Archive for the ‘WCG News’ Category

Charges against Herbert W. Armstrong not based on verifiable truth

Friday, July 30th, 2021


Herbert W. Armstrong

COGwriter

A reader sent me a pdf file that consisted of an article put together by Brian Davis and published by PCG in the July-August 2020 edition of Royal Vision.

Here is a link to the article: Charges Against Herbert W. Armstrong – DISPROVED!

The file format is such that I cannot copy text in the normal way, which is one reason why the link above is provided. Let’s start with an image of how the article begins:

Yes, for decades, various false accusations have been made against the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong.

One of the most blatant and outrageous is the accusation against incest.

The Bible admonishes us to:

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV)

So, related to the accusations I had heard about Herbert W. Armstrong, I also did so.

Back in the February 28, 2003 edition of The Journal: News of the Churches of God, I had an article published titled: Consider candid responses to 15 accustations about Herbert W. Armstrong. The Journal’s editor, Dixon Cartwright, found the incest charge so offensive that he edited the word incest out of my original submission.

Later, I posted an article titled 17 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert W. Armstrong where a summary of my investigation into this was included.

Here is what that article currently has on this:

Gross impropriety

Accusation No. 4: Herbert W. Armstrong was guilty of gross sexual impropriety (incest) when younger.

After reviewing the details of one particular allegation regarding sex and what I uncovered, Dixon Cartwright, The Journal’s publisher, asked me to remove them from this article because of the lack of proof and because certain parties are not alive to defend themselves and because The Journal is a family publication.

Various versions of this accusation are extant, most of which seem to be based on a chapter of David Robinson’s 1980 book Herbert W. Armstrong’s Tangled Web. (A version of the accusations appears in Tuit’s book as well.)

I investigated four allegations related to this specific accusation and concluded that unless certain alleged Lochner audiotapes (which have never been made public, and I requested them and even spoke to one who had claimed to hear them–Art Mokarow–he finally admitted to me that he actually had not heard them) surface (and I made diligent inquiry to attempt to find them, including dozens of phone calls, plus E-mails through late February 2003, and even later after this article was originally published), the accusations are not provable and aspects of the accusations are indeed disprovable.

Perhaps I should mention that since one aspect of these accusations is commonly attributed to a comment supposedly made by Herbert W. Armstrong’s son Garner Ted Armstrong (GTA) concerning his dad and another relative. I personally called Garner Ted Armstrong’s office on Dec. 12, 2002 to inquire about this particular accusation. I was not able to speak with GTA directly, but a key employee of the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association discussed it with him and got back with me. Through his spokesperson, GTA declined to comment except to pass on the message that:

“everything you really need to know about my father is contained within the Autobiography (of Herbert W. Armstrong).”

Thus GTA would not stand by a statement attributed to him on this matter–so how can any believe this?

In December 2006, I saw a post at an anti-Church of God website that stated that Dibar Apartian supposedly confirmed that he felt that Herbert W. Armstrong was guilty of incest. On January 3, 2007, I spoke with Dibar Apartian about this. He knew Herbert W. Armstrong for the past 30 plus years of Herbert W. Armstrong’s life. Dibar Apartian clearly and flatly denied the claim someone made that Dibar Apartian said he felt that Herbert W. Armstrong was guilty of incest.

Every single time I have gone to the alleged sources of information on this incest matter, none of these “sources” have ever stood by the statements that the anti-Herbert W. Armstrong critics have claimed were made. I would like to add that at that time Dibar Apartian was 88 1/2 years old and he specifically told me that it should be clear to everyone that he had nothing to gain by denying this. Dibar Apartian also told me that he has never once made a statement confirming any of Herbert W. Armstrong’s alleged personal faults, and specifically that he never stated that he thought Herbert W. Armstrong was guilty of incest. Others have different opinions, but if HWA is guilty of this, no strong facts have emerged (another article related to this that someone else wrote would be Herbert W. Armstrong Did NOT Commit Incest!).

In his Tangled Web book, the late D. Robinson wrote that “like the Wizard of Oz, Herbert Armstrong is operating on image. When his hand is called, there is no substance there. Like the Wizard, he is just a lot of bluster.”

Based on my experience in trying to track down credible sources for this accusation, all I find–including a whole chapter in Robinson’s book–is “just a lot of bluster.” Actually, it appears to me that no one who has made or repeated most of the accusations against Herbert W. Armstrong actually has any real proof for most of them–no one seems to have checked with either the primary (those involved) or secondary sources (those with proof), but instead relied on accusation and rumor–simply stating a false charge does not make it true, no matter how many times it may be repeated.

Let me add that since I wrote this, various ones on and off the internet have indicated that they have ‘proof’ on the incest matter, yet none have produced the Lochner tapes or any actual proof that I have heard. Speaking of late additions, here is something from an email I received about this on November 26, 2014.

HWA & “incest.”

I tend to disbelieve this one. Here’s why: I worked full time at AC after graduation. Was put in charge of the Shipping & Receiving Dept. Because of that I had to deal directly with Vern Mattson. He had to sign checks I needed for shipping items through LA airport and customs. One day, sitting alone with him at his desk he said this to me while writing checks for credit card invoices. “Charles Hunting spends God’s money like there are no limits to it.” I don’t think he would say “God’s money” and use,”God’s work” like he did in private, and off the cuff, if his wife was abused like the critics claim. If any one would have known what happened by then, he would have. Don’t know if you need info like this on the subject, but just info in passing.

Robert Petry

Vern Mattson was Beverly’s (HWA’s daughter) husband at the time of the above. Again, I am not saying there is no possibility of guilt, but too much goes against it.

Furthermore, as far as Robertson’s book goes, consider the following from HWA’s longtime aide Aaron Dean who commented on it in 2018:

Yes I read Dave Robinsons book. I worked for HWA 12 years and he never told me anything that HWA was supposed to tell him in a half hour walk one morning at the feast as we flew from site to site. I was listening in circumstances where this should have come up, but didn’t. It seems he created a lot from other sources.

He had a bit of an axe to grind, and did Marion McNair. There was a lot of fighting for positons in the earlier years of the church. Bad information and lies created many bad decisions. Many people said things, and HWA knew that trying to answer or refute really solved nothing except to keep the issue alive. (Aaron Dean. Post 02/11/18 12:30 PM #7895)

The Robertson book was not based on first-hand or probably second-hand information. But many seem to want to believe it anyway.

For more testimony and comments against the incest charge, check out the following link: Charges Against Herbert W. Armstrong – DISPROVED!

The Royal Vision article cites my research, Mel Olinger, Aaron Dean, Steve Szabo, Loretta Olinger, and Norbert Link. Here are some more images from the article Charges Against Herbert W. Armstrong – DISPROVED!:

The evidence for the allegation is simply not there.

Notice also the following related to Herbert Armstrong’s daughter Dorothy:

Notice also:

Of course, despite research into the truth about this, some people do not care about the truth.

Many have not truly wanted to “prove all things” or “hold fast” to what is good.

In the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, the Apostle John was inspired to write:

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14-15)

Sadly, there are many corrupt and bitter people who prefer to believe, love, and push lies about this, as well as others in the COGs.

Please, do not be one of them.

Note: Posting the images that I did does NOT mean I agree with everything PCG and that article teach about Herbert W. Armstrong. The images put up were to show that this incest allegation had many flaws and should not be accepted as a fact.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
What is Armstrongism? Did Herbert W. Armstrong raise a new faith or promote the original Christian faith? Here is a link to a related video: What is Armstrongism? Are Some Dismissive of Original Christianity?
17 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert W. Armstrong He, even after his death, keeps being improperly maligned–here is the truth on these matters.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle Herbert Armstrong claims God had him raise the Philadelphia up. Are there reasons to believe that the Philadelphia mantle in now within the CCOG? Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.

Drive: HWA’s Fourth ‘Law of Success’

Monday, July 26th, 2021

COGwriter

It is Monday.

Some people do not Monday so much, a song was written against it years ago with lyrics including Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day.

Some do not have the drive to go to work or school, which often starts with Monday each week.

But, of course, Monday itself is not the problem.

Drive and motivation may be the problem.

Can that be helped?

Long ago, in his booklet, The Seven Laws of Success, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following related to what he called the fourth law of success:

The All-important Fourth Law

A person may have chosen his goal. Having it may have aroused tremendous ambition to achieve it. He may have started out educating and training himself for its accomplishment, and he may even have good health and still make little or no progress toward its realization.

After all, success is accomplishment. It is DOING. They say any old dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim up. An inactive person will not accomplish. Accomplishment is DOING.

Now comes an all-important law.

The fourth success-law, then, is DRIVE!

Half-hearted effort might carry one a little way toward his goal, but it will never get him far enough to reach it.

You will always find that the executive head of any growing, successful organization employs drive! He puts a constant prod on himself. He not only drives himself, he drives those under him, else they might lag, let down and stagnate.

He may feel drowsy, and hate to awaken and get up [in the morning]. But he refuses to give in to this impulse.

I remember the struggles I once had with this situation. It was during one of my “Idea-Man” tours as a magazine editorial representative at age 22. I was having quite a struggle with drowsiness. Yet I acquired the habit of sleepily answering the morning telephone call and promptly going back to bed and to sleep. Then I bought a “Baby Ben” alarm clock, which I carried with me. But I found myself arising to turn it off, then plunging back into bed. I was too drowsy to realize what I was doing. I was not sufficiently awake to employ willpower and force myself to stay up, get under the shower and become fully awake and alert. It had become habit.

I had to break the habit. I had to put a prod on myself. I needed an alarm clock that couldn’t be turned off until I was sufficiently awake to get going for the day.

So one night at the Hotel Patton in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I called a bellboy to my room. In those days the customary tip was a dime. A half dollar then had about the same effect that a $20 bill would have today. I laid a silver half-dollar on the dresser.

“Do you see that half-dollar, son?” I asked.

“Yes, Sir!” he answered, eyes sparkling in anticipation.

After ascertaining that he would be still on duty at 6:30 next morning, I said, “If you will pound on that door in the morning at 6:30, until I let you in, and then stay in this room and prevent me from getting back into bed until I am dressed, then you may have that half-dollar.”

I found those bell-boys would, for a half-dollar tip, even wrestle or fight with me to prevent my crawling back into bed. Thus I put a prod on myself that broke the morning snooze habit and got me up and going!

Often workmen never rise above whatever job they may have because they have no drive. They slow down, work slowly, poke around, sit down and rest as much as they can. In other words, they must have a boss over them to drive them, or they would probably starve. They would never become successful farmers—for a farmer, to succeed, must get up early and work late, and drive himself. That is one reason so many must work for others. They cannot rely on themselves—they must be driven by one of more energy and purpose.

Without energy, drive, constant propulsion, a person need never expect to become truly successful.

Despite various ones in the COGs not particularly interested in the goals of gospel proclamation or changing and building the type of character that God wants, the gospel proclamation need remains per Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20, as does the need for personal repentance.

Notice something that the Apostle Peter wrote:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-11)

In this Laodicean era, are you truly diligent? Are you so satisfied with where you are at that you do not feel that you need to change or not change much? Jesus warned against that type of complacency:

14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’–and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked– 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:14-19).

Drive helps people live up to more of their potential and accomplish more, not just for personal gain or reward, but so they can give love more. Do you truly have the Philadelphian-era drive?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
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?
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.
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.
Living as a Christian: Strong Meat Can you handle solid spiritual food? A related sermon is available: Strong Meat: James 1-2 and Strong Meat: James 3-5.
Priorities and the Most Broken Commandment Which commandment is broken the most? Which one is most involved with what should be your top priority? Here is a link to a related sermon: The Most Violated Commandment and Priorities.
What are Your Priorities? The late evangelist Dibar Apartian wrote this.
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 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.
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 evangelists?
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage and rive 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.
Christian Success Does the Bible teach that Christians are to be successful? Are there at least seven laws of success that Christians should follow? How does the Bible teach we are to become successfully spiritually? Does the Bible really teach that Christians should be successful physically? This video answers these questions and more from the Bible. An outline of some of the scriptures used is here: Christian Success Outline.

Herbert W. Armstrong on the beginning–what about the ‘gap’ doctrine?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

COGwriter

Where does the Bible actually begin?

In terms of time order, it would be John 1:1, and not Genesis 1:1 as many assume.

Here is an explanation from the late Herbert W. Armstrong:

If one should ask, where do you find the actual beginning of events in the Bible, most who possess even a slight knowledge of the world’s “best seller” would say, “Why in Genesis chapter one verse one, of course.” WRONG!

The real beginning, in order of time sequence, is found in the New Testament, in the first chapter of John, verse one. The events portrayed in Genesis occurred later – possibly even millions of years later. But the event recorded in John 1:1 reveals an existence perhaps long prior to the time God created the earth and the material universe. Note it: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” It continues, “The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” The term “all things” is translated in Hebrews 1:3, in the Moffatt translation, as “the UNIVERSE.” The entire UNIVERSE was made by Him!

