Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Dreams and the Radio and Continuing Church of God

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Artist’s representation of Jacob’s ladder dream (Genesis 28:10-17)

COGwriter

Were dreams involved with the Philadelphia era of the Church of God?

Do dreams and prophets have any place in the Christian Church today?

Did any dreams precede the start of the old Radio Church of God? What about the Continuing Church of God (which did not officially form as a declared entity until December 28, 2012)?

The Bible records that God often has used dreams to give messages (Genesis 20:3-7, 28:10-17, 31:10-13, 31:24, 37:5-10, 40:5-18, 41:1-32; Numbers 12:6; Judges 7:13-15; 1 Kings 3:5-15; Daniel 2:3-45, 4:4-27, 7:1-28; Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22; Acts 16:9).

I had a couple of dreams prior to the start of the Continuing Church of God, and someone I did not know had one who lived in New Zealand.

While some may wish to discount what happened with me, let us also look at something that the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about dreams:

Let me say here that in about 99,999 times out of 100,000, when people think GOD is speaking to them in a dream or vision in this day and age, it is pure imagination, or some form of self-hypnotism or self-deception. I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Autobiography of Herbert Armstrong, (Volume 1), chapter 10, 1973, p. 194)

And that is correct. Most dreams are not from God, even if people think that they are. Notice what the Bible teaches:

7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. (Ecclesiastes 5:7)

Dreams from God are shown to be correct in the light of subsequent events (though just because a dream ends up being correct, that does of itself, not prove that it was from God as there can be other factors, cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-5, but God Himself does sometimes use dreams, Numbers 12:6; Acts 2:17-18).

There are also false dreams:

2 For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; (Zechariah 10:2)

Though many discount all dreams, many also forget that Herbert W. Armstrong believed that his wife Loma D. Armstrong had a dream from God, although it took him some years to accept the validity of it:

Within 30 or 60 days after our marriage God spoke to my wife in what might have been an intense unusual dream, or a vision — but it was years later before we came to realize that this really was a message from God. (Armstrong HW. Brethren and Co-worker letter, November 28, 1956)

One night my wife had a dream so vivid and impressive it overwhelmed and shook her tremendously. It was so realistic it seemed more like a vision. For two or three days afterward everything else seemed unreal — as if in a daze — and only this extraordinary dream seemed real.

In her dream she and I were crossing the wide intersection, only a block or two from our apartment, where Broadway diagonally crosses Sheridan Road. Suddenly there appeared an awesome sight in the sky above. It was a dazzling spectacle — the sky filled with a gigantic solid mass of brilliant stars, shaped like a huge banner. The stars began to quiver and separate, finally vanishing. She called my attention to the vanishing stars, when another huge grouping of flashing stars appeared, then quivering, separating, and vanishing like the first.

As she and I, in her dream, looked upward at the vanishing stars, three large white birds suddenly appeared in the sky between us and the vanishing stars. These great white birds flew directly toward us. As they descended nearer, she perceived that they were angels.

“Then,” my wife wrote a day or two after the dream, in a letter to my mother which I have just run across among old family pictures, “it dawned on me that Christ was coming, and I was so happy I was just crying for joy. Then suddenly I thought of Herbert and was rather worried.”

She knew I had evidenced very little religious interest, although we had attended a corner church two or three times.

Then it seemed that, from among these angels in her dream, that, “Christ descended from among them and stood directly in front of us.

At first I was a little doubtful and afraid of how He would receive us, because I remembered we had neglected our Bible study and had our minds too much on things apart from His interests. But as we went up to Him, He put His arms around both of us, and we were so happy! I thought people all over the world had seen Him come. As far as we could see, people were just swarming into the streets at this broad intersection. Some were glad and some were afraid.

“Then it seemed He had changed into an angel. I was terribly disappointed at first, until he told me Christ was really coming in a very short time.”

At that time, we had been going quite regularly to motion – picture theatres. She asked the angel if this were wrong. He replied Christ had important work for us to do, preparing for His coming — there would be no time for “movies .” (Those were the days of the “silent” pictures.) Then the angel and the whole spectacle seemed to vanish, and she awakened, shaken and wondering!

In the morning, she told me of her dream. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to think about it, yet I was afraid to totally dismiss it. I thought of a logical way to evade it myself, and still solve it. …

Do not hastily ascribe a dream to God. True, the Bible shows that God has spoken to His own chosen servants by this means of communication — primarily in the Old Testament, and before the writing of the Bible was completed. But most dreams mean nothing. And false prophets have misled people by telling false dreams, representing their dreams to be the Word of God (Jeremiah 23, where God sa ys, “I am against prophets who recount lying dreams, leading my people astray with their lies and their empty pretensions, though I never sent them, never commissioned them” — verse 32, Moffatt translation).

Certainly I did not ascribe this dream to God. It made me feel a little uncomfortable at the time, and I was anxious to forget it — which I did for some years. I was twenty – five at the time. God left me to my own ways for five more years. But when I was age thirty, He began to deal with me in no uncertain terms… (The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1973, pp. 187,193-194).

Loma and Herbert Armstrong were married in 1917. They were specifically told that they would have a work to do. Furthermore, the bright lights in the dream may have had to do with doing a work (cf. Matthew 5:16)–a work that seemed to vanish and return (flash). Thus, there was a dream from God given to a woman in the 20th century that preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God that Herbert W. Armstrong led. The Radio Church of God represented the start of the Philadelphia era and the Philadelphian work–a work that is not finished (cf. Matthew 24:14-15)–and Herbert W. Armstrong claimed that a dream given to his wife was from God, prior to the start of the Philadelphia era.

Since the Philadelphia era was raised up years after that dream, a question to ponder is would God do anything similar to point to the continuation of the end-time COG remnant of the Philadelphians? Consider that in Loma Armstrong’s dream that there were two sets of flashing stars–there were two parts to the dream. Herbert Armstrong is now dead and there was a pause between the work God had him to do and the completion of the final phase of the work to finally fulfill Matthew 24:14 (cf. Isaiah 29:14).

In the past, like in 2013 and 2014, I have called the time between his death and the formation of the Continuing Church of God the transitional phase (see also The Final Phase of the Work)–which is consistent with Loma Armstrong’s dream. God will cut that final work short (Romans 9:28) which results in the famine of the word (Amos 8:12; see also Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word) which is consistent with the vanishing stars in Loma Armstrong’s dream (though there could be other interpretations–we in CCOG are continuing the Philadelphia work and expect to be the ones God will use on earth to help finish it).

Herbert Armstrong mentioned the dream from time to time publicly, here are two nearly identical accounts:

I’m usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn’t really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast-approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the Coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At the time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, November 25, 1955)

I’m usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn’t really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel in a vision that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast- approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At that time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, February 21, 1956)

Notice that the dream was to go until the end of the world and the coming of Jesus–since Herbert Armstrong has been dead since January 16, 1986–if the dream was from God then, does it not make sense that the second half of the dream would be fulfilled by another in the 21st century? We in the Continuing Church of God are fulfilling that second part of stars.

Perhaps it should be mentioned, Herbert Armstrong had more information about what I am referring to as the first set of stars in the dream. He wrote:

It was a dazzling spectacle…People by the hundreds came running into this broad intersection looking up to see the strange phenomena … A vast multitude of eyes were upon us… I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Armstrong HW. The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 9th installment. Plain Truth, August 1958, p. 18).

Eyes of a vast multitude suggest that the dream was saying that the work to be done was to have a witness to many. This happened with the old Radio and Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong’s leadership in the 20th century. The second set of stars in the dream, which he did not mention in the August 1958 Plain Truth, article, but did in his published Autobiography, may pertain to what I have called, for years, The Final Phase of the Work. But even if it had applicability to the ministry of Herbert Armstrong only, the dream, which he shortly before his death he confirmed he believed was from God (per Aaron Dean, who I discussed this with on October 30, 2015), shows that one did precede the COG work he was involved in.

Consider that Herbert W. Armstrong considered that his wife Loma’s dream was from God. He also believed the first part of it had to do with the start of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God via the Radio Church Church of God. He did not discuss the fulfillment of the second part of the dream directly, however he taught another work would be done.

Dale Schurter, a former WCG minister, reported that Herbert W. Armstrong stated the following in 1984/1985 (shortly before he died in January 1986). Here are two accounts of this:

“A few months before Mr. Armstrong’s death, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend several hours with Mr. Armstrong in his home in Pasadena. He spoke freely of the mighty work God had commissioned him to accomplish, and related certain heartfelt comments: ‘I can say that I have finished the work God has given me to do, and am at peace about it. I have preached and taken the Gospel of the Kingdom of God into all the world as a witness to all nations.’

“Mr. Armstrong went on to say, ‘I have come to realize there will be an even greater work to follow—to go again, to “prophesy again” to all nations tongues and peoples (Rev. 10:11) before the work of the two witnesses—but with more power and with a stronger warning message. But that will be for others to do.’ He continued, ‘It will be a short work (Rom. 9:27-29), compared with the longer time to complete the work I was given, and it will be cut short. That’s when the Great Tribulation will begin, as will the work of the two witnesses. These will last for three and one-half years, at the end of which Christ will return in glory.’” (“The Greatest Work Lies JUST Ahead…” as stated in RCG letter of May 31, 2013)

When Mr. Armstrong was age 91 — about 1984 — Mona and I had opportunity to spend several hours with him in his home in Pasadena to visit and further report on work he had commissioned us to do. We were to report directly back to him. He talked freely of the mighty work God had given him to accomplish. He went on to tell us there was yet a bigger work still to be done, to go again and repeat what has been done, but with more power and with a stronger warning, just before the work of the two witnesses would begin. He said it would be a “short work” (Rom. 9:27-29) compared with the longer time to complete the work he had been given, and that it would be “cut short.” That’s when the great tribulation would begin, as would the work of the two witnesses. These would last for three and one-half years. (January 7, 2012 Dale Schurter Speaks Out: UCG Resignation Letter http://www.rcgtruth.com/2012/01/dale-l-schurter-resignation-letter_06.html)

Herbert Armstrong’s part of the work lasted over 50 years, and he seemingly felt that the “short work” would be much shorter than his work. And that is correct.

Here is what was in Herbert W. Armstrong’s last letter:

The greatest work lies ahead…Never before in the history of the Church has it been possible to reap so great a harvest. It has only been made possible through modern technology, beginning with the printing press, radio, television...Each of you must commit yourself to support God’s Work…God’s work must push ahead as never before. God is opening up new doors in television (Letter, 1/10/86).

Consider that since Herbert Armstrong did not teach that the second part of his wife Loma’s dream was fulfilled and that he also taught a greater work was going to happen after his death. It is greater because it will fulfill Matthew 24:14, etc. That is the work that we in the Continuing Church of God are leading (see The Final Phase of the Work and Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word). It appears that the second part of Loma D. Armstrong’s dream was pointing to the Continuing Church of God–the group that best represents the remnant of the Philadelphian portion of the Church of God.

Dreams are a sign that God has used to confirm ‘Philadelphia.’

The Bible teaches:

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

So, does it not make sense that if God granted a dream to a woman prior to the formation of the Radio Church of God that God could have done that prior to the formation of the Continuing Church of God?

The fact that there were also other dreams related to the Continuing Church of God that were confirmed is consistent with the fact that God has used dreams related to the Continuing Church of God.

Of course, many do not want to believe that God uses dreams or will discount the ones they hear about.

Yet, the Bible shows that God often chooses to work with prophets through a dream:

6 “Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. (Numbers 12:6)

Notice that the above says that God will speak to His prophet in a dream. Notice also:

28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream (Jeremiah 23:28)

Several years ago I had a dream, which while I did not understand it at first, as it became more and more fulfilled over the years, I began to understand it and believe it was from God.

I was 50 at the time (which essentially makes me an ‘old man’ per Numbers 8:25; cf. John 8:57). In my dream, there seemed to be two parallel lines. Living Church of God (LCG) evangelist Roderick Meredith was on the top line and I was on the line much below. In the dream, I kept calling up to Dr. Meredith, but he never would respond. This lack of response made no sense to me during the dream. Then after what seemed to be a long time, the lines-crossed with his line dropping and my line going up.

One reason that I did not understand it at the time was that I was on relatively close speaking terms with Dr. Meredith then (he repeatedly told me he considered me to be his friend, plus he had appointed me an adviser to LCG on matters of doctrine and prophecy), so that aspect of the dream made no sense. Also, since I had no intentions of leaving Living Church of God then (and certainly no plans to start a separate church), it was not clear what the dream was saying. Another reason I was unsure about the dream then was that I had not had any anointing for the Holy Spirit beyond baptism when I had that dream.

But these matters changed eventually. For one, I was unexpectedly anointed for a ‘double-portion’ of God’s Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9) on December 15, 2011 by an LCG minister named Gaylyn Bonjour.

Furthermore, over time, Dr. Meredith became more distant from me, would not keep various promises to me, and ultimately stopped speaking with me. And after I got a letter from him on 12/28/12, it was clear to me that there was no way that the Philadelphia mantle could be with him or any of his leaders. These subsequent events showed me that the dream was being fulfilled.

Related to dreams, the Bible also teaches:

8 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28-29)

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them,

“Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:14-18)

28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:28-30).

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ– 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Despite what the Bible supports, most Church of God groups do not seemingly accept that there are any prophets today, nor do they seem to accept that God actually sometimes speaks in dreams in the 21st century–some, oddly, seem indignant of the very idea. Part of the reason for this is that those self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ outside of the Continuing Church of God have tended to be proven to be false (see also Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?).

