Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Self-Appointed Prophet Claims The Govenment Will Soon Be Attacking Us Because of What We Preach

One thing the church has been really good at is creating a "persecution complex" in many of it's so-called leaders.  They self appointed themselves as leaders, started their own splinter personality cults, and claim to proclaim the gospel message with "authority."  Because all of these so-called leaders claim their message is the most forceful and truthful message they will be persecuted for the things they preach.

These so called leaders are so paranoid that they think the entire world is out to stop them. They are persecuted when their magazines are thrown in the trash, when TV/cable stations cancel their programs, and when they are mocked on the internet.

All of them fear that the government is monitoring them and is ready to shut them down.  None of these so-called leaders have been more paranoid than the Almost Arrested Prophet Elisha Elijah Amos Joshua Chief Overseer Bob Thiel.

Today the so-called leader of the so-called Continuing Church of God said:

It is my view that the USA no longer has the type of ‘freedom of religion’ or ‘freedom of speech’ or the freedom to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ its founders envisioned. 
Furthermore, the time will come when the USA, and likely some private companies (probably with direct or indirect governmental pressures), will apparently stop the efforts of websites like this one. As well as our numerous video channels on the internet.
Consider the following prophecy:
13 Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, For it is an evil time. (Amos 5:13) 
The above indicates that even those that are doing nothing wrong will need to be silent at the coming evil time. The times are evil.
Yet, currently, it is still time to:
1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)
Which is what we in the Continuing Church of God are doing. We have denounced, not only sins that the world sometimes seems to consider politically correct, but also sins that many claimed 501(c)(3) COGs will not do, because of their own concerns about their political fates and/or fates that could happen if they offended their financial supporters if they told the truth to truly fulfill Isaiah 58:1 (cf. 501(c)(3)? Why the Continuing Church of God chose a better option).

Many in and out of the government have plans and are watching the internet with plans to deal with materials that they some day hope to silence. 
And while you might think that if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear from surveillance, consider that many in the government of the USA consider that not supporting homosexual marriages is an extremist position.
As mentioned before, I also saw someone once on a documentary that stated that people who believed in the millennium could not be trusted and should be considered as potential terrorists. The fact that we in the Continuing Church of God would be considered pacifists, does not change the fact that since we hold to millennial and other biblical views that we will not be improperly classified by government employees with various agendas. 
We are getting closer to this time. And consider that until this century (and perhaps theoretically, the latter part of the 20th century), it was not possible to really control buying and selling.  But certainly that ability exist now–and it will come to pass.
I believe that the USA is paving the way for the final European Beast power to spy on people and monitor financial transactions, as well as preaching restrictions. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Them or Us?

All fundamentalist and literalist Christians have grown up with the following scriptures burned into our minds....
I Thessalonians 4:15-17 "...For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout...Then WE which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air..."
I Corinthians 15:51,52 "...WE shall not all sleep, but WE shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump...and WE shall be changed."
Romans 13:11-12 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for NOW is OUR salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand..."
James 5:8 "Be YE also patient; establish YOUR hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."
I John 2:18 "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby WE know that it is the last time."
I Peter 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
Revelation 22:20 "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly..."
Millions in Fundamentalist and Evangelical Churches have grown up with the idea that the return of Jesus, a return which will fix everything that is wrong with everything and reward the true saints, is always imminent. We read the above scriptures as if they were written for us, as it is we who are finally the ones "upon whom the end of the age has come." Unlike everyone before us, we really really are the ones who will see it and be changed, avoiding the reality of physical death.

There never has been, is not now and never will be a shortage of preachers and pastors who just know we are living in the final, absolutely last days. The signs are everywhere and every world event is assigned biblical import and meaning.
In Fundamentalist movements, the tradition goes on and becomes more pronounced as , earthquakes, floods, fire, volcanoes and "unusual" events, or wars and rumors of wars, especially in the middle east rear their ugly heads. If someone blew up the Dome of the Rock, well... there... see, now tell us that Jesus is not a few minutes away from returning.

The most popular New Testament "proof texts" for this thinking among Christian Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, comes from Mark 13 and the parallel passages found in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. These written in answer to the disciples question... "WHEN shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of your coming?"
It's all about WHEN. The "when" is unknowable even if one believes with all their heart it has to be soon. The faithful forget that speculation on the future is always just that. It is not fact. It is not how it will be and all speculation over the past 2000 years as to "when", to date has been 100% wrong.
Far too many Pastor types base their entire ministry on the imminent return of Jesus. One would be hard pressed to find the actual word "Jesus" in any other context in their sermons, articles and pronouncements.
It's all about the second coming and it's all about SOON for the most rabid and judgmental COG splinters. Those who question the wisdom of this mistaken approach to life become the scoffers who nip at the heels of the saints.