The fourteenth verse of John 1 says: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” The Personage called the Word was the one who ultimately-yet more than 1900 years ago-was born Jesus Christ. The name, “the Word,” is translated from the original Greek text, and means, literally, just what is translated into English -“Spokesman.” But He was not the Son of God “in the beginning.” Yet the Scriptures reveal that He has always existed, and always will – “from eternity to eternity.” He was “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life . . .” (Heb. 7:3).

So think on this, if you will! Originally there existed only these two Spirit Personages, self-existent. They had creative powers – they had perfect supreme minds – they possessed perfect, holy and righteous CHARACTER.

But THERE WAS NONE ELSE – NOTHING ELSE! There was no matter – no material universe – YET! No other living being or thing. Only these two, equal in mind and powers, except that God was supreme in authority, and the Word in perfect harmony under that authority. They were of one mind, in absolute agreement.

But ALL THINGS – the universe and everything existing in it – was made by the Personage called the Word. Yet, as we read in Ephesians 3:9: “God. . . created ALL THINGS by Jesus Christ.” And prior to becoming Jesus Christ, He was “the Word!” Also, in His human life Jesus said He spoke only as the Father directed. Yes. THINK!

In the eternity even prior to “prehistory” there were these two Supreme Beings. Alone! In the emptiness of space! No other life forms – no other living beings! Nothing else!…

The Perfect Creation

The original Hebrew words (the words originally written by Moses) imply a perfect creation. God reveals Himself as Creator of perfection, light, and beauty. Every reference in the Bible describes the condition of any completed phase of God’s creation as “very good” – perfect. This first verse of the Bible actually speaks of the original PHYSICAL creation in its entirety – the universe – including the earth, perhaps millions of years ago – as a perfect creation, beautiful and perfect as far as its creation was a finished, completed work. God is a perfectionist! In Job 38:4,7, God is speaking specifically of the creation of this earth. He said all the angels (created “sons of God”) shouted for joy at the creation of the earth. This reveals that angels were created before the creation of the earth – and probably before the material universe.

The suns, planets, and astral bodies are material substance. Angels are individually created Spirit beings, composed solely of Spirit. It will come as a surprise to many to learn that angels inhabited this earth BEFORE the creation of man. This passage from Job implies it.

Angels on Earth Sinned

Other passages place angels on earth prior to man. Notice II Peter 2:4-6. First in time order were “angels that sinned.” Next in time sequence, the antediluvian world beginning with Adam, carrying through to the Flood. After that, Sodom and Gomorrah. This Book of books, containing the revealed knowledge of the Creator God, tells us that God created angels as composed of Spirit. But can you imagine angels becoming sinning angels? Angels were created with power of thought, of decision and of choice, else they have no individuality or character. Since sin is the transgression of God’s law, these angels rebelled against God’s law, the basis of God’s government. Notice carefully what is revealed in II Peter 2:4-5:

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.

These verses show that universal sin brings universal destruction to the physical earth. The antediluvian sin, culminating with the flood, was worldwide, universal sin. Notice: “…the earth was filled with violence …. for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth …. for the earth is filled with violence.” (Gen.6:1 1-13). “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the [Eternal]…. Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (verses 8-9). All flesh had sinned – over the whole earth. But only Noah “walked with God.” So, the Flood destroyed the whole earth – all but Noah and his family. The homosexual and other sins of Sodom and Gomorrah spread over the territory of those two cities. And physical destruction came to their entire area. The sin of the angels was worldwide; the destruction of the physical earth was worldwide. The verses quoted above place the sinning of the angels prior to the antediluvian sins that started with Adam, prior to the creation of man. And that should be a surprise revealing of one phase of the missing dimension in knowledge! Angels inhabited this earth before the creation of man. And the government of God was administered on earth until the rebellion of the sinning angels.

How long these angels inhabited the earth before the creation of man is not revealed. It might have been millions – or even billions – of years. More on that later. But these angels sinned. Sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). And God’s law is the basis of God’s government. So we know these angels, apparently a third of all the angels (Rev. 12:4), sinned – rebelled against the government of God. And sin carries penalties. The penalty for the sin of the angels is not death, as it is for man. Angels are Immortal Spirit beings and cannot die. These Spirit beings had been given dominion over the PHYSICAL EARTH as a possession and an abode. The universal, worldwide sin of the angels resulted in the physical destruction of the face of the earth…

Now back to Genesis 1: 1-2. Verse 1, as stated above, implies a perfect creation. God is the author of life, of beauty, of perfection. Satan has brought only darkness, ugliness, imperfection, violence. Verse 1 shows the creation of a perfect earth, glorious and beautiful. Verse 2 reveals the result of the sin of the angels.

“And the earth was [became] without form, and void.” The words “without form and void” are translated from the Hebrew tohu and bohu. A better translation is “waste and empty” or chaotic and in confusion.” The word “was” is elsewhere in Genesis translated “became,” as in Genesis 19:26. In other words, the earth, originally created perfect and beautiful, had now become chaotic, waste, and empty, like our moon, except its surface was covered with water.

David was inspired to reveal how God renewed the face of the earth: “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth” (Ps. 104:30).

Now another surprise for most readers. Here is another bit of the missing dimension in knowledge, actually revealed in the Bible, but unrecognized by religion, by science, and by higher education. From verse 2 of Genesis 1 on, the remainder of this first chapter of the Bible is not describing the original creation of the earth. But it is describing a renewing of the face of the earth, after it had become waste and empty as a result of the sin of the angels.

What is described from verse 2 on, in the supposed “Creation chapter” of the Bible, did occur, according to the Bible, approximately 6,000 years ago. But that could have been millions or trillions of years after the actual creation of the earth described in verse 1! I will comment later on the length of time it might have taken before all earth’s angels turned to rebellion.

The earth had become waste and empty. God did not create it waste and empty, or in confusion. God is not the author of confusion (I Cor.14:33). This same Hebrew word – tohu – meaning waste and empty, was inspired in Isaiah 45:18, where it is translated “in vain.” Using the original Hebrew word, as originally inspired, it reads: “For thus saith the [Eternal] that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain [tohu], he formed it to be inhabited.”

Continue now with the remainder of verse 2 (Gen. 1) (the earth had become chaotic, waste, and empty): “And darkness was upon the face of the deep [the ocean or fluid surface of the earth]. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness” (verses 2-4).

Satan is the author of darkness. The rebellion of the angels had caused the darkness. God is the author of light and truth. Light displays and enhances beauty, and also exposes evil. Darkness hides both. The verses which follow in this first chapter of the Bible describe the renewing of the face of the earth, yielding beautiful lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetation – then the creation of fish and fowl, animal life, and finally man. (Armstrong HW. Incredible Human Potential, 1978)

So, yes God and the Word existed from the beginning and before anything else was made (John 1:1).

And while there was a creation in Genesis 1:1, there was a gap between that and the recreation that was needed in Genesis 1:2. Thus, this explanation (which, in my view, is the one that best agrees with the records, despite flaws, of science) is commonly referred to as the gap theory. And yes, I hold to it (see How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation?).

The Bible teaches:

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

But the Bible does not say when that happened, other than it happened in “the beginning.” Many (including this author) have added up ages of various biblical figures when they became fathers, combined with reigns of biblical kings and other scriptures, and concluded that from the time Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden to present, there has been a little less than 6,000 years (for details, please see the article Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).

Now notice what the KJV translation of Genesis 1:2 states:

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2, KJV)

Because the NKJV also kept about the same translation, many have been confused about what Genesis 1:2 really teaches.

The following is the Hebrew transliterated into characters that non-Hebrew readers can recognize:

2 weh’ares haytah tohû wabohû wehošek ‘al-penê tehôm werûha elohîm merapet ‘al-penê hammayim.

(Genesis 1:2 from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, edited by Karl Ellinger and Wilhelm Rudolph. Fifth Revised Edition, edited by Adrian Schenker. © 1977 and 1997 Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart. Used by permission. With certain letters in modern form by COGwriter as html would not display minimized certain characters properly)

Here is a somewhat literal translation of it:

2 the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness [is] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2, Young’s Literal Translation)

Here is a more understandable translation of it:

2 But the earth became waste and void, and with darkness on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon on the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2, clarified literal translation)

Before going further, notice something else:

18 For thus says the Lord,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:18)

Notice that the earth was NOT created in vain. The word translated as ‘vain’ above is the same Hebrew word (tohu) translated as ‘without form’ in Genesis 1:2 (tohu). Obviously, then, according to the Bible, something happened between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. It should be noted that this is NOT a gap between day 1 and day 2 as some anti-gap people have written, as day 1 began with Genesis 1:3.

“Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) and Isaiah 45:18 is clearly in support of the gap-theory position that there must have been a second creation. So is, Psalm 104:30.

It should be pointed out that in the Hebrew of the Masoretic Old Testament text, there a pause/gap symbol between the first and second verses of Genesis.

Furthermore, in the Masoretic text in which Jewish scholars tried to incorporate enough “indicators” to guide the reader … is one small mark which is technically known as Rebhia which is classified as a “disjunctive accent” intended to notify the reader that he should pause before proceeding to the next verse. Such a mark appears at the end of Genesis 1:1. This mark has been noticed by several scholars including Luther. It is one indication among others, that the waw (וּ‬) which introduces verse 2 should be rendered “but” rather than “and,” a disjunctive rather than a conjunctive. (Custance AC. Without Form and Void. 1970, pp. 18-19)

This shows a gap, not a conjunctive connection, between verses one and two, therefore verse one is NOT an explanation of verse two.

So we see that, anciently, there is an actual gap symbol between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis. And that instead of Genesis 1:2 beginning with “And” like the KJV and Douay Rheims have, it should begin with “But.”

Now, one anti-Gap article asks, “WHY CAN’T WE JUST BELIEVE THE BIBLE?” It then refers to the biblical gap view as an “imagined theory” and claimed it was based on non-biblical evidence (Closing the Gap. co-written by Brian and Kenneth Hoeck for Truth On The Web Ministries. http://www.truthontheweb.org/gapclose.htm accessed 07/23/18), yet it failed to mention that there is an actual pause/gap in the Masoretic text of scripture.

And a correct translation of the Bible makes the point more apparent.

Let’s now see two translations of something else in the Bible:

28 And God blessed them; and God said unto them: ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ (Genesis 1:28, Jewish Publication Society Tanakh 1917)

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28, KJV)

The Original Douay OT (1610) also teaches to “replenish the earth, and subdue it” (though the version I checked uses old English spelling, like “fubdew it”).

To replenish (Strong’s word 4390, transliterated from Hebrew into uwmil°uw) means to “restore (a stock or supply of something) to the former level or condition.” There would be no reason to “replenish” if there had not been a previous time when the Earth existed.

Furthermore, consider that this was the same command (with the same Strong’s word 4390, transliterated from Hebrew into uwmil°uw) God gave Noah after the Great Flood:

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1, Jewish Publication Society Tanakh 1917)

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1, KJV)

Adam was told to replenish as Noah had.

There was a major time ‘gap’ between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, and Jesus existed prior to all of that.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Gap Theory? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Were the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long? Here are links to two sermons: Gap Theory: Doctrine or Modern Heresy? and Genesis, ‘Prehistoric man,’ and the Gap theory. Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cuán vieja es la Tierra? ¿Cuán largos fueron los Días de la Creación? ¿Teoría de la brecha?
Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?
Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
Does it Make Physical Sense to believe in God? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Is There Another View of Evolution? and another titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.

Did Angels Marry Human Women? Many insist this is so and also that this mating caused giants to be born. Did this come from the ‘Book of Enoch’? What does Genesis 6:4 really mean? A related video is also available: Did Angels Marry Women and Produce Giants?
Where Did God Come From? Any ideas? And how has God been able to exist? Who is God?
How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient? Here is a biblical article which answers what many really wonder about it.
Has time been lost? It Saturday the seventh day of the week?
Questions and Answers from Genesis Many wonder about certain early events that this article discusses.
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
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? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, Mystery of Race, and The Mystery of YOU.

Preparation and education can help with success. Are you really prepared to instruct many?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

COGwriter

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

The Vital Second Law

And so, if you are to arrive at SUCCESS in LIFE, you must first set the right goal, and then comes the PREPARATION to achieve that goal.

So, the SECOND law of success in time sequence, is EDUCATION, or PREPARATION.

How can one expect to accomplish his purpose unless he acquires the know-how?

One thing we need to know about life—and many do not—is that humans do not come equipped with instinct.

To this extent, the dumb animals have a certain advantage over us. They do not have to learn. They never need weary their brains with book learning.

The new born calf does not have to be taught how to walk. It starts immediately to get up on its somewhat infirm and uncertain legs. It may fall down on the first or second attempt, but in a matter of a few moments it stands, even if a little unsteady at first. It does not require a year or two—not even an hour or two—the little calf starts walking in a few minutes! It does not need to reason out any goals. It requires no textbooks, nor teaching. It instinctively knows its goal—dinner! And it knows, also instinctively, the way. On its own four legs it proceeds immediately to the first meal!

