Friday, July 24, 2020

Gerald Flurry Upset Not All PCG Members Worship His "New Throne of David" Stone

It is well documented here about how Gerald Flurry, in his endless quest to imitate Herbert Armstrong, traipsed off to Oregon and searched the hills of a farm for a rock where God's most perfect human leader had supposedly knelt down and prayer at. Flurry wears the same kind of clothes and pretends he is an apostle just like Herbert Armstrong, his idol. Flurry has even built his own mini-me auditorium to look like Herberts Ambassador Auditorium. His auditorium has Herbert's candelabra and grand piano from Pasadena. On top of that, he has even named his imitation "college" Herbert W Armstrong College. All of those things are just minor details compared to the rock he dug up.

Flurry's god supposedly spoke to him in a dream and told him that Herb's rock was now the new coronation stone that Jesus Christ will come back to and be crowned King of kings upon. Forget the coronation stone that was formally in Westminster Abbey that British Israelites love to claim as Jacob's stone where he dreamed upon and the stone that English Kings and queens have been crowned upon for hundreds of years. COG mythmakers love to claim that it was brought by Jeremiah to the isles when he supposedly traveled there with his daughters.

Flurry has expanded the myths about the real coronation stone and now claims his god has removed its blessing upon that stone and has now blessed the Stone of Herbert as the new stone Jesus will return to.

Flurry has now turned this myth into doctrine and wrote numerous stories for his magazines, did videos on it, and countless magazine articles. Members were expected to take this drivel as god-inspired doctrine just because Flurry claimed his god spoke to him.

The first time Flurry displayed the rock it was next to one of his buildings and made it into a meditation area where people could sit and contemplate the holy rock. Then as his myth-making elevated the stone to new heights of absurdity, it was placed in a glass case resting upon a bed of royal blue velvet where it can be adoringly gazed upon.

But, but all is not well on the cult compound or in PCG as some members have not fallen for this lie and Flurry is NOT happy!  To not fall for it is a direct slap in his face because it proves that some members question his authority to make these kinds of comments and doctrinal directives.

COGNews reports on this:
Gerald Flurry claims the authority to declare that Herbert Armstrong’s ‘prayer rock’ is the new Stone of Destiny and the Throne of David, but for a long time it was actually the Stone of Scone and the coronation stone of British monarchs. 
He writes on page 117 of his book, The New Throne of David 
In the past, when God has given me new revelation, words flowed into my mind and entered my thought process, often leading me to certain scriptures. But with the revelation about the new stone and throne, it was different. This time, I heard a strong voice. It was more powerful. I don’t think anyone else would have heard anything, but I certainly heard it. It really startled me, as I think it would anyone. That was the first time I had ever experienced anything like that.
That voice left me somewhat shaken, but in a good way. As soon as I heard it, I started studying the Bible; I wanted to prove that revelation from God’s Word. After studying, I began to see that Jesus Christ was establishing a new throne, just like that voice had said. I began to find all the scriptures and put them together. You can do the same thing: This book goes through many scriptures that prove this truth. You don’t just have to accept my word for it: You can prove that voice came from God.
I understand why some would question this, if I just heard a voice and didn’t have any proof from the Bible. But when you put all this evidence together, it proves that I really did hear a voice from God! The proof is all laid out in the Bible. You don’t want to follow someone who has simply heard a voice – I certainly don’t! It requires study, prayer and meditation on your part. There are also voices coming from the devil.
Numbers 16 and 17 record a disagreement over who should be in charge in Israel. Without clear government, authority and leadership, you have murmuring and problems; that is human nature. So God instructed Moses to have the leaders of each tribe submit a rod, and then said, “And it shall come to pass that the mans rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you. (Numbers 17:5)
What do you do if there is murmuring against Gods leader? Somehow you have to convince them they are wrong, or they are going to be put in the outer court …
In Mosess day, God warned that those who didnt stop murmuring and rebelling would die (Numbers 17:10). That is what God says to us spiritually. At some point you must stop the murmuring and rebelling, or youre going to die! That is the opposite of the total trust God is building in His people. This is about eternal life and eternal death … Some of Gods people will soon present that throne to Jesus Christ at His Second Coming! How can someone do that if he doesnt really understand these things? 
It is amazing to watch all of these stinking turds that lead various COG's as they make these kinds of statements in order to keep their members in line. None of these abusive men have any qualifications whatsoever to claim that God would punish members for failing to heed their directives.

