Biblical Answers to the World Mission Society Church of God

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.--1 John 4:1

Are you or a loved one struggling with this group? Do you need Biblical answers about the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCoG or CoGWMS), their founder Ahnsahnghong (Ahn Sahng/Sang-Hong) or their current leader "Mother Jerusalem" (a.k.a. "Heavenly Mother God," Zang/Zahng Gil-Jah, or Chung Gil Cha)? Thank you for coming here. I hope my blog helps you. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ahnsahnghong's Birthday, Baptism, and Death

If you have talked with a World Mission Society Church of God member or visited the official church website recently, you probably already know that this year they celebrated Christmas.  No, not exactly Christmas... they celebrated Ahnsahnghong's birthday which happened to fall on December 25, 2011.  They even have a new website highlighting it.

(UPDATE Jan. 12, 2012 -- That new website is gone, but you can find the information here and here.  It's interesting how much publicity the WMSCOG put into celebrating Ahnsahnghong's birthday Dec. 25, 2011.  Why is there no record of such celebration any other year on their website?)

(UPDATE Apr. 10, 2012 -- That website it back again, but different.  This time it only shows several videos from the WMSCOG's "I Have Already Come" campaign.  Strangely though, it has no apparent link to their main church website.)

How does someone's birthday fall on a different day each year, I wondered?  The lunar (lunisolar) calendar of Korea (same as the Chinese calendar) is different from the solar calendar that we commonly use, the Gregorian calendar.

If you measure your birthday on the lunar calendar, and each year convert the date to the Gregorian calendar, you'll find that it falls on different 'Gregorian' days each year.  This is similar to seeing January's full moon (for example) on a different day of January each year.

I thought I ought to investigate, and not just this, but other important dates.  For your reference, here's a handy Gregorian-Lunar calendar converter (provided by the government of Hong Kong).  I'll go through this step by step...

Ahnsahnghong's Birth Date

The WMSCOG tells us that Dec. 25, 2011 is the 94th birthday of Ahnsahnghong.
They say his birthday by the lunar calendar was Dec. 1.

Actually, Dec. 1918 to Dec. 2011 is only 93 years.  What they really mean (which didn't come across well in the translation) is that Ahnsahnghong's birthday is the 1st day of the 12th month.

You can see in the calendar of 1918 that the 12th month, 1st day, is January 13, 1918.  This birthday (January 13, 1918) was verified by a friend, and also calculates the "94th Anniversary" correctly to Dec. 25, 2011.

From this we need to remember:
Birthday = Jan. 13, 1918 = 12th month, 1st day (early 1918)

Ahnsahnghong's Baptism

The WMSCOG says Ahnsahnghong was baptized in 1948, but the New Covenant Passover Church of God (the NCPCOG, another church founded by Ahnsahnghong) give us a more specific date, Dec. 16, 1948.

Here's the calendar for 1948.  We know they mean the Gregorian Dec. 16, and not the lunar 12th month, 16th day, because that would be January 26.  Jan. 26, 1948 would be too early because Israel did not declare independence until May 14, 1948.

From this we need to remember:
Baptism = Dec. 16, 1948 = 11th month, 16th day (late 1948)

Ahnsahnghong's Death

The WMSCOG tells us that Ahnsahnghong "ascended" (died really, here's his grave) in February 1985.  A more specific date of Feb. 25, 1985, is given in this article (third paragraph under the first bullet point).

Here's the calendar from 1985.
From this we need to remember:
Death = Feb. 25, 1985 = 1st month, 6th day (early 1985)

Now Some Calculations

Since we know these dates, let's see how they work with the WMSCOG's claims that Ahnsahnghong
1)  was baptized at 30 years old, and
2)  preached 37 years (they count this from his baptism, not from when he officially established his own church in 1964.).

First, how old was Ahnsahnghong when he was baptized?
Jan. 13, 1918 to Dec. 16, 1948 = 30 years, 11 months, 3 days (Gregorian)
12th month, 1st day early 1918 to 11th month, 16th day late 1948 = 30 years, 11 months, 16 days (lunar)

Yes, technically he was 30 years old, but nearly 31.

Second, how long did he 'preach' from baptism to death?
Dec. 16, 1948 to Feb. 25, 1985 = 36 years, 2 months, 9 days (Gregorian)
11th month, 16th day late 1948 to 1st month, 6th day early 1985 = 36 years, 1 month, 20 days (lunar)

Just over 36 years--that takes extra rounding to get up to 37 years.

Thought you might be interested to know all that.

Perhaps a greater question, considering the WMSCOG's insistence on avoiding anything with pagan origins,
Why are they keeping Ahnsahnghong's birthday according the lunar calendar, instead of the "Sacred Calendar"?

For more information...
...about the WMSCOG's claimed prophecy of 37 years, please read my posts about David's Throne, Part 1 and Part 2.

I find it especially compelling that they use 2 Samuel 5:4 for this prophecy,
"David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years."

But they don't seem to read on to the next verse, 2 Samuel 5:5,
"In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah."

If God truly meant this as a prophecy about 40 years of preaching divided between Jesus' first and second comings, it would have been divided 7 years and 33 years, NOT 3 years and 37 years.
The "David's Throne" prophecy has been wrongly interpreted by the WMSCOG.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The "New Name" -- Information Control

The World Mission Society Church of God places great emphasis on the "new name" of God in this age.  They say that using this "new name" is essential to salvation, that you cannot be saved and enter heaven without believing in this "new name."  This is part of their Truth of Life teaching.

They place this emphasis on both the "name of the Holy Spirit" and the "name of His Bride."  Here are some quotes from their sermon, "The Value of the New Name":
Now, let's consider how great the new name, the Savior's name in the age of the Holy Spirit, is, how valuable the name of His Bride, the new Jerusalem our Mother, is and how important the names are for us, Their children. ...
Some say that more people will receive the truth if we do not speak or teach in the new name. Absolutely not! The most precious thing is the new name written on our foreheads. What makes us valuable is the new name. ...
In these last days, God has come to this earth as the Spirit and the Bride with the new name. We are God's people; we ought to know the name of God our Father and the name of our heavenly Mother, the new Jerusalem. For we may go to heaven or hell according to whether we believe in Their names or not, and by Them our value is determined. ...
God has promised to give the eternal kingdom to His children who know the names of the Spirit and the Bride, the heavenly Father and Mother. ...
We must take pride in the new name and boast that we are God's children. ...
If we do not proclaim the new name for fear of persecution, God's name will be erased from our minds. But if we proclaim the name more boldly and confidently despite persecution, it will be inscribed more deeply within us. ...
 The devil our wicked enemy knows that, and he tries to take away the name of our Father from us and erase the name of our Mother from our minds, so that we may not attain the eternal glory of heaven. ...
The Bible teaches that we, who love God's name, are to continually proclaim His glorious name so that it may be praised in the world. ...
Considering this fact, we should confidently boast in the new name before all people and boldly proclaim it to them.
Now, let's openly pronounce God's name on our foreheads, so that His name will be quickly proclaimed even to the ends of the earth.
They claim that the name of the Holy Spirit is "Ahn Sahng-hong," and the name of the Bride is "Zahng Gil-ja."  These are not alternate spellings or pronunciations of Jesus.  They are the actual names of the founder of the World Mission Society Church of God (who died in 1985) and his "spiritual wife" who currently leads the church as "Heavenly Mother Jerusalem."