But that does not mean God doesn’t ever use dreams or have any in the office of prophet or ever pour out a ‘double-portion’ of His Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9-15) as happened when an ordained minister so prayed and anointed me on December 15, 2011 (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).

The Bible shows that the Apostle Peter and the prophet Joel mentioned that there would be some with prophetic dreams in the end times.

Fesilafai Fiso Leaana Had a Dream

In addition to my dream (which seemed consistent with Number 12:6 and Acts 2:17), there also seems to have been at least one other dream related to the Continuing Church of God that I would like to mention in some detail here that someone else had.

Unbeknownst to me until late September 2013, a woman named Fesilafai Fiso Leaana of New Zealand had a dream after going to bed on December 8, 2012. Here is a report that Fesilafai Fiso Leaana wrote about her dream:

A few months before my dream, my husband and I noticed a contradiction in practice, regarding the sabbath commandment in LCG, from there we started to pray continuously for God to lead us to where the truth is. It seems God has answered our prayers through the dream.

The dream began with myself and approximately 70 New Zealand Living Church of God brethren, then suddenly LCG vanished (I was wondering where is LCG?) and I was left standing with approximately 10 people excluding myself, on a very high building. We were standing on the very top of the building, where I couldn’t see the bottom, there were no other buildings, just this building. I could not see the bottom of the building but just clouds below the building and clouds surrounding the building which led to a beautiful white mountain – a mountain that had no ends on either side. The building was pretty close to the mountain, I could see the top of the mountain. The mountain was all white and so beautiful. I remember that I began to be filled with joy and peace. But also wondering how we got up on this building and confused why there were no other buildings but the clouds seemed like it was hiding the building and I felt protected or it felt like a safe place. I looked around there were still only about ten people there, the only person I could clearly recognize was Shirley constantly working, the approximate ten others were just sitting and standing around. So I walked around the building looking for the large crowd from LCG, but all I kept returning to was that Shirley was working and doing different types of work alone while the others were still sitting and standing around the building with me. I wondered why she was working a lot. I could not find LCG.

Then suddenly a message came to my mind: “There is a secret in the mountain”. And I was so happy to know that, I was still feeling elated and could still see the beautiful white mountain and wondered about the secret. Then I asked: “What is the secret?” Then the message said, nobody knows the secret in the mountain but only you have received this message that there is a secret in the mountain. Then I asked ‘what is the secret in the mountain?’ I received a message to my mind that told me that “the secret in the mountain is the Ark of the Covenant”. Then the dream abruptly ended because I woke up. And immediately, I woke up my husband and recounted the dream to him, and I told my husband that it reminded me of when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on the mountain and that the mountain was also covered with clouds.

On the same day after my dream, at church service Mr Penman warned us to be careful what we read from Bob Thiel’s Obama book, because they do not support everything he wrote in it. At the time I kept your name in my mind as I did not know who you were then.

Then 3 weeks later Shirley contacted me regarding your Chronology – the exit from LCG. Shirley had all of the Chronology and gave us all a print out of it and went over it with my husband and I. Shirley kept stressing the integrity of the LCG leadership and administration was compromised as proven by your Chronology account. Then my husband and I had to make a decision whether we would continue with LCG or go with Bob Thiel (you) since Shirley, John and Kayla had already decided to be with you 🙂

We decided to go with Bob Thiel and then left the meeting but a letter from Mr. Penman and a visit from the new New Zealand minister Paul attempted to obstruct our departure and tried to dissuade us from leaving LCG and coming with you. This forced us to carefully rethink our decision.

My husband and I were alone, that’s when my husband said to me, “remember your dream? This is what your dream means, that we need to leave this church and go with Shirley”. That’s when we knew what to do. And this dream is the reason most of us in the kiwi CCOG knew that we are in the right Church, God told us to come to this Church. We reaffirmed with Shirley and others that we were going to go with Bob Thiel and my husband told them the dream for the first time and that the dream is the reason my husband and I decided to come.

Not having all the details of the dream, Shirley then prayed about the dream. She asked God for more understanding on the dream. Then the next day she was reading the book of Psalm and Psalm 25:14 JUMPED out at her: “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.” (email 9/29/13)

Within several weeks of the dream, ten people in New Zealand, including Shirley Gestro (the Shirley above) began to attend the newly formed Continuing Church of God.

Biblically, mountains can symbolize government (Psalm 30:7; Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 2:35; Zechariah 4:7) and white purity or cleanness (Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 7:14, 19:14). Clouds around a mountain (or at least the top of it) could show a separation—maybe a separation that keeps many from seeing all of the truth (cf. Job 22:14; Lamentations 3:44) or recognizing top leadership?

The dream seemed to be a signal to confirm that the Philadelphia mantle was not with the Living Church of God, but instead was associated with someone that that had something to do with the ark of the covenant. Prior to the dream Fesilafai Fiso Leaana indicated that she had problems with how the leadership in LCG viewed the Sabbath, and that was one of the issues that I dealt within weeks of the formation of the Continuing Church of God.

Now, I (Bob Thiel) never heard of, nor learned of, this dream until after the start of the Feast of Tabernacles in September 2013 in New Zealand (which is where my wife Joyce and I began keeping the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013).

Why is that potentially significant?

Back in 2006, when I was first asked to give a sermon at the Feast of Tabernacles, it occurred to me that never in WCG, GCG, nor LCG did I recall anyone actually fulfilling the requirement in Deuteronomy 31:10-13 about reading the “words of the law” in Deuteronomy every seven years at the Feast of Tabernacles (see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law). So, when the opportunity to give a sermon came up (in Guatemala), I attempted to go through that book of the law. In 2012, it occurred to me that since this was to be done every seven years, that somehow I would need to do this in 2013 (seven years later), but I was not sure how this would be done. However, once the Continuing Church of God formed, I realized that how this would be done at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013 (sermons were given related to that, links to which are found in the article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013).

After I began to cite Deuteronomy 31:10-13 and started reading the book of the law at the Feast of Tabernacles in New Zealand in 2013, Fesilafai Fiso Leaana came up to me and told me about her dream. We discussed some points about it and the ark of the covenant, etc. As it turns out, one of the items that was kept besides the ark of the covenant was the very same “Book of the Law” (Deuteronomy 31:26) that I was reading in its entirety publicly during that Feast of Tabernacles. This is a connection that, humanly speaking Fesilafai Leaana could not have known. (There are also other potential ramifications related to the ark of the covenant that I may attempt to publicly address in the future.)

Subsequent events, events that Fesilafai Leaana could not have known on December 8/9, 2012, confirmed her dream. She had no idea that the Continuing Church of God was going to form, and I had not made the decision to actually form it until after getting a letter on December 28, 2012. Fesilafai Leaana’s dream is another witness as to the proper start, etc. of the Continuing Church of God.

Senhor Pires Had a Dream

On March 28, 2014, I flew into London for a two night stopover, before heading to Kenya for a CCOG leadership conference. Within an hour of arriving at my hotel, Senhor Pires came for baptismal counseling. As we walked from the hotel lobby to my room, he wanted to tell me about a vision he saw in a dream that he had.

Here is what he said:

I had this dream. In it was a vision of a congregation of the Continuing Church of God inside a transparent glass bubble (like a balloon). And everyone, I mean everyone apart from the speaker, was black. The speaker was white. And I was asking myself inside that bubble…”why is everyone black here?”

It made no sense to me. I wondered why I would see this.

When Senhor Pires told me the above, I began to laugh. I said to him, “Didn’t you know that the vast majority of people in the Continuing Church of God were black?”

And he said, “No, I figured that most would be white.”

I then told him, “This is quite interesting. Your dream seems to be one of three or more directly related to the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) that has had confirmation.”

I also told him that I was to fly to Kenya in two days Sunday, and that those who were to attend a Continuing Church of God leadership conference from Kenya and Tanzania were also black, and that I, the main speaker, would be the only one who was white. And that is what happened.

Also as it turns out, not only was Senhor Pires black, the others who came to attend Sabbath services with us the next day in the United Kingdom were also black. Neither Senhor Pires nor I were aware of this until March 30, 2014.

While this may not seem to be a massive ‘earth-shattering’ dream, it is yet additional confirmation that God has used dreams/visions to communicate to at least three individuals who all later became part of the Continuing Church of God. Dreams and visions are something that God intended to use during the end times (cf. Acts 2:17-18; Joel 2:28-29). Elijah apparently once thought that God would be in something dramatic, but then only was in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13).

I believe that they are partial confirmations that the Continuing Church of God was to lead (two dreams happened prior to CCOG’s formation), and now is leading, the final phase of the work . The truths that we teach should be accepted as the other proof:

45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. (John 8:45)

Believe the truth, at least for the truth’s sake. Christians are to believe and know the truth (1 Timothy 4:3). The truth sets Christians free (John 8:32) from all types of error (including Laodicean ones, cf. Revelation 3:14-22). The Laodiceans and remnant of Sardis have so many prophetic misunderstandings that they will not possibly know when the Great Tribulation will start until it is too late!

Although some have chosen not to believe all the facts about how and why the Continuing Church of God began, recall that the Bible teaches:

16 ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ (Matthew 18:16)

19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19)

Of course, since Gaylyn Bonjour always freely stated that he did the ‘double-portion’ anointing, there long had been a second witness (though various ones have their own opinion about how to interpret that).

Yet, in addition to various facts, the dream from Fesilafai Leaana looks like perhaps God was planning on making it clearer for true Philadelphians (who are in various organizations/fellowships) to see that the mantle location had truly changed. And the one from Senhor Pires showing that God had a major plan for Africans within that.

There were others who also had dreams related to CCOG that were later confirmed (see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

One, by Frederick Ochieng in Kenya,said that his father (Evans) needed to support Bob Thiel and the CCOG and indicated that would lead to major growth. There has been at least a sixteen-fold increase since that dream roughly five years ago.

How many witnesses do you need?

Email

Received the following unsolicited email by a CCOG member in the eastern USA, after he watched the sermon Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule:

Dr. Thiel,
Thank you for a needed sermon to inform those who have doubts about the use of dreams by God and to make it clear who God is using now to finish the final phase of His work. I know many are skeptical of one who claims they are the one God is using to lead His Work/Church. This is understandable since there are those who make such claims and are in it for themselves. Clearly you are doing what God has commissioned/called you to do. I can see no reason why you would dedicate so much time and energy in starting and leading the CCof G (what material benefit do you receive?). Materially you would be better off putting that time and energy into your business. However, the only wise option you really have is to allow God to use you as He wants since ones reward is in heaven. Therefore one should store up treasure in heaven. I do not believe you sought/seek power and prestige as some do in other so called Church of God groups.
I believe God has lead me to CCofG. He heard and answered my prayer. I finally became so disgusted with GCI and where it had lead God’s people. I had so many issues with their doctrine, and tearing down of everything God built through HWA. But I did not know where to go. I believed God called and chose me and that His church would never die out. For many years I thought the mantel passed from HWA to Mr. Tkach senior, since Mr. HWA chose him as his successor, and then Joe Jr. Of course I was wrong. I looked to the example of unfaithful kings in Israel and Judah and waited for God to appoint a faithful leader. The example of David waiting for God to remove Saul was misunderstood by me.
The last straw was a message DXX RXXXXX gave on church history about 4 years ago. He traced church history through the Catholic Church and he marginalized Mr. Armstrong’s work. I finally woke up. I asked God to lead me where His most faithful leader and body of believers was. In time and after much study of church history and those who were most faithful to the faith once delivered God lead me your website. He answered my prayer. Interestingly it was not until I had re-studied early church leaders such as Polycarp and Polycrates plus the Passover/Easter issue on other web sites, etc. that I discover Cogwriter by “accident”.
I recalled what HWA taught about church history and realized there still must be a Church of God group still faithful to biblical teachings and contending for the faith once delivered. But where and who?
The main reason I never considered a break off group from WCG in the 1990′s was because I first came in contact with Jerry Flurry’s group. I reject his teaching on the man of sin and other doctrines and his leadership style. Also, when Global started and other break off groups there was such confusion and governance issue it seemed to me it was better to stay where I was in WCG. Of course being in Connecticut we were far from Pasadena and had little first hand information.
However, I knew from scripture God did not want Christians to go it alone. He formed His church and it was ones duty to support His work as well as develop a personal relationship with God. Many of my friends just left WCG or became members in churches of this world. Some stayed with WCG. But I believed God raised up HWA to start the 6th church era and to proclaim the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, how could I just be content to go it alone, (outside of His Church)? Thankfully in time God answered my prayer and I believe has led me to CCofG.
Hopefully others will wake up. Thank you for your faithful service.

It is good this member found the sermon helpful. As far as his observation that I was not seeking power and prestige, I would add that he has met with me and seen me both in the USA and Canada, and realizes that my profession, etc. could give me more of that. And yes, I would concur with his position that I would be better off financially (as well as the related stresses of ‘the burden’ associated with the work, cf. Malachi 1:1; Numbers 11:11) if I did not lead the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).

While the Bible says that ministers are entitled to be compensated per the Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 5:17-18), it also warns against worthless shepherds:

1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” (Ezekiel 34:1-6)

While there is nothing wrong with wearing wool clothing, many in the ministry ended up with better clothes than perhaps they otherwise would have. Often their focus has been wrong.