COGNews has this describing how Flurry is justifying himself to his members and what will happen when they ignore him:
Gerald Flurry admits that there is dissension within the PCG over his declaration that the rock at which Herbert Armstrong prayed for a few days in the 1930s is ‘The New Throne of David’. 
Gerald Flurry has written an article for the July-August 2020 issue of the Royal Vision magazine – a foundational lesson we must learn in order to build up the throne of David. The article includes a correction box, explaining that his level of authority in the church is far above that of the other ministers.
CORRECTION: An article in the July-August 2003 Royal Vision, titled, “Was Peter the Chief Apostle?” stated: “Peter alone is given the ‘keys’ to the kingdom of heaven! Later, the authority to ‘bind’ and ‘loose’ was given to the other apostles as well (see Matthew 18:18), but only Peter was given the ‘keys’ …”
Actually, the authority to bind and loose given to the other apostles was not the same authority given to Peter to bind and loose. Peter, as chief apostle, had the sole authority to make judgments and decisions, or policies, that affected the entire Church. No one else was given that level of authority – to make judgments that amplify God’s law in particular circumstances that would apply to the entire Church.
The context of Matthew 18 shows that other ministers were given authority to bind and loose in order to make judgments, or decisions, regarding people in the Church who were not getting along as they should (see Matthew 18:15-18). These were more “localized” judgments to bind and loose regarding contentions or offenses between brethren, not at all on the same level as the authority given 
The context of Matthew 18 shows that other ministers were given authority to bind and loose in order to make judgments, or decisions, regarding people in the Church who were not getting along as they should (see Matthew 18:15-18). These were more “localized” judgments to bind and loose regarding contentions or offenses between brethren, not at all on the same level as the authority given only to the chief apostle.
This is similar to a declaration by Herbert Armstrong in 1980:

The title, and the keys, passed from chief apostle to chief apostle, from Peter to Peter.
Each chief apostle was the new Peter.
Now I am the chief apostle, and I am the Peter.
Whatever I bind is bound in heaven, and whatever I loose is loosed in heaven.
The Day of Pentecost is now on Sunday. But, since I had made the decision to observe Pentecost on Monday, for years the Day of Pentecost was actually on Monday.
The stuff that these men in the church pass off as truth and doctrine is nothing more than spiritual diarrhea. That includes all of the junk Bob Thiel preaches and the mindless absurdities of Dave Pack.  Never has the Church of God movement has such sick men leading groups as it does today.

Hopefully, it is true some PCG members can see through this stuff and may start to question other things. Restored Church of God members are also starting to wake up. If more people did this there would be no income for these charlatans and their churches would implode.  Great will be that day!

Did COG False Prophet Buy Web Site To Impersonate Another COG Organization?

I Sezz, I'z a real COG prophet now! Now, where wuz I?

Church of God's self-appointed prophets and wanna-be's have consistently strived over the years to make themselves appear as "legitimate" true prophets of God in the eyes of the world.  It is so important to them that they appear in a good light to the world and those they seek to impress.

Our Great Bwana Bob Thiel is crowing on his blog today about buying a web domain so he can make his followers in Africa feel more legitimate and connected to a "real" church. 

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce that we have have another URL:  
Several weeks ago, we purchased that URL. 
Since then, we have worked on putting pages together to be at that new website. We also consulted with leaders in Ethiopia and Ghana as they came from groups using the term Church of God Seventh Day (and Ghana still does). 
The home page for the website starts out looking as follows:

The doubly blessed dream-weaver continues with this:
This new site is intended to help people who wonder about the seventh-day Sabbath as well as those interested in learning about the different groups that claim Christ, but who also keep the seventh-day Sabbath. 
Articles from the website on various Sabbath keeping groups have been included. And because of this project, I wrote articles on three additional Sabbath keeping groups that I previously did not have. 
To promote the site a little bit, we set up a promotional campaign with Microsoft Bing, which will cost us very little. But, hopefully, will spur some interest in the new website.
So be prepared to be Binged-out with moronic ads for those who use Bing to do a web search.  A prophet's gotta do what he's gotta do and COG prophets aren't known for making wise decisions.

