p COG News: Emphasizing News of Interest to those Once in the Worldwide Church of God
"For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you" (I Corinthians 11:19).

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Click Here for the COGwriter Home Page which has articles on various sabbatarian Churches of God (COGs) and articles supporting beliefs of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God.

04/04/06 a.m. In in an ad in The Journal, SCG had this from a 1979 HWA article:

I find it impossible to believe that a minister of Jesus Christ could at the same time be a THIEF —STEALING FROM GOD! Nearly all ministers and . . . brethren have been LOYAL . . . during recent years “liberals” have risen up in the Church, watering down the laws of God. . . . it is reported to me that a minister has said to a congregation words to this effect, “If you don’t want to tithe, you don’t need to”...

Brethren, it is not easy for me to write to you whom I dearly LOVE, and tell you that some of YOU ARE THIEVES breaking God’s holy commandments, and stealing from GOD— . . . I want you to think this over. I don’t know WHO you are—have just been informed that a shocking number of members and ministers ARE NOT PAYING TITHES and are giving either NO offerings or a comparatively small amount. I want you to look at it as GOD looks at you!

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these [tithing[ OUGHT YE TO HAVE DONE, and not to leave the other undone” (Luke 11:42). You who have neglected tithing have NEGLECTED SO GREAT SALVATION (see Hebrews 2:3). The living JESUS CHRIST put TITHING in God’s Church from the very beginning of this Philadelphia era . . . it is A LAW! Neglect or refusal is MAJOR SIN!

I believe the situation, proportionately, is probably higher now. An article of biblical interst may be Tithing Questions and Some Answers.

In another ad, ACD begins with:

Did Jesus claim to be God when arrested by answering the authorities, “Ego eimi” (I am)? Those intent on finding evidence that Jesus is God seize upon the Greek words ego eimi, translated “I am” in English, and imagine a direct correspondence to the famous “I am” statements God gave Moses at the burning
bush. Is such a leap from Greek words to Hebrew words and from one context to an entirely different one justified? First let’s consider the words and context of the olive-grove encounter...

Actually, it is the context of the Bible that demonstrates that Jesus is God, yet this is something that ACD denies. It was groups like ACD that motivated me to write the article Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning

04/03/06 a.m. The Journal's Feb 06 edition just came out. The lead story concerned WCG's name change:

GIC is out but new name is still in the works at WCG

PASADENA, Calif.—The Worldwide Church of God will soon have a new name, but it won’t be the one many people are expecting. Church headquarters had tentatively decided on Grace International
Communion, or GIC, as the new moniker, but that name is out, and it’s not yet clear what name is in.

Still, “the name change is not on hold and the process for finding a new name continues,” according to a
writer for the church’s personalcorrespondence department.“What has happened is that based on the
feedback from members and pastors, the name that had been proposed, Grace International Communion, will not be selected,” wrote WCG employee Paul Kroll in response to a query about the name change...

Mr. Tkach asked for recommendations as to what new names should be considered, and he and other church officials decided on GIC. Based on the reasons given for the new name, “Grace” will probably still be a part of it, because, according to the article, “grace lies at the heart of our values and mission as a transformed church . . . If we must choose one word to best describe our fellowship in terms of our spiritual journey and our ongoing mission and goals, it would have to be the word grace.”

In the opinion of various non-WCG people THE JOURNAL has talked with about the name, the consensus is that discarding the name Grace International Communion is a good idea because of its acronym, GIC.

I will be please when WCG drops the term "Church of God" from its name since it no longer is, nor considers itself, a COG. It is now Protestant (an article of possible interest may be Hope of Salvation: How the COGs Differ from Protestantism).

Another lead story mentioned a book about Brookfield:

Now 58-year-old Mr. Geiger tells the story in printed words and pictures while filling in many of the blanks about the events surrounding the tragedy, which began when a close friend shot and killed eight church members and then himself. Among the slain was Bart Oliver, Mr. Geiger’s 15-year-old nephew. Besides telling what happened, Mr. Geiger wants his readers to hear “what we can learn from the experience,” he told a writer for THE JOURNAL. “As horrible as this was, we need to see how God can turn this tragedy into not only a learning experience but help us see a future where this can never happen again.”

