[Updated 18:17: I forgot the link for The Father’s Call.]
Feast or famine, drought or flood. Such is the case of a writer, it seems. I have a friend going through a really tough time right now, and that has consumed a bit of my time as well trying to be a little bit of a comfort to that person and their family.
There has been a lot going on in the world and the Churches of God (COGs), so little time to write sometimes, so let’s see if we can catch up a little:
Bitcoin the Mark of the Beast?
There seems to be a lot of mystery and confusion around the online and decentralized currency bitcoin. Used for purposes, legitimate and otherwise, there is a lot of folklore surrounding it. Not surprisingly, as is often the case whenever something new comes on the scene, there are inevitably are rumors that such-and-such new technology is “the mark of the beast”. Well, is it? Can you prove it either way?
I have put in a Helium request to write to this topic. If rejected, there is an existing category that could be used. In any event, stay tuned for a link.
Church of God an International Community Split: God’s Family Community or Church of God — A Family Community?
According to a new website The Father’s Call, there will be a Bible Study tonight at 7:30 pm EST and services tomorrow at 2:00 pm EST for those coming out of Church of God an International Community (COGaIC). It sounds as though the new group will be called either God’s Family Community or Church of God — A Family Community. Most second-hand information suggests the latter as the front runner.
They require some proprietary software to view or listen online (why?), so I won’t be peeking in that way, it seems.
Recent COGWA Postings
I should point out that I do not have Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA) anywhere in the blogroll. I mention that, as you may have wondered why. The main reason is that widget requires an RSS feed, and COGWA does not supply one for either cogwa.org or lifehopeandtruth.com. Instead, they prefer people sign up for email notifications.
Having said that, they are on the Links page, and arguably that results in a better Google ranking anyhow. Blog rolls are a little overdone, and Google realizes it, so the SEO experts all maintain that having a blog on your blog roll really doesn’t amount to much these days. The only downside is that there isn’t any dynamic notification this way.
At any rate, here are some recent postings you might be interested in reading:
1. “Isaiah” gives a brief description of the Book of Isaiah. I believe it is important to understand the background of this book, for it is one of the most attacked books by so-called “higher critics” of the Bible. For years, they portrayed it as having two or more authors, but the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls proved their dates wrong. Not that higher critics relented of their silliness, but they were at least forced to change their dates.
Isaiah was a book often quoted by Jesus Christ, and His doing so proves the authenticity of it as Scripture.
2. COGWA’s Godly Women Blog has an article “Read the Bible in a Year” by Susan Scott. As you should know by now, I am a big proponent of reading through the Bible on a regular basis, and once a year if do-able. How can we say we believe in and live by God’s word if we do not read it? The article begins with the lead:
A member of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, shares her reflections from reading the entire Bible in 2013 and looks forward to the 2014 program.
Of course, it ends with a plug for 2014’s Bible Reading Program, but I encourage you to try out that one or another one that you are comfortable with.
Remember, we are “people of the Book”!
There is a third one, but I want to wait and provide an entire article on the subject of the resurrection of animals.
Is Bob Thiel the Indiana Jones of the Churches of God? Indiana Jones Was a Fictional Character, You Know
COGWriter Dr Robert Thiel seems to be a man obsessed by many things. Unfortunately, many of these things seem to be works of fiction (intended or not). When he isn’t obsessing about Mayan, Chinese or Catholic Marian prophecies, he is obsessing about things like “Newly translated Hebrew claim about the Ark of the Covenant“.
For those who haven’t been keeping up, he now has the idea that he has some role to play in regards to the Ark of the Covenant. He isn’t saying exactly what, but offers a lot of speculation. Is that what prophets do? Offer tons of speculation? He is even grasping at vague dreams to try to support his theory that he has been passed the so-called “Philadelphia mantel”.
I have said for some time that he is going to grasp at more and more straws, similar to the likes of Flurry, Weinland and Pack. With these three, it started small and in different ways, eventually spiraling into a spiral of deceit from which there was no recovery. With Thiel, it seems to start small with desperate attempts at legitimacy, even looking to unbiblical and pagan sources if required (which of course, is about as anti-Bible as it gets).
However, dreams are no longer his most desperate attempt at trying to gather a following after himself. His article about the “newly translated Hebrew claim” conveniently does not quote a significant part of the original article “The Ark of The Covenant Revealed in Hebrew Text“. The article covers the “Treatise of the Vessels”, comparing them to the Dead Sea Scrolls’ “Copper Scroll” and other pseudepigraphal writings. Then, the bombshell:
The writer of the text likely was not trying to convey factual locations of the hidden treasures of Solomon’s Temple, but rather was writing a work of fiction, based on different legends, [professor at University of St. Andrews, James] Davila told LiveScience.
“The writer draws on traditional methods of scriptural exegesis [interpretation] to deduce where the treasures might have been hidden, but I think the writer was approaching the story as a piece of entertaining fiction, not any kind of real guide for finding the lost Temple treasures,” he wrote in the email.
So, I suppose if Thiel wants to be Indiana Jones, let him be thus! After all, Indiana Jones was a work of fiction as well.
Today on Google+, a friend posted a link to A Sheep No More‘s “40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World“. Some of them are merely interesting to me, such as the countries that do not use the metric system. Some are silly, such as a map of the continental United States overlaid upon the moon. However, two of them stood out in a way I wasn’t expecting.
For example, “The Only 22 Countries in the World Britain Has Not Invaded” is one I find fascinating. I look at that and I think of the promise to Abraham to inherit the whole earth. Not just part of it, mind you, but the entire earth. Mind you, that promise was not merely for this time period, and it hasn’t been fully realized even though close, but it is for the future and for all time.
Critics of British Israelism like to say that to argue that Britain the US are descendants of Abraham due to who else has fulfilled those promises in such a dramatic way is to reason it backwards. However, that does not make it false. I can reason that the ice on the ground was formed from water because I know that water below a certain temperature freezes and turns into ice. I can read the prophecies and blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and they make perfect sense for Great Britain and the United States of America. Not only that, but they fit the time frame leading up to the return of Jesus Christ, and I have little doubt we are living in those days. I also am quite aware that ironically one of the signs of the times is the scoffers that emerge about the times we live in!
The other map is #29, “The Economic Center of Gravity Since 1 AD”. Underneath, we read, “By far the most rapid shift in the world’s economic center of gravity happened in 2000-10, reversing previous decades of development”.
I think it is important to note how quickly things can change, as well as ponder how both New York and London have slipped from being real leaders in the financial world.
It reminds me of 1989 when East Germany began to fall apart. At first, people speculated it would take 15 years for reunification. Then, more began chiming in that it would take 10 years for it to happen. A few brave souls put forward the idea it would only take 5 years. It took about 18 months! Officially, German reunification took from 18 March 1989 – 3 October 1990.
Why is it that so many will be caught by surprise at the time of the end? Well, they wait, and wait, and wait, and then wait some more, and then suddenly everything happens so fast there is no time to prepare!
45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.