Could we see a lawsuit in the works by a REAL Church of God who claims Bwana Thiel is impersonating them?

There is a real Church of God that has been doing a great job is spreading the real gospel message for decades, regardless of how many times Bwana Bob calls them "so-called" Christians.

Here is Bwana Thiel's domain name: and here is the real COG domain name: Bwana Bob is trying to get as close as he can to a real COG and most likely bought the domain because it was so close and is hoping that people will make a mistake in typing in the URL and be directed to his site.

Church of God (Seventh Day) has been an active and vibrant church for decades, unlike the rapidly declining Armstrongist Church of God's.

Their web site states:
...a Vibrant 21st Century Church as a Christ-Centered, Grace-Oriented, Sabbath-Celebrating Church. ...emphasizes transcendence – the need to transcend justice into grace and the need to transcend beyond rules into a relationship with our Creator and Redeemer. In Christ, we transcend our human nature and participate in His divine giving nature. With our gratitude for Christ and His grace, our obedience transcends from a work of obligation into an act of love. As we grow in our loving relationship with Him, He brings our lives into harmony with the fullness of His grace and His truth. 
Bwana Bob's cult is NOT Christ-centered and never will be. Christ barely gets a mention in between the Mayan's, Catholic's, and every imaginable conspiracy theory floating around out there. Add to that his incessant self-boasting of his greatness and his imaginary dreams that he rolls out to try and make us all stand in awe of his magnificence and you will find little mention of Christ.  But then, that is typical of many of the Armstrongist COG's.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Charasmatic Cult That Bought Ambassador Auditorium Underfire

Harvest Rock Church, the charismatic personality cult of Che Ahn, which is part of the Toronto Blessing charismatic movement, is under fire for publicly defying a state order to not hold church during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harvest Rock is the tongues-speaking, pogoing, slain-in-the-spirit, gold dust blowing, hysterical laughter, has people who bark and roar like lions, has miraculous instantaneous gold and silver tooth fillings during services, and much much more. If people thought the Worldwide Church of God was crazy, these people trump us to the extreme.

The Pasadena Star-News ripped them a new one on July 22, 2020, in an article after Harvest Rock and other churches sued the State for prohibiting them from free worship.

Pasadena church should stop the singing, for now, and pray to protect its flock
By  | | Pasadena Star News PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED:  
Pasadena’s Harvest Rock Church, which took over the already (at least in classical music circles) hallowed ground of the Ambassador Auditorium when the Worldwide Church of God blew town, says it has a constitutional right to hold services indoors. And to sing. Except that it doesn’t, on either count.
And it takes a lot of hubristic gall to claim special infecting privileges in the midst of a worldwide pandemic spread by large groups of people getting together, especially spread by singing when standing shoulder to shoulder, an otherwise fun and spiritually uplifting practice that early on in the novel coronavirus crisis infected 28 and killed two of the members of the Skagit Valley Chorale after rehearsal in Mount Vernon, Washington.
Singing is the best part about going to church. Some day it will be again. That time is not now. So it’s awfully sad to see Harvest Rock suing California’s governor for the right to spew a deadly virus on the same day we also report Pasadena’s first relatively young death — age 30 — from COVID-19.
It’s sad because the church pretends government interferes with faith when it’s trying to stop people from suffering and dying. Isn’t your faith strong enough to support that?
The church, as one would in this case, cites the First Amendment, that same good stuff that protects newspapers: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
And if you were the church’s lawyer, you would highlight for the judge that clause about “prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” obviously. But what you would be ignoring is the precedent in jurisprudence akin to your free speech rights stopping when it comes to falsely yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater. Just because we won’t stand for “abridging the freedom … of the press” doesn’t mean we get to likely infect people with a disease in order to stay free. We’d have to find a workaround if we were.
Pastors live for having a flock in front of them, and so I get why Harvest Rock’s Pastor ChĂ© Ahn says: “As a pastor, I believe we’ve been essential for 2,000 years.”
But these are unprecedented times. Even if we don’t love it, even if we’d all like to get together and belt out a song, we don’t get to be so selfish. Instead, we get to Zoom. It may be the pastoral equivalent of kissing your sister — wait, don’t do that! — but that’s what other churches are doing.
Be responsible to your flock. Drop the lawsuit. Stop holding in-person services indoors. Save lives, and there’ll be more people to preach to when we get to the other side of this. 
See other stories about this:

‘We’ve Been Essential For 2,000 Years’: Pasadena Church Holds Indoor Services Despite Coronavirus Warnings

Harvest Rock Church Files Federal Lawsuit Against Newsom's Church Ban

SoCal church sues over Gov. Newsom's singing ban

Here is an article from The Journal: News of the Churches of God about Harvest Rock's acquisition of the Auditorium:

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Racism Is Inherent in Anglo-Israelism

Racism Is Inherent in Anglo-Israelism

Lonnie Hendrix

Many of the adherents of Anglo-Israelism have expressed their disbelief that anyone would have the audacity to characterize their teaching as being inherently racist in nature. “It’s not about race!” they indignantly declare. “Ephraim and Manasseh were the product of a mixed marriage (their mother was an Egyptian),” they remind their critics. “Yes, Herbert Armstrong and the old Worldwide Church of God did introduce some racist ideas and policies into the mix,” some of them will admit; but they insist that they have moved beyond such past ignorance and mistakes in their application of the teaching.

As a consequence, I thought it might be instructive to try and explain why the teaching is racist in nature and cannot be redeemed with improved window dressing. To do this, we must first summarize the teaching to understand how it could be racist.

Anglo-Israelism is the notion that the English-speaking peoples of the world represent the modern manifestation of the Israel of the Bible. More specifically, that the British Commonwealth is synonymous with the tribe of Ephraim, and the United States is synonymous with the tribe of Manasseh. According to the proponents of the teaching, these nations are the heirs of the promises of material wealth and power promised to Abraham so long ago, and their preeminent position in the modern world is the evidence that this is true.

So, how could that possibly be considered racist in nature? They reason that God is the source of this wealth and power – that HE gave these things to the English-speaking peoples to fulfill HIS promises to their ancestor Abraham. The problem with this reasoning is that it excuses a whole lot of racist behavior on the part of these people!

Take a moment to think about the history of the rise of these people to the position they have occupied on the world stage. After all, the expansion of British influence around the world was part of the larger movement of European colonialism which resulted in the subjugation of native peoples and the appropriation of their lands. Likewise, it has resulted in the exploitation of the resources and labor (in the form of the institution of slavery) of weaker nations. Moreover, the Americans and British have used their wealth and power to maintain their advantages over other nations. And, finally, all of this has given rise to the notion that their culture, institutions and beliefs (religious and political) are superior to all of the other nations and peoples of the earth.

In the United States, this gave rise to beliefs that God’s saints were planting His kingdom in the wilderness, and that it was the Manifest Destiny of these people to occupy all of the land between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Thus, Native Americans could be butchered and pushed off of their lands, and African slaves could be used to build the infrastructure of a great republic.

Thus, Anglo-Israelism legitimizes all of this clearly racist behavior because it all happened to fulfill God’s promises to Abraham! Moreover, supporting things like the Black Lives Matter movement and immigration from Latin America to the United States and Muslims to Great Britain threatens to change the very nature of the nations who have inherited these blessings and destroy their Israelite character!

Look at the encyclopedic and dictionary definitions of racism and tell me that this teaching isn’t inherently racist in nature! No, Anglo-Israelism is not benign and harmless. By its very nature, without embellishment or overt expressions, it glorifies some of the most racist behaviors and policies ever inaugurated in human history!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hi Brian Davis from the Philadlephia Church of God!

We need to all wave at Brian Davis from the Philadelphia Church of God. Being the wild and crazy guy that he is, we found out that he is a reader of this blog!  Woo Hoo!

It seems that Mr. Davis likes to read our blog and Exit and Support and then make fun of us in his sermons at PCG services!  What a hoot!