Two death notices made the front page. One on Jim Rector that I announced a while ago, and the following:

EL CAJON, Calif.—A writer of the book that second- year-Bible students at Ambassador College
consulted almost as much as the Bible died Feb. 25. Henry M. Morris, coauthor in 1961 of The Genesis Flood and founder of the modern creationist movement, died at age 87.

Here is a link to its first and last pages: http://www.thejournal.org/issues/issue107/jf022806.pdf

A letter to the editor had this information from a Mrs. J. Venish of Cape Town, South Africa:

My husband and I are ex-PCG members. We were WCG members for 37 years, so we know what the church is all about. Now, regarding what we just read in THE JOURNAL about the members of
the PCG not having any contact whatsoever with ex-members or their very own families, we experienced that type of mentality. [See “PCG Clarifies Disfellowship Policy, Gives Main Purpose of Church: The Need to Expose Satan,” THE JOURNAL, Jan. 31.] Gerald Flurry lacks understanding as to who the Laodiceans are.

Regarding that last part, some may wish to read the articles:

Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees?

Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God

Simply calling oneself 'Philadelphia' does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9).

A tongue-in-cheek parody in The Journal had these statements in an interview:

I don’t think the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God are doing enough to support America’s war efforts...

“Yes, you do need to listen up. As a loyal Republican, Jesus would listen to all the talk-show hosts like
Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly every day, and He’d call in to those shows and be very vocal with His support of the present war in Iraq. He’d write letters to the editor for local newspapers. He’d not only donate much of his time to support the war, but He’d also make major financial contributions to the Republican Party..."

And while some have fallen away, most realize that we in the COGs are not Republicans (nor Democrats)--we do not even endorse voting (please see the article ). Although the Bible teaches us to pray for our political leaders (which is basically the only way other than being law-abiding and paying our taxes--which Jesus taught us to do--that we provide support to the government), we do not get involved in war efforts. A related article of interest may be Military Service and the COGs.

04/02/06 a.m. LCG reported this news item:

Asia Warning Nations About U.S. Dollar Collapse. The Asia Development Bank (ADB) this week warned Asian nations about a potential future collapse of the U.S. Dollar—a currency now tied closely with many Asian economies thanks to their financing of much of the U.S. deficit. The ADB suggested that Asian nations slowly begin to allow their currencies to increase in value against the tumbling dollar, in order to limit the impact of Asian economies adjusting to the change in currency values—trade will likely be slightly reduced as items sold in the U.S. would increase in value. These warnings also compelled Asian nations to avoid just assuming that they will be able to support the U.S. deficit indefinitely, especially if there is a collapse in the U.S. dollar (Aljazeera.net, March 28, 2006). Yet one more ramification of the U.S. becoming a debtor nation (Deut 28:44, Prov22:7).

Reuters had this related story:

MARCH 28, 2006
TOKYO - Asian countries need to prepare for a possible sharp fall in the dollar and should allow their currencies to appreciate collectively if that happens, a senior Asian Development Bank official said Tuesday.

"Any shock hitting the U.S. economy or the global market may change investors' perceptions, given the existing global current account imbalance," Masahiro Kawai, the bank's head of regional economic integration, said at a news conference.

"Our suggestion to Asian countries is, don't take this continuous financing of the U.S. current account deficit as given. If something happens, then East Asian economies have to be prepared."

The current issues of UCG's Good News has this related item:

Lest you think everything will return to normal after the Bush administration leaves office, ponder the following statement from the book After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order by French writer Emmanuel Todd, a 2002 bestseller in both France and Germany :

"After every defection of one of America 's allies during the diplomatic crisis that preceded the war on Iraq , Washington was unable to force compliance or exact retribution for one simple reason: America no longer has the economic and financial resources to back up its foreign policy objectives. Due to trade surpluses, the real money has piled up in Europe and Asia, while financially speaking America has become the planet's glorious beggar" (p. xxi).

Put simply, every month Americans buy more than they sell—and then have to borrow the money back again just to stay afloat! That's no way for a superpower to conduct itself. This is not going to change with a different administration in Washington. Eventually, as with Britain 60 years ago, economic reality will hit and the United States will no longer be able to maintain superpower status. Another nation or group of nations will step in to fill the gap.

