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Exposing the underbelly of Armstrongism in all of its wacky glory! Nothing you read here is made up. Every crazy, weird and wacky quote is straight from the pens of Armstrongite leaders or members who think they possess some insight into God and the Bible. What you read here is the up to date face of Herbert W Armstrong's legacy. It's the gritty and dirty behind the scenes look at Armstrongism as you have never seen it before!
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    Its another year after the death of Herbert Armstrong and the self-appointed false prophets of Armstrongism are trumpeting their lists of lies that they compile in order to impress their followers.

    When, in its 80 some years history, has any COG leader ever uttered a true prophecy? God certainly has not revealed any truth to them no matter how they lie about dreams and visions from their impotent god.
    1. Scoffers and the Modern Media
    2. Morality Prophecies Being Fulfilled Daily
    3. Internet Censorship
    4. Weather Sorrows and Troubles
    5. Earthquakes
    6. The White Horse of the Apocalypse
    7. Strife and the Red Horse of War
    8. Trade
    9. The Deal of Daniel 9:27
    10. Knowledge Increasing
    11. Debt
    12. US Dollar Dominance will Decrease
    13. Cash and 666
    14. Gold
    15. Europe Will Work to Reorganize
    16. Europe Will Have a Great Army
    17. Steps Towards the Formation of the King of the South Will Occur
    18. The Time of the Gentiles will Lead to Armageddon
    19. Jews Ready to Sacrifice
    These are the latest from the self-appointed leader of the improperly named "continuing" Church of God. All of this is a result of his biblical ignorance due to no real theological training or understanding and outright lies that his "god" is working through him.

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    Leave the Darkness Behind

    Let It Go

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    Our favorite doubly blessed false prophet is back once again condemning the word January and the fact that the year begins on January 1 instead of some other month he deems more significant.  Reading the rantings of the "Chief Overseer" of the improperly named "continuing" Church of God, one would be the impression that anyone who uses the word January is fornicating with pagans and bowing down at the altar to Janus.

    Does God begin His new year on January 1st? If not, what is the origin of January 1st and New Year’s? 
    Back in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar declared that January 1st would mark the beginning of the new year. January was named after Janus, the god of gates and doors in Roman mythology. People prayed to Janus when they wanted something new in their lives (such as resolutions). Janus is normally represented with two faces, one looking to the past and the other looking to the future (the two faces also signified change that Janus would supposedly bring in, see Burchett B, Janus in Roman life and cult: a study in Roman religions, p. 15). The first day of the month of January was sacred to him. 
    It did not come from the Bible.
    So what!  Most of the things we do as humans did not originate in some esoteric Bible story. Even Israel's early harvest festivals were all built upon the harvest festivals of the pagans around them.  If the God of the Scripture wants to use something to a higher purpose, then it did not matter where the tradition originated.  Plus, when have we ever seen any COG leader with a statue of entwined serpents hanging in their offices or on the front lawns of their HQ's or auditoriums?  Their God used these things for a bigger purpose, but they do not.

    The false prophet then gets all orgasmic in quoting things about Minerva and Saturnalia, as if ANYONE in the ENTIRE world even thinks about these two topics.
    The Minervalia are as much Minerva’s, as the Saturnalia Saturn’s; Saturn’s, which must necessarily be celebrated even by little slaves at the time of the Saturnalia. New-year’s gifts likewise must be caught at, and the Septimontium kept; and all the presents of Midwinter and the feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the flamens’ wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honoured on the appointed holy-days. The same thing takes place on an idol’s birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian master, unless it be he who shall think them suitable likewise to one who is not a master? (Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter X. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).
    Those damn people who had to go and create Saturnalia and then, even worse,  name the 7th day after Saturn!  Using apostate Bob's logic, then every time he gathers his few white Caucasians into church services on Saturday, he then is worshipping Saturn.  No wonder Thiel is so dreamy all the time.  Those dreams he has are coming from his god, Saturn!

    The official COG Dream weaver then goes on to make this extraordinary illogical leap in understanding:
    The Bible teaches:
    19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. (1 Corinthians 10:19-20) 
    New Year’s clearly has demonic origins.
    It has always amazed me as to how the Church of God has given so much power to the god they claim to be opposed to, yet Jesus is left by the wayside, an impotent and largely ignored personality, as Satan and demons are consistently made out to be the the all-powerful ones.
    January 1st is not the beginning of the year for the true God, but only of certain false gods. 
    Now perhaps it should be mentioned that other cultures also accept that the new year begins in the Spring. And while those cultures have various non-biblical practices, it is certainly possible that because God’s year begins in the Spring that perhaps anciently these people were aware of it, and retained the correct season, but not the practices. 
    Not all have followed the practices of Julius Caesar (called “Julie” below):

    For some thousands of years before Julie and the Roman Senate got involved, the new year was celebrated with the first edible crops of the season or the first new moon.
    In much of India, Nava Varsha is celebrated in March or April, just as in the most ancient civilizations.
    Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla in March; ditto for Persian Nowruz.
    As celebrated in China and southeast Asia, Lunar New Year still has a floating date, the first day of the first lunar month. (Shore R. Pagan Party: New Year’s traditions that hail from the depths of antiquity The Vancouver Sun, Canada – Dec 26, 2008, viewed 01/22/09)
    From a biblical perspective, the new year begins in the Spring, and hence not January 1st. And it also begins with a new moon. The fact that even many non-Christian cultures realize that should make it easier for Christians to realize that they too, do not need to heed the later practices of the Romans.
    Yep, come springtime this year, the false prophet will be back again accusing people of worshipping Isthar and bowing at the throne of Satan as they sacrifice their children to Baal while eating chocolate bunnies and coloring eggs.

    Isn't the Church of God such a fun place to be!

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    As Gerald Flurry begins circling the drain due to ageing and mental health issues, Philadelphia Church of God members are starting to withhold money to many of Gerald Flurry's pet projects, particularly his germ-free airplane purchased for the use of the Flurry family to travel to Irish Dance contests and Edstone, England. After all, COG prophets of the 21st century need to fly in uncontaminated airspace without worldly passengers sitting next to them.  It's not like they have any gospel to take to any nation on earth nowadays.

    Like all the other despots leading a Church of God, it is all about money and control.

    GF Uses Same Fear Tactics When Money is Drying Up:
    December 28, 2018 
    GF's words are more of the same fear tactics that he uses when the money starts drying up. GF is worried about the dropping "tithes and offerings" from the PCG faithful because of the operating costs of his expensive-to-maintain private jet.  
    In the coworker letter dated November 19, 2018, he says "We need more donors and co-workers. We need more people attending services in God’s true Church," which are his cash sources. He also says that "…we did have a sharp decrease in donations to the aircraft fund in June. The drop in that special fund was part of an unexpected drop in income worldwide. Everyone responded well in September, but once again we have seen donations to the aircraft fund drop in October." As the money for GF's toy and other pet projects dry up, his predictions about apocalyptic end-time events always increase and become more urgent to jolt the members into opening their checkbooks, whether they can afford to or not. This has been the pattern for years. --M. W.  Exit and Support

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    After spending over 30 years working for the church in Pasadena, I got to see one false prophet after another boldly proclaim their self-appointed abilities to witness to the church about their visions from their gods.  Every single one of them were liars and frauds. Every single one of them.

    It is no different today in 2019 as we witness the lies of Bob Thiel, James Malm and others. Not a single one of these men are speaking on behalf of God.  No amount of zealotry or innumerable dreams can make these two legitimate disciples of the god they claim to follow.

    James Malm believes his so-called ministry is such a dynamic strong ministry that when the two witless witnesses arrive they will take over his ministry expounding upon his teachings.

