Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

What’s a Dalmatic?

Thursday, September 29th, 2016


Roman Catholic clergyman wearing a Dalmatic (Eric Stoltz)

COGwriter

The pro-Vatican news agency Zenit reported the following a while back from priest Edward McNamara, who is a professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university about a garment called a dalmatic:

September 23, 2014

The proper vestment for a deacon at Mass is an alb (with an amice if required), cincture, stole worn in the diaconal manner, and dalmatic. The stole and dalmatic should be of the corresponding liturgical color.

This vestment is a knee-length, sleeved garment. It was originally developed in Dalmatia, modern-day Croatia, and was imported into Rome during the second century.

At first the dalmatic, which was originally longer, reaching the heels, and more ample than today, was not well received, being seen as somewhat effeminate. Later, however, it became popular among Roman senators and imperial officials as a substitute for the toga and was even used as the proper garb for the consecration of the emperor.

From this it became a habit proper to the pope and to bishops. Finally it was introduced as a vestment for the deacons of Rome by Pope Sylvester I in the fourth century and gradually became their proper vestment. For a time, especially during the ninth to 14th centuries, bishops and even priests would sometimes wear the dalmatic under the chasuble. http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/when-to-wear-a-dalmatic

So, what does this report tell us?

Consistent with other historical reports, this admits that the vestments of Catholic deacons were not an original Christian practice (see also Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress?).

Specifically, Catholic priest and scholar priest Edward McNamara is admitting:

  1. The dalmatic was not from the Bible.
  2. The dalmatic was not an original garment that deacons wore.
  3. The source of the dalmatic came from worldly society.
  4. People had concerns about the dalmatic because it was considered to be effeminate.
  5. The dalmatic became associated with imperial politicians, including emperors.
  6. Because of its ties to politics, it was adopted by pontiffs and bishops.
  7. During the time of Emperor Constantine, it was adopted for use by deacons.

 

Despite this, the Church of Rome acts like a dalmatic is important and perhaps sacred.

But it is not.

Sylvester I was bishop of Rome from 314 to 335 A.D., which was during the reign of the sun-god worshiping Emperor Constantine. The Bishops of Rome did not take the title Pontifex Maximus, which Constantine held, until several decades after his death. But because of how the pagan priests dressed, it was during the reigns of Sylvester and Constantine that the Church of Rome adopted the vestments that they now wear.

Although Edward McNamara is referring to the dalmatic as part of the proper vestment for deacons during Catholic mass, this most certainly does not come from the Bible nor the practices of the early followers of Christ.

Notice what was written by a former Roman Catholic priest named Peter de Rosa:

Rome…successors will be not the servants but the masters of the world. They will dress in purple like Nero and call themselves Pontifex Maximus…

By the time Stephen III became pope, the church was thoroughly converted to the Roman Empire. From the Donation, it is plain that the Bishop of Rome looked like Constantine, lived like him, dressed liked him, inhabited his palaces, ruled over his lands, had exactly the same imperial outlook. The pope, too, wanted to lord it over church and state. (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolberg Press, Dublin, 2000, pp. 34,45).

Pontifex Maximus was a title, literally meaning bridge-builder (but figuratively meaning the link between God and man) that Roman Emperors, including Constantine, used for themselves. Emperor Constantine had been a follower of Mithras, and apparently influenced many of the Greco-Roman clergy to dress like the clergy of Mithraism. Why else would Bishop Sylvester do this as it was not from the Bible? This was an obvious change to the practices of the original Christian leaders (see also Do You Practice Mithraism?).

Much of the Greco-Roman clergy wears distinctive robes, but notice that Jesus even denounced religious leaders of His day for doing so:

38 In his teaching he said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted respectfully in the market squares, 39 to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; 40 these are the men who devour the property of widows and for show offer long prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’ (Mark 12:38, NJB)

6 ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes and love to be greeted respectfully in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets, 47 who devour the property of widows, and for show offer long prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’ (Luke 20:46-47)

So, twice in Catholic translations of the Bible, dressing in distinctive robes is condemned. Also, it appears that the practice of priests trying to get money from widows related to ‘purgatory‘ would also seem to be being specifically condemned by Jesus.

Furthermore, the New Testament has a warning about appearing effeminate. The following is from a Catholic translation of the Bible:

9 Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, 10 Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.

11 And such some of you were; but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Douay-Rheims)

Furthermore, the Bible (using another Catholic translation) warns:

15 Do not love the world or the things of the world.If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever. (1 John 2:15-17, NABRE)

Yet, Bishop Sylvester was enticed and chose pretentious garments, not from the Father, but from the world. Every time one sees a Roman Catholic, Anglican/Episcopal, or Eastern Orthodox clergyman dressed in their typical ecclesiastical vestments, realize that they are outwardly displaying compromise that earlier leaders made with Emperor Constantine and his pagan religion in the fourth century.

None of the commonly used external vestments by the clergies of those religions came from the Bible nor the original apostles.

The Greco-Roman faiths are NOT the continuation of the original Christian religion.