America 's relative economic decline was highlighted on the last business day of 2005 by CNN International, a CNN affiliate that is broadcast from London and seen across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Looking back at the past year on the world's stock markets, the commentators highlighted the fact that Germany and France saw their stock markets grow by 25 percent and Britain 's by 16 percent while the Dow ( America 's industrial market) was actually down by almost one percentage point (0.6%). Not surprisingly, in a year that saw a big rise in the price of oil, the Arab 50 stock markets grew by a staggering 75 percent. The world's wealth is moving away from the United States!

On a more encouraging note, LCG's Wayne Pyle reported:

After 13 weeks into calendar year 2006, we are showing a strong 24 percent increase over the same period last year.  The growth is encouraging, and with Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread coming up in less than two weeks, we are certain many TV viewers, who started attending Church services in the Living Church of God in the past few months, may request baptism.  We have several right here in Charlotte.  To date, 372 brand new people in the United States and Canada—brand new to the Church of God—have been baptized since the Tomorrow’s World telecast started. Moreover, 386 others had previous contact with the Church before their baptism, but came in touch with the Living Church of God through the telecast.  Thus, 758 are now members as a result of Tomorrow’s World programming.  Two weeks ago, when my wife and I were in England for Church business, we met a prospective member in London who is now attending as a result of the UK satellite telecast.  Another prospective member has come with us as a result of the Church’s website.

04/01/06 a.m. Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

You probably saw the news that Israel has just sustained another terrorist bombing which killed four Israeli citizens.  They’d apparently picked up a hitchhiker to give him a ride, not realizing that he was a Palestinian suicide bomber.  According to the report in the Jerusalem Post a spokesman for the Aksa Martyers’ Brigades claimed credit for the attack and boasted that “Israel should prepare a large amount of body bags for the terrorist attacks that his organization planned to execute” unless the acting Prime Minister Olmert alters his policies.


            On the home front, we’ve seen massive demonstrations in major cities across the United States, most notably Los Angeles where some half million demonstrators clogged the streets to demand “rights” for illegal aliens.  It is a thorny, divisive issue the current Administration has been unwilling to tackle.  Although most “demonstrations” were described as peaceful, there is most assuredly an implied threat inherent in civil disobedience on such a scale.  What would happen if the organizers of these massive marches incite the mobs to violence?  It could happen.


            In so many ways, it seems this country has lost its will to assert and protect its sovereignty!  As I’ve stated previously, this nation has drifted so far down the path of political correctness that the government simply does not dare institute the kinds of protective measures we’ve seen historically in times of crisis.  The country has grown materialistic, complacent and despite occasional arguments to the contrary, Godless.

Today's issue of Prophetic Times (Compiled by L. Jim Tuck, Pastor of UCGIA Oakland, San Jose, Stockton, and Santa Rosa), included the following two stories:

March 24, 2006 WorldNetDaily reported: “Just five days before national elections here, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party revealed yesterday it would divide Jerusalem and allow a Palestinian state to be established in parts of Israel's "eternal capital." The revelation follows months of denials by top Kadima officials that the party would advocate withdrawing from Jerusalem. "The Old City, Mount Scopus, the Mount of Olives, the City of David, Sheikh Jarra will remain in our hands, but [regarding] Kafr Akeb, Abu-Ram, Shuafat, Hizma, Abu-Zaim, Abu-Tur, Abu Dis, in the future, when the Palestinian state is established, they will become its capital," said Otniel Schneller, a Kadima member who represented the party at a debate yesterday on dividing Jerusalem.

March 30, 2006 The Middle East Newsline reported: “Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's centrist Kadima party won a narrow victory in Tuesday's election, giving the go-ahead to set Israel's borders with the Palestinians and evacuate Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Bible prophecy suggests that Jerusalem will be a divided city, and this election may speed up that process. Zechariah 14:2 teaches:

For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled,
And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

On other matters, here are the top ten accessed articles at the COGwriter site during March 2006:

  1. Church of God, Seventh Day (#3 last month)
  2. Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning (#5 last month)
  3. Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God (#2 last month)
  4. Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome
  5. 15 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert Armstrong (#4 last month)
  6. Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Churches of God (#8 last month)
  7. The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 (#9 last month)
  8. Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?
  9. Europa, the Beast, and Revelation (#10 last month)
  10. Polycarp of Smyrna

Interestingly, most of the ones that were in the top ten had matterials added materials to them during March. Hence, those of you who may have read previous versions, may wish to look some of them over again.