"...there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 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 the creation,"
In reality, "scoffers" are just those who notice that believing 2000 + later doesn't really count as any kind of "soon" we know of on earth.
But running that risk, and with all due respect to the sincere seeker of Biblical truth, I predict that Jesus will not be returning any time soon.
Why not? Because in the very predictions of Jesus lie the fact that he was himself wrong about them. Jesus put a time limit in the context of his own predictions that has long since passed no matter how apologists endeavor to resurrect his prophecies for a yet future time.
"Verily I say unto you", This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34).
We simply have to admit, at face value, Jesus was wrong and not only DID that generation pass away, but so have countless others that followed. Jesus has not been misunderstood in this statement. He was wrong. Sincere not doubt and it simply will not go into the bible-reader mind that this might be the simple truth of the matter. There has to be another explanation that makes Jesus right in this perspective not 2000 years past.
And there is! We have read it wrong. Jesus did not mean what he said and we can relax. Jesus wasn't talking to those people at that juncture in history.

"This generation" was not the one Jesus was talking TO, but rather the generation that "these things" would begin to happen IN. Whew! It's in the far future and means a future society when all these signs accelerate and come to a crashing finale ending with the Second Coming.
We now have wiggle room to account for the fact that Jesus has not returned yet. Jesus wasn't mistaken about his own times, he was referring to another time.
Gleason Archer, who offers this solutions to the "Jesus didn't mean it would be in his time," notes accurately what we all know 2000 years later.
"Obviously these apocalyptic scenes and earth-shaking events did not take place within the generation of those who heard Christ's Olivet discourse. Therefore Jesus could not have been referring to his immediate audience when He made this prediction..." (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pg 338).
Archer has to say this as he cannot possibly entertain the idea that Jesus was himself wrong in his perceptions of the times in which he lived and his role in those times. Later in the Gospels, authors would lower the expectations of the early Church, who thought Jesus meant them by reminding them late in the game when it was obvious Jesus wasn't coming any time soon that "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years. Sorry, we forgot to tell you that in the beginning." As long as one is incapable of thinking Jesus was himself wrong the Kingdom of God being just around the corner if he did his part, the doctrine of disappointments would have to be addressed as time went on.
And so we simply need to ask a very simple question. To whom was Jesus speaking? From the opening NT texts, it is obvious that the disciples, apostles and members of the church thought it meant THEM and did not get any hint of Jesus meaning anything other than THEM in THEIR time, which was short. The idea that Jesus would "build my Church" came decades after Jesus death when most were dead or dying of old age and yet the end did not come. Jesus never envisioned a Church that would follow decades and millennia after his death. Jesus life would always be lived and lost in the context of Judaism and the Synagogue.
But back to the original question. To whom was Jesus speaking when he said the words and to whom did he mean for it to apply? The answer is within the context, plain and simple.
"Take heed that no man deceive you." (Matt 24:4) 
"...ye shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars..." (Matt 24:6) 
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted..." (Matt 24:9) 
"When ye therefore shall see the the abomination of desolation..." (Matt 24:15) 
"But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter..." (Matt 24:20) 
"Behold, I have told you before." (Matt 24:25)
The context in which Jesus spoke was his own. The "you" that he was addressing was the group he was addressing then and the group to which all these things would happen for, and soon. Jesus was telling those disciples that these things would happen in their time. Jesus, or the author who put the words in Jesus mouth,  made a mistake in his perceptions.
In our time, Christians read the same words and see the "ye" and "you" as "me" and "us" just as the original disciples would have. The only difference is that the disciples actually were disappointed and this generation has yet to realize their own disappointment to come.
The proof that Jesus himself meant the people he was talking to is found in the fact that the "this generation" comment is actually the tale end of a much larger, often overlooked quote taken in it's entirety.
"So likewise YE when YE shall SEE ALL these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto YOU, THIS generation shall not pass, till ALL these things be fulfilled." (Matt 24:33-24 emphasis mine)
There is no reason to twist the words of Jesus to mean more than they were ever intended to mean. A scripture can never mean what it never meant. The early disciples and infant Church, knew it meant them and we see the gradual deterioration of their personal confidence in the immediacy of the Second Coming promise throughout the NT.
I Thessalonians 4:15-17 "...For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout...Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air..." Meaning...some would die, but not us who tell you this. Jesus still means us.
I Corinthians 15:51,52 "...We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump..." Meaning...you will die, but we won't but it all works out...Jesus still meant us.
Romans 13:11-12 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand..." Meaning...we had some doubts, but now we know it's almost here. Jesus still meant us.
James 5:8 "Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." Meaning...impatience was growing, hang in there. Jesus still meant us.
I John 2:18 "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." Meaning...Jesus still meant us.
I Peter 4:7 "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
Revelation 22:20 "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly...." Meaning...ok, it's been about 60 years, but Jesus still means us.
Obviously, everyone of these quoted hopes and statements were wrong. Jesus did not return for them and to date has not returned for anyone. Paul and the early church who wrote in his name was just as wrong as the many COG prophetic types are wrong in this time. And it is based on the fact that Jesus himself was wrong which I know most Christians can never come to admit. For Paul it becomes....
" I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Meaning...Ok, I give up, Jesus didn't mean us, or at least not me. I was wrong. 2 Timothy 4:8-9
I'm not scoffing. Being accused of scoffing was a label for those in the early Church. The disciples expected Jesus return within days of his death and when they met him in Galilee, even doubted that. Its what you say to those that are becoming disillusioned but the others know that the return is still in their lifetime for sure. Scoffers were undermining the confidence of the early followers and disciples of Jesus. An observation is not scoffing. Observations are based on the passage of millennia. It's a 2000 year old observation.  Jesus said his generation would not pass until the Son of Man be come. He was wrong. 
So bent on not allowing the member to even remotely entertain the idea that Jesus was wrong, Paul was wrong and the Church is wrong , the established Church was determined to shift the blame for doubt to the member and thinker and away from the clergy, and thus we have...
2 Peter 3:3 "Knowing this first, (meaning---we forgot to add this apologetic) that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after 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 the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of....."

