Don't make me laugh
I was reading the article "Evangelist Leaves One Church of God, Then Marks a Member of Another Church of God" [Sept. 30, 2006, issue]. My reaction to the article was that I thought it was misplaced and should have been in the humor section on page 3 with the two angels.
Just a few reasons people join religious parties and biker and street gangs:
o They want human leaders to set the law for the gang, and the members willingly follow and listen to their instruction.
o People want to be different from the people around them. They want to belong to something exclusive that makes them stand out.
o People feel more secure belonging to a gang and feel if there are problems the gang will come to their aid.
o Gang members feel a lot closer to each other because they are all members of an exclusive club, so they join for social reasons.
o A person who is not a member of any gang or religious party could be abused by the people who do belong to these divisive organizations.
o People join the gangs for financial reasons. Quite a few are employed by religious parties, and secular gangs also sometimes have their financial rewards.
Drumbo, Ont., Canada
The 'eart of the matter
Every so often the idea gets espoused that England is really Manasseh and the United States is actually Ephraim! However, there is a passage in the Bible that clearly shows us where Ephraim resides today. This passage is in the book of Judges.
Jephthah, at the time, was a leader of Israel through whom the Spirit of the Lord worked mightily.
This man had been mistreated and run out of town by the elders of Gilead (Judges 11:6-8). They now wanted him to lead them in a fight against the people of Ammon.
God helped them realize a great victory over the people of Ammon.
Unfortunately, Jephthah had made a rash vow before God. He promised that, if God gave Israel the victory, he would sacrifice the first thing he saw when he arrived home.
Tragically, he first saw his daughter, who was also his only child! (Judges 11:34-35).
I mention this sad story because through this horrible experience Jephthah came to learn how to really pause, think and listen--which leads us to the rest of the story.
A dispute arose between Jephthah and Ephraim, which led to a battle. Jephthah told his troops how they could identify any Ephraimite man trying to escape.
He told them to have the Ephraimite man pronounce a word with an h in it, and they would not be able to pronounce it because they could not frame the h sound (Judges 12:5-6).
Have you all never heard of an 'ard day's night? It is certainly an 'ard word for any true Ephraimite to pronounce to this very day.
As you know, one of the tribes of Israel--that is to say, the house of Joseph--is composed of the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
When the house of Joseph traveled, Manasseh went under the banner of Ephraim. When it stopped for a while, Manesseh would separate out to become the 13th tribe.
The Revolutionary War was actually a more permanent and bloody separation of the 13 colonies (the 13th tribe) from Ephraim. All in all, it's really not that 'ard to understand.
Fussing and posturing
My interest in The Journal has never been doctrinal. It has been based on the hope of making contact with others who seek Christian maturity without fussing and posturing.
I'm sure that what I consider fussing and posturing others may consider defending the faith.
Be that as it may, if you consider Christ to be your Lord, I consider you a brother or sister. But I have no interest in fussing, arguing or debating anything.
Doctrines take on a life of their own. Possibly the most troubling result is that we end up having more concern for our doctrines than one another and our fellow servants in general.
We thank God more for our doctrines than for people. We seek the welfare of our doctrines, with our affections and resources, more than the immediate needs of those around us.
Don't you see this as a problem?
I am a member of the End Time Assembly of God, headquartered in Woodruff, S.C., with branches scattered throughout the South. A few months ago one of our ministers, David Nix, began receiving instructions and parables directly from our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mr. Nix is still receiving these messages on a daily basis.
I know this sounds incredible, but please go to www.endtimeassembly.org to check out these messages and much more. I had my doubts at first, but now I believe.
What does God do?
Jonathan Sjordal had such an excellent and uplifting article in the August 2006 issue of The Journal. His article dealt with Sabbath- and feast-observance realities.
I'm not sure if Jonathan even understands the import of what he wrote!
As a critique of his article, consider the following facts from Scripture:
God Almighty does not observe the Sabbath. God Almighty does not observe the feast days. God Almighty does not tithe or accept tithes.
God Almighty does not assemble on a specific day. God Almighty does not need us humans to do His work for Him.
He may use man, but, if He wanted to, He could use a rock.
Any human being should realize that God does not need him to (specifically) teach His message. Herbert W. Armstrong thought he was the "only one," and his legacy is there for all to see.
Then I went on to Duncan MacLeod's article in the same issue, "What's Not to Love About the Truth?"
My! Two such useful articles in one edition of any publication! But, then again, I'm not sure if Duncan understands the import of what he wrote.
Every truth of Scripture, revealed by God Almighty, is meant to lead us to greater truths. Read the "30, 60, 100" verses [e.g., Matthew 13:8]. You know what? Jonathan and Duncan ought to communicate! Who knows what 30-100 percent path they are on?
Ray E. Daly
3 Santee Rd.
Lincoln, N.D. 58504, U.S.A.
Closer to truth
I don't know whether Mr. [Herbert] Armstrong ever evaluated Dr. Ernest Martin's analysis of where the site of Herod's temple was.
However, if Dr. Martin was correct--and his argument does appear plausible (see a summary of his book at www.cbcg.org/studies_templemount.htm) then the Abomination that Desolates the Holy Place will be in a different location from the one the Jews and Christians generally believe.
Since it would be almost impossible in the present climate to start sacrificing on the Temple Mount in any case, perhaps the Jews will choose another place that happens to be the one Dr. Martin proposed (if he was correct).
The sacrifices may start as a result of Judah seeing her wound (Hosea 5:13, KJV): "When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound."
The wound could be a serious strike by an Iranian nuclear weapon or some other terrorist activity, since the Assyrians are asked for help.
The daily sacrifices have to start before they can be stopped (for 2,300 evenings and mornings). We may be closer to this than most people think.
Cape Town, South Africa
The article by Walter Steensby ["Vera Vickers Set a Good Example for COG Members," The Journal, March 31, 2006] ends with some serious questions:
What is a true Christian? How much doctrine does one need to qualify to be counted as one? What does God expect? Who will be in the first resurrection?
Brian Knowles also points to the fact that some Christians in action are less godly than people in the world.
Together they point to the truth that, as it is written, "the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light" (Luke 16:8).
Between the two articles a theme comes clear, that those who say they are Christians are not living a life as Jesus set the example.
In fact, many outside the COG realm are living more-biblical lives than those who are in the COGs.
There are plain scriptures that answer these questions and point to the cause and solution. Paul was inspired to write: "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."
First and foremost a true Christian, a child of God, has the Holy Spirit in him. It is written that by their fruits you shall know them. The sad truth is King David, a man after God's own heart, committed adultery and murder.
Others say to Jesus: Look at all the works we did in Your name. Jesus' answer: Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity.
So read your Bible, pray and let God help you discern who is a part of the Body of Jesus Christ, our Lord and maker.
Via the Internet