03/31/06 a.m. CG7 posted:

The Lord's Supper Celebration

What Meeting
When Apr 11, 2006
from 06:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where All churches in the Church of God (7th Day) General Conference.
Add event to calendar vCal (Windows, Linux)
iCal (Mac OS X)

Annual commemoration of the Lord's Supper.

While I am pleased that CG7 still observes the 14th of Nisan, it used to refer to this as Passover. You can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.

Three articles of possible interest may be:

Is There "An Annual Worship Calendar" In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles which state that this should be a local decision.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? This article supplies some biblical answers.
Church of God, Seventh Day Nearly all COG's I am aware of trace their history through this group. Do you know much about them?

PCG reported:

Last week, Deutsche Welle published a story with the headline, “Is Freedom of the Press Dying Out in Germany?” In it, an interview with Hendrik Zörner of the German Association of Journalists discussed the case of two journalists charged with exposing state secrets.

The chilling aspect of this story is how much the European Union, and Germany in particular, is muzzling the press.

This story all began when two journalists were charged with exposing state secrets about Abu Musab Zarqawi in the April 2005 issue of Cicero. Authorities believe a Swiss newspaper editor, Johannes von Dohnanyi, obtained classified information produced by the German federal police and passed it on to the journalist at Cicero. In response to the published story, prosecutors raided the offices of Cicero, seizing computers and files.

Hendrik Zörner told Agence France Presse that the charges were “‘superfluous and damage press freedom’ and would have a chilling effect on investigative reporting” (ibid.,
March 16). Financial Times examined the Cicero case in an Oct. 8, 2005, story and wondered if German leaders were using national security concerns as a pretext to muzzle the press. It quoted one media expert and member of the German parliament saying, “We have seen an increase in the number of such raids over the past few years. People now wonder whether there is an intimidation campaign going on. … It is our duty to keep reminding our rulers that freedom of the press remains a fundamental right ….”

“The German Association of Journalists (djv) says suspicion that the government may be engaged in a vast intimidation exercise—aimed at both reporters and their sources—is supported by the sharp increase in the number of raids on journalists’ offices and homes in recent years” (ibid.).

Germany’s censorship has come in part because of pressure from the European Court of Human Rights. A June 2004 ruling made by this court censors how the press can cover powerful and public figures. In the ruling, journalists must be given consent by the subject before any material can be published.

This ruling prompted editors from 40 leading dailies and newsmagazines to publish an open letter in Die Welt to then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, highlighting its serious ramifications: “If the German government doesn’t appeal the judgment then it would mean that all serious journalists will be muzzled.” Further on they also wrote, “[T]he most important duty of the press—to closely watch the powerful—will be massively hindered” (Deutsche Welle,
Aug. 31, 2004).

What is happening in Germany falls in line with what, it seems, the European Union is all about. At no point has the EU been the paragon of democracy and free speech. Numerous incidents over recent years expose a fearsome mindset in the EU bureaucracy

Lack of press freedoms will help the Beast emerge and gain power in Europe. An article of possible interest may be Europa and the Beast.

03/30/06 a.m. COGaic has changed its website. Its regular site no longer lets anyone direcly access it without approval as it states:

In order to access the site you will need to logon with your username and password. If you do not have a username and password, please email us to request access. In your email, please give us your name, where you reside. We do not need your complete address but it would be helpful to know your city, state or province, postal code and country. If you are not a current member or supporter please let us know how you found us and your interest in accessing our site.
Thank you.

While there is a place for some limits at times, this seems a bit much. Since this occurred, it may become more difficult for me to update my recent article Church of God, an International Community.

The Europeans are in the news:

BRUSSELS, March 29 (UPI) -- An extraordinary meeting will take place in the Moroccan capital of Rabat next week. On one side of the negotiating table will sit NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the Brussels ambassadors of the alliance's 26 member states. The other side will see senior officials from the so-called "Mediterranean dialogue" states of Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia huddled together. http://www.upi.com/SecurityTerrorism/view.php?StoryID=20060329-102055-9545r

While at surface level this appears positive towards the USA and Israel, one only needs to recall Psalm 83 which shows that the Arab countries with the help of the EU (Assyria in Psalm 83) will themselves get together for the destruction of Israel:

4 They have said, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more." 5 For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You: 6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites; 7 Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 8 Assyria also has joined with them (Psalm 83:4-8).

