5 S H 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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05/28/07 a.m. In his latest newsletter, CEM's Ron Dart reported:

CEM is moving. We aren’t moving far, but the time has come to move. Rents keep rising, and it now makes more sense to own our own building than to rent. In less than a year, we will be moving our offices to Whitehouse, Texas. I know, you probably thought that was where we were already, but we have an office in Tyler and use the Whitehouse post office for convenience. So, it made more sense to move the office to Whitehouse (which is a suburb of Tyler), than to buy the more expensive property in Tyler.

      Our office doesn’t need a high priced location because we have very few drop-in visitors. The new offices will not be hard to find, but they will be out of the Tyler traffic pattern, which is becoming more crowded all the time.

      Economically, the move makes even more sense. Over the next ten years, our cash outlay for office space will be less than if we stay in our present location. In that time period, we would have three lease renewals, each with an increase in rent, plus we get surcharged for utilities and other factors. Our month to month cash outlay will be little different to start with, and the mortgage payment will stay the same for the duration of the loan. When the building is paid for, the costs will drop still further and our goal of maximizing our output to the public will be enhanced.

As mentioned previously, UCG is also moving. Like CEM it is planning on moving to Texas. Unlike CEM, this will be a far move as UCG currently is located in Southern Ohio.

Related to its move, UCG announced:

May 6 the General Conference of Elders approved "relocating the home office of the United Church of God, an International Association, to the greater Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, Metroplex area." The move, planned for 2010, was proposed by the administration...

Phase One Plans

The plans for the first phase, to be completed in 2010, include an administration building, a warehouse, a training center and housing for 48 single students and for 16 married couples.

The 20,000-square-foot administration building would have 35 offices (basically double the number of corresponding current offices), three open office areas (including one for Mail Processing and one for Information Technology), a conference center and meeting rooms, TV and media studios, a radio studio and production area, an employee break room and an atrium lobby.

The proposed 9,000-square-foot warehouse building would include the mail room as well as warehouse storage space.

The 20,000-square-foot training center would have seven offices, a 150-seat lecture hall, 10 classrooms (five of which could be opened up into a larger meeting room), a library, a music rehearsal room, a kitchen and dining room and a lobby/reception area.

Student housing planned for phase one includes four 2,000-square-foot buildings with living and sleeping quarters for 12 students in each building, along with a kitchen in each building.

On-campus housing is designed to help make the ABC program more effective...Housing is also planned for married couples and to reduce the current 700 hotel room nights a year required for those coming to the home office for meetings or training. This would consist of four 2,000-square-foot buildings, each with two two-bedroom sections, for a total of 16 bedrooms (serving 16 couples).

LCG moved from San Diego (CA) to Charlotte (NC) several years ago to reduce costs. UCG moved from Southern California to Southern Ohio many years ago as it concluded that would be the best, and presumably most cost-effective location for its "Home Office". Apparently, Texas is now a better option for UCG.

05/27/07 a.m. Today is Pentecost.

Happy Pentecost!

If you would like to learn more about it, or simply play a quiz, consider the following items:

Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many "Christians" somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means?
Pentecost Quiz This is a Pentecost quiz based upon the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.

The May issue of UCG's United News arrived yesterday. It announced:

The General Conference of Elders selected two new members for the UCGIA Council of Elders and returned two men to the Council May 6. Their three-year Council term begins with the new fiscal year on July 1.

Robert Berendt was selected for the international position. He is pastor of the Edmonton, Alberta, congregation and serves three other congregations as well. He has been on the UCG–Canada National Council since its inception. He also served in Europe from 1987 to 1992.

Mr. Berendt taught high school science for four years before attending Ambassador College. He has pastored churches since 1971.

Roy Holladay was previously on the Transitional Board and the Council of Elders from 1995 to 2002. He served as chairman of the Council from 2000 to 2002, when he was selected as president. He served in that position until 2005, and is now pastor of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Rome, Georgia, congregations.

Reselected to the Council were Clyde Kilough, president of UCGIA since 2005, and Vic Kubik, pastor of the Lafayette and Terre Haute, Indiana, congregations. Mr. Kubik also serves as senior pastor for Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

Completing their Council terms June 30 will be Les McCullough, who has served on the Council since 1997, and Leon Walker, who has served on the Council since 1996.

While I covered about half of the above news earlier, I thought providing it in its entirety would be of general interest.

Yesterday, the anti-COG AW site posted the following in a criticism of LCG's D. Winnail:

The fact is, whether Doug likes it or not, that the early church used the Septuagint (LXX) which is much closer to the Orthodox and Catholic canons than his truncated New King James Version. It's also a fact that those pesky proto-Catholics decided what was going into the New Testament, not the Sabbath-keeping Jewish Christians he fantasises continuity with.

Sadly, those no longer in the COGs have lost a lot of truth, including the truth about the Bible and the canonization of scripture or even what is scripture. The truth is that the Bible that the COGs and most Protestants use is not in any way truncated.