I have repeated so many times: birds build nests—by instinct. No one teaches them how. Five generations of weaver birds, isolated from nests or nest-building materials, never saw a nest. When nest-building materials were made accessible, the sixth generation, without any instruction, proceeded to build nests! They were not crows’ nests or eagles’ nests. They were the same kind of nests weaver birds have built since creation. They had no minds to think out, imagine, design, and construct a different kind of nest.

Of course dogs, horses, elephants, dolphins, and some other animals can be taught and trained to do certain tricks. But they cannot reason, imagine, think, plan, design and construct new and different things. They do not acquire knowledge, perceive truth from error, make decisions, and employ WILL to exercise self-discipline according to their own reasoned wisdom and decisions. THEY CANNOT DEVELOP MORAL AND SPIRITUAL CHARACTER.

But humans have it not quite so easy. Humans have to learn, or be taught. Humans have to learn to walk, to talk, to eat or drink.

We don’t come to these basic accomplishments instinctively and immediately like the dumb animals. It may take a little more time. It may come a little harder. But we can go on to learn reading, writing, and “rithmetic”!

Then we can go further, and learn to appreciate literature, music, art. We can learn to think and reason, to conceive a new idea, to plan, design, construct.

We can investigate, experiment, invent telescopes and learn something about outer space and far-off planets, stars, and galaxies. We invent microscopes and learn about infinitesimal particles of matter.

We learn about electricity, laws of physics and chemistry. We learn to use the wheel, construct highways, and roll over ground faster than any animal. We learn to fly higher, farther and faster than any bird. We learn how to take nature apart and make it work for us. We discover and utilize nuclear energy.

But we have to LEARN—to STUDY—to be EDUCATED—to be PREPARED for what we propose to do.

One if the first things we need to learn is –that we need to learn!

Once you have learned enough to CHOOSE A GOAL, the second step toward successfully accomplishing that goal is to LEARN THE WAY—to acquire the additional education, training, experience, to give you the know-how to achieve your goal.

Most people fail to set any definite goals. Having no specific aims, they neglect the specialized EDUCATION to make possible the attainment of their purpose.

Now all these men whose case histories I have recounted had goals. They had the overall purpose of acquiring possessions, attaining status, and enjoying the passing moments. As a means to this objective, they had the specialized goals of succeeding in banking, industry, politics, acting, writing, or whatever. They all EDUCATED THEMSELVES for their particular profession or calling.

They were broad enough to realize that education included not only book learning, but personality development, leadership, experience, knowledge form contacts and associations, and from observation.

Yet these “successful” people were not really successful. They not only chose an overall goal that led them in the way of false values, they also failed to equip themselves with the RIGHT education to make possible that REAL LASTING success—fulfilling the PURPOSE of life.

There is, then, a right and a false education.

These successful people were not lastingly successful. Their education failed to teach them the TRUE VALUES. They chose goals that led them in the way of false values that didn’t last.

The entire system of education in this world neglects to recapture the true values. Even the scholarly educators themselves too often devote themselves to arduous years of research into non-essential and useless channels.

The basic and most essential knowledge—the true values, the meaning and purpose of life, the WAY to peace, to happiness and abundant well-being—these basics are never taught. Because I was given to see this decadence in modern education—to recognize this tragic knowledge gap—I was led to found a college that fills this need.

Right education must teach that all things are a matter of cause and effect—that for every result, whether good or evil, there is a cause. True education will teach the CAUSE of this world’s evils—of personal or collective troubles—so that they may be avoided. Also it much instruct in the CAUSE of this world’s evils—of personal or collective troubles—so that they may be avoided. Also it must instruct in the CAUSE of the GOOD results, that we may know how to win them instead of the troubles. Right education must not stop at teaching TO LIVE! It must know, and teach, the PURPOSE of human life, and how to fulfill it.

Decadent education has spawned student revolt, which has, on occasion, plunged many colleges and universities into states of violence and chaos!

It’s another significant tragedy of our time!

This world is dissemination false education that has come down to us from the thinking, philosophizing, yet misguided pagans who lacked a knowledge of the true values and purposes of life! The true history of education is an eye-opening story in itself!

Despite media reports in the last year or so, questioning the monetary value of education (and some of it should be questioned), becoming educated or otherwise prepared is important. Not only can the right education “open doors,” it helps many people become more productive. It helps people live up to more of their potential.

The Apostle Peter wrote:

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15, KJV)

And while that ability is needed in all ages, notice the following end time prophecy:

32 … the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. (Daniel 11:32, ESV)

33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; (Daniel 11:33)

How can Philadelphian Christians take action and instruct many if they are not prepared?

First, notice that the Holy Spirit will assist according to Jesus:

18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. (Matthew 10:18-20)

So does that mean you have no part to play?

No.

You need to be prepared as the Apostle Peter wrote to be able to give answers to those who ask.

The Apostle Paul wrote the following:

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:14, NKJV)

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV)

The Bible is the word of truth. Christians need to study diligently, which includes not only reading the Bible and paying attention to sermons, but also to read church literature.

One of the reasons is that parts of the Bible are not always easy to understand, as the Apostle Peter pointed out:

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:14-16, NKJV)

Notice again one is to be ‘diligent’ so one will not be moved by untaught and unstable people.

This also means that God’s people need to be taught.

In addition to studying the word of God on their own, this is part of why God has a ministry:

26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. (Acts 8:26-31)

Philip then assisted and taught the man.

Notice also:

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Yes, the true ministry helps people be able to speak the truth in love.

Now that books are more widely available than in New Testament times, books from ministers can also assist in teaching end time Christians.

While we have many, the following look to be particularly applicable to the ‘instruct many’ prophecy related to predominantly Philadelphian Christians:

Now that does not mean our other books and booklets are not important to know–and they can also be referred to–and all are found at the following link: CCOG Free Books and Booklets.

Non-Philadelphians will not know enough to instruct many in this age. Oh yes, they will teach people during the millennium. But, the lack of knowledge of church history, development of heresies, and proper prophetic understanding will prevent most non-Philadelphians from fulfilling the “instruct many” prophecy in Daniel 11:32.

Because some of what people in the world will be interested in will be a bit historical, and to them unique, the listed books were written. These books are part of the CCOG preparation for the short work.

If YOU are willing to be used by God and will support the true Philadelphian remnant leader, God may well have YOU instruct many. Either directly, or at least, indirectly.

With so many world events happening that are aligning with end time prophecy, isn’t this the time to be sure that you have the right goal and understand the meaning of life so that your education can support that?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, Mystery of Race, and The Mystery of YOU.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? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God? What is your ultimate destiny? What does the Bible teach? Is deification only a weird or cultic idea? Are you to rule the universe? Here is a link to the video sermon What is Your Destiny?
Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
Does it Make Physical Sense to believe in God? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Is There Another View of Evolution? and another titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Gap Theory? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Were the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long? Here are links to two sermons: Gap Theory: Doctrine or Modern Heresy? and Genesis, ‘Prehistoric man,’ and the Gap theory.
Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cuán vieja es la Tierra? ¿Cuán largos fueron los Días de la Creación? ¿Teoría de la brecha?
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 Seven Laws of Success Information by Herbert W. Armstrong and I that can help people become successful.

Daniel 8: Another area that PCG’s Gerald Flurry misunderstands

Friday, June 11th, 2021


Plain Truth magazine August 1965

COGwriter

In an article titled Satan’s Destructive Battle Plan, PCG’s Gerald Flurry had the following:

The Prophet Daniel addressed his end-time book to spiritual Israel, or the Church, and two nations of Israel: America and Britain. … We must watch for an Antiochus-type in both the Church and the nation today. …

Let’s take another look at this pivotal passage in Daniel. “The host of heaven” from Daniel 8:10 is translated “the host of the stars” in the Revised Standard Version. The stars, or the angels of God, help God’s people when they obey. We lose that help when we rebel. A hideous invisible force stamped on God’s own Church “by reason of transgression”—because of the people’s sins! This happened after Mr. Armstrong’s death in 1986. It is happening in America right now. (For more information, request our free booklet America Under Attack.)

The word “host” is a military term. Strong’s Concordance defines it this way: “a mass of persons, especially organized for war; and soldiers; army. The expression also means to muster soldiers for warfare. Host can refer to an army of demons, angels or men.” God has an army of angels and saints; Satan has an army of demons and men, in this case sinning saints turning away from God. This is a real war! Spiritual war is more dangerous than any physical war.

Verse 11 should read, “Yea, he magnified himself even against the prince of the host, and by him the daily … was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.” Satan and his army violently confronted the “prince of the host,” or Jesus Christ! Christ explains the meaning of this prophecy to His loyal remnant.

The end-time religious Antiochus subverted God’s Church from within. “And an host was given him against the daily … by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered” (verse 12). “It,” or the demon army, “cast down the truth to the ground.” Antiochus is a physical man swayed by Satan to overthrow the Church. The real power comes from the demon army. For 1,150 days, God gave no new truth to His people. For 1,150 days, Satan suppressed the gospel message (Daniel 8:14; English Standard Version).

Here’s what I wrote in America Under Attack:

The obvious question arises, why would God allow such a terrible thing to happen? The answer is back in Daniel 8:12. That verse describes this satanic spirit army wreaking destruction within God’s Church. And notice: It says it was “by reason of transgression.” The sins of the people gave Satan his opening. Their prayers to God are not being answered. That is why Antiochus can do all of his dirty work: because there’s so much sin going on inside Israel. … The sin within gave the devil his opening. Once Satan got inside, he went right into the sanctuary, working through the leaders at the top, and cast the truth to the ground! That is how Satan destroyed God’s Church.

Gerald Flurry has been pushing his false notions about what happened to the old Worldwide Church of God for decades. One of his false premises has to do with his original view that Joseph Tkach, Sr. was the ‘man of sin’ in 2 Thessalonians 2, but after he died, Gerald Flurry switched it to supposedly being his son Joseph Tkach, Jr. This is absurd and wrong. As it sadly turns out, most COG groups do not understand who the ‘man of sin is.’ For details on that, check out the article Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?

PCG, like some others, makes odd claims about the past that are not accurate:

The PCG is the only Church that holds onto ALL of what Christ established through Mr. Armstrong (Flurry, Gerald and Leap, Dennis. Ezra and Nehemiah: Building God’s Temple. Booklet. 1997. p.29).

The late evangelist Dr. Herman Hoeh worked for Herbert W. Armstrong for decades. Here is some of what he wrote, that was published in the August 1965 edition of the Plain Truth magazine of the old Radio Church of God (which was renamed the Worldwide Church of God a few years later) about Daniel 8:

What the “Little Horn” Will Do

Continue with this amazing prophecy for the latter days!

“And it {the little horn} waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and BY HIM THE DAILY SACRIFICE WAS TAKEN AWAY, AND THE PLACE OF HIS SANCTUARY WAS CAST DOWN” (Dan. 8:10-11).

The next verse — 12 — is not clearly translated in the King James Version. It reads: “And a host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression” — the margin reads: “the host was given over for the transgression against the daily sacrifice” — “and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” A clearer rendering of verse 12 is found in the Jewish translation: “And the host was given over to it [the little horn] together with the continual burnt-offering through transgression.

Many have attempted to interpret these mysterious symbols out of their own human reasoning. They have tried to read into the Bible meanings that are not there. Let THE BIBLE interpret the Bible!

The explanation of verse 10 is revealed in verse 24: “And his {the little horn’s} power shall be mighty.” That’s the explanation of the first part of verse 10: “it waxed great.”

To continue with verse 24: “But not by his own power.” This king will not accomplish his great deeds by his own strength. Revelation 17:17 reveals why. Ten lesser kings GIVE THEIR MILITARY POWER AND STRENGTH “unto the Beast.”

This little horn (Dan 8:24) “shall destroy wonderfully” — shall have marvelous, frightening military powers “and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people” (verse 24).

Here is a persecuting power, a union of church and state, which destroys the hosts — armies — of the “mighty people” — God’s people Israel. That includes not only the Jews — the House of Judah, but the whole English-speaking world — the House of Israel, the so-called Lost Ten Tribes! …

The “little horn” also persecutes the true Church — the “holy people” who shall shine in the resurrection like the stars of heaven (compare Dan. 8:10 and 24 with Dan. 12:3). …

NOT Heavenly Sanctuary!

Turn to Daniel 8:11. See the BIBLE answer with your own eyes:

“Yea, he {the “little horn”} magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.”

The margin in the King James Version provides an alternative rendering. Instead of “by him” — meaning the “little horn” — it has “from him” — meaning the Prince of the host. The original inspired Hebrew can be translated both ways into English. Either translation is correct.

But notice what this scripture says! The daily sacrifice is to be taken away! The sanctuary is to be cast down! Now consider: IF the daily sacrifice is, as some believe, the daily work of Christ in heaven, then a mortal man — the “little horn” — would have power to intervene IN HEAVEN and STOP THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST!

Further, IF the “sanctuary” were in heaven, he would have the power to “cast down” the sanctuary — the very throne of God in heaven! IMPOSSIBLE!

