C d 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).

* LCG News *  LCG 2006 Feast of Tabernacles' Information * Listing of Living Church of God Congregations *Sunset Times for the U.S. *  News of Those Once Affiliated with the Global COG * Prayer Requests

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.

01/17/07 a.m. COGaic's David Hulme announced:

The first report from our latest Internet advertising campaign covering the last 10 days of 2006 shows an increase of almost 4000 new visitors to the Vision site at less than a dollar per response. We are encouraged by these first results and are now refining the advertising for greater impact as the program expands. Over the whole of 2006 we experienced a five-fold increase in traffic on the Vision site.

This would explain part of why Vision's Alexa ranking is not nearly as bad as it used to be. As of last night, Vision was ranked 645,089--a major improvement (to put it in perspective, the COGwriter site, which never has paid for any advertising was ranked 296,407 last night--lower is better).

Since my 01/12/07 a.m. post, the two leading anti-COG websites have made a variety of comments about it. It does not appear that they recall what I wrote about the general subject (even though it was linked to that post, and has been out there for years), so let me quote it here today (I will leave out the S. Flurry statements, as they are on this page with the 01/12/07 a.m. post, plus were not added to my article until recently):

Crediting sources

Accusation No. 12: HWA was forgetful, and he was a plagiarist.

The truth is that yes, HWA could be forgetful. But he was not a plagiarist...

After reading various editions of HWA's United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy and J.H. Allen's book Jacob's Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright, I do not agree that he was guilty of plagiarizing Allen's book. Although I believe HWA got certain ideas about this subject from Mr. Allen and, from what I have heard, the first edition of US&BC, which I have not seen, was much closer to Allen's work, I also believe HWA simply comes to conclusions different from Allen's in too many instances for any plagiarism charge to hold water, especially in HWA's later editions. Of course, if HWA did make significant use of Allen's work, then he should have credited Allen, even if his use of this work falls short of plagiarism.

HWA paraphrased more than he should have, but, since he, along with his wife, Loma, was the entire editorial and publish staff for a while, it is understandable that they could have become careless in this regard.

Regarding Has Time Been Lost?, it appears that this booklet was quite similar to a booklet originally produced by the Church of God (Seventh Day). According to an article by Norman Edwards (Servant's News, November 1998), the CG7 did not have a copyright notice on it when it published it. Edwards also wrote, "The two booklets are word-for-word identical in about half of the places. Armstrong did add some things, but in many places he simply dropped out information--such as the 1910 dates of encyclopedias which, if included, would make the booklet look 'old' (see p. 24)." At the time CG7 published it, without such a copyright notice, the information was in the 'public domain' and it would have been legal for it to have been copied and republished (but I feel that should something in the book should have indicated that it was republished). I think it is likely that either HWA did not recall that he did not write much of this particular booklet or some of his staff made an improper assumption.

As a writer I can verify that the more you write the less you remember about what you actually did write. I think a factor in HWA's failure to properly credit other sources was his lack of formal education. Even though he was a naturally talented writer, he was not privy to formal training that would have instilled in him the highest regard for properly crediting other people's works.

I stand by what I wrote as it was accurate then (it was also published in The Journal in Feb 2003), and is accurate now. The above is (and for years has been included) in the article 15 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert Armstrong.

01/16/07 p.m. Today marks the 21st anniversary of the death of Herbert W. Armstrong.

01/16/07 a.m. CBCG's Fred Coulter reported:

We are continuing to make good progress with the Bible Project. As you know, this Bible will be called The Holy Bible In Its Original Order—a Faithful Version...

1611 KJV English is Not a Sacred Language: Because the majority of newer versions of the Bible are filled with translation errors, many fundamentalist Protestants rely solely on the KJV of the Bible—even going so far as to venerate the 1611 English a "sacred" language. But the OT was inspired to be written in Hebrew, and the NT in Greek. What is truly sacred, however, is not the language itself, but the message God has inspired to be written...

I have CBCG's NT and have read about 1/2 of it (and intend to read the whole NT). Some parts I like, while there are some parts that I believe should have been translated differently.

CCG's Wade Cox wrote the following:

The early church was exclusively Unitarian. The Gnostics and Modalists are not considered to be part of the Church. There is no evidence whatsoever that Christ or the apostles or their disciples were ever Binitarian or Trinitarian. Indeed, there is clear evidence that the doctrine of the Trinity was developed from the derived Binitarianism of the fourth century so-called Christians. The Trinitarian position, and also its incoherent predecessor, Binitarianism, was never held by the Sabbath-keeping church up until that time or indeed up until the Reformation some eleven centuries later. Binitarianism, in fact, came from the Modalism which is the doctrine of the worshippers of the god Attis in Rome (see the paper The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235)).