Why do I not take a salary?

Two basic reasons:

1) The work would be affected too much negatively–the Apostle Paul, himself, worked in his profession at times (Acts 18:3). We must feed the flock spiritually, and that does take funds to reach people. Costs are incurred for literature, the internet, video production, graphics, printing, postage, and travel–including sending Evangelist Evans Ochieng, myself, and/or others to differing locations to minister.

2) If I took a salary a lot more people would go hungry, especially in Africa (cf. Galatians 2:10). The salary amount that would be appropriate for me by historic Worldwide Church of God standards would be more than all the money we currently send to Africa each year. That being said, while I wish we had more money to send to Africa (and sometimes Asia), as we cannot satisfy all the hungry and other needs there, we are sending what we can. We try to feed the flock physically where we can (yet, even the Apostle Peter could not always give to the needy per Acts 3:6), and that takes funds.

My not taking a salary, car, housing allowance, etc. does not mean I would never consider taking a salary, but with the ‘present distress’ (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:26) I have chosen not to do it and God has blessed our business enough that our family has our needs, etc. met.

The Work is Being Done

The work (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Galatians 2:10) is being done, and CCOG is a work that God has blessed with at least 3 dreams prior to its start and several since (the  latest one we learned of was earlier this month and is mentioned in the post CCOG in Manipur, India).

The CCOG has also been the fastest growing of the COG groups in the 21st century.

But many do not believe that God will work using dreams in the 21st century, despite the reality that most once part of the old WCG supposedly believed that God did in the 20th century (see also Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

Of course, some will discount dreams and their confirmation as proper proof of anything they do not wish to believe. Many want more dramatic signs (Matthew 12:38; 1 Kings 19:11-12), but God does not always do it that way (Matthew 12:39-42; 1 Kings 19:12-14).

Can you believe?

If so, are you willing to support the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work.
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? Two related sermons are available The Work per HWA and the Bible and Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.

Sermon: Women’s Roles in the Church

Saturday, January 12th, 2019


Artist’s interpretation of Mary Magdalene

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:

1:23:54

What roles, rights, and responsibilities do Christian women have? Did Jesus break Jewish traditions related to women? What did various women do in the New Testament? Can women be prophetesses or deaconesses? What about pastors and preachers? Do women have the same spiritual potential as men? Are women listed in the Book of Life? Will women be subject to persecution prior to the start of the Great Tribulation? Will women be wives or kings and priests in the coming kingdom of God? What are some of the roles women have in supporting the work in the Continuing Church of God? Dr. Thiel provides answers to those and other questions.

Here is a link to the sermon: Women’s Roles in the Church.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Women and the New Testament Church What roles did women play in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles? Did Jesus and the Apostle Paul violate Jewish traditions regarding their dealings with women? Do women have any biblical limitations on their role in the Church? Were there female prophets? Do women have any special responsibilities in terms of how they dress? What does the New Testament really teach about women? Here are links to two related sermons: Women’s Roles in the Church and New Testament Women.
God Created Marriage Some falsely claim that God did not create marriage and that fornication is fine.  What does the Bible really teach? Here is a version in Mandarin Chinese y^R ZZYû.
Making Your Marriage Work Marriage is not always easy, but it pictures a divine relationship. How can you make your marriage work? Here is a link to the video sermon: You Can Make YOUR Marriage Work.
Here’s the Plain Truth About OLD TESTAMENT POLYGAMY by Herbert Armstrong. Here is a related article in the Spanish language: ¿Es la poligamia una senda de Dios?
Husbands Love Your Wives An article written by the late Selmer Hegvold.
True Womanhood: A Lost Cause? Is there still a place for being feminine? Here is an article from Herbert Armstrong about his thoughts relating to women and womanhood.
Dating: A Key to Success in Marriage, a practical dating guide for Christians This is a scripture-filled dating guide. It discusses many aspects of dating, as well as who to not consider for marriage. Two related sermons are available: The Art of Christian Dating. and No One to Date? Teen Q&A? Engagement? 2nd Marriage? A short animation is also available: First Date: Worldly vs. Christian.
Love, Marriage, and Sex It is important to get them in the right order.
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
Veils and Other Head Coverings Do women need to wear veils or similar coverings while praying or attending church services? What does the Bible teach about hair length? What about going around bald? Here are some scriptures on that subject.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and  CCOG 6 years: Philadelphians understand scriptures others miss. Here is a written link to a version of that first sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube sermonette videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Apollinaris of Hieropolis: Did he hold CCOG or RCC doctrines?

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019


Hierapolis, Turkey (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

The Catholics of Rome consider January 8th as the day to honor Apollinaris of Hierapolis. This should seem to be somewhat odd to them.

Why? Because the historical records that have been preserved show that Apollinaris held doctrines we are teaching in the Continuing Church of God, which are now opposed by the Church of Rome. He also did not hold Protestant views.

The Protestant scholars Roberts and Donaldson wrote this:

Apollinaris was bishop of Hierapolis on the Maeander, and, Lightfoot thinks, was probably with Melito and Polycrates, known to Polycarp, and influenced by his example and doctrine.” (Roberts and Donaldson pp. 772-773).

Like Melito, Polycrates, and Polycarp, Apollinaris would be considered a Quartodeciman. That is, one who held that the date of Passover must remain the 14th of Nisan. But by the time of Apollinaris, those associated with the Catholics of Rome and the “Orthodox” in Jerusalem and Alexandria kept Passover on a Sunday instead (as the Protestants generally do to this day).

Apollinaris Wrote About the Passover

Anyway, here is nearly all of what is available from what Apollinaris wrote:

There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for blame — it rather needs further instruction), and say that on the fourteenth day the Lord ate the lamb with the disciples, and that on the great day of the feast of unleavened bread He Himself suffered; and they quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. Wherefore their opinion is contrary to the law, and the Gospels seem to be at variance with them…The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb (Apollinaris. From the Book Concerning Passover. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors; American Edition copyright © 1885. Copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby).

Apollinaris is showing that the Passover is Nisan 14 and that it signifies the sacrifice of Christ, both of which are the positions of the Churches of God.

One Anglican scholar commented;

…there is no doubt that Apollinarius was a Quartodeciman…Those who kept Passover in the evening understood it to be a repetition of the Lord’s Supper (Stewart-Sykes A. Melito of Sardis On Pascha. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood (NY), 2001, p. 81).

Quartodecimans held to the original position of the apostles.

Praised by Serapion of Antioch (called Seraphion of Antioch by the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch)

Apollinaris was praised by Serapion of Antioch:

I have sent you letters of the most blessed Claudius Apollinarius, who was made bishop of Hierapolis in Asia (Serapion of Antioch. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. From the epistle to Caricus and Ponticus. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors; American Edition copyright © 1885. Copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby).

It is likely that this suggests that up until the time of Serapion, those in Antioch were also Quartodecimans. And this also seems to have been suggested by Polycrates of Ephesus (and the 4th century historian Eusebius), who wrote about the time of Serapion that the Churches in Asia kept the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, like the Jews, not like the Church of Rome (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapters 23,25).

Apollinaris Taught the Millennium

Notice the following:

So Epiphanius, speaking on the notion of the millennium maintained by Apollinarius, says, “There is indeed a millennium mentioned by John…” (Panarion of Epiphanius, 77 in Bush G. The Millennium of the Apocalypse. 1842, p. 15).

The doctrines about Passover and the millennium pose severe problems for the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics.

Although both groups claim Apollinaris as one of their saints, the reality is that those groups have both severely criticized both of those beliefs.

Here is a writing from the Eastern Orthodox:

CHILIASM: Chiliasm, from the Greek word meaning “1000,” is a belief based on Revelation 20:2-7. In its classical form (which interprets the Revelation 20 verses verbatim), Chiliasm teaches that Satan will be bound by Christ for 1000 years, at which time Jesus and the Saints will reign on earth, and after which, Satan will be finally defeated and the Eternal Kingdom of God will be inaugurated. In modern times, Chiliasm has been “boiled down” to the teaching that the world will end after one thousand years (or a number of years that is a multiple of one thousand). Though some Ancient Church Fathers of the first three centuries AD had Chiliast leanings, the Orthodox Church formally denounced Chiliasm at the Second Ecumenical Council, in 381. The Church maintains that the 1000 year reign mentioned in Revelation 20 is symbolic of the era of the Christian Church’s ministry in this fallen world, which shall come to its completion at a time unknown to all but God the Father. (Orthodox Christian Beliefs and Practices. © 2006-2007 Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. http://www.uocc.ca/en-ca/faith/beliefs/ 09/24/14).

In other words, Orthodox Church scholars know that early Christian leaders, which it calls, “Ancient Church Fathers” taught chiliasm (called millenarianism in Latin), yet it CHANGED that teaching AND CONDEMNED it in a church council and now think it is somehow symbolic (note: Many Russian and American Orthodox still teach the millennium, see Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God).

After Adolf Hitler’s “third reich,” which was supposed to be a millennial rule, was losing WWII, the Vatican decided to officially distance itself from millennial teachings. Notice the following:

Millenium {sic}: Since the Holy Office decreed (July 21, 1944) that it cannot safely be taught that Christ at His Second Coming will reign visibly with only some of His saints (risen from the dead) for a period of time before the final and universal judgment, a spiritual millennium is seen in Apoc. 20:4-6. St. John gives a spiritual recapitulation of the activity of Satan, and the spiritual reign of the saints with Christ in heaven and in His Church on earth. When Christianity triumphed over the Beast (in its sixth head, the pagan Roman empire) Satan was chained. With the re-appearance of the Beast in the anti-Christian world empire (the seventh head), he will be unchained, and muster all his forces against the Church until the peak of the persecution under Antichrist. Meanwhile, the church enjoyed its milleniun {sic} with Christ enthroned among the nations. (LeFrois, Bernard J. Eschatological Interpretation of the Apocalypse. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, pp. 17-20; Cited in Culleton RG. The Reign of Antichrist, 1951. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1974, p. 9).

Notice that the above suggests that Satan has been gone a thousand years. Does any thinking person believe that Satan was ever bound and away from the earth for 1,000 years after Revelation (which Catholics often refer to as the Apocalypse) was written? This has never happened literally or spiritually–though it will in the millennium (see also The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance). Nor have I seen any credible Catholic writer attempt to explain when planet Earth ever had one thousand years without being influenced by Satan.

And not only have both groups condemned millenarianism, it is the only supposed “doctrine of Antichrist” listed in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church (#676. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194).

Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics furthermore supported the Council of Constantinople, whose initiator Theodosius decreed the death penalty for any who would keep Passover on the 14th (see Passover and the Early Church and Persecutions by Church and State).

We in the Continuing Church of God observe Passover on the 14th as Apollinaris did and teach a literal millennial reign on the earth as Apollinaris did.

Despite any Catholic observance in Apollinaris’ honor, the reality is that based on what is actually known about Apollinaris, he had Continuing Church of God, not Roman Catholic Church views.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Apollinaris of Hierapolis He was an early church leader that may have known Melito and Polycarp; he also wrote about the Passover.
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? Two related sermons are available Millennial Utopia and The Millennium.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well. Here is a related sermon, also titled Melito’s Homily on the Passover.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they? A related sermon is titled Tradition and Scripture.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

The Thyatira Church of God: Any remnant today?

Friday, January 4th, 2019


COGwriter Peering into Ancient Thyatira (2008)

COGwriter

Have you heard about the Church of God in Thyatira?

In Revelation 2, Jesus said:

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations —

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ —

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘ (Revelation 2:18-29).

This era of the Church of God was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. Some of the Catholic Inquisitors reported about some of their doctrines.

Because of the portion bolded above, some have felt that some of the Thyatira remnant would be around until Jesus Christ returns. And I share that view. It is also of note that it was only to Thyatira (Revelation 2:25) and to Philadelphia (3:11) that Jesus said to “hold fast what you have.” So this got me to consider that perhaps both groups were possibly being told to “hold fast” to many of the same things–but it is also interesting to see that Thyatirans are threatened with the Great Tribulation (2:22).

They might be those that are still in (or supportive of) the Grace Communion International (or some other COG group that accepted apostasy) who claim that since they personally hold fast to keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days, avoid unclean meats, and the other doctrines as listed earlier of the Thyatira COG. Instead of placing their top priority on proclaiming the gospel, they also seem to believe that their major work is to be faithful to doctrines personally while at the same time supporting those who know the depth of Satan. We know these people truly cannot be the faithful remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the COG as they fail to respond to at least one of the truths that Herbert Armstrong claimed God used him to restore to that era, “And how in Revelation 18:4 that God has called us out from among them, to be separate” (Armstrong HW. Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era. Sermon, December 17, 1983); because instead of leaving spiritual Babylon and becoming separate, they publicly insist that they must remain faithful to the renamed WCG corporation until it puts them out (and even then, they still claim that organization is ‘God’s True Church’).

It may be of interest to note that this remnant may have been spiritually born about the same time that a possible last physical location of Thyatira (Bozod-Ujfalu) was destroyed. They are spiritually like weavers as they weave together (and apart) spiritual truth and error. Interestingly, the old Worldwide Church of God was renamed Grace Communion International under the leadership of a man whose last name, Tkach, according to an online English-Ukraine dictionary, means weaver. He was in charge of it until 2018. Thyatirans seem to have compromised organizationally as well as misunderstanding the work.

