Letters from our readersConsider containing Iraq I, like many Americans, have listened attentively to President Bush's speeches on Iraq. His discourses are well crafted but have so far failed, in my judgment, to fully answer a critical question about U.S. policy toward Iraq: Why can't we use containment? Containment--and the threat of massive retaliation--worked with the Soviet Union for 40 years, until the Soviets' system collapsed, producing a regime change without our having to attack them. The Soviets had weapons of mass destruction by the thousands. They also had biological and chemical weapons, and they were not shy about using proxies to harm the United States. They were masters of defiance, deception and bad faith. Yet containment worked when we used it with them. So why can't we use containment now? Mr. Bush has dismissed containment without a clear and convincing explanation. Many of the things Mr. Bush has said about Iraq under Saddam Hussein could have been said about the U.S.S.R. under Stalin or Khrushchev or Brezhnev. Yet containment worked with all of them. The Soviets could have attacked us in October 1962, but they did not. Containment--and its companion, deterrence--worked even during the crisis at the abyss provoked by the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. Mr. Bush has spoken of having tried containment with Saddam Hussein for 11 years. If that is true then we must conclude that containment has worked because Iraq has not dared to attack us during any of that time. If a strategy has been tested and proven effective, it should be maintained and strengthened, not abandoned. Saddam is unquestionably an evil ruler. But he is not suicidal. He doesn't live in caves; he resides in sumptuous palaces. He enjoys the good life to the utmost. He doesn't want to give any of that up. If we tell him he's being contained and that he'd better not use any weapon in any way against us or else, he'll bluster and brag for home and Arab-world consumption, but he'll mind his manners. No one at the Pentagon can possibly predict with certainty the outcome of a military attack on Iraq. Are we prepared to face the consequences if things don't work out militarily the way we might have planned? Are we prepared to have the television screens of the world show day after day the bloody and mangled bodies of old people, women, children and babies? If we think the world hates us now, we have no idea how much they would hate us, and seek to hurt us, when fed a steady diet of civilian casualties--they'd be called "atrocities"--caused by U.S. military action. Saddam Hussein will hide behind Iraqi civilians. We will be forced to destroy his cities, much of his country's infrastructure and countless civilians--and for what? For the same result (actually, a much worse result; just consider the potential number of American casualties) that could be obtained by containment and deterrence: the threat of massive retaliation. The Iraqis will not welcome us as liberators. They will curse us and try to kill us as neocolonialists, imperialists and infidels. Even if bin Laden were dead, 1,000 bin Ladens would rise up in his stead. Finally, if Saddam is and has been such a threat, why didn't the first Bush administration finish him off in '91? Either the senior Bush erred in stopping military action when he did or Saddam is not quite the threat the current administration is painting. Despite the president's eloquent speeches, I have yet to hear a clear, unambiguous and persuasive answer to the question: Why can't we use containment? We urgently need a cogent response.
Big Sandy, TexasFreedom is expensive Concerning the prospect of war with Iraq: We all want to see a genuine, permanent and peaceful solution, a real solution, not a naive, hopeful Neville Chamberlaintype head-in-the-sand pseudosolution, to the threat Saddam Hussein is against peace and the tyranny the Iraqi people suffer under his brutal regime. How glorious it would be if Hussein suddenly repented and accepted Christ! What a relief it would be if he just stepped down and went into exile. Wishful thinking indeed. We pray that our young men and women in the armed forces will not have to go to war. I dread the thought of war, but if our country does go to war we must not cease to support and pray for these brave young warriors who defend and protect us. Difficult and costly though it may be, there comes a time when good must stand up against evil, right must resist wrong. Just as there is a cost for discipleship, there is a price for freedom. The lesson of Hitler's Third Reich is that evil does not go away and cannot be appeased.Hitler should have been stopped before he murdered millions of Jews, Christians, Poles, Russians and Gypsies. He should have been stopped before he catapulted the world into war. Thanks to those who stood up and fought against King George, the Kaiser, the Fuehrer and the Emperor, we are a free land and the world is a safer place. Freedom and liberty are purchased with valor and paid for by the blood of patriots.