He particularly likes to read letters sent to Exit and Support from exPCG members and others complaining about abuse in PCG. He mocks those people from the pulpit.

I can't stop laughing!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Promises and the Birthright

The Promises and the Birthright

In one of their recent "web chats," the Church of God International hosted a discussion about "What is the Birthright Promise?" Like most Armstrongites who embrace Anglo-Israelism, CGI conflates "the promises" with "the birthright." Then, in a classic example of circular reasoning, they use the "birthright promise" as the principal proof that the U.S. and Britain represent modern-day Israel. Likewise, an important corollary to this "proof" is the assertion that some of the promises are "spiritual" in nature, and some of them are "material/physical" in nature.

What about these claims? How do they square with what is recorded in Scripture? Does a Divine "birthright promise" demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt that the English-speaking peoples of the world represent the fulfillment of such a promise?

First, it is important to establish precisely which promises we are talking about. After all, most students of the Bible know that God made a number of promises to a number of different people(s). Hence, for the purposes of this discussion, we are specifically focused on the promises that God made to Abraham and his offspring.

We find these promises initially mentioned in the twelfth chapter of Genesis. We read there: "The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.'” -Genesis 12:1-3 Summarizing, God promises: 1) to make him into a great nation, 2) to bless him and make him famous, 3) to make him a blessing to others, 4) to bless those who treat him well and curse those who abuse him, and 5) to bless all of the families on earth because of him. Later on, in verse seven, God adds that he would give the Land of Canaan to his descendants (Hence, the Promised Land). In the fifteenth chapter of Genesis, God also promises Abram a son (an heir) to inherit the land which "He" has promised him.

Later still, God confirms the promises which "He" has made to his faithful servant. We read: "This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.” -Genesis 17:7-8

Having nailed down the "promises," the next question that comes to mind is "Did God fulfill all of these promises?" And, if you think that the answer to that question is a simple "yes" or "no," you may not be as familiar with Scripture as you thought you were!

To be sure, there is certainly a sense that God fulfilled these promises to Abraham. Scripture informs us that Abraham's descendants grew into great nations (Judah, Israel, Edom, Moab, Midian, etc.) Likewise, we read in I & II Kings and I & II Chronicles about all of the kings who descended from Abraham. Scripture also informs us that Abraham was famous in his own day and has certainly been made famous to all succeeding generations by the account we have in those same writings. Finally, we know that Abraham's descendants eventually inherited the "Promised Land" and did often serve as a blessing to other nations. Can we, however, say that these promises were actually fulfilled, knowing that the Israelites eventually lost their independent kingdoms and were carried away into captivity? What happened to "It will be their possession forever"?

Even so, in the twenty-second chapter of Genesis, we are informed that God tested Abraham's faith and reconfirmed "His" promises as a consequence of Abraham's performance. We read: "This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me." Genesis 22:16-18

We ask again: Did God ever fulfill these promises to Abraham? In the New Testament book of Hebrews, Abraham is held up as one of the great examples of faith in God. -Hebrews 11 Nevertheless, we are informed: "All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." -Hebrews 11:13-16 Hence, from a scriptural perspective, whatever happened with the Israelites doesn't appear to have fulfilled the promises God made to Abraham!

Notice too, that this statement includes all of the promises made - it doesn't differentiate between "spiritual" and "material" promises! In other words, there is a definite sense that ALL of the "promises" were spiritual in nature and were to be fulfilled in the FUTURE.

Going back to the account in Genesis, we notice just a few chapters later that Isaac (Abraham's son and heir) has two sons of his own (Esau and Jacob). - Genesis 25 In this same account, we are also informed that Esau was the firstborn - the one who according to the law of primogeniture would inherit the bulk of their father's estate. In biblical parlance, it was Esau's birthright (because he was born first) to inherit whatever their father had inherited from his father (Abraham). Even so, the chapter concludes with an account of Esau selling his birthright to his younger brother (Jacob) for a bowl of stew!

Later, we learn that God appeared to Isaac and reiterated the promises which "He" had made to Abraham. We read: "I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions." -Genesis 26:3-5 Again, the promises are repeated and attributed to Abraham's obedience. In other words, because Isaac is Abraham's heir, the promises are passed on through him.

