans do not live longer:

November 5,, 2015

Americans spend twice that of other developed countries on drugs, but don’t live longer.

An annual report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development compares spending on health care and outcomes for its 34-member nations. Here are some of the findings:

  • The U.S. spends twice the average annually on pharmaceuticals.
  • Health care spending is 16.5 percent of GDP, the highest of all the organization’s nations and 2.5 times more than the average.
  • In 1970, average life expectancy in the United States was a year above the average. Now it is almost two years behind the average, at 78.8 years versus 80.5.
  • Although the growth of U.S. health care spending has slowed, high-priced medicines will continue to drive up costs in coming years.

Two factors drive spending on pharmaceuticals: more Americans than ever take prescription drugs and companies have been hiking prices. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-pay-more-for-drugs-but-dont-live-longer/

November 4, 2015

The United States spends more on health care than any other developed nation.

That’s one finding from a new report, “Health at a Glance 2015,” from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

We’re spending more than twice the amount on health care compared to several other countries including Germany, Canada, and France, where actual health outcomes have been better for years.

In 2013, the report found, we outspent all other OECD countries “by a wide margin,” shelling out roughly $8,713 for each resident.

The average of all OECD countries in the report was $3,453, putting our spending at 2.5 times that amount. http://www.businessinsider.com/oecd-health-report-on-health-expenditure-2015-11

Pharmaceutical drugs, artificial medicines, are not the answer for many health issues. FWIW, it has been several decades since I personally took any medications (I do take nutritional supplements, which I do not consider to be in the same category).

The results of the report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development brought to mind some scriptures which I then added to:

11 In vain you will use many medicines; You shall not be cured. (Jeremiah 46:11)

12 And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. (2 Chronicles 16:12)

4 But you forgers of lies, You are all worthless physicians. (Job 13:4)

25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. (Mark 5:25-26)

The USA is already technically bankrupt, meaning that it cannot pay back its bills, so it keeps borrowing more. The cost of prescription drugs, which President George W. Bush got made into law (called the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act) in 2003, and the ‘Affordable Care Act’ (ObamaCare), that Barack Obama got made into law, are both expensive and are adding to the debt burden of the USA (for something else on ObamaCare, see CBS: Obamacare designed to take advantage of the stupidity of USA voters).

There are multiple factors that affect health and for many of those, medications really cannot help.

The USA pushes and promotes GMO ‘foods’ around the world that I have major health concerns about (GMOs and Bible Prophecy). The USA also pushes and promotes a lot of excessively processed ‘foods’, which now also includes GMOs.

For example, grits, which once were made of ground, whole organic corn, are now made with degerminated GMO corn, ‘fortified’ with synthetic (petroleum-derived) vitamins. After corn was ‘degerminated’ thousands of people in the Southern USA died from a disease called pellagra. Instead of going back to whole corn, chemically-derived synthetic vitamins were added, which I consider to be dangerous.

Breakfast cereals used to be one of the original ‘health foods’ when Dr. Kellogg first introduced Corn Flakes at his clinic in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was basically made of whole organic corn. Now, it seems to be made with GMO corn (its label does not state otherwise, which in the USA means the corn source is almost always genetically-modified) and is ‘fortified’ with synthetic vitamins.

Many other breakfast cereals, especially the ones targeted towards children are made of refined, degerminated grains, synthetic vitamins, a lot of sugar, and artificial colors. Pop-Tarts are made of refined, degerminated grains, synthetic vitamins, fruit, sugar, gelatin (probably biblical unclean; see also The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats), and artificial colors.

As far as sodas go, they are not healthy, often contain GMOs, and most should avoid them, yet the USA is a big consumer of them.

As far as bacon (biblically unclean), biscuits, and gravy go, a study came out showing that the typical Southern diet (which tends to contain those) was unhealthy and increased risk for strokes (see Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible).

Processed and uncleaned meats are a health risk for many (see Certain American ‘foods’ gross out foreigners, while American hotdogs often have ingredients no one should eat).

Furthermore, the Bible warns about eating things that are not really food:

2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good (Isaiah 55:2).

Refined processed “breads,” refined and artificial sweeteners, chemical additives, and some other items commonly associated with junk foods and hydrogenated fats would seem to be consistent with that warning.

What should you eat? You should eat real food and be careful about your quantities.

2…Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good (Isaiah 55:2).

People should try to eat real, not artificial, foods. Artificial medications are not the solution.

People should also get enough physical activity, and exercise if appropriate (1 Timothy 4:8).

Fasting can also be helpful.

The USA can spend its way into artificial health. It is currently spending its way into more debt.

Back in 1976, the old Worldwide Church of God published the following:

Psychoactive Drugs

Technically speaking, a drug is any substance (other than food) that by its chemical nature affects the structure or function of a living organism.

Doctors usually refer to a drug in terms of its ability to treat physical and mental diseases. They stress the therapeutic value. But many laymen now focus on the negative connotations of the word. For them, “drug” has become a four-letter word of the worst kind, an epithet, an obscenity. When used in conversation it provokes strong emotional reactions. It’s a good word to start an argument with, or even a fight.

Medicine and Menace

You encounter a lot of this when discussing drugs. They can relieve pain, prevent infection and save lives. That’s good! But they can also destroy bodily tissue, impair healthy bodily metabolism, enslave by addiction and ultimately kill. That’s bad!

The drug problem would be greatly simplified if drugs were not ambivalent, if they were very selective in their effects. If only drug X eased pain, but was not addicting, if only drug Y helped people relax but didn’t adversely affect the brain or the liver.

But drugs don’t work that way. Rather, their effects are varied and often ambivalent — they have the potential to simultaneously hurt or harm, depending on a number of variables. Because any drug can play both the role of medicine or health menace, any description of its effects is bound to sound like a “that’s-good, that’s-bad” routine.

Morphine presents a good example of a “that’s-good, that’s — bad” story. It came into widespread use as a pain-killer during the American Civil War (1861-65). So effective was it as an analgesic for wounds and amputations that physicians sometimes referred to it as “G.O.M.” — “God’s own medicine.”

That’s good!

But in time morphine was found to be addicting — prolonged use followed by abstinence led to agonizing withdrawal symptoms. “God’s own medicine” turned out to be “the Devil’s own misery.” Hundreds, if not thousands (accurate statistics are hard to come by), of war veterans inadvertently became drug addicts.

That’s bad!

But that’s the nature of opiates. And it illustrates a fundamental principle of pharmacology: any drug can be dangerous depending on the dosage, the duration of use, its purity and many other factors. No drug is completely “safe.”

Recognizing this, the Federal government under the Controlled Substances Act regulates drugs according to their potential for abuse. The drugs are listed in five schedules in descending order of proven abuse potential and current medical usage.

Schedule I lists drugs deemed to have great abuse potential and no legitimate medical use. The score or so drugs on this list include heroin, LSD, mescaline, psilocybin and marijuana.

Schedule II lists drugs with great abuse potential that have legitimate medical uses. Drugs in this list can come under production quotas, and telephone and refillable prescriptions are prohibited. The psychoactive drugs listed here include the opiates such as morphine and synthetic opiates such as methadone and Demeral, certain barbiturates of the short-acting type, methaqualone and amphetamines. Altogether over 1300 drug preparations are listed!

Schedules III, IV and V list drugs with correspondingly less proven abuse potential. The widely used tranquilizers Librium and Valium are in Schedule IV — a classification the manufacturers have protested. Altogether over 3600 drug preparations are covered by these three schedules.

The list is not static. On the basis of new evidence and accumulated experience, drugs are often being added to the list. And drugs already listed are sometimes moved to higher schedules, indicating greater proven abuse potential.

The dual nature of drugs guarantees that the debate over their benefits versus hazards will continue for some time. (Graunke DP. The Dilemma of Drugs. Worldwide Church of God, 1976)

Since that came out in 1976, the opioid crisis has worsened.

Notice also the following:

The term “big pharma” is really making its rounds as more and more people become aware of the fact that the major corporations that manufacture the majority of our “medicine” are actually criminals. The latest example comes from a recent case where a federal jury found multiple top executives of Insys-Therapeutics, a well-known pharmaceutical company that sold a fentanyl-based painkiller (opioids), guilty of racketeering charges and contributing to America’s current opioid epidemic.

According to the New York Times:

The verdict against Insys executives is a sign of the accelerating effort to hold pharmaceutical and drug distribution companies and their executives and owners accountable in ways commensurate with the devastation wrought by the prescription opioid crisis. More than 200,000 people have overdosed on such drugs in the past two decades. Federal authorities last month for the first time filed felony drug trafficking charges against a major pharmaceutical distributor, Rochester Drug Cooperative, and two former executives, accusing them of shipping tens of millions of oxycodone pills and fentanyl products to pharmacies that were distributing drugs illegally. …

The U.S. Department of Justice document reads:

Several pharmaceutical executives and managers, formerly employed by Insys Therapeutics, Inc., were arrested today on charges that they led a nationwide conspiracy to bribe medical practitioners to unnecessarily prescribe a fentanyl-based pain medication and defraud healthcare insurers.

Pretty wild, isn’t it?

This is great, but how deep does the deception go? How much power do these corporations and their executives hold? Below is a great quote from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that explains the issue quite well:

The pharmaceutical companies have been able to purchase congress. They’re the largest lobbying entity in Washington D.C.. They have more lobbyists in Washington D.C. than there are congressman and senators combined. They give twice to congress what the next largest lobbying entity is, which is oil and gas… Imagine the power they exercise over both republicans and democrats. They’ve captured them (our regulatory agencies) and turned them into sock puppets. They’ve compromised the press… and they destroy the publications that publish real science. (source)

We don’t really live in a democracy, we are living in a ‘corporatocracy.’ There are many products manufactured by pharmaceutical companies that are highly questionable in light of evidence like the example above. Take, for example, when pharmaceutical companies were not disclosing all information regarding the results of their drug trials. Researchers looked at documents from 70 different double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) and found that the full extent of serious harm in clinical study reports went undocumented.  (source)

Another great example comes from documents showing that pharmaceutical companies are deliberately concealing information for the sole purpose of getting us to comply with an “official” vaccination schedule. https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/05/09/big-pharma-exec-pushing-opioids-found-guilty-of-racketeering/

Yes, many in the pharmaceutical industry are drug pushers. And yes, money influences a lot of “medical” decisions.

As far as opioids go, the reality is that many people have physical and spiritual pain and they reach out to drugs for relief. This tends to be addictive.

The Continuing Church of God (CCOG) recently put out the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:


13:19

Since 1997, over 700,000 Americans have died related to opioids. What are opioids? What does the National Institute on Drug Abuse teach about them? Why do people use them? Are they effective? Can they be addictive when medically-prescribed? Does the UK have a problem with opioids? Did Great Britain force China to accept opioids in the 19th century? Has pharmaceutical greed been a factor in the opioid crisis? What is the dilemma of drugs? Is switching to non-opioid substances like marijuana the answer? Does the Bible provide insights related to mind altering substances? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more. A written article of related interest is available titled “Opioid Crisis Leaves 700,000 Americans Dead.”