    When these two creatures take over his ministry it will allow him to go to his selected "place of safety" where he and a few hundred of his followers will revel in extreme zealotry.  He also expects tens of thousands of people to enthusiastically embrace his zealotry. Malm has no intention of going to Petra where the deceived fool Bob Thiel will be settling in along with Dave Pack and Gerald Flurry.  Malm's god has told him that the new place of safety is Pella:
    Further, Petra is NOT God’s prepared place, and I have never taught any such thing! On the other hand, there is most definitely a place prepared by God for his faithful.
    In the first century God took the faithful to Pella NOT Petra, and it is very likely that the faithful will return to some kind of refuge camp close to the same Pella in our time.
    According to the Chief Pharisee and certified lair, his god is seriously testing the COG at this time and you had better not reject them or you will not be going to Pella! God is sorely testing the church right now to deliberately weed out the unzealous.
    Of course God can protect us where we are, but if God tells us to leave for another place through his two prophets, we had better obey Him! This is not a test of God’s power, it is a test of our faithful obedience!
    This all about dividing the faithful from the disobedient by forcing people to make a choice to either obey or chose to disobey God. This is why it is so very important to warn the brethren of this coming test and to properly prepare them by expounding the sound doctrine of every Word of God so that they can make an informed decision;
    The brethren must also be warned of things to come, so that when these things happen those who have made the wrong choice will remember the warnings and be convicted and turn to live by every Word of God during the period of their Job like correction.

    That is unless his god selects him to be one of the two witless witnesses.  Can you imagine the hell Malm would bring to the world with his nastiness and pharisaical piety!  Most of humanity would probably welcome annihilation after listening to his preaching.
    ...I have repeatedly stated that this work is purely preparatory and is about preparing the brethren, regardless of corporate organization, for the advent of God’s two servants and the coming of our Lord by building a body of studies through the scriptures and expounding sound doctrine.
    When God’s two are set up they will take over and they can make any needed changes.
    I expect to go to the place God has prepared. I doubt very much if I will be one of these two; but who they will be is in God the Father’s hands alone. I fully expect our Lord to come well within the next 10 years, making the advent of God’s two and the onset of the tribulation probable in a year or two [as world trends and prophecy also indicate].
    A few hundred will turn wholeheartedly to God now and go to the place which God has prepared and during the tribulation many tens of thousands will turn enthusiastically to godliness.
    I have never made any secret of these things, it would be wise to at least read the material and get informed before making comments. I dare say that your amusement will evaporate quickly once this trial begins James

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    You Are Not Your Story

    It is deeply heart-opening when people who read Embracing the Stranger in Me: A Journey to Openheartedness share how the stories in the book resonate for them in their own journey.  And then they thank me for being so courageous to share those stories as they feel they have glimpsed into my own vulnerability.  All true.  And it has generated a curiosity for me about what my relationship with this book is – because it doesn’t feel quite so courageous from my perspective.  This book has its own life, energy and flow – thankfully and interestingly.
    How are your stories working for you?
    And I get to remember, again, what I already knew and now know more deeply.  I am not my stories.  I am not my book. I am not the stories other people tell (or think) about me.  And, you are not your stories.  They do not define you – unless you choose to let them.  Of course, they shape you.  And, you have choices as to how they shape you – looking at life through the human tragedy or drama perspective or from the soul journey perspective – that which we are seeking to learn or experience at the soul level.
    There are moments in my life that are seared into my memory as pivotal moments.  One such memory, complete with date, is March 1998.  I was halfway through a severance period, having been royally fired from my job, in the middle of a divorce and having bought a home, for me and my two young boys, predicated on a salary I no longer had with no idea what I was going to do next to support myself.  I was in the highest anxiety of my life – to that point.  I could only focus on what was right in front of me – the next moment, maybe the next day, but certainly not weeks, months or years down the road – because otherwise the stress was overwhelming to the point of being debilitating.
    I was sitting in my kitchen, making a choice of which book to pick up and read – the practical What Colour is Your Parachute or the transformative The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  I didn’t know it would be transformative when I picked it up, but it was.  I was transported to another world.  Mesmerized.  It moved me to tears and to laughter. And I understood maybe for the first time: I am not my stories.  I am not my failure.  I am not my divorce.  I am not my job loss.  These are things that have happened in my life.  I have a choice as to how I view them. The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore offered me a different, expansive option for how to view these things that happened to me.  The author, Alan Cohen, offered that I had attracted these things into my life. If I had the “power” to attract those life altering “negative” things, I had the equal and opposite capacity or power to also attract more life affirming circumstances into my life.
    What I understood is that I had been increasingly drifting away from the things I hold true in my life, the things I valued – or said I valued.  My actions did not always support my beliefs and what I thought I valued.  I was in increasing dissonance and did not know how to live a fractured existence anymore. At the time I felt like I was looking out a picture window at my life as it unfolded, I was so dissociated from my experience and my existence.  And I did not have the skills to know how to navigate it – or relationships – in a healthy way.  It made me believe the human tragedy/drama perspective – that I must be a bad person, maybe even evil.  Otherwise, why would these things have happened to me?
    In this one day, I was liberated.  I was invited into choice.  I wish I could say it was only a generative upward vortex from then on but of course it wasn’t.  It was, and still is, a human journey, fraught with the rollercoaster of emotions and experiences.  It took me another decade to surrender into the journey with a greater degree of fullness and I’m still learning about surrendering.
    The book was and is intended as an offering of stories for others – for you even – in your own journey.  An invitation to journey on, journey deeper, journey more lightly. An invitation to view your stories in a different way from different perspectives, ones that generate more expansiveness, spaciousness and choice.  An invitation to trust what you doubt, to know someone has navigated similar waters with varying degrees of success, sometimes at peace and sometimes in turmoil– because this is life and this is how we grow. To understand that life is more than just the physical experience and to trust the non-physical as you experience it, as you surely do.  To treat yourself with compassion, love and forgiveness and to invite that into your relationships – all of them, even the ones where you would prefer to hold onto a bit of resentment.
    When you live your stories as if they are you, you disempower yourself.  When you understand your story shapes your journey but is not you, you show up more fully in your strength and your power and it is a thing of beauty to behold.
    Kathy Jourdain

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    Leave it to one of the most abusive Churches of God to lecture the COG and society on depression.  The track record of the Philadelphia Church of God and how it has ruined lives and marriages over its existence is appaling. So for the PCG, and particularly Dennis Leap, to lecture us on the causes of depression is revolting.

    Dennis Leap wants everyone to know that because they have broken the 10 commandments THAT is the reason people are depressed. And, lest we are too dumb to forget, Satan and his demons are also the cause.

    Unseen Spiritual Forces

    The majority of people are completely blind to the fact that even the unconscious violation of God’s spiritual laws—the Ten Commandments, God’s means to guarantee human happiness—sets one up to experience mental, emotional and personal problems and negative attitudes. The Ten Commandments are in force just like the law of gravity. When we obey them, the result is peace of mind, inner joy and happiness. Yet if we break them, we become broken. We must face the reality that consciously doing things we know are wrong results in negative or depressed feelings. 
    If this is true, then why are some of the vilest COG leaders, who claim to be staunch commandment keeps, men who have ripped apart marriages, destroyed teenagers lives, led people to suicide and even to murder.
    Here is a point that few recognize. Unresolved anger, bitterness, envy or jealousy leads to feelings of loss. We must learn to conquer these self-destructive, sinful emotions. All of these are the bricks of the path that leads to depression. “Envy makes the bones rot,” warns the Bible (Proverbs 14:30; English Standard Version). 
    Anger, bitterness and sense of loss, all things that are a result of the vile "no contact" policies and other vile teachings of the PCG. PCG leaders could care less about the lives of members as long as they can keep them under control.
    Although it is not socially acceptable to believe in evil spiritual forces—Satan the devil and his army of demons—they do exist, and they have made it their express goal to influence and disrupt the minds and attitudes of unsuspecting humans. Satan is the author of angelic and human sin. He is the most depressed being in the universe, and he desires for all humans to feel the same way he does. In Ephesians 2:2-3, the Apostle Paul calls Satan the “prince of the power of the air,” because this evil being broadcasts his negative attitudes of mind worldwide. 
    Various COG leaders have been broadcasting their evilness across the airwaves for decades.  How many more need to die because of them, while they blame Satan and demons for the evil they cause.
    No wonder so many people don’t understand the negative attitudes and moods plaguing them. The Bible warns that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12; English Standard Version). Satan and the demons place damaging and negative moods in unwary minds. The sudden impulse to end your life comes directly from them.  A Fresh Look at Depression

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    Gerald Flurry has said a lot of incredibly stupid things over the years, as have Dave Pack, Bob Thiel, Ron Weinland and Jimmy Malm, but none of their prophecy prediction idiocy can compare to the proposition Gerald Flurry is throwing out into the wind about Joe Tkach Jr. and the Catholic church.