Evidence from the History and the Persecution of the Church

The early Church

We know from the writings of Irenaeus (and from his predecessor Polycarp) that he and the Church were centrally Unitarian and that they believed that Christ was appointed an elohim and that the elect were to become elohim as Christ was with God.

Wade Cox then selectively quotes a few statements from Irenaeus. However, he fails to quote Polycarp, as well as fails to quote those passages from Irenaeus that clearly show that both of them had binitarian understandings. The idea that binitarianism did not exist from the beginning is in error, in conflict with history, and denied by reputable scholars. Because CCG denies the deity of Christ and clearly ignores the truth, I personally do not believe that it is a COG.

Anyway, below are quotes from Irenaeus, Polycarp, and two scholars which clearly demonstrate that they believed Jesus was God--hence they were not unitarian:

Dr. Hurtado specifically acknowledges:

...the "binitarian" pattern of devotion in which both God (the "Father") and Jesus are objects of such reverence goes back to the earliest observable stages of the movement that became Christianity...The central place given to Jesus...and...their concern to avoid ditheism by reverencing Jesus rather consistently with reference to "the Father", combine to shape the proto-orthodox "binitarian" pattern of devotion. Jesus truly is reverenced as divine"

Polycarp was known as the Bishop of Smyrna and probably the first physical head (under Jesus Christ) of the era when Smyrna dominated. He was neither trinitarian nor unitarian according to various historical documents. The following quote attributed to him shows that he (and thus by inference the rest of Smyrna) was not unitarian,

Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High-priest Himself, the [Son of] God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth, and in all gentleness and in all avoidance of wrath and in forbearance and long suffering and in patient endurance and in purity; and may He grant unto you a lot and portion among His saints, and to us with you, and to all that are under heaven, who shall believe on our Lord and God Jesus Christ and on His Father (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians in APOSTOLIC FATHERS (as translated by J.B. LIGHTFOOT) 12:6,7).

Irenaeus (who is also considered to have been a saint by the Roman Catholics) wrote this in his famous paper against heresies:

...there is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book IV, Preface, Verse 4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Notice that he does not say that the Holy Spirit is also called God. Also notice that Irenaeus states that only the Father, the Son, and those who possess the adoption (Christians) are God. This is a binitarian, not a trinitarian or untitarian view.

Regarding the New Testament, even a trinitarian scholar has admitted:

The binitarian formulas are found in Rom. 8:11, 2 Cor. 4:14, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:20, 1 Tim 1:1, 1 Pet. 1:21, and 2 John 1:13...No doctrine of the Trinity in the Nicene sense is present in the New Testament...There is no doctrine of the Trinity in the strict sense in the Apostolic Fathers...(Rusch W.G. The Trinitarian Controversy. Fortress Press, Phil., 1980, pp. 2-3).

The truth is that the Bible and writings of the second century clearly demonstrate that the early church was not unitarian nor trinitarian, but binitarian. Those who wish to know more may wish to study the article Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.

01/15/07 a.m. In the current addition of the Bible Advocate, CG7 writes (in italics) the following:

The work in North America is correctly designated Zone 1 because this continent is the birthplace of the modern Sabbathkeeping Church of God movement. It began in the mid-1800s with a handful of brethren in Michigan and has since grown to a conference of about 215 congregations and missions.

Our church mission? To proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, introduce others to the Lord, teach them to obey His Word, and nurture spiritual growth in all believers. Our conference’s purpose? To provide training, serv-ices, resources, and materials to help congregations and members accomplish the mission.

To support its administrative and ministry needs, the General Conference maintains modest offices in Broomfield, Colorado. The work is divided into districts: five in the United States and two in Canada. Six official ministries are sponsored: missions, youth, young adults, women, ministries training, and publications. Districts are led by superintendents who oversee and coordinate congregations. Led by directors, the ministries seek to equip the Church for greater and more effective service in our communities and for outreach to the world through Missions Abroad.

At biennial conventions, members have the privilege of participating in Church business, including election of the board of directors — twelve men who serve as the Church’s governing body when the Conference is not in session. The board appoints a president, who is responsible for daily management of the work and for long-term leadership. Doctrine, ministerial documentation, and ethics are handled by the North American Ministerial Council, composed of licensed and credentialed ministers. (General Conference-Church of God (Seventh Day). International Tour — North America. Bible Advocate. January 2007.)