The additional books that the Catholics and Orthodox use in the OT were not officially accepted until rather late. Notice that the Catholic Jerome specifically challenges the validity of the Septuagint and states that the Hebrew Bible was used by Jesus and the Apostles:

The Hebrew Scriptures are used by apostolic men; they are used, as is evident, by the apostles and evangelists. Our Lord and Saviour himself whenever he refers to the Scriptures, takes his quotations from the Hebrew; as in the instance of the words "He that believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water," and in the words used on the cross itself, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani," which is by interpretation "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" not, as it is given by the Septuagint, "My God, my God, look upon me, why have you forsaken me?" and many similar cases. I do not say this in order to aim a blow at the seventy translators; but I assert that the Apostles of Christ have an authority superior to theirs. Wherever the Seventy agree with the Hebrew, the apostles took their quotations from that translation; but, where they disagree, they set down in Greek what they had found in the Hebrew (Jerome. Apology Against Rufinus, Book II, Chapter 34).

Furthermore, notice the following Orthodox admissions about them:

...the 'Deutero-Canonical Books'. These were declared by the Councils of Jassy (1641) and Jerusalem (1672) to be 'genuine parts of Scripture'; most Orthodox scholars...consider that the Deutero-Canonical Books, although part of the Bible, stand at a lower footing than the rest of scripture (Ware T. The Orthodox Church, p.200).

If it took until the 17th century for the Orthodox to finally accept the additional books as scripture, this certainly shows that they had doubts about them for a rather long time.

Those interested in the truth about the canon should read the articles:

The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon - From the Bible Itself This article, shows from the Bible and supporting sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.

CGG posted the following news item from Spiegel:

New French President Nicolas Sarkozy made immigration a central issue of his campaign. Now, his new minister for immigration and national identity says its time to start paying immigrants to leave the country...

France is home to an estimated 1.5 million immigrants from mostly Muslim North Africa and 500,000 from sub-Saharan Africa, according to the 2004 census. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,484716,00.html

Various Catholic private prophecies suggest that the above scheme will not be that effective. Essentially they show that there will be civil unrest and riots in France which will lead to one becoming "the Great Monarch" who will be crowned head of the "Roman Empire" by a pope who will perform miracles. We in the COGs tend to view this monarch as the Beast of Revelation.

05/26/07 a.m. The following news item was of interest;

Vatican hosts forum to promote Latin

UPI - May 24, 2007

The Vatican is hosting an international congress to be held in Rome and the Vatican Friday and Saturday to promote the study of Latin. The theme of the gathering is "Latin Future: the language for building the identity of Europe." http://www.religionandspirituality.com/currentEvents/view.php?StoryID=20070524-094956-1714r

The above suggests that English (the main language of business) is being slightled for Latin (a dead language really only spoken by the Catholic clergy)--which is no surprise as the Vatican has repeatedly attempted to push parts of its agenda into the European Union (see also Europa and the Beast of Revelation).

Yesterday I noticed that CGI gave its website a facelift. While it looks better, I still am finding problems with its pdf files and the fact that many areas are not updated very often. For example, its Pastors' Panel does not appear to have been updated in well over a year--this was something that was originally planned to be updated multiple times per month. Problems with their website and limited posting of news are the main reasons I report little on that group.

PCG reported:

In glaring contrast to the proposed United States amnesty bill, European Union officials are seeking to introduce tough new measures to fight illegal immigration.

On May 16, the European Commission announced a proposal targeting employers of illegal workers that would involve criminal penalties ranging from fines to jail terms. EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini is calling for a fivefold increase in the percentage of companies inspected annually for employing illegal immigrants. Those found to have not done adequate background checks on their employees could be forced to pay, among other fines, the cost of sending an illegal immigrant home and could lose public subsidies for up to five years.

With an estimated 4 to 8 million illegal immigrants in the 27-nation bloc and a further half million entering each year, European nations could be compelled to work together under the aegis of the EU—or hand more authority to the EU bureaucracy—to stem the tide.

One of the factors making illegal immigration such an urgent matter in Europe is the fact that a massive segment of this unknown number is Muslim. Not only are illegal immigrants hurting Europeans economically, in part by depressing wages, but Muslim immigrants especially also present severe cultural issues due to their lack of assimilation. Terrorism, segregation and ghettos are among the problems arising from the huge influx of immigrants in recent years.

Europe is starting to awake to the impact its increasing Muslim population is having on the Continent. Initiatives such as seeking to tighten up on the employment of illegal immigrants are an indication of a hardening stance against these Muslim immigrants. Europeans are growing fed up with the economic and cultural woes they see such immigrants as causing, not to mention the degradation of their own “European” values that is occurring.

While I am not sure that the immigrants are necessarily hurting the EU economically, I do believe that the EU will take steps to eliminate Muslim influence. This will most likely result in many Muslims being forced or pressured to leave (or in the future, convert). Certain Catholic prophecies indicate that the one that we in the COGs consider will be the Beast of Revelation will have to deal with civil unrest within what will be considered the final "Holy Roman Empire" and will ultimately also invade the Moslem King of the South.

On other matters, my son Michael reported that questions 2 and 9 are the ones most often missed in his new Pentecost Quiz.

Pentecost is tomorrow.

05/25/07 a.m. The apostles in the New Testament, Roman Catholic Church, and the Church of God observe Pentecost on a Sunday. This has to do with how the Old Testament says to calculate it--by counting 50:

And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-16).