Pastor, Christian Church of God
Amarillo, TexasCorrection Thank you for mentioning CFM and our modest Web site in The Journal of Dec. 31, last page. However, our correct mailing address is as follows: CFM, P.O. Box 370, Watertown, Conn. 06795, U.S.A. Notice the zip code. You printed "86795."
F. Paul Haney
Christ Fellowship Ministries
Watertown, Conn.Dancing on a pin I understand the necessity of editing letters, especially a lengthy one such as mine ("Root of Bitterness," Dec. 31 issue, page 4). But there is one edit with which I would take exception. In the fifth paragraph from the end, where I refer to hermaphrodites, my original words were, "They are people with genetic abnormalities who are born with physical characteristics of both men and women." You changed it in such a way as to make it sound like I was calling the people themselves abnormalities. That was not my intention. This is a perhaps subtle, yet important, distinction. On another subject: Here is a link to a project to format the Companion Bible Notes for the computer. I recently have become involved with this. I thought you might like to check it out, and, if you agree that this is a worthwhile means of preaching the gospel, you might want to spread the word. We could use as many typists and proofreaders as we can get. I first read about this in Norm Edwards' Servants' News. I think there are many in the "Church of God Pod" who would be ideally suited to a project like this, and it would be way more productive than endless quibbles about makeup, postponements and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Erik, who administers this site, is patient and a good teacher. My computer skills are weak, but he has talked me through it all the way via E-mail. Find all about the project at www.thecompanionbible.com/cgi-bin/frames.pl.
What's Dean's secret?How does Dean Neal do it? He writes things that some say are insulting to women, and The Journal gets a flood of letters from women who are concerned about his problems ["Letters," The Journal, Dec. 31]. Are these women psychic or something? Dean didn't say he had problems and wanted help. These obviously articulate and intelligent women are giving him motherly and loving Christian advice on everything from concern for his mental welfare to suggesting how he can be a more effective writer. It seems to me from their responses that he is doing pretty good. These dear women must be young and healthy or they couldn't read the small print of his ads without a magnifying glass. I sure don't get that kind of response when I compliment women. I was in the grocery store just today and saw an attractive lady whom I know from her waiting on me at the lumber company. I thought I should speak to her and say something nice. Was I out of line? I pushed my cart up next to hers and noticed that she was not buying a bunch of junk food. Rather, her cart was half full of healthy staples. I commented that it looked like she was eating pretty good. She acted like she had a chip on her shoulder. I know it couldn't have been a bad hair day because her hair looked great. Who understands women? I am over 60 years old and still don't understand a lot of things.
Name and location withheldGod is not one or the other Much has been written in The Journal on the nature of God. Especially the write-ups from the One God Seminar have been very helpful to better understand the various beliefs that exist among the people of God [see The Journal, May 31, 2002]. There are basically three points of view of how God is seen, they are: • God is one, meaning that there was and always will be (only) one God being. • God is two, meaning that there always were and still are two God beings. • God is three, meaning that there always were and always will be three God beings. Since few, if any, of God's people believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, I will not address point 3. The problem with points 1 and 2 is that people divide by taking a one-or-the-other approach to the two options. But there is another alternative, which I propose is the correct biblical model. Let's consider that time is counted from high to low in OT time and from low to high in NT time. The dividing line, or ground zero, is God sending His Word, which became flesh, became His Son, became the Lord Jesus Christ. The world cannot escape that time is divided into "before Christ" and "after Christ." That means the teachings of point 1 and point 2 have to meet at ground zero, they have to meet at the cross, so now our list reads: • God was one, meaning from the beginning until ground zero. • God became two, meaning from ground zero to the present. In other words, from the beginning until ground zero there was one God, one Supreme Being with the title "God." Then the one Supreme God being had a son whom He named Jesus. The one supreme God being now has a new title: "Father" or "God the Father." Since the Father was a God being, the Son became a God being, so there are now two God beings. The title of Jesus is "Son" or "firstborn Son of God." That means the relationship between God and His Word from eternity until ground zero was identically the same as is the relationship between God the Father and God the Son from ground zero on into eternity. God is not only one as in point 1, and God is not only two as in point 2. God is not "one or the other"! God was one, He became two, and He will be many.