CG7 has had a tendency to minimize the reporting of its history. Two articles of possible interest may be:

The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1585 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D.
Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG's I am aware of trace their history through this group. Do you know much about them?

Here is an item in today's news of interest:

Egypt to launch first spy satellite

Jerusalem Post - Jan 15, 2007 

In an effort to gain a foothold in space and gather intelligence on Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, Egypt plans to launch its first spy satellite on Tuesday from Kazakhstan. The Egyptstat 1, which weighs just under 100 kilograms, will circle the earth at an altitude of 668 kilometers. Using a high-powered multi-spectrum telescopic camera, it will be capable of transmitting black-and-white, color and infrared images. The camera can spot objects on the ground as small as four meters across. Egypt hopes to launch another satellite - called Desertstat - by the end of the year, currently under construction in Italy. The Egyptstat satellite, constructed in cooperation with the Yuzhnoye Company of Ukraine, will be launched on Tuesday from Kazakhstan, carried by a Dnepr missile, together with 12 light-weight Saudi Arabian satellites.

Tal Inbar, a senior research fellow at Israel's Fisher Institute for Air & Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya, said the Egyptstat launching marks a significant change in the balance of space capabilities in the Middle East. It will help Egypt to collect intelligence on Israel, Inbar added.

Those associated with the future king of the South have been working on their military capabilities for some time. The above story shows that they have "kicked it up" a notch.

01/14/07 a.m. Here is a link to a German Lego-animation, with English-subtitles titled Paul in Damascus.

This, and other items, of interest to the young and young of heart, are available at the COGwriter Quizzes Page (which was developed by my son Michael).

China and natural disasters. Here is a news item:

Earthquakes have killed more people on the Chinese mainland than any other form of natural disaster, according to a Chinese seismological official. Quake fatalities had accounted for 54 percent of natural disaster deaths since 1949, said Huang Jianfa, director of the earthquake emergency relief division of the China Seismological Bureau, on Saturday. Floods and droughts came the next, accounting for another 40 percent of deaths, Huang told the Asian-Pacific Regional Earthquake Exercise workshop in Shijiazhuang, provincial capital of Hebei. China had been afflicted by natural disasters, which affected 200 million people and damaged 40 million hectares of crops each year. Natural disasters cost the country an average 100 billion yuan (12.5 billion U.S. dollars) each year.

China also suffered serious losses from typhoons, landslides and rock-and-mud flows, said Huang.

An article of possible related interest may be China in Prophecy.

SCG's homepage states the following:

We must fully align ourselves with the same doctrines and judgments put into the Church by Jesus Christ through Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, God’s late apostle...

While I am glad that SCG is finally mentioning Jesus, the truth is that the issues are more than doctrine. Jesus condemned the Laodicean Church for having a different work than the Philadelphia Church. SCG has a different work than WCG under HWA did. An article of related interest may be Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?

01/13/07 a.m. CGOM-UK just sent out the following:

Is Jesus God? 
As famously noted by a past US President, clarity often hangs on word meaning: "It depends what the meaning of  'is' is". Perhaps surprisingly it is pertinent to the answer to our title question...  
Who was he? follows Jesus to this day. ...The battle-lines are drawn along the lines of Is he God - or man? The established church of the fourth century t.hought they could bury the question - much debated until then - at the Council of Nicea. Overawed by the Emperor Constantine a compromise was decided - Jesus was both God and man. However illogical that may seem it is present orthodoxy. It continues a matter of debate 
...The history of Jesus pre-dates his conception. Only in recent years has the true story become confused. Theology has long equated Jesus with the LORD of the Old Testament - Jehovah (JHVH), the true Elohim. He is presented to us as 'The Word': 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' (John 1:1). That is, Jesus was fully God and perfectly at one with the Father - co-existent with Him 
...In the New Testament we also learn that Jesus was the interface with the Father's creation, the intermediary by which the unseen Father created the Universe: 'For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist' (Colossians 1:16-17). As LORD Jesus sustained the Father's creation: 'You even you, are LORD alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and you preserve them all' (Nehemiah 9:6). To Him the Father has committed all His dealings, at this time, with His creation: ' [the Father] has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man' (John 5:27) 
...The divine purpose of creation is to enable mankind to become part of the Family of God. Before creation (before sin entered) God provided a way to reconcile us to Himself - through His Son (Ephesians 1:4-6). The LORD relinquished His divine status and powers: 'Christ Jesus...Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men' (Philippians 2:6-8). ...
Though he encountered temptation (like all humans) Jesus never once transgressed the divine Law, never - unlike us ( Romans 3:23) - fell short of the glory of God. Jesus never sinned and thus - by virtue of his divine origin - he became the perfect atonement for all of mankind (I Peter 2:22, Hebrews 5: 7-10).
...At His resurrection Jesus was restored to his divine status, authority and powers: 'God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father' (Philippians 2:9-11) (Ephesians 1: 17-23, Colossians 1:15). Now, exalted at the right hand of the Father '...in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily'  (Colossians 2:9)