By counting starting the day after the Saturday Sabbath, fifty days always ends up on a Sunday.

But what about the Jews? Do they not keep Pentecost on Sivan 6 no matter what day of the week it falls?

Sadly, most follow improper traditions and not the Hebrew scriptures. Not only did Jesus condemn the Jewish leaders of His day for relying more on tradition than the commands of God, Jesus observed Passover on the evening before most Jews did in His day (and do today).

Perhaps it should be mention that throughout history, there have been Jews who have celebrated the biblical Holy Days on the days the Hebrew scriptures specify. A recent news article confirmed this when it stated:

Israel is now home to most of the world's Karaite Jews, who have been estranged from mainstream Judaism for centuries. Although most people concede that it is difficult to say exactly how many Karaites there are today, estimates put the population in Israel at approximately 20,000 to 25,000, accounting for the overwhelming majority of the approximately 30,000 Karaites in the world...

Although the Karaites accept all 24 books of the Bible as holy, they staunchly reject the divinity of the Oral Law (recorded in the Talmud) as well as the authority of the rabbis, and view many aspects of rabbinic Halacha as contradictory to the pshat, or plain meaning, of the Torah...

"There are three main concepts that Karaite practice is based on," explains Rabbi Moshe Firrouz of the Karaite synagogue in Beersheba. "There is the written word of the Bible, logical interpretation, and tradition."

Firrouz stresses that one is not allowed to make any sort of rule that contradicts the Torah, and if one gives an explanation for one of the passages, that explanation should not contradict any other part of the Torah either...

Karaites believe themselves to be the descendents of those who have remained the "true practitioners" of the law handed down to Moses at Sinai 3,500 years ago. The word "Karaite" itself comes from the Hebrew phrase bnei mikra ("followers of the scripture")...

Karaites do not accept the rabbinic theology that states that the Oral Torah (recorded in the Talmud) was handed down at Mount Sinai alongside the written Torah (an important tenet of rabbinic Judaism). Nor do they accept that Shavuot marked the historical date of the giving of the Torah. However, they do celebrate the holiday, albeit with a relatively significant difference in timing.

While most Jews will be celebrating the giving of the Torah on May 23 of this year, Karaites will celebrate the holiday on Sunday, May 27. Because they interpret the biblical verse of Leviticus 23:15-16 - which states "And you shall count for you from the morrow after the day of rest [Shabbat]" - to mean the day after Shabbat (Sunday), rather than the day after the first day of Pessah, they always begin counting the Omer on the Sunday that falls during Pessah.

Karaites therefore always celebrate Shavuot on a Sunday, rather than the rabbinic custom of celebrating 49 days from the second day of Pessah (or on the 6th of Sivan). (Laying down the (Oral) law. Jerusalem Post. May 22, 2007. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1178708657471&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull)

We in the COGs, like the Living Church of God, will be observing Pentecost on Sunday, May 27 this year. Even within Judaism, those who rely on oral tradition above scriptures make many errors. More information on biblical interpretation is in the article What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation?

Speaking of Pentecost, two articles of related interest may be:

Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many "Christians" somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means?
Pentecost Quiz
This is a Pentecost quiz based upon the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.

Have you taken the new Pentecost Quiz yet?

05/24/07 a.m. Two items of related interest were in the news yesterday:

Church of Scotland ends 1843 schism

UPI - May 23, 2007

A century-long division in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland ended in the capital Edinburgh when the Church of Scotland welcomed leaders of the Free Church of Scotland to its 2007 General Assembly that was officially opened by Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth II, and runs May 19-25. http://www.religionandspirituality.com/currentEvents/view.php?StoryID=20070523-102112-7670r

Two French churches agree to unite

UPI - May 23, 2007

The Reformed and Lutheran Churches in France agreed to start discussions towards creating a united denomination by 2013. 

A joint May 17-20 meeting of the Reformed Church of France (ERF) synod and that of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of France (EELF) in Montbéliard in eastern France voted almost unanimously to start a three-year process of discussions at the local level about unification before proceeding to the next step, Ecumenical News International reported Wednesday. http://www.religionandspirituality.com/currentEvents/view.php?StoryID=20070523-104108-2447r

Both the Bible (Revelation 13:8) and the Living Church of God (see section titled Ecumenism—Religious Harlotry? in the booklet Who or What Is—The Antichrist?) teach that a type of religious ecumenical unity will come in the last days.

Yesterday, a bulk email from WCG stated:

...Pentecost, which will be observed on May 27.

So although WCG does not believe that there is an "Annual Worship Calendar" In the Bible, probably because other mainstream groups keep Pentecost and the fact that it is on a Sunday, WCG still has some observation of it--though I suspect that since they have thrown out the other biblical holy days for days of human origen, that they do not teach it the way that they once did. Two articles of related interest may include:

Is There "An Annual Worship Calendar" In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles (the main one of which is from WCG) which state that this should be a local decision.
Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many "Christians" somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means? It is also called the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks, and the day of firstfruits.

05/23/07 a.m. Is the idea of a thousand year reign of Christ on Earth an original belief of the Church? If so, should it be condemned?