If these two names are so very important for salvation and should be proclaimed boldly to the world without fear of persecution, then...
  • Why do so many people report being baptized by the WMSCOG before being told the name of Ahnsahnghong, whom they are being baptized into?
  • Why do so many people report being told to wait when they ask about the woman in the pictures at the church?
  • Why do so many people report that they are approached by WMSCOG evangelists who are not open and candid about the name of their church, much less the names of their gods?
  • Why is there no mention at all of these two names in the government applications for tax exemption filed by the church in Los Angeles or the church in Bloomingdale, Illinois?
  • Why does the sermon I quoted above repeated talk about the "new name" but only once says the name of Ahnsahnghong?
  • Why, out of 156 online sermons at the official church website (verified as of Dec. 5, 2011), only 6 sermons mention the name of Ahnsahnghong, and 0 (that's right, zero) mention the name of Zahng Gil-ja?
Seems to me that although the WMSCOG likes to talk about the importance of proclaiming the names of their gods, they are reluctant to share the actual names with people.

This control of information is one of the key factors in destructive mind control.  Watch out--it's a red flag!

The White Stone (comment moved from "The name of Jesus")

I received comments overnight on my post "The name of Jesus" and thought they'd be best addressed in a separate post.  So here they are:

On December 4, 2011, at 11:52 pm, Anonymous wrote,
"In the bible, Jesus is represented as many things such as a white stone/cornerstone. Revelation is written about things to come right? What must take place after Jesus' death right? Well, in revelation 2, apostle John saw the vision of Christ and recorded what he was told, what Jesus said was, that he will give the ones who does his will, hidden manna, and a white stone with a NEW NAME written on it, known to only those who recieve it. Okay... so then who is the white stone in the bible? Jesus. So, a white stone with a NEW NAME means Jesus' NEW NAME. Jesus' new name is Christ Ahnsahnghong. Jesus did not say to apostle John that He would give us the same name, but a NEW NAME. God will bless those who recieves the NEW NAME, Christ Ahnsahnghong."

My dear Anonymous, did you know that Revelation 2:17 is the only verse in the Bible that mentions a "white stone"?  There is no other verse about a white stone to support your statement that "Jesus is represented as many things such as a white stone."

However, there is support for the tribes of Israel being represented by white stones--read Deuteronomy 27:2 and Joshua 4:1-7.

Maybe you would say that since Jesus is compared to a cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20) or a rock (Matthew 7:24-25) or a stone of stumbling (1 Peter 2:8), then He must be the stone in Rev. 2:17?

No, the word for "stone" in Rev. 2:17 is "psephos" which means "a pebble, a small stone, or a vote."

In contrast, the word used for "cornerstone" in Eph. 2:20 means "the chief corner."  The word used for "rock" in Matt. 7:24-25 means "a rock, ledge, or cliff."  And the word for "stone" in 1 Pet. 2:8 means "a stone or millstone."  Each is a different Greek word with a slightly different meaning.

In fact, there is only one other place in the Bible where you will find the same "stone" (psephos) used in Rev. 2:17.  It's the word translated "vote" in Acts 26:10,
"...and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them."

You see, the white stone in Rev. 2:17 is a voting pebble.  A black stone meant a vote of no or condemnation, while a white stone meant a vote of yes or acceptance or acquittal.  This is documented by historians.

The question is not "Who is the white stone?"  It's "What does a white stone mean?"  It means we have been accepted by God.

Anonymous followed up with another comment just a few minutes later, which I will address here also, with my responses inline...
On December 5, 2011, at  12:11 am, Anonymous wrote,
"To truly understand, i think everyone needs to study the bible fully before judging."
Yes, I do study the Bible fully.  Apparently, the study methods of the WMSCOG are lacking, since they show little concern for the meaning of the original language or the historical context.
"Matthew 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Those who think they know God follow the easy & simple way, the way where it is comfortable for them to fit through, which the wide. But those who know God, know that it is not easy to follow his will, but try their best to fit through and endure the squeeze, the small."
I think you should read this article about Kim Joo-cheol's statement that "the church with a small number of members is the true Church."
"Anyways, i also think if you are doubting Christ Ahnsahnghong, ask your preachers to prove to you, Who will come, What will be the sign he will bring, Where on Earth will he come, When will he come, Why will he come, and How will he come through ONLY the bible. So all the who what where when why and how facts. Then judge according to your heart and not hearing others."
My pastors do teach all these things according to what is in the Bible, but with more accuracy and consistency than the World Mission Society Church of God.
"Unless someone can prove anything is falsehood, they must prove it through the bible.
Only through the bible can we know what is the truth. :)
btw, Christ Ahnsahnghong never went, "Oh look at me I am the Messiah, I am the Christ." He never boasted about it. People recognized Him through studying the bible, gathering all the facts, and it all connected and lead to Christ Ahnsahnghong."
The only way to "recognize Him through studying the Bible" is to distort both the Bible and history.  As much as the WMSCOG claims not to follow "opinions of men," that is exactly what they do.  I think you should follow your own advice about not listening to others (particularly the WMSCOG) and reading the Bible for yourself (the whole thing, not just selected verses) and doing your own historical research.

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Inaccuracies - Scientific and Historical

Sometimes when a person is giving a speech, whether it's a pastor, politician, teacher, or whoever, they will work anecdotes, stories, or trivia into their speech.  It makes it more interesting, and can often give them a boost in the opinion of the listener.  Maybe it makes them sound more educated if they can show off a little extra knowledge.  At the very least, it gives the listener a piece of extra information that they may connect with.

But what about when those anecdotes, stories, and trivia turn out to be false?  In one instance, I heard my pastor begin sharing an email about earthquake safety.  As he started to read it, a kind member of the congregation gave him a signal to stop and move on with the sermon.  I recognized the email too.  She graciously saved him from the embarrassment of reading an internet rumor as if it were legitimate.

Unfortunately, it shows a lapse of judgment on the part of the speaker to not do a better job verifying their information.  But I understand that my pastor is human and makes mistakes, just like I do.

If I found this type of thing happening regularly with the same speaker, it would lower my opinion of them.  How much trust can a person earn when they regularly neglect fact-checking?

What would you think of a president who kept doing that?  It would not reflect well on him.  Some people we hold to a higher standard, don't we?

What if it was happening in a church which claimed to be led by "Mother God" herself in the flesh?


Thomas Edison
The World Mission Society Church of God said,
"Thomas Edison, the genius of invention, did not spare thousands of prayers for a single invention. That was why God gave him many ideas beyond human thought, so that he could contribute greatly to the civilization of mankind. The light bulb that lights up the darkness is one of the results of his prayer." (from Prayer)

But Thomas Edison said,
"I never have denied Supreme Intelligence. What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might. I do not wish to have the public think that I deny the merit of the world's great moral teachers - Confucius, Buddha, Christ. They were great men - truly wonderful. Their teachings are summed up in the Golden Rule, and any man who follows that will be far higher and far happier than any man who does not. But the worship of an individual God is not a necessary detail of following the Golden Rule." (from 1910 New York Times interview)

A Popular Song
The World Mission Society Church of God said,
"A song titled 'Nobody' was popular in the United States at one time. This song expressed defiance against the age in negative terms. It was a worldwide popular song to arouse sympathy from a large number of people. How regrettable!
These are the words of the song: "Who is fit for the presidency in the world?" "Nobody." "Who can stop wars?" "Nobody." "Who is respectable in the world?" "Nobody." Like this, this song contains negative words-nobody, nothing, or impossible. Considering it was so popular among the youth, we can guess how spiritless and pessimistic they were in those days." (from The Kingdom of Heaven Has Been Forcefully Advancing)

Ok, now, try to find evidence of this song.  If it was so very popular, surely it would be listed online somewhere.  I've found nothing at all.  I listen to a wide variety of music, but I can't recall a song like this.  Can you find evidence of it?  Anyone?  I'll update this if anyone can enlighten me.

