Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

How to Keep God’s Feasts

Friday, September 22nd, 2017


COGwriter

Fall Holy Days are upon us (the first one was yesterday and the next one begins sunset September 29th).

Do you know how to keep them?

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


1:22:26

Have you heard of God’s festivals and holy days? Did you know that they are referred to in the Book of Genesis? Do you know where all of God’s feasts are listed in the Bible? Do you know how to keep each one? What should you do if you are not physically able to go to meet with brethren on those days? How should you keep them? What does the Bible say? This sermon discusses Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, the Night to be Much Observed, the Wave Sheaf, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day. How one should finance attendance at the Feast is also discussed.

A written article of related interest is also available: How to Keep God’s Festivals.

Here is a link to the sermon: How to Keep God’s Feasts.

Here is a link to: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2017.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

How to Keep God’s Festivals Many have heard of God’s Holy Days and wonder how they are kept in the 21st century. This is an overview article. A related sermon is also available titled: How to Keep God’s Feasts.
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.
How often should we partake of THE LORD’S SUPPER? Herbert Armstrong answers that question.
Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread How should Christians keep Passover, especially if they are by themselves. Why does the Church of God not require lambs for Passover? How does one keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? For a step-by-step video for Christians to keep it, check out CCOG Passover Service. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: Guardando la Pascua y los Días de los Panes sin Levadura.
Preparing for Passover The Apostle Paul taught that Christians should examine themselves prior to taking Passover. This YouTube video sermon gives suggestions on how to prepare.
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.
The Night to Be Observed What is the night to be much observed? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date? A related video is available and is titled The Night to Be Much Observed.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here is a YouTube video intended to be viewed for the first day of unleavened bread: Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many “Christians” somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means? It is also called the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks, and the day of firstfruits. What about “speaking in tongues” and led by the Holy Spirit? (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Pentecostés: ¿Es más que Hechos 2? plus one by Herbert Armstrong HWA sobre Pentecostés). Here is a YouTube sermon titled Pentecost: Feast of Firstfruits.
Pentecost is Part of God’s Plan. This combines a couple of articles from the 1980s, plus additional scriptures and modern comments about Pentecost. Here is a related sermon: Pentecost Plan.
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 Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach? Related sermon videos include: The Last Trumpet and the Book of Life and The Trumpet Release. The article has links to hear shofar blasts.
Feast of Trumpets: Why Should You Keep It? What does the Bible say? What does this festival picture? A related sermon is available: Seven Trumpets: Jesus Returns.
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación –Su significado cristiano.
The Atonement Plan How does the Day of Atonement tie into God’s plan of salvation?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
The Last Great Day: Shemini ‘Azeret What is the ‘eighth day’ of the Feast? What does it help picture? A sermon on this topic is also available: Shemini Azaret: The Last Great Day.
Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims? Should Christians sojourn? What does the Bible and Feast of Tabernacles teach? A related video sermon is titled Christian Pilgrims.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law The Bible teaches that every seven years that the law should be read at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what I did at the first Feast site were I gave an actual sermon (as opposed to a sermonette) in 2006.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2017 This is information on the Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God in 2017. The Feast in 2017 Services will begin the evening of October 4th.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
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。.
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.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. 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 The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
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.
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.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
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.

Seventh Month Movement?

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Blowing of a Shofar

COGwriter

Sunset Wednesday, September 20, 2017, will begin the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar known biblically as Ethanim (1 Kings 8:2) but more commonly known as Tishri.

Tom Roberts, who at the time he produced, this was part of a group called CG7 Meridian (not to be confused with the vastly larger CG7-Denver), wrote the following:

In 1858, Gilbert Cramer from the Marion Party, founded eight churches which would ultimately become the Church of God Seventh Day. Out of this ministry arose the Remnant of Israel under the leadership of G. G. Rupert who definitely advocated the meaning of Holy Day observance. (“Remnant of Israel”, G. G. Rupert, Vol 10, No. 11, September, 1929) Some today are suggesting that G. G. Rupert was a delegate at the 1888 Seventh Day Adventist Conference which began the change of direction of the SDA Church from its founders with the departure of Wagner and Jones.This conference was very significant because its theme was “Righteousness by Faith” and was needed to free Sabbatarians from legalism.Unfortunately, as the years passed, many of the founding voices of Adventism who once gave support to the Seventh Month Movement were no longer influential.Ellen White even stated that the Adventist camp meetings should replicate the Feast of Tabernacles…

As the years progressed, Adventist scholars such N. L. Andreason, Raymond Cottrell, Ken Richards, Desmond Ford, and many others began to question the classical Adventist positions taught about the history of their beginnings and the direction the church was taking. There were those who wanted to go back to the non-trinitarian, Holy Day, Kingdom of God on earth positions of the church. Others such as Desmond Ford, wanted the church to move in an evangelical direction while some at La Sierra University have tried to place the church on a more progressive path. Once again, the church is beginning to denounce all feast day keepers. Angel Rodriguez, PhD, and others have denounced the entire feast day movement. In spite of this, the ethos of feast day movements are still are behind the thinking of much of Seventh Day Adventist theology. One such example is Leslie Hardinge’s In the Shadow of His Sacrifice. He does an absolutely brilliant job of teaching Christianity the meaning of the Holy Days and the lessons that should impact their thinking about the Messiah.

Today there is a growing but small number of small groups of Adventist Holy Day Keepers who are attempting to resurrect the Seventh Month Movement in the Adventist Church. Dr. John Vandenberg is leading the charge along with a few other scholars and pastors by showing the Seventh Month Movement should never have been buried in Adventist history but instead modified to exclude its theological errors. It should have retained the spirit of Holy Day keeping in the worship and the life of the church.

Let us all pray and support this movement and fellowship with them as offer our love and service.

Gilbert Cranmer helped form a group that was called Church of God, Adventist. Eventually, various changes occurred to that group and it became, in the 20th century, the Church of God, Seventh-day (CG7).

The reasons for the term “Seventh Month Movement” include the fact that the seventh month in the Hebrew calendar contains what are commonly referred to as the ‘Fall Holy Days.’ The first day of the seventh month (Tishri) is the Feast of Trumpets, and then all the rest of the Fall Holy Days occur in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Hence “Seventh Month Movement” connotes observance (to some degree) of the biblical Fall Holy Days.

Most Sabbath-keeping Church of God groups observe and endorse the biblical Fall Holy Days of the seventh month (the Church of God, Seventh-day Denver does not, but it now does allow its members to do so).

There are also some within the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) movement that endorse the holy days, but they are a minority.

Yet, the late SDA scholar Samuele Bacchiochi not only endorsed the biblical holy days late in his life, he also wrote books about them (which I purchased and read) explaining why he felt that they had biblical and historical support for their observances. He even cited some statements from Ellen White hinting that she supported their observance.

Every now and then, I hear from some associated with the SDA movement who recognize that doctrinal compromise has occurred within it and that they lean more towards Church of God doctrines in certain areas.

CG7 itself allows its members to observe the biblical holy days if they do not insist that others need to. Interestingly, A.N. Dugger, who was president of CG7 in the early part of the 20th century ended up keeping the holy days himself after he left that organization.

Those of us in the Continuing Church of God do observe the biblical holy days.

For more information on them, check out the free online booklet Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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 Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
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.
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach? Related sermon videos include: The Last Trumpet and the Book of Life and The Trumpet Release. The article has links to hear shofar blasts.
Offertory for the Feast of Trumpets Should Christians give an offering on the Feast of Trumpets? What does the Bible teach? Should Christians do this? What are the offerings used for? Is giving an offering an act of faith? What is the open door that end time Philadelphian Christians should support? What is some of what the Continuing Church of God doing related to that? How can you give an offering from far away? Mailing, PayPal and other methods are available. Those interested in giving an offering can visit the CCOG ‘Donations’ page, URL http://www.ccog.org/donations/
Feast of Trumpets: Why Should You Keep It? What does the Bible say? What does this festival picture? A related sermon is available: Seven Trumpets: Jesus Returns.
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación –Su significado cristiano.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2016 This is information on the planned Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God in 2016. The Feast in 2016 begins the evening of October 16th.
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。.
SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The genuine Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White. Did Ellen White make prophetic errors? Did Ellen White make false prophecies? Here is a version in the Spanish language: SDA/COG Diferencias: La bestia de dos cuernos de Apocalipsis y 666. Here is a sermon in the English language: CCOG and SDA differences and similarities.
Church of God, (Seventh Day): History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace part of their history through some affiliation with this group. Whaid Rose is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. 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: 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?

John Chrysostom hated Jews and God’s Holy Days

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

John Chrysostom on Ceiling in Constantinople

John Chrysostom (Istanbul, Turkey. May 2008)

COGwriter

Today is the day that the Church of Rome and the Church of England honor one of their ‘saints,’ who is also a ‘doctor’ of the Roman and Eastern Orthodox churches, named John Chrysostom.

The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches the following about him:

St. John Chrysostom

John — whose surname “Chrysostom” occurs for the first time in the “Constitution” of Pope Vigilius (cf. P.L., LX, 217) in the year 553 — is generally considered the most prominent doctor of the Greek Church and the greatest preacher ever heard in a Christian pulpit. (Baur, Chrysostom. “St. John Chrysostom.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 11 Aug. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08452b.htm>)

Here is some information from another Catholic source:

Saint John Chrysostom

Also known as

  • Greatest of the Greek Fathers
  • Golden-Mouth
  • Giovanni Crisostomo

Memorial

  • 13 September

Profile

John’s father died when he was young, and he was raised by a very pious mother. Well educated; studied rhetoric under Libanius, one of the most famous orators of his day. Monk. Preacher and priest for a dozen years in Syria. While there he developed a stomach ailment that troubled him the rest of his life.