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes,

The fundamental idea of millenarianism, as understood by Christian writers, may be set forth as follows: At the end of time Christ will return in all His splendour to gather together the just, to annihilate hostile powers, and to found a glorious kingdom on earth for the enjoyment of the highest spiritual and material blessings; He Himself will reign as its king, and all the just, including the saints recalled to life, will participate in it...The duration of this glorious reign of Christ and His saints on earth, is frequently given as one thousand years. Hence it is commonly known as the "millennium", while the belief in the future realization of the kingdom is called "millenarianism" (or "chiliasm", from the Greek chilia, scil. ete)...

...a large number of Christians of the post-Apostolic era, particularly in Asia Minor, yielded so far to Jewish apocalyptic as to put a literal meaning into these descriptions of St. John's Apocalypse; the result was that millenarianism spread and gained staunch advocates not only among the heretics but among the Catholic Christians as well...

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a native of Asia Minor, influenced by the companions of St. Polycarp, adopted millenarian ideas, discussing and defending them in his works against the Gnostics (Adv. Haereses, V, 32)...

In the West, the millenarian expectations of a glorious kingdom of Christ and His just, found adherents for a long time. The poet Commodian (Instructiones, 41, 42, 44) as well as Lactantius (Institutiones, VII) proclaim the millennial realm and describe its splendour...

Moreover, the attitude of the Church towards the secular power had undergone a change with closer connection between her and the Roman empire. There is no doubt that this turn of events did much towards weaning the Christians from the old millenarianism (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Millennium and Millenarianism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Notice that one Pope in the 20th Century blessed a book that stated:

...the time of the First Resurrection will end...It is the time when the Seventh Millennium will set in, and will be the day of Sabbath in the plan of creation...It has been the common opinion among Jews, Gentiles, and Latin and Greek Christians, that the present evil world will last no more than 6,000 years...Christians and Jews, from the beginning of Christianity, and before, have taught that 6,000 years after the creation of Adam and Eve, the consummation will occur. The period after the consummation is to be the seventh day of creation--the Sabbath...St. Jerome said, "It is a common belief that the world will last 6,000 years."

...I believe that as the last days come to an end so will the sixth day of creation (Culligan E. The Last World War and the End of Time. The book was blessed by Pope Paul VI, 1966. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), pp. 113-115).

Yet the above view is strongly condemned by the Roman Catholic Church! Notice the following:

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995).


The current pope wrote in a paper titled The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure prior to becoming Pope Benedict XVI:

"...both Chiliasm [the teaching of the Millennium] and Montanism were declared heretical and were excluded from the universal church; for they both denied this vision [the "Christ is the end of the ages" vision] and awaited still another period of more definitive salvation to follow after the age of Christ" (as cited in Birch, pp. 515-516; note the comments within [] were from the Catholic writer Birch).

This is an odd statement. It was the leaders in Asia Minor who stood for the Millennium and were the first to oppose Montanism--whom the Roman Catholics originally tolerated (please see the article Location of the Early Church)--hence the belief in one is NOT necessarily related to the other. And while the old Catholic Encyclopedia admits that the idea of millenarianism was abandoned once the Catholic Church had good relations with the Roman Empire, Pope Benedict claims that the reason to teach against millenarianism is that it shows that God has a plan of salvation beyond this age. This is thus a major difference between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of God.

Two other articles of related interest may include Did The Early Church Millenarianism? and Universal Salvation? There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis.

The old WCG was mentioned in the news this week:

Pocono Record Writer - May 21, 2007...

The Poconos has hosted some interesting large groups.

Mount Pocono used to be home to the Worldwide Church of God. About 15,000 people, mostly families, would spend eight days here. http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070521/NEWS/705210333

WCG, of course, is no longer a COG and does not actually observe the biblical Feast of Tabernacles (which with the Last Great Day) which was the eight days that the Pocono Record Writer was referring to. Four articles of possibly related interest may include:

The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today's Christians?
LCG 2007 Feast of Tabernacles' Information Information on announced Feast sites of the Living Church of God.
Comments on the Teachings of Ron Wallen, Philip Neal, Kenneth W., GRUMPS, Jesse Arellano, and others who Profess(ed) that WCG has God's Authority Can one still believe what HWA used to teach and still be in WCG? This article addresses this important issue.
The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. Might it have a relationship to the current WCG?

The following item is timely:

Jerusalem Post - May 21, 2007

By Stephen Rosenberg

The writer is a Fellow of the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem. 

We observant Jews count the Omer - 50 days from Pessah to Shavuot - because the Torah commands us to. Every night we've been reciting the number of days and weeks that have passed and look forward to the coming festival, rightly called Shavuot, or Weeks. In Greek it is Pentecost - the counting of 50.

The Day of Pentecost will be Sunday, May 27, 2007 this year and will be so observed by most in the COGs. Information about it can be found in the article Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2?

05/22/07 a.m. Yesterday, I mentioned the odd assertion of COGaic's David Hulme that the early church did not know itself as “Christian”.

But of course, that is not nearly as bad as many other bizarre assertions that have been made by some who no longer believe basic doctrine (I am not asserting that David Hulme does not believe basic doctrine--though I do have several questions about his beliefs). Ken Westby's ACD and Wade Cox's CCG, and Ron Weinland's CG-PFK do not even accept the true deity of Christ. Many simply need to study their Bibles and early church history to see the error in those positions. The following articles on the Godhead many be of assistance:

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.