In the remainder of this post, I would like to focus on some Thyatira doctrines and the Inquisition.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this about one of its inquisitors:

Bernard Guidonis
Inquisitor of Toulouse against the Albigenses and Bishop of Lodève, b. at Royères (Limousin) in 1261, d. at Lauroux (Hérault), 30 December, 1331. He was one of the most prolific writers of the Middle Ages (De Moreira M. Transcribed by Albert Judy, O.P. Bernard Guidonis. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Here are some of the beliefs he found that those he persecuted held:

Nevertheless, attention should be called to the fact that among the Beguins are found some who know, accept and believe many or all of the errors listed below. These are more steeped and hardened in them. Others can say less about these errors yet are sometimes found to be worse in holding and believing them than are others. Still others have heard or remember less and yield to valid reason and saner counsel. Others obstinately persist and refuse to recant, choosing to die rather than abjure their errors, saying that in this matter they defend the gospel truth, the life of Christ, and evangelical and apostolic poverty…

Again, they say that the prelates and inquisitors who judged and condemned them as heretics – and indeed all those who consented or now consent knowingly to their condemnations – have by this action become heretics (if they persevere in it), and by this action have lost the ecclesiastical power to bind, loose and administer the ecclesiastical sacraments…

Again, they say that prelates and members of religious orders whose clothing is too abundant or too costly violate gospel perfection and Christ’s precept, according instead with the precept of Antichrist. Such clerics who go around in pompous fashion are of the family of Antichrist…

Again, they say they are not required to take oaths, nor should they be made to reveal under oath the names of their fellow believers, accomplices and associates, because, as they say, this would violate the command to love one’s neighbor and would on the contrary injure one’s neighbor…

they say the carnal church (by which they mean the Roman church as it exists, not only in the city of Rome, but throughout the whole area under Roman jurisdiction) is Babylon, the great whore of whom John spoke in the Apocalypse. Thus they apply these passages to the Roman Church and attribute to the church all the evil things written there, such as that it is drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus Christ…

Again, they distinguish between two churches, the carnal church which they say is the Roman church which contains the multitude of rebrobate, and the spiritual church which contains those people they describe as spiritual and evangelical, who emulate the life of Christ and the apostles. They say the latter is their church…

Again, some of them claim that on those elect spiritual and evangelical individuals through whom a spiritual and benign church will be founded in the seventh and last period, the Holy Spirit will be poured out in greater or at least in equal abundance as on the apostles, the disciples of Jesus Christ, on the day of Pentecost during the time of the primitive church. And they say the Holy Spirit will descend on them like a fiery flame in a furnace, and they take this to mean that, not only will their souls be filled with the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit will live in their bodies as well.

Again, they claim that there is a double Antichrist, one spiritual or mystical and the other the real, greater Antichrist…

Again, they say that both in the time of persecution by Antichrist and in that of the aforesaid war carnal Christians will be so afflicted that, despairing, they will say, “If Christ were God, he would not permit Christians to suffer so much and such intense evil.” Thus despairing, they will apostacize from the faith and die. But God will hide the elect spiritual individuals so that they cannot be found by Antichrist and his ministers. Then the church will be reduced to the same size as the primitive church when it was first founded…

Again, they say that after Antichrist’s death these spiritual individuals will convert the entire world to the faith of Christ; and the whole world will be so good and benign that there will be no malice or sin in people of that period, except perhaps for venial sins in a few of them; and all things will be common as far as use is concerned; and there will be no one who offends anyone else or encourages another to sin. For there will be the greatest love among them, and there will be one flock and one pastor. According to some of them this period and condition will last for one hundred years. Then, as love fails, malice will creep back in and slowly increase until Christ is, as it were, compelled to come in universal judgment because of it.

Again, these insane heretics seriously and ignominiously rail against the Lord Pope, the vicar of Jesus Christ, calling him the mystical Antichrist, precursor of the greater Antichrist, preparing the way for his life (Bernard Gui: Inquisitor’s Manual, Chapter 5. Translated by David Burr, History Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. http://phi.kenyon.edu/Projects/Margin/inquisit.htm 04/09/07).

It should be pointed out that perhaps the Inquisitor slightly confused the millennium, the first part of it (happening after the death of Antichrist), with the 100 years which happens afterwards.

It should also be pointed out that Albigneses and Waldenses were sometimes arrested with the Beguins. Now while most that were killed in the Inquisition were not in the Church of God, nor were the Franciscan Beguins, it is obvious that Church of God doctrines such as that ministers should not dress like the Roman clerics, Christians are not to swear oaths, and that God will offer salvation to all, were clearly condemned by the Roman Catholics during the time of Thyatira.

As far as a spiritual or mystic antichrist and a later one, that is consistent with what the Apostle John taught in 1 John 2:18 (more on this can be found in the article Some Doctrines of Antichrist).

Furthermore, the same inquisitor claimed the following about the Albigenses:

In the first place, they usually say of themselves that they are good Christians, who do not swear, or lie, or speak evil of others; that they do not kill any man or animal, nor anything having the breath of life, and that they hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel as the apostles taught. They assert that they occupy the place of the apostles, and that, on account of the above-mentioned things, they of the Roman Church, namely the prelates, clerks, and monks, and especially the inquisitors of heresy persecute them and call them heretics, although they are good men and good Christians, and that they are persecuted just as Christ and his apostles were by the Pharisees.

Moreover they talk to the laity of the evil lives of the clerks and prelates of the Roman Church, pointing out and setting forth their pride, cupidity, avarice, and uncleanness of life, and such other evils as they know. They invoke with their own interpretation and according to their abilities the authority of the Gospels and the Epistles against the condition of the prelates, churchmen, and monks, whom they call Pharisees and false prophets, who say, but do no.

Then they attack and vituperate, in turn, all the sacraments of the Church, especially the sacrament of the eucharist, saying that it cannot contain the body of Christ, for had this been as great as the largest mountain Christians would have entirely consumed it before this. They assert that the host comes from straw, that it passes through the tails of horses, to wit, when the flour is cleaned by a sieve (of horse hair); that, moreover, it passes through the body and comes to a vile end, which, they say, could not happen if God were in it.

Of baptism, they assert that the water is material and corruptible and is therefore the creation of the evil power, and cannot sanctify the soul, but that the churchmen sell this water out of avarice, just as they sell earth for the burial of the dead, and oil to the sick when they anoint them, and as: they sell the confession of sins as made to the priests.

Hence they claim that confession made to the priests of, the Roman Church is useless, and that, since the priests may be sinners, they cannot loose nor bind, and, being unclean in themselves, cannot make others clean. They assert, moreover, that the cross of Christ should not be adored or venerated, because, as they urge, no one would venerate or adore the gallows upon which a father, relative, or friend had been hung. They urge, further, that they who adore the cross ought, for similar reasons, to worship all thorns and lances, because as Christ’s body was on the cross during the passion, so was the crown of thorns on his head and the soldier’s lance in his side, They proclaim many other scandalous things in regard to the sacraments.

Moreover they read from the Gospels and the Epistles in the vulgar tongue, applying and expounding them in their favor and against the condition of the Roman Church in a manner which it would take too long to describe in detail; but all that relates to this subject may be read more fully in the books they have written and infected, and may be learned from the confessions of such of their followers as have been converted. (From the Inquisitor’s Manual of Bernard Gui [d.1331], early 14th century, translated in J. H. Robinson, Readings in European History, (Boston: Ginn, 1905), pp. 381-383, http://essenes.crosswinds.net/albe.html 05/27/07).

I will simply state that we in the Continuing Church of God consider ourselves to be true Christians, do not swear, do not kill any man, do consider inquisitors as non-Christians, do not consider that the “Eucharist” is the actual flesh of Christ, oppose the selling of sacraments, do not believe priests can forgive sin, do not revere instruments of death like the cross, do normally read the Bible in the Vulgar tongue (which is English in my case), and that we hold the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel as the apostles taught (this latter point is shown fairly clearly in the article Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

And as the inquisitor’s accounts show, our positions were also held in the Middle Ages (for documentation that our views have been held since the beginning of the Church age, please go to the History of Early Christianity page).

Since this post is around the Feast of Tabernacles, the following might be of interest to some:

Thyatira Era Begins The pope in 1096 described the Valley Louise in Dauphiny, France, as infested with “heresy.” It was a result of Paulician and Bogomil evangelization of the Alpine regions. About 1104, a man from this valley, called Peter of Bruys, began at Embrun to preach REPENTANCE throughout Languedoc and Provence…One of the definitions of the Greek word Thyatira is “sweet savor of contrition,” in other words, “real repentance.” Peter of Bruys taught that infant baptism was useless. He only baptized persons old enough to know and mean what they were doing — that is, only AFTER REAL REPENTANCE. He further rejected the Catholic MYSTERY teaching that the priest in the Mass produced the literal flesh of Christ. He opposed reverence for crosses, emphasis on huge church edifices, the fable of purgatory, prayers for the dead with their inevitable heavy bribes paid to the greedy religious leaders who falsely claimed to represent God. Converted followers gathered around Peter of Bruys. God’s Church was beginning again to do a Work. Freed from the errors of Cathars and Catholics, a spiritual gospel was once again being widely preached. The numbers of truly converted — those led by the Holy Spirit — multiplied. They kept God’s Sabbath. For “nearly twenty years” Peter preached. Then the false church would no longer stand for this open rejection of its authority. He was taken and burned alive at the stake…

The Waldenses recognized that they were the true successors of the apostolic church. They kept the SABBATH, also the yearly PASSOVER. And each September or October (in God’s seventh month — see Lev. 23), they held at the headquarters church a great “conference.” As many as 700 persons attended from afar. New students were chosen, ministerial assignments were made, AND CROWDS GATHERED DAILY TO LISTEN TO SERMONS. What could this gathering have been but the Feast of Tabernacles! Under the name of Passagini, we have the clearest sort of statement that these people, about 1200, observed the whole Old Testament law, including the Sabbath and FESTIVALS! People called Cathars at Cologne, Germany, kept a fall festival, called “Malilosa”, even before Waldo began to preach. Compare this unexplained name with Hebrew “melilah” (a harvested ear of grain — Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) and the Biblical title “Feast of Ingathering” (Ex. 23:16). How much more we might have known about these Middle Ages’ Feasts of Tabernacles had not the Inquisitors so zealously burned the records! The three-part division of tithes paid the Waldensian Church is significant. Even in the 1500’s the same division continued. “The money given us by the people is carried to the aforesaid general council, and is delivered in the presence of all, and there it is received by the most ancients (the elders), and part thereof is given to those that are wayfaring men, according to their necessities, and part unto the poor” (George Morel, Waldensian elder, quoted by Lennard, “History of the Waldenses”). 1. Compare this practice with Num. 18:21 and Deut. 14:22-25, 28-29. Isn’t it exactly what the Bible commands?… Most authors have ASSUMED the “wayfaring men” were the traveling “barbel.” But THEIR expenses would have been paid from the money given the elders, at EVERY time of year, for the direct conduct of the Work — “first” tithe and offerings. Notice that in Numbers 18:21. What Morel then mentions is a “second” tithe, for those traveling to and from the festivals — wayfaring men; and following it, the “third” to the poor. See the explanation in Deut. 14. Feast goers who had more “second tithe” than they needed shared their excess with those who had need, even as they do today! (LESSON 51 (1968) AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place …” Rev. 12:6).

Because those of Thyatira would have not kept the Greco-Roman holidays and would have tended towards the biblical holy days, this would be another reason that they would have been subject to persecutions (see also Persecutions by Church and State).

(As far as the geographic area of Thyatira, it is part of a Turkish city called Akhisar.)

Some items of related interest may include:

In Search of Thyatira This era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions Was the Church of Rome really responsible for this? What happened? A video of related interest is titled: The Past and Future Inquisition.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
Joyce’s Photos of Thyatira Thyatira is the fourth of the seven churches listed in the Book of Revelation. Here some photos of our visit there.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
News Articles Related to Church History This link is to articles on Church history that were once published on the COG News Page.
ChurchHistoryBook.com This is a URL with some information on Church History.
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years. It also discusses the concept of church eras. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a version in the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc. Here is a link to a related video sermon: Ephesus Church Era.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like the beliefs held by the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 in the first century to the 21st century. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

Apostolic succession? Mark and Venice?

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

The Casket Claimed to be that of Mark of Alexandria in Venice (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

My wife Joyce and I have gotten to visit St. Mark’s Square and the related church in Venice, Italy on several occasions.

People in Venice repeatedly have been told, and often believe, that they have the body of Mark, the Gospel writer. Essentially, the old Venetians stole a body from Alexandria, Egypt centuries ago. This was the body that the Alexandrians claimed was Mark, the writer of the Gospel bearing his name.

Here is the story behind one of the mosaics at the square:

The mosaic (said to be of Saint Alipio) that overlooks the first portal on the right hand side dates back to 1260. It tells the story of two merchants: Rustico from Torcello and Bruno from Malamocco who in 828 secretly stole the body of San Marco from Alessandria (Egypt). From the picture you can see the two merchants avoid the Muslim guards by hiding the body of St Mark underneath pork meat,( food considered dirty according to Islam) and calling out ‘canzir’ that in Arabic means pork. The disgusted guards reacted by not inspecting the load, enabling the corpse to be taken aboard the ship that set sail immediately for Venice. http://www.tours-italy.com/venice-about-st_marks_basilica.htm

San Marco means “Saint Mark.”