Some items of possibly related interest may including the following:

Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
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? 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.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
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.
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?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
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.
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?

Early Christians did NOT believe in the ‘immortality of the soul’

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

History of Early  Christianity

COGwriter

The vast majority in the Greco-Roman faiths of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxism, and Protestantism believe that humans have an immortal soul. Yet, the Continuing Church of God does not, nor did early Christians.

What does the Bible teach? What was that the teaching of early church leaders often venerated as saints by the Greco-Romans on this?

This was addressed in a sermon titled Are humans immortal?

The terms immortal and immortality are not found in the Old Testament (NKJV).

Interestingly, Ezekiel recorded:

Behold, all souls are Mine;
The soul of the father
As well as the soul of the son is Mine;
The soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4).

Notice that Ezekiel says that souls that sin shall die. But since it is appointed unto men once to die (Hebrews 9:27), is this talking about the first or second death (Revelation 2:11;20:6,14;21:8)?

Well, notice the next several verses from Ezekiel:

But if a man is just And does what is lawful and right;
If he has not eaten on the mountains,Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife, Nor approached a woman during her impurity;
If he has not oppressed anyone, But has restored to the debtor his pledge; Has robbed no one by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing;
If he has not exacted usury Nor taken any increase,But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity And executed true judgment between man and man;
If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully–He is just; He shall surely live!”Says the Lord GOD (Ezekiel 18:5-9).

Ezekiel is obviously talking about the first death.

Why?

Notice that the just man shall live. This is in contrast to the one who practices sin, who shall die. And, think about this point, the just man was already alive, hence the fact that he shall live suggests that God will resurrect him so that he can live forever.

Ezekiel basically continues and again warns:

The soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20).

These writings in the Old Testament seem to set the stage for the writings in the New Testament.

The New Testament

The New Testament teaches the same basic doctrines as the Old Testament, but tends to expand on them.

Jesus confirmed that souls can and will be destroyed when He taught:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body (Matthew 10:28).

If souls were truly immortal, then they could not be destroyed. Jesus taught that death was like sleep:

11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”

12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead” (John 11:11-14).

Notice also that Jesus taught that eternal life was given at a later time, in the age to come:

29 Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come everlasting life (Luke 18:29-30).

Thus, humans do not possess that eternal life now. The dead are asleep now:

14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14)

Perhaps the most famous passage in the New Testament is John 3:16. It states:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Notice the contrast above. Humans would perish (and this means eternally, since all die physically) if God had not loved the world enough to send Jesus so that the believers could have everlasting life.

Paul clearly understood this concept as here is some of what he wrote about immortality:

1 Corinthians 15:51-54 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” NKJV (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).

Notice that Paul is saying that we must be changed in order to possess immortality, and that the sleeping dead will be raised. And that this occurs at the resurrection. No human has immortality now.

Nor did Paul as he taught:

I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended (Phillipians 3:8-13).

Thus, the immortality attained at the resurrection is not something that Christians have today.

Furthermore, all humans cannot possible possess immortality now. Look at what the Apostle John taught:

…you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15).

Since many people are or have been murderers, this proves that not all humans possess immortality.

Currently, look at who only has immortality:

He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

Thus, Jesus is the only one who was born human that who alone currently possesses immortality.

Other than the quotes above, the following are all the remaining times the NKJV uses the terms immortal or immortality:

…who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality (Romans 2:6-7).

…our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10).

However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal (1 Timothy 1:16-17).

Note that every passage in the Bible that uses the terms immortal or immortality say that Jesus has immortality, that humans do not have it, that Jesus came so that humans can have it, and that He came to abolish death.

Why would this even be an issue if humans were already immortal?

Furthermore although some have used the term “soul sleep” in a negative manner towards those of us who believe that death is like sleep, notice what the Apostle Paul was inspired to write:

16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. (1 Corinthians 15:16-18)

It is proper for Christians to teach and believe that death is like sleep. Those who condemn “soul sleep” are also condemning Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

Second Century Church Writings

But what about the early Church? After the apostles died (John being the last around 100 A.D.), there were early church writers who continued to teach what the apostles taught, which is what is in the Old and New Testaments. Many of the second century writings here are from true Church of God saints, and most of these writings are accepted as coming from “saints” according to the Greco-Roman churches.

Here is something from what is believed to be “the oldest complete Christian sermon that has survived” (Holmes M.W. Ancient Christian Sermon. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004). This Ancient Christian Sermon contains these statements about it:

Now I do not think that I have given any mean council respecting continence, and whosoever performeth it will not repent thereof, but will save both himself and me his councilor. For it is no mean reward to convert a wondering and perishing soul, that it may be saved (15:1).

For if we have received commands, that we should make this our business, to tear men away from idols and to instruct them, how much more is it wrong that a soul which knoweth God already should perish! (17:1).

Souls that can perish cannot be immortal.

Notice this from Ignatius’ Letter to the Ephesians:

For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into His Church (Chapter 17).

Especially [will I do this] if the Lord make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ (Chapter 20).