Lugworms and Crabs
The World Mission Society Church of God said,
"Lugworms dig their holes very well, even though they have soft bodies and no part of their bodies is hard enough to be used as a tool. However, crabs, even though they have better physical conditions than the lugworms, do not try to make their homes but live in the holes digged by others.
This comes from their different life habits: The lugworms tend to concentrate on one thing, while the crabs tend to do many things at once, not steadily concentrating on one thing. The crabs have a hard shell and strong claws serving as good tools; they protect themselves against enemies while eating food; they are busy doing many other things while crawling. Consequently they do not make their own homes." (from With All Your Heart And With All Your Mind)

In the context of the sermon, we're supposed to see that it's better to be like the lugworm which focuses on one thing so well it can make its own home even though it's just a soft worm, as opposed to the crab which is too busy doing many things and consequently does not make its own home.
Does it change anything to know that lugworms spend almost their entire lives in their u-shaped burrows in the sand of the beach?  And some crabs do burrow their own homes, like this one or this one.
And besides that, does it really make sense to compare a worm and a crab in this way?

Those three examples may seem a little silly to point out, but this next one disturbs me.

Christian Populations
The World Mission Society Church of God said,
"Today, Christianity is gradually declining in the world. In Korea, the number of Christians has decreased every year since 1990." (from The Spring of the Water of Life)
"Since the 1990's, the number of Christians has been rapidly decreasing in the United States and Europe due to the younger generation's indifference and disregard." (from an article in "Monthly Chosun Magazine by the Church of God," April 2011, the same book you see here.)

This research shows that in Korea between 1995 and 2005, the Christian population increased by 2.9% .
This research shows that in the United States between 1990 and 2000, the Christian population increased by 5%.
This research shows that in Europe between 2000 and 2010, the Christian population increased by 0.23% (small, but still an increase).

How can that possibly happen if the number of Christians has been decreasing?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Daniel's Prophecy

One of the most impressive things about the Bible (for me, at least) is its record of fulfilled prophecy.  The fulfilled prophecies in the book of Daniel are especially intriguing.

The World Mission Society Church of God uses Daniel's prophecies to amaze their new or potential converts.  What's wrong with this?

First, to the uninformed person, it sounds as if the WMSCOG is sharing a spectacular revelation.  The hearer may think, "Wow!  If the WMSCOG can reveal something so amazing, what else can they tell me about the Bible?  Maybe I should listen to them."  What the hearer may not realize is that this is NOT a revelation that originated with the WMSCOG.  Bible scholars for ages have written about Daniels fulfilled prophecies.

Second, the WMSCOG takes the fulfillment of these prophecies a step too far.  They have withheld the true facts of history in order to force the appearance of a fulfilled prophecy, and the WMSCOG is not the only group who has made this error.

I've already examined this at length regarding the claim that the Papacy is the Antichrist.  But with the WMSCOG's "Evidence Book" in my hand, the errors are so glaring at me that I believe it needs to be revisited.

Many Bible scholars agree that the four kingdoms of Daniel are:
  • the Babylonian Empire (head of gold)
  • the Medo-Persian Empire (chest and arms of silver)
  • the Greek Empire (belly and thighs of copper)
  • the Roman Empire (legs of iron)
Note that some identify the four beasts of Daniel 7 the same way, but others divide the Medes and Persians for the second and third beasts, making the Greek Empire the fourth beast.  You can read about that here.  If you need to refresh your memory, here's where you can read Daniel 2 (the dream of the statue) and Daniel 7 (the vision of the four beasts).

It's when we get to the statue's feet and toes partly of iron and partly of clay, and the ten horns of the fourth beast, with the little horn that comes up to subdue three horns... that's where you see a few more differences among the Bible scholars, and that's where the WMSCOG takes a definite wrong turn.

Let's take a look into their "Evidence Book."

On page 154, it says,
Rome exercised its power politically and religiously.  It was divided into ten countries until 476 A.D.
Lombards (Italy)
Franks (France)
Burgundians (Switzerland)
Visigoths (Spain)
Suevi (Portugal)
Alemanni (Germany)
Anglo-Saxons (England)
Vandals, Heruli, and Ostrogoths.
The Lombards did not cross the Danube into Roman territory until the 540s, and did not enter Italy until 568.  (My links for you are from Wikipedia for your convenience, but you can look up this information in any printed history book also.  I can refer you to some if you need it.)

This list of "ten countries" also ignores other tribal groups such as the Bretons, the Bavarians, and the Basques, who show up in various history books and maps, and does not mention that the eastern part of the Roman Empire was still alive and well.  So these "ten countries" are not as clear as they are presented to be.

Then moving on to page 158, we read,
After Rome was divided into ten countries from 351 to 476 A.D., Heruli was destroyed by the Papacy in 493 A.D., Vandals in 534 and Ostrogoths in 538.  The Papacy was established in 538 A.D.  The Papacy fell in 1798 A.D. (Pius VI was forced into exile when French troupes invaded the Vatican.)
The Evidence Book gives paragraphs of information about the end of the Heruli and the Vandals, but only one sentence about the Ostrogoths, on page 159.  It happens to be the line taken from the Wikipedia page about the year 538.

Why didn't they say any more about the Ostrogoths?  Because they were NOT destroyed in 538.  Read about the Gothic War and you'll see that the Ostrogoths put up a fierce and long resistance, and their last king wasn't killed until 553.

Also, the Papacy was NOT "established" in 538, which you can read about here.  There is more information about the dates of 538 and 1798, and their error and misuse, here and here.

One last page to look at, page 175.

This page says that the remaining seven kingdoms accepted Catholicism and swore allegiance to the Pope.  What they haven't told us is that:
  • The Anglo-Saxons did not convert to Christianity until the 7th century.
  • The Alemanni were conquered and incorporated into the Frankish kingdom in 496, and also did not convert to Christianity until the 7th century.
  • The Lombards did not secure their kingdom in Italy until 572.
  • The Burgundians were destroyed in 534, and were mostly Catholic by the time they were conquered.
  • The Suevi were also eventually conquered in 585, after they had converted to Catholicism.
Therefore, by the time the Ostrogoths were destroyed (in 553, not 538), there were 5 kingdoms conquered, not 3, and one more if you extend the time to 585.

Then near the bottom of the page, under the title "The Dark Ages," they tell us there was the "slaughtering of numerous saints."  According to the WMSCOG's own doctrine, this is impossible because they claim there were no saints during that time.

They also put the development of Protestantism after the supposed fall of the Papacy in 1798.  Protestantism, which began with the Reformation in 1517, was already well developed by then.

I know I've gone over all this in previous posts, but I thought you would like to see it with the pages from the Evidence Book for comparison.

It's quite interesting to study what Bible scholars have to say about this part of Daniel's prophecy.  But do not make the mistake of studying the false 'facts' of the World Mission Society Church of God.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Who is worthy to open the scroll and the seals... Revelation 5 and 6

And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.
--Revelation 5:1-5
I remember my sister and other WMSCOG members talking to me about these verses.  This is a passage the World Mission Society Church of God uses to try to explain that Ahnsahnghong is the second coming of Jesus who is the only one who can unseal the scroll and "unlock the mysteries" of the Bible.  The scroll in Revelation 5, they say, is the Bible.

"Why do you say this scroll is the Bible and not something else?" I asked.
The answer was, "Because the Bible was written on a scroll, as you can see in Luke 4:16-17, '...He [Jesus] stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him....'"

Just because it is a scroll does not prove it is the Bible.
Yes, the words of the Lord were written on scrolls.  This is evident throughout the Bible.  But think about it... were the Scriptures the only things written on scrolls?  Of course not.  The common way to write anything was by scroll.  We can even see an example in Acts 19:19,
A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.