No man can stop Jesus Christ from performing His work in heaven! No man — no ruler — not even the devil himself — can cast down the throne of God and profane His Holy Sanctuary!

Then what is the meaning of this astounding prophecy for our day?

The Bible Answer

First read verses 13 and 14 of Daniel 8:

“Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, ‘How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?’ And he said unto me, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.'”

Another enigma! This answer to this mysterious time period was hidden from Daniel’s understanding — was not to be revealed until the latter days! …

The King of the North

The little horn in Daniel 8 is none other than the LAST KING of one of the four divisions of Alexander’s Empire. He is, in fact, the final “King of the North” described in Daniel 11. … That “little horn” — the final “king of the north” — is about to manifest himself on the world scene! (Hoeh H. The 2300 Days. Plain Truth, August 1965)

So, Dr. Hoeh believed that the little horn had to do with the power that would become the King of the North. A power that has been developing in Europe that will be led by this King after two prophesied reorganizations (Revelation 17:12-13).

In 2009, I, Bob Thiel, wrote the following in my book 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect:

Daniel 9:26–27 and the Rise of the European King of the North . . .

Now, in the book of Daniel there is another prophecy related to the end times that states:

26 And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate (Daniel 9:26-27).

Notice that there is a “prince to come” from the people who destroy “the city” (probably Jerusalem; cf. Revelation 11:2) and that he will stop sacrifices and be related to an abomination that brings desolation. This leader will apparently change from a peaceful one to a militaristic one (cf. Isaiah 10:5–11).

There are several reasons for referring to a future top leader from a developing superpower rising in Europe. (cf. Isaiah 10:5-11). The Roman Empire, however, offers the most compelling reason to suspect that this leader will arise in Europe. Much of the current European Union (EU) covers areas once controlled by the old Roman Empire. The people of the Roman Empire fulfilled the portion of Daniel 9:26 in the 1st century as they destroyed the city (Jerusalem) in 70 A.D. And verse 27 refers to the “prince” coming from the people who had destroyed that city. Hence, this prophecy tells us that a leader will start to rise up about 3 1/2 years before the great tribulation.

There is another reason to suspect that the area involves the territories of Europe. Millennia ago, Daniel wrote a prophecy that discussed a little horn that would mainly expand to the south and east:

8 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. 12 Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered (Daniel 8:9-12).

And while the above has had a past fulfillment, this prophecy seems to be dual (compare with Daniel 11:27-–39)—and seems to be for our time. …

In the Book of Daniel, a leader called “the King of the North” is mentioned.

And the Bible seems to show similarities between him and the “prince to come.” (Thiel B. 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect. Nazarene Books, 2009, pp. 80-82)

Here is something from my article on the King of the North:

Notice something from Daniel 8:

9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. 12 Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered. (Daniel 8:9-12)

So, something small will develop into an empire–this is a European empire. Consider that it is a ‘prince’ who takes away the daily sacrifices in Daniel 9:27, and that he is also called the King of the North (Daniel 11:40) who stops the sacrifices in Daniel 11:31.

As far as the sequence of Daniel 11 goes, notice that Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following:

In Daniel 11:21, referring in original, typical fulfillment to Antiochus Epiphanes, there shall stand up a vile person…So once again before the second coming of Christ, a vile leader will stop the daily sacrifices being offered…This same prophecy spoken by Jesus is also reported by Luke…21:20-24 (Armstrong HW. Personal, Plain Truth magazine, June 1967).

Thus, Herbert W. Armstrong clearly taught that starting at least from verse 21, that Daniel 11 had a dual/future fulfillment. We are getting very close to the fulfillment of Daniel 11:21.

This same vile leader, who appears at the “appointed time” of “the end” is described without that title in Daniel 8:

19 And he said, “Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be…23 “And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce features, Who understands sinister schemes. 24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. 25 “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means. 26 “And the vision of the evenings and mornings Which was told is true; Therefore seal up the vision, For it refers to many days in the future.” (Daniel 8:19,23-26)

This King is also the “Beast” that the ten kings give their power to in Revelation 17:12-13.

So while PCG teaches that Daniel 8 had to do with the apostasy that hit the old Worldwide Church of God (for more related to that see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings), Dr. Hoeh and I both taught that Daniel 8 is an end time prophecy tying in with the final European King of the North.

While Satan did influence the leadership of the WCG after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, that was NOT the fulfillment of Daniel 8.

We are currently seeing a power starting to rise up in Europe that will fulfill those prophecies.

Of course, Satan still has a plan, and information related to it is in the article simply titled Satan’s Plan.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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 are links to two related videos: The King of the North is Alive: What to Look Out For and The Future King of the North.
PCG: 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.
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 link to a video in Spanish: ¿Quién es el ‘hombre de pecado’? 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’.
Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? Some claim that these passages refer to a gathering of 10 currently existing nations together, while one group teaches that this is referring to 11 nations getting together. Is that what Revelation 17:12-13 refers to? The ramifications of misunderstanding this are enormous. A related sermon is titled Ten Kings of Revelation and the Great Tribulation.
Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself ‘Philadelphia’ does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9), nor does Gerald Flurry calling himself “that prophet” make it so. This article provides many quotes from this group which tries to look faithful.
The 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.
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.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful among all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
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”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
European Technology and the Beast of Revelation Will the coming European Beast power would use and develop technology that will result in the taking over of the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies? Is this possible? What does the Bible teach? Here is a related YouTube video: Military Technology and the Beast of Revelation.
Germany’s Assyrian Roots Throughout History Are the Germanic peoples descended from Asshur of the Bible? Have there been real Christians in Germanic history? What about the “Holy Roman Empire”? There is also a You-Tube video sermon on this titled Germany’s Biblical Origins.
Germany in Biblical and Catholic Prophecy Does Assyria in the Bible equate to an end time power inhabiting the area of the old Roman Empire? What does prophecy say Germany will do and what does it say will happen to most of the German people?
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future? Here are links to a two-part sermon series: What are Some of the Parts of Satan’s Plan? and Satan’s Plan is More Dramatic than Many Realize.

‘Switzerland walks out of seven-year treaty talks with EU’ ‘Swiss to pay economic price for ditching EU treaty’

Friday, May 28th, 2021


Switzerland outline (from Pixabay)

COGwriter

Switzerland and the EU are having significant disagreements:

Sorry Brussels! EU warned Switzerland could ditch 120 trade agreements and follow UK lead

THE European Union has been dealt a huge blow after being warned by a former MEP Switzerland could abandon up to 120 bilateral trade agreements with the bloc and follow a similar path to the UK.

28 May 2021

Switzerland sent shockwaves through the EU by walking away from seven years of trade negotiations after rejecting Brussels’ demands over freedom of movement. Switzerland is not one of the 27 remaining EU member states following the full departure of the UK from the EU but it is still closely tied to the bloc via more than bilateral agreements, and a potential deal would have significantly strengthened economic ties between the two sides.

But the pact had faced stiff opposition from within the Swiss Cabinet, as it was seen as too great an infringement on the country’s highly regarded sovereignty.

In a statement, the Swiss Government said: “Concluded that there remain substantial differences between Switzerland and the EU on key aspects of the agreement.

“The conditions are thus not met for the signing of the agreement. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1442507/eu-news-switzerland-treaty-trade-agreements-european-commission-brexit-uk-eu-deal

Switzerland walks out of seven-year treaty talks with EU

Switzerland has walked out of talks on a closer trading relationship with the European Union despite being offered better terms than the UK in key areas, EU officials have claimed.

On Wednesday the country’s foreign minister, Ignazio Cassis, pulled the plug on long-running discussions with the EU, saying that Berne’s conditions were “not met”.

Switzerland, while outside the EU, is the bloc’s fourth biggest trading partner and its economy is closely integrated with those of the 27 member states. Citizens of Switzerland and the EU member states have a mutual right to free movement.

But the Swiss government claimed it could not accept the EU’s demands to maintain and deepen ties as they would be rejected in a legally required referendum on a deal.

The two sides have been in talks for seven years over a new framework that would overtake the 100-plus bilateral treaties that govern Swiss access to the single market, but which risk becoming outdated and hampering trade. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/27/switzerland-walks-out-of-seven-year-treaty-talks-with-eu

Switzerland is surrounded by the European Union, but has thus far refused to be part of it–though it has had many agreements with the EU.

Analysis: Swiss to pay economic price for ditching EU treaty

Switzerland will pay the price in lost exports, higher costs and diminished attractiveness as a business centre after deciding this week to pull the plug on a draft treaty binding it more snugly to the European Union, its biggest trading partner.

Popular concerns about yielding too much sovereignty sank the 2018 pact that would have had non-member Switzerland routinely adopt rules governing the EU’s giant single market, including the free movement of people. read more

While the eurosceptic far-right celebrated the demise of a what it saw as a “colonial” treaty and the left cheered the defence of measures to support high Swiss wages, businesses and economists warned there would be significant economic fallout. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/swiss-pay-economic-price-ditching-eu-treaty-2021-05-27/

Actually, ultimately, the Swiss will pay more than an economic price as it will become dominated by Europe.

Biblical prophecy shows that Gad (Switzerland) will not remain isolated as it has been:

1 And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:

2 “Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob, And listen to Israel your father. …

19 “Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, But he shall triumph at last. (Genesis 49:1-2, 19)

The above is an end time prophecy as it is for “the last days.” It is a reference to Switzerland. A troop shall tramp Switzerland.

The late Dr. Herman Hoeh, while part of the old Radio Church of God, wrote the following:

Gad, which means “the troop” certainly designates Switzerland the only Israelite nation in which every man is mobilized for defense. Against Gad would come the foreign troops, said Jacob, but he will “trod upon their heel.” Moses declared that Gad does NOT “leap,” a characteristic of the colonizing or pillaging tribes. Gad “teareth the arm, yea, the crown of the head” of the Holy Roman Empire, in whose territory “he chose a first part for himself, and there a portion of a ruler was reserved.” To Gad come “the heads of the people” as they do today to Geneva. No other nation on earth so perfectly fits this description of a nation of troops. (LOCATION OF THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL by Herman L Hoeh (ca. 1950s) http://www.giveshare.org/israel/locationtribes.html)

Related to Gad, let me add the following scripture:

20 And of Gad he said: “Blessed is he who enlarges Gad; He dwells as a lion, And tears the arm and the crown of his head. 21 He provided the first part for himself, Because a lawgiver’s portion was reserved there. He came with the heads of the people; He administered the justice of the Lord, And His judgments with Israel.” (Deuteronomy 33:20-21)

Switzerland, Geneva particularly, has had a history of being an “international lawgiver.” Note: Even though the migrations of some of the ancestors of Switzerland and Germany are similar, while some have erroneously taught that Germany is Gad, Germany has no history of being a recognized lawgiver–but instead primarily descended from Assyria (see Germany’s Assyrian Roots Throughout History).

Switzerland will NOT be one of the safest places to be shortly before Jesus returns.

Have you wondered where the safest place to be is in turbulent times? Are you physically prepared for what is going to happen?

Some have wondered if Israelitish-descended nations, like Switzerland, could be part of the final Beast power. History shows us that at least parts of France, as well as essentially all of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Belgium were part of the so-called ‘Holy Roman Empire.’ Consider also that three members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as ‘Holy Roman Emperors.’ The fact that at least part of the Israelitish peoples were part of the beasts in Daniel 2:40-43 and 7:2-8, should show all that it, for a time, can be part of the final Beast power (see also Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?)

While this news page often refers to prophecies for those descended from Judah, Ephraim, or Manasseh, some have wondered what is prophesied to happen to the descendants of the remaining tribes of Israel? Although the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) does not start with their immediate punishment (Ezekiel 5:1-3 seems mainly to point to Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh), they too will receive punishment (bolded end of verse 4):

1 “And you, son of man, take a sharp sword, take it as a barber’s razor, and pass it over your head and your beard; then take scales to weigh and divide the hair. 2 You shall burn with fire one-third in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are finished; then you shall take one-third and strike around it with the sword, and one-third you shall scatter in the wind: I will draw out a sword after them. 3 You shall also take a small number of them and bind them in the edge of your garment. 4 Then take some of them again and throw them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire. From there a fire will go out into all the house of Israel. (Ezekiel 5:1-4)

The bolded portion seems to show that the rest of the house of Israel will have tribulation after the modern nations that include the Anglo-descended countries will essentially be gone. This would include such countries as France, Finland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, and Norway. The ‘small number’ in verse 3 appears to be about 10 percent as that is the amount that Isaiah 6:13 indicates will be left.

Consider also the following along with the reality that Switzerland is full of mountains:

12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. (Revelation 6:12-14)

17 Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (Revelation 16:17-20)

5 O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the Lord.

6 For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with eastern ways; They are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they are pleased with the children of foreigners. 7 Their land is also full of silver and gold, And there is no end to their treasures; Their land is also full of horses, And there is no end to their chariots. 8 Their land is also full of idols; They worship the work of their own hands, That which their own fingers have made. 9 People bow down, And each man humbles himself; Therefore do not forgive them.