In the next chapter, we learn that Jacob stole Esau's blessing from their father. -Genesis 27 Apparently, Isaac intended to bestow an extraordinary blessing on his eldest son, but the younger son tricked him into believing that he was his older brother and secured the blessing in his stead. -Genesis 27:1-40

Later still, God makes a similar promise to Jacob in a a dream. God tells him: "I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” -Genesis 28:13-15

In this connection, it is interesting to note that the previously referenced eleventh chapter of Hebrews includes Isaac and Jacob as examples of the faithful. We read there: "It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise." -Hebrews 11:8-9 And, just so that there could be no misunderstanding the message of this chapter, the author repeats: "All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised." -Hebrews 11:39

Continuing with the account, we are later informed that God changed Jacob's name to Israel (see Genesis 32). Then, after thinking his son Joseph was dead for many years, God revealed to Israel that he would be reunited with his favorite son in Egypt and die there (see Genesis 46). Finally, just before he dies, Israel blesses Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and adopts them as his own (see Genesis 48). For Armstrongites, the all important scripture here is Israel's statement to Joseph about the boys recorded in verse nineteen. He said, "Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. And his descendants will become a multitude of nations."

For the hosts of the CGI web chat, the scripture that ties all of this together is found in the fifth chapter of I Chronicles. We read there: "The oldest son of Israel was Reuben. But since he dishonored his father by sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, his birthright was given to the sons of his brother Joseph. For this reason, Reuben is not listed in the genealogical records as the firstborn son. The descendants of Judah became the most powerful tribe and provided a ruler for the nation, but the birthright belonged to Joseph." -I Chronicles 5:1-2 For Anglo-Israel Armstrongites, this scripture proves that the promises were divided into the "spiritual" scepter and the "material" birthright. One promising Christ, the other promising physical wealth and preeminence to the physical descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh.

Unfortunately, this scripture does NOT do what Armstrongites claim it does! If we carefully reread this scripture, we see that it is quite simply an explanation of why Reuben does not appear in the genealogical records as the eldest son of Israel! According to the law of primogeniture, he should have been the heir to the birthright. However, because he "dishonored his father," he forfeited his right to that inheritance; and Israel designated Joseph's sons as the legitimate heirs to his estate!

Now, most modern Armstrongites are willing to acknowledge that the scepter promise is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Even so, Herbert and some of his followers have pointed out that the promise was at least partially fulfilled through David and God's promise to him. Was it though? Wasn't David merely a component of the ultimate fulfillment of this promise? Herbert claimed that God physically kept "His" promise to Abraham and David about a kingly line by continuing that line through the Irish, Scottish and British kings and queens.

Even so, serious students of the Bible understand that the Old Testament clearly records the downfall of the Davidic dynasty, and the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke take great pains to record that Jesus was a descendant of David! Moreover, secular history makes plain that the Irish, Scottish and British thrones passed through several females and contained numerous gaps (thus negating the promise that "David will never fail to have a man sitting on the throne of the House of Israel" -see Jeremiah 33:17).

As for the promise of land and wealth, I suppose one could say that those promises found fulfillment in the ancient Israelites (though I've already pointed out that they lost their land and wealth because of their defeats by the Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians). And, YES, the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh possessed the most land area within Israel; and God did eventually give Jeroboam (of the tribe of Ephraim) ten of the tribes of Israel to rule over.

Once again, however, the author of the book of Hebrews clearly treats this history as not fulfilling the promises made to God's children. We read there that the Israelites did NOT enter God's rest, and that the promise of that rest consequently still stands! (see Hebrews 3 and 4) Moreover, the Israelites clearly did not abide by the terms of the Old Covenant - that's why we have a NEW one (and that doesn't mean that those Israelites are permanently excluded)!