No prophecies in the Bible are for people thousands of years in the future. They are for events that are soon to unfold for the people being spoken to .God was always about to fix the current problems for Israel.   
The appearance of prophecy fulfilled such as in Matthews 8, "and thus it was fulfilled" statements about Jesus birth is a Jewish writing style called Midrash where the author reaches back into the Old Testament for an old story to tell a new one.  It then appears amazingly accurate to us but it is history written forward. Old wine in new wineskins so to speak.  NONE of Matthew's Old Testaments references actually meant in their context what Matthew  made them mean.  Not one!  It is why Psalm 91 seems such the accurate prophecy of Jesus on the Cross. The Psalm was used to write the NT account.
Obviously, the Church took Jesus words literally for them and not for some future generation. But still Jesus doesn't return to them. This shifts the problem to the scoffers, doubters and those that misunderstood Jesus and not the Church who needs to keep the hope of imminent return going like a carrot before the horse. The Church never entertained until they had to, the idea that Jesus didn't mean what he said about soon. It also implies that this doubt is deliberate and calculated. It can never just be doubt based on evidence and time just going on without any evidence of Jesus return. Even with the temple gone and the Romans more in power than ever, He didn't return. It must have felt for them then as one might say today. "If Jesus didn't return for the Holocaust, what will it take."
The "scoffers will come" scripture was added when it was obvious to the Church that people could and were scoffing. And what some consider scoffing is merely noting that the thing spoken is not so. It's not evil, it's just stating the obvious and putting, in this case, the church on the spot to explain its continued use of imminent return going long. It also lends credibility to Jesus mournful cry at the end of his life..."my God, my God...why have you forsaken me." I expect Jesus really meant that. It was a real shock not to have had things work out as one had supposed. Jesus had done his part. He had pushed the Romans right up to the edge and himself, right up to execution...and still, God did not intervene, sweep the Romans from the earth and set up the Kingdom. Only after Jesus actually died did the followers of Jesus have to rethink it all.

I know... and expect it to be said, "you'll think differently when Jesus returns, or you find yourself in hell with lots of time to rethink your position." I speak in the hope that the average Christian church member won't be motivated and won't tolerate pastors who use the fear of living on this planet to promote their own misguided agendas and speculations. One does not have to see the world only through the eyes of those that speculate on how things are or will be because frankly they don't and can't know.
'Oh my, I think I was mistaken"

Philadelphia Church of God: The Army of Liberators?

The Church of God has always found life to be hard a fight to live.  We were constantly battling some evil force as we struggled to advance a few yards towards the kingdom.  Satan was always there in front of us fighting to take as many as he possibly could away from the truth.  Who can ever forget hearing ten thousand people or more at a Feast site singing, Onward Christian Soldiers, Marching Off To War in unison.  It was stirring and unifying at the same time.  We naively thought were helping fight the battle along side Herbert Armstrong as we journeyed onwards to Petra.

Our sermons and funerals were always filled with, "fighting the good fight."  Not only was our Christian walk one big continuous battle, but an even larger battle was coming in the future when the wrath of satan would be unleashed upon the world in one final battle of Armageddon. 