However, before I thought it could be any worse, yesterday I saw the following claimed to have been written by a "John O." as the lead article at the anti-COG site inaccurately called "The Painful Truth":

In the first place, Jesus was NOT His real name. It was a title. According to the Bible, His real name was Immanuel. But, apart from the stories of Jesus, there is historically recorded many travels - through the Roman Empire - of one remarkable man, presumably anointed or enlightened, and this man journeyed and taught Godly wisdom in that early Church era. Since "Jesus" is the Greek for the name "Joshua," the early Christians gave this particular early philosopher the name of Joshua, as they believed that this distinct, early New Testament man would be the one to lead them out of Roman bondage and into a new life...

But, his real name was NOT Jesus...His real name was Apollonius of Tyana...He was Greek and not Jewish..., whose life did not even exist as written, but whose invented, imaginary existence was falsely derived from a genuine philosopher who was neither "Christian" in his approach, nor was he Jewish. Christians would call Apollonius a "pagan"...

It interesting to note that the early Christians NEVER regarded their "Jesus" as Messiah, or Savior. They regarded him as anointed (or enlightened) and that's all. It was the early Roman church that started all that Messiah and Savior stuff...

The Bible clearly and repeatedly uses the name Jesus (actually the term "Jesus", which is essentially Joshua, in the NKJV of the New Testament 980 times!). Jesus was a Jew and although there was an early church leader named Apollonius, he came much later than Jesus (though there were undoubtedly others with the name Apollonius at various times). It is simply NOT TRUE that the Roman church "started all that Messiah and Savior stuff". The "Messiah and Savior stuff" preceded the formation of the Roman church.

The New Testament makes it clear that early believers and Jesus recognized Jesus at the Messiah. Notice the following two verses in John:

He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ) (John 1:41).

The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He" (John 4:25-26).

It needs to be understood that the use of the term Messiah above is not an inappropriate translation as the Greek word of Hebrew origin used in both places is Messias:

Messias (mes-see'-as); of Hebrew origin [OT:4899]; the Messias (i.e. Mashiach), or Christ:

KJV - Messias. (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Perhaps I should mention that since the Bible states that the term Christ means Messiah, the NKJV uses the term Christ 554 times. Furthermore, the New Testament also makes it clear that Jesus was/is the saviour--and the NKJV uses the term "savior" 20 or so times in reference to Jesus.

Also notice the first sentence in Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians:

Polycarp, and the presbyters with him, to the Church of God sojourning at Philippi: Mercy to you, and peace from God Almighty, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, be multiplied.

Thus, the idea of Jesus being the Christ (Messiah) and Savior is also shown in early post-New Testament writings as well. Even in the above short letter, Polycarp uses the term Jesus 11 times, Christ 15 times, and Saviour once.

The Bible predicts:

1 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water (2 Peter 3:1-6).

Some are obviously intentionally simply forgetting or ignoring the word of God--which is shown in the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. Information about the Bible, names, and the authenticity of scriptures is included in the following articles:

The Bible: Fact or Fiction? This is a booklet written by Douglas Winnail that answers if the Bible is just a collection of myths and legends or the inspired word of God.
Read the Bible Christians should read the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert Armstrong, and Augustine show?
Bible and Historical Resources on the Internet Electronic bibles, Two Babylons, early Christian literature, photos, and even links to old Herbert W. Armstrong materials.
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, 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 and supporting sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.

Bible Names Dictionary This is Hitchcock's 19th Century version, with an electronic search and some links.
Why the Names Jesus and Christ in English? Was the New Testament Written in Hebrew or Greek? Various groups believe that the name Jesus should not be used, but instead other pronunciations and spellings. This is an article, which appeared in the The Living Church News by the late evangelist John Ogwyn, addresses this, as well as if the New Testament was written in Hebrew or Greek.

God’s Names and the Jewish Reading Tradition This article which appeared in the The Living Church News by John Wheeler, addresses this, as well as a few other Hebrew and Greek points.

Of course the assertions that John O. made are not true. It is painful that people can simply make those errors. Knowledge of the Bible and Early Christianity can help people avoid those errors.

05/21/07 a.m. Did the early Church know itself as "Christian"?

Yes, that is one of the names that it had--though it was apparently initially given to it by outsiders.

However, COGaic's David Hulme put together the following list which is part of his article titled A Partial List of Differences Between the Early New Testament Church and Today’s Christianity which has a different conclusion:

Consider some of the things the early church did not practice:

1. It did not observe Christmas, Lent, or Easter
2. It did not meet on the first day of the week, Sunday
3. It did not profess the Trinity
4. It did not participate in Holy Communion
5. It did not baptize infants
6. It did not advocate celibacy
7. It did not venerate saints
8. It did not think it was going to heaven
9. It did not have elaborate rituals
10. It did not build cathedrals
11. It did not take up political causes
12. It did not fight government
13. It did not withdraw from the world
14. It did not know itself as “Christian”

While I am glad that COGaic now gives more ideas of what it does not believe, David Hulme is somewhat in error on the last point. According to the Bible in Acts 11:26 and 1 Peter 4:16, outsiders knew them as Christian, and early church writings confirm that this was a name that the early church also knew itself as.