Another reason they insist this scroll is the Bible is that, they say, Ahnsahnghong explained, restored, and revealed Biblical truths that have been either long lost or hidden for ages.  That is exactly what this website and others like it are here to debate.

For example, in their study on the Secret of the Seven Thunders, they claim that Ahnsahnghong restored the 7 Feasts of God, which were written on the back of the tablets of the Ten Commandments.  One problem (among others) is that the Bible says only the Ten Commandments were written on those tablets and nothing else.  You can find details about that in this article.

Is there another way to tell if the WMSCOG's interpretation here is correct, that the scroll in Revelation 5 is the Bible, and Ahnsahnghong has opened its seals to reveal its hidden mysteries?
All we have to do is continue reading in Revelation to see the WMSCOG's contradiction.

The first thing we need to know is that the WMSCOG considers Revelation (at least this part of it) to have a definite sequence.  They say in their sermon The Passover and the Sign of Promise:
Rev 7:1-3 『After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth....
"After this" means after the occurrence of the event described in Revelation 6: "The stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind." Here the stars in the sky and a fig tree represent the nation of Israel. And wind means war. Israel was involved in a great war during which the Jews suffered horribly as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind; 6,000,000 Jews were killed by the German Nazis during that war, which was the Second World War. Therefore, "after this" means "after the Second World War" (Rev 6:12-17).
The WMSCOG says that the sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7 occurs after the events of Revelation 6:12-17.  Let's go back and see what that is...
Rev. 6:12-13  I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.  And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.

The Seals are opened in order. 

The sixth seal comes in sequence after the first five seals.  If the sixth seal is the Second World War, as the WMSCOG claims, then the first five seals must have happened before (or at least within) World War II.  Let's consider the first five seals:

First Seal, Rev. 6:1-2, the White Horse
...He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Rev. 6:2)
Bible scholars have several possibilities of who (or what) this conqueror is.  There has been plenty of conquering in history.  Yes, it's possible that this has happened already.

Second Seal, Rev. 6:3-4, the Red Horse
...And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Rev. 6:4)
Again, there has been plenty of conflict on earth, with people killing one another.  Yes, it's possible that this also has happened already.

Third Seal, Rev. 6:5-6, the Black Horse
...A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine. (Rev. 6:6)
Whether you consider this economic problems, scarcity of food, or scarcity of spiritual food, it is possible that this has happened already.

Fourth Seal, Rev. 6:7-8, the Pale Horse
...And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him.... (Rev. 6:8)
Yes, there have been times when the death tolls from wars or natural disasters or diseases have been staggering, but...

...And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Rev. 6:8)

Whether you consider verse 8 to be the result of only the fourth seal, or of the second (sword), third (hunger) and fourth (death) seals together, or however you wish to figure it ... ONE FOURTH of the earth has been killed.

I'd like to know -- What does the WMSCOG figure has killed a fourth of the earth?  When did that happen?

If the WMSCOG believes that the 6th seal has happened already (WWII), then they must have an answer for what killed 1/4 of the earth.  So, what was it?

And then the  
Fifth Seal, Rev. 6:9-11, the Cry of the Martyrs
...I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Rev. 6:9,11)
There are more martyrs killed between the opening of the fifth seal and the last day.

According to the WMSCOG...
...there were no true Christians on earth for many, many centuries, until Ahnsahnghong "re-established" the Passover and the "sealing work" began in 1948.
Therefore, there were no saints (according to the WMSCOG) who could have been martyred before 1948.

...the end of the world is imminent--God will judge the world by fire, and it could happen any day soon.
Have there been any WMSCOG members killed because of their faith yet?  (Wouldn't this be featured prominently on the official church webpage if even one had been martyred?)  Will there be any martyred before judgment day?

...those with the seal of God are protected from all disasters, and "Mother Jerusalem" will take them straight to heaven with her.
If someone is protected from all disasters by God's seal, then how is it even possible for them to be martyred?

Bible scholars have a variety of ideas about what the scroll represents, such as the destiny of mankind or the inheritance deed of the saints.

But is it the Bible that was sealed and only Ahnsahnghong can open the seals and reveal its secrets?  Definitely not!  The fifth seal alone contradicts the WMSCOG's own teaching.

Besides that, there are far too many other contradictions and problems with Ahnsahnghong and the WMSCOG's so-called "revealed secrets," making them an unreliable source for any Bible information.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Letting your light shine...or seeking glory from men?

I've been thinking lately about the emphasis the World Mission Society Church of God puts on its community service activities.
Yesterday there was a missionary visiting my church.  He shared about the work God has been doing through his ministry in another country, taking care of abandoned babies and rescuing children from living in sewers.

It's not an uncommon thing to hear Christians share about the good that different ministries are doing around the city, around the country, and around the world.  It maybe providing meals to those in need, helping victims of natural disasters, donating money for good causes....

There are a few good reasons for spreading the news about these things.  It encourages people to see the good that's being done.  It inspires them to get involved themselves and do something to make a difference in the world.  It draws attention to the needs in this world and let's us know ways we can help that we may have been unaware of before.  It brings attention to God and displays His goodness.

On the other hand, there is a danger of going too far in spreading the news about good works.  When the emphasis turns from being encouraging, inspiring, and God-honoring to being prideful, attention-getting, and building up one's own reputation... there is a problem.
It's the difference between
Matthew 5:14-16, "...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
and Matthew 6:1-6
Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly....
We are not to flaunt our good works to receive praise from people.

Have you ever visited the World Mission Society Church of God website and seen their list of awards?  Here it is on their English website.

Now, I know God is the judge of men's hearts, not I.  But to me, such a list of "Awards Received" has the appearance of seeking "glory from men," especially considering how the list is made.

When I analyzed the list, there were a total of 113 awards listed.  Of those 113, one is from 1995, one is from 2001, and the rest are from 2002-2011.

Now consider this... many of those awards are actually multiple awards for the same event or 'good deed' listed separately.  For example, the Mayor of Daegu gave a plaque to the WMSCOG and a letter of appreciation to its volunteers in thanks for their help regarding the "Daegu Subway Arson Tragedy" in 2003--that is listed as two awards.  Or likewise, the WMSCOG received plaques of appreciation in 2003 from both the Mayor of Kimcheon and the Head of Yeongdong County for helping the flood victims of typhoon "Lusa"--also listed as two awards.  (Incidentally, there was no typhoon "Lusa" in 2003, but there was a typhoon "Rusa" in 2002, which the WMSCOG lists 2 additional awards for.)

Here are a few other examples:
  • 5 awards are regarding Typhoon Maemi in 2003.
  • 6 awards are regarding heavy rain and flooding in August 2002.
  • 5 awards are regarding the 46th North Gyeongsang Province Sport Festival (2008)--all 5 of those are from the governor of the province and dated July 22, 2008.
  • At least 8 awards (possibly 2 more) are regarding the 8th Busan FESPIC Games held in 2002--and 6 of those are from the "Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Busan" dated Nov. 1, 2002.
  • And 22 awards (!) are regarding the 2003 (22nd) Daegu Summer Universiade--many of those sharing the same source and date, such as the 6 awards from the "Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism" dated June 25, 2004.
Therefore, at least 46 of those 113 awards are from these 5 events alone.  This is a little like a country winning the Olympic gold medal for ice hockey, but wanting to count it as 23 gold medals--one for each player.