It was for his sermons that John earned the title Chrysostom = golden mouthed. They were always on point, they explained the Scriptures with clarity, and they sometimes went on for hours. Made a reluctant bishop of Constantinople in 398, a move that involved him in imperial politics…Archbishop and Patriarch of Constantinople. Revised the Greek Liturgy. Because John’s sermons advocated a change in their lives, some nobles and bishops worked to remove him from his diocese; he was twice exiled from his diocese. Banished to Pythius, he died on the road.

Greek Father of the Church. Proclaimed Doctor of the Church in 451. (http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-john-chrysostom/ viewed 08/11/13)

He is considered to be so important that he is one of the four ‘doctors of the church’ who is shown supporting what is called the Cathedra Petri (Chair of Peter) in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. This is a structure that I have pointed out has been called Satan’s Throne (see Another view of ‘Satan’s Throne’?).

While many thought John, the Bishop of Constantinople, was a captivating speaker (“Chrysostom” is intended to convey the idea he had a ‘golden throat’), the truth is that he did not understand the Bible nor properly explain it.

Over 1600 years ago, God’s Holy Days were condemned by this racist. John Chrysostom, who is now considered to be a Catholic and Orthodox saint. Several years ago, the Protestant Christianity Today named John Chrysostom the person of the week and the then Pope Benedict XVI praised him (see Christianity Todays’ “Person of the Week”).

Here is what their John Chrysostom publicly preached in 387 A.D.:

The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews are soon to march upon us one after the other and in quick succession: the feast of Trumpets, the feast of Tabernacles, the fasts. There are many in our ranks who say they think as we do. Yet some of these are going to watch the festivals and others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts. I wish to drive this perverse custom from the Church right now…If the Jewish ceremonies are venerable and great, ours are lies…Does God hate their festivals and do you share in them? He did not say this or that festival, but all of them together. (John Chrysostom. Homily I Against the Jews I:5;VI:5;VII:2. Preached at Antioch, Syria in the Fall of 387 AD. Medieval Sourcebook: Saint John Chrysostom (c.347-407) : Eight Homilies Against the Jews. Fordham University. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/chrysostom-jews6.html 12/10/05).

The wicked and unclean fast of the Jews is now at our doors. Thought it is a fast, do not wonder that I have called it unclean…But now that the devil summons your wives to the feast of the Trumpets and they turn a ready ear to this call, you do not restrain them. You let them entangle themselves in accusations of ungodliness, you let them be dragged off into licentious ways. (John Chrysostom. Homily II Against the Jews I:1; III:4. Preached at Antioch, Syria on Sunday, September 5, 387 A.D.).

So also the Law fixed the feast of Tabernacles (John Chrysostom. Homily IV Against the Jews IV:3. Catholic Christians of Antioch Turning to Sabbath and The New Moon Day and Other Holy Days. 387 A.D.).

John Chrysostom preached against the Fall holy days, because some who professed Christ were observing them. Specifically he mentioned the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement (Fasts above), and the Feast of Tabernacles. It is interesting to note that John Chrysostom must have realized that the second century church kept Passover the same time as the Jews did (this was even true in the early second century in Rome). And that the Catholic Church still kept Pentecost. Thus by preaching what he did, John Chrysostom is preaching against his own church as the Roman and Orthodox Catholics claim to keep both Passover (though on a different date, and with a different name) and Pentecost–as both of those festivals would be part of “all of them together.”

It should be noted that apparently the basic reason that John Chrysostom preached against the holy days was due to antisemitism. He demonstrates this in his Homily Against the Jews (of which there are at least eight antisemitic homilies) as he calls the Jews by a variety of names. Here are a few of his statements:

But do not be surprised that I called the Jews pitiable. They really are pitiable and miserable (I:II:1).

So the godlessness of the Jews and the pagans is on a par. But the Jews practice a deceit which is more dangerous (I:VI:4).

Do you see that demons dwell in their souls and that these demons are more dangerous than the ones of old? (I:VI:7).

Since it is against the Jews that I wish to draw up my battle line, let me extend my instruction further. Let me show that, by fasting now, the Jews dishonor the law and trample underfoot God’s commands because they are always doing everything contrary to his decrees. When God wished them to fast, they got fat and flabby (VI:IV:2).

Indeed, the fasting of the Jews, which is more disgraceful than any drunkenness, is over and gone (VIII:I:5).

But the facts are that the Holy Days were kept by Jesus, the New Testament Church, and those faithful to their teachings. And the other fact is that no where in the Bible do we see hatred against the Jews. Jesus taught we were to love our neighbor (and most of the “neighbors” He was then talking to were Jewish).

Furthermore, the New Testament calls one of the so-called “Jewish” holy days “great.” Notice the following from both a Protestant and a Catholic translation:

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out (John 7:37, NKJV)

And in the last, the great day of the festivity JESUS stood, and cried (John 7:37, Rheims New Testament).

So who is right?

Those who follow Jesus’ practices or those who condemn them?

Recall that John Chrysostum, in this case, somewhat correctly stated,

If the Jewish ceremonies are venerable and great, ours are lies.

So which days should be observed? Which have a “great day” according to the Bible? Which days are lies?

For more documented details, check out the free online booklet Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

John Chrysostom supported days with pagan ties such as Christmas and Easter.

John Chrysostom was not faithful to the scriptures and no one should follow his false traditions above the word of God.

The first of the Fall Holy Days that John Chrysostom condemned, but that the Bible and true Christians endorsed called the Feast of Trumpets, runs from sunset September 20th through sunset September 21st in 2017.

A sermon made for the Feast of Trumpets this year is titled: The Trumpet Warnings.

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite This late fourth/early fifth century Bishop of Constantinople is considered to be a ‘saint’ and ‘doctor’ by the Church of Rome, Church of England, and the Eastern Orthodox, but he did not teach Christ’s love.
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?
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 Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
How to Keep God’s Festivals Many have heard of God’s Holy Days and wonder how they are kept in the 21st century. This is an overview article. A related sermon is also available titled: How to Keep God’s Feasts.
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。.
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?

WND makes some points about the Kingdom of God

Monday, September 11th, 2017

GOTKOG Book Cover 2016 BOTH FINAL

COGwriter

Joseph Farah, the editor of World New Daily (WND), wrote the following:

Mankind was created to live on Earth. It was the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden that led to the fallen world in which we live today. And the good news of the Bible has always been the full restoration of the Earth in a Garden of Eden-like shared by new generations and those saved by faith in a world ruled by King Jesus from Jerusalem for a thousand years, followed by the creation of new heavens and a new Earth.

When the Earth is restored, it will once again become part of the Kingdom of Heaven – but, it’s heaven on Earth.

Doubt me?

Read the book from the beginning to the end and this restoration of Earth presided over by God is the underlying story, as Peter said in Acts 3:20-21, “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (emphasis added).

In other words, the common denominator in all the prophecies from the Creation of the world onward is this story of the restored Kingdom on Earth.

In fact, the last question the Apostles had for Jesus before He ascended into heaven after 40 days in His resurrected state on Earth was about this Kingdom, Acts 1:6-7: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”

Notice, Jesus did not tell them: “Forget about the Kingdom on Earth. Change of plan. You guys are all going to be resurrected for life in heaven now.”

No, the plan remains the same. It’s what all the prophets foretold – including Jesus throughout His earthly ministry.

Yet, why is it that we hear so little about our true destination in the future? http://www.wnd.com/2017/09/where-do-believers-go-when-they-die-2/#7yA0yMXg98K7oYdu.99

The short answer to that last question is that the world has accepted a false gospel and believes many things about the Christian religion which are simply wrong.

Satan does not want people to heed Jesus’ words to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).

As far as Joseph Farah’s assertion that the prophets of old taught the Kingdom of God, this is true. Notice the following from our free booklet: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God:

Jesus’ first and last recorded sermon involved proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15; Acts 1:3).

God’s kingdom is something that the Jews of Jesus’ time should have known something about as it was mentioned in their scriptures, which we now call the Old Testament.

Daniel Taught About the Kingdom

The prophet Daniel wrote:

40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:40-44).

18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’ (Daniel 7:18).

21 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. (Daniel 7:21-22)

From Daniel, we learn that the time will come when the Kingdom of God will destroy the kingdoms of this world and will last forever. We also learn that the saints will have their part in receiving this kingdom.

Many portions of Daniel’s prophecies are for our time in the 21st century.

Notice some passages from the New Testament:

12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14)

So, we see in both the Old and New Testaments the concept that there will be an end time earthly kingdom with ten parts and that God will destroy it and establish His kingdom.

Isaiah Taught About the Kingdom

God inspired Isaiah to write about the first part of the Kingdom of God, the thousand year reign known as the millennium, this way:

1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; 4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.

6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.

10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” (Isaiah 11:1-10)

The reason I referred to this as the first part or first phase of the Kingdom of God, is that this is a time where it will be physical (prior to the time when the holy city, New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, Revelation 21) and will last a thousand years. Isaiah confirmed the physical aspect of this phase when he continued with:

11 It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea.

12 He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. 13 Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart, And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, And Judah shall not harass Ephraim. 14 But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west; Together they shall plunder the people of the East; They shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab; And the people of Ammon shall obey them. 15 The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River, And strike it in the seven streams, And make men cross over dry-shod. 16 There will be a highway for the remnant of His people Who will be left from Assyria, As it was for Israel In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:11-16)

Isaiah was also inspired to write:

2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. 3 Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore. … 11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:2-4,11)

Thus, it will be a utopian time of peace on earth. Ultimately, this will be forever, with Jesus ruling. Based upon various scriptures (Psalm 90:4; 92:1; Isaiah 2:11; Hosea 6:2), the Jewish Talmud teaches this lasts 1,000 years (Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 97a).