    Gerald Flurry Throwing All Caution to the Wind / Date Setting:
    Gerald Flurry is nearing the end of his life, and reading his articles in the January 2019 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet, one would think that he has thrown all caution to the winds. On page 8, he writes, "The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the greatest event ever, will happen in six to 10 years, as I calculate it. That means the Great Tribulation, the worst suffering this Earth has ever experienced, will start within a few short years."  
    Nevertheless, Joel Hilliker on the very next page, warns that, "In recent decades, it seems that every few years someone comes along with a new prediction of the world as we know it. And then those predictions prove false. This problem of failed prophecy has plagued many religions for thousands of years. People predicting Jesus Christ's return have set dates." 
    On page 10, Hilliker again: "Be wary when you hear someone predicting a specific date of Christ's return." But what if the "someone" doing the predicting is the leader of your own church? What if Gerald Flurry himself is date-setting, "as he calculates it." 
    Flurry has another even more bizarre article in the latest PT, called "Is America's Supreme Court In Bible Prophecy?" To put it briefly, the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh does two things. First, Flurry says, "I believe... [it] indicates God will likely see that President Trump has a second term." Secondly, the end-time Amaziah (= Joe Tkach Jr., who turned WCG around after Herbert Armstrong's death) is going to persuade the Supreme Court (full of Catholics, Flurry says) to throw the PCG out of the United States! But not to worry, Flurry says: 'The Supreme Court's rejection of our message is God's way of getting His people out of this country to a safe place.' Armstrongite-watchers will know that this used to mean Petra! --D. K.
    Comment: The following words are taken from the January 24, 2017 PCG letter: 
    Gerald Flurry has prophesied that Trump is the "End Time Jeroboam" that will ally with Joe Jr. Tkach and the WCG and finally kick the PCG members out of the USA, exiling them to Jordan/Petra. Flurry has also made a prophesy that Trump will be the last President of the USA because the Tribulation is very, very close and could happen at any time.    Exit and Support

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    From an LCG source:

    Dr Winnail has written a brief piece encouraging us to be gracious and kind to each other. Many are wondering if this is an indirect slap at some of the ungracious things that Weston, McNair, Meredith and others have done to members over the years and still are doing today.

    The Importance of Kindness: Jesus told His disciples that we glorify God when we “bear much fruit” (John 15:8). One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that God is looking for in the lives of Christians is kindness (Galatians 5:22). The Scriptures tell us that Christians are “children of God” who are to grow to become “like Him” (1 John 3:1–3). The Scriptures also tell us that God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness” (Nehemiah 9:17). David wrote that God “has shown me His marvelous kindness” (Psalm 31:21). Solomon describes the virtuous woman: “on her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). Jesus said that God is even “kind to the unthankful” (Luke 6:35). In 1 Corinthians 13:4, we learn that “love suffers long and is kind,” and that anyone who ministers to others should be recognized “by longsuffering, by kindness” (2 Corinthians 6:6). This is why the Apostle Peter urged believers to “add to your faith… brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love” (2 Peter 1:5–7). If we hope to become like God and be in the Kingdom of God, we need to develop and exercise this important quality of kindness.
    Have a profitable Sabbath,
    Douglas S. Winnail
    Weekly Update 

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    Ambassador Hall has finally sold at a remarkably discounted price over
    its orginal listing of $6,800,000.00. 
    Part of the issue with this home is that it will have very little privacy due to the gardens and the closeness of the new condo's.  Add to this the association dues and this will never be an inexpensive home to live in.  Upkeep will be significant.

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    The Great Bawana has already started with the "threats" to his African members. Like most Church of God leaders, threats have to be used to keep members in line and fearful of losing their chance at salvation. They have to be reminded that salvation is only available to them in a COG group and only if they follow the party line of the dear leader.  Bob Thiel has been very adamant that his group and his group alone is the ONLY true Church of God doing any work in the 21st century.

    Concluding Comments
    The Book of Proverbs teaches:
    15 It is a joy for the just to do justice, But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity. 16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead. (Proverbs 21:15-16)  
    Brethren, notice that the just should do justice and that destruction comes to the workers of iniquity.
    So far, so good.
    But notice that wandering away from the way of understanding also results in destruction.
    This may be part of the reason that the New Testament states:
    10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)  
    Be careful to remain diligent.
    Do not neglect what you should be doing and so an entrance to God’s kingdom will be given to you.
    Bob Thiel
    Pastor and Overseer
    January 3, 2019 Letter to the Brethren 

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    God’s ministers must be extremely well organized in order to ensure we get the maximum out of this worship of God and that we are ready to rule church and state when Christ returns! If ministers do not do their jobs, disasters will result! 
    This comment was made at the Philadelphia Church of God Ministerial Conference at the end of December  2018.  Of course, this conference, like very single PCG conference, dealt in Old Testament books and personalities.  Jesus was not part of the conference, as usual. The law always trumps Jesus.

    This conference centered on the Book of Chronicles, Ezra, and their emphasis on the Levites and the rules and order it lays out for them and the tribes. Governance and order are extremely important to the PCG as it is used as a tool to keep members in line and submissive.

    Since Gerald Flurry declared himself the rightful heir and KING of the Church of God last year with the declaration that he is now in possession of the new coronation stone, the PCG has to search for any connection they can make to that kingship.

    So Ezra is talking about both kings and priests, which also shows that this message is mainly for us. All the priests and the Levites were organized very carefully. Like David, God’s ministers must be extremely well organized in order to ensure we get the maximum out of this worship of God and that we are ready to rule church and state when Christ returns! If ministers do not do their jobs, disasters will result! Today, 95 percent of God’s people have turned away from Him—probably the greatest disaster ever to strike God’s Church! Satan has taken them captive because they were not able to preserve God’s truth.
    Lange’s also notes that “Ezra was showing the magnitude of the festivals.” Why was this important? Because Israel went into captivity for breaking the Sabbath and polluting God’s holy days. 
    God’s Church must make sure those holy days are organizedThose festivals picture God’s master plan, and they have so much depth that we will never get to the bottomWe must never allow them to become mere rituals, or a major catastrophe will always strike!
    Of course, they can never "get to the bottom" of the holy days as they ignore the very one they supposedly pointed towards.
    What causes righteous nations and churches to go astray? The Sabbath and holy days become ritualistic; the ministers’ messages become dull, boring and meaningless. We must never let that happen. Ministers are there to make the holy days deeper and more meaningful every year. 
    Ezra was showing the Jews why they went into captivity. It revolved around polluting and profaning the Sabbath and holy days.
    Philadelphia Church of God ministers have routinely profaned the Sabbath and interfered in its members' worship of God since its inception. Gerald Flurry's "no contact" policy, the appalling actions of Wayne Turgeon and other leaders has ripped families, marriages and the lives of members apart with legalistic filth that keeps their followers trembling in fear.

    Remember though, Flurry got his training in this legalistic crap at the feet of Herbert Armstrong.  While there were few teachings about Jesus there sure was a lot of teaching about the law.
    Ezra was pounding home the basics. God’s people have had a terrible, terrible track record in this age. At the end of his life, Mr. Armstrong grew upset with and even pleaded with the ministers, saying, You men need to talk more about the Sabbath! That was stunning—yet look at what happened when they failed to heed that admonition and got away from the basics.
    PCG ministers have now headed home to force upon the brethren more laws about the Sabbath and other regulations that Flurry passed on to them at the conference.  They were told by Flurry that whatever they preach that God will back them u, even in the members do not respond.
    If a minister sees that such a basic subject is really needed, he should prepare and deliver it and see if God doesn’t give him special help—even if people respond to it negatively. The minister is not up there to impress somebody or make himself look good. He is there to try to give God’s people what He wants them to have. God always backs that, even if it is the most basic subject you have ever heard in your life. If it’s what they need, that is what God’s minister should give!