10 Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, From the terror of the Lord And the glory of His majesty. 11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.

12 For the day of the Lord of hosts
Shall come upon everything proud and lofty,
Upon everything lifted up —
And it shall be brought low—(Isaiah 2:5-12)

The above time frame is the Day of the Lord. It shows that various parts of Jacob/Israel are pleased with foreigners. They have silver and gold (cf. Revelation 18:11-12). They will end up hiding in the rocks (cf. Revelation 6:15-17)–while this hiding includes all associated with Babylon, it appears to be including various tribes of Israel, like Switzerland.

Mountainous Switzerland will be affected. Switzerland will not remain a safe place.

Of course, after Jesus comes and the Kingdom of God is established, all of that type of punishment will end (see also Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel). Switzerland will NOT be a real place of safety (Revelation 12:14-17) during the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra), even if there is some truth to the view from a physical perspective that Switzerland is better prepared for disasters than other nations.

The author at the beginning of this post took a secular, carnal approach. And while proper preparations for disasters are appropriate (see Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians), the Bible warns:

6 For to be carnally minded is death…(Romans 8:6)

As Christians, we are to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

So, we look to the Bible for comments about protection and safety. Here are some:

22 But the Lord has been my defense, And my God the rock of my refuge. (Psalms 94:22)

25 The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
He who despises the gain of oppressions,
Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes,
Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed,
And shuts his eyes from seeing evil:
16 He will dwell on high;
His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks;
Bread will be given him,
His water will be sure. (Isaiah 33:15-16)

Interestingly, the descriptions in the Bible of a place of safety during what some might refer to as WWIII refer to a rocky place in the wilderness in a location like part of southern Jordan (see There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra)–based on various scriptures related to location, it is not pointing to Switzerland.

Of course, certain Protestants instead believe that they will be ‘raptured’ away from the earth prior to the start of the Great Tribulation. While that is their professed hope, the idea is NOT supported by the Bible and is in error (for many biblical details, check out the article Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?).

Furthermore, it should probably be noted that although many in the COGs believe that they will either be protected where they are at, this is NOT what the Bible teaches (cf. Revelation 12:14-16). Most in the COGs will NOT be protected at all (Daniel 7:25b; Revelation 12:17)–only the remaining Philadelphian remnant will be (Revelation 3:10; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).

Christians do need to pray to be accounted worthy of the end-time protection according to Jesus:

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 21:35-36)

Pray and change.

Jesus also said Christians needed to have the proper spiritual focus:

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)

Consider also that Jesus rebuked most of the Christians in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, indicating that they did not always have the right focus in supporting His work. Also, notice the following which clearly shows that not all Christians will be protected in the end:

17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

Sadly, even most Christians will not do what they should in the end. That is why Jesus rebuked the Laodiceans and told them to change (Revelation 3:14-21). Laodicea is basically composed of two words which mean “people decide” and in these end times, most Christian people have decided not to support proper biblical church governance (see The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government) and doing the work of God in truth (Psalms 33:4; see also The Final Phase of the Work).

Most Christians will not be protected.

Switzerland will not provide real safety between the start of the Great Tribulation and the return of Jesus.

Because of a coming peace deal (see Daniel 9:27 and also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27), it is likely that more Christians will become complacent and not believe that the end will be near, when in fact it will be the closest it has ever been and will be imminent.

Those without a COG background, as well as some of those with one, may also find the following from the late evangelist Dr. Herman Hoeh of interest:

IF WORLD WAR III COMES – There Is a Way of Escape

You need to be prepared. …

Jesus’ Amazing Prophecy

Let’s notice Jesus’ prophecy of the “times of the Gentiles” in Luke 21:24.

When speaking of the Jews, Jesus told His disciples that “they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

This prophecy is not speaking of a period of peace, but of war. It is a message for our day — a time when the Gentiles are conquering and destroying, when they are ruling themselves contrary to the way of God who is Creator and RULER. …

Remember what Jesus said in Luke 21:24? That Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles until the very completion of the times of the Gentiles!

Since Zechariah 14:1-3 shows that Jesus Christ will return in order to deliver Jerusalem from the Gentiles, it is plain that THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST WILL PUT AN END TO THE TIMES OF PUNISHMENT ON THE GENTILE BABYLONISH SYSTEM! (Isaiah 27:13; I Cor. 15:52.) Then God will send His Son to rule the world!

As Christ said, of the second coming, “But of that day and hour, knoweth no man!” But … world-occurrences warn us that … it is very near! …

Way of Escape

But in this end-time of turmoil there is a place of safety-if you heed-until Christ does bring us peace.

It’s a vital part of the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God! Jesus said, ” … except those days were SHORTENED, there should no flesh be saved!” (Mat. 24:22.) But He went on to say that God would supernaturally cut short the days, for the sake of the ELECT!

That is our only real hope for survival!

The intervention of God! Jesus Christ promised protection to His own elect! He PROMISED they would survive the prophesied holocaust to strike this unsuspecting world!

WHO are the Elect?

He said, “FEAR NOT, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12: 32).

He promised that somewhere on this earth, right now, there would be His own WORK! That work would be faith· fully performed, He promised, by His own true followers, who KNOW HIS VOICE, who would be preaching…”the Gospel of the Kingdom” as a WITNESS TO the WHOLE WORLD!

They would be preaching it, chapter- by-chapter, verse-by-verse, word-by-word, just exactly as it really IS, not as they might interpret it to be, or any man, woman, or organization of men or women would like to have it preached!

You NEED TO FIND WHERE THAT WORK IS BEING CARRIED ON! Why? Because it is ONLY THOSE who have an absolute guarantee of safety! The very elect are those who are the called and chosen, who have truly RE-PENTED of their own carnal ways, and have accepted the Holy ways of God! They are the ones who have been made members of the very BODY of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) performing HIS WORK! Jesus speaks of these faithful ones, in the Book of Revelation.

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia [the prophesied end-time Church of God, doing the work of God) write: … ‘I know thy works, behold, I have set before thee an open door II (Rev, 3:7-8).

The Apostle Paul spoke of a door flung open before him to PREACH THE GOSPEL (II Cor. 2:12). Remember, Jesus promised, “This Gospel of the Kingdom SHALL be preached in all the world . .. ” (Mat. 24:14), and promised to make a way for that message of hope and good news to go-by flinging open the massive DOORS of radio, the printing press, television, and personal evangelism. He promised those doors would remain , …. and no man can shut it, for thou has a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (Rev, 3:8), Yes, the very elect would NEVER become corrupted by false doctrines, or be muzzled by boards of men-it would not deny the name of Jesus Christ, or His true doctrine! (Hoeh H. If World War III Comes–There is a Way of Escape. Plain Truth, June 1963)

Let me interject here that the Continuing Church of God is now getting that gospel out over the printing press, radio, YouTube television videos, personal evangelism, and the internet. We represent the remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God that Dr. Hoeh mentions below:

Later, Jesus gave the exhilarating GOOD NEWS to those faithful ones who put the WORK of God far above their own personal considerations. He said “Because thou hast KEPT the word of my patience, I ALSO WILL KEEP THEE FROM THE HOUR OF TEMPTATION [TRIBULATION) WHICH SHALL COME UPON ALL THE WORLD, TO TRY THEM THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH!” (Rev. 3:10) . Yes, Jesus promised SAFETY. He promises supernatural PROTECTION to His own elect.

On the Wings of an Eagle

God brought the ancient Israelites out of Egypt on symbolic “eagles’ wings.” This symbolizes the loving care and protection of God for His own children. Notice, now, an amazing prophecy. It is about the same Church of God addressed in the promise of protection we have just read in Revelation 3.

“And to the woman [the Church] were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time from the face of the serpent” (Rev. 12:14), In this end-time prophecy, John writes of the last, end-time REMNANT Church which is to ESCAPE the terrible WAR and tribulation that will soon strike our heedless people, They are, just as the ancient Israelites, carried to a place of SAFETY … in the wilderness by the supernatural power of Almighty God, their Banner, their Shield, their Prorector!

Where Will They GO?

Now notice another amazing prophecy. Daniel was inspired to write of this impending nuclear war, and its immediate aftermath. He describes the rising BEAST power in Europe, a coming resurrection of the ancient ROMAN EMPIRE, symbolized as the “King of the North.” But the European power crushes and occupies these poorly equipped up-start countries.

“And at the time of the end [NOT back during the days of the Seleucidae of Syria]… the king of the north shall come… like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships, and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

“He shall enter also into the glorious land [Palestine], and many countries shall be overthrown, but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edam and Moab and the chief of the children of Ammon” (Dan. 11:40-41).

Why are these areas spared?

For a very special reason!

A PLACE of Protection

God promises His people will be flourished, provided for, in the “wilderness”! He will supernaturally protect them, carrying them safely there on symbolic “eagles’ wings. ” They may be taken by air, sea or land-the Bible doesn’t say. But where is this “wilderness” place God is readying?

Many Bible statements indicate it is in the areas anciently occupied by the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, southeast of Jerusalem, in the rugged, barren mountains beyond the Dead Sea — the modern country of Transjordan (Dan. 11:41 and Isaiah 16:4-5).

Regardless of WHERE the “place” is that God’s Church is nourished and protected during these perilous times described in so many dozens of prophecies — the way to make sure you are going there is clear!

To those who will truly repent of wanting their own way, and who will come to God through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, He promises spiritual, supernatural, MIRACULOUS shelter!

Does this sound fantastic? Does it sound incredible? Have we strayed so far from our RULER and our SAVIOUR that we think Him UNABLE to save us? Is it ridiculous to most today to really believe in God above and His supernatural protection — His divine INTERVENTION in our own personal lives?

Of course not!

He is our Fortress! He is our Rock! He is our GOD! He will supernaturally bring His people to a place of safety! (Hoeh H. If World War III Comes–There is a Way of Escape. Plain Truth, June 1963)

Let me add that there are also other reasons that those regions will be spared as it is likely that they will work with the the King of the North against the final King of the South (cf. Daniel 11:25-26).

More on this place of protection can be found in the article There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra; 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?

There will be a place of physical protection during the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord for the Philadelphian remnant of Christians, but it will not seem to be in any of the top ten nations that some believe would be safest.

Knowing where various peoples have come from, helps us better understand how the Bible teaches that various ones will be affected by end time events that are still to come to pass.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Could Switzerland by descended from Gad? Is it really prepared for what is prophecied? This article has clues.
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?
Canada in Prophecy: What Does Bible Prophecy, Catholic Prophecy, and other Predictions Suggest About the Future of Canada? There are prophecies that suggest involvement with Canada. And many are not positive about its future. A sermon of related interest is also available: Canada in Prophecy.
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? Here is a link to a related sermon: Australia and New Zealand: Origins and Prophecy.
The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy? What is the origin of this in France? What is prophesied to happen to them? A two-part sermon related to history and prophecy is available online: The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben and France and Prophecy.
Ten clues tying Belgium and Luxembourg with the tribe of Asher Who did some in Belgium and Luxembourg descend from?
Ten clues tying Zebulun with the Dutch Who did some in the Netherlands descend from?
Ten Prophetic Clues Concerning Naphtali – Sweden Do the Swedes have any ties to the biblical tribe of Naphtali? Some think so
‘Ten Prophetic Clues Concerning Dan – the Irish’ Not part of the ‘144,000’ Could the Irish and Danes have descent from the tribe of Dan?
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near 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. Two sermon-length videos of relaled interest are available Physical Protection During the Great Tribulation and 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?
This is PETRA! This is a 1962 Good News article by the late Dr. Hoeh.
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? 2028 or or 2031 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?
The Great Tribulation: What Happens First? What events have happened? What are some events that are now happening? And what events need to happen for the Great Tribulation to start? Here is a link to a related sermon video: Counting Down to the Great Tribulation.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2021, 2022, or 2023? 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 la Gran Tribulación comenzar en el 2020 o 2021? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? A related video is: 2021: The Great Tribulation or the Great Reset? Here is a video in the Spanish language: Es El 2021 el año  de La Gran Tribulación o el Grande Reseteo Financiero.

Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians. We all know the Bible prophecies famines. Should we do something? Here is a version in the Spanish language Escrituras sobre Preparación física para los Cristianos. Here is a link to a related sermon: Physical preparedness for Christians.

The Gospel – In the Old Testament

Friday, May 21st, 2021

COGwriter

Back in 1963, the old Radio Church of God published the following titled The Gospel – In the Old Testament from David Jon Hill.

What has the Old Testament to do with the Gospel? Why is it even included in the Bible? How did Jesus, Peter and Paul preach the Gospel?

JESUS CHRIST never read the New Testament! Yet He preached the Gospel. He quoted from Scripture!

John the Baptist preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost in 31 A.D. preached a sermon of salvation that brought three thousand people to repentance — he quoted many scriptures, yet not one was from the New Testament. After his conversion, the Apostle Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ — yet through most of his ministry he did not have access to any of what we recognize as the New Testament today — in fact, he himself was responsible for writing fourteen books of it!