Isaiah was inspired to also write the following:

6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Notice that Isaiah said that Jesus would come and establish a kingdom with a government. While many who profess Christ quote this passage, especially in December each year, they tend to overlook that it is prophesying more than the fact that Jesus would be born. The Bible shows that the Kingdom of God has a government with laws over subjects, and that Jesus will be over it. Isaiah, Daniel, and others prophesied it.

The laws of God are the way of love (Matthew 22:37-40; John 15:10) and the Kingdom of God will be ruled based upon those laws. Hence the Kingdom of God, despite how many in the world view it, will be based upon love.

Psalms and More

It was not just Daniel and Isaiah that God inspired to write about the coming Kingdom of God.

Ezekiel was inspired to write that those of the tribes of Israel (not just the Jews) who were scattered during the time of the Great Tribulation would be gathered together in the millennial kingdom:

17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.”‘ 18 And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. 19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 11:17-21)

The descendants of the tribes of Israel will no longer be scattered, but will obey God’s statutes and stop eating abominable things (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14).

Notice the following in the Psalms about the good news of God’s kingdom:

27 All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You.  28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s, And He rules over the nations. (Psalms 22:27-28)

6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. (Psalms 45:6)

1 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. 3 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. (Psalms 96:1-3; also cf. 1 Chronicles 16:23-24)

10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, And Your saints shall bless You. 11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power, 12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.  13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.  (Psalm 145:10-13)

Various writers in the Old Testament also wrote about aspects of the kingdom (e.g. Ezekiel 20:33; Obadiah 21; Micah 4:7).

So, when Jesus began teaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, His immediate audience had some familiarity with the basic concept.

More, including teachings of Jesus and the Apostles can be found in our free booklet: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Another reason that many do not learn the truth about the millennial Kingdom of God is that the Roman and Eastern Orthodox churches have condemned the teaching, even though their scholars will admit that many that their churches consider to be saints taught it.

Really?

Yes.

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox scholars do realize that the apostles and early church leaders believed in a literal one thousand year reign of Christ on the Earth.

Do they admit it?

Yes, they do.

First, 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).

Notice that the following Roman Catholic priest admitted that the Apostle John believed in a thousand year reign. First he mentions chapter 20 (XX) of the Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) as well as what he believes the Apostle John believed:

Chapter XX. relates to the expulsion of Satan from the world for 1,000 years…

In St. John’s outlook, however, the end of the world could not have been included the “hour of temptation”, because a thousand years must intervene between the days of Antichrist and the end of the world (Kramer H.B. L. The Book of Destiny.  Nihil Obstat: J.S. Considine, O.P., Censor Deputatus.  Imprimatur: +Joseph M. Mueller, Bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, January 26, 1956.  Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), pp. 24,101).

As I am unaware of any 1,000 years where Satan was gone from the world, the fact that the Bible teaches the 1,000 years, and the fact that the last living Apostle (John) believed in the 1,000 years, I believe that those three points should be sufficient evidence to anybody who wants to believe God that the 1,000 years is literal and still to happen.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes,

The fundamental idea of millenarianism, as understood by Christian writers, may be set forth as follows: At the end of time Christ will return in all His splendour to gather together the just, to annihilate hostile powers, and to found a glorious kingdom on earth for the enjoyment of the highest spiritual and material blessings; He Himself will reign as its king, and all the just, including the saints recalled to life, will participate in it…The duration of this glorious reign of Christ and His saints on earth, is frequently given as one thousand years. Hence it is commonly known as the “millennium”, while the belief in the future realization of the kingdom is called “millenarianism” (or “chiliasm”, from the Greek chilia, scil. ete)…

…a large number of Christians of the post-Apostolic era, particularly in Asia Minor, yielded so far to Jewish apocalyptic as to put a literal meaning into these descriptions of St. John’s Apocalypse; the result was that millenarianism spread and gained staunch advocates not only among the heretics but among the Catholic Christians as well…

Bishop Papias of Hierapolis, a disciple of St. John, appeared as an advocate of millenarianism. He claimed to have received his doctrine from contemporaries of the Apostles, and Irenaeus narrates that other “Presbyteri”, who had seen and heard the disciple John, learned from him the belief in millenarianism as part of the Lord’s doctrine. According to Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., 111, 39) Papias in his book asserted that the resurrection of the dead would be followed by one thousand years of a visible glorious earthly kingdom of Christ, and according to Irenaeus (Adv. Haereses, V, 33), he taught that the saints too would enjoy a superabundance of earthly pleasures…

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a native of Asia Minor, influenced by the companions of St. Polycarp, adopted millenarian ideas, discussing and defending them in his works against the Gnostics (Adv. Haereses, V, 32)…

A witness for the continued belief in millenarianism in the province of Asia is St. Melito, Bishop of Sardes in the second century…

Gnosticism rejected millenarianism. In Asia Minor, the principal seat of millenarian teachings, the so-called Alogi rose up against millenarianism as well as against Montanism, but they went too far in their opposition, rejecting not only the Apocalypse of St. John, alleging Cerinthus as its author, but his Gospel also…

In the West, the millenarian expectations of a glorious kingdom of Christ and His just, found adherents for a long time. The poet Commodian (Instructiones, 41, 42, 44) as well as Lactantius (Institutiones, VII) proclaim the millennial realm and describe its splendour…

Moreover, the attitude of the Church towards the secular power had undergone a change with closer connection between her and the Roman empire. There is no doubt that this turn of events did much towards weaning the Christians from the old millenarianism (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Millennium and Millenarianism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Yet, even though they know that opposition to millenarianism really came from Gnostics and other Alogi heretics (the Alogi-means against the word–the word of God, that is), scholars of the Catholic Church also teach against this.

The Roman Catholic Church, in spite of the fact that it admits that many of its claimed early saints taught the millennium, now strongly condemns this belief. Notice:

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194).

It should be noted that the millennial teaching appears to be the only doctrine associated with Antichrist that is condemned in the current official Catechism of the Catholic Church (which is the first new one in hundreds of years). The one that has the imprimatur of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who is now called Pope Emeritus and was Pope Benedict XVI.

Anyway, while I have many prophetic and other doctrinal differences with Joseph Farah, he is correct that Christians should understand about the millennial Kingdom of God.

Jesus taught:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

So, spreading the word about this Gospel of the Kingdom of God is something that Christians are supposed to do.

The Continuing Church of God has been doing this via radio, websites, personal appearances, YouTube television, magazines, and other ways (for more details, see The Final Phase of the Work).

In the Continuing Church of God, we also have a free online booklet titled: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God. In order to reach more of the world, that booklet has been translated into nearly 100 languages. The listing of those languages is found at www.ccog.org

Most people do not really understand the truth about the Kingdom of God. The Continuing Church of God, however, is reaching people with that message.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
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.
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.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. 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.
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.
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.

Sermon: Should Christians keep the Fall Holy Days?

Saturday, September 9th, 2017


COGwriter

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

1:14:22

Most who profess Christ do not keep the Holy Days in the Bible. Why is that? Should they? What does the Bible teach? The Fall Holy Days are the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Why do some think that they should be observed by Christians? Did early Christians keep the Fall Holy Days or were they too Jewish? What do these days represent? Do they have anything to do with God’s plan of salvation? Are non-biblical religious holidays enjoined on Christians? What did Jesus, Paul, and Polycarp do? What should you do?

Here is a link to the sermon: Should Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?

Some items of related interest may include:

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 Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach? Related sermon videos include: The Last Trumpet and the Book of Life and The Trumpet Release. The article has links to hear shofar blasts.
Feast of Trumpets: Why Should You Keep It? What does the Bible say? What does this festival picture? A related sermon is available: The Trumpet Warnings.
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Christians, the Day of Atonement, and Fasting; here is another sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación Su significado cristiano.
The Atonement Plan How does the Day of Atonement tie into God’s plan of salvation? A sermon of related interest is titled God’s Atonement Plan.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
The Last Great Day: Shemini ‘Azeret What is the ‘eighth day’ of the Feast? What does it help picture? A sermon on this topic is also available: Shemini Azaret: The Last Great Day.
Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims? Should Christians sojourn? What does the Bible and Feast of Tabernacles teach? A related video sermon is titled Christian Pilgrims.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law The Bible teaches that every seven years that the law should be read at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what I did at the first Feast site were I gave an actual sermon (as opposed to a sermonette) in 2006.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2017 This is information on the Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God in 2017. The Feast in 2017 Services will begin the evening of October 4th.
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. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
How to Keep God’s Festivals Many have heard of God’s Holy Days and wonder how they are kept in the 21st century. This is an overview article. A related sermon is also available titled: How to Keep God’s Feasts.
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.

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. 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 The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that 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.
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.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
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.

Church history is much more important than most people realize

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

COGwriter

Church history is more important than most realize. If people accepted the truth about early church history, most would have to change their faith and the world would be a much better place.

Many wonder how the churches of this world got the way they are. Mainly, it was because various ones had ideas that conflicted with the Bible and the original Christian faith. Sadly, many of those ideas ultimately got accepted by apparently billions throughout time.

Jesus taught that the true church would be a “little flock” (Luke 12:32), hated by the world (Matthew 10:22), and persecuted (Matthew 10:23). He also taught only a few would find the way to eternal life in this age (Matthew 7:14; 20:16). The Apostle Jude indicates that the number of saints was relatively small (Jude 14), while the Apostle Paul called the small group a “remnant” (Romans 11:5). Most who profess Christ, however, simply do not want to accept what the New Testament teaches about the church.

This post will contain a fairly brief overview of some events that led to the current state (more details are in the free online booklet Continuing History of the Church of God).

In the first century, apparently a false apostle, who is now called Mark, preached an allegorical interpretation of scripture in Alexandria. Alexandria was one of the most important intellectual centers of the Roman Empire in ancient times and had much influence in the Greco-Roman world. The falsely titled “Epistle of Barnabus” came from Alexandria in the early second century and preached an allegorical interpretation of scripture (see its chapter 10:2). The second century Gnostic heretics Valentinus and Basilides were Alexandrian.