As it turns out, some believe that the arrival of the corpse of “Mark” in Venice fulfilled a private prophecy, which is one reason that this is accepted. Some also believe the idea that Mark indirectly founded Venice by founding a bishopric in Aquileia (which is about 125 km away). This seems to be based upon legends found in eighth century writings (Sethre J. The souls of Venice. McFarland, 2003, p. 28). Because of these legends, the Venetians claim that the gospel writer Mark founded their church (the Alexandrians also claim Mark).

As far as the ‘prophecy’ of Mark’s body goes, here is one account of it:

In the “legend of predestination,” ratified by Andrea Dandolo, Mark of the Gospel becomes Mark of Venice. An angel brings him a message while he pauses amidst the Venetian marshes. at the very site where Rivus Altus/Venice will rise centuries later: “Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus.” The message foresees Mark’s spiritual presence in the city. The arrival of his relics in 828 “confirms” the truth of that prophecy. (Sethre J. The souls of Venice. McFarland, 2003, p. 28).

Whether or not Mark was in Venice, many believe the Venetians taking of a body in Alexandria fulfills this prophecy. Yet, as will be discussed later, Mark’s body was not actually in Alexandria, thus in the physical sense, the prophecy is clearly false.

Some Religious History of Venice

Those in the ‘Patriarchate of Venice’ believe that the gospel writer Mark may have visited some of the outlying islands or at least one he ordained came to their area. Notice also the following:

The Venetian islands at first belonged to the diocese of Altino or the diocese of Padua, under jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Aquileia, believed to be the successor of St. Mark.

It is certain that during the Lombard invasion (568-572) many bishops of the invaded mainland escaped under protection of the Byzantine fleet in the eastern lagoons. The Archbishop himself took refuge in Grado, where he was claimed as Patriarch, during the schism of the Three Chapters. At the end of the invasion, many of the ancient diocese of the mainland were restored by the Lombards, while the Exiles supported the new sees in the lagoons. Two patriarchs emerged from the war and from the schism (at least solved in 698): Patriarchate of Old-Aquileia on the mainland and Patriarchate of Grado…

774. In that year, with the consent of pope Adrian I and the Patriarch of Grado John IV, an episcopal see was erected on the island of Olivolo (afterwards called Castello) with jurisdiction over Gemini, Rialto, Luprio and Dorsoduro. The first bishop, Obelerius, was invested and enthroned by the Doge of Venice, Maurice Galbaio, and ordained by the Patriarch. After Obelerius’ death, the doge named Christopher from Damiata in 798, a member of the Greek party (that is, the partisans of the Eastern Emperor). Patriarch John, a member of the Frankish party (the partisans of Charlemagne) refused to consecrate him, due to his extreme youth. A subsequent confrontation led to the murder of Patriarch John. John was succeeded by his nephew Fortunato from Trieste, who placed himself under the protection of the Frank-Lombard Kingdom and to a confused period, during which the chair of Olivolo was a long struggle. The same Duchy was invaded by the Franks, that besieged the (political) Metamaucus and were defeated and expelled only in 810. The victorious Greek party, led by the new ducal family of Parteciaci, in 812 moved the ducal see from Metamaucus to the more secure Rialto, at the center of the lagoon. A new city was created by the merger of the central islands, including Olivolo: that city was Venice. Finally, after the death of Patriarch Fortunato in 825, Orso, son of the doge John I Pateciacus, became bishop of the city. Under him, the relics of the Evangelist St. Mark were transferred from the Muslim dominated Alexandria of Egypt and brought to Venice…

In 1074 Bishop Henry, from the noble family of Contarini, was the first to bear the title of Bishop of Castello, indicating the complete merger of the island of Olivolo with Venice…Patriarchs of Grado began to reside in Venice more and more until in 1105 they definitely transferred to the city, with their own church at St. Silvestrus. For the next three centuries, three bishops resided in Venice: the Patriarch of Grado, the Primicerius of St. Mark and the Bishop of Castello, each one with his own jurisdiction.

The city gathered relics, especially from the East, and especially after the conquest of Constantinople. After 1204, the icon of the Madonna called Nicopoeia, which is still in St. Mark’s, arrived. (Patriarch of Venice, Wikipedia, viewed 06/09/13)

The diocese of Venice was basically created in 774 as suffragan of the Patriarchate of Grado. It is alleged that because the Venetians did not wish to have to fully accept papal authority that they decided to take the alleged body of Mark from the Eastern Orthodox of Alexandria Egypt in order to claim an apostolic tie that was not directly part of Rome. At this time, the “Great Schism” of 1054 (which is how the Eastern Orthodox describe it had not happened yet, and Rome officially still recognized their claimed ‘apostolic sees’).

This seemed to work for the Venetians for a while, especially when they were in the height of their power (they basically had a monopoly on making clear glass for some time, which made them fairly wealthy). But they eventually reunited with Rome.

In 1457, basically because in consideration of the political influence of the city, its bishops were accorded the title of patriarch by the Pope.

Within the Latin Church, Rome recognizes five Latin sees, including the Diocese of Rome. The others, which it accords the title of Patriarchate, also include Venice, Lisbon, the East Indies, and Jerusalem.

By tradition, the Patriarch of Venice is created a cardinal at the consistory following his appointment, although the Pope is not bound by law to do this. So, basically the Venetians feel special and have more influence than the average Catholic diocese.

The fact that the biblical Mark was not part of a faith that would have encouraged the collection and adoration of relics does not seem to bother the Venetians.

Mark, the Alexandrians, and the Body

As far as Mark being the bishop of the Alexandrians, that is simply not true.

The fact that it is at best highly questionable has long been known by the Church of Rome. Notice what the old The Catholic Encyclopedia taught:

A widespread, if somewhat late, tradition represents St. Mark as the founder of the Church of Alexandria. Though strangely enough Clement and Origen make no reference to the saint’s connection with their city…the chronology of the Apostolic age is admittedly uncertain, and that we have no earlier authority than Eusebius for the date of the foundation of the Alexandrian Church, we may perhaps conclude with more probability that it was founded somewhat later…the New Testament is silent in regard to St. Mark, for his activity in Egypt. (MacRory, Joseph. “St. Mark.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 17 Aug. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09672c.htm>)

A “late tradition” means that it was likely made up over a century later. The fact is that the biblical Mark could not have been the first “Bishop of Alexandria,” and probably did not even visit Alexandria. Origen wrote so much that it is almost inconceivable that he would not have pointed to a biblical connection to Alexandria, if one actually existed. The fact that the New Testament does not mention Mark in Egypt (but instead mentions him in many other places) should show that there are major problems with the later tradition. Despite the facts, in late 2012, the then Pope Benedict XVI referred to the Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria as the “See of Saint Mark,” which it could not be (Pope Benedict’s Message to His Holiness Tawadros II. From the Vatican 11/14/12;. Zenit.org, November 19, 2012).

Perhaps it should also be noted that the body that is in Venice now is not even certain to be the body that was taken from Alexandria as the Venetians lost it. Here is an explanation:

In 1063, during the construction of a new basilica in Venice, St. Mark’s relics could not be found. However, according to tradition, in 1094 the saint himself revealed the location of his remains by extending an arm from a pillar. The newfound remains were placed in a sarcophagus in the basilica. Copts believe that the head of St. Mark remains in a church named after him in Alexandria, and parts of his relics are in St. Mark’s Cairo’s Cathedral. (Wikipedia, viewed 06/03/2013)

Thus, the body is at best incomplete. It is not Mark’s body, and even what is there now may have been just thrown together from some bones not even from Alexandria. Mark is dead and in his grave and he did not appear to tell the Venetians where some of his body parts were.

It is not possible, according to the scriptural accounts, for Mark to have been the Bishop of Alexandria when the Alexandrians (and Copts) claim that he was. Those who falsely believe that (and those that falsely believe a lot of other theological lies) would not have that problem if they would truly heed Jesus’ words:

31 “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Allegory and fable is not on the same level as the literal truth of the word of God.

Mark is Not Mentioned as Being in Alexandria or Venice in the Bible

Since Mark is mentioned many times in the New Testament (never with the title of apostle or Bishop), the apparent dates and events in the Bible that mention Mark demonstrate that Mark could not have been the Bishop of Alexandria at that time. The Bible clearly shows that Mark was in, or traveling to, many other places. The area of Venice is not mentioned either, though it is theoretically more possible that Mark could have visited Venice than been Bishop of Alexandria.

As far as Mark and his locations, around 43-44 A.D., Mark is mentioned first in Acts 12:12, when he is praying in Jerusalem. Herod is noted as dying in Acts 12:20-23, which was in 44 A.D. (Radmacher, p. 1813). Sometime after Herod’s death, notice:

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark (Acts 12:25).

Thus, Mark was in Jerusalem and then went with Paul and Barnabas.

In A.D. 46, Mark spent time with Paul and Barnabas in the Antioch Church before he accompanied them as a helper on their first missionary journey.

Mark apparently went with Paul and Barnabas from around 47-49 A.D.

But Paul was not pleased with Mark and did not want him to accompany him on the next trip:

37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus (Acts 15:37-39).

Notice that Paul considered Mark unfaithful, and that Mark then went to the island of Cyprus (not Alexandria). There is no way anyone should have considered the unfaithful Mark to have been a faithful “apostle” at that time, around 50-53 A.D.

Later, Paul apparently changed his mind about Mark.

10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him) (Colossians 4:10).

This occurred around 60 A.D. and Mark is believed to have been with Paul in Rome then. He could have possibly past by the islands near Venice then, but the Bible does not specify.

Around 64-67 A.D., Paul declared that Mark was useful:

11 Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).

It should be noted that the Bible never mentions that Mark was ever in Alexandria, and gives no indication that he was a “bishop” over any area.

Instead, the biblical account clearly contradicts the position of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria that Mark was its bishop from 42-62 A.D. as Mark was in Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Cyprus, and other areas during this time. Plus, according to various historians, he was still alive in 67 A.D.

Also notice what other scholars have noted:

… Alexandria, the second home of Judaism, occupies no place in the development of the Church as depicted for us in the Acts. (Ramsay WM. The Church in the Roman Empire before A.D. 170. (London, 1893.) as cited/discussed in Studies in early church history: collected papers. C.H. Turner,editor, Clarendon Press, 1912, p. 165)

Alexandria and Mark’s connection to it should have been in the Book of Acts if Alexandria was founded and led by him.

Furthermore, even though Eusebius mentions Mark, he noted that there was a problem with those who professed Christ early in Alexandria:

1. And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written, and first established churches in Alexandria.

2. And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism was so great, that Philo thought it worth while to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life. (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book II, Chapter XVI, Verses 1-2, p. 33)

When Nero was in the eighth year of his reign, Annianus succeeded Mark the evangelist in the administration of the parish of Alexandria (Ibid, Chapter 24, p. 42).

It should be noted that Eusebius’ source or conclusion regarding Annianus/Anianos seems to be in error. The eighth year of Nero’s reign would be 61-62 A.D. and the Orthodox does claim that Anianos was a bishop there from 62 A.D.

However, this would seem to be a historical problem if he succeeded Mark upon his death.

Why?

Because according to Peter, Mark was alive when Peter wrote 1 Peter 5:13, which states:

13 She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son…

Furthermore, according to Irenaeus (c. 175 A.D.), Mark was alive after Peter died:

Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter…(Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book III, Chapter 1, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), p. 414.)

While it is not certain that Peter actually preached in Rome, if Irenaeus is correct that Mark functioned as Peter’s interpreter and later wrote after the death of Peter, then it would seem that Mark could not have died before 67 A.D., nor could he have been functioning as the Bishop of Alexandria. Thus, if there was an “Apostle” Mark in Alexandria in the 1st century, he would have been a false apostle and not the Mark who the New Testament discusses.

Probably little of this mattered to the old Venetians. They basically wanted to pretend enough to be Catholic that the Church of Rome could not brand them as heretics or apostates worthy of punishment. Having a body and claiming to have been related to Mark was politically-expedient. And whether or not this was a factor, for a long time the Church of Rome left Venice basically alone.

Pope Francis, however, teaches that Mark was the one that the Alexandrians, and thus by semi-extension Venice, had apostolic succession from (see Pope Francis’ appeal to Pope Tawadros II should concern Catholics and others).

Doctrines That Mark Would Have Held Should Matter

Of course, the gospel writer Mark would have had doctrines that the faithful and real Christians had.

Notice something that Mark was inspired to write:

19…Jesus…27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:19, 27-28)

But neither the Venetians nor the Alexandrians keep the seventh-day Sabbath as Jesus and Mark would have.

Mark was also inspired to write:

11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that

‘Seeing they may see and not perceive,
And hearing they may hear and not understand;
Lest they should turn,
And their sins be forgiven them.'” (Mark 4:11-12)

30 Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? 31 It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32 but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32)

Yet neither the Venetians nor the Alexandrians teach or understand about the mystery of the Kingdom of God nor the real meaning of the Parable of the Mustard Seed.

To a great degree, the Venetians and Alexandrians hold to tradition above scripture in many areas. Jesus noted the same problem in His day, as Mark was inspired to report:

6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. (Mark 7:6-9)

For those who want to learn more about what God inspired Mark to write, we have a series of sermons that cover every verse of Mark’s Gospel:

MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark? Here is a link to six sermons covering all the verses in the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1-2: Author, Prophecy, & Miracles, Mark 3-5: Healing, Demons, and Parables, Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration, Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes, Mark 13: Temple, Four Horsemen, Troubles, Great Tribulation, and Gospel Proclamation, and .

