Saturday, October 31, 2020

PCG's Gerald Flurry Getting Remarried

Gerald Flurry is to be married on November 16, 2020 to Vicki Barreiro. (Hat tip: Banned by HWA.)

Gerald Flurry has constantly insisted that the end is near. He has said that Christ will return in ten years or less. He has said that terrible things will soon occur. And yet he has time to get married again. He has time to tell his followers to pay tithes to his organization.

Gerald Flurry infamously implemented a no contact policy against the members of the other COG groups. PCG has long had a reputation for being particularly harsh and authoritarian compared with the other COG groups.

This development reminds us again that unfortunately the system of Armstrongism works well for the one percenters who receive tithes and offerings while giving the lay members oppressive and controlling rules. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Book of Enoch

I have read the Book of Enoch (First Enoch), specifically the 1893 translation by Robert Henry Charles. It is an ancient religious text of Jewish origin which was first written in Hebrew. It was revered by Jews and early Christians but it gradually lost favor and in time was essentially forgotten. Except in Ethiopia. They adopted it as part of their canon and they preserved it in the Ge'ez language. The rest of the world rediscovered this book thanks to the Ethiopians. 

It is certainly a fascinating and intriguing book. It offers a glimpse of what was believed by at least some ancient Jews and their hope for a future righteous society to be created by God.

One section of the book is devoted to detailing a calendar that differs from the current Jewish calendar.

This book contains descriptions of the movement of heavenly bodies and of the firmament, as a knowledge revealed to Enoch in his trips to Heaven guided by Uriel, and it describes a Solar calendar that was later described also in the Book of Jubilees which was used by the Dead Sea sect. The use of this calendar made it impossible to celebrate the festivals simultaneously with the Temple of Jerusalem. (Source.)

Back around early 2015 this book caused some controversy within LCG when the LCG leadership discouraged lay members from studying this ancient book even though their students had been previously instructed to study that book.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Mark Armstrong Complaining About California's Lockdown

Here's Mark Armstrong, leader of the Intercontinental Church of God, in his October 16, 2020 weekly update stating that his Armstrongite splinter group has observed their idiosyncratic version of the Feast of Tabernacles.

He also appears to imply that lockdown orders in the State of California were ignored.

The good news is that we observed the Feast of Tabernacles at all planned locations, save California, which apparently is still in “lockdown,” per the all-knowing governor's orders. Services were still held on the Holy Days at an undisclosed location. Not many churches are claiming Constitutional protection, thinking it safer to cooperate with the local “authorities,” lest preachers be hauled away in handcuffs. We don't want to sue or see anyone arrested, but we will obey the mandates from on High long before some governor, drunk on his own “authority.” These vain dictators never wielded this kind of power before, but they're clearly enjoying telling everyone what they can and can't do. Constitution? What Constitution!

Did Mark Armstrong just admit to breaking the law? We should follow the law including lockdown restrictions. If he and his followers did not break the law then he should not imply otherwise.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Reading PCG's Watch Jerusalem

Back in 2019 PCG released another recruitment magazine, this one entitled "Watch Jerusalem." The first issue is dated September-October 2019. It bears the following slogan: "Analyzing the past, present and future." This is part of PCG's attempt to convert Jews in the State of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories into PCG's idiosyncratic version of Christianity.

Considering that the PCG leadership says that a future European Empire led by Germany is fated to soon conquer America it would seem to make more sense for PCG to make a recruitment magazine named, Watch Germany, instead of seeking convert Jews.

The editors of this publication are Gerald Flurry, Stephen Flurry, Brad Macdonald, Joel Hilliker, Brent Nagtegaal and Christopher Eames.

The circulation figures are as follows:

Sep. 2019: 781

Nov. 2019: 901

Jan. 2020: 1,193

Mar. 2020: 1,193

May 2020: 1,190

Jul. 2020: 1,214

Sep. 2020: 1,161

Let's take a look at what they have to say this time.

September-October 2019

Gerald Flurry has an article insisting that Israelis need this magazine. Of course they do. It's exactly what they want, namely more missionaries trying to convert them, according to the PCG leadership trying to convert them.