In the early second century, historian Hegesippus claimed that there was one who introduced corruption into the Church of God in Jerusalem, named Thebuthis. Basically Thebuthis was considered to be the father of various heresies, including even Marcionism, which was a form of lawlessness:

1. Hegesippus in the five books of Memoirs which have come down to us has left a most complete record of his own views. …

4. The same author also describes the beginnings of the heresies which arose in his time, in the following words: And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as the Lord had also on the same account, Symeon, the son of the Lord’s uncle, Clopas, was appointed the next bishop. All proposed him as second bishop because he was a cousin of the Lord. Therefore, they called the Church a virgin, for it was not yet corrupted by vain discourses. 5. But Thebuthis, because he was not made bishop, began to corrupt it. He also was sprung from the seven sects among the people, like Simon, from whom came the Simonians, and Cleobius, from whom came the Cleobians, and Dositheus, from whom came the Dositheans, and Gorthæus, from whom came the Goratheni, and Masbotheus, from whom came the Masbothæans. From them sprang the Menandrianists, and Marcionists, and Carpocratians, and Valentinians, and Basilidians, and Saturnilians. Each introduced privately and separately his own peculiar opinion. From them came false Christs, false prophets, false apostles, who divided the unity of the Church by corrupt doctrines uttered against God and against his Christ. (Eusebius. Church History, Book IV, Chapter 22, verses 1, 4-5).

In time, that corruption affected many in Jerusalem. What were some doctrines of Simon Magus? Well his followers had statues, the pagan doctrine of the immortal soul, incantations, mysteries, mystic priests, divine titles for leaders, the practice of accepting money for religious favors, a preference for allegory and tradition over many aspects of scripture, a leader who wanted to be thought of as God/Christ on earth, the view they should divorce themselves from Christian biblical practices considered to be Jewish, and also revered a women. And it appears that these doctrines of Simon Magus affected many areas (more on Simon Magus can be found in the article Simon Magus, What Did He Teach?). According to the 18th century historian E. Gibbon, many who professed Christ in Jerusalem chose to be led by a Latin leader, Marcus of Jerusalem, who urged them to compromise with God’s law (which Gibbon calls “the Mosaic law”, see article on the Ephesus Church era) in order to be tolerated by the Roman Emperor Hadrian who was incensed at the Jews because of the Bar Kohkba revolt. Certain compromises in Rome apparently occurred around the same time, apparently for the same reason (see articles Arab Nazarenes and Passover). By around 135 A.D., most who professed Christ in Jerusalem had compromised with the truth  (for details, see The Ephesus Church Era and/or watch a related video sermon: Ephesus Church Era).

The main bastion of faithful Christian leaders in the second century was the region of Asia Minor–the Church of God leaders there did not accept improper doctrines that the Alexandrians or the compromised ones in Jerusalem were pushing. Actually, one way to help understand the Bible today is to look at how the faithful in Asia Minor understood it as they understood koine Greek (the language of the New Testament) better than translators of later centuries did (mistranslations have greatly impacted much of what calls itself ‘Christianity’ in the 21st century).

It should be mentioned that nothing that resembled modern Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, nor Eastern Orthodoxy existed in the first or second centuries among the faithful Christians. But in time, there were basically two groups: the faithful and the variety of compromisers (see also Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries?; a related sermon is also available Christianity: Two groups).

Within the Roman Empire the religion of Mithraism was increasing in popularity while various compromised versions of ‘Christianity’ also were. Some considered that the two religions were in competition with each other (though that was really only the case with the compromisers and the followers of Mithras). Mithras was a pagan sun-god. Many beliefs and practices associated with Mithraism started to rub-off on many who professed Christ in the second through fourth centuries.

The acceptance of some of the doctrines held by other heretics (such as Simon Magus, Cerinthus, Marcion, Marcus, and Montanus) spread to many who professed Christ. Various allegorical heretics, such as Valentinus, went from Alexandria to Rome and elsewhere and began spreading various Gnostic and semi-gnostic teachings. And while history shows that second century leaders from Asia Minor opposed these heretics and their teachings, many of them were tolerated, at least for decades, by the main churches in Rome and Alexandria.

Part of the reason for that acceptance of certain Gnostic teachings was that it greatly increased the number of Gentiles going into those churches. Notice what one historian wrote:

The Gnostics blended with the faith of Christ many sublime but obscure tenets … the Gnostics were imperceptibly divided into more than fifty particular sects, of whom the most celebrated appear to have been the Basilidians, the Valentinians, the Marcionites… Each of these sects could boast of its bishops and congregations, of its doctors and martyrs; and, instead of the Four Gospels adopted by the church the heretics produced a multitude of histories in which the actions and discourses of Christ and of his apostles were adapted to their respective tenets. The success of the Gnostics was rapid and extensive. They covered Asia and Egypt, established themselves in Rome, and sometimes penetrated into the provinces of the West. For the most part they arose in the second century…

The Gentile converts, whose strongest objections and prejudices were directed against the law of Moses, could find admission into many Christian societies, which required not from their untutored mind any belief of an antecedent revelation. Their faith was insensibly fortified and enlarged, and the church was ultimately benefited by the conquests of its most inveterate enemies (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume III, Chapter XXVII. ca. 1776-1788).

While I do not agree with Gibbon that the true church “ultimately benefited” from this compromise as he indicated, this compromise did allow the mainstream Greco-Roman churches to “enlarge” as Gibbon wrote and become the majority of those who professed Christ.

Although many seem to accept blending of pagan ideas with their understanding of Christianity, this is not the way it was supposed to be. Notice, for one example, one of the accomplishments of Nehemiah:

30 I cleansed them of everything pagan. (Nehemiah 13:30)

However, many who professed Christ in the first few centuries did not share Nehemiah’s view as they introduced pagan concepts in their faith. Jesus Himself warned about adopting pagan practices of prayer (Matthew 6:7) and the Apostle Paul warned against adopting pagan festivals (2 Corinthians 6:14-16; 1 Corinthians 10:19-21). Christians are not supposed to have the “spirit of the world” (1 Corinthians 12:12) nor love its practices (1 John 2:15).

Despite biblical warnings, in the second century, one or more semi-gnostic schools developed in Alexandria, including the one headed by the semi-gnostic Clement of Alexandria and then Origen, whose teachings greatly influenced professing Christians in the Greco-Roman world. However, many of the teachings of the main school there have been condemned as heretical, even by Catholic and Protestant sources–and although many of the teachings had pagan ties, many who profess Christianity still have been influenced by them.

Notice what Dr. John Walvoord, who taught at the Dallas Theological Seminary for fifty years, wrote about that school:

In the last ten years of the second century and in the third century the heretical school of theology at Alexandria, Egypt advanced the erroneous principle that the Bible should be interpreted in a nonliteral or allegorical sense. In applying this to the Scriptures, they subverted all the major doctrines of faith…the Alexandrian school of theology is labeled by all theologians as heretical…(Walvoord, John F. The Prophecy Handbook. Victor Books, Wheaton (IL), 1990, pp. 9,15).

Over time, some of the more obvious Gnostic concepts (like Aeons) were never formally adopted as the Gnostics taught them, but others that the allegorists felt had some type of support from tradition and/or scripture were adopted by the forming Greco-Roman “Catholic/Orthodox” confederation. And although leaders stood up to the early allegorists (for two such leaders see What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation?), the allegorizers continued to increase their influence. The Orthodox and even the former Pope Benedict XVI have praised Origen (who ran that Alexandrian school in the early third century) even though some of his beliefs have been portrayed as heretical by the same Pope Benedict (see Did The Early Church Millenarianism?).

After a local persecution by Roman Emperor Septimius Severus who died in 211 A.D., the church in Antioch ended up having a leader (Asclepiades) that was acceptable to those who compromised in Jerusalem and apparently other areas. Also in the early third century, a compromising Roman leader (Callistus) allowed abortion and generally lowered moral standards, which resulted in great increases among his and related churches.

Around 244 A.D., one “Gregory the Wonder Worker” of Neocaeseria claimed to see apparitions and apparently had mystical powers (Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions). He had been trained by Origin. Through the combination of Gregory’s influence (cf. Isaiah 47:5-6,12), Imperial persecutions, the rise of the allegorists, and doctrinal compromise, changes occurred in Antioch and Asia Minor. Allegedly Gregory “could cast his cloak over a man, and cause his death…he could bring the presiding demons back to their shrine” (Roberts A, Donaldson J, Volume 20, p. 3). He apparently was scarily impressive.

Around 250 A.D., during the severe empire-wide persecution by the Emperor Decius, the most public leader of the church in Smyrna (Eudaemon), apostatized. Shortly after this persecution, something new happened: A new leadership was installed throughout Asia Minor that was commended by the allegorist tolerating Bishop of Alexandria (Dionysius) who reported:

But know now, my brethren, that all the churches throughout the East and beyond, which formerly were divided, have become united. And all the bishops everywhere are of one mind, and rejoice greatly in the peace which has come beyond expectation. Thus Demetrianus in Antioch, Theoctistus in Cæsarea, Mazabanes in Ælia, Marinus in Tyre (Alexander having fallen asleep), Heliodorus in Laodicea (Thelymidres being dead), Helenus in Tarsus, and all the churches of Cilicia, Firmilianus, and all Cappadocia. I have named only the more illustrious bishops, that I may not make my epistle too long and my words too burdensome (Cited in Eusebius. Church History, Book VII, Chapter V, Verse I).

Notice that the Alexandrian Bishop acknowledged that those in the East (Asia Minor) that had been divided from the Alexandrian and Roman churches, were no longer divided. This is because there were no longer any original Christians publicly leading them, but only those who tended towards allegory and non-biblical traditions. Is your religion one that followed the faithful or one that followed the compromisers?