Mark, like the other Gospel writers, reported about Passover:

12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”

13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”‘ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.”

16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.

17 In the evening He came with the twelve. (Mark 14:12-18)

That Passover was on the fourteenth of Nisan as nearly all scholars will admit. But that day was condemned by the Greco-Roman faiths, but Mark would have kept it then. Yet, those associated with the Venetians and Alexandrians do not.

The following also would have been doctrines that Mark would have held to that the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Venice do not hold:

Baptism was by immersion and did not include infants.
A Binitarian view, that acknowledged the Holy Spirit, was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.
Birthdays were not celebrated by early Christians.
Born-Again meant being born at the resurrection, not at the time of conversion.
Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement.
Christmas was not observed by any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings. Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Confession of sins were not made to priests and did not require penance. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Duties of Elders/Pastors were pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental–nor did they dress as many now do.
Easter per se was not observed by the apostolic church.
The Fall Holy Days were observed by true early Christians.
Heaven was not taught to be the reward of Christians. Here is a link to a related sermon: Heaven and Christianity.
Holy Spirit was not referred to as God or as a person by any early true Christians.
Idols were taught against, including adoration of the cross.
Immortality of the soul or humans was not taught. Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
The Kingdom of God was preached. You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Leavened Bread was removed from the homes of early Christians when the Jews did the same. See also the video : Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Lent was not observed by the primitive church.
Limbo was not taught by the original church.
Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians. A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians. A related sermon is titled The Millennium.
Monasticism was unheard of in the early Christian church.
Passover was kept on the 14th of Nisan by apostolic and second century Christians in Asia Minor. There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
Pentecost was kept on Sunday by certain Jews and was observed then by professing Christians. Here is a YouTube sermon titled Pentecost: Feast of Firstfruits.
Purgatory was not taught by the original apostolic church.
Salvation was believed to be offered to the chosen now by the early Church, with others being called later, though not all that taught that (or other doctrines) practiced “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
God’s Six Thousand Year Plan for humankind to rule itself was believed by early professors of Christ. There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up?
Sunday was not observed by the apostolic and original post-apostolic Christians.
Tithes and Offerings were given to support the ministry, the churches, the needy, and evangelical travels and gospel proclamation.
Tradition had some impact on the second century Christians, but was never supposed to supercede the Bible.
The Trinity was not a word used to describe the Godhead by the apostolic or second century Christians, though a certain threeness was acknowledged.
The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats.

The fact that the Alexandrians and Venetians of the Middle Ages did not have the same teachings or practices of the gospel writer Mark probably did not matter to the Venetians of old either.

Sadly, the fact that those associated with the Venetian and Alexandrian patriarchs today do not hold those practices either should give them pause to consider that if Mark was their founder, how can they claim that if they do not do what he would have done or believe as he did?

Why is any of this important to Christians?

There are basically two reasons.

The first is the reality that the so-called ‘apostolic sees’ that the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox claim simply do not hold to the teachings of the original apostles, hence none truly have ‘apostolic succession.’

The fact that their origins are often, directly or indirectly (such as the non-fulfilled “prophecy” about Mark returning to Venice), based on false or implausible information should show all that they do not have “the love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

The second is that we who have that “love of the truth” need to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, KJV) as to why we do not accept the improper Greco-Roman versions of church doctrine or history. The truth of church history needs to be restored and brought to light (cf. Matthew 5:14-16; 17:11).

The time is coming when the Beast power will rise up and, at first, I expect that he and his supporters will give lip service to the idea of the Greco-Roman apostolic sees as partial proof why they, and not groups like the Continuing Church of God have ties to apostolic Christianity. They will be wrong, of course. But we of the faithful flock need to be able to explain why they are wrong and that is part of why I posted this about the claimed ‘see’ of Venice.

Only those who have the same teachings and practices of the apostles can possibly have true apostolic succession.

Some items to assist in your studies may include:

MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark? Here is a link to six sermons covering all the verses in the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1-2: Author, Prophecy, & Miracles, Mark 3-5: Healing, Demons, and Parables, Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration, Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes, Mark 13: Temple, Four Horsemen, Troubles, Great Tribulation, and Gospel Proclamation, and .
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Laying on of Hands This is an elementary principle of Hebrews 6. Have you properly had hands laid upon you? Here is a link to a related sermon: Laying on of Hands and Succession.
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a link to a sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession. Here is a related articlein the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups? A related sermon is also available Christianity: Two groups.
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years. It also discusses the concept of church eras. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

January 1st: The New Year of What God?

Monday, December 31st, 2018


Roman God Janus in Vatican Museum

COGwriter

Does God begin His new year on January 1st? If not, what is the origin of January 1st and New Year’s?

Back in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar declared that January 1st would mark the beginning of the new year. January was named after Janus, the god of gates and doors in Roman mythology. People prayed to Janus when they wanted something new in their lives (such as resolutions). Janus is normally represented with two faces, one looking to the past and the other looking to the future (the two faces also signified change that Janus would supposedly bring in, see Burchett B, Janus in Roman life and cult: a study in Roman religions, p. 15). The first day of the month of January was sacred to him.

It did not come from the Bible.

What About Resolutions?

Notice what the historian Tertullian wrote about winter celebrations, such as Saturnalia, in the late second century:

The Minervalia are as much Minerva’s, as the Saturnalia Saturn’s; Saturn’s, which must necessarily be celebrated even by little slaves at the time of the Saturnalia. New-year’s gifts likewise must be caught at, and the Septimontium kept; and all the presents of Midwinter and the feast of Dear Kinsmanship must be exacted; the schools must be wreathed with flowers; the flamens’ wives and the aediles sacrifice; the school is honoured on the appointed holy-days. The same thing takes place on an idol’s birthday; every pomp of the devil is frequented. Who will think that these things are befitting to a Christian master, unless it be he who shall think them suitable likewise to one who is not a master? (Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter X. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

But, however, the majority (of Christians) have by this time induced the belief in their mind that it is pardonable if at any time they do what the heathen do, for fear “the Name be blasphemed”…To live with heathens is lawful, to die with them is not. Let us live with all; let us be glad with them, out of community of nature, not of superstition. We are peers in soul, not in discipline; fellow-possessors of the world, not of error. But if we have no right of communion in matters of this kind with strangers, how far more wicked to celebrate them among brethren! Who can maintain or defend this?…By us,…the Saturnalia and New-year’s and Midwinter’s festivals and Matronalia are frequented–presents come and go–New-year’s gifts–games join their noise–banquets join their din! Oh better fidelity of the nations to their own sect, which claims no solemnity of the Christians for itself!…Not the Lord’s day, not Pentecost, even it they had known them, would they have shared with us; for they would fear lest they should seem to be Christians. We are not apprehensive lest we seem to be heathens! (Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter XIV. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

But “let your works shine,” saith He; but now all our shops and gates shine! You will now-a-days find more doors of heathens without lamps and laurel-wreaths than of Christians. What does the case seem to be with regard to that species (of ceremony) also? If it is an idol’s honour, without doubt an idol’s honour is idolatry. If it is for a man’s sake, let us again consider that all idolatry is for man’s sake; let us again consider that all idolatry is a worship done to men, since it is generally agreed even among their worshippers that aforetime the gods themselves of the nations were men; and so it makes no difference whether that superstitious homage be rendered to men of a former age or of this. Idolatry is condemned, not on account of the persons which are set up for worship, but on account of those its observances, which pertain to demons (Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter XV. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

What Tertullian seems to be saying is that observing New Year’s celebrations make Christians appear to be followers of pagan gods, and since the pagans would not intentionally celebrate days considered by many to be Christian, Christians should not celebrate days that are honored by the heathen. Specifically, he felt that those who profess Christ should not celebrate New Year’s or other pagan days, as even the observance is a form of idolatry. New Year’s was also observed in honor of the goddess Strenua/Strenia, the goddess of purification and well being. It may partially be because of her that New Year’s resolutions and vows are made.

The Bible teaches:

19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. (1 Corinthians 10:19-20)

New Year’s clearly has demonic origins.

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports:

Christian writers and councils condemned the heathen orgies and excesses connected with the festival of the Saturnalia, which were celebrated at the beginning of the year: Tertullian blames Christians who regarded the customary presents — called strenae (Fr. étrennes) from the goddess Strenia, who presided over New Year’s Day (cf. Ovid, Fasti, 185-90) — as mere tokens of friendly intercourse (De Idol. xiv), and towards the end of the sixth century the Council of Auxerre (can. I) forbade Christians strenas diabolicas observare. The II Council of Tours held in 567 (can. 17) prescribes prayers and a Mass of expiation for New Year’s Day, adding that this is a practice long in use (patres nostri statuerunt). Dances were forbidden, and pagan crimes were to be expiated by Christian fasts (St. Augustine, Serm., cxcvii-viii in P.L., XXXVIII, 1024; Isidore of Seville, De Div. Off. Eccl., I, xli; Trullan Council, 692, can. lxii). (Tierney, John. “New Year’s Day.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 27 Dec. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11019a.htm>)

The expression strenas diabolicas observare roughly translates from Latin to “observing the new time of the Devil.” It is likely that New Year’s resolutions are related to the purification and well being attributes of the pagan goddess. So, while a Roman Catholic council forbade the devil’s new year, many nowadays observe it.

Thus although many would be surprised to learn this, the celebration of New Year’s was originally opposed by claimed “Christian writers” according to the Church of Rome. Hence, it definitely should not be considered to be an original apostolic practice or even early tradition for the Catholics of Rome.

The Feast of Circumcision?

New Year’s day did not become a holy day for the Roman Catholic Church until 487 A.D. when it was declared to be the Feast of the Circumcision (though it may have been also observed in the fourth century, but other sources suggest eighth century or later dates):

Our “New- Year’s Day, “the “Feast of the Circumcision,” was called the octave of Christmas as early as 487, AD, and was instituted by the Church to commemorate the ceremony of the Jewish law which the Saviour submitted. In the time of Numa the old Roman heathens dedicated the day to Janus, the double-faced deity…(Savage J., editor. The Manhattan and de la Salle monthly. New York Catholic Protectory, 1875 Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Jul 13, 2006, p. 2)

The Feast of the Circumcision has been observed in the Roman church since 487 and in the Anglican church since 1549. (Douglas GW, Compton HD. The American book of days: a compendium of information about holidays, festivals, notable anniversaries and Christian and Jewish holy days, with notes on other American anniversaries worthy of remembrance. H. W. Wilson Co., 1957 Original from the University of California Digitized Sep 25, 2008, p. 2)

This gave the Catholic, as well as Anglican, Church an eight-day festival with a ‘holy day’ at the beginning and the end, similar in that respect to the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34-35). It was determined that if Jesus was born on December 25th (even though he could not have been), since he was circumcised eight days later (Luke 2:21), he would have been circumcised on January 1st, hence the rationale for New Year’s being ‘the Feast of the Circumcision.’

It should be added that there is no indication in the Bible that Jesus’ circumcision should be celebrated.

What Happens?

So, how is New Year’s celebrated? Well customs do vary around the world. Various cultures believe that meeting with people, eating certain foods, or consuming certain drinks will help insure good luck for the year.

In the 1700s, notice a poem that was written to and about Janus from The poetical works of Jonathan Swift, Volumes 2-3, By Jonathan Swift, John Mitford, p. 120:

TO JANUS, ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, 1726.’

Two-faced Janus, god of Time!
Be my Phoebus while I rhyme;
To oblige your crony Swift,
Bring our dame a new year’s gift;
She has got but half a face;
Janus, since thou hast a brace,
To my lady once be kind;
Give her half thy face behind.

God of Time, if you be wise,
Look not with your future eyes;
What imports thy forward sight?
Well, if you could lose it quite.
Can you take delight in viewing
This poor Isle’s 2 approaching ruin,
When thy retrospection vast
Sees the glorious ages past?
Happy nation were we blind,
Or had only eyes behind!

So, some consider Janus to be the “God of Time”–but no real Christian would.

It seems, though, that Janus could have been mainly a side issue for the year to start then:

The connection between Janus and the ceremonies of January first may be still further illustrated by these lines from the Carmina Tria de Mensibus:

Hie Iani mensis sacer est: en aspice ut aris tura micent, sumant ut pia liba Lares. Annorum saeclique caput, natalis honorumpurpureos fastis qui numerat proceres.

which may mean, “This is the sacred month of January—sacred because of the ceremonies. January is the beginning of the year, because the purple-clad chiefs date their office from that month.” Although Janus is used here only as a personification of his month, yet some sanctity is reflected to the god himself from the ceremonies of the day. From the lines just quoted, it seems evident that Fastorum genitor parensque* means only, “Janus, i. e. January, is the beginning of the year, a fact to be emphasized by patriotic Romans, because the consuls assumed, or renewed, office on January first.” (Janus in Roman life and cult: a study in Roman religions … By Bessie Rebecca Burchett, p. 15)

In the US and many other Western cultures, vows called New Year’s resolutions are often made. From this authors research, while repentance is a good thing, he believes that this custom of resolutions is similar to the prayers made to Janus regarding desiring something new. According to most available research, most people break their New Year’s resolutions. Hopefully they are not making them before the true God whose word says, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed–Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).