It's also interesting to note the delay in the award date compared to the event date.  For example, that Summer Universiade in Daegu was held in August of 2003, yet 10 of the awards for it were given in June and August of 2004.  Then there's the award from the Mayor of Busan regarding the 14th Busan Asian Games dated Sept. 5, 2003, yet those games were held in Sept-Oct of 2002.  And don't forget those awards for typhoon "Lusa" received in 2003, which probably refer to typhoon "Rusa" which occurred in 2002.

Yes, it's interesting, isn't it?  It made me wonder if the World Mission Society Church of God is trying to inflate their award count, and perhaps requesting awards and recognition for services performed.

President's Volunteer Service Award
If you are wondering the same thing, you might want to check out one of their latest awards--from "The White House Washington," the President's Volunteer Service Award.  It's right at the top of the list on that page of awards, and on the church's Korean website it's displayed quite prominently.

There is an informative article about it here.  And here is information about the award itself.

It turns out this award from the President is available to anyone for the asking.  You basically just have to perform the required number of service hours (you are on the honor system here!), request your award package, pay a small fee, and there you have it!

I don't want to minimize the award too much.  When used properly, it's a nice token of appreciation for someone who is involved in community service.  I know my children would feel quite special to earn one, and I would congratulate them for it.

However, when all it really takes to get one is to sign up as a "Certifying Organization," tally up the hours of your volunteers (verifying them yourself--or not), and submit an order, you can see how the process might be misused by someone trying to increase their own prestige.

Think about it... the award is only supposed to be given to U.S. citizens who have performed a minimum number of community service hours (unpaid and not court-ordered).  But certificate packages can be ordered BLANK!  Yes, that means any name can be written on the certificate!

The English website only shows only one Presidential award, for the WMSCOG, but the Korean website shows two.  The award missing from the list on the English site is the one that has Kim Joo-cheol's name on it.  (I find it hard to believe that Mr. Kim is a U.S. Citizen.)  Plus, the award for "World Mission Society Church of God" displays a "Lifetime" level award (the "Call to Service" award), which is not available to groups.  It's enough to give this award a suspicious appearance.

Update September 1, 2012 -- I just noticed that the English website now shows both awards, but the problem still remains.  A group is not eligible for a "Lifetime" level award ("Call to Service"), and even the most basic award is only available to United States citizens.

Update November 1, 2012 -- I'm adding screen shots of the awards as displayed on the WMSCOG's English awards page, just for the record.

Update November 17, 2012 -- The WMSCOG has put out a new video called "Come to Heavenly Mother," which shows the President's Call to Service Award featuring the name "Zahng Gil-jah."  Remember, only United States citizens are eligible for this award.  Are we to believe that Zahng Gil-jah and Kim Joo-cheol are both United States citizens?  Here's a screen shot of the award.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Need Encouragement?

Do you need some encouragement today?  I do.  This is a very difficult and sad week for my family.

I get a lot of encouragement from music (which is probably why I listen to K-LOVE so much).  And God regularly touches my heart through the praise and worship at church.  Last night was our midweek service at church, and it seemed like God had picked those songs out especially for me.  The song leader doesn't know what I've been through this week, but God does.

Just thought I would share these songs with you, and maybe they will touch your heart also.
Why So Downcast (from Psalm 42)
I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
Jesus, Lover of My Soul
How Great is Our God
Untitled Hymn by Chris Rice

Rise by Shawn McDonald (lyrics included)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Romans 6:9 -- Christ Cannot Die Again

One contradiction between the World Mission Society Church of God and the Bible concerns Romans 6:9.  Here it is in the NIV --
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.

And in the NKJV --
knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

Ahn Sahng-Hong died in 1985.  The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ will not die again.  Therefore, Ahn Sahng-Hong cannot be Christ.

I was recently asked by a WMSCOG member if I thought death had power over Jesus to begin with.

Now that's a good question, but when asked in this way by the WMSCOG it can be a tricky question.  If you answer yes, they can return with, "So you don't believe Jesus was all powerful?"  If you answer no, they can return with, "Death did not have power over Him yet He willingly came and died.  It is the same with Ahn Sahng-Hong."

The question needs to be more specific for a proper answer.

For the question, did Jesus have the power to avoid dying on the cross?  Yes, He did.
Matthew 26:53 says "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?"

For the question, did Jesus have an invincible human body?  No.  His body died on the cross.
Philippians 2:7-8 says "but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."

Jesus willingly came in a human body so He could satisfy our debt for our sins.  In order for that sacrifice to take place, He had to allow death to have power over that body.  If it had not been a perishable, human body, how could it have been a substitute for us?

But death could not maintain power over Him.  He rose from the dead with a glorified, imperishable body.
1 Corinthians 15:42-43 "So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power"

Death cannot have any power over an imperishable body.
1 Corinthians 15:54 "When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”"

Jesus ascended to heaven with that imperishable body (Acts 1:9-11) and there is no reason to think that His imperishable body has expired or is no longer available to Him.
"... This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

The difference here is that the World Mission Society Church of God teaches that Jesus needed a new human body to be born into (which would then have to die again), while mainstream Christianity teaches that Jesus doesn't need to be born into a new human body because He still has His imperishable, resurrection body, which will never need to die again.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Pope is NOT the Antichrist - Summary of 'Is 666 the Pope?'

I'm writing this as a summary of my series, "Is 666 the Pope?"  But if you haven't read the series yet, this article would make a great preview for you.

Part 1 of this series examined the sources the World Mission Society Church of God uses to support their claim against the Papacy.   I saw that they continue to have problems (like they did with their claims about the cross):
  • misrepresenting information by taking it out of context
  • presenting (or inventing?) 'facts' that are not in the referenced resource
  • not being specific enough with their source so it can be verified
  • selecting some information but neglecting to mention other important information from the same source
Part 2 established my focus, since the WMSCOG claims the Pope is the Antichrist whose number is 666.  Rather than looking at the general definition of an antichrist, I narrowed in on the Antichrist from Revelation 13, the beast from the sea whose number is 666.  In other words, the question became, "Is the Pope (Papacy) this Antichrist?" rather than "Is the Pope an antichrist?"

Then I examined the Scriptures and history to see how they matched up with the claims of the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching.  Scripture and the historical record give plenty of evidence to show that the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching is false, especially when combined with the particular doctrine of the World Mission Society Church of God.

Here is a summary of those claims compared to reality, and in relation to Revelation 13:

Rev. 13:1-2  The beast has 7 heads with 10 horns and 10 crowns.
similar to Dan. 7:7-8, 20, 24  The beast had 10 horns, and another little horn came up among them and plucked out 3 of the first horns.
Claim: When the Roman Kingdom fell, it split into 10 kingdoms.  Three of those kingdoms did not follow the doctrine of the Catholic Church and were subdued (or destroyed) because of that.  The last of them (Ostrogoths) was destroyed in A.D. 538.
Reality: When the Roman Kingdom fell, many kingdoms arose from it, but not the same kingdoms (or the same number) as claimed.  The Ostrogoths were still strongly defending themselves after 538 and were not defeated until 553.  By then, of the claimed 10 kingdoms, 5 kingdoms (not 3) had been subdued, and 1 of the kingdoms still had not entered Roman territory.  Also, adherence to Catholic doctrine was not a factor in whether or not a kingdom was conquered.
Read Part 3 for detailed information.

Rev. 13:3-4  The beast suffered a fatal wound that was healed.
Claim:  The papacy suffered a "deadly wound" in 1798 when the Pope was captured by Napoleon's general.  The wound has been healing since then.
Reality:  There are many occasions in the history of the Catholic Church that could be considered "deadly wounds" that have healed.  The verse implies only one fatal wound, not a series of struggles.  There is no reason to pick the particular wound of 1798 over any other.
Read Part 4 for detailed information.