Westminster, Calif.Gods on the mountain Who is the God of the Old Testament? Who brought the Israelites out of Egypt? Was it the Father or Christ? Look at a scripture that shows it was the Father who brought the Israelites out of Egypt. After the golden-calf incident, the Father could no longer go with the Israelites (Exodus 33:3), so He appointed His Presence (Christ) to go with them at that point (Exodus 33:14). So now we see how Exodus 20:2 ("I am the Lord thy God") refers to the Father. The Father brought the Israelites out of Egypt, then later handed them over to Christ, as stated above. Christ led the people after the golden-calf incident. The Israelites "did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:4). When the Ten Commandments were given, there were two Gods on the mountain, Christ and the Father. Notice the Father told Moses that He alone was to come near the Father: "And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord . . . Now, part of the way up the mountain, all the men saw God. Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel . . . And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink" (Exodus 24:1-11). This can be only the Word (Christ) for a number of reasons. You cannot see God the Father and live. The Father told Moses that only He was allowed to come near Him. The men ate and drank with God on the mountain. This was not the Father; it was the Word. In Exodus 24:12 the Father tells Moses to "come up to Me." Then the men were told to wait while Moses went up to the Father. The Father spoke to Moses only in the cloud. We cannot see the Father. He appears in different ways, a cloud or a fire, vision or whirlwind or invisible. In this case the Father appeared in a cloud. Mark this well: The Father is the God of the Old Testament. He can be heard but cannot be seen. Christ is God. He is the Son of God. For more exciting knowledge for God's people at this end time, see our Web site, www.endtimeknowledge.com. Feel free to E-mail us at email@example.com.
Jim and Peta McGinn
AustraliaChoosy Australians Concerning "Aussie Council Kills Last Good News Issue of 2002," The Journal, Dec. 31: When it comes to circumcision, we could state the Aussies are pro-choice.
Huntington, W.Va.Shifting gears I've enjoyed reading The Journal over the past several years. Thanks for the financial assistance [in the form of a free subscription] during my period of unemployment. I'm still unemployed. However, The Journal is becoming less and less relevant for me. This is especially true now that I have joined the Anglican Church. So please cancel my subscription. Again, thanks so much for your generosity during my period of unemployment. And thanks for the enjoyment The Journal has given me over the years. God bless you.
Woodstock, Ont., CanadaWide spectrum I enjoy The Journal more than any other publication I receive, and I receive quite a few, including The Biblical Archaeology Review. I study the essays on doctrinal issues. Often these subjects are not discussed openly in a corporate-church setting, and I appreciate the differing opinions. I love the letters to the editor. They cover a wide spectrum of emotion from love to humor to disdain. They can be very entertaining and informative. Darlene Warren is definitely a jewel!
Via the InternetMore on Ephraim and Manasseh I've been seeing some resistance to the concept that we have things backwards on the Ephraim-vs.-Manasseh idea [see readers' comments on page 4 of The Journal, Nov. 30]. I was resistant to it at one time as well until I took a closer look at all the evidence. I haven't made up my mind completely as yet, but if we are to judge righteous judgment we should be able to take all the evidence and come to a consensus. I think the biggest point I can't dismiss easily is one that most don't even consider. The tribes of Israel, from which Ephraim and Manasseh come, are Israelites. That means they are physical descendants of ancient Israel. God said in Genesis 48:19 that Israel's "seed shall become a multitude of nations." This clearly means the physical descendants of Ephraim would become, grow into, a multitude. England never did this, even though it ruled many nations. America has become a multitude, many times that of England, 50 independent republic-states, all with their own constitution, yet having grown into a multitude of 280-plus million. England's greatest expansion around the world was English power and influence, not Israelite expansion. This is a major difference. England Israelites ruled over gentile nations. England never expanded as a multitude of Israelites, growing in number as biblical prophecy suggests. God said Ephraim would exceed his older brother, suggesting the older brother came first to power and greatness. On the other hand, America is far larger in number than England ever was, which fits with Ephraim becoming greater and exceeding Manasseh. England has never been as great or powerful as the United States is now and has been for nearly a century. No country in the history of the world has the power or wealth that America has. That can't be argued. The argument above alone is convincing. However, there is a vast amount of additional evidence in the Bible and in the heraldry of our country that needs to be considered. William Dankenbring has some collected material that provides a good argument against America's being Manasseh. Take a look at it and then let's talk. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm always open to good reasoning on God's Word, wherever that truth may come from. This isn't knocking any country or trying to promote America. Ephraim plays significantly in biblical prophecy, far more than Manasseh. If we are reading things wrong, will we be watching for the right signs and even know what warnings God is giving to whom? America fits the evidence of a multitude of descendants much more than England ever has, but let's remember in any case we are brothers.