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    A reader here sent the following (see below) to be me about the church pastor who recently bought his wife a Lamborghini for their 8th wedding aniversary.

    As appaling as it sounds, and is, it is no different than Gerald Flurry buying a Gulfstream jet just so he and his family can travel without touching the unwashed masses.  It is not like it is being used to fly to nations around the world to meet leaders so he can proclaim a message about a "strong hand from someplace" like his hero Herbert Armstrong did.  No, Flurry does no such thing.  He uses it to fly back and forth to England, transport his grandkids to Irish Dance contests, and to fly to the occasional public lecture with 50 or 60 people present (of which 30-40 are PCG members.)

    Flurry's private jet is the perk he claims he deserves as God's prophet and King that he now proclaims himself as. After all, his hero HWA could live in a multi-million dollar mansion surrounded by gold and silver objet d'art's, fine 17th and 18th European and American art and antique furniture.

    HWA's Regency Silver-gold gilt Candelabra 1812
    Sold for $222,500.00

    All of these treasures, whether HWA's, Flurry's or Gray's are items bought while associated with a church.  Unlike Jesus who set out when he preached without food, money or a place to sleep, and just like he sent the apostles out without any money or food, all whom had to rely upon the kindness of strangers of each day that went by, not months and years worth of money being collected as the "profits" of the Church of God and religion today demand. They expect to live like royalty while some of their members live in poverty. Whether being conned by prosperity gospel preachers or tithe-demanding church leaders, the money is all ill-gotten and certainly does nothing to glorify the God they claim to follow.


    By Michelle Singletary
    Washington Post

    Pastor John Gray of the Relentless Church in Greenville, S.C., has been skewered for splurging on a $200,000 Lamborghini for his wife.

    A husband surprised his wife with a car for their eighth wedding anniversary.

    He posted the joyous moment on Instagram.

    Probably no one would have cared — except in this case the husband is a minister at a megachurch and the car cost as much as a home.

    It was no ordinary gift or husband.

    Pastor John Gray of the Relentless Church in Greenville, S.C., has been skewered for splurging on a $200,000 Lamborghini for his wife. Gray is also an associate pastor at Lakewood Church under the leadership of Pastor Joel Osteen, a megachurch minister who has also been criticized for living too well.

    The video of Gray presenting his wife with the car has been taken down, but you can view snippets of it in an entertainment report by Inside Edition.

    The rebuke for Gray’s largesse was swift and brutal.

    Gray went back on social media to defend the right to spend his money on anything he wants.

    “First of it all, it wasn’t a pastor that bought the car,” Gray said in a video responding to the controversy. “It was a husband that bought the car. Get that in your spirit, I’m a husband first — don’t confuse what I do with who I am. What I do is I pastor God’s people. Who I am is a husband and a father, and I’ll do anything to honor them and I won’t ask permission from anybody to do it. No man should.”

    Gray also addressed accusations that he used church money to buy the car. He says the money came from the success of his books and reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

    “I have created and been patient my whole life for this moment — I’m 45,” he said. “I’m supposed to wait until I’m 70 to live my best life? And my best life is seeing my wife happy.”

    Aventer Gray also took to social media to respond to the criticism.

    "I don't see anyone screaming about how basketball players drive what they do while you paying $$$ to see them play in arenas and on fields,” she wrote.

    Michelle Singletary responds: 
    Here’s my take on the controversy.

    Personally, I don’t care what Gray does with his money. If he has the cash to buy a $200,000 vehicle, more power to him. We have no business in his business if the funds didn’t come from the church coffers or because of some malfeasance.

    “Not a nickel, not a penny from this church, Relentless Church, went toward the gift that I gave my wife,” Gray said.

    Further, Gray is not a priest who took a vow of poverty. If his books, speaking engagements and TV show afford him and his family a life of luxury, that’s called living the American Dream. And being a Christian does not mean you can’t have expensive things.

    In Proverbs it says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

    Still the question for many people of faith is how much profit is too much for a pastor?

    Should ministers be living their best lives when so many in their congregation are struggling to make ends meet?

    The same is said about top corporate executives who earn multimillion-dollar salaries while many of their workers don’t make a living wage. Or why are athletes paid insane amounts of money when teachers often have to take part of their modest salaries and buy supplies for their students?

    The answer: Life is just not fair.

    Some folks can sing, dunk or preach their way to prosperous lives. We can only hope that they give generously out of their abundance. I believe to whom much is given, much is required.

    But having said all this, I do fault the Grays for one thing — bragging. Why did he feel the need to make a public display of his present?

    When you hold certain positions, like that of a pastor, you should show restraint in the exhibition of your wealth. The optics of the anniversary gift was a mistake. It took the focus off his ministerial work and put it on his material wealth.

    I’m not suggesting that Gray should hide his fortune, but in the video, as he’s presenting his wife with the car, he struts around and yells, “Lamborghini Urus.”

    Later, when addressing the critics, Gray defiantly says, “I don’t really care what you think.”

    That’s not true. He does care what the masses think. There were invited onlookers, and he posted the gift exchange online. If Gray didn’t want to show off, he would have presented the vehicle to his wife in private.

    Yet the Grays aren’t alone. Social media is all about showing people what you have, where you eat or the amazing vacation places you go. Inevitably such displays of affluence make others feel less than.

    Perhaps the lesson to learn from Gray’s conspicuous consumption is this: Live your best life without having to show the world how rich you are.

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    Rulers of Church and State? They won't be ruling over a Hamster!

    So they think they are going to rule "Church and State". 

    These are the words of certain Armstrongism leaders who think they somehow are qualified to be world leaders. Who somehow think they are the heirs of the Kingdom of God under Jesus Christ. They believe they are preparing to be world government administrators and leaders in their "World Tomorrow". They honestly believe Jesus Christ is going to appoint them as the highest rank of rulers and leaders in what they call "The World Tomorrow". 

    Yes, they do. I know, because I once thought as they did, and acted as they did. I sat in their shoes, in their worldview. I don't doubt for a second they believe - with their whole minds - that somehow, this is their destiny. That they are earning and qualifying for the corner office and highest positions on the 4th floor of Universal Headquarters of Kingdom, Incorporated. Yes, they believe this. 

    They believe that because every seventh day, and every festival time, their gatherings and their method of worship are exactly what God demands and requires of His people. They believe, that because of their ties to their magnificent End Time Apostle who Restored All Things, and their obedience to the Restoration, that if they hold fast to that Faith once Delivered, that they will hold such magnificent offices that they will be right "up there" with Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and in their minds, Herbert, Garner Ted, Rod, Raymond, and all of the other pioneers of Armstrong's short-reigned movement. They think these things because this is what they have accepted as truth, and have committed their lives to. They think these things because to think otherwise would make their entire lives a lie. To think otherwise would be - to them - unconscionable. 

    Yet by this train of thought, they not only ignore the deep, spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ, but they also ignore the entire core and foundation of the entire Gospel they think they proclaim. They ignore the countless failures that they proclaim as present truth. They ignore the harm they cover like a cat covers its dung in the litter box. They reason their way around any evidence that completely refutes their viewpoints. They instead ingest a toxic diet of pride, hubris, power, lust, mammon, arrogance, and abuse and spew it all over well-meaning members with the force and smell of a bad night's drinking binge. They do this unashamedly, and unapologetically. They do this blind and deaf to any reason, to any logic, to any emotion, or to any evidence of truth. They are intoxicated with the delusions of power and the poisons of the drug of brainwashed thinking and cult mentality. They think they act in love, but stab their claws deep into the hearts of the shackled and the chained, thinking they are holding them to ordained Law and divine submission, not seeing the dungeons and depth of depravity they tie their victims to, and as starving vampires, suck the living life and energy out of their victims while energizing themselves with their lives. 