The following was written about 100 A.D.:

So the worthless rose up against the honoured, those of no reputation against such as were renowned, the foolish against the wise, the young against those advanced in years. For this reason righteousness and peace are now far departed from you, inasmuch as every one abandons the fear of God, and is become blind in His faith, neither walks in the ordinances of His appointment, nor acts a part becoming a Christian, but walks after his own wicked lusts, resuming the practice of an unrighteous and ungodly envy, by which death itself entered into the world...

Let your children be partakers of true Christian training; let them learn of how great avail humility is with God—how much the spirit of pure affection can prevail with Him—how excellent and great His fear is, and how it saves all those who walk in it with a pure mind...

It is disgraceful, beloved, yea, highly disgraceful, and unworthy of your Christian profession, that such a thing should be heard of as that the most steadfast and ancient church of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition against its presbyters. (Letter to the Corinthians, Chapters 3,21,47).

The following is from The Martyrdom of Polycarp, circa 156 A.D.:

But upon this the whole multitude, marvelling at the nobility of mind displayed by the devout and godly race of Christians, cried out...

Polycarp declared, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?"

And when the proconsul yet again pressed him, and said, "Swear by the fortune of Cæsar," he {Polycarp} answered, "Since you are vainly urgent that, as you say, I should swear by the fortune of Cæsar, and pretendest not to know who and what I am, hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian. And if you wish to learn what the doctrines of Christianity are, appoint me a day, and you shall hear them."

While he spoke these and many other like things, he was filled with confidence and joy, and his countenance was full of grace, so that not merely did it not fall as if troubled by the things said to him, but, on the contrary, the proconsul was astonished, and sent his herald to proclaim in the midst of the stadium thrice, "Polycarp has confessed that he is a Christian." This proclamation having been made by the herald, the whole multitude both of the heathen and Jews, who dwelt at Smyrna, cried out with uncontrollable fury, and in a loud voice, "This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, and the overthrower of our gods, he who has been teaching many not to sacrifice, or to worship the gods." (The Martyrdom of Polycarp 3,9-10,12)

I thought that even though COGaic does not clearly teach church eras, that it still accepted that Polycarp was a true leader of the early Church. Since Polycarp declared himself a Christian, I simply do not believe that David Hulme was truly studied early church history enough or he would not have made his odd claim.

Also, for another example, notice what Theophilus of Antioch declared around 180 A.D.:

I, for my part, avow that I am a Christian, and bear this name beloved of God...

And about your laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account (Theophilus. To Autolycus, Book I, Chapters 1, 12).

Why David Hulme made that inaccurate declaration 14 is an oddity--but those in COGaic seem to still consider him to be a scholar.

Anyway, here is the listing of beliefs of the early church from the COGwriter History of Early Christianity page:

Baptism was by immersion and did not include infants.
The complete Bible with the proper Old Testament and New Testament was relied on by the true Church in Asia Minor.
A Binitarian view was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.
Birthdays were not celebrated by early Christians.
Born-Again meant being born at the resurrection, not at the time of conversion.
Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement.
Christmas was not observed by any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings.
Duties of Elders/Pastors were pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental.
Easter was not observed by the apostolic church.
The Fall Holy Days were observed by true early Christians.
The Father was considered to be God by all early professing Christians.
Holy Spirit was not referred to as God or as a person by any early true Christians.
Hymns were mainly psalms, not praises to Christ.
Idols were taught against, including the use of the cross.
Immortality of the soul or humans was not taught.
Jesus was considered to be God by the true Christians.
The Kingdom of God was preached.
Lent was not observed by the primitive church.
Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians.
Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians.
Monasticism was unheard of in the early Christian church.
Passover was kept on the 14th of Nisan by apostolic and second century Christians in Asia Minor.
Pentecost was kept on the same day that the Jews observed it by all professing Christians.
The Resurrection of the dead was taught by all early Christians
The Sabbath was observed on Saturday by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church.
Salvation was believed to be offered to the chosen now by the early Church, with others being called later, though not all that taught that (or other doctrines) practiced "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
Sunday was not observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians.
The Ten Commandments were observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians--and in the order that the Living Church of God claims they are in.
Tradition had some impact on the second century Christians, but was never supposed to supercede the Bible.
The Trinity was not a word used to describe the Godhead by the apostolic or second century Christians.
The Virgin Birth was acknowledged by all true ante-Nicene Christians.

Speaking of Christian practices, to the best of my knowledge, CG7 (Denver) does not keep Pentecost even though pretty much all scholars acknowledge that it was kept by early Christians.

Speaking of COGaic, more information can be found in the article titled Church of God, an International Community.

05/20/07 a.m. I have recently updated an article on early church history and added the following section:

The Christians Were First Based Out of Judea

The Bible shows that in the early church, Jerusalem, and never Rome, was where its leadership conferred on topics of importance (see Acts 15; Galatians 1:18; 2:1-9; also see the article Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome). Actually, three of the four times that the Bible shows that Paul conferred with Peter it was in Jerusalem (ibid). And the fourth time, it was in Antioch (Galatians 2:11).