Brad Macdonald has an article insisting that there will be a prophesied resurgence in the State of Israel. The PCG leadership are firmly aligned with the political right consequently they often referred to the time of Trump's administration over America as a time of "resurgence" for the United States. The PCG leadership is applying the same rhetoric to the State of Israel even though it has been led by the Likud Party, the main right wing party in the State of Israel, for the majority of the time since 1978. Little did the PCG leadership know that in just a few months this terrible coronavirus, which is nothing like the flu as PCG writers have erroneously described it elsewhere, would arise and cause so much misery and pain all over the world, including in the State of Israel and the occupied territories.

Gerald Flurry has an article boasting that King David's palace has been found. Considering that there is little description of King David's palace in the Bible it looks odd to see a organization that claims to be religious focus so much attention on it.

Christopher Eames has an article insisting that various archaeological finds further confirm the existence of King David.

Christopher Eames has an article stating that biblical archaeology is very important.

Brent Nagtegaal has an article reciting some of the numerous contacts Herbert W. Armstrong had with Israeli leaders from 1968 onwards. 

Page 22 shows HWA hugging a man who once lead an armed insurgency fighting the British from 1944 until 1948, namely Menachem Begin. 

PCG likes to portray HWA as being friendly towards the State of Israel but to do this they ignore facts such as what HWA wrote in the December 1938 issue of The Plain Truth in which he dogmatically declared that (HWA's interpretation of the Christian) God had given Mandatory Palestine to Britain forever. He wrote that "the Gentile Turk surrendered the land to EPHRAIM-GREAT BRITAIN, to whom it belongs by divine grant from that very day [in 1917], henceforward forever!!" (p. 3, column 1, paragraph 4.) However such inconvenient facts are carefully ignored. 

Nagtegaal's article also includes a picture of Stanley Rader, a man the Armstrongite movement would rather not think about.

There are four letters published. Two written by persons with the same surname, though from different locations.

November-December 2019

The cover shows soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. While the PCG leadership tries to make their readers scared and afraid of Iran PCG members refuse to serve in the armed services saying they are pacifists.

Gerald Flurry has an article insisting that Iran will be decisively defeated by a future European Empire. In real life the US has far greater military prowess then the European Union and the Europeans generally do not want to go to war with Iran.

Christopher Eames has an article saying that Nehemiah's wall has been discovered.

Warren Reinsch has an article warning of the danger of internal division during war citing the defeat of the first Jewish revolt in 66-73 CE. (This magazine carefully uses dates in CE and not AD because they are trying to convert Jews.) However in a democracy there is always a certain measure of division. It is more important to ask if such a society can manage these divisions in a way that maintains unity.

Brent Nagtegaal has an article scare mongering about Iran. Even though Watch Jerusalem only began a few years ago Nagtegaal makes the following statement.

In 1994, Watch Jerusalem editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned that Iran was about to rise and dominate the Middle East. (p. 12.)

The Infographic has this bizarre illustration saying that Germany will come at Iran like a whirlwind.

Watch Jerusalem staff made an article insisting that the Book of Daniel can be trusted. This article also promotes PCG's views regarding Daniel 2 which is largely based on what the Millerite Adventists of the 1830s-1840s taught.

There is also an article saying that the Bible was ahead of scientists by centuries.

Brad Macdonald has an article praising Cyrus the Great. And yet the PCG leadership constantly scare mongers and bad mouths his descendents. If he were alive surely he would offended by how the PCG leadership talks of his descendants.

Among the letters is the following letter from Beersheva, Israel.

With prosperity comes indolence, softness and lack of will. The consequences are reflected in Oslo and the expulsion from Gush Katif. Israel may have been poor in the '50s and '60s, but the Jews back then were much tougher and willing to sacrifice everything for the country! (p. 29.)

And back then most Israeli Jews voted for Labour, the main left wing party among Israeli Jews. The various iterations of the Labour party ruled over the State of Israel from its establishment in 1948 until the election of 1978.

Also in 1957 the State of Israel found itself compelled to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula due to diplomatic pressure from the United States.

The back cover features a picture of a flag of the State of Israel getting burned while scare mongering about Iran yet again. The editors of this recruitment magazine do not mention that this paticular photo is from a feast of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem. Here is the photo's description.

Anti-zionist ultra-Orthodox Jews burn an Israeli flag in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighbourhood [within Jerusalem] on May 2, 2018, during celebrations for the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer, marking the anniversary of the death of Talmudic sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai approximately 1,900 years ago. - In a night-long vigil thousands of Jews will light large bonfires and visit the final resting place of Bar Yochai, who is revered as one of Judaism's great sages. (Source.)