Here is a link to the sermonette video: Opioid Crisis.

While the USA is facing an opioid epidemic that it is hoping to fight, it is in the process of increasing its marijuana epidemic, which more and more US states are encouraging.

18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty (Proverbs 23:21)

Notice something the Apostle Paul was inspired to write:

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

As God inspired Jeremiah to write:

11 In vain you will use many medicines; You shall not be cured. (Jeremiah 46:11)

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There are also two YouTube video related to this: Living as a Christian: How and Why? and Living as a Christian: Pure Milk of the Word. 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? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación –Su significado cristiano.
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? If you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?
American foods that gross out foreigners A study done in the Fall of 2014 found out which foods that non-USA Americans considered weird or gross that Americans eat. This video discusses those foods, ingredients in some of those foods, and warns against consuming ‘that which is not bread’ (Isaiah 55:2). Dr. Thiel also warns about synthetic vitamins and some of the issues associated with them. He also discusses something promoted by the late Seventh-day Adventist, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg.
Should Christians Smoke Tobacco or Marijuana?  Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy Are there disadvantages to being overweight? Is junk food really bad for you? Does the Bible discuss overeating and/or obesity? Is overeating having an effect on the US military? What are the ramifications of personal and national health for overeating? What should you eat? This is a sermonette-length YouTubevideo.
GMOs and Bible Prophecy What are GMOs? Since they were not in the food supply until 1994, how could they possibly relate to Bible prophecy? Do GMOs put the USA and others at risk? Here is a related YouTube video GMO Risks and the Bible.
Chimeras: Has Science Crossed the Line? What are chimeras? Has science crossed the line? Does the Bible give any clues?
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Does God Heal Today? What does the Bible teach? Herbert Armstrong tries to explain this.
UK Study Supports Daniel Diet Daniel and his companions looked better eating more vegetables and avoiding strange meats. Has modern science confirmed this?
The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats; a short video is also available: Did Jesus declare all animal flesh food?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be: Are Chinese threats against Australia for real?
Will the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?
Australia and New Zealand in Prophecy Do biblical prophecies help explain the wealth blessings for Australia and New Zealand? Might cursings from disobedience come in the 21st century?
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? Two related sermons are available Millennial Utopia and The Millennium.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2027 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2019, 2020, or 2021? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Might the Great Tribulation start in 2019?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.
Armageddon Who is involved and when will this gathering happen? Here is also a video from Dr. Thiel, from Tel Megiddo in Israel: Armageddon. Other videos include: Armageddon Will it come on Trump’s watch?, Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy, Freemasonry, Armageddon, and Rome, Is China paving roads to Armageddon?, and Jordan, Petra, and Armageddon.

Ecumenical and COG ‘Latter Rain’ Teachings

Monday, April 29th, 2019


From Josephprince.com

COGwriter

Joseph Prince is a famous tel-evangelist. He is the son of a Sikh priest of Indian origin and a Chinese mother, and spent his primary school years in Perak, Malaysia. He completed his A levels at a private school, Our Lady of Lourdes (affiliated with the ‘Our Lady of Lourdes’ Tamil Roman Catholic Church in Singapore).

He has the following at his website:

2019 is the year of the latter rain! Get ready to experience a downpour of God’s manifested blessings in your life. If you’ve been waiting on Him for a breakthrough, let this be the year you reap an overflowing harvest from all your seeds of faith.

In this Vision Sunday message, you’ll see how this special season of the latter rain represents an unprecedented outpouring of God’s blessings on you.

We hope these notes will show you that this year, you can believe God for:

  • Supernatural healing and renewal of youth.
  • An increase in anointing that will bring good success.
  • Family blessings and the promise of days like heaven on earth.
  • Restoration for all your lost years.

Let hope rise in your heart as you look forward to receiving God’s bountiful blessings in your life this 2019! …

So in this year of the latter rain, God is going to bless the grain, the wine, and the oil. It will be a year of manifestation of the power of the Holy Communion and the anointing.

“Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make flashing clouds; He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone.”
— ‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭10:1‬ ‭NKJV‬‬retrieved 03/31/19https://www.josephprince.com/sermon-notes/release-the-blessings-of-the-latter-rain

The prophesied end time latter rain is not for now. Furthermore, as it turns out, there is a lot of ecumenical connections to the latter rain doctrine (and not just the ‘Holy Communion’ that Joseph Prince referred to).

Joseph Prince, himself, spoke at a Hillsong conference back in 2015.


Hillsong album cover (Hillsong)

Hillsong is a popular ecumenical Protestant organization. Notice something about one of its former singers and songs:

In a 2004 interview with Christianity Today, Zschech expressed her radical ecumenical philosophy:

“I’ve been in the Catholic Church, in the United Church, the Anglican Church, and in many other churches, and when worship is offered in truth, this sound emerges-regardless of the style. It’s the sound of the human heart connecting with its Maker” (quoted by Michael Herman, “Zschech, Please,” christianitytoday.com, June 4, 2004).

She doesn’t explain how worship can be “in truth” in the context of an ecumenical unity among denominations that teach doctrinal error.

Zschech and Hillsong performed for the Roman Catholic World Youth Day in Sydney on July 18, 2008. Pope Benedict XVI was present and conducted a papal mass on the last day of the extravaganza. The mass is a supposed continuation of Christ’s sacrifice. The consecrated host is said by Rome to become Christ Himself and is worshiped as such when placed in the monstrance and eventually in its own little tabernacle. Hillsong, led by Darlene Zschech, performed after the Stations of the Cross. …

The lyrics to Zschech’s

“Holy Spirit Rain Down” begin: “Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down/ Oh, Comforter and Friend/ How we need Your touch again/ Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down.” Where in Scripture are we instructed to pray to the Holy Spirit? To the contrary, the Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray to the Father (Mat. 6:9). (Cloud D. Darlene Zschech and Contemporary Praise Music. March 26, 2002. https://www.wayoflife.org/database/darlene_zschech_and_praise.html accessed 02/19/19)

The Continuing Church of God has the following sermon on its ContinuingCOG channel:

1:21:54

Musical instruments were mentioned in the Book of Genesis. Music is present all over in the 21st century. How does music affect the mind and body? Is it okay to listen to music? Should lyrics matter? Are there biblical principles to consider related to music? Can Christians listen to secular music? Is harp music always good? Is “Contemporary Christian Music” biblically appropriate? Has money overly influenced the “Christian music industry”? What is the Pentecostal ‘latter rain’? What about songs about heaven? Do groups like Hillsong promote the gospel of the kingdom or a false gospel message? Has there been an ongoing attempt to promote an ecumenical message in what has been called “gospel” or “Christian” music? How can you tell a real Christian from a false one? What type of songs did early Christians sing? Did the old Worldwide Church of God fall because of its 1974 hymnal? Are psalms and songs in “The Bible Hymnal” of the Continuing Church of God consistent with the practices of original Christians? Dr. Thiel addresses these and more!

Here is a link to the sermon: Music, Hillsong, and the False Gospel.

Now, let’s look more into the “Latter Rain” teachings that various ones are promoting.

A major theme of the ecumenical “Latter Rain doctrine” is “unity” among the “believers” in the church service, the geographic region, and at large.

They expect that in the coming “last days,” the various church denominations would dissolve, and the true Church would coalesce into citywide (or other region) churches under the leadership of the newly restored apostles and prophets.

Here is something along those lines:

Modern Prophets have received “new revelations” of the end-time which, until now, have not been understood by the Church. … Vineyard Ministries Apostle, Jack Deere, believes that the two witnesses in Revelation 11 may very well be Kansas City Prophets, Paul Cain and Bob Jones. Says Paul Cain:

“God is raising up a new standard, a new banner if you will, that’s going to radically change the expression, the understanding of Christianity in our generation…God has invited us to have a role in establishing this NEW ORDER of Christianity…God is offering to this generation something He has never offered to any other generation… Beware lest OLD ORDER brethren rob you and steal this hope from you!(2)

Bob Jones has received special revelation about this new hope:

“I have called the best of every blood line in earth unto this generation…I have elected to bring them forth in this generation…THE ELECT GENERATION…even the bloodline of Paul…of David…of Peter, James and John…They will even be superior to them in heart, stature and love for me’…Your children will possess the spirit without measure…They will move into things of the supernatural that no one has ever moved in before…coming into the DIVINE NATURE of Jesus Christ…a Church that has reached the full maturity of the GODMAN! This generation…is going to see the beginning of this WORLD WIDE NEW ORDER.”(3)

Are you having difficulty discerning or receiving this “new revelation”? Then perhaps you have been interpreting your Bible in the “old way” — comparing Scripture with Scripture, studying diligently to account for every jot and tittle and being careful to rightly divide the Word of truth.  If this describes you, then you belong to the “Old Generation” which will not enter in to “possess the land” in the Latter Rain Revival.  You may even be a member of a denominational church with its dogmatic confession of faith and statement of doctrine. These legalistic forms will be relics of the past in the up and coming “Postdenominational Church.”  Paul Cain advises that you “dump all that carnal stuff” (doctrine) and listen to what the “spirit” is saying to the churches through the Latter Rain Prophets and Apostles, who are dispensing many “new, sacred truths.” …

Over 50 years ago, William Branham, George Warnock, Paul Cain and others attempted to introduce Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God teachings into the Pentecostal movement. … a “united” Church will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. The prophetic fulfillment of this Feast is said to occur prior to the return of Christ. Latter Rain prophets claim that this will also be a “Second Pentecost,” since the first was ‘incomplete.’ …

This Latter Rain “Second Pentecost” during Tabernacles is suggestive of the “Planetary Pentecost” preached by Barbara Marx Hubbard as the peaceful “alternative to Armageddon.” At this time, a “quantum leap” in the evolution of mankind will occur as revealed to her by “the Christ”: “At the moment of cosmic contact, I will appear to you both through inner experience and through external communication on your mass media.” Says Ms. Hubbard, it will be a time when “the divisions of the religions would be over…We would each know that God is within us…If all who feel we are connected to each other, to nature and to God join in a planetary Pentecost, we shall be transformed in this lifetime. I believe in the peaceful second Coming.” (Aho B. THE LATTER RAIN REVIVAL. http://watch-unto-prayer.org/rain.html Retrieved 03/28/19)

Ecumenical unity will not prevent “Armageddon,” but improper unity will be a major factor leading to it (cf. Revelation 17 & 19). Those so-called “new truths” were not part of “the faith delivered once for all to the saints” (Jude 3) and are themselves heretical. Christians should search scriptures for doctrine (cf. Acts 17:11) as God’s “word is truth” (Psalm 119:60, John 17:17). The scriptures are there for Christians to be “complete, thoroughly equipped” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and not be swayed by false emotional doctrines (cf. Ephesians 4:14-15).