Furthermore, notice that the Apostle Paul commended the Thessalonians because they imitated the Church of God in Judea:

For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 2:13-14).

Thus, the original Jerusalem Church is the standard that Paul compared a Gentile-area church with.

The Apostle John, according to the Apostle Paul, was one of the three "pillars" (important leaders) of the Church in Jerusalem along with James and Peter (Galatians 2:9).

But then there was a Jewish revolt in 69-70 A.D. Peter and James apparently died just before this revolt (James might have died during it). The Apostle John had moved to Ephesus in Asia Minor by the time of the revolt.

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports about the Christians there around that time,

When Titus took Jerusalem (April-September, A.D. 70) he ordered his soldiers to destroy the city...Meanwhile the Christian community had fled to Pella in Paraea, east of the Jordan (southeast of Jenin), before the beginning of the siege...The Christians were still almost entirely converts from Judaism (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl.", IV, v). After the destruction they came back and congregated in the house of John Mark (Fortescue A. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Jerusalem (A.D. 71-1099). The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The Orthodox Church takes a similar position,

The Church of Jerusalem, as the Mother of all Churches, during the first days of Christianity consisted the centre of life. From it, the Holy Apostles went to visit all nations and renounced the whole world (Marc. 16, 15)…The “Lord’s City” was completely destroyed in 70 A.C. by Titos, resulting to great and tragic consequences to the Judaist and Christian lives (Archim. Titos (Chortatos). THE CHURCH OF JERUSALEM. Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem http://www.jerusalem-patriarchate.org/ May 24, 2005).

Of course, the Church that James, Peter and John led in Judea clearly retained several characteristics considered to be "Jewish".

Although they have their own biases, even the historians Philip Schaff and Johann Gieseler correctly noted:

The Jewish Christians, at least in Palestine, conformed as closely as possible to the venerable forms of the cultus of their fathers, which in truth were divinely ordained, and were an expressive type of the Christian worship. So far as we know, they scrupulously observed the Sabbath, the annual Jewish feasts, the hours of daily prayer, and the whole Mosaic ritual (Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, Chapter 9. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.)

While the Jewish Christians of Palestine retained the entire Mosaic law, and consequently the Jewish festivals, the Gentile Christians observed also the Sabbath and the passover (1 Cor. v. 6-8), with reference to the last scenes of Jesus' life, but without Jewish superstition (Gal. iv. 10 ; Col. ii. 16) (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A text-book of church history, Volume I, Chapter II. New York : Harper & brothers. Date 1857-80).

In other words, it is known that the true early Christians did keep the Sabbath and God's biblical Holy Days.

Although most of the true Christians fled to the town of Pella just prior to Titus' invasion, some later returned until about 132-135 A.D. when Emperor Hadrian responded to another Jewish revolt.

Notice what the historian E. Gibbon states (bolding mine):

The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews; and the congregation over which they presided united the law of Moses with the doctrine of Christ. It was natural that the primitive tradition of a church which was founded only forty days after the death of Christ, and was governed almost as many years under the immediate inspection of his apostle, should be received as the standard of orthodoxy. The distant churches very frequently appealed to the authority of their venerable Parent, and relieved her distresses by a liberal contribution of alms...

The Nazarenes retired from the ruins of Jerusalem to the little town of Pella beyond the Jordan, where that ancient church languished above sixty years in solitude and obscurity. They still enjoyed the comfort of making frequent and devout visits to the Holy City, and the hope of being one day restored to those seats which both nature and religion taught them to love as well as to revere. But at length, under the reign of Hadrian, the desperate fanaticism of the Jews filled up the measure of their calamities; and the Romans, exasperated by their repeated rebellions, exercised the rights of victory with unusual rigour. The emperor founded, under the name of Alia Capitolina, a new city on Mount Sion, to which he gave the privileges of a colony; and denouncing the severest penalties against any of the Jewish people who should dare to approach its precincts, he fixed a vigilant garrison of a Roman cohort to enforce the execution of his orders. The Nazarenes had only one way left to escape the common proscription, and the force of truth was on this occasion assisted by the influence of temporal advantages.

They elected Marcus for their bishop, a prelate of the race of the Gentiles, and most probably a native either of Italy or of some of the Latin provinces. At his persuasion the most considerable part of the congregation renounced the Mosaic law, in the practice of which they had persevered above a century. By this sacrifice of their habits and prejudices they purchased a free admission into the colony of Hadrian...

When the name and honours of the church of Jerusalem had been restored to Mount Sion, the crimes of heresy and schism were imputed to the obscure remnant of the Nazarenes which refused to accompany their Latin bishop. They still preserved their former habitation of Pella, spread themselves into the villages adjacent to Damascus, and formed an inconsiderable church in the city of Bercea, or, as it is now called, of Aleppo, in Syria. The name of Nazarenes was deemed too honourable for those Christian Jews, and they soon received, from the supposed poverty of their understanding, as well as of their condition, the contemptuous epithet of Ebionites...The unfortunate Ebionites, rejected from one religion as apostates, and from the other as heretics, found themselves compelled to assume a more decided character; and although some traces of that obsolete sect may be discovered as late as the fourth century, they insensibly melted away either into the church or the synagogue (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I, Chapter XV, Section I. ca. 1776-1788).