The only Bible that Jesus and Peter and Paul were conversant with and preached from was what we regard today as the Old Testament!

Old Testament Useless?

The Bible is a consistent best seller year after year! It has been translated into nearly every language and dialect used by mankind! Yet this most translated and consistent best seller is the least read and studied of any of the best sellers! And even those who do read and study the Bible consistently ignore the largest part of it — the Old Testament.

Somehow the term “Old” Testament as opposed to the “New” Testament has made most people feel that it is not necessary to read the Old — almost as if it had nothing to do with the New, or as if it were a completely useless part of the Bible. Yet, consistently, millions upon millions of copies of the Bible, including the Old Testament, are reproduced and sold.

The Bible has 66 books in the King James Version. Comparing it to a novel or a textbook, if each of these books were just a long chapter — wouldn’t it seem strange to begin reading a book at chapter 40? There are 39 books in the Old Testament and the book of Matthew beginning the New Testament is the 40th book of the Bible — comparable to the 40th chapter of a textbook or novel!

Are those first 39 chapters of God’s book unnecessary — or did God have a reason for inspiring them?

How Did the Apostles Preach the Gospel?

How did Jesus Christ preach the Gospel? To what authority did He appeal? Where did He get His ideas of love and grace — of forgiveness and salvation — of the message of the Kingdom of God? When Peter preached about grace and salvation, upon what authority did he base his statements? When the Apostle Paul expounded and proclaimed to the Gentiles about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, from what books did he preach?

New Testament Answers!

Certainly the “Golden Rule” is accepted as summing up the basic teachings of Jesus Christ — of New Testament theology. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matt. 7:12). But how many of you read the last part, of this verse — or heard the last part of this verse explained and expounded — the last part of this verse which, in the words of Jesus Christ, explains where He got the idea of the Golden Rule? The LAST PART of this verse reads, “for THIS [the Golden Rule] IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS!” (Matt. 7:12).

Jesus Christ was NOT doing away with the Old Testament! His very life and Gospel message was an explanation of the Old Testament — a clarification, a magnification. When the Pharisees and Sadducees would ask Him a trick question, He would consistently ask them, “Have you not read…?” (Matt. 12:3, 5, etc) He was more conversant with the Old Testament than the ablest of scribes!

Yes, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of love — but what kind or love? Let Jesus Christ Himself explain this to you — when a hypocritical lawyer of the Pharisees asked Him a question to tempt Him, asking which was the greatest commandment, Jesus Christ answered him saying, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might… Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self [this is the great commandment of love that Jesus Christ gave — the “new” commandment, see I John 2:7-8]. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:37-40). And Jesus quoted His answer from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19: 18! When Christ was tempted by Satan the Devil, He pointed out the over-all precept, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4 — also Luke 4:4).

But this was not an idea that Jesus Christ thought up independent of the Old Testament — this was not changed, New Testament theology. This tool that Jesus Christ used to resist Satan the Devil was taken directly from the pen of Moses and is quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3!

Peter’s Theology

The Apostle Peter plainly showed that the whole purpose of the writing of the prophets of the Old Testament was for the use of those who are called to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! (I Pet. 1:10-12). In closing off his second epistle he warned all those who were followers of Jesus Christ that they should watch out for individuals who twisted the meaning of the epistles of Paul — but comparing this deceitful use of Paul’s epistles to the practice of those who also deceitfully use the other scriptures, the Old Testament! (II Pet. 3:15-16). The very authority of Paul’s writings, Peter showed, rested on the Old Testament!

The source of the Gospel that Paul preached, is recorded for us in the book of Acts! “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he [Paul] expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, [the Gospel] both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening” (Acts 28:23). This historic statement regarding the teaching of the Apostle Paul was recorded at the very end of his ministry — long after he had turned from the Jews and begun to concentrate on the Gentiles.

Paul Commanded Old Testament Preaching

Paul was the apostle in charge of carrying the Gospel to the Gentiles. As an apostle he held a very high office and was also responsible for the training of many men under him. These evangelists and elders were responsible for carrying the same Gospel message to the local churches that Paul raised up, after his departure. Paul’s personal instruction to the Evangelist Timothy is preserved for us to this day so that we will be able to tell how the Apostle Paul instructed the Evangelist Timothy, and all of those elders under him, to conduct their preaching, and from whence to get their information.

Using all of the power of his office, Paul said, “I charge ye therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; PREACH THE WORD”! (II Tim. 4:1-2) The expression “the word” is the common reference to the Old Testament — The Holy Scriptures. Just a few verses before this Paul had instructed Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15). Urging and ex-honing Timothy to study the Old Testament in order to preach Christ! Is this the kind of instruction being given in the theological seminaries today?

Or has the prophecy of Paul which he gave to Timothy in this same book already come to pass — “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth [“Thy word is truth” — John 17: 17], and shall be turned [from the Gospel truths of the Old Testament] unto fables [the teaching of men having turned a deaf ear to the Word of God and thought up their own theology!] (II Tim. 4:3-4).

No, Paul did not think up a new “Pauline theology” — he didn’t disagree with Moses, or any of the prophets, or Jesus Christ — his instruction was, again to Timothy, “And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures which ARE ABLE TO MAKE THEE WISE UNTO SALVATION THROUGH FAITH which is in Christ Jesus. ALL SCRIPTURE [all of the Bible that today’s Christians regard as the Old Testament] is given by inspiration of God [not the ideas of men about God, but the writings of holy men inspired by the Holy Spirit prior to the time of Jesus Christ, see II Peter 1:21] and IS PROFITABLE [Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and using the full authority of his apostleship states in a letter of instruction to a fellow minister, in the fulfillment of his duty in the ministry that the Old Testament IS PROFITABLE] for DOCTRINE [the doctrines of the Apostle Paul were not “Pauline theology” at all, but the same basic truths that were preached by Noah, a preacher of righteousness, by Abraham, by Moses, by Elijah, by John the Baptist, and by Jesus Christ — and their source was the Old Testament!], for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS [there is a way to be righteous, and that way is described in the Old Testament]” (II Tim. 3:15-16).

And this quote, you will notice, is just directly prior to the first verse of chapter four in which Paul tells Timothy what to preach!

Lay Members Urged to Read Old Testament

The Apostle Paul had, no doctrines contrary to any single verse written from Genesis to Malachi. He never urged any — even of his Gentile converts — to ignore the Old Testament. In fact the historic record of his preaching to Gentiles at Berea, tells us that he was highly pleased by those citizens of Berea who checked up by daily Old Testament Bible reading on the things that he proclaimed to them — the Gospel of Jesus Christ! “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).    There is one reference in the New Testament of Paul in his preaching referring to one of the poets. You know how common it is for ministers to quote from Shakespeare, Tennyson, Shelley and Keats. When Paul was speaking to the Athenians on Mars Hill he said, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said” (Acts 17:28). But his use of poets’ clever sayings is nil in comparison to the dozens and dozens of times, in the book of Acts, and in the many epistles which he wrote, in which he quoted word for word and used as his authority the Old Testament scriptures.

In his letter to the Gentile Corinthians the Apostle Paul commanded that church to be familiar with the Old Testament — “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (I Cor. 10:11).

Shall We Desert the New Testament?

Since the examples of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul show that their theology, ministry and Gospel were derived directly from the Old Testament, shall we assume that we should do away with the New Testament and not read it?

God forbid!

No, since the New Testament is just as much a part of God’s Word as the Old (II Pet. 3:15-16) then we should read and study it with equal diligence.  Once we understand that the New Testament is Holy Scripture just as much as the Old Testament is, then we must apply the very statement that Jesus Christ made to Satan the Devil when He was resisting him in the temptation on the Mount, and agree that we must live by EVERY WORD OF GOD — both the Old and the New Testaments.

It is only by the Spirit of God that any man is able to understand either the Old or the New Testament. There were preachers in Jesus Christ’s day — the Sadducees and Pharisees, and many other splits and denominations, but they did not understand the scriptures of the Old Testament — any more than most of the ministers of today understand the New! When Paul instructed Timothy to study the Old Testament, the Holy Scriptures, he explained to him that these Holy Scriptures contained the wisdom that would bring him to salvation, but only through the FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST! (II Tim. 3:15).

New Testament Example

Is there then an example in the New Testament of an individual, ordained by God to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, who used as the sole basis for his preaching the Old Testament?

YES!

The eighth chapter of the book of Acts, beginning verse 26, portrays the history of how Philip brought the Gospel of God to an Ethiopian eunuch. In verse 28 it is explained that the eunuch was reading out of the book of Isaiah. “And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and PREACHED UNTO HIM JESUS!” (Acts 8:34-35).

Surely God was working with this Ethiopian eunuch, and causing him to read in this particular verse in Isaiah. However there are more than three hundred specific prophecies regarding Jesus Christ recorded in the Old Testament — both concerning His first coming, as the humble carpenter of Nazareth to be sacrificed for the sins of the world, and regarding His second coming to be King of kings and Lord of lords ruling over the entire earth in the Kingdom of God — soon to come!

Philip’s Gospel Message

Let’s turn to the scripture that he was reading from in the book of Isaiah, and see just how Philip could preach Jesus Christ, Him crucified and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God — of salvation — from the Old Testament! Isaiah 53:7 was the scripture that the Ethiopian eunuch was reading: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isa. 53:7). In answer to the Ethiopian’s question Philip, began to explain that this referred to the Son of God, sent by the Almighty Father in heaven to become a human being, to live a perfect life, and then to be sacrificed for the sins of mankind.

Beginning at the very verse the eunuch was reading, he went on to explain how all the verses of Isaiah 53 applied to Jesus Christ — but Isaiah 53 is not the only chapter in the Old Testament that applies to Jesus Christ, many more were needed for Philip to explain completely the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the eunuch-out of the Old Testament.

As any commentary will explain, and as I am sure Philip explained, he would have either turned to or explained to the Ethiopian eunuch about Genesis 3:15. This prophecy regarding Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman, Eve, was to redeem mankind from his sin! This would show how the Savior of mankind was expected from the very beginning — from the time immediately after Adam and Eve committed the first sin of mankind in disobeying their God and His instructions in the Garden of Eden.

He explained Genesis 12, and Genesis 15, and Genesis 22 about the promise that the God of heaven and earth had made to Abraham, the father of all the Israelites — of how He had promised him a particular Seed that would be the joy, the glory, and the solace of all mankind — of how He was prophesied so many centuries ago! That this Seed would fulfill the promise of eternal inheritance of the whole earth, made to Abraham.

Since it was on everybody’s mind at that particular time, Philip mentioned the 70 weeks’ prophecy of Daniel 9, verses 24 through 27, which had everybody expecting that the Messiah would appear. He pointed out how other verses in The Old Testament explained that this Messiah when He came at first — in His first coming — would NOT be the King of kings and Lord of lords, to restore a mighty kingdom to Israel — but would be a humble man, Who would be persecuted and despised by all mankind (referring again to Isaiah 53), Who would be sacrificed, sold as a slave, rejected, Who would speak in parables, Who would suffer, Who would be betrayed by a friend, Who would be dead three days and three nights — and be RESURRECTED! Explaining these things Philip showed that since this same Jesus was now alive He would fulfill the prophecies in the future which portray Him as King of kings and Lord of lords — at His second coming, to establish the Kingdom of God on earth forever!

Using the book of Zechariah, Philip read, “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). Then Philip would pause and explain again to the Ethiopian eunuch that the Savior of mankind did not come first as a conquering hero and king to restore a physical kingdom to a physical Israel — not by any physical strength or might, but by the very power of the Holy Spirit this Savior came with the strength to overcome the physical pull of human nature, and live a perfect life by the strength of that Spirit. That He would cry, “Grace, grace unto it” (Zech. 4:7) regarding Jerusalem, and Israel, and the whole world!

Philip would turn over quickly (or quote from memory) to chapter 9 of Zechariah and read in verse 9 — “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding … upon a colt …” (Zech. 9:9).

Philip would explain to this Ethiopian that despite the fact that this Being had been God, in heaven, that yet He had emptied Himself of being God and become JUST A MAN (Phil. 2:5, 6, 7), a lowly man, not regarding Himself as any great Being, not trying to take over the kingdoms of the earth, but living an example — an example of perfection, living according to the laws of God, and pleasing the Creator of heaven and earth in everything that He did.

He would point out to the eunuch that, just as Herod had been told (Matt. 2:5-6) that the Savior was to be born in Bethlehem, that He was eventually to be Ruler in all Israel and that He had really existed from everlasting, that He had been God from the beginning — Micah 5:2!

More from the Book of Zechariah

Philip would again refer to the book of Zechariah and explain to the Ethiopian eunuch how it had been prophesied long ago that the One Who would come and fulfill the prophecies of the Messiah in His first coming would be sold for 30 pieces of silver — the price of a slave — (Zech. 11:12-13).

It had been prophesied long ago that Jesus Christ would not be accepted by the multitudes but rejected completely, that it was no mistake that the Son of God had been rejected of mankind — “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:22-23).   