Ecumenical latter rain proponent Jay Atkinson has written the following:

The Latter Rain is God’s great end-time ministry. This concept … comprises the restitution of the church to it’s rightful place, the enormous last day revival soon to come, and the harvest of souls before the great and terrible Day of the Lord. It is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh promised to us in the last days and the restoration of apostolic and prophetic gifts. It has been explained like this, the latter rain, the latter reign and the latter rein; first the spiritual outpouring, then the spirit and Bride says come in power and authority and then the ingathering. (Atkinson J. The Latter Rain. The Latter Rain Page. http://latter-rain.com/eschae/latter.htm retrieved 03/29/19)

The worst churches in Christendom are not those that need to repent but those in pride that are unwilling to repent, especially those that are opposed to ecumenicism. They are easy to identify, they think that they are the chosen saints of God, they have an illiberal nature and are intolerant of others, self-righteous, they oppose dialogue, independent, a sinful spirit of division and particularistic exclusivism. … The Lord has given Christians the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers As One Body We prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb Harvest the Fruit of the Latter Rain Follow Him as the Army of the Lord into His Glory (Atkinson J. Ecumenical. The Latter Rain Page. http://latter-rain.com/kingdom/ecu.htm retrieved 03/28/19)

While we should strive to live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18), Jesus DID NOT come so that the world would be united religiously in this age (cf. Matthew 10:34-39). The “latter rain” comes AFTER, not “before the great and terrible Day of the Lord” as Jay Atkinson has asserted.

The Bible does not promote the Pentecostal “latter rain” view, but warns against it (e.g. 2 Corinthians 6:7; cf. Revelation 2-3).

What about the Church of God? Has it had teachings on the latter rain?

Yes.

Here is something from the CCOG book Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation:

The Former and Latter Rain

The firstfruits are called now, they are part of an earlier rain, but a latter rain will come when it is time:

24 Let us now fear the Lord our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest. (Jeremiah 5:24)

3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth. (Hosea 6:3)

23 Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you — The former rain, And the latter rain in the first (Joel 2:23).

This latter rain that will come in the future represents a harvest according to James 5:7:

7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.

Others will be called later and we should patiently wait for that time.

In the lead article for the first issue of the Hope of Israel, published by the Church of God (Adventist), there was a teaching to the effect that Pentecost represented the former rain, but that a latter rain was to come:

The churches of God in Wisconsin, looking for the appearing of the Lord, and the same class of churches in Iowa and some of the same faith in Illinois, have taken their stand upon the word of God contained in the prophets of Jehovah, and the apostles of Christ, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; admitting no other authority for their faith, practice and discipline; yet are we waiting for the latter rain, spoken of by Joel 2:23. If, as Peter said on the day of pentecost, that which then was seen in the apostles was a fulfilling of the prophecy of Joel, surely it was but the former rain; and the latter rain is yet to come, attended with wonders in the heavens and in the earth and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Davison S. Letter from Iowa to H.S. Dille. Hope of Israel, Vol. 1, August 10, 1863, p. 1)

In the 20th century the old Worldwide Church of God taught this related to God’s plan and the former and the latter rain:

To keep His children constantly in the true understanding of His great PLAN of salvation, Christ — the Lord of the Old Testament — originally took the yearly agricultural harvests of Palestine as a TYPE OF God’s SPIRITUAL HARVESTS of human beings.

In Palestine there are two annual grain harvests. First, produced by the EARLY rain, is the SMALLER SPRING HARVEST. Second, produced by the “latter rain,” comes the main harvest — the much GREATER FALL HARVEST.  …

The FIRST THREE festival periods, beginning with the Passover, are MEMORIALS of the first part of God’s Plan. They picture only the firstfruits of Christ’s labors.

The LAST FOUR festivals look forward to the future and show how God will reap THE LATTER GREAT FALL HARVEST OF BILLIONS OF PEOPLE! (Lesson 33 – The Passover – Christ’s Sacrifice Begins God’s Master Plan. Ambassador College Correspondence Course, 1969)

Now, the latter rain has to do with the coming great harvest that will come after this age. It may involve 70 to 110 billion or so people.

The old Radio Church of God taught:

Joel 2: … The rain spoken of in verse 23 is dual — a spiritual as well as a physical rain which produces great physical abundance. God is now giving the former rain of the Holy Spirit “moderately” — producing the small harvest of firstfruits. There is to be a correspondingly larger “latter rain” of the Spirit to produce the greater spiritual harvest … a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit — and hence, of salvation — is typified by and associated with increased rain on desert areas … Compare also Isaiah 44:3 and John 7:37-39. (Lesson 38 – The Feast of Tabernacles – The World Tomorrow. Ambassador College Correspondence Course, 1965).

Isaiah was inspired to write:

3 For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring; (Isaiah 44:3)

The ‘dry bones’ are raised and given their opportunity for salvation (Ezekiel 37:4-10). That day is coming. (Thiel B. Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation. Nazarene Books, 2019)

Bible prophecies related to the “latter rain” are NOT fulfilled until AFTER Jesus returns. Pentecostals, those in the ecumenical movement, and others who teach otherwise are in biblical error.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Music and the False Gospel of Ecumenical Music Has popular ‘Christian’ music been promoting a false ecumenical gospel? Shouldn’t Christian unity be promoted? Here is a link to a related sermon: Music, Hillsong, and the False Gospel.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? Here is a link to a video sermonette: Pope Francis signs ‘one world religion’ document! Two video sermons are also available: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
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. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. A sermon is also available: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the Messiah, Prophecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and death, Jesus’ prophesied divinity, 200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He made, Why Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?, Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but … These videos cover nearly all of the book, plus have some information not in the book.
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? Two related sermons are available Millennial Utopia and The Millennium.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2027 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2019, 2020, or 2021? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Might the Great Tribulation start in 2019?
Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he? Here is a link to a related sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love  and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.

‘Are We Rome?’ ‘Are We Fiddling While Rome Burns?’

Saturday, April 27th, 2019


Old Worldwide Church of God booklet

COGwriter

Is the US a modern version of Rome that is declining?

Various ones have said yes.

Are we ‘Rome’? The question has weighed heavily on the minds of American conservatives, libertarians and Catholics at their various conferences. Is America headed the way of the Roman empire? Bureaucratic decay, massive public debt, an overstretched military, a political system seemingly incapable of responding to challenges – “the late Roman empire suffered these maladies, and so, some fear, does contemporary America”, notes The American Conservative, a journal which has been pursuing this ‘line’ diligently, and with a growing constituency, over a number of years. (Note that this is not the constituency of Vice-President Pence who represents an Evangelical, fundamentalist, literal insistence on imminent Redemption, with its ‘Rapture’ politics).

The American Conservative rather warns:

“If libertarians on the Right worry about structural collapse – cultural and religious conservatives add a moral and spiritual dimension to the debate. Rising hedonism, waning religious observance, ongoing break-up of the family, and a general loss of cultural coherence — to traditionalists, these are signs of a possible Dark Age ahead”.

… “For MacIntyre”, Rod Dreher, the author of The Benedict Option writes: “we too are living through a Fall of Rome-like catastrophe, one that is concealed by our liberty and prosperit”. Dreher continues, “In his influential 1981 book, After Virtue, MacIntyre argued that the Enlightenment project cut Western man off from his roots in tradition, but failed to produce a binding morality based on Reason alone. Plus, the Enlightenment extolled the autonomous individual. Consequently, we live in a culture of moral chaos and fragmentation in which many questions are simply impossible to settle. MacIntyre says that our contemporary world is a dark wood, and that finding our way back to the straight path will require establishing new forms of community”.

“The “Benedict Option” thus refers to [those] in contemporary America who cease to identify the continuation of civility and moral community with the maintenance of American Empire, and who therefore are keen to construct local forms of community as loci of Christian resistance against what the Empire represents. Put less grandly, the Benedict Option — or ‘Ben Op’ — is an umbrella term for Christians [and American conservatives], who accept MacIntyre’s critique of modernity”. …

What is so interesting to an outsider, is how the Ben Op’s author, Dreher, situates it within the US political context:

“Many of us on the Right who have been dismayed by the Trumpening (sic), and have been hard hit by the Kavanaugh debacle, have concluded that [nonetheless], we have no choice but to vote Republican this November – if only out of self-defense. (He refers to November 2018)

“But let me quote two passages from The Benedict Option:

“The cultural Left—which is to say, the American mainstream— has no intention of living in post-war peace. It is pressing forward with a harsh, relentless occupation, one that is aided by the cluelessness of Christians [i.e. those mirroring liberalism], who don’t understand what’s happening. Don’t be fooled: the upset presidential victory of Donald Trump has at best given us a bit more time to prepare for the inevitable (emphasis added).

[Those] who believe that politics alone will be sufficient – are not going to be prepared for what’s going to come when the Republicans lose the White House and/or Congress, which is inevitable. Our politics have become so sulfurous that there will be a vicious backlash, and that backlash will fall primarily on social and religious conservatives. When the Democrats regain power, conservative Christians are going to be in very bad shape”.

The Ben Op, in other words, is another important window into what Professor Mike Vlahos has described as the gathering, next chapter to America’s unresolved ‘civil war’: “America today fissuring into two visions of the nation’s future way of life: “Red” virtue imagines a continuity of family and community within a publicly affirmed national community. “Blue” virtue imagines personally chosen communities mediated through the individual’s relationship with the state. So, even though these two divided visions of America have been opposed for decades, and so far have controlled the urge to violence, there is in their bitter contest [of today] a sense of gathering movement toward an ultimate decision”.

“Today, two righteous paths are gridlocked in opposition … Red and Blue already represent an irreparable religious schism, deeper in doctrinal terms even than the 16th-century Catholic-Protestant schism. The war here, is over which faction successfully captures the (social media) flag, as true inheritor of American virtue. Both perceive themselves as champions of national renewal, of cleansing corrupted ideals, and of truly fulfilling America’s promise. Both fervently believe that they alone – own virtue.” https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/03/04/us-conservatives-pursue-ben-option-global-ramification.html

The US is a house divided and will fall, even worse than ancient Rome did.

Notice something earlier from the following by Charles Hugh Smith:

Are We Fiddling While Rome Burns?

Solutions abound, but they require the retirement of obsolete systems that defend entrenched interests and soul-crushing inequalities.

It turns out Nero wasn’t fiddling as Rome burned–he was 60 km away at the time. Did Nero Really Fiddle While Rome Burned?

The story has become short-hand for making light of a catastrophe, either out of self-interest (one theory had Nero clearing a site he desired for a palace with the fire) or out of a mad detachment from reality.

Are we fiddling while Rome burns? I would say yes–because we’re not solving any of the structural problems that are dooming the status quo. Instead, we’re allowing a corrupt, corporate mainstream media to distract us with fake “Russians hacked our election” hysteria, false “cultural war” mania, and a laughably Orwellian frenzy over fake news which magically avoids mentioning the propaganda narratives pushed 24/7 by the mainstream media–narratives that are the acme of fake news.

The media is only half the problem, of course; the audience doesn’t want to hear about structural problems that can only be fixed by disrupting the status quo. If we don’t accept that the financial system we inhabit is imploding, maybe all the problems will go away.

The system is coughing up blood and we still want to believe it is “recovering” from a cold.