Some articles of related interest may be:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus is God, But Was Made Man Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah's Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong reported:

The biggest news of the week has been President Bush’s speech announcing his plan to bolster U.S. forces in Iraq with 20,000 additional troops, and alter the rules of engagement to enable our military, in conjunction with Iraqi forces, to seek out and kill the insurgents...

Will this President have the courage, or the necessary support to bring the power of the United States to bear in confronting the crisis?  If he fails to act during his remaining two years in office, is there any other potential candidate on the horizon with the required intestinal fortitude?

While ICG tends to look a bit more towards human solutions to this than many other COGs, the reality is that LCG has long taught that Iraq will split into essentially three sections. Time will tell.

A reader send in the following news item:

A Major 7.9 Earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean East of the Kuril Islands, Tsanumi Warnings were issued. 

          Quake time: Friday, January 12, 2007 at 11:23:21 PM (EST) - Eastern Standard. 
          Officials in towns along Japan's Pacific coast issued evacuation orders to flee to higher ground, reports said.
          Hawaii, Taiwan and the Philippines were among a host of Pacific territories put on tsunami watch, a lower level of alert.

The Bible prophesies a larger quake that will eliminate most of the islands. This is discussed in the article Islands and Bible Prophecy.

01/12/07 a.m. The January 2007 issue of the Philadelphia Trumpet contains the following excerpt from Stephen Flurry's book:

Herbert Armstrong and J.H. Allen

In Transformed by Truth, Mr. Tkach Jr. wrote, “In fact, it is no secret that Herbert Armstrong’s The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy was copied from a book titled Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright by J.H. Allen.” He offers no support for this plagiarism charge. It’s just true because he says so—it’s “no secret”—everyone knows Mr. Armstrong “copied” it. But if you actually take the time to examine the two books, you will find that they are entirely different. Yes, entirely.

Just because both books discuss the modern identity of the lost 10 tribes of ancient Israel does not mean Mr. Armstrong “copied” Allen. If William Manchester and Martin Gilbert both write biographies about Winston Churchill, does that mean one plagiarized the other?

And it’s not like Mr. Armstrong tried to conceal the fact that he read Allen’s book when studying the subject of ancient Israel’s migration into Europe. He said, “It’s true that I had read one or two other writings and that book of J.H. Allen on the truth about the lost 10 tribes.” But it would be a “bald-faced lie” for anyone to say it was copied, Mr. Armstrong said.

“I examined this so-called Anglo-Israel theory,” he continued. “But I checked it very carefully with the Bible, and I only believed what I saw in the Bible. I didn’t believe and I threw out a lot of what they had.” Isn’t that the way any honest theologian would study a biblical commentary or history? If it squares with the truth of the Bible, then Mr. Armstrong was entitled to expound upon it just as much as any other theologian.

J.H. Allen introduced his book by writing, “Although it is not generally known, it is nevertheless true that God made two covenants with Abraham ….” Compare that to the introductory statement in The United States and Britain in Prophecy: “A staggering turn in world events is due to erupt in the next few years. It will involve violently the United States, Britain, Western Europe, the Middle East.” These opening remarks, like the titles for both books, highlight the vast difference between the two.

J.H. Allen organized his work into these three sections: 1) the birthright promise; 2) the scepter promise; and 3) the veil being lifted from the Abrahamic nations. The first two sections revolve around the promises God made to Abraham in Genesis 12 and how they played out in history. And to Allen’s credit, he tried to be honest with the Bible as compared with secular history.

The third section is also mostly historical and secular. And when Allen does venture into explaining the prophetic significance, he veers way off course.