Of the three larger Church of God splinter groups in existence today, three of them use battle cry as their rallying cry to rake in more money.  Dave Pack has been fighting his personal and religious demons for decades and  has brought that fight to his members encouraging them to be good soldiers ready to sacrifice for the common good of the church.  Rod Meredith is perversely attracted to the war motif and loves to talk in vivid details about torture and other atrocities at the hands of the German Army.  Noting is more gratifying to him than discussing concentration camps, fiery ovens and meats hooks that Americans will be strung up on. Gerald Flurry uses war, battles and fiery judgment to keep his dwindling flock under control.  Notice the latest below by James Brady that was posted on the PCG web site:

Army of Liberators

Here is one final, inspiring thought to sing and march to as we finish our war together. In this evil world, armies sometimes set people free from oppression. The most famous case in living memory is the Allied conquest of northwestern Europe, ending the Nazi menace. American journalist Andy Rooney said the day the Allies liberated Paris was probably the happiest day the world has ever known. The liberation of the Dutch city of Nijmegen by British Grenadier Guards was vividly and accurately depicted in the film A Bridge Too Far. Throngs of deliriously happy people pressed in on the tanks, offering flowers, kisses and hugs, waving Royal Union and American flags, singing in English, “The war is over!” Seeing this film as a boy, I was enthralled. I wished I could jump on a tank and liberate a third-world country from a dictator! 
Is that not the role of God’s Church in the near future? Like those troops, we have to fight heroically to be there for those people! 
Maybe you have straggled behind at times as this awe-inspiring army, the Church of God, conducts its “forced march” (no resting) to battle. We all have. But we do not want to be remembered as a straggler in the coming battle. As Gerald Flurry writes in How to Be an Overcomer, “What hope we can deliver to the world! We have the opportunity to win a glorious victory that we can savor for all eternity! We will never regret what we did for God … in this end time. That will be our joy forever.” 
Song of Songs teaches us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, bigger than our problems and desire for comfort! Empowered by God, this army delivers hope. We rescue entire nations! We fight in an epic war that shakes the heavens and the Earth! (Isaiah 13:13; Haggai 2:6). We march in lockstep, in unity and purpose, fighting together against all odds with valor and heroism.
As Mr. Flurry wrote in the last sentence of How to Be an Overcomer, “Let’s all be noble knights together and thank God that we have the opportunity.” We have the chance to fight as one for Christ and the Father and be an awesome bannered host! 
It is this kind of thinking that allows such terrible and physical abuse to run rampant in the Church of God.  As soldiers supposedly unified on the path to war, it is not good to be a questioner, to rock the boat or disagree with the Pastor General.  To do so, destabilizes the ranks and the battle cannot be won.   Christ has had to delay his coming so many times now that even he forgets the exact date, all due to the fact that the membership was not ready.  It had failed to fight the good fight.

If these men were actually Christian that might have the understanding that the battle has already been won. The fight is no longer ours to worry about.  There is a rest that comforts the weary of hear tired of fighting a fight they can never win because they just can't ever measure up.

Matthew 11:30The Message (MSG)

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Why Do COG Ministers Preach About So Many Silly Topics?

I had a news alert today regarding Almost Arrested Elisha Elijah Joshua Amos Doubly-Blessed Chief Overseer Bob Thiel. It was about his latest online sermon. Poltergeists and Lying Wonders.

Who sits around and thinks about poltergeists day and and day out?  Who really cares about levitating chihuahua's in Scotland?

Here are other things that he thinks occupies peoples minds continually.  You will notice how fear based it all is.  Demons, government conspiracies, illuminati, rouge planets, and the collapse of the dollar...where would the church be without such fearful things to worry about?

  • 10 Reasons Not to Vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton
  • Chinese threats against Australia for real?
  • Hillary Clinton, Theresa May, and Isaiah 3
  • Could the Large Hadron Collider lead to destruction?
  • Germany ready for military leadership?
  • America's Day of Reckoning 2017 Dollar Collapse?
  • Forbes' Brexit Monster is the Beast of Revelation
  • Post Brexit Prophecy
  • Can the Bilderberg Group Affect 2017 and Beyond?
  • Is the Universe Expanding or about to Catastrophically Collapse?
  • Planet Nibiru to Destroy Earth by 2017?
  • USA pushing gender confusion
  • Eliminate the $100 bill?
Thiel has also come up with a new gimmick in order to make him look like the biblical "authority" he foolishly believes he is.  Hold up your big thick bible and shake it at the camera and people will know you mean business!

The self appointed lying wonder Thiel is not alone in his fear based topics and embarrassment of Jesus.  Here is Gerald Flurry's latest topics.  Jesus is not even a consideration.  Much of Flurry's articles are militaristic, about old testament "hero's", and loyalty to church government.

Armstrongism is fear based to the core.  Grace, mercy, peace, justice and redemption are not part of the church make up.  Showing kindness to ones neighbor, deliver food to the hungry, helping the needy and being agents of comfort to the hurting are not part of their church plan.  Who needs the words of Jesus when Moses, Jeremiah and Elisha are more important.
When Thiel talks about lying wonders, he perfectly describes himself, Malm, Pack, Flurry, Meredith and the rest of the corrupt church leaders.