Another activity which occurs in the US and elsewhere on New Year’s is heavy drinking of alcohol. Many who go to New Year’s parties get drunk. Paul warned Christians, “Do not be drunk” (Ephesians 5:18).

Germans Call it Silvester

A reader sent me the following today:

Why on earth do Germans call New Year Silvester?

No your friend isn’t planning to ring in the New Year with someone named Sylvester instead of you. Silvester is the German name for New Year’s Eve – owing to the fourth century Pope Sylvester I. Eventually made a saint by the Catholic Church, his feast day is observed on December 31.

St. Sylvester’s day became associated with New Year’s Eve with the reform of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, when the last day of the year was fixed at December 31. But despite the holiday’s Christian name, many German New Year’s traditions can be traced back to the pagan Rauhnächte practices of heathen Germanic tribes, which took place at the end of December and beginning of January.

Instead of recognizing a single day as the winter solstice, the Germanic tribes observed twelve Rauhnächte – hairy nights, so called due to the furry forms of the deep winter demons – or Rauchnächte – smoky nights, due to the practice of smoking the spirits out of one’s house on January 5. …

As in many other countries, the Germans celebrate Silvester with fireworks, champagne, and boisterous social gatherings. Making noise is key: the ruckus of fireworks, firecrackers, drums, whip-cracking and banging kitchen utensils has been driving away evil winter spirits since the days of the Germanic Teutons. One of the most famous German firework displays takes place at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Private celebrations with Böllern (firecrackers) are also common. …

The Rauhnächte were also a time when the future for the New Year could be divined. Silvester in Germany still calls for oracle traditions, which often take the form of party games. Bleigießen (lead pouring) is the most popular Silvester fortune-telling tradition. Party-goers melt small lead forms with a candle in an old spoon and pour them into cold water. The lead hardens into a shape that supposedly bears a certain meaning for the New Year. An eagle, for example, indicates career success, while a flower foretells that new friendships will develop. …

For those who go out on Silvester, good luck charms and New Year’s greetings are often exchanged. Acquaintances may give good luck charms to each other in the form of ladybugs, four-leaf clovers, horseshoes and pigs. The phrase Guten Rutsch! is another common Silvester greeting. While many Germans now use it to wish someone a good “slide” into the new year, the word Rutsch more likely comes from the Yiddish word Rosch – which means beginning or head. https://www.thelocal.de/20161230/16425

Anyway, this is NOT a Christian holiday.

God’s New Year Begins in the Spring

Is January 1st the beginning of the New Year God declared?

No.

When speaking of the Hebrew month of Abib, which occurs around late March/early April God declared,

“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2).

January 1st is not the beginning of the year for the true God, but only of certain false gods.

Now perhaps it should be mentioned that other cultures also accept that the new year begins in the Spring. And while those cultures have various non-biblical practices, it is certainly possible that because God’s year begins in the Spring that perhaps anciently these people were aware of it, and retained the correct season, but not the practices.

Not all have followed the practices of Julius Caesar (called “Julie” below):

For some thousands of years before Julie and the Roman Senate got involved, the new year was celebrated with the first edible crops of the season or the first new moon.

In much of India, Nava Varsha is celebrated in March or April, just as in the most ancient civilizations.

Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla in March; ditto for Persian Nowruz.

As celebrated in China and southeast Asia, Lunar New Year still has a floating date, the first day of the first lunar month. (Shore R. Pagan Party: New Year’s traditions that hail from the depths of antiquity The Vancouver Sun, Canada – Dec 26, 2008, http://www.vancouversun.com/Pagan+Party+Year+traditions+that+hail+from+depths+antiquity/1116320/story.html viewed 01/22/09)

From a biblical perspective, the new year begins in the Spring, and hence not January 1st. And it also begins with a new moon. The fact that even many non-Christian cultures realize that should make it easier for Christians to realize that they too, do not need to heed the later practices of the Romans.

The Continuing Church of God has the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:


16:54

Why do people celebrate January 1st as New Year’s? Is this a Christian practice? What is the month of January named after? Did the Church of Rome condemn this date as “observing the new time of the Devil”? When does the Bible show that God says the ‘new year’ begins? Do New Year’s resolutions have pre-Christian origins? Does the New Testament condemn practices associated with New Year’s celebrations?

Here is a link to our video: God’s or Satan’s New Year?

Some items of related interest may include:

Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day. A video of related interest is also available: God’s or Satan’s New Year?
Canadian & Philadelphian Mummers Parades: Another tie to Saturnalia In Canada there is a ’12 days of Christmas’ celebration involving Mummers. In Philadelphia, a parade is held on New Years. Does this come from the Bible or where?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days of the Bible mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Is Mardi Gras Christian? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Where did it come from? There is also a related YouTube video Mardi Gras & Carnaval: Are they for Christians?
Should Christians Smoke Tobacco or Marijuana? Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Sermon: CCOG 6 years: Philadelphians understand scriptures others miss

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:

1:24:28

CCOG 6 years: Philadelphians understand scriptures others miss

On December 28, 2012, the Continuing Church of God was declared to begin. What has gone on in these past six years? What are scriptures that Philadelphians seem willing to understand, but that other Christians are not? Does God still use dreams? Is there any role of prophets after the Book of Revelation was written? What are the fruits of a true prophet? Does CCOG have those fruits? What type of reach has the CCOG had? What type of literature has it produced? Is CCOG helping to fulfill Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 13:28-37, and Romans 11:25? Do other churches have serious prophetic and other doctrinal misunderstandings that CCOG does not have? Should Philadelphians support the CCOG?

Here is a link to the sermon: CCOG 6 years: Philadelphians understand scriptures others miss.

Some items of possibly related interest follow:

CCOG’s 6 Years and Scriptures Laodiceans Miss CCOG has the fruits Jesus talked about. But many onlookers have not properly understood various scriptures. CCOG 6 years: Philadelphians understand scriptures others miss.
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
501(c)(3)? Why the Continuing Church of God chose a better option Churches in the USA do NOT have to register as 501(c)(3). Why would they? Why is what CCOG did better? A sermon of related interest is titled: CCOG, a corporation sole, not a 501(c)(3).
Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God Several have speculated reasons, but here is the truth. (En el idioma español: ¿Por qué Bob Thiel dejó la Iglesia del Dios Viviente?)
Why is the Continuing Church of God a corporation sole? What is a ‘corporation sole’ and why is this a better organizational choice?
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.

Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? Here is a link in Spanish: Sueños, la Biblia, la Iglesia de Dios de la Radio, y la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? an CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? Here is a written link to a version of that first sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube sermonette videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

What didn’t Jesus look like?

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018


The earliest surviving paintings claimed to be of Jesus, from a church at the ruined city of Dura-Europos on the Euphrates (dating from first half of the 3rd Century AD)

COGwriter

There are a lot of myths about Jesus, His birth, and His teachings.

What about His appearance?

A while back, the BBC addressed the fact that the commonly seen pictures claiming to be of Jesus are false, but instead are of a Byzantine version of Zeus:

Everyone knows what Jesus looks like. He is the most painted figure in all of Western art, recognised everywhere as having long hair and a beard, a long robe with long sleeves (often white) and a mantle (often blue).

Jesus is so familiar that he can be recognised on pancakes or pieces of toast.

But did he really look like this?

Probably not.

In fact this familiar image of Jesus actually comes from the Byzantine era, from the 4th Century onwards, and Byzantine representations of Jesus were symbolic – they were all about meaning, not historical accuracy.

They were based on the image of an enthroned emperor, as we see in the altar mosaic of the Santa Pudenziana church in Rome. …

Jesus is dressed in a gold toga. He is the heavenly ruler of all the world, familiar from the famous statue of long-haired and bearded Olympian Zeus on a throne . . . Byzantine artists, looking to show Christ’s heavenly rule as cosmic King, invented him as a younger version of Zeus. What has happened over time is that this visualisation of heavenly Christ – today sometimes remade along hippie lines – has become our standard model of the early Jesus. December 24, 2015 http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35120965

From the above, we can also conclude that when we have reports of people who claim to have seen Jesus in various ways, those who claimed He had long hair, etc., clearly were not seeing Jesus.

The same can be said of the Shroud of Turin–that could not possibly be Jesus (the male in that is too tall).

It is a version of the pagan deity Zeus that many people are bowing down before or otherwise venerating (perhaps it should also be added here that many of the portrayals of Jesus’ mother Mary, came from worship of goddesses, like Diana, who the Greeks called Artemis).

While the BBC article used the expression “probably not” related to whether Jesus had long hair, the biblical answer is DEFINITELY NOT.

Notice what the Bible says:

14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? (1 Corinthians 11:14)

Jesus did not have long hair. If He did, the Apostle Paul would not have written the above. For additional proof, consider the following:

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Paul would not be imitating Christ by denouncing His hair length. Consider also that God inspired the Apostle John to write:

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6)

If Jesus had long hair, God would have not inspired John to say to walk as Jesus walked, while also inspiring Paul to write that it is a shame for a man to have long hair.

Now let’s see some more from the BBC article:

When early Christians were not showing Christ as heavenly ruler, they showed Jesus as an actual man like any other: beardless and short-haired. … in the 1st Century Graeco-Roman world, being clean-shaven and short-haired was considered absolutely essential. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35120965

No early Christian ever showed Jesus as a long haired person. Having short hair was normal. The earliest found depictions of Jesus (from the 3rd century as shown at the beginning of this post) do NOT show Jesus to have had long hair. While no one knew, even then, what Jesus actually looked like, it took another century (and likely the influence of the idolatrous Emperor Constantine) before the longed-hair portrayals began to appear en mass.

Furthermore, if Jesus had distinctively long hair, He would have been highly recognizable. But the Bible shows that He was not. Once, while He was speaking to the Jews during the day, they wanted to stone Him, but He escaped right after talking to them (John 10:31-39), which indicates He was not excessively tall (like the Shroud of Turin suggests) or had distinguishing features like long hair.

Furthermore, the Jewish leaders felt the need to pay Judas (Mark 14:10) to point out Jesus with a kiss so they could arrest Him (Mark 14:43-46), which they would not have needed to do if He was distinguished with features like long hair.

Getting back to the BBC article, notice why else Jesus would not have had long hair:

If he had had even slightly long hair, we would expect some reaction. Jewish men who had unkempt beards and were slightly long-haired were immediately identifiable as men who had taken a Nazirite vow. This meant they would dedicate themselves to God for a period of time, not drink wine or cut their hair – and at the end of this period they would shave their heads in a special ceremony in the temple in Jerusalem (as described in Acts chapter 21, verse 24).

But Jesus did not keep a Nazirite vow, because he is often found drinking wine – his critics accuse him of drinking far, far too much of it (Matthew chapter 11, verse 19). If he had had long hair, and looked like a Nazirite, we would expect some comment on the discrepancy between how he appeared and what he was doing – the problem would be that he was drinking wine at all. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35120965

And that is correct. Notice that the Bible shows Jesus did drink wine, but that the Nazirites could not:

19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children. (Matthew 11:19)

1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, 3 he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. 4 All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin. (Numbers 6:1-4)

While some claim that Jesus never made nor drank wine, but only grape juice, consuming anything from grapes was prohibited for Nazirites. Since Jesus did not sin, He certainly was not under a Nazirite vow walking around with long hair while at the same time drinking anything produced from grapes .

Sadly, many prefer to accept the Byzantine portrayal of Jesus as Zeus.

Zeus was the head of the pagan deities that Romans and Greeks (though the Greeks called ‘Jupiter’ Zeus) worshiped. Christians certainly were not to continue in pagan worship practices by renaming Zeus as Jesus. Nor were they to rename other pagan deities as something else nor incorporate pagan holidays into their form of worship:

20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:20-21)

You are not honoring Jesus by venerating long haired portrayals of Him that came from paganism.

Nor is Jesus being honored by those who observe the date of a pagan god’s birthday as a Christian holiday–watch Fake News, Jesus, and His Birth (see also What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the Messiah, Prophecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and death, Jesus’ prophesied divinity, 200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He made, Why Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?, Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but … These videos cover nearly all of the book, plus have some information not in the book.
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus: Married with Children?
Was Jesus the Christ married? Did He have two children as some claim the so-called “Lost Gospel” teaches? Was He married to Mary Magdalene as the “Da Vinci Code” and others have stated? How many gospels are there? Are the supposed ‘historical records’ that Jesus was married, simply false? When were the gnostic gospel accounts written? Did Polycarp of Smyrna list any of the extra or so-called “lost gospels” in his letter? Does the Bible clearly contract the assertions of the book “The Lost Gospel”? This is a video.
Clear Proof that the Shroud of Turin is Fake: Debunking the ‘reasons’ that the Shroud of Turin is real There is NO proof that the Shroud of Turin has Jesus’ image and those who are willing to believe the Bible can prove it is fake. Here is a link to a related video: Could the Shroud of Turin Be Real? 12 Reasons to Consider.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did Catholic and Orthodox “saints” endorse or condemn idols and icons for Christians?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermons Why Teach the Kingdom of God? and The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Deutsche Welle on events that did and did not take place on December 25th

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

COGwriter

The German publication Deutsche Welle (DW) ran the following

  • Sol invictus relief from the National Museum in Rome (imago/Leemage)

    Sol Invictus – the Invincible Sun

    There is virtually no evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was born on December 25th. The date was likely picked for convenience, as it was already celebrated by other major religions as the supposed day of winter solstice. One of these religions was the Roman Sol Invictus cult, officially set up by Roman Emperor Aurelian on December 25th 274 AD. The god is shown on the left of this ancient relief.