    While molesting the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their depravities, and spitting on the face of the Lord with their doctrines of satanic nightmares, they sit in their high lives relishing in their "blessings" and "favor" from the spiritual extortion of their victims. As we have read, many have, under the full duress and victimization of their abusers, entered the depths of depression and anxiety due to being cut off from their loved ones. Many have taken their own lives because there is no longer any reason to love in their own minds. Others sit there as lifeless drones, listening to rehashed garbage over and over and over again. Others sit there and take the berating, uncompassionate, loveless "authority" of their spiritual "overseers", never measuring up and always not doing enough. Most sit under the threat of punishment and disfellowshipment for their mistakes, always fearing their loss of salvation or not "qualifying" enough to make it, and stay restrained by their slave masters because they fear if they leave what little they have will be taken from them. They do this because they have bought into the lies which came from Herbert himself and have been taught over and over again by his hirelings. 

    God has said in his word that those who want to be the greatest must become the least. He has said that those who want to rule must become servants. He has said if you want to be rich, give to the poor. He has said that he is looking for those who are the hands and feet of Jesus. God has said to feed the hungry. To clothe the unclothed. To visit the jailed. And to nurse the sick. 

    God has condemned the love of money, and the advancement of sordid gain. He has condemned those who take advantage of the widows and the fatherless. Those who take advantage of the poor, or make merchandise of the brethren. He has spoken time and time again, over and over again in the scriptures about the importance of the fruits of the Spirit, and the manifestation of love in His people to God and to man. He has said over and over again the importance of mercy, of grace, of forgiveness, and of truth. He has said that His people would humble themselves, and look not to worldly possessions, but spiritual discernment and God's guiding Spirit. 

    But what do we have? What do we have in the Church of God scene? 

    We have leaders who build compounds and mansions. Who take their members for everything they have for what? For jet aircraft. For trees. For BMW's, and gemstones. For buildings laden with crystal and Steinways. For the finest desks and offices, suits and ties. For posh surroundings and expensive dinners. For trips, and for the best Feast-cations. Instead of embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and his ministry of love - they've traded it all in for mammon and selfish ambition and wickedness. And they seem to be blind, deaf, and mute to it all. 

    They think they're going to rule church and state? They are not qualified to rule a hamster or a gerbil, much less any sort of world government! Anyone who has any knowledge of the words of Jesus Christ knows they are making a sham out of the Gospel, and perpetuating an ongoing scam. The only reason why they keep going is that there are people who continue to buy into the lies and the untruths that these false prophets, teachers, and ministers have convinced them to believe. 

    These "ministers" - no matter what they say or believe in their delusions - are not qualified, nor will they have any part of the rule of God's people, since they refuse to obey and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, and instead embrace the shadows that pointed to Him. They don't exhibit the love or compassion that marks a servant of Jesus Christ. They live in a make-believe world of empty threats and empty words. I will say it again. The only authority they have is the power of deception to those who submit themselves to such deception. Otherwise, they are just weak men who make a mockery of the Lord they claim to serve and know. 

    Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest". And there are thousands of members of the COG's who absolutely require rest for their souls and minds and hearts. A rest that cannot be found in one physical day out of the week no matter how perfectly they observe it  - but only in Jesus Christ's indwelling spirit. That is the promised Rest that's available, if only people would take the hand of their Savior and enter into it, and run from the lies and the shackles and the chains.

    submitted by SHT

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    One of HWA's favorite sermons, ok his only one, was about God being a "Uniplural" Elohim.  From this it was but a short hop to "God is a family" and someday we would become God "as God is God" and "There were two trees....."  Wrong....terribly wrong!

    El is the original Most High God in the Old Testament, borrowed from the local Canaanite religion and the Elohim (the plural part)  were His Council of the Gods. It is this Council of the Gods that El is talking to when He says, "Let US make man in OUR Image..."  and it is El who gets nervous when Adam and Eve eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and says in Genesis 3:22 
    "And the LORD God said, "The man has now becomelikeoneofus, (El and The Council of the Gods) knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, andliveforever." You see, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil along with the Tree of Life were God Food Trees. They were not for humans consumption. Humans were merely to be the worker bees for the gods in the original Sumerian myth later given a Hebrew twist. . Both the knowledge of good and evil and eternal life were reserved for the gods. However, why then Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the Tree before they knew it was evil to do is beyond most. None of this has anything to do with El talking to the one who would later become Jesus of the New Testament.


    "Contrary to these biblical traditions that suggest an assimilation between Yahweh and El, there are other passages that seem to indicate that Yahweh was a separate and independent deity within El’s council.Deuteronomy 32:8-9 is one of those rare biblical passages that seemingly preserves a vestige of an earlier period in proto-Israelite religion where El and Yahweh were still depicted as separate deities: Yahweh was merely one of the gods of El’s council! This tradition undeniably comes from older Canaanite lore.

    Deuteronomy 32:8-9

    When the Most High (’elyôn) gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated humanity, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of divine beings. For Yahweh’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.  (YHVH was merely one of the Divine Beings at this point and given his people to be the god over, i.e The God of Israel.)

    There are two points to take away from this passage. First, the passage presents an apparently older mythic theme that describes when the divine beings, that is each deity in the divine counsel, were assigned and allotted their own nation. Israel was the nation that Yahweh received. Second, Yahweh received his divine portion, Israel, through an action initiated by the god El, here identifiable through his epithet “the Most High.”In other words, the passage depicts two gods: one, the Most High (El), is seen as assigning nations to the divine beings or gods (the Hebrew word is elohim, plural “gods”) in his council; the other, Yahweh, is depicted as receiving from the first god, the Most High, his particular allotment, namely the people of Israel. Similarly, in another older tradition now preserved in Numbers 21:29, the god Chemosh is assigned to the people of Moab.
    The Divine Council
    Other biblical passages reaffirm this archaic view of Yahweh as a god in El’s council. Psalm 82:1 speaks of the “assembly of El.” Psalm 29:1 enjoins “the sons of El” to worship Yahweh, and Psalm 89:6-7 lists Yahweh among El’s divine council.
    Thus there seems to be ample evidence in the biblical record to support the claim that as Yahweh become the supreme national deity of the Israelites, he began to usurp the imagery, epithets, and old cultic centers of the god El. This process of assimilation even morphed the linguistic meaning of the name El, which later came to mean simply “god,” so that Yahweh was then directly identified as ’el—thus Joshua 22:22: “the god of gods is Yahweh” (’el ’elohim yhwh)."
    With this in mind we can also better understand the rather enigmatic but well known verse in Exodus 20:5 which warns Israel not to make any graven images etc …"Because I the Lord YOUR God, am a jealous God."  Even as a kid I wondered why God was jealous. Jealous of what?  Other gods evidently and the text can better be understood as meaning "You shall not bring any other gods into my presence, for I the Lord YOUR God am a jealous God."  In other words, there were gods aplenty. Just don't bring them into the territory of YHVH. 

    Even the God of the Old Testament evolved over time. Original  Polytheism lost out to Monotheism. Eventually YHVH overtook El and became the "one true God."  But in the beginning it was not so.

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    If there is anything on your bucket list that you want to do before the Germans come over and put you in concentration camps, you had better do it now!  According to the official Church of God Chief Pharisee, the end is to come before the end of 2019.  Or maybe 2020.  Or 2021, or 2022, or 2023, or 2024, 0r 2025, or 2026, can get your bags packed so you can head off to Pella with the Chief Pharisee so he can make your 3 1/2 years there a living hell.