And shortly after this time is the first recorded instance of the Italians being able to influence a Roman Emperor enough so that they could install a bishop of their choice (probably either Dmonus or Timaeus) in Antioch (circa 270-273 A.D.) (please see the article The Smyrna Church era).

Hence, essentially due to compromise and persecutions, the semi-gnostic allegorizers tended to become the main group of professing Christians. For example, by the third and fourth century, the Roman Church no longer taught many apostolic teachings that it once had and instead included more and more teachings that did not originate in the Bible (this is documented in the article Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

The pagan Emperor Constantine allegedly saw a vision of the sun-god Sol in 310 and became more of a sun-god worshiper. Two years later, he claimed to have a dream with Jesus and within a day, another vision (one with a spear crossed with a sword). He ordered his soldiers to paint a cross-like image on their shields and fight.

Historians realize that this alleged apparition and dream changed the course of world history. Emperor Constantine, himself, was thankful for these apparent apparitions and believed that this indicated that some things should change in his empire. Constantine ended up making the first Sunday law, issuing an edict against those who would not accept his compromised religion, greatly exalting the political power of Greco-Roman bishops, and massively increased idolatry and military service amongst unfaithful professors of Christ. He also took away certain Church of God properties and ordered the death penalty to Church of God Christians in Jerusalem that would not eat pork.

He is known as Constantine the Great by the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics for legalizing and essentially mandating their compromised faith throughout the Roman Empire. Other doctrinal compromises occurred because of him and afterwards. Even after his alleged conversion to his claimed version of the Christian faith in 312 (if he was ever baptized, it was supposedly on his death bed in 337 A.D., despite him declaring himself a lay “Christian” bishop by 325), years later, Emperor Constantine still put the sun god Sol on his coins.

While true Christians remained throughout history (please see the article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3), they were often a persecuted minority (see also Persecutions by Church and State), and were more specifically persecuted by the State after the Council of Nicea in the fourth century and the subsequent “edicts against heretics” by Emperors Constantine (who had been a follower of Mithraism) in 331 and Theodosius in 381 (prior to that the Roman state normally persecuted Greco-Roman professors of Christ and original believers together)–so they fled into the wilderness for 1260 years (cf. Revelation 12:6).

Throughout time, God continued to raise up faithful Church of God leaders and groups that kept “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3)–for documentation please see the article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3.

Over time people, like the Protestant reformers, sometimes stood up against those who often relied on allegory and tradition in an attempt to reverse some of the false doctrines that dominated mainstream Christianity. However, even though they were successful in removing some non-biblical practices (such as many idols and icons), they often retained many of the doctrines that the Alexandrian and Roman churches had accepted (some of this is documented in the article The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong).

Many today, cannot accept the idea that the faithful would truly be a very small flock.

In the 21st century, many in the mainstream are also hoping to end division that they have and to attain ecumenical unity between the Catholics of Rome, the Eastern Orthodox, and with many of the Protestants–thinking that this is God’s will (here is a link to a video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?).

They, however, would do well to recall what Jesus said:

Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division (Luke 12:51).

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able (Luke 13:24).

Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:14)

Hence, for any to suggest or imply that Jesus is behind the current ecumenical bent of many should be biblically questioned (also the Bible indicates when there is an essentially one-religion prior to the second coming of Christ, that it is not good–see Revelation 13:3-4,8-15)–the “many” are not to be able to enter the Kingdom in this age per Jesus’ words in Luke13:24 and elsewhere.

Thus, the true and genuine Church of God will be somewhat small, like the faithful Continuing Church of God. The group that has restored more truth about true church history than any in the 21st century.

Teaching the truth about the Bible and history and the love of the word of God to the world in general and those called in this age in particular (Matthew 28:19-20) is the mission of the Continuing Church of God. You can click here for Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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 Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
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?
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?
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. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
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 that 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 videoed in Vatican City is Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
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.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.

Vatican pushes liturgy changes and Zimbabwe bishops declare not voting is a sin. What about the original faith?

Sunday, August 27th, 2017


Pope Benedict XVI with Eucharist Host during Mass (Fabio Pozzebom/ABr)

COGwriter

The Vatican wants to push certain liturgical changes:

Pope invokes ‘magisterial authority’ to declare liturgy changes ‘irreversible’

ROME – Addressing a group of liturgical experts on Thursday, Pope Francis said that after the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and a long path of experience, “We can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.”

The declaration came in a speech on Thursday to Italy’s “Center of Liturgical Action,” which sponsors an annual National Liturgical Week.

By “liturgical reform,” Pope Francis meant the changes in Catholic rituals and modes of worship which followed from Vatican II, the most immediately visible elements of which included Mass facing the congregation …

Battles over liturgical practice have been a chronic feature of Catholic life since Vatican II.

A desire to maintain the older Latin Mass, for instance, was a primary force prompting French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to lead a group of traditionalist Catholics into a break with Rome. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2017/08/24/pope-invokes-magisterial-authority-declare-liturgy-changes-irreversible/

Actually, the current mass and the “old Latin Mass” are not original Christian practices.

In Catholic ‘mass’ Jesus is supposedly sacrificed every time it is held. Yet, the Bible is clear that Jesus only needed to be sacrificed once:

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-12)

Although Jesus wanted His followers to have an annual memorial of His death (called Passover), Jesus does not need to be ‘re-sacrificed’ weekly or daily (Catholic priests are expected to do this through the Mass ritual each and every day).

As far as the use of a round host goes, early Christians did not use one. A careful comparison of what is taught in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church along with eucharistic practices should make this clear to any truly interested in the truth.

Article 3, under the Seven Sacraments of the Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the eucharist. Section II asks and answers the question, What is this Sacrament Called? Several names are listed, including “The Breaking of Bread” (#1329).

It also states the following:

1339 Jesus choose the time of the Passover … And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them … (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 373)

Now the above is scriptural. Here are some related scriptures from Catholic translations of the Bible:

19 And the disciples did as Jesus appointed to them, and they prepared the pasch.

26 And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. (Matthew 26:19,26 Douay-Rheims)

22 And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. (Mark 14:22, Douay-Rheims)

19 And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. (Luke 22:19, Douay-Rheims)

Notice, it is very clear that Jesus BROKE the bread on Passover (Pasch means Passover).

The Apostle Paul confirmed that it was the practice of the early Christians to break bread:

16 The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? (1 Corinthians 10:16, Douay-Rheims).

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread.

24 And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. (1 Corinthians 11:23-24, Douay-Rheims)

The Apostle Paul followed Jesus’ practice and broke bread. Furthermore, notice what The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches in its article “Host”:

…the first Christians…simply used the bread that served as food. It seems that the form differed but little from what it is in our day. The loaves discovered in an oven of a bakery at Pompeii weighed about a pound each. One of these, being perfectly preserved, measured about seven inches in diameter and was creased with seven ridges which facilitated the breaking of the loaf without the aid of a knife. (Leclercq, Henri. “Host.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 28 Feb. 2011 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07489d.htm>)

Notice that the article in The Catholic Encyclopedia basically says that the practice of the first Christians, which is consistent with the Bible, was to use normal loaves of bread that resemble what is still in use today. And that it was broken. (The article never says where the round host actually came from, other than it was first mentioned in writing in the fourth century by Epiphanius and that earlier paintings in catacombs and bas-reliefs showed something like that. But I should state that the oldest early painting in a catacomb I am aware of has a woman, Priscilla, presiding over the ceremony, so the Church of Rome may wish to be careful about relying on that as they do not allow women to do that. Hence, the earliest picture of the eucharist host did not come from what is practiced in today’s Roman Catholicism–so the question from whence the Catholics adopted it remains.)

Thus, to have a Passover/eucharistic ceremony where the bread is not broken is certainly not imitating Jesus, the Apostle Paul, nor the early Christians. It is a change that the Church of Rome must have gotten outside of the Bible.

Yet, in the eucharistic ceremonies in the Catholic Church, the bread is not broken. Instead, it is a round host that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says can/should be worshipped and adored (CCC #1378, p. 385). Yet, there is no indication that the early Christians or the apostles did anything like that.

They basically taught that it was to be eaten.

Worshipers of sun-gods worshiped round symbols. Early Christians did not.

As far as the word “host,” The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:

The bread destined to receive Eucharistic Consecration is commonly called the host , and though this term may likewise be applied to the bread and wine of the Sacrifice , it is more especially reserved to the bread.

According to Ovid the word comes from hostis, enemy: “Hostibus a domitis hostia nomen habet”, because the ancients offered their vanquished enemies as victims to the gods. However, it is possible that hostia is derived from hostire, to strike, as found in Pacuvius. (Leclercq, Henri. “Host.”)

The word “host” (or derivatives) do not appear to be a direct translation of any of the original Hebrew or Greek that the Bible was actually written in. Hence, it does not seem to be a biblical term, but instead may have pagan ties according to certain Catholic researchers. Does anyone really think that Jesus wanted to be considered the “host” of pagan militaristic rituals?

Since it did not come from the Bible, the Eucharistic Host is not holy.

As mentioned in the article at the beginning of this post, some Roman Catholic priests have raised concerns about eucharistic ceremonies in languages other than Latin. Notice the following:

Latin Mass…The truth is — in English, Italian, and Spanish, among others — the vernacular translations of the consecration of the wine makes it of doubtful validity…as has been demonstrated by Father Paul Kramer in his book The Suicide of Altering the Faith in Liturgy (Gruner N, Priest. Is Antichrist Coming Next? The Fatima Crusader, 96, Autumn 2010, p. 10).

Above all, be faithful to the Traditional Latin Mass. (Rodrigues M, Priest. God is Love, God is Truth. The Fatima Crusader, 115, Summer 2016, p. 18)

Now, in case anyone is unaware of this, it should be pointed out that the original apostles spoke Aramaic and Greek (cf. Acts 21:37-39) and other languages. Yet there is no indication that any of them used Latin in any early Christian ceremony (and even if they did, it certainly was not a widespread, or universal, practice–nor is it ever mentioned in the Bible).