Pagosa Springs, Colo.Trading spaces My response to reading Dixon Cartwright's August Journal story "Trading Places: Could America Be Ephraim in Prophecy?": Bill Dankenbring has been trying that in his Prophecy Flash for some time with nothing to prove his theory but speculation. Get some facts, like the letters from Lewis and Kathleen McCann and Geoff Neilson in the Nov. 30 issue of The Journal. All it really takes is some in-depth study of the two countries, England and America.
Lyle A. McDaniel
Pyatt, Ark.How many commandments? I would like to comment on John Sash's contribution to the October 2002 Journal ["Praise the Lord and Pass the Heavy Artillery," page 3]. We all seem to have problems with the singular and plural forms in Greek and Hebrew. John seems to have difficulty with the usage of the singular and plural forms of antichristos (Strong's No. 500), translated as "antichrist" and "antichrists," also entole (No. 1785), translated as "commandment" and "commandments." John concludes his article with "John [the apostle] brought out the heavy artillery in the nature-of-Jesus debate when he called the other side the Antichrist." From the context of his article, shouldn't he have said John called the other side the Antichrists, plural? I have tried from time to time over the past 30 years to find justification from the context of the apostle John's writings for translating the Greek word entole into "commandments" rather than "commandment" and have not found justification in the context. The apostle John quotes Jesus as saying "this is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12). In 1 John he writes about an old commandment and a new commandment, and both are still the same as John 15:12. Apparently turning this Greek word that is translated "commandment" into a plural form is the result of certain persons trying to justify their authoritative control over the church by rules or commandments, people like Diotrephes (3 John 9). I have not found any contextual justification for using commandments instead of commandment anywhere in the apostle John's writings. John Sash seems to say Antichrists are people who hate the law or the Scriptures or are immoral. I also believe that some Antichrists are immoral and hate the law and laws in the Scriptures and in so doing deny the moral integrity of the true Christ. It is also true that some Antichrists worship the law, the Commandments and the Scriptures and are righteous to a fault, replacing the true Christ with the Scriptures and a form of righteousness. There is another group of Antichrist people that has brought in mysticism, with mystic rituals and physically enhanced prayers, thereby replacing the true Christ with rituals and augmented prayers. I have been wrong before. If I am wrong on any of these points, I would be pleased to find it out. Some might suggest the possibility that this endless debate about God's nature might be offensive to God. This debate and some other debates seem to have become more emotional, philosophical and egotistical rather than scriptural, and maybe a bit commercial. John Sash's approach seems to show some scriptural integrity. At least he acknowledges the evidence of the person who was given the standard by which "them that worship therein" are measured (Revelation 11:1).