Mr. Armstrong’s book, on the other hand, is about a prophesied captivity to come upon our peoples unless we repent of our sins. That is the book’s central focus from beginning to end.

In expounding on these end-time prophecies, Mr. Armstrong devoted some space in the book, between chapters 3 and 8, to establish Israel’s present-day identity based upon Bible and secular history. These are crucial historical facts that must be explained for readers to understand the truth about end-time prophecy. J.H. Allen is to be credited for teaching the truth about some of these historical facts. But he certainly did not grasp the tremendous significance of this history as it relates to Bible prophecy.

And yet, that’s what the last six chapters of Mr. Armstrong’s book are devoted to—expounding upon the real significance of this history as it relates to end-time prophecy. In chapter 10, for instance, Mr. Armstrong wrote about how the birthright promises were withheld for 2,520 years. There is nothing like this in Allen’s book. Another chapter asks the question, “Why did Israel lose its identity?” J.H. Allen not only failed to answer that question, he never asked it. Then Mr. Armstrong concluded his book by discussing what is prophesied to happen to the American and British peoples in the very near future—a conclusion that is not only different, but at complete odds with J.H. Allen’s conclusions.

While it is true that Mr. Armstrong read Judah’s Scepter and Joseph’s Birthright, along with other books about the “Anglo-Israel” theory, he did not copy those works. Joe Jr. made that dishonest claim without any supportive evidence whatsoever, simply because he dislikes Mr. Armstrong and doesn’t agree with the book that more than 6 million people requested. (Flurry S. Credentials. Philadelphia Trumpet. January 2007, p. 33).

I have both HWA's and J. Allen's books on this subject. PCG's Stephen Flurry, anti-COG critics notwithstanding, is correct that the books are not the same. I wrote about this years ago in my article 15 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert Armstrong (though yesterday, I added the above to it). The PLAIN TRUTH is that HWA came to a variety of different conclusions than J. Allen did, the books are not the same, and I do not believe that HWA plagiarized it.

SDA S. Bacchiocchi wrote:

The Celebration of Christmas in Some Adventist Churches

          The religious celebration of Christmas in Adventist churches is a recent development.  I grew up in Rome, Italy, where we never had a Christmas tree in our home or church. My father worked regularly on Christmas day. Our family regarded Christmas as a Catholic festival, similar to the weekly Sunday, Easter Sunday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on March 25, the Feast of Mary’s Assumption of August 15, All Saints Day on November 1, etc.  

          When I first came to the USA in 1960 as a seminary student at Andrews University, Christmas was primarily the Winter break. I do not recall much Christmas decorations and celebrations in the churches I visited during the four years I spent at the seminary from 1960 to 1964. 

          Gradually things have changed during the past 50 years. This is evident by the profusely illuminated and decorated front-end area of many Adventist churches at Christmas time. Some churches seem to compete with the rich decorations usually found in Greek Orthodox churches. 

          Frankly, I am not inspired by the elaborate Christmas decorations and celebration, because as a church historian I am aware of their pagan origin. Jesus was born in a humble manger. There were no fanciful decorations to celebrate His birth. It would be more in keeping with the setting of His birth, to keep the decorations simple, designed to help people catch the real spirit of Christ’s humble birth. 

          It was the celebration of the birth of the Sun-god in ancient Rome that was accompanied by a profusion of lights and torches and the decoration of trees. To facilitate the acceptance of the Christian faith by the pagan masses, the Church of Rome found it expedient to make not only the Day of the Sun the weekly celebration of Christ’s resurrection, but also the Birth Day of the Invincible Sun-God on December 25, the annual celebration of Christ’s birth (Bacchiocchi S. Day and Meaning of Christmas. ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 161, December 2006).

I, too, have noticed an increased tendency for SDAs to observe the non-biblical holiday of Christmas (though Ellen White herself appeared to endorse Christmas trees, etc.). This is one of the many differences between the SDAs and the COGs--no true COG member celebrates Christmas, whereas many SDAs do. An article of possible interest may be SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666.

LCG reported:

Middle East Heating Up. In the wake of Iran’s announcement about the coming of the Muslim Messiah in Spring 2007, the U.S. has sent two carrier groups to the Persian Gulf and shuffled military leadership in the Middle East. As President Bush plans for the future of the Iraq war, fire-power is being increased in the region that could be used in Iraq—or Iran, if necessary. Many have speculated on the nature of the military buildup in the Persian Gulf. What is apparent is that something “big” is being planned (DEBKAfile.com, January 7, 2007; WorldNetDaily, January 8, 2007). President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt recently said that his nation may be forced to develop nuclear weapons to defend itself against other powers in the region, including Iran (Egypt Daily News, January 5, 2007). The end times are prophesied to be full of drama, trauma and tension in the Middle East. We are witnessing events that will galvanize Middle Eastern nations into the prophesied king of the South of Daniel 11—the U.S. may be a catalyst in bringing these prophesies about.