PCG says they concerned about the security of the State of Israel but PCG members are forbidden from serving in the armed forces of any nation. 

January-February 2020

Gerald Flurry has an article insisting that Jerusalem is built on the site of the Garden of Eden. This idea has long circulated among Armstrongite movement. Back in the 1960s Herman Hoeh implied the same in his discredited Compendium of World History.

Brad Macdonald and Brent Nagtegaal have an article insisting that information about biblical archaeology is being suppressed for political reasons. It is insisted that sympathy for Palestinians is somehow hindering research. It is worth noting that the PCG leadership is fervently supportive of the current right wing government in the State of Israel.

Warren Reinsch has an article speculating that Iran will seek to advance their influence into Africa based on the appointment of Brigadeer General Ismail Qaani as head of Iran's Quds Force following President Trump's assassination of Omar Solimani, which almost provoked a war with Iran endangering thousands of American soldiers.

Warren Reinsch has an article scare mongering that Egypt might ally itself with Iran. This is a speculation PCG promotes based on their idiosyncratic interpretation of Daniel 11:40. The truth is Egypt has been aligned with the United States since the late 1970s. This alliance is partly based on US aid to the Egyptian military. Why would the Egyptian authorities reject such aid? 

There is also an article detailing ten various archaeological discoveries relating to Biblical events.

Christopher Eames has an article discussing archaeological evidence regarding the antiquity of Jerusalem. It is claimed that Melchizedek, who is mentioned in Genesis 14, was the founder of Jerusalem. The Armstrongite teaching that Melchizedek was the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ is left unmentioned.

March-April 2020

Gerald Flurry has an article discussing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Christopher Eames has an article stating that there is evidence that the exodus of Moses' time occurred. It is speculated that Amenhotep II, the grandson of Hatshepsut, was the Pharoah who pursued the Israelites into the Red Sea. 

There is a chart of the ten plagues which includes speculation that the Ipuwer Papyrus is a record of the ten plagues from the perspective of the Egyptians.

Brent Nagtegaal has an article telling people to make sure one agrees with the Bible before one can understand archaeological remains connected to the events described in the Bible. In other words the PCG leadership views archaeology as subordinate to their religious views. That is not science.

Brent Nagtegaal has an interview with an archaeologist excavating the site of Shiloh, the location of the tabernacle before the establishment of the temple in Jerusalem.

Gerald Flurry has an article insisting that the peace plan proposed by the Trump Administration will not succeed because Flurry's predictions of a nuclear World War III need to occur before the return of Christ to establish a thousand year utopia over the entire Earth. So therefore, according to Gerald Flurry, there will be no peace until Jesus Christ returns.  

Warren Reinsch has an article scare mongering about the Houthis in Yemen because they are aligned with Iran. The ongoing civil war in Yemen is mentioned merely to demonize Iran yet again but this war is currently one of the most severe humanitarian crises facing the world today. There has been so much pain and suffering caused in this tragic civil war. Furthermore the terrorists of Al Qaeda also lie in wait within Yemen seeking to take advantage of the turbulent situation as a third side in the war while more well connected sides fight each other. However the PCG leadership seemed to only want to talk about the Yemeni Civil War in connection with Iran. 

May-June 2020

Gerald Flurry has an article reciting the narration of Isaiah and King Hezekiah to say that if one seeks to repent and embrace God's will then (PCG's idiosyncratic interpretation of the Christian) God will protect you.

Brent Nagtegaal has an article denouncing the Israeli Supreme Court for being inconvenient for the right wing government of the State of Israel which PCG adores. He cites an article by Robert Bork, a right wing judge that Gerald Flurry adores, in which Bork criticizes the judicial views of Aharon Barak, a former chief justice of the Israeli Supreme Court. So that seems to settle the matter for the PCG leadership.

There is an article highlighting the Hezekiah bulla and the Isaiah bulla.

Christopher Eames has an article discussing the symbolism of a serpent relating to medicine.

Christopher Eames has an article discussing the discovery of a coin dating to the Simon Bar Kochba revolt of 132-5.

Daniel Di Santo has an article speculating that Germany may find itself compelled to intervene in Algeria, Nigeria and Iraq. It is taught by PCG that a future European Empire led by Germany is fated to conquer Iran as part of a sequence of events fated to culminate in the return of Jesus Christ to rule the world for a thousand years.