    Chief Pharisee and official bastardizer of the law, James Malm has this prophecy for 2019:

    At this time all events are lining up for the 42 month great tribulation to begin at the end of 2019, or if things go slowly at the end of 2020.  
    Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to call an election with a polling date in late May.  The logic is that there will soon be a general war and he can use the Independence Day festivities to celebrate the defeat of Israel’s enemies and generate an election result giving him a strong mandate to control the Trump Middle East Peace Process.  
    This year the Israeli Independence Day by the modern Rabbinic Calendar is May 9 2019 or by the internationally used Papal Calendar May 14th.  
    If Bibi gets his way there will be war in early 2019 followed by elections in late May or June. 
    Once the confusion of war has settled and new governments have been set up, the Trump Peace Initiative will be unveiled.  US and International officials have been working very hard consulting parties throughout the entire region to put together a peace deal.  This deal is actually a completed basic peace deal which would be put in place with more advanced issues to be discussed according to a rigid time table.   Whether the miracle worker is set up in the Vatican in late 2019 and the tribulation begins at the end of the year or takes another year will depend on God’s will.  
    While acknowledging that things could go slowly and take another year, I have no choice except to do everything possible to prepare the brethren in case this does indeed come in 2019.

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    In 2010, the Philadelphia Church of God published a book about Herbert Armstrong and his prophecies, all of which Flurry claims have come true. 

    The very first chapter in the book claims "Decades of accuracy in global forecasting"

    "The result was amazing. The sheer number of prophetic statements made by Mr. Armstrong and his editorial team, and their accuracy, will astound you. This booklet is by no means exhaustive. But it does pretty well encapsulate what the Plain Truth was about for more than 50 years."

    "He Was Right will make your hair stand on end! But it will also build your faith as you read, study, and master it. You will know that God is bringing to pass exactly what He said He would."
    "Revelation 1:1 says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.” God the Father gave this revelation to show His servants what is going to happen. He gave it to Christ, and Christ gave it to an angel, and that angel gave it to God’s man. In this end time, Mr. Armstrong received that revelation. 
    Think about the fact that God the Father revealed this truth! What would happen if we didn’t show the world all that the Father has shown us? Receiving this revelation is an honor and a responsibility!"
    This book has now taken its place right up there next to Mystery of the Ages as required reading for PCG members.  This book is so important that they need to memorize it.  Your faith depends upon it.  Um, NO!
    "Ninety-five percent of God’s people have turned their back on God. They have said, “We’re not going to show the world this revelation—we want to be part of the world instead!” What is God going to do with those people?  
    And what does God think of those precious few who will stand up and show the world what He has shown them? I encourage you to read He Was Right and really get it in your mind and memory. It will build your faith! 
    It won’t be long before the whole world is reading that booklet. 
    Forget Jesus, but memorize and inculcate another idiotic PCG book. Typical Armstrongism.

    You can also read about the many prophecies of Herbert Armstrong, Meredith, Waterhouse, Hoeh and others here.

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  • 01/12/19--18:11: Dave Pack: Tell No Lies

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  • 01/12/19--18:12: Saturday

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    From an LCG member:

    In the latest Weekly Update on LCG churches, it has a feature about church members in Guyana who are being persecuted by pigs who are eating their crops of cassava.

    Mr. Shumway reported, “A number of our Brethren [in Guyana] lost their crops because of flooding…. While rainfall has not adversely affected our Brethren [in Brazil], the wild pigs have. Hundreds of pigs have descended on some of the farms, destroying much of the cassava crop. If this continues, there will be little food left for our members…. The members are praying for deliverance and looking for a way to protect their crops. It is remarkable to see the dedication of our members in these remote areas—especially considering the infrequency of ministerial visits. Your prayers are deeply appreciated!” He also mentioned that they were able to provide some food staples as well as some needed items to help the brethren make a living, thanks to the generous tithes and offerings of brethren in more prosperous parts of the region.

    Simple solution, make some bacon!

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    Many London newspapers are known for their tabloid features and conspiracy theories along with various photos of partially dressed women.  The London Express, a middle market tabloid prone to right-wing conspiracies and religious quackery included Bob Thiel in one of its religious tabloid stories recently. They have an article about the blood moons idiocy infecting conspiracy-laden American religious nutcases.  I suppose it makes sense then that The Express reached out to an American religious nutcase who has set himself up as an "authority" on the Bible, prophecy, and end times malarkey.

    Instead of reaching out to men and women who have a real biblical education and understand eschatology, they reached out to a mentally disturbed American cult leader.

    Blood Moon prophecy 2019: Is the Super Blood Moon a portent of DOOM?
    The prophetic passages about the apocalypse have led doomsday preachers around the globe to warn devout Christians an “event of biblical promotions” is brewing on the horizon.
    Evangelical preacher Paul Begley from West Lafayette in Indiana, US, is a prominent supporter of the Blood Moon apocalypse theory.
    The firebrand preacher dubbed the Blood Moon eclipse a “harbinger” of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
    There are biblical experts who dispute this, however, and instead believe the Blood Moon is not a sign of the end times.
    One of these experts is Dr Bob Thiel, of the Continuing Church of God, who told the January  is “not the fulfilment of biblical prophecy”
    Dr Thiel said: “The Super Wolf Blood Moon expected in January 2019 is not a special message from God.
    “Years ago I denounced the view the Blood Moons of 2014 and 2015 could mean Jesus would return or the Day of the Lord was about to start.
    “Those who pushed that then, as well as later, have been repeatedly proven wrong. 
    Thiel has been setting himself up to as an authority upon everything that comes to religion, particularly when it comes to prophecy.  Given the track record of the appalling legacy of failed prophecies of the Church of God, Thiel has set himself up as another failure. From Herbert Armstrong's pathetic record to the many lies of Rod Meredith and others that Thiel claims as his source for prophecy, he now imagines himself to be greater than any other COG leader to ever have existed.

    So it is no surprise to see a tabloid from England promoting as an "authority" particularly one which has faced numerous lawsuits over its stories and bad reporting.

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    Those fun loving boys in Cincinnati just dropped a lot of money on a new recording studio.  This gives them the opportunity to now to compete with  Bob Thiel's amazing animation videos.  They are proud of thier new series of videos. Its typical a COG menu of end times crappola and traumas of Revelation that are the most important things they can talk about since it is hard to ever find them talking about Jesus.  Imagine building a video studio to promote Jesus?  What a concept!

    [JANUARY 10, 2019] We are pleased to make available a short, 6-minute video that highlights the construction and completion of the Church’s new Video Recording Studio. Please take a moment out of your day to see the many benefits the new studio will provide for the Church in preaching the gospel of the Kingdom.

    This video also plays from the Church’s new Beyond Today app on the iPhone in the “BT DAILY” category—as well as in our apps on Roku , Amazon Fire TV and Samsung smart TVs. Please install the Beyond Todayapp on these devices if you have them. Go to the App Store and search for “Beyond Today Television” and download it onto your iPhone. Please note, we have discontinued the Beyond Today app on Apple TV, in favor of the iPhone. We are also working on an Android version of the app, which should be available in late January.

    The first three Beyond Today TV programs we recorded in the new studio will air in February, beginning on Sunday, February 3. Here is what’s scheduled:
    “Are We Living in the Time of the End?” by Gary Petty (February 3-9, 2019).
    “The Four Horsemen of Revelation” by Darris McNeely (February 10-16, 2019).
    “Are You Led by God’s Spirit?” by Steve Myers (February 17-23, 2019).

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  • 01/14/19--16:21: On Leaving the Cult
  • Leaving a cult is exactly like this...

    It is not easy to leave a Cult. 

    I am telling you this by personal experience. When your entire worldview changes, your entire way of looking at life changes, it is a process that literally takes months, years - and decades. No human likes anything related to change. Especially - yes, especially when it involves the core fundamental beliefs of your entire being of soul. In fact, leaving the mindset of a spiritually (and sometimes, physically) dangerous cult can be the hardest and most difficult thing you may ever be faced with a decision to do. But I will tell you, many many years after the initial process, it was the best thing I ever could have done - and I could only do it with the help of Jesus. 

    I remember very well the very first moments when I began to realize that what I was being told was wrong. At first, every single cellular part of me absolutely rebelled. But it was not a "logic" based rebellion. Because logic was telling me that something was amiss throughout the entire Armstrong experience. The "rebellion" was fear-based. And it was that all-encompassing fear that was resisting the gate to freedom that was right in front of me. 