Even Tertullian, the so-called “father of Latin theology” did not begin to write until around 190 A.D. Latin mass is a CHANGE. Those who are true traditionalists would realize that the original and early Passover services were not done in Latin and there is no valid reason to insist on Latin today. Those who insist on Latin and those who use a round host are absolutely altering the liturgy of the faith of the original Christians.

Cannot those who claim to be Catholic traditionalists see this? There are also ties with Egyptian pagan gods, etc. with the round host. For some details, check out Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist?

As far as church liturgy goes, according to Roman Catholic writers, the Church of Rome does not follow the practices of the early Christians. For details, check out the article What was the Liturgy of the Early Church?

Actually, it is groups like the Continuing Church of God who have church services, also known as liturgical practices, that are most consistent with those of the early Christians (watch What were early Christian church services like?).

The Church of Rome has implemented changes which were not part of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Speaking of changes, Roman Catholic bishops have declared a new ‘sin.’ Notice the following:

Reading a letter on behalf of the bishops to congregants after a church service at St. James Catholic church in Emerald Hill, Harare on Aug. 20, Father Rungano Muchineripi said it is a sin not to vote, AllAfrica.com reported

“Men and women of God are getting tired of praying for issues to do with politics and the suffering of people due to bad governance, so it is high time Christians put their efforts together in registering to vote, choosing a people oriented government which is not evil.

“It is your responsibility to choose a government of your choice that gives you rights. People have a constitutional right to vote and it is a sin not to vote,” Rungano said.

A staunch critic of the ruling Zanu-PF party, which ruled uninterrupted since independence in 1980, Rungano said that parents should make sure that children who are 17 years old and will be 18 next year are registered too as voters. 08/24/17 http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/zimbabwes-catholic-bishops-say-its-a-sin-not-to-vote-urge-people-to-eject-ruling-party/60405.htm

As one who grew up in a Roman Catholic household, let me state that I was never taught that not voting was a sin. This is another political, not biblical, decision that is coming from a Roman Catholic bishop. The Bible warns of a religious system, based on the city of seven hills, that is too involved in politics of this world in Revelation 17. The Bible gives it the title of “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Revelation 17:5).

We in the Continuing Church of God do not endorse political involvement like voting (see Should a Christian Vote?).

Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?

Some items to assist in your studies may include:

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?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria? Where did IHS and the host come from?
Should a Christian Vote? This article gives some of the Biblical rationale on this subject. Would Jesus vote for president/prime minister? Is voting in the Bible? This is a subject Christians need to understand. A video of related interest is available titled: Should Christians Vote?
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 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.
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.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
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?
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?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical is titled ‘Laudato Si.’ In it, he goes over his views related to environmental, economic, social, moral, agricultural, and spiritual issues. He advocates international cooperation to solve various problems he believes are affecting humanity. Is that Pope’s agenda the solution? What about the Kingdom of God? does the Bible teach? Two related articles include Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? and Laudato Si: A call for a one-world government?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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 Assumption of Mary and Diana

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017


The ‘Mary’ in the Basilica of Mary Major That Pope Francis Prays Before (Photo by Joyce Thiel, June 2013)

COGWriter

August 15th is a holiday known as the Assumption of Mary. It is not a day that the early Christian church observed.

Pope Francis has observed it:

(Vatican Radio) On Saturday, Pope Francis became the first Pope in more than 60 years to lead the Angelus for the Solemnity of the Assumption in Saint Peter’s Square. …

Following the Angelus, Pope Francis greeted the many pilgrims from Rome and around the world, and spontaneously invited them to pay a visit to the icon of Our Lady Salus populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman people) in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/08/15/pope_celebrates_assumption_angelus_at_st_peters_square/1165268

In Roman Catholicism it is now a Marian dogma that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven (while most early writings indicated that she died first, some teach that she did not–whether or not she was dead or alive is not currently part of the dogma).

The Catholic News Agency teaches:

4) The Assumption…This dogma has no direct basis in scripture. (The Four Marian Dogmas. Catholic News Agency, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resource.php?n=424 viewed 08/26/11)

The National Catholic Register reported:

What is the Assumption of Mary?

The Assumption of Mary is the teaching that:

The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory [Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus 44]. …

What level of authority does this teaching have?

This teaching was infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 in the bull Munificentissimus Deus (Latin, “Most Bountiful God”).

As Pius XII explained, this is “a divinely revealed dogma” (ibid.). …

What are the earliest surviving references to Mary’s Assumption?

John Paul II noted:

The first trace of belief in the Virgin’s Assumption can be found in the apocryphal accounts entitled Transitus Mariae [Latin, “The Crossing Over of Mary”], whose origin dates to the second and third centuries. …

How did the recognition of Mary’s Assumption develop in the East?

John Paul II noted:

There was a long period of growing reflection on Mary’s destiny in the next world.

This gradually led the faithful to believe in the glorious raising of the Mother of Jesus, in body and soul, and to the institution in the East of the liturgical feasts of the Dormition [“falling asleep”—i.e., death] and Assumption of Mary. (National Catholic Register, August 15, 2017 http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/the-assumption-of-mary-12-things-to-know-and-share2)

The Transitus Mariae is recognized by Catholic sources as a false document. This doctrine of the assumption did not come from the Bible, but with compromises for those who wanted to keep a holiday like this.

One Catholic writer noted:

Many people, even Catholics, don’t believe in the assumption of Mary. (Rozett E. Mother Mary and the Goddess. http://www.interfaithmary.com/pages/mary_rosary.html, viewed 08/15/2011)

The belief in the “Assumption of Mary”–the teaching that she perhaps did not die but went directly to heaven (or her body was “assumed” into heaven at or after death)–is based on supposition, mysticism, and apparently compromise.

Mary’s tomb has been claimed to have been in both Jerusalem and Ephesus, which suggests, at least, that it was believed that she died and was buried.

The Catholic Encyclopedia admits:

Regarding the day, year, and manner of Our Lady’s death, nothing certain is known…The dates assigned for it vary between three and fifteen years after Christ’s Ascension. Two cities claim to be the place of her departure: Jerusalem and Ephesus. Common consent favours Jerusalem, where her tomb is shown; but some argue in favour of Ephesus. The first six centuries did not know of the tomb of Mary at Jerusalem. The belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae, bearing the name of St. John, which belongs however to the fourth or fifth century. It is also found in the book De Transitu Virginis, falsely ascribed to St. Melito of Sardis, and in a spurious letter attributed to St. Denis the Areopagite.(Holweck, Frederick. “The Feast of the Assumption.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 26 Aug. 201114 Aug. 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02006b.htm>)

So, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia the basis for the “belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is founded on the apocryphal” texts which were claimed to be written by people (like the Apostle John and Melito of Sardis) who did not write them. This makes no sense as a source for any dogma people would hold to be true.

Also, if the body of Mary was “assumed” into heaven 3-15 years after Christ’s ascension in the Book of Acts, then why is it not mentioned in sacred scripture? All the books of the New Testament were written at least 5 years after Jesus’ ascension and the last book (Revelation) was apparently written over 60 years later–hence if this is a doctrine that God wanted His people to accept, why is it not specifically mentioned in the Bible? The Catholic writer Epiphanius, in the late fourth century, wrote:

Perhaps this [Rev. 12:13-14] can be applied to her; I cannot decide for certain, and I am not saying that she remained immortal. But neither am I saying that she died. (Panarion of Epiphanius, 78.11.4. As cited in Shoemaker S. The Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption. Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 12)

Notice what a Catholic translation of the scripture Epiphanius referred to actually states:

13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman, who brought forth the man child: 14 And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place, where she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (Revelation 12:13-14, DRB).

Notice that “the woman” goes to “the desert” and “here she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time.” Heaven is NOT a desert. Also understand that Catholic scholars tend to correctly believe that the expression “a time and times, and half a time” refers to 3 1/2 years in this passage (and even if that was in error, this is a finite period of time, not nearly two thousand years). Thus, it makes no sense that Revelation 12:13-14 could possibly apply to Mary. Epiphanius should have been able to decide for certain that it did not, around 400 years after she was born. It should be clear that the idea of Mary’s “assumption” was not a dogmatic belief centuries after she would likely have been expected to have died.

Of course, the Bible was clear in the mid-late 1st century that only Jesus had immortality:

13 I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate, a good confession, 14 That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Which in his times he shall shew who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, and inhabiteth light inaccessible, whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and empire everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:13-16, DRB)

The above was written in approximately 63 A.D. (Ryrie Study Bible, p. 1847). That is more than 3-15 years after Jesus’s ascension, and if Mary had obtained immortality by then, Saint Paul should have mentioned that, but he did not.

That view is consistent with the Catholic-approved Douay-Rheims translation which is shown in this article. If Mary was immortal then, then the Apostle Paul would not have been inspired to write that.

Concerning Mary, the Catholic saint Augustine wrote of “her death” (Augustine. Tractates on the Gospel of John (Augustine) > Tractate 8, Chapter 9. Translated by John Gibb. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 7. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1701008.htm>). Thus, the idea of Mary dying was an old concept.

So where did the idea of Mary’s assumption come from? Basically, from apocryphal literature in the fourth century (or possibly as early as the late third century)–but mainly even later than that. Although Epiphanius tried to investigate it, he was uncertain as to when it really first developed.