  • A portrait of Charlemagne based on a painting by Albrecht Dürer (DW/P.Böll)

    Charlemagne is crowned

    The mighty Frankish King Charlemagne united much of Europe under his banner even before being crowned emperor in 800 AD. On Christmas that year, Pope Leo III named him “emperor of the Romans,” marking the legendary leader as a successor to ancient Roman caesars. Charlemagne’s rule ushered in an age of prosperity and Christian expansion. http://www.dw.com/en/what-other-historical-events-happened-on-christmas/g-41923369

Yes, the birthday of Sol Invictus, as well as the sun god Mithras, was celebrated on December 25th (some say they were two different gods, though Emperor Constantine seemed to treat them as the same one).

No, Jesus was not born on December 25th–that is fake news. Here is a link to our most recent sermon on that: James’ Ossuary, Fake News, and Jesus’ Birth.

Notice also that the The Catholic Encyclopedia freely admits that Christmas on December 25 was not celebrated by the early church and that it was Mithra whose birthday was observed anciently on December 25th:

Mithraism A pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-god Mithra…Sunday was kept holy in honour of Mithra, and the sixteenth of each month was sacred to him as mediator. The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigours of the season (Arendzen. J.P. Transcribed by John Looby. Mithraism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church (Martindale C. Transcribed by Susanti A. Suastika. Christmas. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

(For more information on this, please see the article What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?)

As far as Charlemagne goes, he is considered the standard, in a sense, for a true European. Sadly, that is NOT fake news. And consider that DW reported, “Charlemagne’s rule ushered in an age of prosperity and Christian expansion.”

There is a “Charlemagne Prize” awarded annually in Europe for the one that does the most to encourage European unity. Pope Francis received it once (Pope Francis given ‘Charlemagne Prize;’ EU leaders worried about EU’s future) and France’s President Macron is to receive it next year (see France’s President Macron to receive the Charlemagne Prize: Any relationship between Charlemagne and the Beast of Revelation?).

Notice some of what the old Worldwide Church of God reported about Charlemagne:

New King Pepin dies in 768. His sons Charles (Karl) and Carloman jointly succeed to the Frankish throne.

In 771, Carloman dies suddenly, and Charles becomes sole king of the Franks.

Though only 29 years old, Charles is an imposing figure. He literally exudes power and authority!

Charles is 7 feet tall — well over a foot above average height — and robust. He is stately and dignified in bearing, but is known for his warm-heartedness and charity. He speaks a type of Old High German.

But most important, he is a zealous and dedicated Catholic Christian!

Now in undisputed possession of the Frankish throne, Charles directs his efforts against the enemies of his kingdom. His great goal is to reestablish the political unity that had existed in Europe before the invasions of the fifth century.

He first launches a campaign against the fierce Saxons, who are threatening his frontiers. The Saxons are the last great pagan German nation. During the next three decades, Charles will wage 18 campaigns in his costly and bitter struggle against the stubborn Saxons. In 804 they will finally be Christianized at the point of the sword and incorporated into his empire.

Charles also undertakes campaigns against the Bavarians, Avars, Slavs, Bretons, Arabs and numerous other peoples. During his long career, he will conduct 53 expeditions and war against 12 different nations! And in the process he will unite by conquest nearly all the lands of Western Europe into one political unit. (Stump K. THE HISTORY OF EUROPE & THE CHURCH Part Four CHARLEMAGNE AND THE NEW EUROPE. Plain Truth, October 1983)

Charlemagne brought unity and prosperity through trade, war, and the threat of war–that is similar to what the Beast of Revelation will do as well! Charlemagne was at least partially Germanic as will be that Beast (cf. Isaiah 10:5-14; see also Germany in Biblical and Catholic Prophecy). Despite the fact that early Christians were not militaristic (for details, see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?), Charlemagne and Constantine were.

Europe wants to be a united power. The murderous Charlemagne is one of its major heroes.

The Bible says a European dictatorial leader will rise up with promises of peace:

25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:25, KJV).

23 And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. 24 He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time. (Daniel 11:23-24, NKJV)

The Bible teaches that leader will actually be militaristic, despite the promises of peace (Revelation 13:1-4; Daniel 11:39-43).

Europe is now working on its own independent military (see PESCO: The making of a European Defence Union and PESCO moving forward with technology).

Much in the past year in Europe, partially as a reaction to Brexit and Donald Trump, is pushing Europe towards a type of ‘Charlemagnian unity’ that will not be good.

That is real news. And it is NOT getting much coverage by the mainstream press.

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
European Technology and the Beast of Revelation Will the coming European Beast power would use and develop technology that will result in the taking over of the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies? Is this possible? What does the Bible teach? Here is a related YouTube video: Military Technology and the Beast of Revelation.
The Large Hadron Collider has Military Potential Some say this European project is only peaceful. So why is it working on capturing antimatter? Here is a link to a related video: Could the Large Hadron Collider lead to destruction?
Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? Some claim that these passages refer to a gathering of 10 currently existing nations together, while one group teaches that this is referring to 11 nations getting together. Is that what Revelation 17:12-13 refers to? The ramifications of misunderstanding this are enormous. A related sermon is titled Ten Kings of Revelation and the Great Tribulation.
Might German Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg become the King of the North? Is the former German Defense Minister (who is also the former German Minister for Economics and Technology) one to watch? What do Catholic, Byzantine, and biblical prophecies suggest? A video of related interest would be: Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Europe’s Future.
Germany’s Assyrian Roots Throughout History Are the Germanic peoples descended from Asshur of the Bible? Have there been real Christians in Germanic history? What about the “Holy Roman Empire”? There is also a You-Tube video sermon on this titled Germany’s Biblical Origins.
Germany in Biblical Prophecy Does Assyria in the Bible equate to an end time power inhabiting the area of the old Roman Empire? What does prophecy say Germany will do and what does it say will happen to most of the German people? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: Alemania en la profecía bíblic. Here are links to two English language sermon videos Germany in Bible Prophecy and The Rise of the Germanic Beast Power of Prophecy.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be: Are Chinese threats against Australia for real?
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?
Post Brexit Prophecy On June 23, 2016, the voters of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) chose to leave the European Union. Now with this BRitish EXIT (Brexit) vote, what is prophesied to happen to the UK? Will the UK do well or be taken over and made slaves? Dr. Thiel explains from biblical prophecies what is ahead for the UK, Europe, and even the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Donald Trump in Prophecy Prophecy, Donald Trump? Are there prophecies that Donald Trump may fulfill? Are there any prophecies that he has already helped fulfill? Could a Donald Trump presidency be apocalyptic? A related video is titled: Donald: ‘Trump of God’ or Apocalyptic?
Trump Presidency Magic 8 Ball or Bible Prophecy? BBC reported that one might as well use a ‘Magic Eight-Ball’ to try to predict what will happen in the remaining time of Donald Trump’s presidency. What is a ‘Magic Eight-Ball’? Dr. Thiel not only explains that, but also briefly goes over 10 biblically-based warnings he wrote would happen if Donald Trump were elected that have already began to come to pass. He also goes over something he wrote back in 2008 that the Trump presidency is also helping lead to fulfillment. Should you trust Bible prophecy or not? Dr. Thiel says that Bible prophecy can be trusted, despite the view of skeptics and others that either overlook or despise the Bible. This is a video.
Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse This 188 page book is for people truly interested in prophecies related to Donald Trump and the United States, including learning about several that have already been fulfilled and those that will be fulfilled in the future. The physical book can be purchased at Amazon for $12.99 from the following link: Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse.
Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse-Kindle Edition This electronic version of the 188 page print edition is available for only US$3.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse-Kindle Edition.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they? A related sermon is titled Tradition and Scripture.
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th.
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

22 Facts, Plus Additional Scriptures, to Consider About Christmas

Monday, December 24th, 2018

COGwriter

Many who claim Christianity celebrate December 25th as the date of Jesus’ birth.

Yet, many do not understand the biblical or historical truth about it.

Here is a list of 22 items people who keep Christmas seem not to fully consider:

  1. In Leviticus 23, God lists His festivals–with specific dates.
  2. In Jeremiah 10, God says not to follow pagan practices, such as using a decorated tree, in the worship of Him.
  3. Nowhere in the Bible is the date of Jesus’ birth mentioned.
  4. Scripture opposes the view that Jesus could have been born in late December because the “census would have been impossible in winter” (The Catholic Encyclopedia) and because shepherds were not spending the night outside with their flocks then.
  5. Nowhere in the Bible is anyone instructed to observe the date of Jesus’ birth.
  6. The Bible does not show that Jesus’ disciples ever observed the date of Jesus’ birth.
  7. The Apostle Paul wrote that Christians were not to use demonic pagan practices (1 Corinthians 10:20).
  8. Christmas was NOT part of the ‘faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3).
  9. Early church writings do not show that any Christian observed the date of Jesus’ birth.
  10. The sun god Mithras was allegedly born on December 25th as the season was celebrated as the rebirth of the sun.
  11. Pagans celebrated the sun-god Mithras and the god of agriculture Saturn in late December each year with lights, wreaths, parties, and gift-giving.
  12. Tertullian wrote that people in what we would now call the Eastern and Roman Catholic churches, used wreaths and lights, gave gifts, etc. in late December to be like the heathen. Pagan worship really is the “reason for the season.”
  13. Tertullian condemned those practices as demonic and idolatrous and further wrote that those who professed Christ should not honor pagan gods in their worship.
  14. The pagan Emperor Constantine worshiped the sun-god Mithras and celebrated Jesus’ birth on December 25th starting in 336 A.D.
  15. Roman pontiffs followed Emperor Constantine’s lead and in 354 A.D., Bishop Liberius of Rome ordered the people to celebrate on December 25.
  16. Constantinople Bishop John Chrysostom got it adopted in his area by 395 A.D.
  17. The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ, first found in 1038, and Cristes-messe, in 1131.
  18. The “twelve days of Christmas” originally came from the 12 days of Yuletide which began at sunset on December 20, known as Mother Night, and ended on the night of December 31, the Night of the Oak King and the Roman day of Hecate.
  19. Mistletoe came from the pagan Druids.
  20. Yule logs were originally a scandal to the Church of Rome, but later embraced.
  21. Roman Catholics originally condemned Protestantism as the “Tannenbaum religion” because of what are called Christmas trees.
  22. Christmas is NOT a biblical nor Christ-centered holiday. It is a sentimental and commercialized pagan tradition.

Christmas is a distraction from the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. It is not a Christ-centered holiday as its proponents sometimes claim.

Christmas has the wrong emphasis and is not based on truth.

Jesus taught:

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ (Mark 7:7)

Of course, it is vain and bearing false witness to deceive children about Santa Claus.

There is a right way and a wrong way to live and worship God–do not base this on your emotional feelings about what is right:

8 You shall not at all do as we are doing here today–every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes– … 25 do what is right in the sight of the Lord. … 32 Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. (Deuteronomy 12:8,25,32)

God did not command keeping Christmas: pagans came up with it.

Consider also what the Apostle Paul wrote:

21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?  (1 Corinthians 10:21-22)

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.  (Ephesians 4:17-24)

Christians are to put off pagan ways, and live according to the truth, not longing for improper traditions.

Wiccan’s (witches) still keep Yule and teach the altar on Yule should face north and that the area is decorated with Holly and Mistletoe. They think that is good.

The foundation of Christmas is demonic paganism and lies.

Consider something else that Jesus had recorded:

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14-15)

Which are you?

One who keeps God’s commandments or one who prefers to practice the idolatrous lie of Christmas?

Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Did early faithful Christians celebrate Christmas? Christians, according to Jude, are supposed to “contend earnestly for” (NKJV) or “fight for” (NJB) the original faith. Did early Christians celebrate Christmas? Were later professors of Christ condemned for idolatrous practices such as wreaths and pagan gift giving on an idol’s birthday in December? When did December 25th get adopted? According to ‘The Catholic Encyclopedia, why was December 25th adopted? Do the Gospels allow for Jesus to have been born in late December? Where did the ‘twelve days of Christmas, come from ? What about ‘Christmas carols’? Did early Christians observe any holy days? If so, what were they? Does the Bible encourage or condemn using practices others used to worship the true God? Is Jesus the reason for the season or was there another reason? This is a video sermon.
Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did Catholic and Orthodox “saints” endorse or condemn idols and icons for Christians? A related sermon is available: The Second Commandment, Idols, and Icons.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did the early Church use icons? What was the position of Christians about such things? A related sermon is available: The Second Commandment, Idols, and Icons.
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? Two related YouTube videos would be Beware of the ‘Ecumenical Cross’ and Origin of the Cross.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A related sermon is available: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Hanukkah: Jewish Christmas and Hidden Key to Prophecy? Originally a Jewish national holiday, has Hanukkah morphed into a Jewish Christmas? Does it hold hidden secrets to prophecy? Here is a related video: Hanukkah, Tradition, and Prophecy.
Canadian & Philadelphian Mummers Parades: Another tie to Saturnalia In Canada there is a ’12 days of Christmas’ celebration involving Mummers. In Philadelphia, a parade is held on New Years. Does this come from the Bible or where?
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12g25eågTf/`NHˆ«‹¸YWúwcv„OáNð€‘Ç~³v„.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th. French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they? A related sermon is titled Tradition and Scripture.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?