Here’s a short list of structural problems we should be tackling:

1. Soaring inequality and the institutionalization of economic privilege.
2. The central state (government) has one default setting: endless expansion into every nook and cranny of daily life.
3. Finance has detached from the real-world economy, distorting every function via financialization, which concentrates income and wealth in the hands of the few.
4. Our educational system is obsolete but the the current system is incapable of transformation for structural reasons.
5. The economy and thus our society (i.e. our mode of production) are changing beneath our feet in dramatic ways.

Denial won’t fix what’s broken, and neither will magical thinking (the economy is “recovering,” symbolic gestures and virtue-signaling will fix everything, etc.) Clinging to the absurd hope that the status quo just has a nagging cold will only increase the disorder when the system breaks down. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-22/are-we-fiddling-while-rome-burns

While there are structural problems in the USA, it is the cause that needs to be dealt with. This is something that Charles Hugh Smith did not truly address.

Decades ago, the old Worldwide Church of God put out an article about similarities between ancient Rome and the USA and UK:

The FIVE MAJOR CAUSES for the collapse of the Roman Empire are rife in modern America and Britain. Tragically, modern man has not learned from historical mistakes. Millions today believe America is too big, too powerful, and too wealthy to suffer a similar fate. But the cold facts present a bleak warning — a warning we simply must not ignore!

“Ho, ho!” they laughed at the warnings of Seneca. “Rome fall? Never!”

To Roman citizens living in the glitter of empire — enjoying an explosive frenzy of building, with huge cities, bejeweled with rising marble columns, with paved, pleasant tree-lined avenues and rushing fountains; seeing the victory parades through triumphal arches of yet additional conquests; hearing of the exploits of this or that great general — Rome was impregnable. She was the world — and the world was Rome.

To speculate for one brief moment that all this could soon collapse — that the ravages of wars, taxation, mounting crime, race riots, subversion from within, political assassinations, natural disasters and public apathy would one day bring Rome to utter collapse and ruin, was not only unimaginable to them — it was folly to the heights of idiocy.

And to millions of American and British people today — the thought that America and Britain could suffer a similar fate — though with more modern consequences — seems equally ludicrous.

But Rome fell. …

The Five Major Causes

The five major causes for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire deduced from the writings of Edward Gibbon and noted historians of the Roman world are these: (1) The BREAKDOWN OF THE FAMILY and the rapid increase of DIVORCE. (2) The spiraling rise of TAXES and EXTRAVAGANT SPENDING. (3) The MOUNTING CRAZE FOR PLEASURE and the brutalization of sports. (4) The mounting production of ARMAMENTS to fight ever-increasing threats of enemy attacks. (5) The DECAY OF RELIGION into myriad and confusing forms, leaving the people without a uniform guide. (Armstrong GT, Hogberg G. The MODERN ROMANS – PART I. Plain Truth, August 1969)

Writes historian William Stearns Davis in his book, The Influence of Wealth in Imperial Rome, pages 163, 164, 167:

“As an almost unavoidable corollary of the huge Roman fortunes, went the accumulation of huge debts… Even men of grave and respectable habits caught the mania of their age, that of living beyond their incomes…

“The typical Roman of birth and fashion [the upper class — like average Americans today], may then be imagined as regularly in debt, and frequently on the brink of ruin.”

Mania of Our Age, Too

Total debt in the United States, both public and private, stands at an astronomical 1.6 trillion dollars!

This enormous sum is double what it was only ten years ago. Armstrong GT, Hogberg G. The MODERN ROMANS – PART II. Plain Truth, September 1969)

IF the dollar is devalued, INFLATION will almost surely result — and eventual economic COLLAPSE for the United States.

Those of you who truly BELIEVE the prophecies of your Bible KNOW such economic collapse is prophesied to happen! (Armstrong HW. Co-worker Letter, March 26, 1968)

Rome collapsed under the crushing twin burdens of confiscatory taxation and creeping inflation. The steady deterioration of Rome’s currency was symptomatic of the increasingly serious financial situation of the empire.

But note this: What “average” pleasure-oriented Roman, living for the day, ever dreamed his proud nation would someday collapse into ignominy and be remembered only in the past tense in the pages of history?

There were those who warned the Romans of the inevitable end of their ways. Rome had its prophets, its seers, its political satirists. But their combined “jeremiad” fell on deaf ears. Romans, as a whole, would not listen.

And Rome fell.

Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians, South Africans — as a whole — are not listening to the veritable torrent of shouts and warnings trumpeted by leaders in all aspects of national life.

Will our nations also fall?

The Five Major Causes

The five major causes for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire deduced from the writings of Edward Gibbon and noted historians of the Roman world are these: (1) The BREAKDOWN OF THE FAMILY and the rapid increase of DIVORCE. (2) The spiraling rise of TAXES and EXTRAVAGANT SPENDING. (3) The MOUNTING CRAZE FOR PLEASURE and the brutalization of sports. (4) The mounting production of ARMAMENTS to fight ever-increasing threats of enemy attacks. (5) The DECAY OF RELIGION into myriad and confusing forms, leaving the people without a uniform guide. …

They are all part of our world — our society.

They were a part of Rome’s, too. (Armstrong GT, Hogeberg G. The MODERN ROMANS – PART I. August 1969)

The total official debt of the US government is over USD$22 trillion now. Double what it was ten years ago. This will not continue.

Debt is a consequence of sin and is a curse:

43 The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. 45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed…47 “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. 51 And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you. 52 They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you (Deuteronomy 28:42-45,47-52).

Increased acceptance and participation of sin and greed is the real structural cause of what will lead to the end of the USA. Abortion, pornography, sexual immorality, a disdain for scripture, etc. are major problems that are leading to bad political and other decisions.

This will not end well for the USA or its Anglo-Saxon descended allies (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 8:24-25; 11:39).

The Great Tribulation is coming (Matthew 24:21).

While national repentance is possible, that is unlikely. Though you personally can repent.

As it turns out, Jesus does offer a way out, prior to the establishment of the Kingdom of God, for certain Christians:

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Revelation 3:7-12)

To overcome includes changing yourself. Philadelphia means “love of the brethren.” Philadelphians need to do more than worry about themselves, they need to follow the lead of Jesus to support going through the open door of proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God to the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14).

It is ONLY the Philadelphian Christians that Jesus makes that promise of protection to. Other Christians at the end will face Satan’s wrath (cf. Revelation 12:17).

Sadly, like the unconverted in the USA and its Anglo-Saxon descended allies, most Christians do not see that they need to change much or do much now. They are essentially fiddling away their opportunity to build the type of giving and loving character that they should. Instead they tend to falsely believe that they will see what it happening before it is too late and will react then. That is wrong for many reasons (some are in the article The Laodicean Church Era).

It is also of interest to note that those that escape will be assembled–they are not lone independents who think that they are fine to not be directly supporting the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 as they should–this is also consistent with writings in Zephaniah 2:1-3.

God inspired the Prophet Zephaniah to write the following:

1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, (Zephaniah 2:1)

Although it has certain misunderstandings, the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary realized that the gathering together was intended for a religious group or assembly:

Zephaniah 2:1

Gather yourselves together – to a religious assembly, to avert the judgment by prayers, (Joel 2:16, “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders,” etc.) (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

When are they to gather together?

2 Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you! (Zephaniah 2:2)

The gathering is to take place well before the day of the Lord (which happens about 2 1/2 years after the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24:21 begins) and before some type of decree is issued.

Consider also what the New Testament teaches about the importance of gathering together as we get closer to the end:

We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming. (Hebrews 10:23, Gods Word Translation)

Who does God want to gather together?

The end time Christians. Notice what Jesus stated and something the Apostle Peter wrote:

19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19, NKJV)

9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10, KJV)

This is a peculiar people. These are people who the world does not desire. These are Philadelphian Christians. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:

1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)

This gathering together before Jesus returns is for Christians.

How else do we know that Zephaniah 2:1-3 is related to Christians? Because the decree is for the end time and because of what else God inspired Zephaniah to write:

3 Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. (Zephaniah 2:3a)

The above is a reference to Christians as they are to be the “meek of the earth” (Matthew 5:5) and to Philadelphians who “have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility.” These are Philadelphian Christians who understand that church leaders need to have integrity and are willing to be humble enough to accept the authority of a church led by a low-level prophet in the absence of a clear apostle (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-15). They are humble enough to not think that they should remain ‘independent,’ as many who once were part of the old Worldwide Church of God have been doing.

Why does God tell them they may wish to be gathered together? So:

3…It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:3b)

Interestingly, the Hebrew words translated as Zephaniah means “Yahweh Hides” or “Yahweh Has Hidden” (Holy Bible: Vine’s Expository Reference Edition, p. 826).

Why have I written that Zephaniah 2:1-3 has to do with Philadelphian Christians?

For they are the only ones who will actually ‘gather together’ as they should.

Why?

Because it is only the Philadelphians that Jesus promises to protect from the coming hour of trial, also referred to as the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord (Revelation 3:7-13). Notice also the following:

1) In Matthew 24:37-39 the discussion is still somewhat general. The two groups in this context are:

A) those who are protected at the place of safety;

B) all the rest of mankind who are not protected.

After this general comment, Jesus Christ became more specific. From here on He repeatedly contrasts TWO groups. But neither of those two groups represents the world at large. Both of those groups represent people who really SHOULD BE His “servants”; they both should be doing God’s work, and they both should be protected from the end time events, but only one group actually is protected.

The two groups that Christ repeatedly contrasts in the next section appear to represent:

A) the Philadelphian Christians

B) the Laodiceans.

In repeatedly referring to the same people, who are alive at the time of His return, Christ is highlighting different aspects about these two groups. So notice:

2) In Matthew 24:40 the Philadelphians are taken to the place of safety, and the Laodiceans are left behind.

3) In Matthew 24:41 this is repeated, the Philadelphians are taken to the place of safety and the Laodiceans are left behind.

Note: the repetition is to emphasise the ratio between these two groups. They are numerically equal! The parallel account in Luke 17:34-37 is even more emphatic. There the ratio of one to one is repeated three times, in verses 34-36. In Luke 17:37 the disciples are, in effect, asking: WHERE is the place of safety? WHERE are they taken?

And they answered and said unto him, WHERE, LORD? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body [is], thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:37)

Regarding this section of Scripture I have often pointed out that they asked the wrong question, but it is the same question that most of us would also have been inclined to ask. We want to know WHERE the place of safety is, as if that was somehow important. What they really should have asked is: “WHY LORD?” Why are some left behind?

What is the difference between these two groups? Why are some who are seemingly in the Church not going to be protected? Because it was the wrong question, the answer to which Christ did not want to divulge, therefore Christ gave a rather cryptic answer. It was a polite way of saying: “I am not going to tell you that right now”. However, this cryptic clue appears to be a reference to Petra, more than to any other place. (Nelte, Frank W. But If That Evil Servant Shall Begin to Smite His Fellow Servants…April 1995. http://www.franknelte.net/article.php?article_id=161&print=yes viewed 08/02/14)

Getting back to Zephaniah, notice that book is teaching that a decree is issued, apparently by a church leader–and I believe that the leader will be part of the Continuing Church of God. This would seem to happen after the gospel has been preached enough to the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14), Jewish sacrifices are stopped, and the abomination is set up (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27) per Jesus’ statements in Matthew 24:15-16.