It should be noted that, because of this revolt, Emperor Hadrian outlawed many practices considered to be Jewish. The Christians in Judea had a decision to make. They either could continue to keep the Sabbath and the rest of God's law and flee or they could compromise and support a religious leader who would not keep the Sabbath, etc.

Sadly as E. Gibbon's reported, most, but not all, made the wrong choice in 135 A.D. Jesus, of course, taught that the true church would be a "little flock" (Luke 12:32). This clearly led to a separation between the Christian faithful and those who preferred a form of Christianity more acceptable to the Roman world.

Was the church supposed to change its beliefs and practices throughout history or be faithful to what the apostles originally received?

Some in Jerusalem realized that they were not to change in order to save their lives. Perhaps they recalled the teaching of Jesus when He said:

When they persecute you in this city, flee to another (Matthew 10:23).

Since the faithful portion of the true Church of God did this in 69/70 A.D., is it not logical that the those in the true Church of God would also do this in 135 A.D.?

And what does the Bible teach they were to be faithful to other than the original faith? Notice Jude 3:

...contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered for the saints.

Those who accepted Marcus' changes obviously did not heed Jude's admonition. But those who did not listened to both Jude and Jesus.

The above is in the article on the Ephesus Church Era.

The following are articles on the churches of Revelation 2 & 3:

The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D.
7. The Laodicean Church Era was predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present
8. Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation discusses the lar
gest church since the second/third century, which in a real sense is the eighth church mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

05/19/07 a.m. An email from The Journal yesterday stated:

Oklahoma tornado kills Church of God couple

This item was covered on the COGwriter news page many weeks ago (see issue 11 02), but The Journal has some additional details.

Last night, ICG's Mark Armstrong wrote:

Just an observation, but are the politicians more interested in advancing their personal power than securing the future of our nation?  Of course there are more immediate concerns.  Not only were there several new reports on Iran’s rapid progress toward the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons this week, but an interview with the FBI director I made mention of in the body of the monthly letter which says there is intelligence showing that al-Qaida is completely obsessed with the idea of detonating nuclear weapons in major American cities.  I read the interview, and it’s clear that the intelligence agencies are taking the threat seriously.  One quote from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III in the NewsMax.com interview, “We are going to be hit at some point.  It’s just a question of when and to what extent.”  Sorry to pass this kind of news along.  I don’t like it either!

I do believe that the Islamic world will end up with nuclear devices of some type and will detonate some. This is alluded to in the article Is There a Future King of the South?

Today, there is to be a walking tour of the old Ambassador College:

Walking in history's footsteps

Time marches on at the Ambassador College campus

 San Bernardino Sun - May 15, 2007  

 In a city lush with historic buildings, it is hard to imagine that a vital area would have been lost in entirety if not for Ambassador College.  Pasadena Heritage is celebrating this site, as well as its own 30th anniversary, by offering the Ambassador Walking Tour, a three-hour docent-guided look at the past - and the future.

South Orange Grove Boulevard was the major north-south street when Pasadena was founded in 1873. Originally called an avenue, it was a direct route to Los Angeles and, by 1880, boasted a growing neighborhood and the center of "Millionaire's Row." In 1948, the economy had taken its toll on the area and zoning changes led to the demolition of many of the large homes to make way for apartment complexes.

However, the Worldwide Church of God, led by Herbert W. Armstrong, had already secured a lease-option with one of the homes in 1946 and opened its teaching faculty there in 1947, forging the beginnings of Ambassador College. The college continued acquiring other properties along Orange Grove through the 1960s, thus saving many of the historic buildings and preserving a range of architectural styles. In 1963, a master plan was developed for the campus, which was closed in 1990 and later sold.

Today, the site is owned by Maranatha High School, Dorn Platz and Harvest Rock Church.

Plan to spend three hours on the Ambassador Walking Tour. Tours start every 20 minutes...

Ambassador Walking Tour

 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday $25, reservations required Pasadena Heritage, 651 S. St. John Ave., Pasadena | (626) 441-6333 | www.pasadenaheritage.org  


Of course, when the old WCG owned the property there were no charges for any tours I was ever aware of. It is interesting to note that some in Pasadena still recognize the value to the community of what HWA did with those properties.

Just in time for Pentecost, my son Michael has upgraded his famous Pentecost Quiz. This short quiz is much more professionally looking in appearance than the original version, and even tabulates scores, etc.

You can click here to go to the update Pentecost quiz.

Click here for previous COG news. Includes news on the Russian Orthodox, two UCG Council members who have stepped down, what the Bible and historical accounts reveal about the Holy Spirit and the Godhead, the EU's Jerusalem position, WCG's summer/fall festivals, the death of Jerry Falwell, CGOM's comments on Pentecost, Legacy's comments on why we are called, the numbering of the ten commandments, PCG's comments on the EU Galileo project, UCG's proposed move and hymnal project, LCG baptisms, Mark's Armstrong's comments on the French election, a debate on God's existence, motherhood, CBCG' Sea of Glass teaching, the Inquisition, etc.

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Volume 11, issue 8 COG writer B. Thiel (c) 2007