The letters section contains the following letter from Tarshiha, Israel.

I just received the "Coronavirus in Prophecy" issue. I am very glad of the way you analyzed the way Israel reacted to the pandemic. Effectively, they applied the biblical restrictions in case of contagious diseases. The Torah is our way of living, for it is God's true Word. God created the universe, thus creating and knowing the solution to any problem in life. God bless you and continue the good sacred work.

Alas, the State of Israel reopened too quickly and Covid-19 has spread so much among the population that the State of Israel has imposed a second lockdown just before the Jewish fall festivals began. The spread of Covid-19 in the State of Israel is very unfortunate and terrible. About 1,800 people have been killed by Covid-19 in the State of Israel so far.

July-August 2020

Gerald Flurry has an article linking the seals of Jeremiah's persecutors with the royal throne of David which Gerald Flurry says now spiritually resides within PCG. The Armstrongite movement teaches that Jeremiah took a daughter of King Zedekiah to Ireland to marry an Irish prince and therefore the royal line of David has continued in Ireland, Scotland and England to this day in the person of Queen Elizabeth II. This idea was plagiarized from British Israelism and is complete nonsense.

Brent Nagtegaal has an article scare mongering Iran and discussing the possibility of Iran making nuclear weapons. In 2003 Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei issued a fatwa denouncing the possession of nuclear weapons as being un-Islamic. 

Christopher Eames has an article discussing the seals of Jeremiah's persecutors.

The Infographic discusses the seals connected to Jeremiah.

This Watch Jerusalem issue features an article which is derived from Herbert Armstrong's writings. In it HWA asserts that Jeremiah took a daughter of King Zedekiah to Ireland to marry an Irish prince and that therefore the royal line of David continues to this day in the person of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. This idea nonsense which HWA plagiarized from British Israelism.

Brent Nagtegaal and Christopher Eames have an article insisting that the palace of King David has been discovered.

Eleanor Clarke has a side article discussing some proto-Aeolic capitals of pillars discovered in 1963 when the Palestinian West Bank was ruled by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

September-October 2020

Gerald Flurry has an article insisting that peace will not arrive for the State of Israel since his doomsday prophesies regarding Iran and Europe which never happen need to be fulfilled first. 

Christopher Eames has an article about various archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem.

Christopher Eames has an article insisting that the Jewish calendar dating system, which dates 2020 as 5780-1, is about two hundred years off in order for Eames to say that we are very close to the six thousand year anniversary of Adam and Eve. Eames says we are about twenty or even less than ten years away from this anniversary. At one point it is even suggested that we have past the six thousand year anniversary already. It is has long been taught within the world of Armstrongism that Jesus Christ will return about six thousand years after the creation of Adam and Eve.

Confusingly the article is accompanied by a graphic which undercurts Eames' message by dating the creation of Adam and Eve to 3924 BC which would push the six thousand year anniversary to 2077. (There is no year zero.) Archbishop Ussher's chronology, which dates the creation of Adam and Eve to 4004 BC and thus sets the six thousand year anniversary to 1997 (again there is no year zero), is left unmentioned.

The Hebrew calendar has been a source of constant arguments and disputes within the Armstrongite groups.

The Infographic mentions certain archaeological objects connected to King Hezekiah.

Marianna Bala'a has an article discussing the Gezer calendar, an ancient prototypical version of the current Hebrew calendar.

Brent Nagttegaal has an article the Beirut explosion of August 4, 2020 which killed 192 people and caused about $15 billion of damage.

Warren Reinsch has an article complaining about the withdrawal of some US forces from Iraq which is hysterically portrayed as America somehow from retreating Iran's forces.

There is also a question and answer that mentions that this recruitment magazine quotes a Jewish translation when quoting the Old Testament.

“Unless otherwise noted, scriptures are quoted from the Jewish Publication Society of America of the Tanakh version of the Bible.” We use this in Watch Jerusalem and [their website] because that is the Bible translation Israelis are most familiar with. (p. 29.)

Look how desperate they are to ingratiate themselves with potential converts by hiding who they are. Why pretend to be Jewish when you are not? Why are these people from PCG so sneaky in their attempt to try to convince Jews to convert to their peculiar interpretation of "Christianity"? This is shameful behaviour. How dare you, PCG.

May God protect the peoples of the State of Israel and the Palestinians from PCG's attempts to gain converts.