What kind of decree will be issued?

A decree that may allow those who are gathered together and who listen to it an opportunity to be protected (Zephaniah 2:1-3). A decree that the Philadelphians will listen to and fly/flee.

When is a decree to be issued? That will be after an event that Jesus told of that He tied to the writings of the Prophet Daniel:

15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), (Matthew 24:15)

14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), (Mark 13:14a)

What did Jesus say happens next?

16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:16-21)

Why a decree?

Apparently, to make it easier for people who read what Jesus said to better be able to understand that Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 and Daniel 9:27b and Daniel 11:31 had been fulfilled.

By whom will the decree be made?

The Bible says:

7 Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
8 A lion has roared!
Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken!
Who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:7-8)

The prophet may make the decree personally and/or pass it on to another authority in the church to make.

Who is the only Church of God in the 21st century to teach all of this?

The Continuing Church of God.

If you are not with the group that is leading the final phase of the work you may not be able to fly/flee if you wait until the last moment. While such fleeing may be remotely possible for some, remember that God inspired Zephaniah to admonish God’s people to ‘gather together…before the decree is issued.’

Most will discount this and many will scoff. Most COGs do not have any considered to be a prophet, and those other than CCOG who claim to, have prophets that have been proven to be false (e.g. PCG, CGPFKG, TPM).

Furthermore, I read a post recently from a CCOG scoffer who picked at the very idea that one should suggest that a COG is Philadelphian and those part of such a COG will be subject to being protected in a place of safety.

He and many others do not realize how important Jesus taught paying attention to world events and prophecy is. Notice something Jesus taught:

34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

Notice Jesus said to watch and pray ALWAYS. He was referring to prophetic matters. THIS CAME FROM JESUS, BUT MANY SCOFF AT PROPHECY for differing reasons (cf. 2 Peter 3:1-7), including that others have turned them off to prophecy in the past. Yet, being a prophetic scoffer is a mistake (cf. 2 Peter 3:8-9).

Jesus realized that if people did not pay attention to prophecy and pray always, they would not properly take the steps to “be counted worthy to escape all these things.” Yes, God uses prophecy as a motivator for people. Remember that God used Jonah to warn Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-4) and they repented (Jonah 3:5-9), and they did not get the punishment they were going to get then (Jonah 3:10).

Consider also the following:

2 Then the Lord answered me and said:

“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. (Habakkuk 2:2-3)

Notice that the above is saying that something really, really bad will happen in the appointed time of the end. That means this has future application. Notice also that what is coming will be so bad that the time will come when people should run/flee when it does happen. The time will come when those Philadelphians who understand Habakkuk 2 in its proper timeframe will flee.

So, what is this prophecy related to?

Debt.

Notice what else the Prophet Habakkuk was inspired to record:

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.
8 Because you have plundered many nations,
All the remnant of the people shall plunder you,
Because of men’s blood
And the violence of the land and the city,
And of all who dwell in it. (Habakkuk 2:6-8)

“The United States has the largest debt in the world” (US News & World Report — Jan 28, 2011 http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2011/01/28/the-10-countries-with-the-most-debt). There is a limit to how much debt the USA will be able to accumulate. Habakkuk 2 teaches that the time will come when people should flee from this indebted nation–the USA!

I, personally, have taught the end time risks of Habakkuk 2 longer and more frequently than any living COG leader that I am aware of. And the only Church of God group that I am aware of that has been boldly teaching about this warning in Habakkuk 2 for years is the Continuing Church of God (and the end time applicability of Habakkuk 2 was even in the first edition–January-March 2013–of our Bible News Prophecy magazine; and the headline shown on the front cover was “Habakkuk’s Warning is for Us Today”). The Laodicean groups that I am aware of are NOT teaching this. We in the Continuing Church of God expect to tell people WHEN the time is for the Philadelphians to flee.

Jesus specifically told the Laodiceans, in a prophecy, that they needed to repent (Revelation 3:19) or face consequences (Revelation 3:14-19, and that they would be rewarded for doing so (Revelation 3:20). The Laodiceans are Church of God Christians “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).

Do not fiddle away–heed Zephaniah’s admonition to gather together. Support the end time Philadelphian Church of God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2019, 2020, or 2021? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Might the Great Tribulation start in 2019?
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.

Zephaniah’s ‘Gather Together’ Prophecy Is it safe to be ‘independent’ or in a non-Philadelphin Church of God? What did God inspire Zephaniah to write?
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 Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind? There is also a YouTube video with information Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
World War III: Steps in Progress Are there surprising actions going on now that are leading to WWIII? Might a nuclear attack be expected? Does the Bible promise protection to all or only some Christians? How can you be part of those that will be protected? A related video would be Is World War III About to Begin? Can You Escape?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.
Laodicean Warning for God’s People Is there really a place of safety? Do God’s people need to be warned? Warned for what?
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.

PCG misunderstands Habakkuk and oddly claims that a stone and a copyright suppression settlement are ‘wonders’ from God

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019


Philadelphia Trumpet, April 2019

COGwriter

A reader sent me a link today to the following from PCG’s Gerald Flurry which is in the April 2019 issue of the Philadelphia Trumpet:

A Sealed Book

The context of Isaiah 29:14 is about the great majority of God’s people going astray. “Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink” (verse 9). This is about God’s people, who were spiritually sober but have become “drunk” on false doctrines. They are in a terrible spiritual condition in these latter days. …

The copyright battle we fought for Mystery of the Ages was specifically prophesied in the book of Habakkuk, one of the minor prophets. This book is not just history—it is for our day! As it says in Habakkuk 2:3, “… at the end it shall speak.”

Habakkuk 2 most certainly is not related to the copyright battle that PCG had. PCG, without asking to buy/license certain materials of the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG), printed various materials. Now it has long been my view that PCG should have tried to work this out with WCG first (that could have saved it time and money).

Anyway, since PCG apparently had not asked before printing, WCG claimed copyright ownership and sued.

However, PCG pointed out that it felt its church needed those materials and that it believed that WCG was suppressing copyrights. In the USA, if you hold a copyright, that gives you the right to copy, sell, or license the work. Generally, it does not give you the right to suppress the work. Basically, if the copyright holder will not make the copyrighted materials reasonably available, then (depending on the circumstances) they can be considered to have lost or abandoned their copyright.

In the case of the WCG vs. PCG lawsuit, it is my understanding that WCG realized that it had some legal exposure here and instead of waiting to be told it could have lost its copyrights and gotten nothing, it decided to sell the copyrights of certain books and booklets to PCG.

That most certainly is not a ‘wonder.’

Since that time, WCG (who changed its name to Grace Communion International) has not reprinted nor made available much of the old publications that it originally had copyrights to. This is basically one reason why several groups and individuals have put them up online. It is my understanding that because of the length of time such materials have been out in the public realm, this could indicate an abandonment of copyright.

Now as far as Habakkuk 2:3 goes, let’s look at it and the verse that precedes it:

2 Then the Lord answered me and said: “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. (Habakkuk 2:2-3)

The context is clearly not got anything to do with a court battle related to copyrights. Furthermore, this battle did not make people run. Instead, various ones began to put more old WCG materials online (like COGwriter did with a few articles in the late 2012 after Grace Communion International told me in writing that they would not sell nor license certain old WCG materials when I asked them).

Anyway, this WCG vs. PCG battle was not a wonder from God.

Yet, in the article Gerald Flurry also wrote:

Habakkuk wrote, “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity [lawlessness], and cause me to behold grievance [injustice]? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife [or, a lawsuit] and contention [a personal or legal contest]” (Habakkuk 1:1-3). The language in this passage is that of a legal battle—a lawsuit.For six years, we had to strive at the law with the organization that owned the copyrights to Mr. Armstrong’s works. Righteous men were being encompassed by unrighteous men, led by an evil man within God’s own Church (verse 4). That was a contentious battle! And for six years, justice was perverted just as Habakkuk prophesied.

Yet in the midst of that contention, God’s little flock, led by a man who was following God, did amazing wonders! The very next verse reads, “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you” (verse 5). This verse is an important and inspiring verse. And remember, it is within the context of the legal battle over God’s truth.

No, Gerald Flurry the work discussed in Habakkuk 1:5 was not a court battle over copyright violation/suppression.

In the same article Gerald Flurry also wrote:

The Two Wonders, Explained

Another scripture expands on these wonders and helps you understand them more deeply. “For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it” (Habakkuk 2:11). …

The story of how we received the copyright to that book is truly a wonder! (You can read about it in our free book Raising the Ruins.) In fact, that copyright victory is the second of the “double wonder” of Habakkuk 1:5.

The first part of that double wonder relates back to the “stone” of Habakkuk 2:11. Right at the end of our six-year court case we received a physical stone—a rock that Mr. Armstrong had used as a “prayer rock” at the beginning of the Philadelphia era of God’s Church. As I explain in my book The New Throne of David, that stone is a symbol of Jesus Christ. It is closely associated with the throne on which Christ will sit as King of kings, called “the throne of David” (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32). That stone, and the vision it symbolizes, is truly a wonder!

… The new stone is a symbol of the very throne of David.

No, making a copyright settlement is not a wonder from Habakkuk 1:5. Nor is getting a stone/prayer rock related to Herbert W. Armstrong a wonder that fulfills Habakkuk 2:11 nor actually a symbol of the very throne of David.

I denounced Gerald Flurry’s new “stone of destiny” doctrine here last July (see PCG’s Gerald Flurry says he is the new king and the prayer rock replaces the ‘stone of destiny’).

Furthermore, we put together the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:


21:35

Stone of Destiny and Jesus’ Return

Do you realize that when Jesus returns, He will take up the throne of David? Could there be a throne, or part of that throne, on the earth today? What about the ‘Stone of Scone,’ also called the ‘Stone of Destiny’? What does the Bible teach about the throne of David? Where was it after 586 A.D.? Scripture cannot be broken.Does the Bible tell us anything about Jeremiah and the ‘kings daughters’? Are there ancient writings that give us clues? Were British kings anointed with oil like the ancient kings of Judah? Was a stone present for these coronations? What did the last King of England write? Will Jesus return as King of Kings to the throne of David? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues to provide comfort related to Jesus’ return.

Here is a link to our video: Stone of Destiny and Jesus’ Return.

PCG does not have the right priorities or the right work–nor are these two claimed ‘wonders’ scripturally wonders from God that fulfill prophecies in Habakkuk.