    I will tell you everything that I feared in those initial days. 

    First, I feared that I was "breaking" every command that I had believed that God had given me through the teachings of the Church, and that I had committed to through Baptism and through countless periods of dual Bible-Armstrong studies. I had grown up in the full brunt of the Armstrong Lifestyle. Honestly, I knew nothing different then the do's and the dont's of our interpretation of Mosaic Law. And the interpretation that my family absorbed and practiced was on the extreme conservative, fundamental end of the scale. In fact, my entire childhood in the Armstrong environment was firstly, fear based, secondly, command based, and thirdly, isolationist-based. My entire life during those periods could be based on this one sentence: "Obey, or God will Strike." And by the word Obey, I mean "Do NOT mess up". By the word "God", you could replace that with "The Minister". And it was "The Minister" who ruled our family and our family's every decision. Freewill was not existent in our family in the Armstrong hierarchy. There was plenty of reason due to personal family circumstances why I should be in fear of God or The Minister. So, the Church Doctrines were not, in my mind, debated or even considered to be anything but the highest order of Obedience - our Prime Directive, if you will. For years and years, this is all I knew - and any alternative was satanic, devilish, demonic, and destined to doom me to destruction for all eternity as judged by The Minister. 

    Second, the only environment I ever knew - due to many circumstances - was the Church. My exposure to the outside world, for many reasons, was severely limited. The only culture I ever knew - was the Church. And Church families - and all the problems associated with Church Families. My entire environment was rooted and cemented in fear. So when I began to open the Bible and to read it for what it said - it could not have been a more polarizing emotional experience. 

    First, I could not dispute what was being plainly taught by  the writings of Paul to the Galatians, Collosians, Ephesians, Philippians and Corinthians churches. Now I know that in the audience here, there are many opinions concerning Paul, and I've heard them all, so try to set aside those for a second. The point I am making is simple: For the first time, when I read these scriptures *without the bias* of Armstrong's interpretations, the points made were shockingly clear. ANd pointedly clear. I read them over and over again, and had no choice but to conclude three words: Herbert Was Wrong. 

    But how could Herbert have been so wrong? How could he have been so in error? What else did I not know? Eagerly, I began to, for the first time, begin to investigate the secrets of the Church that were exposed by certain individuals who were "in the know". And this was the most shocking revelation of all physical revelations that one could encounter. How could it be that these things could have happened? And if they DID indeed happen - is there evidence to prove they happened? 

    I quickly found out there were VOLUMES of evidence that proved that what was alleged was not a fabricated attempt to defame. The evidence fit exactly with what was alleged. And slowly, I began to piece together a puzzle that never fit in any way before. Things made sense. The disconnects began to finally form a very ugly picture. 

    I saw the undeniable evidence that Herbert was wrong in his speculations. I saw the undeniable evidence of fear-based financial fraud. I saw the undeniable evidence of ministerial abuse. I never could, before delving into these things, understand how Herbert, with a rage-ful and angry temperament and explosive personality could be the messenger of a God of Love. This did not make sense! I never could understand the haughty arrogance of ministers that made you afraid of them. Or how snooty and pompous they were. I didn't face these questions because I reasoned that "God's in Charge, He will take care of it." I was in total denial of the questions that I knew I had but never wanted to face because deep inside, there was the idea that maybe, just maybe, I was wrong! But I couldn't be wrong! I was chosen! Called! Special! One of the infinitesimal few who God picked! I was going to be a King! a Leader! Why, if I'm wrong, then what am I? Who am I? So better to shove it to the back, I'd think. 

    Yet, in time, the realities could not be ignored. I began to realize how intensely we focused on the physical and completely ignored the spiritual. I began to see how much we not only rejected Jesus' teachings, but despised them. I began to see how Herbert had jumbled up the Bible and threw out any ability of understanding context, because he threw EVERYTHING out and based everything on HIS understanding, and rejecting everything else that wasn't how HE saw it. And it wasn't long before I clearly had my answer right in front of me: We were wrong. "I'm out." 


    Let me tell you, my absolute fear and panic was extreme the very first time I understood my allegiance was not in obligation to obeying the Old Testament ceremonial and regulatory laws of worship and festivals. When I realized that my salvation is not dependent on food or drink, and that Jesus is my atonement and has made atonement for me and rejected the notion that keeping Atonement had any affect at all on my salvation, I decided not to observe Atonement any longer, and that was the hardest thing I had ever done. Same with Unleavened Bread. I knew this was true, because I can remember that though I was physically following the letter of the law, my spirit was getting more and more spiritually prideful and corrupt. The "better" I kept the letter of the Law, the more prideful my spirit was getting. This happened with every Holy Day and every Sabbath - that haughty arrogance that comes with believing you are right and everyone else is wrong. That you are earning your salvation by obedience to the Law (YES, we believed that, no matter how many times we said that wasn't the case.) That God is going to judge you not on your love to God and Man and following the words of Jesus, but that you ate a piece of food at 7:45 and not 7:48, or had a hidden piece of leaven in the heating register all that time and you didn't know it, and you broke Unleavened Bread because of your negligence. Or the constant wonder if you accidentally broke the Sabbath by doing too much of one thing, or not enough of the other. Or wondering how all that work on the Sabbath was actually okay, because you'd be breaking the Sabbath if you did the same thing at home and not for a Church Potluck. Or seeing a Sabbath Command in the Bible that the minister just skipped over because "it doesn't apply to us" when the minister issues another command that was NOT in the Bible that DID apply. It did not make sense, and I knew it, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it right, and then it hit me that that was the point. It was about Jesus - so He, and not my observance to ceremony and ritual - was to be my emphasis from that point on, not worrying about days and seasons and years. And again. 


    The initial fears were unfounded. I was not struck by lightning. God's love did not fade. Yes, changing your entire life was, and is, hard. But spiritually? It was the very best thing that ever happened to me - I began to understand the Rest that happens when you surrender to Jesus, whom all of those ceremonies and rituals pointed to in the first place. There is no rest when you are living in fear. There is no rest when your focus is on the physical. The only rest is in the Spirit - and that is only because of what Jesus did for us and how we can now have access to the Throne of Grace and the Father through what Jesus did for all of us. No longer was there that feeling of haughty, arrogant pride because I was doing everything so much better than those evil pagans on the outside. No longer was there that special feeling of superiority. Though many challenges were to come - the lesson was learned. The lesson was the lesson of learning the meaning and the lessons of love. And no observance of any physical ritual will ever give you that Rest that can only happen by thinking, and acting in the love of Jesus in your everyday life. 

    No, it's not easy to leave a cult. I'm still going through the process of deprogramming - decades later. But if there's one thing that I have now, that I did not have then, while in the cult? It's the fact that I can say, resolutely, that I'm at peace. And I can say that I know Jesus loves, and that the Father cares, and that God has not left me like I had feared. In fact, I can say to you that God has made himself more known to me now than I EVER thought I knew him while in the den of lies that was the cult. 

    One word, however. You cannot do it alone. But there's good news in a song we all know and love. The four words of that song? 

    You'll Never Walk Alone. 

    God said he will NEVER leave you, never forsake you.  And you will NEVER walk alone. He's there for you now, He'll be there for you there, He'll be there for you anywhere. We even sang those words in the song we sang "Lord you have searched and have encamped my paths, you oh eternal God know all my ways, If up to heaven Lord, you are there, if down to hell you would soon find me there", or something like that, I'm not looking it up right now. But you know the words, and I'm sure you get the point. And the point is: Jesus will always be your firm foundation, so long as you trust in Him. Life has its challenges in or out of the cult, of this you can be sure. But Jesus isn't going anywhere - He's there. Of that you can be absolutely sure.

    submitted by SHT

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  • 01/15/19--15:14: A Little Help From Friends

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    Because I can just smell some in the Church of God ministry and Wannabe's  chomping at the bit to write about our living in the last days because of all the WOMEN being elected to office or about to give the Trumpster a run for his money should he choose or be available to run for President in 2020, I thought I would offer the current actual historical context and theological perspective on one of the Churches of God Greatest Hits against women.

    Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

    For the Complete Article

    The context of Isaiah 3:12 

    Isaiah chapter 3 is an oracle of judgement. It foretells the demise of Jerusalem and Judah as a consequence of Judah’s rebellion against God. This rebellion was brought about by the vices and mismanagement of its civil and religious leaders. At the beginning of Isaiah chapter 3 we read that God is about to remove the capable and gifted people from Judah, including, or especially, the ruling classes of Jerusalem. (This is exactly what happened in the early sixth century when the Babylonians invaded Judah and began deporting their best and brightest.)
    An English translation of the Septuagint’s version of Isaiah 3:1 reads: “Behold now, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the mighty man and mighty woman, the strength of bread, and the strength of water” (Isa. 3:1). In the following two verses, God lists what kind of mighty men and women will be removed: “the hero and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counsellor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter” (Isa. 3:2-3 NIV).
    Israel had previously benefited from the wise counsel, leadership, and heroic actions of certain men and women, but there would come a time when only the poorest, weakest, and least skilled would be left in Judah. Anarchy and extortion would follow as irresponsible leaders gain control.[1] These leaders are described as children and as untrained in Isaiah 3:4. (This idea of children as leaders comes up again in our text Isaiah 3:12.) In Isaiah 3:5-7, God outlines some ways people will be cheated and oppressed by their leaders. These ideas may also be behind Isaiah 3:12.

    So what does Isaiah 3:12 mean?

    Ok...couldn't resist. This one is mine but I believe I can detect a certain Diehl tendency to stand her ground and stir pots in the future. 

    There seems to be three ways of understanding God’s words in Isaiah 3:12.
    1. Isaiah 3:12 should be interpreted literally.
    Some believe that the meaning of Isaiah 3:12a, as it is in the Hebrew text, should be taken literally despite the poetic nature of this verse. If so, Judah will be ruled by young and inexperienced men. This might refer to Ahaz, who was a weak and wicked king. In the year 732 BC, Ahaz began his sixteen-year rule at the age of 20 (2 Kings 16:2 cf. Eccl. 10:16). Or it may refer to later leaders.
    According to the literal interpretation, Judah will also be ruled by women, perhaps the queen mother (cf. 2 Kings 11:1-16) and other prominent women in the royal court. These may be the “haughty women of Zion” denounced in Isaiah 3:16-25. The descriptions of these haughty women show that they are wealthy and, therefore, influential.
    2. Isaiah 3:12 should be interpreted metaphorically.
    A second possible interpretation of Isaiah 3:12, favoured by many scholars, is that metaphors are used in this verse. In this interpretation “children” and “women” are used as metaphors which signify that the leaders will be childish (i.e. inexperienced, capricious, or foolish) and effeminate (i.e. cowardly and ineffective) (cf. Isa. 3:4). In a note in the Geneva Bible (1599), Theodore Beza describes these leaders as “manifest tokens of [God’s] wrath, because they would be fools and effeminate.”[2]
    As now, it was an insult in ancient times to call a grown man a “child”. To call a man a “woman” was also, unfortunately, a common insult. One example of this insult is given by the historian Herodotus where he records Xerxes, king of Persia, as saying: “My men have become women, and my women men.” (Histories 8.88.3) Interestingly, both Vashti and Esther risked their lives by standing up for their principles and defying the king’s request and ruling (Esth. 1:12; 4:16 cf. 5:2). But Xerxes’ words here are about his own men who floundered, and about Queen Artemisia I of Caria. Xerxes had a tremendous regard for Artemisia who was his ally, and who had personally and valiantly led her navy in the battle at Salamis (480 BC). Thus Xerxes refers to her as a “man”. The Greek word for courage, andreia, which is used for both valiant men and women in Greek literature and in the Bible, comes from the Greek word for “man” (e.g., Prov. 12:4; 31:10; cf. 1 Cor. 16:13).
    In Isaiah 3:12a, it is not clear who, specifically, the inept leaders of Judah are, or will be. But they are certainly being belittled and disparaged in this interpretation of the text.
    3. Isaiah 3:12 originally did not contain the word for “women.”
    A third possible interpretation, which is favoured by some scholars, is that the word for “women” was not originally part of Isaiah 3:12, the original word being “creditors”. (There is also some doubt about the word “children” in 3:12.) The Hebrew word for women in Isaiah 3:12 is nashim (נשים). With identical consonants, but different vowel points, the word can be noshim (נשים), which means “creditors”. The Aramaic Targum of Isaiah 3:12 has nosim (“creditors”). Accordingly, the New English Bible (NEB) translates the pertinent phrase as “the usurers lord it over them”.[3]
    The Septuagint was translated from Hebrew to Greek centuries before the Masoretes added their system of vowel points to the Hebrew text. The Septuagint’s version of Isaiah 3:12a (translated into English) reads: “O my people, your extractors strip you, and extortioners rule over you.” The idea of being extorted by creditors fits with the overall context of Isaiah chapter 3, especially verses 5-7, but so does the idea of inappropriate men and women being leaders. Whatever the original word may have been, it is clear that God was saying that Judah would be led, or bullied, by incompetent leaders.
    Here are two English translations of Isaiah which favour different sources.
    My people—children are their oppressors,
    and women rule over them.
    O my people, your leaders mislead you,
    and confuse the course of your paths. (NRSV)
    Oppressors treat my people cruelly;
    creditors rule over them.
    My people’s leaders mislead them;
    they give you confusing directions. (NET)[4]

    Does the Bible show that women leaders are a bad thing?

    God’s judgement for Judah’s rebellion, caused by bad leaders, was that Judah would be oppressed by even worse leaders. Some people, however, highlight that having female leaders was part of God’s judgement. They argue that having a woman as a leader is an abhorrent aberration from God’s ideal and norm of male leadership of the community of his people. Is this really the case?

    The events in the Old Testament mostly occurred at a time when patriarchy was the pervasive social dynamic, and men ruled women (cf. Gen 3:16b). Nevertheless, some women were leaders of towns: civil leaders (e.g., Sheerah); and some women were prophets: religious leaders (e.g., Miriam). These women held respected and recognized leadership positions in society, and they were not regarded as odd.

    Deborah was a judge and a prophet, two of the roles listed in Isaiah 3:1-2ff.

    Many men in the Old Testament took advice and directions from women, and they did not see it as either a humiliating affront or as a punishment.
    ~ Two Israelite spies followed the directions Rahab gave them, to the letter, and they escaped from being caught by the king of Jericho’s men (Josh. 2:16, 22).
    ~ Barak, an army general, took directions from, and depended on, Deborah (Judg. 4:6, 8).
    ~ David heeded and praised the advice and prophetic words diplomatically and courageously given by Abigail (1 Sam. 25:23-31).
    ~ Joab, David’s general, agreed to the negotiations offered by the Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah on behalf of her town (2 Sam. 20:15-22).
    ~ Solomon bowed to his mother Bathsheba and gave her a throne at his right hand, making her a powerful woman, albeit not as powerful as Solomon (1 Kings 2:19).
    ~ King Lemuel respected the oracles taught to him by his mother, and recorded them. Her words still instruct (Prov. 31:1-9).
    ~ King Josiah sought out the advice and carried out the instructions of the prophetess Huldah (2 Kings 22:8-20; 23:1-25; 2 Chron. 34:19-33).
    ~ Mordecai, and others, carried out all the instructions of his niece Esther, Xerxes’ queen (Esth. 4:17 NIV).

    The Old Testament women mentioned here, and others, were used by God and respected by men.

    Being advised or taught or led by godly women is not an act of God’s judgement or punishment. Rather, it is the leadership given by fools and wimps, or corrupt avaricious creditors, that constitutes God’s judgement against Judah given in Isaiah 3:12 (cf. Isa. 3:14-16).