Rev. 13:5  The beast was given authority to rule for 42 months
Claim:  This 42 months is 1260 days, which prophetically mean 1260 years.  The rule of the Catholic Church (papacy) began in 538 and continued until the "deadly wound" in 1798--exactly 1260 years as prophesied.
Reality:  There are several years that could be considered the beginning of the rule of the Catholic Church, but 538 is not one of them.  Significant historical markers of the Catholic Church do not fit into a prophecy of 1260 years.  Also, events that were supposed to be happening during these 1260 years would contradict other World Mission Society Church of God doctrine.
Read Part 5 and Part 6 for detailed information.

Rev. 13:6 / Dan. 7:25  The beast speaks blasphemy and tries to change the times and law.
Claim:  The Pope is made equal with God, and Catholic priests are said to forgive sin.  Both of those are examples of blasphemy.  The Catholic Church has changed the sacred calendar (substituting Sunday for Saturday Sabbath, Easter for Passover, instituting Christmas) and has tried to change God's law (omitting and changing some of the 10 Commandments).
Reality:  Official Catholic doctrine does not support the charge of blasphemy.  Calendar issues are dealt with in other posts on this blog.  The 10 Commandments are actually composed of 14 command statements.  The Catholic Church still holds to all 10 Commandments, but they have combined them differently.
Read Part 7 for detailed information.

Rev. 13:18  The number of the beast is 666.
Claim:  The Pope's mitre is inscribed with the title "Vicarius Filii Dei."  When you add up the values of the Roman numerals in this title, the total equals 666.
Reality:  There are many people whose names can add up to 666, depending on the method of computation.  Since the Catholic Church doesn't match the description of the beast as claimed, it doesn't matter whether or not Vicarius Filii Dei is an official title of the Pope or what number it forms.
Read Part 8 for detailed information.

Conclusion: The 1260 years in the prophecy more likely refers to a future, literal 3 1/2 year time period.  Could a Pope of the Catholic Church fulfill the prophecies of the beast in the future?  Possibly, but so could many other world leaders.  We can only speculate when thinking about the future.  The theory of the Catholic Church already fulfilling the prophecies of the Antichrist fails.

A Personal Note

To tell you the truth, when I started researching for this series I didn't know what I would find.  I am not Catholic.  I wasn't very motivated to clear the Pope (and Roman Catholic Church) from these accusations of being the Antichrist, the beast whose number is 666.  I had heard the claim before, had even read the specific reasons, and thought it was a bit intriguing, but that's as far as I got.  I didn't think it really mattered to me.

The main reason I decided to research the claims was because some of you readers wrote and asked me (thank you for that!).  Now that I've done the research, I'm glad I did--not just because of the facts I've found, but also because I've learned something very important:

When you are confronted with a sensational claim such as this, don't just accept someone else's "research" about it--do your own!

I can't believe this accusation has persisted despite history proving it false!  It's kind of like the claims that Elvis is still alive or that the moon landings were all a hoax or that the Holocaust was a myth.  They are false, yet the rumors won't quit!  It's infuriating!  If you can help spread the truth about the Pope not being the Antichrist, please do.  Whatever your personal opinions are of the Catholic Church, they should not be falsely accused in this way.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Is 666 the Pope? - Part 8 - The Number of the Beast

Again, here is a reference for you of the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching.

One more thing to examine...
Today, the number of the beast:
Revelation 13:18
and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom.  Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

We should note that some scholars think this number was originally 616, not 666.  You can see this in the footnotes of these Bibles: New American Standard Bible, New Living Translation, New Century Version, Lexham English Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and the English Standard Version.  For more information about 616, visit Wikipedia Number of the Beast or read this news article.

That's very interesting.  However, in deciphering whether or not the Pope is the beast, it does not matter if the number is 616 or 666, and I'll show you why in a moment.  First let's see how the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching comes up with 666 for the Pope.

They say that there is a title inscribed in the Pope's mitre, Vicarius Filii Dei, which is Latin for "Vicar of the Son of God."  (I've heard people debating whether this is actually one of the Pope's titles, and whether it is actually inscribed in the mitre, but that also does not matter.)

They look at the letters of Vicarius Filii Dei, pull out those that are also Roman numerals, and add them up, like this:

V I C A R I U(V) S F I L I I D E I
5 1 100

1 5

1 50 1 1 500

The total is 666.  Look at who else adds up to 666:

Ellen Gould White, co-founder of the Seventh Day Adventist church (add the "W" as "V V")

E L L E N G O U(V) L D W(V V) H I T E

50 50

5 50 500 10

I was told that Ahnsahnghong was baptized by the Seventh Day Adventists, and the World Mission Society Church of God shares many similarities with Seven Day Adventist doctrine.  Interesting.

But who is to say what pattern, code, or formula is to be used in adding the number?  Depending on how you figure it, these people (and more) all have names that add to 666:
The Roman Emperor Nero
Napoleon Bonaparte
Adolf Hitler
Ronald Reagan
Bill Gates
and Prince Charles of Wales (source)

Do you think any of these people are (were) the beast, the Antichrist?  It takes more than the number of a name to identify the Antichrist, doesn't it?

Imagine your boss tells you a client has just landed at the airport and you must go pick her up.  He just talked to her on the phone, and he'll give you a description, so you don't have to waste any time in finding her.  Here's the description:
long, brown hair
wearing glasses
dressed in a black skirt suit
carrying a red suitcase
and her name is Maria.

If you spot a woman with glasses and a red suitcase, but she has short, blonde hair and is wearing blue jeans--do you have to ask for her name before knowing if she's the one you're looking for?  No, she already doesn't match the description.

That's why it doesn't matter whether or not the beast's number is 616 or 666, or whether or not Vicarius Filii Dei is an actual title of the Pope.  The Catholic Church already doesn't match the description of the beast, even by the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching's own description.

Likewise, with all those people whose names can add to the right number, the number of someone's name doesn't matter if they don't otherwise match the description of the beast.

Almost done, see you next time...

Click here for Part 9, the summary.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Is 666 the Pope? - Part 7 - Words and Laws

Once again, here is a reference for you of the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching.

Already my study has convinced me that the Pope is NOT the Antichrist, but there are a few more descriptions of the beast that we should look at, just for the sake of completeness.

The words of the beast:
Revelation 13:5-6
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.

The beast speaks blasphemy.  John 10:33 says that claiming to be God is blasphemy.  Luke 5:21 says that claiming to forgive sins is blasphemy.  (You can always say, "I forgive you" to someone who offends you, but Luke 5:21 is talking about sin in a broader sense.)

The Pope-is-Antichrist teachers show quotes from Catholic sources that apparently show that they believe and teach the Pope is equal to God, and that the priests actually forgive sins.  Here is a short list of quotes that they commonly use.

The problem here is that these original resources are very difficult to track down and check.  I cannot tell for certain one way or the other regarding the claimed quotes, but I can look at the Catholic Church's official doctrine.

About whether the Pope is equal with God, the Catholic Encyclopedia says,
"Whatsoever thou shalt bind . . . Whatsoever thou shalt loose" [Matt. 16:19]; nothing is withheld. Further, Peter's authority is subordinated to no earthly superior. The sentences which he gives are to be forthwith ratified in heaven. They do not need the antecedent approval of any other tribunal. He is independent of all save the Master [Jesus] who appointed him. The words as to the power of binding and loosing are, therefore, elucidatory of the promise of the keys which immediately precedes. They explain in what sense Peter is governor and head of Christ's kingdom, the Church, by promising him legislative and judicial authority in the fullest sense.
About forgiveness of sins, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says,
1441 Only God forgives sins. [Mk 2:7] Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, "The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" and exercises this divine power: "Your sins are forgiven." [Mk 2:5,10; Lk 7:48] Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name. [Jn 20:21-23]
1442 Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the "ministry of reconciliation." [2 Cor 5:18] The apostle is sent out "on behalf of Christ" with "God making his appeal" through him and pleading: "Be reconciled to God." [2 Cor 5:20]
The official church position is that the Pope is God's appointed head of the church on earth, not that the Pope is God Himself.  Also, the official church position is that while only God forgives sins, He gives authority to priests to forgive sins in His name--not that the priests themselves forgive sins by their own authority.