An article of possible interest may be Is There a Future King of the South?

01/11/07 a.m. Magazine statistics. I noticed that the amount of magazines that PCG lists in its January 2007 issue of the Philadelphia Trumpet has dropped. And then I checked and noticed that this seems to be a trend. Here is the reported production for the same issue beginning with Jan 2004 (PCG did not have pdf files for prior issues, so I do not know the production prior to 2004):

2004-- 341, 203
2005-- 325,595
2006-- 323,900
2007-- 290,100

I knew that UCG was producing less of its Good News magazine than it once did, and was able to go back even further. The following are all for the January-February issues:

2002-- 449,000
2003-- 434,000
2004-- 427,000
2005-- 416,000
2006-- 398,000
2006-- 419,000

LCG produced the following copies of its Tomorrow's World magazine (all January-February issues, except in 1999, which is March-April, the first TW issue):

1999-- 11,721
2000-- 38,000
2001-- 70,751
2002-- 114,248
2003-- 159,950
2004-- 187,000
2005-- 238,000
2006-- 302,000
2007-- 315,828

This is the first time I was aware that LCG was producing more per issue magazines than PCG. With about 1/3 of UCG's membership, LCG puts out close to its number of magazines.

Notice the following news item from the Vatican-supporting Zenit:

Order of Malta Seeks Statute to Protect Jerusalem

Zenit - JAN. 10, 2007

ROME (Zenit) - The leader of the Order of Malta is asking for an international statute that would allow pilgrims from all over the world to enter Jerusalem.

According to biblical, as well as Roman Catholic prophecies, Rome will have a role in Jerusalem.

In other news:

Hamas acknowledges Israel

Scotsman - Jan 11, 2007

HAMAS acknowledges the existence of Israel as a reality but formal recognition will only be considered when a Palestinian state has been created, Khaled Meshaal, the movement's exiled leader, said yesterday.

But Mr Meshaal also ruled out any amending of the Hamas movement's charter, which calls for Israel's elimination, in the foreseeable future.

Sadly, I believe Hamas wants to follow its charter more than it truly wants peace with Israel.

01/10/07 a.m. The Catholic News Agency reported: 

Evangelicals, Catholics discuss nature of authority, Scripture CNA - Jan 9, 2007

Washington DC (CNA) - Evangelical and Catholic scholars in the United States have gathered for a fifth time to discuss the nature of authority, especially in Scripture, and the interplay between Sacred Scripture and Tradition...

Members of the two faith communities asked each other questions, seeking clarification and elaboration. For example, Evangelicals asked: "Why was Sacred Tradition put before Sacred Scripture in Dei Verbum?" Catholics asked: "In Scripture, apostolic authority is given by Christ to the apostles. Why is this not continuing in the life of the church specifically in the pastoral office?"

Participants explored the foundational areas of agreement as well as the differences in canon and sufficiency of Scripture. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=8347

Early church writers (both in the COG as well as those supporting what became the Roman Catholic Church) simply did not teach tradition or what the Hebrew scriptures were like the Roman Church now teaches.  Three articles of related interest would be:

Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings (including Melito), that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon - From the Bible Itself This article, shows from the Bible, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.

Did the second century Christians endorse keeping the ten commandments? Notice the following:

Ten Commandments after the Death of the Apostles

Polycarp was the bishop of Smyrna, and was a disciple of the Apostle John, the last of the original apostles as well as the last of the writers of the New Testament to die. What did he and other second century Christian leaders teach about the ten commandments.