And, in his letter to the saints at Rome, the Apostle Paul makes plain that physical descent from Abraham does not make one an heir of the promises made to him. Paul tells them that it is the folks who have accepted (or will accept) Jesus Christ as the Messiah/Savior who will receive the promises. Indeed, he wrote to the saints of Galatia: "For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you." -Galatians 3:26-29

Hmmm, when you put it that way, it's a bit ridiculous to suggest than any nation(s) or people(s) have yet inherited the promises made to Abraham. For those of us who are truly Christians, we know that God will completely fulfill these promises someday - not in times past or today, but someday God will keep those promises made to Abraham so long ago.

Lonnie Hendrix

Jim Franks COGWA: Masks now required for all members 10 years and up at church

COGWA Member Guidelines—U.S. Sabbath Services


Much has changed in the past two months since we began holding in-person services the latter part of May. When we began reopening services, the number of COVID-19 cases was dropping, and it appeared that the end of this threat was in sight.

Now that we are in the middle of July, that is no longer the case. While some states (mostly in the Northeast) have continued to show declines, to date, 35 states are reporting an increase in cases, and in some states the daily increase has more than doubled in less than a month. In some major cities the hospitals are quickly reaching capacity. Because of this reversal of trends, some states are considering a pause to their reopening of businesses, a rollback of their plans to reopen or, in some cases, a complete shutdown once again.
When we began to reopen in May, only 10 states had a face mask requirement. Currently, 47 states have such a mandate. Those states with mandates fall into three categories: 1) 21 have implemented orders that make it mandatory to wear them in public; 2) 19 have parts of their state under orders making wearing of masks mandatory; and 3) seven require masks for employees of businesses that deal with the public. Only three states have no mandates for face coverings at all—Iowa, Montana and South Dakota. But even these three strongly recommend wearing a face covering when you are in a group, especially in a closed room. The fact that all 50 states are in agreement on a health issue, including all national and state health agencies, has caused us to consider what our approach should be for face coverings while at church services.
We have 75 percent of our congregations already wearing face coverings because of state or local requirements. After considerable thought and discussion, the administration of the Church has reached the decision that face coverings (shields or masks) will be required for all our services. There are three reasons for this decision:
  1. It is our desire to follow the state requirements and recommendations. In some states churches are exempt, but not all. Given the change that has occurred in the past two months, we believe that we should abide by these requirements and recommendations.
  2. It is our desire to create the safest environment possible in all our congregations. We believe we should err on the side of caution.
  3. It is our desire to promote unity in all our congregations. Given the fact that most of the United States is still fighting the virus and that cases are increasing, we believe that all our congregations should be united in our approach to stopping the spread of the virus.
As more and more cases are identified, we are seeing more members becoming infected. For the past two weeks, we have been informed of two or three cases each week. So far, all have been mild. In three cases we canceled services for two weeks, per our protocol, to make sure no one else was infected.
Because of these factors, the Church is issuing the following combined statement from the administration and the Ministerial Board of Directors:

Statement/Announcement for All Congregations in the United States
Effective this Sabbath, July 18, 2020, and until further notice, we are asking that everyone over the age of 10 (this is the age set for Texas—please check with state and local authorities for the age requirement in your area) in attendance at one of our services come with a mask, a cloth face covering or a face shield (where accepted by state or local authorities).
We are asking that you wear them coming in to services, while fellowshipping prior to and after services, while exiting the room, and while singing. As long as the seating allows for a minimum of 6 feet separation, there is no need to wear them while seated during the actual service unless required by the facility or governmental authority.
Where local restrictions are more restrictive, we should comply with the local or state mandates.
If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, please consider using a plastic face shield instead (recommended by the CDC if you have such a condition). But if this is not possible because of your condition, you will not be required to wear a face covering. Please inform your pastor if this is your situation.
Wearing a face covering or a face shield does not replace the need to maintain the social distance of 6 feet between you and other members who are not part of your immediate family. We should also, for the time being, refrain from hugging and shaking hands.
If you are sick, we request that you stay at home and not attend services until you are well. If you have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, then you should be tested to determine if you are infected, and if the test is positive, you should quarantine at home for at least 14 days. You should also notify your pastor as to the last time you attended services prior to the development of symptoms and subsequent positive test.
We are hopeful that, as conditions improve and we get beyond this current pandemic, we will be able to meet in services without face coverings in the very near future. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep our pastors updated as things change.