I've seen already how unreliable the WMSCOG and other Pope-is-Antichrist teachers have been in their handling of other resources.  IF they had shown integrity with their other research, I would be more inclined to give them the benefit of doubt on this one.  But it's highly likely that the quotes they use have also been taken out of context and aren't what they appear.

The claims that the Pope and the Catholic Church speak blasphemy are, at best, inconclusive.

Changing the laws and times:
This is in Daniel, not Revelation
Daniel 7:25
...[He] shall intend to change times and law....

To the WMSCOG, this includes the 10 Commandments, the Sabbath, Passover/Easter, Christmas, etc., which they say were laws and times changed by the Catholic Church.

I address the Sabbath, Passover/Easter, and Christmas elsewhere on my blog.  In short, these are not "laws" that the church says you must keep to be saved.  The Catholic Church does not condemn anyone to hell for not observing Christmas, for example.  Neither do any other Protestant churches I know.

Regarding the 10 Commandments, the Roman Catholic Church is accused of omitting the second commandment, severely shortening the fourth commandment, and splitting the tenth commandment into two.

The 10 Commandments first appear in Exodus 20.  It's interesting that although the phrase "10 Commandments" is used a few times in the Bible, it's not in Exodus 20 (except by the translator's notes).  Did you realize in Exodus 20:1-17, God says:
"You shall (or shall not)..." 12 times,
"Remember..." once, and
"Honor..." once
That's a total of 14 commands in what we call the 10 Commandments.  We combine some to make a total of 10.  Interesting, isn't it?

Yes, the Catholic Church does number the commandments differently from most other churches.  You can see that in a chart here.  BUT they did not change the commandments, they just combined them differently.

The Catholic Church did not "omit" the second commandment.  They combined it with the first commandment.  The words are still there, just grouped differently.  Read it here in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  If you read Ex. 20:3 and Ex. 20:4-5, you can see that those commands are very similar--do not worship anything or anyone but God.  It is easy to combine them.

The Catholic Church's purpose for showing the division between their 9th and 10th commandments (about coveting) is stated here in the Catechism.  They wanted the people to know that both carnal (lustful) desires and material coveting are sins.  Most other churches combine the statements about coveting into a single 10th commandment, but it's easy to see why they may also be split.

As for the commandment about the Sabbath.  The Pope-is-Antichrist teaching claims that the Catholic Church shortened it from "94 words to eight." (source)  A reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church shows that to be inaccurate.  It is much longer than 8 words, but I'll let you do the counting if it's that important to you.  You can read it here, and here are more details.

I disagree with the WMSCOG.  I do not believe the Catholic Church fulfills this prophecy.

I'm almost done with my study of the beast of Revelation.  Next time, the number of the beast.

Click here to go on to Part 8.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Is 666 the Pope? - Part 6 - The 1260 Days Continued

Just as a reminder, here is a resource for you to refer to about the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching.

Last time in Part 5, we saw how the World Mission Society Church of God set the beginning year for the prophecy of the 1260 days (years) at A.D. 538, it being the year the Ostrogoths were "destroyed by the Papacy."  And we saw that statement was not based on historical fact.

There is another claim about the year 538 that should be addressed.  The Pope-is-Antichrist teaching says this is also the year Emperor Justinian decreed the Bishop of Rome to be head over all the churches (government merging with the church) and "Vigilius ascended the papal chair in 538 AD under the military protection of Brasilius [Belisarius]." (source)

Is this a true fact?  Did Justinian install Viligius as Pope in 538, thereby changing "Pagan Rome" into "Papal Rome"? 

No. While Vigilius may have been appointed by Justinian, he became Pope in 537, not 538.  Also, the Pragmatic Sanction of Justinian giving the Pope official sanction to run civil affairs in Rome on behalf of the Byzantine Empire was not issued until August 554.  So you see, there is still no historical basis to use the year 538.

That was enough to convince me that the prophecy of 1260 days was NOT fulfilled by the Catholic Church from the years 538-1798.

But just in case you are still not sure, look at what else is to happen during these 1260 days:

Daniel 7:21
I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them  

Daniel 7:25
... the saints shall be given into his hand
    For a time and times and half a time.

Revelation 13:5,7
5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue [make war] for forty-two months.... 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

The beast makes war against the saints (the people of God) during this time.
This is a big problem for the World Mission Society Church of God in particular, because according to their other doctrine there were NO saints during the time period of 538-1798!

The WMSCOG teaches that salvation was unattainable from approximately 325 to 1948.  Why?  Because according to the WMSCOG, the Passover (the key to salvation...or at least one of the requirements) "was abolished at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 ... [and] completely disappeared from the world," and was not restored until Ahnsahnghong came in 1948. (source)  I checked this with a WMSCOG deaconess, and she confirmed that, according to their doctrine, NO ONE was saved during this approximate time frame.

How is it possible for the beast to make war on the saints, when there are no saints?

Here's something else that is to happen during these days:

Revelation 11:2
But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.

 The Holy City is Jerusalem.  For the WMSCOG, Jerusalem may refer to "Heavenly Mother Jerusalem" or "Mother God" (Zahng Gil-Jah).  They might also consider the Holy City to refer to Zion, which to them means the place where the feasts of God are kept, which to them means the World Mission Society Church of God.

In other words, to the WMSCOG, this prophecy could be fulfilled by the "trampling underfoot" of the literal Jerusalem, "Mother God," or themselves.

Were any of those trampled underfoot for the years 538 to 1798?  No.  Jerusalem has had its share of problems, but they are not limited to 538-1798, and the WMSCOG Zions and Zahng Gil-Jah did not exist yet.

In that case, could it be a literal 3 1/2 years?  Only if it is in the future.

One more thing we should see about the 1260 days (years):

Revelation 11:3
And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
(for the full context of the two witnesses, read Rev. 11:3-13)

If these 1260 days were the years 538 to 1798, who were the two witnesses of God?  Recall that according to the WMSCOG there were NO people of God on the earth during that time period.

In summary:
The Catholic Church does NOT fit the prophecy of ruling for 1260 days (years).  The historical record shows no reason to select the years 538 to 1798, and neither does it support the characteristics of the rule of the beast, considering WMSCOG doctrine.

Click here to go on to Part 7.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is 666 the Pope? - Part 5 - The 1260 Days

So far in this series, we've seen in Part 3 that the prophecy of the 10 kingdoms does not match with the historical record of the fall of Rome and the rise of the Papacy, like the World Mission Society Church of God claims.  And in Part 4 we saw that the Papacy was not a good fit for the prophecy of the fatal wound.

The results of my investigation are showing that the Pope is NOT the Antichrist according to these prophecies.  But I want to be thorough, so I won't quit yet.  For your reference, here again is where you can find the "Pope-is-Antichrist" teaching.

Continuing to examine the beast of the sea in Revelation 13...
Today, the 1260 days:

Rev. 13:5-7
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them...

This is similar to Daniel's prophecy:
Dan. 7:25
He shall speak pompous words against the Most High,
      Shall persecute the saints of the Most High,
      And shall intend to change times and law.
the saints shall be given into his hand
      For a time and times and half a time.