Its focus on physical objects (with the prayer rock only one of several) and misunderstanding of Habakkuk and other other scriptures demonstrates that PCG is NOT representing the remnant of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
Independent Members of the COG: Herbert W. Armstrong Comments, Plus Questions and Answers What did Herbert W. Armstrong teach about being independent of the organized Church? Should independents who claim to accept Herbert W. Armstrong’s teachings support the end time Philadelphian work? Watch also Zephaniah’s ‘Gather Together’ Prophecy.
The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ Here is a link to a related English sermon video titled: The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? Two related sermons are available The Work per HWA and the Bible and Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Why is the Continuing Church of God a corporation sole? What is a ‘corporation sole’ and why is this a better organizational choice?
501(c)(3)? Why the Continuing Church of God chose a better option Churches in the USA do NOT have to register as 501(c)(3). Why would they? Why is what CCOG did better? A sermon of related interest is titled: CCOG, a corporation sole, not a 501(c)(3).
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.

Syria condemns Donald Trump’s Golan Heights position as ‘irresponsible.’ Is destruction there prophesied during the Day of the Lord?

Friday, March 22nd, 2019


Golan Heights (Wikipedia)

COGwriter

BBC reported the following:

22 March 2019

Syria has condemned as “irresponsible” US President Donald Trump’s comments that it was time to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

A statement published by the Syrian state news agency said it showed the “blind bias” of the US towards Israel.

It said Syria was determined to recover the area “through all available means”.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and annexed it in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally.

Israel wants to contain the military presence of its arch-enemy Iran in Syria, which has grown stronger throughout eight years of conflict.

Mr Trump’s remarks on Thursday overturned decades of US policy on the issue. In a tweet, he said the plateau was of “critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and regional stability!”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the US president in a phone call, telling him “you’ve made history”.

How did Syria respond?

The statement carried by the Sana news agency said Mr Trump’s comments had shown “contempt” for international law and that they would not change “the reality that the Golan was and will remain Syrian, Arab”.

“The Syrian nation is more determined to liberate this precious piece of Syrian national land through all available means,” the unnamed foreign ministry source added. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-47664529

Back in 2017, it was reported here that a “Golan Liberation Army” plans to takeover part of Israel:

Spokesman For Iran-Backed Iraqi Shi’ite Militia In Syria: ‘We Have Established The Golan Liberation Army’

Hashem Al-Mousawi, the spokesman for the Iran-backed Iraqi Shi’ite militia Al-Nujaba, gave an interview to the Iranian news agency Tasnim, highlighting the militia’s activities in Iraq and Syria. He accused Saudi Arabia and the U.S. of being responsible for ISIS’s actions, stressing that Iran is the only country that has helped his militia. He also said that Iraqi-Saudi relations were like “a failed marriage,” adding that “we do not want a separation between Iran and Iraq.”

Al-Mousawi said that his militia would not allow foreign forces to remain in Mosul, and revealed that the American administration had heavily pressured the Iraqi government to prevent the Shi’ite Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) militia from entering Sunni cities liberated from ISIS. He also said that the U.S. had demanded to appoint a civilian governer in Mosul, but that their demand had been rejected.

Al-Mousawi warned Turkey that if it did not withdraw from Bashiqa in northern Iraq his organization would take military action against it, adding that Al-Nujaba opposes the presence of former Iraqi prime minister Tariq Al-Hashimi – a Sunni currently living in exile – at conferences organized by Turkey to discuss Iraq’s fate.

He also stressed that his militia forces have been in Syria for four years and do not intend to withdraw until after “the terrorists” leave, and expressed fear of ethnic cleansing in the Shi’ite villages of Fu’ah and Kefraya in Syria.

Additionally, Al-Mousawi announced that his militia has established the “Golan Liberation Army,” which he said “comprises special forces that have received training and equipment.” This force, he said, “has detailed plans” for action, but requires the authorization of the Syrian government to be present in the Golan. Al-Mousawi admitted that his militia is directly tied to the PMU and the Iranian resistance axis, and said that the militia was expanding its activity to combat Israel on the Golan Heights because “Israel is fundamentally [responsible for] the destruction of Iraq… and took steps to destroy our infrastructure.” He also warned the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen not to advance on Iran, because Iran is “a powerful country.” …

“We Will Not Allow Foreign Forces To Remain In Mosul..; We Do Not Want A Separation Between Iran And Iraq”

“Saudi-Iraqi ties are like a failed marriage. We hope [the Saudis] officially recognize the political process in Iraq and work with us from that angle. We will not allow foreign forces to remain in Mosul. …

“We Have Created The Golan Liberation Army… If The Syrian Regime Asks Us To, We Are Ready To Act To Liberate The Golan”

“After the recent victories, we created the Golan Liberation Army. This army has been trained and has detailed plans. If the Syria regime asks us to, we are ready to act to liberate the Golan [from Israel] along with our allies. We will not allow Arab and Islamic countries to be smaller in size than Israel…

“The Golan Army comprises special forces who have received training and equipment. They have not [yet] entered any war [against Israel] and have been busy only with ending regional wars. There is a need for authorization from the Syrian government so that the Golan Army can be present there [in the Golan]…

“Regarding the Golan Army, we are part of the PMU, and before that we were part of the resistance [axis]. So long as there is a threat in the region, we will not lay down our weapons.

“Israel is fundamentally [responsible for] Iraq’s destruction. That regime took steps to destroy our infrastructure and scientists. Whether Iraq is on Trump’s list or not, we consider [the U.S.] a supporter of regional terrorism…” 04/05/17 https://www.memri.org/reports/spokesman-iran-backed-iraqi-shiite-militia-syria-we-have-established-golan-liberation-army

Syria clearly wants the Golan Heights back. Officially, it is still at war with Israel.

It may be of interest to note that the Golan Heights basically covers the ancient land of the tribes of Reuben and Gad and part of the tribe of Manasseh.


Ancient Tribes of Israel (Wikipedia)

What about prophecy?

Notice something from a Protestant writer named Craig C. White (not to be confused with the COG Australian Craig M. White):

OK, here is something that you have never considered. The book of Nahum predicts the flooding and destruction of ancient Nineveh. That happened in 612 BC. Today Nineveh is called Mosul in northern Iraq. Mosul is the hometown and headquarters of ISIS. Nahum’s prophecy seems to also apply to Mosul today. A lot of Nahum’s prophecy has already been fulfilled in Mosul.

Now that isn’t even the most curious thing about the book of Nahum. Besides telling us about the destruction and flooding of ancient Nineveh; the book of Nahum also describes the coming in the air of Jesus Christ!!! Jesus comes in a whirlwind and he is HOT!

Nahum 1:3-8 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. 7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. 8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

The land around Jesus will melt and burn. In the verses above, Nahum identifies Bashan, Carmel, and Lebanon. These places all describe the Golan Heights that separate Israel from Syria and Lebanon. retrieved 03/22/19 https://hightimetoawake.com/jesus-will-fight-on-the-golan-heights/

A century ago, a COG leader named G.G. Rupert wrote that Isaiah 17:1-3 was still to be fulfilled–and that is correct.

The old Radio Church of God published the following:

Anciently the Assyrians conquered Egypt and Syria. It is going to happen again (Isaiah 17:3 and Daniel 11:42). …  The entire book of Nahum — one of the so-called Minor Prophets — is devoted to the final punishment of the German-dominated Church-State union yet to arise in Europe. The setting of the prophecy is the original fall of Nineveh about 612 B.C. What happened to Nineveh, the ancient capital of Assyria, was a type of what will happen in our day! Notice that the actual setting of this prophecy is the time of God’s “wrath” — the Day of the Lord (Nahum 1:2, 6). That day of God’s intervention is YET FUTURE. It has not happened yet! (Hoeh H. GERMANY in Prophecy! – Part 2. Plain Truth, January 1963)

The old Radio Church of God essentially believed that ultimately the Beast power would control territories including Syria and perhaps part of the Golan Heights and that Jesus would come and eliminate the Beast power in that area during the Day of the Lord (for when the Day of the Lord can be, see When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? When is the Day of the Lord?).

Plus there are also other prophecies that show that Syria’s capital Damascus will be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1; watch also Damascus and Syria in Prophecy)–though by who is not specified in the context, and various COG writers have speculated by whom.

Tensions are rising in the Golan Heights.

Some time this century, Syria’s capital will be destroyed.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Damascus and Syria in Prophecy Will Bashar al-Assad hold power as he has it? Does the Bible show that Damascus, the capital of Syria, will be destroyed? What will happen to Syria? Will the Syrians support the final King of the South that the Bible tells will rise up? Which scriptures discuss the rise and fall of an Arabic confederation? Does Islamic prophecy predict the destruction of Syria. This is a YouTube video.
Gaza and the Palestinians in Bible Prophecy What does the Bible teach about Gaza and the fate of the Palestinians? Here is a link to a related video: Gaza and Palestine in Prophecy.
Iran in Prophecy Is Iran in Bible prophecy? If so, what does the Bible teach? What names, other than Persia, may be used to describe Iran? There is also a related YouTube video titled Iran In Prophecy.
Mystery Babylon USA, Mecca, or Rome? The Bible tells of an end-time Mystery Babylon the Great that sits on seven hills. While Catholic and Church of God scholars have identified this as Rome, others point to other cities. Some who profess Christ have pointed to the USA. Some Protestants, like Joel Richardson, have pointed to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Which of these places meets the biblical criteria for ‘Mystery Babylon’? Is there any item of religious importance near the Caelian Hill (Cælius, Celio)? Dr. Thiel answers these questions from the Bible as well as certain historical information. This is a video.
Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach? Here is a link to a video, also titled Is Russia the King of the North?
Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day? Is Ezekiel 38 about to be fulfilled? A related video is available titled Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now? Another could be Russia, Iran, Syria, & the Bible (Code).
Why Terrorism? Is Terrorism Prophesied? What does the Bible teach? Which nations may be affected? Here is a link to a related sermon: Terrorism, Christianity, and Islam.
Iraq, the King of the South, Armageddon, and Prophecy What will happen to Iraq? Is it the prophesied Mystery Babylon? What is Armageddon and how does that have to do with Iraq? Here is a related video Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy.
Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising.
The Prophesied ‘Islamic’ Confederation Where is an Islamic caliphate prophesied? Will one happen? Should you be concerned about it? A related video is Will an Arabic Calphiphate Destroy the West?
Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia in Prophecy What is ahead for North Africa? What does the Bible teach?
How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? Can humans bring peace to the Middle East? A related video is Middle East Peace? When?
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims? An item of possibly related interest in the Spanish language would be: Líderes iraníes condenan la hipocresía de Occidente y declaran que ahora es tiempo para prepararse para el Armagedón, la guerra, y el Imán Mahdi.
Donald Trump in Prophecy Prophecy, Donald Trump? Are there prophecies that Donald Trump may fulfill? Are there any prophecies that he has already helped fulfill? Is a Donald Trump presidency proving to be apocalyptic? Two related videos are available: Donald: ‘Trump of God’ or Apocalyptic? and Donald Trump’s Prophetic Presidency.
Trump Presidency Magic 8 Ball or Bible Prophecy? BBC reported that one might as well use a ‘Magic Eight-Ball’ to try to predict what will happen in the remaining time of Donald Trump’s presidency. What is a ‘Magic Eight-Ball’? Dr. Thiel not only explains that, but also briefly goes over 10 biblically-based warnings he wrote would happen if Donald Trump were elected that have already began to come to pass. He also goes over something he wrote back in 2008 that the Trump presidency is also helping lead to fulfillment. Should you trust Bible prophecy or not? Dr. Thiel says that Bible prophecy can be trusted, despite the view of skeptics and others that either overlook or despise the Bible. This is a video.
Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse This 188 page book is for people truly interested in prophecies related to Donald Trump and the United States, including learning about several that have already been fulfilled and those that will be fulfilled in the future. The physical book can be purchased at Amazon for $12.99 from the following link: Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse.
Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse-Kindle Edition This electronic version of the 188 page print edition is available for only US$3.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse-Kindle Edition.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2019, 2020, or 2021? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Might the Great Tribulation start in 2019?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.
Armageddon Who is involved and when will this gathering happen? Here is also a video from Dr. Thiel, from Tel Megiddo in Israel: Armageddon. Other videos include: Armageddon Will it come on Trump’s watch?, Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy, Freemasonry, Armageddon, and Rome, Is China paving roads to Armageddon?, and Jordan, Petra, and Armageddon.