Going back to the book of Zechariah Philip would explain how it had long ago been prophesied that this Messiah would bring grace to mankind, forgiveness for their sins — unmerited though it might be, and sacrifice Himself completely for their sins! “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, THE SPIRIT OF GRACE and of supplications” (Zech. 12: 10): Philip would explain to the Ethiopian eunuch that there was a new covenant, that this Individual brought — “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah… I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jer. 31:31-33). He would show the eunuch — before Paul had a chance to write in the book of Ephesians (Eph. 6:10-17) — how Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation, was to have righteousness as a breastplate, salvation as a helmet and zeal as a cloak! (Isa. 59:16-17)

Philip would turn to Psalm 22 and read the first verse — the last words of Jesus Christ on the stake as He suffered death for the sins of mankind! “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1).

He would turn to verse 16 and show how Jesus Christ had had His hands and feet pierced with spikes, to verse 17 and show how Christ had hung in desperation on that stake, in humility and ignominy! He would turn to verse 18 and explain how the Roman soldiers had even gambled and cast lots to see who would be the owner of the fine cloak that Jesus wore.

In explaining all these things that had been prophesied so long ago, and only fulfilled recently in the Person of Jesus Christ, Philip would mention Psalm 41 verse 9 which explains, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” Recounting again for the Ethiopian eunuch he would explain how that when Jesus hung on the cross He was offered gall to drink when He said that He was thirsty — but he would explain patiently to the eunuch that this had been prophesied, that Christ had expected it — “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink (Ps. 69:21).

Just as Peter did on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:27-28) Philip would explain to the Ethiopian eunuch about the prophecy in the book of Psalms regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Ps. 16:10). He would point out the assurance of Job, when he said, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25).

The Purpose of the Gospel

In explaining these things — and many more we do not have room to refer to here — Philip would point out to the Ethiopian eunuch that this was not the end but only the BEGINNING of a great plan of salvation that God Almighty had envisioned for mankind. Turning back to Zechariah 9 he would show him that even though the King would come as a lowly individual riding upon the colt of an ass at first, that He would also come in a SECOND COMING as King of kings and Lord of lords to rule the entire earth — “And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Zeck. 9:10).

There are so many books and chapters that he could refer to in prophecies regarding the second coming of Jesus Christ that it is difficult to tell which of these chapters and verses Philip may have referred to in explaining the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Ethiopian eunuch. Surely he turned to Zechariah 14 and explained that when Jesus Christ returned again He would put His feet on the very Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4) — that He would be Lord and King over all the earth (verse 9) and that at that time He would require all nations on the surface of the earth to keep His Holy Days in remembrance of the plan of the salvation of mankind! (Verses 16-19)

The AIM AND PURPOSE OF THIS GOSPEL (good news) he would point out to the eunuch is the establishment of the Kingdom of God!

Today’s Good News Also

Mankind has suffered so long under the rule of fellow man, that it is certainly good news — and particularly in this age when mankind is about to destroy himself from off the face of the earth — to know that the same One Who had the compassion, love and mercy to sacrifice Himself, for the sins of mankind on this earth, some 1900 years ago, is going to return to this earth in a very short time to establish His rule of peace, His Kingdom of joy and enforce the laws that govern happiness, health and prosperity! (see the entire chapter, Isa. 11).

We lack space to explain how even all of the sacrifices of the Levitical priest-hood (especially Lev. 1-6) picture and typify the many ways in which Jesus Christ was a sacrifice for mankind. We do not have room to explain how Moses, the author of the first five books of the Bible, anticipated the coming of Jesus Christ when he was inspired to write, “I will raise them up a Prophet [Jesus] from among their brethren, like unto thee [Moses], and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him” (Deut. 18:18).

Moses even knew that there would come some individuals who would have the gall to preach in the name of God and claim that they were His prophets, and yet speak lies in His name — “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die” (Deut. 18:20).

False Prophets of Both Testaments

God knew there would be scoffers, individuals who would agree to take some of the Word of God but not all of it! God knew that the great majority of mankind until the coming of His Son as King of kings and Lord of lords, would not accept the principle that Jesus Christ resisted Satan the Devil with: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).   

God knew this — that’s why He prophesied through His servant John that He was allowing Satan the Devil to deceive this whole world (Rev. 12:9). But that time is nearly over now — the prophecies which Philip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch about the second coming of Jesus Christ are just about to be fulfilled! They’re going to be fulfilled in your lifetime and mine! The same Jesus Christ who walked this earth {2000} years ago as the humble son of a carpenter of Nazareth is going to return in the clouds in glory and in power and in majesty.

He is going to ask where your talent is! He is going to ask what you have done with the information that has been given to you. He is going to ask whether you believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God — both Old and New Testaments — He is going to ask you if you have been living by EVERY WORD OF GOD!

What will YOUR answer be?

What YOU Can Do

Exercise the wisdom and nobility of the Bereans mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Acts 17. Read over these many verses that have been quoted in this article, and ask the living God, Creator of heaven and earth, to help you see that He has not written one scripture in vain, that not one word He has uttered or inspired for mankind to write down will be allowed to drop to the ground unfulfilled or unheeded, but that every word that He has inspired from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 will be required especially at the hand of all those who claim to be Christians. Search these Scriptures whether these things be so!

More about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God from the Old and New Testaments is in the free online booklet: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Some additional items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
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
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? 

Joseph Tkach identification of Satan’s Throne

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021


Cathedra Petri’ (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Numerous times, my wife Joyce and I have been able to see and visit what could be called ‘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 back then) 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 choose 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 does 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 450-1050 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”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
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 link to a video in Spanish: ¿Quién es el ‘hombre de pecado’? 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. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? 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. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite This late fourth/early fifth century Bishop of Constantinople is considered to be a ‘saint’ and ‘doctor’ by the Church of Rome, Church of England, and the Eastern Orthodox, but he did not teach Christ’s love. Here is a link to a related sermon: John Chrysostom, Holy Days, and Holidays.
Augustine: Non-Biblical Influencer Did Augustine teach the original faith? What did he teach?

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?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, and Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy.
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.

WCG and tithing history

Monday, May 10th, 2021

COGwriter

A while back, the anti-COG site, calling itself Banned by HWA, ran an old letter purportedly written by former WCG member Harry Eisenberg opposed to tithing. Here are some extracts:

I was a paid researcher on the staff of Ambassador College for over four years. Generally speaking, my work involved providing “proofs” for the pet concepts and theories held by Mr. Herbert Armstrong and/or his son, Garner Ted. …

In January 1973, I was asked by my supervisor, Brian Knowles, to research the subject of tithing. In particular, Mr. Knowles was interested in learning who paid what to whom and how in ancient Israel.

And so I began a systematic study of the tithing doctrine by listing each Biblical verse which in any way refers to tithing. What followed was a study of commentaries, encyclopedias arid various historical sources. The result was inevitable! I came to see that the tithing concept as promulgated by Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God was contrary to both the Old and the New Testaments.

Scripture makes it plain that the right to collect tithes was given to the Levitical priesthood in exchange for their service in the Temple. There is no evidence that this right was ever passed on to the New Testament Church. …

Harry Eisenberg

But are all the claims in that letter accurate?

No.

Furthermore, the New Testament teaches that tithing changed from the Levitical priesthood because of Jesus (Hebrews 7:4-16). Early Christians understood that they were to tithe.

Notice also something from an Eastern Orthodox priest:

Tithing in the Old Testament

In English, Greek, and Hebrew, the word “tithe” comes from a derivative of the number “ten,” and means the setting aside of a tenth of one’s income for a specific, often religious purpose. Tithing is an ancient practice—very ancient.

While tithing is a critical practice of the Old Covenant, it did not originate with Moses and the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. In the biblical account, the tithe actually shows up some five centuries before the Law was given. We first hear of it in the Book of Genesis. …

Not a Tithe but Tithes

It is also important to remember that for the nation of Israel and for faithful Jews during the Old Testament period, not just one, but three separate tithes were prescribed. In simplified form, the three tithes were:

(1) An annual tithe, to be paid towards the support of the Levites, priests, and other religious personnel, who were not allowed an inheritance of their own and thus were at the mercy of the state (see Numbers 18:21–24).

(2) A separate annual feast tithe, which went towards the expenses and upkeep of the Temple, and the various feasts and sacrifices surrounding it (see Deuteronomy 14:22–27).

(3) A third-year tithe for the poor of the land, and again for the Levite (see Deuteronomy 26:12f).

So to “run the numbers,” by the time all of these various tithes were paid into the treasuries, along with the various other taxes, offerings, and contributions, it is likely that a faithful Israelite male under the Old Covenant paid closer to a third of his annual income toward some form of tithe, not just ten percent!

The Spirit Behind the Law

Crunching numbers is one thing. … Consider the following observations.

(1) The tithe was not optional under the Old Covenant.

(2) The paying of the tithe was first and foremost an act of worship, not merely a duty.

(3) The tithe was considered to be a minimum standard, not the total of all giving. This can be seen clearly throughout the passages of the Old Testament, and especially in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), where the teaching is most clearly expanded and set forth.

Jesus may have had this teaching in mind when He spoke to the Pharisees of first-century Jerusalem about tithing. He railed against these “teachers of the Law” not because they had failed to follow the letter of the Law (by all appearances, they had meticulously followed the minimum standard and kept current with all accounts), but because in the scrupulous performance of this minimum, they had totally missed the true spirit behind the Law. To them, Jesus raised His voice in righteous indignation: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:23–24).

Tithing in the New Testament

This quote from the Gospel of Matthew represents the very mind and heart of God Himself regarding this matter of tithing. …

The above passage from Matthew is interesting for another reason. It is one of only a handful of passages in the New Testament that speak of tithing. The only others are its parallel account in the book of Luke (11:42), the story of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9–14), and a handful of passages in the Book of Hebrews relating to the story of Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek.

Why is this so? Why don’t we read about the brethren in Corinth being told to set aside part of their tithes for the suffering church in Jerusalem? Why are there no instructions for new convert churches regarding how to set up a ten-percent tithe? Why did Jesus Himself only refer to the tithe on two occasions, both of them at least slightly negative in connotation? (The first is quoted above. The second is found in Luke 18, where the self-righteous Pharisee boasts, “I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.”)

Answers to this question have varied widely, depending on the perspective of the interpreter. Some have said that this silence reflects nothing more than the fact that the practice of tithing continued unabated into the New Testament period. Jewish converts to Christianity, already accustomed to paying their tithes to the Temple, simply transferred those offerings to the Church. Gentile converts would have been taught the importance of tithing from the beginning. It wasn’t even worth writing about, end of discussion. …

Tithing in the Church

Sadly, there are Orthodox Christians who argue that tithing is merely a Protestant phenomenon. As we have seen, tithing is an ancient practice—it most certainly did not originate at a meeting of the Southern Baptist convention. … The writings of the Church Fathers include a number of intriguing references to tithing. …

In case you haven’t guessed it, I am a firm believer in the practice of tithing today. I’ve tithed all my life, and have no intention of abandoning the practice. http://ww1.antiochian.org/node/16719

For those unfamiliar, let me state that the old WCG (Worldwide Church of God) taught three tithes.

That was what the Bible taught as well.

What about historical evidence?

Well, it exists–historical evidence supports the idea of three tithes like the old WCG taught.

It does not matter that Harry Eisenberg purportedly claimed otherwise.

Notice something that the Jewish historian Josephus wrote 1800 years before Herbert Armstrong’s birth:

“Besides those two tithes, which I have already said you are to pay every year, the one for the Levites, the other for the festivals, you are to bring every third year, a third tithe to be distributed to those that want” (Antiquities of the Jews. Book IV, Chapter VIII, Paragraph 22).

Another secular writer confirmed this even earlier in Tobit 1:6-8:

“Taking the first fruits and the tithes of my produce and the first shearings, I would give these to the priests, the sons of Aaron, at the altar. Of all my produce I would give a tenth to the sons of Levi who ministered at Jerusalem; a second tenth I would sell, and I would go and spend the proceeds each year at Jerusalem; the third tenth I would give to those to whom it was my duty”.

Thus, multiple tithes were not an invention of Herbert Armstrong and were understood to exist around the time of Jesus.

The concept of second and third tithe was something that Herbert Armstrong claimed in his 12/17/83 sermon was one of the truths he restored to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God. He claimed that this was one of the truths that the Sardis era did not have, but that at least one of the earlier eras of the Church of God had.

Here is a quote explaining why WCG used to believe that at least part of the Thyatira era of the Church paid multiple tithes:

“The three-part division of tithes paid the Waldensian Church is significant. Even in the 1500’s the same division continued. “The money given us by the people is carried to the aforesaid general council, and is delivered in the presence of all, and there it is received by the most ancients (the elders), and part thereof is given to those that are wayfaring men, according to their necessities, and part unto the poor” (George Morel, Waldensian elder, quoted by Lennard, “History of the Waldenses”). 1. Compare this practice with Num. 18:21 and Deut. 14:22-25, 28-29. Isn’t it exactly what the Bible commands?… Most authors have ASSUMED the “wayfaring men” were the traveling “barbel.” But THEIR expenses would have been paid from the money given the elders, at EVERY time of year, for the direct conduct of the Work — “first” tithe and offerings. Notice that in Numbers 18:21. What Morel then mentions is a “second” tithe, for those traveling to and from the festivals — wayfaring men; and following it, the “third” to the poor. See the explanation in Deut. 14. Feast goers who had more “second tithe” than they needed shared their excess with those who had need, even as they do today! (LESSON 51 (1968) AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place …” Rev. 12:6).