Polycarp, around 120 A.D., wrote:

But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, falsewitness; "not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing," or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter II. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

"But the love of money is the root of all evils." Knowing, therefore, that "as we brought nothing into the world, so we can carry nothing out," let us arm ourselves with the armour of righteousness; and let us teach, first of all, ourselves to walk in the commandments of the Lord. Next, [teach] your wives [to walk] in the faith given to them, and in love and purity tenderly loving their own husbands in all truth, and loving all [others] equally in all chastity; and to train up their children in the knowledge and fear of God. Teach the widows to be discreet as respects the faith of the Lord, praying continually for all, being far from all slandering, evil-speaking, false-witnessing, love of money, and every kind of evil (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter IV. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

Knowing, then, that "God is not mocked," we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory ...For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since "every lust warreth against the spirit; " and "neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God," nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

I exhort you, therefore, that ye abstain from covetousness, and that ye be chaste and truthful. "Abstain from every form of evil." For if a man cannot govern himself in such matters, how shall he enjoin them on others ? If a man does not keep himself from covetousness, he shall be defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as one of the heathen. But who of us are ignorant of the judgment of the Lord ? (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter XI. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

In the above, Polycarp referred to at least six commandments (numbers 1,3,5,7,9,10). And probably nine (2,6,8), since stealing (and he wrote against the "love of money" which leads to stealing) and murder (plus Polycarp said not to repay "blow for blow") do not reflect love and idolatry is a form of "false-witnessing".

Furthermore, since in Polycarp's area, when reporting his martyrdom, the Smyrnaeans referred to Friday as the "day of preparation" and mentioned "the great Sabbath", it is obvious that the fourth commandment about the Sabbath was also kept.

Melito of Sardis, around 170 A.D., endorsed the commandments as well and specifically referred to breaking the first one as sin:

If, therefore, a man forsake the light, and say that there is another God, it is plain from what he himself says that it is some created thing which he calls God. For, if a man call fire God, it is not God, because it is fire; and, if a man call water God, it is not God, because it is water; and, if he so call this earth on which we tread, or these heavens which are seen by us, or the sun, or the moon, or some one of these stars which run their course without ceasing by Divine command, and do not speed along by their own will, neither are these gods; and, if a man call gold and silver gods, are not these objects things which we use as we please? and, if he so call those pieces of wood which we burn, or those stones which we break, how can these things be gods? For, 1o! they are for the use of man. How can `they' escape the commission of great sin, who in their speech change the great God into those things which, so long as they continue, continue by Divine command? (A Discourse Which Was in the Presence of Antoninus Caesar).

In his Discourse Which Was in the Presence of Antoninus Caesar, Melito also objected to violating the second, seventh, and tenth commandments, specifically idolatry, adultery, and lusting for another's wife.

Melito was claimed to be one who observed the annual Sabbaths (like the first day of unleavened bread), hence would have kept the fourth commandment. In verse 49 of his Homily on the Passover, he refers to parental honor and dishonor (suggestive of endorsing the fifth commandment). In fragment V he complains about the wickedness of murder (commandment 6) and "false witness" (commandment 9).

While that is only eight of the ten commandments, I would suggest that Melito did not approve of taking God's name in vain (third commandment) nor stealing (eighth commandment)--and he may have specifically wrote against those as well, because in many of his writings we only have fragments that remain today.

Even the Roman supporting Irenaeus around 180 wrote that Christ taught and did not do away with the Ten Commandments, but he taught that that is what the heretic Marcion taught:

1. And that the Lord did not abrogate the natural [precepts] of the law, by which man is justified, which also those who were justified by faith, and who pleased God, did observe previous to the giving of the law, but that He extended and fulfilled them, is shown from His words. "For," He remarks, "it has been said to them of old time, Do not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That every one who hath looked upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." And again: "It has been said, Thou shalt not kill. But I say unto you, Every one who is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment." And, "It hath been said, Thou shalt not forswear thyself. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; but let your conversation be, Yea, yea, and Nay, nay." And other statements of a like nature. For all these do not contain or imply an opposition to and an overturning of the [precepts] of the past, as Marcion's followers do strenuously maintain; but [they exhibit] a fulfilling and an extension of them (Book IV, Chapter 13, Verse 1).

Preparing man for this life, the Lord Himself did speak in His own person to all alike the words of the Decalogue; and therefore, in like manner, do they remain permanently with us, receiving by means of His advent in the flesh, extension and increase, but not abrogation (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book IV, Chapter 16, Verse 4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

The term Decalogue refers to the ten commandments.

Theophilus was a leader of the church in Antioch in the latter part of the second century. The Orthodox Church considers him to have been a successor to the Apostle Peter.