It’s International Happiness Day: 14 Biblical Keys to Happiness

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019


COGwriter

Today is International Happiness Day:

March 20. 2019

International Day of Happiness is an opportunity for business leaders to reflect on the connections between happiness, productivity, and growth—in their own lives, and the lives of their organizations. …

The U.N.’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network issues an annual World Happiness Report, using a variety of measures to gauge the overall happiness of nations around the world. Last year’s report found the U.S. ranking had fallen from third place in 2007 to 18th place. …

Start with gratitude

Leading researchers in health and positive psychology have found that simple gratitude practices can dramatically improve our sense of well-being and our physical health. Such practices can include keeping a gratitude journal and making a habit of thanking employees and colleagues for their efforts. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nazbeheshti/2019/03/20/why-is-the-u-s-losing-ground-in-happiness-what-we-can-do-today-on-international-day-of-happiness/#2e79aaa451cd

As far as gratitude goes, we have a sermon related to giving thanks that is available: Ingratitude and Giving Thanks.

As far as happiness goes, the old Worldwide Church of God had an article about happiness by Charles F. Vinson in the January 1973 edition of old the Plain Truth magazine:

How MANY times have you thought, I’d be happy , if only . … “? The daydream usually continues with ” If only I had more money,” or, “if only I had married someone else,” or, “if only I could change jobs,” or, “if only I had better health.”

Always “if only.”

Is happiness the impossible dream? Why does it always seem to be some- where around the corner , off in the vague future , but never really right now?

Certainly there are reasons enough for the world’s all-too-common victims of war, disease, hunger and poverty to be less than satisfied with living. But what makes most Americans, Britons, Japanese, Germans – peoples who, in the main, enjoy a higher degree of human comfort than most of the other peoples of the world – so often dissatisfied, unfulfilled, empty and discouraged? Why can’t these people be happy?

The answer is deceptively simple. No one has ever told them how to achieve happiness.

What’s Your Concept?

Most human beings have little difficulty conjuring up their own purple-hued vision of the ultimate in human existence – very often a pleasing combination of wealth, status and power, with freedom from frustration, both mentally and sexually. If this vaguely fits your concept of happiness, you really ought to consider whether or not this “vision of Valhalla ” is a truly worthwhile goal.

One way to find out is to ex amine the lives of men who have actually lived under such conditions – and to see where it got them. One of the best examples historically is King Solomon, a real-life figure widely noted throughout the ancient world for his fantastic wealth and wisdom.

Solomon had everything going for him. His father, King David, had at great effort and cost subdued the worst of the neighboring war-hungry tribes and had established a measure of peace in the Kingdom of Israel. After David’s death, Solomon stepped into a situation few men have ever had the opportunity to experience – limitless wealth at his personal disposal, a conditional promise of blessings from God and the gift of unparalleled wisdom, also given by God. Gossip undoubtedly circulated far and wide in that ancient world about Solomon’s fantastic kingdom.

Foreign royalty paid him state visits to see if what the y heard was really true.

It was. What they found in the City of David only served to reinforce the Solomonic legend, even though the truth needed no embellishment. According to the Biblical record published in Second Chronicles , chapters six through nine, Solomon possessed enough wealth and power to luxuriate in a life-style making notorious penthouse-dwellers of today seem poverty-stricken by comparison.

A Catalog of Wealth

On a yearly basis, Solomon received 666 talents of gold , or about 960,000 ounces . That amounts to something like $33,600,000 in gold per year at the old rate of $35 per ounce {$1,248,000,000 per year presuming a gold value of $1300 per ounce which it has been in the 21st century}.

There are … individuals today whose yearly assets … exceed that figure on paper, but this was the real thing – solid gold. It was reputedly so common, in fact, that Solomon didn’t bother to buy certain items for himself. He had them made from his gold. His throne was made of imported ivory overlaid with gold. None of his drinking vessels were made of silver. It was simply too common, assertedly as common as ordinary rock (I Kings 10:27).

Solomon imported finery from all parts of the world. His navy reported to him each year , bringing him more gold, silver, ivory and rare animals . In a triumph of understatement, I Kings 10:23 says that Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. State visits involved extravagant exchanges of gifts. When the famous Queen of Sheba for instance, came to investigate the fabulous rumors she had heard about Solomon, she brought along 120 talents of gold, a “very great store” of spices and precious stones to boot. Nearby friendly King Hiram, who lived on the Mediterranean coast, used his ships to bring Solomon gold from Ophir, as well as large amounts of rare wood and precious stones.

However, money really wasn’t everything. The Bible says that Solomon loved “many strange women” (I Kings 11:1). That is another magnificent understatement. Solomon kept seven hundred bona-fide wives plus three hundred concubines. To impress these wives, he commanded a personal army of charioteers – 1,400 chariots, to be exact, and twelve thousand horsemen . He even built special cities for these men, and imported their horses from Egypt. To keep his wives happy, he also ordered the best of imported fabrics (I Kings 10:28- 29).

But Was He Happy?

In addition, Solomon, being king and all-powerful, could of course do anything he desired – which is precisely what he set about to do. Later on, he wrote a book about his exploits called Ecclesiastes.

In this book, Solomon relates how he experimented with nearly every- thing under the sun to see what might make him happy. Nonstop entertainment soon grew tiresome. “But I found that this, too, was futile. For it is silly to be laughing all the time; what good does it do?” (Eccl. 2:2, The Living Bible.) He mentions taking up drinking to see if happiness could be found in a bottle. Happiness wasn’t, but morning-after headaches probably were. He constructed monuments to himself in the form of immense and beautiful public works. They were impressive and undoubtedly provided a great ego-trip, but they seem to have made him no happier. He built elaborate houses for 14 himself and constructed temples for the gods of his favorite pagan wives. He raised vineyards and conducted experiments in his botanical gardens on all kinds of rare trees and plants. He constructed waterworks to irrigate the nearby arid land. Most of this is described in Ecclesiastes, chapter two.

He stated matter of factly, “I be- came greater than any of the kings in Jerusalem before me, and with it all I remained clear-eyed, so that I could eval uate all these things.” This, admittedly, sounds like shades of Muhammad Ali, the boastful American heavyweight boxer, but it was the literal truth. He also confessed that “anything I wanted, I took, and did not restrain myself from any joy” (Eccl. 2:9-10, The Living Bible).

In short, Solomon had fame, money, and wisdom – every physical blessing there was to have. He tried everything there was to try – at least, all he could think of – and he had whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. It was all paid for. He lacked absolutely nothing in the way of human comfort.

Unfortunately, Solomon was miserable. He admitted it himself . “So now I hate life because it is all so irrational; all is foolishness, chasing the wind” (Eccl. 2:17, The Living Bible).

Why on earth would a man who had everything, including an unrestricted and enormously varied sex life, be so fed up with living that he felt like committing suicide?

The truth is that Solomon knew what would have made him happy – but he ignored it . Had he paid more attention to it, he could have lived a life more like the happier, fulfilled and rewarding existence of another man who lived almost a thousand years later.

From Persecutor to Persecuted

This man seemed to have every right to be miserable. He was Jewish and a member of the sect of the Pharisees. He hated the new sect which was called “Christian” after a certain Jesus Christ who had been publicly executed, but who the Christians claimed was still alive. He considered them an annoying threat to the Jewish religious establishment in which he held a high position. He persecuted the Christians with a vigor that astounded the liberal Romans in charge of that part of the Empire.

This man was forced to undergo conversion to the very “sect” which he had been so avidly persecuting. His former compatriots probably considered him slightly insane to take such a flip-flop in his thinking. The man’s name, of course, was Paul. He later became an apostle and one of the chief figures in the development of the New Testament church.

Far from having the magnificent wealth which Solomon had enjoyed, Paul was forced by circumstance to fall back on his childhood training of tentmaking in order to support him- self as he ministered to the Churches of God located around the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, he had to do much of his traveling on foot, or by ship. Devastating storms were common occurrences. Then, too, he was under constant danger from those in- tent upon persecuting the Church as he had once done himself. He didn’t always escape their wrath.

He catalogued his “misadventures” in the ministry in one of his pub- lished letters to the church located in the Greek city of Corinth:

“Five different times the Jews gave me their terrible thirty -nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I was in the open sea all night and the whole next day. I have traveled many weary miles and have been often in great danger from flooded rivers, and from robbers, and from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the hands of the Gentiles. I have faced grave dangers from mobs in the cities and from death in the deserts and in the stormy seas and from men who claim to be brothers in Christ but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food; often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

“Then, besides all this, I have the to pay attention to his disastrous life constant worry of how the churches and to avoid the same mistake he are getting along” (The Living Bible, II Cor. 11:24-28).

That is quite a list of adventures, enough to make men of lesser fortitude to opt for a safe, comfortable office job. But external problems were not all Paul endured. He also had what he a “thorn in the flesh,” possibly a health problem, although he doesn’t refer to it specifically by name(II Cor. 12:7). He does imply, that his eyes gave him problems (Gal. 4:15).

In addition, he just wasn’t very impressive in person. He says little about this fact, but does mention that others had tried to denigrate him in the sight of his congregation by rather nastily alluding to the fact that he was powerful enough in his letters, but that his bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible (II Cor. 10:10).

Yet Paul Was Happy

By now you can probably sense the obvious lesson about to hit you be- tween the eyes: Happiness doesn’t necessarily come from wealth, position, sexual freedom, or unlimited power and status. A man enduring the worst of living conditions, like Paul, can be happy in spite of the way things look or feel. ” . . . For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am , therewith to be content,” said Paul in Philippians 4: 11. “I know now how to live when things ~re difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either plenty or poverty” (Philippians 4:12, Phillips translation).

What was his secret? What did Paul know that Solomon didn’t?

The answer is: NOTHING.