Interestingly, the ancient Romans had a 1-3 day festival for the goddess Diana. On the first day she allegedly came to earth and on the third day, August 15, they apparently celebrated her assumption into heaven as the queen of heaven. This is the same day of the Catholic feast of the assumption of Mary. Some do not consider this to be coincidental. (Green CMC. Roman religion and the cult of Diana at Aricia, Volume 0, Issues 521-85150. Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 62; Frazer JG. The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings V1, Volume 1. Kessinger Publishing, 2006, pp. 14-17). Notice also the following:

Lena Gorve’s name has symbolic significance, identifying her with Diana of Nemi, Diana of the Woods whose sacred groce stood on the lake of Nemi. The fact that the festival of Diana of Nemi gave place to the festival of the Assumption of the Virgin on August 15 offers an obvious basis in the combination of Lena of pagan qualities and of attributes associated with the Virgin Mary. (Kerr E. William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha: “a Kind of Keystone in the Universe.” Fordham Univ Press, 1985, p. 61)

The Assumption of the Virgin is set for the 15th of August. This day is marked in the Roman calendar of Columella as that of the death or disappearance of Virgo. (Hillard K. The Black Madonna of Loreto. Atlantic Monthly, September 1889, p. 412)

Diana was known as the “revered virgin” (Fischer-Hansen T, Poulsen B. From Artemis to Diana: the goddess of man and beast. Museum Tusculanum Press, 2009, p. 56) and “the Lady Artemis” (Davidson HE. Roles of the northern goddess. Psychology Press, 1998, p. 18); also as ”the virgin” (Morford MPO, Lenardon RJ. Classical mythology, 6th edition. Oxford University Press US, 1999, p. 141).

There is a suspected connection between Diana and various other goddesses and how many view Mary (Fischer-Hansen, p. 49). Yet, the Catholic saint Augustine specifically referred to Diana as one of several “false and lying deities” (Augustine. The Harmony of the Gospels, Book I, Chapter 25. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1602125.htm>). Hence, it would seem wise that Catholics consider the wisdom in observing the date of her claimed assumption into heaven.

Mary’s “assumption” apparently became more of an issue after the death of Mohammed. Wikipedia notes:

John of Damascus, from this period, is the first church authority to advocate the doctrine under his own name; he had been brought up in an environment in which a corporeal ascent of Muhammed into heaven was official policy, since he, and his father before him, held the post of imperial chancellor of the Islamic empire of the Umayyads, and Muhammed’s ascent into heaven is the subject of the Night Journey, a Surah in the Quran. His contemporaries, Gregory of Tours and Modestus of Jerusalem, helped promote the concept to the wider church.

So, it may be that the assumption became a Catholic-equivalent of not only the pagan Diana, but the Muslim Muhammed. Furthermore, perhaps I should mention that Muslims teach that Muhammed’s daughter Fatima also was assumed into heaven. Some have considered that how certain Muslims venerate Fatima is very similar to how some Catholics venerate Mary.

Of course, since Mary is mentioned in the Quran, there is some Islamic veneration of her as well.

A Catholic writer posted:

The occasion and the site are sacred to Muslims and Christians alike. Every Sunday at least some Muslims come here before ‘Hazreti Meryem Ana’, Her Majesty Mother Mary and attend mass.

(Rozett E. Mother Mary and the Goddess. http://www.interfaithmary.com/pages/mary_Islam.html, viewed 08/15/2011)

Apparently because the Muslims claimed that Muhammed (and Fatima), and Greco-Romans that the goddess Diana, went directly to heaven, certain Catholics began to promote the idea about Mary in a widespread manner.

However, it should be pointed out that even the place of the “assumption” changed. Wikipedia reports:

In some versions of the story the event is said to have taken place in Ephesus, in the House of the Virgin Mary, although this is a much more recent and localized tradition. The earliest traditions all locate the end of Mary’s life in Jerusalem…

So, the earliest accounts claimed Jerusalem, but that was later changed to Ephesus by some. If Mary died 3-15 years after Jesus, then she likely did not die in the area near Ephesus. Another article in The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions:

As to tradition, there is some testimony for Mary’s temporary residence in or near Ephesus, but the evidence for her permanent home in Jerusalem is much stronger… In Panaghia Kapoli, on a hill about nine or ten miles distant from Ephesus, was discovered a house, or rather its remains, in which Mary is supposed to have lived. The house was found, as it had been sought, according to the indications given by Catherine Emmerich in her life of the Blessed Virgin… In 451 Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, testified to the presence of Mary’s tomb in Jerusalem…Another witness for the existence of a tradition placing the tomb of Mary in Gethsemani is the basilica erected above the sacred spot, about the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth century… It has been seen that we have no absolute certainty as to the place in which Mary lived after the day of Pentecost. Though it is more probable that she remained uninterruptedly in or near Jerusalem, she may have resided for a while in the vicinity of Ephesus, and this may have given rise to the tradition of her Ephesian death and burial. There is still less historical information concerning the particular incidents of her life. (Maas, Anthony. “The Blessed Virgin Mary.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 26 Aug. 201114 Aug. 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15464b.htm>)

Of course, the presence of a tomb suggests that one was buried within it, not assumed directly to heaven. Others have claimed her body left the tomb:

In the eighth century, St. John Damascene was known for giving sermons at the holy places in Jerusalem. At the Tomb of Mary, he expressed the belief of the Church on the meaning of the feast: “Although the body was duly buried, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay. . . . You were transferred to your heavenly home, O Lady, Queen and Mother of God in truth.” (Stevens C, Priest. Assumption of Mary. Catholic Heritage, July-August 1996. http://www.ewtn.com/library/answers/aofmary.htm)

S. Shoemaker also claims that the earliest accounts of the assumption state it occurred in Jerusalem, but later Ephesus:

Nevertheless, the earliest evidence of any such belief appears only in the ninth century, in a Syriac manuscript, copied in 874 which reports that Mary accompanied John to Ephesus, where she died and was buried. (Shoemaker S. The Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption. Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 75)

The idea that Mary’s house was specifically in Ephesus allegedly began to gain acceptance because of visions that the mystic nun Anne Catherine Emmerich claimed to have had in the early 19th century. Because of her visions,one or more priests went to Ephesus and found a house apparently matching her descriptions (Shoemaker, p. 76). Some in the local area confirmed the location as Mary’s last house. And while some may claim that is proof it was Mary’s home, I should also add that Anne Catherine Emmerich claimed to have seen Limbo in her visions, yet the current Pontiff (Benedict XVI) has indicated that there is no such place as Limbo (What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die?). Despite this, on October 3, 2004 Anne Catherine Emmerich was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

But irrespective of what location may have been “Mary’s house,” the historical accuracy of the “assumption of Mary,” is at best a supposition that seems to contradict scripture. Although some have claimed that the apostles originally reported “the assumption,” there do not appear to be any pre-fourth century documents that state this (and even the “apostolic claim” was from testimony in the mid-fifth century by Juvenal, see The Catholic Encyclopedia Assumption of Mary).

The assumption position mainly seems to be have been accepted because people want to believe it as opposed to basing it upon reliable historical documentation:

In view of the striking absence of early historical evidence, the Vatican proceeded to establish the Assumption dogma primarily on a dogmatic rather than a historical basis. It was determined that despite the complete lack of any historical evidence for early belief in the Virgin’s Assumption, the dogma should still be proclaimed…(Shoemaker S. The Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption. Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 15)

Wikipedia also noted:

Protestant theologians…cite the fact that the idea did not gain acceptance in the church until the sixth century, after Gregory of Tours accepted the apocryphal work “Transitus Beatae Mariae”…Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott stated, “The idea of the bodily assumption of Mary is first expressed in certain transitus-narratives of the fifth and sixth centuries…. The first Church author to speak of the bodily assumption of Mary, in association with an apocryphal transitus B.M.V., is St. Gregory of Tours.”…The Catholic writer Eamon Duffy goes further, conceding that “there is, clearly, no historical evidence whatever for it.”…

In Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma he states that “the fact of her death is almost generally accepted by the Fathers and Theologians, and is expressly affirmed in the Liturgy of the Church”, to which he adduces a number of helpful citations, and concludes that “for Mary, death, in consequence of her freedom from original sin and from personal sin, was not a consequence of punishment of sin. However, it seems fitting that Mary’s body, which was by nature mortal, should be, in conformity with that of her Divine Son, subject to the general law of death”…The point of her bodily death has not been infallibly defined, and many believe that she did not die at all, but was assumed directly into Heaven. The dogmatic definition within the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus which, according to Roman Catholic dogma, infallibly proclaims the doctrine of the Assumption leaves open the question whether, in connection with her departure, Mary underwent bodily death; that is, it does not dogmatically define the point one way or the other, as shown by the words “having completed the course of her earthly life”…Many Catholics also believe that Mary first died before being assumed, but they add that she was miraculously resurrected before being assumed…This doctrine was dogmatically and infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950, in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus.

The holiday, then, is based upon mystic literature like the Transitus Mariae, essentially combined with a dogmatic declaration in 1950.

Now, the Transitus Mary was allegedly an account from an apparition claiming to be Mary. Yet, Catholics need to realize that in the early 6th century, a papal decree, Decretum Gelasianum, classified the Transitus Mariae writings as apocryphal (The Transitus Mariae Non-canonical Account of Mary’s passing. http://www.bibleprobe.com/transitusmariae.htm). Anyway, the Transitus Mariae claims that John was in Ephesus and the Holy Spirit transported him to Mary in Bethlehem (Smith Lewis A. Apocrypha syriaca: the Protevangelium Jacobi and Transitus Mariae, with texts from the Septuagint, the Corân, the Peshiṭta, and from a Syriac hymm in a Syro-Arabic palimpsest of the fifth and other centuries. C.J. Clay and sons, 1902, p. 25) and that Mary was taken into heaven from her house in Bethlehem (p. 33) and that was within the jurisdiction of the governor of Jerusalem (p. 36).

Now, having been to Ephesus a couple of times, I would like to mention the Islamic Turks in that area actually do celebrate the “assumption of Mary” as well. Not because it is mentioned in the Quran (it does not seem to be), but because Mary is mentioned in the Quran more times than Jesus. Certain Muslims venerate Mary to a degree.