The other EU story of major interest was:

EUOBSERVER / ROME – The president of the centre-right European People's Party, Wilfried Martens, has suggested a reference to "God" should find its way to the EU constitution if the document were to be revised.

The centre-right party opened its "study days" in Rome with a debate on European values in as part of an overall discussion on the future of Europe - a central topic of the party's congress starting on Thursday (30 March).

Common values also feature on the party's draft Rome manifesto which lists "dignity of the human person, freedom and responsibility, fundamental equality, justice, subsidiarity and solidarity" as a set of core Europe's principles.

But in a debate on Wednesday, several speakers made specific reference to the Christian roots of the continent and its cultural heritage.

Mr Martens, who is set to be re-elected as head of the EPP on Friday, bemoaned the fact that there is "not a single reference to God" in the constitution, adding "We can't accept this to be the case indefinitely."

Representatives from the Vatican have stated publicly that they believe they can get the EU constitution approved IF it refers to Europe's alleged "Christian roots".

More information on Europe can be found in the article Europa and the Beast.

03/29/06 a.m. Yesterday it was reported:

Italian scientists find ancient Ur tablets

NASSIRIYA, Iraq, March 28 (UPI) -- Italian archeologists working in Iraq have announced the discovery of numerous stone tablets from the ancient civilization of Ur. "This is an exceptional find," team leader Silvia Chiodi told the Italian news service ANSA, noting the tablets were found at an archaeological site not far from the location of the ancient city. "The most surprising thing is the time span the tablets cover, ranging from 2,700 B.C., the First Dynasty of Ur, to 2,100 B.C., the Third Dynasty," Giovanni Pettinato, an expert on Sumerian civilization, told ANSA. Pettinato surmised that if the tablets were part of a library, there might be thousands of them at the site. Ur, near the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya, is cited in the Bible as the birthplace of the prophet Abraham, ANSA reported, noting Ur was also the religious center of the Sumerian civilization. A most famous classic of ancient literature, Gilgamesh, was written at Ur.                                                                                               http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20060328-015358-7815r

Secular historians, who were biblical critics, used to claim that Ur did not exist. Now, of course, it is known to have been a major area of civilization.

Speaking of news, tithing was the subject of a Los Angeles Times article earlier this month, which stated:

LOS ANGELES - Tithing -- the biblical exhortation to return to God 10 percent of his gifts -- may be common in some denominations, but remains rare in most American churches.

Researchers have found that although about 80 percent of Americans profess to be Christians, and many say they believe in tithing, about 3 percent of adults are consistent tithers...


Nearly all of those in the COGs understand that they should tithe. But some, mainly independents, have raised a variety of objections.

Jesus Himself taught, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). It should be noted that I (COGwriter) am not on the payroll of any church, hence I am not advocating tithing for my own financial benefit. I believe that tithing is essential to fulfill the two-fold commission that Jesus gave to proclaim the gospel to everyone and to teach those who accept it, whatsoever Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20).

Two articles of related interest may be Tithing Questions and Some Answers and Is Third Tithe Still Valid Today?

In his latest newsletter (ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 145, 3/28/06), SDA S. Bacchiocchi reported:

1) The Adventist pioneers early identified the Mark of the Beast with the enforcement of Sunday observance, but they were uncertain regarding the meaning of the Number of the Beast (666).

2) Initially, some Adventist pioneers, including J. N. Andrews, believed that the number 666 of the Beast was made up of approximately 666 Protestant sects who were influenced by the Catholic Church...

14) Recent Adventist studies on the book of Revelation have concluded that the traditional numeric interpretation of the number 666 of the Beast, lacks both exegetically and historical support. Thus, they have proposed a symbolic interpretation of the number 666 on the basis of exegetical and historical considerations...

21. Conclusion. The prophecy of the Mark and Number of the Beast is central to Revelation. It represents the final diabolical attempt to enforce the false worship through the unholy trinity represented by a dragon, sea-beast, and land-beast.

As mentioned before, this is an area where the SDAs and COGs differ. Both on what 666 represents, as well as on the two-horned beast. More information is included in the article SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.

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Volume 10, issue 1 COGwriter B. Thiel (c) 2006