Hence, even if one argues that multiple tithing is not necessarily a specific command in the New Testament (anti-Sabbatarians make similar arguments), one should recognize that multiple tithes have been a practice and tradition of the true Church of God for some time. We in the Continuing Church of God do teach first, second, and third tithe. More details on this subject are included in the article Is Second Tithe and Third Tithe Still Valid Today?

The idea of tithing was not foreign to those who originally professed Christ.

Jude, who was based in Jerusalem (his brother James was the bishop there), wrote to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). And this delivered faith would have included tithing.

The Greco-Roman historian Eusebius reported that the first fifteen bishops/pastors of Jerusalem (until c. 135 A.D.) were circumsized Jews who kept the law, etc. (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book III, Chapter V, Verses 2,3.& Book IV, Chapter 5, Verses 2-4, pp. 45, 71). This means that they also would have tithed and gave offerings similar to how the Jews did (for a short time, c. 67-71, some of the faithful Christians in Jerusalem fled to Pella and then returned).

In the second century, the Jewish authorities in the Tosefta condemned the Judeo-Christians and their tithes (Tofseta Hullin 2:20, as cited in Kessler E. An Introduction to Jewish-Christian Relations. Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 79), thus signalling that tithing was being done.

Some of the tithe money was apparently used to finance gospel-proclaiming missionaries. Related to the first one or two centuries A.D., notice the following:

The type of Christianity which first was favored, then raised to leadership by Constantine was that of the Roman Papacy. But this was not the type of Christianity that first penetrated Syria, northern Italy, southern France, and Great Britain. The ancient records of the first believers in Christ in those parts, disclose a Christianity which is not Roman but apostolic. These lands were first penetrated by missionaries, not from Rome, but from Palestine and Asia Minor. (Moore, D.V. The Culdee Church, chapters 3 and 4, and Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, pp. 25, 26 (As cited in Dugger, A History of True Religion, pp. 90-91)

In Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor the churches organized in the apostolic age continued for a long time to be great centres for the propagation of the New Way. (Sell HT. Studies in early church history. F. H. Revell company, 1906. Original from Harvard University, Digitized Mar 24, 2008, p. 52)

The missionaries, most likely, were paid for via tithes from where they originated. It is not likely that many would listen to them if they always arrived in locations broke and had to plead to eat, etc. Some system of tithes and offerings was in place. Notice that the above account shows that the missionaries were sent forth, funded, by those in Palestine and Asia Minor. Up until 135 A.D., the Church of God in Jerusalem of Judea/Palestine was led by those who would have continued with tithes and offerings–and this would have been the case in Asia Minor until around the middle of the third century.

Furthermore, the Apostle John moved to Asia Minor–the Bible specifically tells that he spent time in Patmos (Revelation 1:9). The records of history indicate that John was sent to Patmos by Emperor Domitian, and Eusebius recorded that: “after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus” (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book III, Chapter XXIII, Verse 6, p. 56)–Ephesus is in Asia Minor. According to various sources, the Apostle John kept the same practices that the bishops in Jerusalem did, hence he tithed. The Apostle John also warned that those who were truly Christians would keep the same practices he kept (1 John 2:19).

History records that Polycarp of Smyrna passed on to his successors “the canons which he had learned from his youth from John the apostle” (Weidman, Frederick W. Polycarp and John: The Harris Fragments and Their Challenge to Literary Traditions. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame (IL), 1999, p. 444). History also records that Polycarp and his successors kept “Judeao-Christian” practices (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book V, Chapter XXIV, Verses 2-7, p. 114) as well. This true form of Christianity dominated Asia Minor until the middle of the third century (cf. Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book VII, Chapter V, Verse I, p. 147).

Since we have seen that missionaries were sent from Palestine and Asia Minor; that those in Jerusalem until 135 A.D., Syria until the early third century, and Asia Minor until at least the third century A.D., had what are called “Judeao-Christian” practices, therefore tithing existed in the Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) and Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) eras of the Church of God.

Notice also the following was written in the early 200s by Origen of Alexandria (who was not Church of God):

That people which was called of old the people of God was divided into twelve tribes, and over and above the other tribes it had the levitical order, which itself again carried on the service of God in various priestly and levitical suborders. In the same manner, it appears to me that the whole people of Christ, when we regard it in the aspect of the hidden man of the heart, Romans 2:29 that people which is called “Jew inwardly,” and is circumcised in the spirit, has in a more mystic way the characteristics of the tribes. This may be more plainly gathered from John in his Apocalyse, though the other prophets also…

Those of the tribes offer to God, through the levites and priests, tithes and first fruits; not everything which they possess do they regard as tithe or first fruit. The levites and priests, on the other hand, have no possessions but tithes and first fruits; yet they also in turn offer tithes to God through the high-priests, and, I believe, first fruits too. The same is the case with those who approach Christian studies. (Origen. Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book I, Chapters 1,3)

In the mid-late 200s, the apocryphal Apostolic Constitution claims that the Apostle Matthias (Acts 1:26) endorsed the payment of first-fruit offerings and tithes ( Apostolic Constitutions (Book VIII, Section IV, Chapter XXX) Translated by James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886. The 13th chapter of the Didache (a first or second century document) also seems to support this.

Collier’s Encyclopedia stated:

“TITHE [taith] {O.E. teotha, a tenth}, generally defined as the tenth part of fruits and profits justly acquired, owed to God in recognition of his supreme dominion, and paid to the ministers of region. It is an institution of undetermined antiquity, common to be the Israelitic and many pagan religions. Adopted in principle by the Christian Church from apostolic times … (Collier’s Encyclopedia: With Bibliography and Index, Bernard Johnston (M.A.). 1993, ISBN 0029425484, p.336)

The Catholic Encyclopedia claims:

The payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law, and early writers speak of it as a divine ordinance and an obligation of conscience (Fanning, William. Tithes. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 1 Nov. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14741b.htm>).

The Catholic bishop and saint Cyprian of the third century wrote about tithing as an obligation (Plowden, Francis. The Principles and Law of Tithing. C. and R. Baldwin, London, 1806, p. 60.):

As this is said of all men, how much rather ought those not to be bound by worldly anxieties and involvements, who, being busied with divine and spiritual things, are not able to withdraw from the Church, and to have leisure for earthly and secular doings! The form of which ordination and engagement the Levites formerly observed under the law, so that when the eleven tribes divided the land and shared the possessions, the Levitical tribe, which was left free for the temple and the altar, and for the divine ministries, received nothing from that portion of the division; but while others cultivated the soil, that portion only cultivated the favour of God, and received the tithes from the eleven tribes, for their food and maintenance, from the fruits which grew. All which was done by divine authority and arrangement, so that they who waited on divine services might in no respect be called away, nor be compelled to consider or to transact secular business. Which plan and rule is now maintained in respect of the clergy, that they who are promoted by clerical ordination in the Church of the Lord may be called off in no respect from the divine administration, nor be tied down by worldly anxieties and matters; but in the honour of the brethren who contribute, receiving as it were tenths of the fruits, they may not withdraw from the altars and sacrifices, but may serve day and might in heavenly and spiritual things. (Cyprian. Epistle 65, Chapter 1. Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050665.htm>.

An Antiochian (likely Eastern Orthodox related), but spurious, source from the 3rd century states:

Set by part-offerings and tithes and first fruits to Christ, the true High Priest, and to His ministers … the priests and Levites now are the presbyters and deacons … (Didascalia Apostolorum, Chapter IX. Translated by Hugh Connelly. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929)

The above suggests that at least some affiliated with the Greco-Romans tithed in the 3rd century.

Later Catholic writers such as Augustine in the fourth/fifth century wrote that tithing was obligatory:

Augustine [Append. Serm. cclxxcii], whose words are quoted 16, qu. i [Can. Decimae], says: “It is a duty to pay tithes, and whoever refuses to pay them takes what belongs to another.” (Aquinas T. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas Second and Revised Edition, 1920. Question 87-Tithes. Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province Online Edition Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol. Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius Generalis. Westmonasterii. APPROBATIO ORDINIS Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L. Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliae)

It is not that these Catholic sources should be relied on for doctrine that contradicts scripture, but their support suggests that tithing was understood and not a foreign concept among those that professed Christ in the early centuries after Jesus’ resurrection.

Getting back to the Church of God, Jerome recorded that there were people who claimed descent from the Church of God who had fled to Pella from Jerusalem, kept the ‘old law’ and had the “Judeao-Christian” practices of the Sabbath, Holy Days, millenarianism, etc. (Pritz t. Nazarene Jewish Christianity. Magnas, Jerusalem, 1988, pp. 58,62,63. Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, p. 202). Thus, they too would have tithed. This indicates tithing was still in place towards the end of the Smyra era of the Church of God.

To suggest that this was mainly a pet doctrine of Armstrong’s without historical precedent is in error.

Perhaps it should be pointed out, that lies posted by anti-COG types on the internet notwithstanding, neither my wife nor I “live off the backs of the tithe-payers” in the CCOG. Neither of us take a salary from the CCOG, and we are tithe-payers.

Here is information about a related sermon on tithing which also includes numerous scriptures:

1:17:20

Should Christians tithe? Historically, did Christians tithe? Was biblical tithing limited to agricultural produce? What exactly is a tithe? How does one calculate a tithe? In modern times, should one tithe on their gross or net income? How should salaried people calculate tithes? How should self-employed people calculate tithes? What about retired people? Are there different tithes for different purposes? Did the Jews practice first, second, and third tithe? Does the New Testament discuss tithing? What are the different tithes actually used for? To whom should faithful Christians tithe?

Here is a link to the sermon: Tithes and Tithing.

Some other items of related interest may include:

Tithing Questions and Some Answers Answers questions about tithing and also addresses some non-biblical arguments against tithing. Should people tithe? Here is a link to a related sermon: Tithes and Tithing. Here is a link to an older sermon: Tithing Answers from the Bible.
Why Holy Day Offerings? This is an article by the late WCG evangelist Leroy Neff. Here is a link to a related video message: Why Holy Day Offerings?

Ending Your FINANCIAL WORRIES How can people help themselves and others financially? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. A video of related interest would be: Dealing With Financial Worries.
Is Second Tithe and Third Tithe Still Valid Today? Should you save and use second tithe? Some in the COGs no longer teach payment of third tithe, is this biblically correct?
Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch There are various ones that oppose the Church of God, but they will not prevail (Matthew 16:18). This is an article about some anti-Church of God tactics.
Gambling and Sin: Is it a Sin for Christians to Gamble? What does the Bible reveal? A related video is Gambling: A Covetous Sin?
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.
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.

Norman Smith died

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021


Norman and Charlene Smith (from GCI)

COGwriter

A reader forwarded me the following:

>I just posted this on the Pasadena AC Forum;

I had planned to post a few things today that were more entertaining and uplifting but now I must make a very sad announcement. I just had a call from CHARLENE SMITH to tell me that NORMAN SMITH died early this morning. He had been in a coma for several days and had not eaten since last Tuesday, April 20th. This is very sobering news to us as NORMAN was WAYNE’S roommate and CHARLENE was my roommate at AC and we have re-connected in recent years. I spoke with her for about 30 minutes yesterday as I knew she would be having a very difficult time. I am very pleased that ESTHER COLE GLOVER is near by and assisting them at the Funeral Home. The family is not planning a funeral service but I will give their mailing address for anyone who wishes to mail a card to them.  Their son KEVIN  has been with them for several years and has done a fabulous job in caring-giving. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Doris Cole<

Nearly five years ago, Grace Communion International (GCI, the group that apostatized WCG) posted the following about him:

Norman Smith was born on the family farm near Burnt Prairie, in Southern Illinois on February 18, 1930. He lived there until at age 20 he left to attend Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA. Norman’s wife, Charlene also enrolled in Ambassador in 1950. …

Norman stated in a 1994 interview, “I attempt to look at both the great progress the church has made since I have been a part of it and also admit the mistakes which have seriously hindered some people’s ability to see the love of Jesus Christ. Admitting the mistakes does not mean to dwell on them. But, admitting the mistakes is a form of reaching out to those who have been hindered and have faltered.” Norman retired in 2005 and has served as Assistant Pastor in the Eugene, OR, congregation to the present. He was a member of the church’s Advisory Council of Elders for several years and has served on the GCI Board since January 2015. https://update.gci.org/2016/08/gci-board-of-directors/

For what it’s worth, let me add that I believe I met him once or twice.

It is sad that he fell away from the truth before his death.

More on the falling away can be found in the following:

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.