Delight, Ark.Fixing to collapse The article "Praise the Lord and Pass the Heavy Artillery" by John Sash [Oct. 31, 2002] was great! I'm so glad that he points out that the Antichrist problem is not only in the world at large but also within the church. As I've pointed out so many times before, this doctrine is so important that we can test the spirits by it. We can't test them with the Sabbath question, the calendar, government, prophecy or any other doctrine, only by whether they believe that Yahshua came in the flesh--that is, He quit or gave up being "God" and became a human being with human nature. Determining this issue is what Paul is talking about when he tells us to discern His body--not discerning the church, but His literal body and life. (Do a study on these verses!) We must determine whether He was "God in the flesh" (try looking this up in the Scriptures; it's in the same book and chapter as the incarnation and Trinity!), "fully God and fully man," a half-breed (or any combination or ratio thereof), a spirit inhabiting a body or just a human like you and me. But many will ask: How could God quit being God and become a human? I reply: In the same way--but reversed--that a human will be able to quit being human and become God! So let's put His life and sacrifice in perspective. Yahweh Elohim quit, gave up, being Yahweh Elohim and literally put his eternal life on the line, becoming a 100 percent human being with 100 percent human nature through a miracle conception by Abba Elohim, setting us an example of how to live by the Spirit residing in us. He succeeded in His mission, then died, ceased to exist, for three days and nights. Then, through another miracle by the Father, He was resurrected from the dead and then "born-again": reglorification for Him, whereas we will be only glorified-the-first-time. (Just stop and contemplate this! Realize what actually transpired!) Once Jews and Muslims (and others who reject the pagan concept of a God-man) finally realize this truth of Yahshua's nature, they'll accept Him as the Messiah. Now do you realize why this doctrine is so important, why Satan hates this one above all others? This is the foundational doctrine for us today. If you're building on a bad foundation, you need to do some quick repairs (along with replacing some of the bad beams connected to this bad foundation), otherwise your house is fixing to collapse, if it hasn't already. Or, as Paul puts it, that is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 11:30). About Franz Josef Strauss, mentioned in the article: I truly believe that Herbert Armstrong had the right office and party; he was just wrong on the occupier and timing. So keep an eye on Edmund Stoiber of the Christian Union of Bavaria. He's just waiting in the wings for the coming crisis and will be the pharaoh who didn't know Joseph (HWA and the COG by extension).
Fairview, TexasKudos to John Sash What a masterfully written (and inspired) article [Oct. 31, 2002] by John Sash (from Missouri). I believe that is one article the majority of The Journal's readers will read in its entirety. Excellent.
Via the InternetNames of old friends Because of my many years of involvement in the WCG, I am familiar with so many who write in this forum [The Journal]. I just noticed articles that mentioned Leroy Neff and his wife and also Dr. John Good. I traveled to Egypt with the three of them along with others. John and I rode bicycles together in Luxor, Egypt.
Lake Alfred, Fla.Christ back in Christmas To Joe Kovacs of WorldNetDaily.com and Garner Ted Armstrong: Okay, so we cannot put Christ back in Christmas ["WND Interviews GTA, Others About Christmas," The Journal, Dec. 31]. How do you suggest we could get Him back in the Churches of God?
Rowlett, TexasMy cousin and her tapeworm I'd like to bring up an aspect of unclean meats that people don't seem to look at. The assumption that unclean meats are perfectly okay to eat is based on the assumption that the unclean-meats law was a ceremonial one. It reminded the Israelites that they were to be different; they were to be a clean people. Since gentiles are now "clean," goes the argument, the reminder doesn't apply. And meats aren't really unclean. The law dealt strictly with ceremony. My first understanding that there might be something wrong with pork came to me when I was about 10 and my cousin got a tapeworm. Her doctor treated her with medication until her problem passed. The doctor said the tapeworm showed up because she didn't thoroughly cook pork. But it never occurred to us that we shouldn't eat it. I never thought of not eating it until I came into contact with the Radio Church of God when I was 19. When I was a junior in high school in San Francisco, I took a biology class. Part of that course involved looking at meats through a microscope and examining pictures in a biology book. Pork, I learned, was radically different from beef. Pork contained cysts and other disgusting things including small wormlike creatures. My fellow students and I found no such things in beef. I understand that beef can contain infections, but it looked nothing like the pork. We saw animal flesh that I can describe only as unclean when we viewed pork with our microscopes. The teacher said we should learn from this to cook our pork well. It never occurred to him, me or other students that we shouldn't eat well-cooked dead worms and cysts. Three years ago I was repairing an electronically controlled machine at a meat company here in Missouri. I noticed the meat cutters sometimes wore rubber gloves, but sometimes they did not. I asked one of their supervisors why that was so. He said they don't need gloves with beef but do with pork because it is easy to get infections from pork. Anyone who thinks unclean-meat laws are simply ceremonial needs to buy a microscope.
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