A time (1 year) and times (2 years) and half a time (half a year) equals 3 1/2 years, which equals 42 months, which equals 1260 days (figuring with the Hebrew calendar of 30 days per month).  This length of time is mentioned 8 times in the Bible regarding the end days (Daniel 7:25, 9:27, and 12:7; Revelation 11:2-3, 13:5, and 12:6,14), which might cause you to wonder if all 8 verses are referring to the same era.   Right now, we'll focus on Rev. 13:5 which tells us the beast was given authority to rule for 1260 days.

In prophecy, a day could refer to a year (Eze. 4:6; Num. 14:34), but it doesn't have to.  In Daniel 4:16, the seven prophetic years were seven actual years, not 2520 years (7x12x30=2520).  Therefore, the 1260 days (3 1/2 years) could prophesy 1260 days or 1260 years.

Remember in Part 4 we saw the many different years that could have been considered fatal wounds to the Papacy?  The question was, why choose the one in 1798?  The answer lies in this prophecy of the 1260 days.

Backing up 1260 years from 1798 gives us the year 538.  This is the year the WMSCOG claims the last of the 3 opposing kingdoms was destroyed by the Papacy (See Part 1), which cemented the Pope's rule.  Therefore, they say, the Pope had a rule of 1260 years, fulfilling this prophecy.

Now the question is, did the Pope's rule begin in 538 with the destruction of the Ostrogoths (as the WMSCOG claims)?

To find the answer, I've been researching the history of the Church and the history of the Gothic War of 535-554.  These are years that could be considered as the mark of the beginning of the reign of the Catholic Church (not counting Matt. 16:18 or Acts 2):

313--Edict of Milan, issued by Constantine, ending the persecution of Christians
325--Council of Nicaea, which the WMSCOG says ended the Passover for the world
551--The Gothic War, Rome finally liberated from the Ostrogoths and placed under Byzantine control
553--Last remnants of the Gothic army defeated
800--Charlemagne, the first emperor crowned by a Pope

Where is the year 538, which the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching clings to?  Maybe we'll find it if we look closer at the Gothic War?  Here's a summary of the war as it relates to Rome...

536--Byzantine (Roman) army enters Rome
537 to 538--First siege of Rome, ends with the Romans maintaining control
546--Second siege of Rome, ends with the Goths in control of Rome
547--Romans regain control of Rome
549--Third siege of Rome, Rome regained by the Goths
551--Goths lose Rome, and the Romans (Byzantines) are able to maintain control until 751

Reading about the Gothic War tells us that the Ostrogoths were definitely NOT destroyed in 538.  In fact, looking at these dates, there is no good reason to choose the year 538!

Why choose the year 538 from this list, and choose the year 1798 from the list of potential fatal wounds?  So that you can force the Catholic Church to fit into the prophecy of 1260 years.

Do you remember when I checked out the WMSCOG's sources in Part 1 and saw that they were fairly close in their dates of the destruction of three kingdoms?  This is the date that was not quite accurate, and now we see the implications of it.

What kind of church plays with dates like this simply to make a prophecy seem to come to fulfillment?  There are two reasons I can think of: ignorance or malicious intent.  Is this what you'd expect from a church supposedly founded by "Father God" and currently run by "Mother God" in the flesh?

There's more to say about the 1260 days next time.

Click here to go on to Part 6.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is 666 the Pope? - Part 4 - The Deadly Wound

Just as a reminder, we are looking at the first beast in Revelation 13 to see if it matches the Pope (Papacy), and we are examining the claims of the argument about the Pope to see if they are accurate.

Here is the resource, again, where the "Pope-is-Antichrist" teaching has been clearly stated.  Please remember that the WMSCOG is not the only (or the first) group to hold to this teaching.  So even when I write, "the WMSCOG says...," the other Pope-is-Antichrist groups also say something similar (and vice versa).

In Part 3, we saw how the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching of the 10 kingdoms arising out of the fall of Rome is not accurate with the historical record.  Since the Papacy has failed to match up with this prophecy, we already know that the Pope is NOT the Antichrist, as the WMSCOG teaching claims.  But for the sake of completeness (and just in case you are still not convinced), I'll continue with this study.

Continuing in Revelation 13...
Today, the "deadly wound":

Rev. 13:3-4
And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

The WMSCOG says that this "deadly wound" happened in 1798 when Pope Pius VI was taken captive by one of Napoleon's generals.  He died in 1799 while still being held by French troops.  It took almost 7 months for the next Pope (Pius VII) to be elected.  The church recovered, and the office of Pope is still occupied today.  Is this the "deadly wound" to the Papacy that was healed?

Read the verses carefully and see that this deadly-but-healed wound was such that "all the world marveled and followed the beast."  It's the kind of thing that would be all over the news and everyone would be talking about the miraculous recovery.  Does "all the world" stand in awe of the Papacy surviving this incident?  Are they amazed at the miraculous recovery and exclaim, "Who is like the Papacy [the beast]?"

What about these other "wounds" to the Papacy?...

Pope St. Hyginus--traditionally thought martyred about AD 140.
Pope St. Pius I--martyred by sword in 155.
Pope St. Anicetus--traditionally thought martyred in 166.
Pope St. Soter--traditionally thought martyred about 174.
Pope St. Eleuterus--traditionally thought martyred in 189.
Pope St. Callixtus--martyred about 223.
Pope St. Cornelius--"died a martyr, through extreme hardship" in 253.
Pope St. Stephen I--martyred by beheading in 257.
Pope St. Sixtus II--martyred by beheading in 258.
Pope St. Caius--legend says was martyred in 296.
(Wikipedia List of Popes)

Do you think those are too early in history to count?  Maybe they were early enough to be uncorrupted Popes (as the WMSCOG might define "corrupt")?

Think of this... the WMSCOG says the church was already becoming corrupted, even that early.  After all, Anicetus (who is on the list) was the Pope the WMSCOG accuses of taking the "lead in abolishing the Passover" in 155--a statement that is incorrect.  (See Part 1)

How about these later "wounds"?...

Pope Benedict VI--seized by Roman nobles, imprisoned and strangled in 974.
The East-West Schism--the division of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1054.
[no Pope for 2 years]--A deadlock in voting resulted in no Pope in office from April 1292 to July 1294.
[no Pope for 2 years, again]--Another deadlock in voting resulting in no Pope in office from April 1314 to August 1316.
[no Pope, yet again for 2 years]--No Pope elected from July 1415 to November 1417.
The Protestant Reformation--the "revolt" in which Protestants broke away from the Roman Catholic Church beginning in 1517.
Pope Pius VI--taken prisoner by Napoleon's general in 1798, and died while still expelled from the Papal States in 1799.  (This is the incident used by the WMSCOG.)
Pope Pius VII--expelled from the Papal States by France from 1809-1814.
Pope Pius IX--During his time as Pope, the Papal States were lost to the Kingdom of Italy (1870).

Consider the list.  Any of these instances could easily be viewed as a deadly wound that healed.  Rev. 13:3-4 indicates only one deadly wound--the word for "wound" is singular, and here we have so many to choose from.  Why choose the one in 1798?  I'll examine that next time with Revelation 13:5-7.

In summary:
Yes, the Papacy (Catholic Church) has many "wounds" that could have caused its collapse, and it has survived.  But the prophecy only refers to one, and it is the kind of deadly wound which causes the world to "wonder, marvel, and be amazed" with its healing.  It's not describing a series of difficult struggles.  The Papacy doesn't work well with this prophecy.

Click here to go on to Part 5.