Theophilus, around 180 A.D., wrote:

And on the sixth day God finished His works which He made, and rested on the seventh day from all His works which He made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because in it He rested from all His works which God began to create...Moreover, [they spoke] concerning the seventh day, which all men acknowledge; but the most know not that what among the Hebrews is called the "Sabbath," is translated into Greek the "Seventh" (ebdomas), a name which is adopted by every nation, although they know not the reason of the appellation...God having thus completed the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and all that are in them, on the sixth day, rested on the seventh day from all His works which He made (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapters XI, XII, XIX. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Now we also confess that God exists, but that He is one, the creator, and maker, and fashioner of this universe; and we know that all things are arranged by His providence, but by Him alone. And we have learned a holy law; but we have as lawgiver Him who is really God, who teaches us to act righteously, and to be pious, and to do good. And concerning piety He says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I am the LORD thy God." And of doing good He said: "Honour thy father and thy mother; that it may be well with thee, and that thy days may be long in the land which I the LORD God give thee." Again, concerning righteousness: "Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, nor his land, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his beast of burden, nor any of his cattle, nor anything that is thy neighbour's...Of this divine law, then, Moses, who also was God's servant, was made the minister both to all the world, and chiefly to the Hebrews...Of this great and wonderful law, which tends to all righteousness, the ten heads are such as we have already rehearsed (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter IX. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Thus, it is clear that Polycarp and others endorsed all ten of the commandments in the second century.

In the third century, even the Roman theologian Hippolytus understood, not only that the commandments needed to be kept, but that baptism alone was not enough as he wrote:

Ye obtained my baptism, but ye observed not my commandments...For not every, one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall be saved, but he that doeth my will. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment (Hippolytus. On the End of the World, Chapter XLVIII. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Related articles of interest may be:

Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai? Some have said not. This article provides biblical quotes to answer this important question.
Job and the Ten Commandments Was Job written prior to Mount Sinai? Did Job know about the ten commandments? This article provides biblical answers to those questions.
Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? Some have said so. This article provides some biblical quotes to answer this important question.
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law? Many believe that, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John's writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?

01/09/07 a.m. In his latest letter, Legacy Institute's Leon Sexton wrote:

We who are in the Church should already be aware of what is coming because of the understanding of prophecies God has given us in His Holy Word. In the meantime, we have a job to do. God has commanded us to get the Gospel out to the nations...But have we lost our resolve?

Sadly, many do not understand how important it is to proclaim the Gospel to the world as a witness. An article of related interest may be Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work?

ACD's Ken Westby posted:

Tongues Speaking and the Azusa Street Revival
The 600 million Pentecostals and Charismatics have been called the Third Wave of Christianity. This 20th Century phenomenon can be traced back to a little alley street in Los Angeles--Azusa Street--where the "revival" began 100 years ago. It was led by a young black pastor, William Seymour, a one-eyed son of a former slave. Nothing is now left of the Azusa Street Mission which had moved into an abandoned church building with apartments upstairs and a dirty old stable for horses downstairs. At one point up to 1500 people jammed into the main room which formerly housed the horses.

What was the attraction? It was believed that what began there was a modern manifestation of the Holy Ghost coming on the Day of Pentecost accompanied by speaking in "tongues." People were falling down "slain in the spirit" and speaking in tongues. Word spread and the crowds came. The Los Angeles Times mocked the revival fervor, one headline read: "Weird Babel of Tongues; New Sect of Fanatics is Breaking Loose." But there was more too it than that. Imagine, 100 years ago the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement didn't exist...

The Azusa Street Revival launched an amazing modern movement and I'm sure there are many sincere Christians included in it, but to suggest it is a modern display of the events and gifts of the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection is folly and has no basis in Scripture.

I have posted about the Azusa Street Revival in the past as it is located near where WCG's old HQ was. However, the reason to post the above statement is to provide additional evidence that ACD is really not a COG.

There are no sincere real Christians involved with the Azusa Street Revival--there are many sincere people who do not truly know Christ. And actually, that is a problem with ACD--ACD denies the pre-existence of Christ and the accuracy of the New Testament (please see the article Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning), hence I do not believe that ACD really is a COG.

ACD leaders have made enough statements that show that they accept Protestants as Christians, that I believe that they are best classified as unitarian Protestant and not COG. The COG is not Protestant (Hope of Salvation: How the COGs differ from most Protestants ).

Click here for previous COG news (includes comments rebutting an accusation against HWA, Stephen Flurry's admission of PCG changing HWA's MOA, WCG's position on ordaining women, Pat Robertson's predictions, China, etc.)

Click here to go back to the COGwriter home page

Click here for the Early Christianity page

Volume 10, issue 33 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2007