Perhaps I should add that August 15th is considered by certain Catholics to be Mary’s “heavenly birthday.” However, perhaps it should be pointed out that early Christians did not observe birthdays (Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?), hence the “birthday into heaven” position also was not a position of early Christians.

Notice what the Catholic news agency Zenit reported on the dogma:

Why a…dogmatic pronouncement on the Assumption? Because the Vicar of Christ…was inspired to do so to bring forth a new outpouring of grace for the Church through the intercession of the Queen of Heaven — the Mediatrix of all graces who was newly honored by a solemn papal proclamation of her parting earthly prerogative…

One objection voiced during the months preceding the 1950 definition by a group of theologians was that the new Marian definition would wreak havoc to ecumenical efforts newly initiated with other Christians. The late Cardinal Edouard Gagnon who lived through the years preceding and proceeding the Assumption definition, repeatedly testified to the opposite — that immediately following the papal proclamation of Our Lady’s Assumption, the Church experienced its greatest ever advancement in ecumenism in Church history up to its time, which consequently led to its historic flourishing at the Second Vatican Council.

Mothers unite. They do not divide. (Our Lady and Dogmas: Pondering the Assumption. ZE10081612 – 2010-08-16. Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-30069?l=english)

So, the dogma is for the eventual ecumenical plans of the Church of Rome. But it was not an original dogma (it was adopted in 1950), it is in conflict with sacred scripture, and it was not an original apostolic tradition.

Later this year, however, look for Pope Francis to push more towards his version of ‘Mary’ (watch Fatima and Pope Francis).

For more information, please check out the following:

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?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
The ‘Lady’ of Guadalupe: Any Future Ramifications? It is claimed that a female apparition appeared near Mexico City on December 12, 1531. How has it affected the world? What might it suggest about the future? A video of related interest is titled: The ‘Lady of Guadalupe’ and Prophecy.
Fatima Shock! YouTube Dr. Thiel highlights a few points of why no one would support Fatima, etc. as discussed in the documented book Fatima Shock!
The ‘Lady’ of Guadalupe: Any Future Ramifications? It is claimed that a female apparition appeared near Mexico City on December 12, 1531. How has it affected the world? What might it suggest about the future? A video of related interest is titled: The ‘Lady of Guadalupe’ and Prophecy.
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Feast of the Immaculate Conception? Did early Christians teach Mary had an immaculate conception and led a sinless life?
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.
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?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics The talks for unification involve compromise and the apparent rising up of a changed religion that no one should accept.
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
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?]
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
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.

Christianity, the state of the dead, and heaven

Monday, August 14th, 2017

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

Do Christians actually go to heaven when they die?

Certain scholars who have looked into the Bible and early church history have properly questioned the idea of Christians going to heaven:

(RNS) The oft-cliched Christian notion of heaven — a blissful realm of harp-strumming angels — has remained a fixture of the faith for centuries…But scholars on the right and left increasingly say that comforting belief in an afterlife has no basis in the Bible and would have sounded bizarre to Jesus and his early followers…

Wright and Morse work independently of each other and in very different ideological settings, but their work shows a remarkable convergence on key points. In classic Judaism and first-century Christianity, believers expected this world would be transformed into God’s Kingdom — a restored Eden where redeemed human beings would be liberated from death, illness, sin and other corruptions.

“This represents an instance of two top scholars who have apparently grown tired of talk of heaven on the part of Christians that is neither consistent with the New Testament nor theologically coherent,” said Trevor Eppehimer of Hood Theological Seminary in North Carolina. “The majority of Christian theologians today would recognize that Wright and Morse’s views on heaven represent, for the most part, the basic New Testament perspective on heaven.”

First-century Jews who believed Jesus was Messiah also believed he inaugurated the Kingdom of God and were convinced the world would be transformed in their own lifetimes, Wright said. This inauguration, however, was far from complete and required the active participation of God’s people practicing social justice, nonviolence and forgiveness to become fulfilled…“And so it’s not a Platonic, timeless eternity, which is what we were all taught,” Wright said. “It is very definitely that there will come a time when God will utterly transform this world — that will be the age to come.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/17/nt-wright-christian-heaven-is-wrong_n_1524117.html

N. T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. Rob Bell’s bestseller Love Wins follows Wright in putting the post-mortem emphasis on resurrected bodies in the context of a new heaven and a new earth. More recently Howard Snyder and Joel Scandrett, in Salvation Means Creation Healed, make an extended argument that salvation focuses not just on souls and not just on people, but presents the hope of a transformed and new earth…

The eschatological hope of reembodiment and a renewed earth doesn’t belong to Paul alone. Second Peter 3:13 reads that “in accordance with his [God’s] promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” And of course there are chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation, in which the seer beholds “a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (21:1) and focuses on a resplendent New Jerusalem, into which the nations will proceed by the light of the Lamb and offer up all their glories (22:23–24).

Such texts suggest that the new view is not so new but is indeed a recovery of an old and more decidedly biblical view of death and the afterlife. http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2012-05/life-after-life-after-death

There is no question that early Christians did not teach that believers go to heaven upon death, but instead taught that they would be later resurrected to be part of the Kingdom of God. See also Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven?

An anonymous, likely first century, document sometimes called I Clement states:

The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. (42:1-3).

Although he had a lot of heretical views, Justin Martyr (considered to be a saint by both Catholics and Protestants, but not by those of us in the Church of God) in the second century wrote:

“For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians” (Justin. Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 80).

Polycarp of Smyrna was an early Christian leader, who was a disciple of John, the last of the original apostles to die. Polycarp, around 110-135 A.D. taught:

Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory …For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit; ” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

While Greek philosophers and Mithraism taught going to heaven (see Do You Practice Mithraism?), the reality is that this was not a teaching of the New Testament nor early professors of Christ. It should also be noted that Dr. Wright was correct that Christians practiced nonviolence (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?).

However, since Mithraism was a military cult, when a follower of Mithras in the fourth century (the Roman Emperor Constantine, who opposed matters he considered to be Jewish, see Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? ) decided to attempt to blend the religion of Mithras with Catholicism, most who professed Christ then not only adopted the view of heaven, but also the view that military service in this age was acceptable (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare? and Do You Practice Mithraism?).

What is the State of the Dead?

The dead are currently in their graves awaiting one of three resurrections (see What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection?).

But some still have questions.

The Apostle Peter taught something related in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.… For David did not ascend into the heavens…” (Acts 2:29, 34).

Notice that David did not go to heaven. Peter, speaking many centuries after David’s death, taught that David was still in his grave where he had been placed at death, and was still awaiting the resurrection.

This differs from the common and mistaken belief that people like David went to heaven upon death or upon Jesus’ death and/or resurrection.

Jesus Himself explained, “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13).

So, only Jesus has been to heaven.

Some may wonder what the dead are now doing? The dead are dead. They are simply “sleeping” in their graves, unconscious, waiting to be called to resurrection.

What will happen when Christians are resurrected? The Apostle Paul explains:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18).

The modern doctrine of going to heaven upon death simply was not part of early Christianity or taught in the New Testament.

Most know very little about early church history or where their doctrines came from–and what many think they know is clouded by misinformation and misconceptions.

But those willing to be called and led by God can find the truth in the Bible and the scattered records of early church history

Those interested in early Christianity may wish to check out the following to learn more:

Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven? What do the Bible and scholars teach? What about ‘near-death experiences’? Here is a link to a related sermon: Heaven and Christianity. A shorter video is Dante Aligheri’s Inferno, Heaven, and The Real Hope.
What Is the Place that Jesus Is Preparing? Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote this and answered whether the saints go to heaven upon death.
What Happens After Death? Is death like sleep, or is that a cultic idea? Can you speak to the dead? Here is a link to a related sermon: What really happens after death?
Are The Wicked Tormented Forever or Burned Up? How does one explain Revelation 14:11 in light of Malachi 4:3? What happens to the incorrigibly wicked?
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.
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?
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
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?
Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate? Justin is considered one of the first Christian theologians and scholars. But did he support a Gnostic version of Christianity? Do you know what he taught about souls going to heaven upon death? This article shows from his own writings, what Justin really taught.
Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught?
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.
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? 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?

Sermon: Africa: Its biblical past, present, and future

Saturday, August 12th, 2017


COGwriter

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

Is Africa mentioned in the Bible? Who did the Africans descend from? Were there any Africans of note in the Old Testament? Did God intervene in the New Testament to insure an African would would be saved? Did any of the apostles get to Africa? Have there long been Sabbath-keepers in Africa? Are there faithful Christians in Africa today? Does God want Africans called and taught? Which African countries has the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) been involved in? Has God provided any intervention related to the CCOG in Africa? Should reaching Africans be despised or considered to be a fulfillment of going through doors that God opens? What about the day of small things? Does God have a plan to protect the Philadelphian Africans? Are Africans prophesied to see more wealth during the reign of the Beast? Does God have a plan to call more Africans?

Here is a link to the video sermon: Africa: Its biblical past, present, and future.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Africa: Its Biblical Past and Prophesied Future What does the Bible teach about Africa and its future? Did the early Church reach Africa? Will God call all the Africans? A sermon of possible interest would be: Africa: Its biblical past, present, and future. Another video of possible interest is: Nairobi Conference: All About Love.
Nairobi Conference: All About Love This is the beginning of the 2017 African conference for the Continuing Church of God in Nairobi, Kenya for leaders from eight nations. The agenda and introductions are the first portion of this video, and then there is a sermon explaining why the Philadelphia remnant is all about love. Though given in English, most of the messages are translated into the African language of Kiswahili on this video.
Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising.
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.
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.
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?
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. 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 The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that 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.
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.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube video sermonettes 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.