Solomon knew the same basic formula for happy living that Paul preached, but the fact that he ignored with- it literally ruined his life. As a bitter old man looking backward on years, Solomon advised younger men, made : “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth , while the, evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them … . Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter : Fear God, and keep his commandments : refers to as · for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl . 12:1,13).

“Fear God and keep his commandments.” That was the one thing though, which could have made Solomon happy – which would have made his fabulous wealth, not at all wrong in itself, a blessing rather than a frustration. And, obedience to the laws of God was the one ingredient in Paul’s life which enabled him to keep going – even to be happy – in spite of all obstacles in his path.

And these same principles, if you obey them, can make you happy–no matter what your situation in life if YOU choose not to ignore them.

But Are They Relevant Today?

“All right ,” you say, “but we are all living in the twentieth century, not two thousand years ago in a Middle Eastern kingdom noted for its mystical adherents and richly embellished history. How would following an ancient code like the Ten Commandments help anyone living in the city ghetto, or playing the freeway game each day, or struggling with un- paid bills, striving to patch up marital spats, worrying over visits to the hos- pital, breathing the polluted air? ” Isn’ t telling everyone to do so more than just a little absurd, a gross over- simplification as a solution to complicated human problems?

Not really. The Ten Commandments are timeless and apply no mat- ter which century you happen to have been born into. For instance, the seventh commandment says, in what sounds to many like foreboding tones, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” In other words, “Don’t cheat on your wife or husband. It’ll make you both unhappy.”

It goes without saying that all of mankind is not now obeying God – and probably won’t unless forced to. But think , for a moment, of the fantastic results which would occur if everyone on earth were to obey just that one commandment. No more broken homes. No more agonizing heartbreak which cannot be measured statistically. No more wretched childhoods spent first with one parent, then with the other , always with the tension and insecurity which accompanies such a childhood situation, and which very often produces deep problems in the adult years. If everyone were striving to obey JUST this ONE commandment, the very marriage covenant would not be entered into so blithely. Young couples would take marriage much more seriously if they realized they were marrying for life, and not simply until the next attractive body comes around. In short, obedience to that one commandment could save mankind from a whole host of premarital and marital problems, heartaches and tragedies.

But that is only one commandment out of ten, only one example of why Solomon’s advice to “fear God and keep his commandments” is an open invitation to a happier, fuller, more satisfying life – the kind of life God wants every human being to experience.

If you would like to have more information about the Ten Commandments , explaining how all of them are applicable to life in today’s world, check out our free online book, The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

The Continuing Church of God has the following sermon related to happiness on its ContinuingCOG channel:

Nearly everyone wants to be happy. An advertising campaign decades ago attempted to directly tell us “that’s what happiness is.” Is happiness material goods or physical experiences? Are Christians supposed to be happy? What does the Bible teach about being happy? Does the Bible approach happiness from a different way than the world does? How should a Christian view tests and trials? Are you supposed to rejoice at God’s Holy Days? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more, plus lists fourteen biblical keys to happiness.

Here is a link to the video sermon: 14 Biblical Keys to Happiness.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Biblical Keys to Happiness This is an article for those interested in biblical teachings about being happy. A related sermon is available and is titled: 14 Biblical Keys to Happiness.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? If you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.

HWA’s 3rd law of success: Good health; Bloomberg List of Healthiest Countries

Monday, February 25th, 2019

COGwriter

In his booklet, The Seven Laws of Success, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following related to the third law of success:

The Basic Third Law

The all-important law coming next in time order is GOOD HEALTH.

We are physical beings. The mind and the body form the most wonderful physical mechanism we know. But man is made of matter. He is basically 16 elements of organic, chemically functioning existence.

He lives by the breath of air—which is the breath of LIFE itself. If the bellows we call lungs do not keep inhaling and exhaling the oxygen-containing air, man won’t live to achieve any goal. You are only one heartbeat away from death! As the lungs pump air in and out, so the heart pumps blood through and intricate system of veins and arteries. These must be supported by food and water.

And so man IS just what he eats. Some of the most famous physicians and surgeons have said that 90% to 95% of all sickness and disease comes from faulty diet!

Most people are in utter ignorance of the fact that it does make a difference what we eat! Most people, and the customs of society, have followed a regimen of eating whatever tastes good to the palate.

Adults are babies grown up. Observe a nine-month-old baby. Everything that comes into his hands goes to his mouth!

My youngest brother may not like to read this in print, but I remember when he was about nine months old, and had managed to creep into the basement coal bin. We found him trying to eat little chunks of coal—his mouth and face well blackened!

You may laugh at babies trying to eat silver cups and chunks of coal. Or at people who dip small mice into a sauce, and, holding them by their tails, drop them as a delicious delicacy into their mouths.

If you do, they will laugh back at you. They will tell you that mice eat clean grain and clean foods, while you dip slimy, slithery oysters and other scavenger seafoods into cocktail sauces, and consider them a delicacy!

You think adults have actually LEARNED any better than nine-month-olds babies? Go to your fancy grocer’s and you’ll find on his shelves canned eel and canned rattlesnake.

WHY? As I said, humans know nothing at birth! We have to learn! But most of us do not know that! And, again, what we don’t know, we don’t know that we don’t know! And somehow, ever since babyhood, most humans seem to have grown up putting everything into the mouth. Most have grown up eating just whatever seemed to taste good—and whatever they saw others eating. There has been little education or even study about WHAT we ought—or ought NOT—to eat.

Most degenerative diseases are modern diseases—penalties for eating foods that have been demineralized in food factories—usually an excess of starch, sugar (the carbohydrates) and fats. Others are caused by a type of malnutrition—lack of needed minerals and vitamins in foods. Then people try to put the “vitamins” back into their systems by buying pills at the drugstore!

A famous director of a “Physical Fitness” program, lecturing at Ambassador College, reminded us that the medical profession has made great strides toward eliminating communicable diseases, yet is having little success coping with the increase of the non-communicable diseases,–such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases. These latter are affected by faulty diet.

Of course there are other laws of health—sufficient sleep, exercise, plenty of fresh air, cleanliness and proper elimination, right thinking, clean living.

Right now “jogging” has become the physical fitness fad. Even men in their late forties read a book by a self-professing “expert,” and suddenly are straining their hearts running two miles every day. “More and more exercise!” cry the faddists.

Why do humans tend to go to extremes? Exercise is good—it profits a little—but like most things, it can be carried past the law of diminishing returns. You can get an overdose that can cause harm. We are prone to forget the admonition of TEMPERANCE in all things.

What is the value of this excessive exertion in running two miles a day? It induces blood circulation. It gets circulation even to the extremities. And that is good. Stimulating blood circulation is good. Stimulating blood circulation is important. But we can also DESTROY HEALTH by going to unwise extremes. There is as much danger in overdoing exercise as in neglecting it.

Circulation can be induced without over-exertion or danger. I have never forgotten a lecture I heard as a young man in the days of the Chautauqua. The lecturer had been physical trainer to President Howard Taft. Immediately following the close of the Taft administration, this physical trainer managed to secure a list of all—or nearly all—of the centenarians in the United States. He personally visited every one. He asked to what they attributed their long life. One never used tobacco, and gave that as the reason. But another used tobacco all his life and still lived past a hundred years. One “tee-totaled”—but another drank beer and brandy all his life. And so it went. When he had interviewed them all, he analyzed his notes and was surprised to learn that ONLY ONE THING was common to them all. Yet not one gave it credit for his long life. Every one had taken a vigorous daily rub-down. Some with a bath towel, following a daily bath. Some with a brush But in one way or another, each had stimulated blood circulation even to the extremities of toes and fingers by daily rubbing or massaging.

Many ask how I (now in my nineties) keep up the energy, vigor and drive. I’m sure there is more than one reason—but I do not “jog” or go in for fads. I WALK—the best exercise for one of my age. But ever since I heard that lecture, perhaps 60 or more years ago, I have taken a daily RUB-DOWN. Method? A generous-size bath towel, following a daily shower. I try to get enough sleep. I watch elimination (very important). I try to be careful about my diet. And I have a tremendous INCENTIVE—a driving PURPOSE in life, because I have learned what is life’s PURPOSE. That spurs to action! I have a mission to accomplish that is more important than my life. There’s not much time left—and it MUST and WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED! Besides all this I draw on a greater and higher Power. I think that gives the answer.

The average person has never stopped to realize that it is not natural to be sick. Sickness and disease come only from violation of nature’s laws of body and mine—the physical LAWS of health. Most people have not learned that there are any such laws! They suppose that occasional illness or disease is natural in the course of life. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Sickness should not be taken for granted. Some authorities go so far as to say that we do not catch a cold—we eat our colds and fevers! They explain that a cold or fever is merely the unnatural and rapid elimination of toxins and poisons stored up in the glands, resulting from improper diet.

Now what about the great and the near-great of the world? They usually do not know all there is to know about the laws of good, vigorous health with clear, alert minds. But, compared to the average of the population, they know a great deal. They have, as a rule, enjoyed, shall we say, comparatively good health!

As an example, the President of the United States always has a White House physician who is constantly watchful over the President’s physical condition. A President is virtually required to get in certain exercise. President Eisenhower played golf frequently. President Kennedy took a daily swim. President Taft had a physical trainer who watched the overweight President daily.

Yet, there are many things that even these important people do not know about the causes of sickness, disease, debility.

One factor I think has worked universally in favor of such men. Mental attitude does have considerable influence on physical condition. Most “successful” men—as the world evaluates success—do think constructively, positively, in a mental attitude of confidence. They do not allow themselves to think negatively or assume an attitude of fear, worry, or discouragement. They do not allow themselves to get into uncontrolled moods of griping, complaining. They enforce on themselves emotional balance. And, mindful of the responsibilities on their shoulders, they probably put more restraint on dissipation than most people.

Without health one is direly handicapped, if not totally cut off from achievement. The fourth Law of Success is largely dependent on good health.

Many factors, including genetics and environment, affect health. But so do choices. (BTW, the fourth Law of Success in The Seven Laws of Success is “drive”).

Over a decade ago, I wrote a book related to natural health (which is still available) titled Combining Old and New : Naturopathy for the 21st Century. In addition to going over various views of health, causes of illness, and naturopathic modalities, it includes basically two chapters written by the late Herbert W. Armstrong (which were public domain and hence usable in a commercial book) on aspects of health.

People can influence and improve their health by making better choices.

ZeroHedge posted the following from Bloomberg:

According to Bloomberg’s 2019 World Health Rankings, …

See the full ranking below:

Ranking

Ranking

Ranking

Consider that although the US spends the most on health (primarily through medical, not natural, interventions), it is not the healthiest land.

Food and lifestyle choices do matter.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Does God Heal Today? This historical article is by Herbert Armstrong and provides his views on healing circa 1952, which he seemed to later modify, at least to some degree.
Faith for those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido.Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Should Christians Smoke Tobacco or Marijuana? Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats.
Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today? Includes quotes from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong and explains who he was and how he should be viewed today.
The Seven Laws of Success Information that can help people become successful.
Combining Old and New : Naturopathy for the 21st Century. A book written by Dr. Thiel on natural health principles and modalities.