Ignatius is essentially teaching that Christ suffered to give immortality to the Church and we in the Church when we properly partake of Passover can live forever in Christ–otherwise we would die.

Be sober as an athlete of God: the prize set before you is immortality and eternal life, of which you are also persuaded (Ignatius. Letter to Polycarp, Chapter 2).

Polycarp of Smyrna (mid-2nd century) taught that the body and soul were to be resurrected, hence he taught against the immortality of the soul doctrine:

I bless you for because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a place among the number of martyrs in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection to eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit (The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 14:2. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p.239).

Though the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch now lists him in their succession list, around 170 A.D. Theophilus of Antioch wrote a position that seems to differ from current Eastern Orthodox doctrine on immortality:

When thou shalt have put off the mortal, and put on incorruption, then shall thou see God worthily. For God will raise thy flesh immortal with thy soul; and then, having become immortal, thou shalt see the Immortal, if now you believe on Him; and then you shall know that you have spoken unjustly against Him (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 1, Chapter VI. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God…so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God…For God has given us a law and holy commandments; and every one who keeps these can be saved, and, obtaining the resurrection, can inherit incorruption (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXVII. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

But God at least, the Father and Creator of the universe did not abandon mankind, but gave a law, and sent holy prophets to declare and teach the race of men, that each one of us might awake and understand that there is one God. And they also taught us to refrain from unlawful idolatry, and adultery, and murder, fornication, theft, avarice, false swearing, wrath, and every incontinence and uncleanness; and that whatever a man would not wish to be done to himself, he should not do to another; and thus he who acts righteously shall escape the eternal punishments, and be thought worthy of the eternal life from God (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXXIV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Probably prior to 180 A.D., Melito of Sardis, a famous church leader and writer, wrote:

He killed death which had put man to death (Melito. Homily On the Passover, Verse 66. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology, http://www.kerux.com/documents/KeruxV4N1A1.asp 09/14/05). .

And by this, Melito is teaching that Jesus could provide immortality, as humans did not possess it (he obviously is not referring to physical death, as Christians have died throughout history).

Even though he held some heretical views, Irenaeus is considered to have been an important early theologian by Catholics and Protestants (around 180 A.D.) wrote, that:

Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King…may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book 1, Chapter 10, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Thus Irenaeus did understand the idea that humans do not possess immortality and that it is a gift of God. And this gift is only given to those that have kept His commandments.

He also understood that the resurrection was physical:

We therefore have formed the belief that [our] bodies also do rise again. For although they go to corruption, yet they do not perish; for the earth, receiving the remains, preserves them, even like fertile seed mixed with more fertile ground. Again, as a bare grain is sown, and, germinating by the command of God its Creator, rises again, clothed upon and glorious, but not before it has died and suffered decomposition, and become mingled with the earth (Irenaeus. Fragments of Irenaeus, Fragment VII. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright © 1885. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.).

And even though he was not part of the true Church of God, Justin wrote:

Justin also stated, “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” (Dialogue. Chapter 80).

While those of us in the Continuing Church of God would agree that souls die (Ezekiel 18:4) and are not taken to heaven upon death (Job:14:14; John 3:13), those in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches would seem to disagree with Justin here.

The second century apologist Tatian and associate of Justin wrote:

The soul is not in itself immortal, O Greeks, but mortal. Yet it is possible for it not to die. If, indeed, it knows not the truth, it dies, and is dissolved with the body, but rises again at last at the end of the world with the body, receiving death by punishment in immortality (Tatian. Translated by J.E. Ryland. Tatian’s Address to the Greeks, Chapter XIII . Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Polycrates of Ephesus in the late second century wrote and told the Roman Bishop Victor:

Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24, Verse 5. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Thus immortality was something to be obtained, not something inherent. And the idea of man’s destiny to become God was known in the second century.

Tertullian was a second century religious leader outside the Church of God. And although he held doctrines that we in the COGs would find to be heretical, he is considered to have been an important early theologian by Roman Catholics. Tertullian wrote:

The resurrection is first, and afterwards the kingdom. We say, therefore, that the flesh rises again, but that when changed it obtains the kingdom. “For the dead shall be raised incorruptible,” even those who had been corruptible when their bodies fell into decay; “and we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. For this corruptible”–and as he spake, the apostle seemingly pointed to his own flesh–” must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” in order, indeed, that it may be rendered a fit substance for the kingdom of God. “For we shall be like the angels.” This will be the perfect change of our flesh–only after its resurrection. Now if, on the contrary, there is to be no flesh, how then shall it put on incorruption and immortality? Having then become something else by its change, it will obtain the kingdom of God, no longer the (old) flesh and blood, but the body which God shall have given it. Rightly then does the apostle declare, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” for this (honour) does he ascribe to the changed condition which ensues on the resurrection (Tertullian. Against Marcion, Book V, Chapter 10. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Thus, he is correctly teaching that we are not now immortal and not as we now are fit for the kingdom of God–this occurs after the resurrection.

Third Century

The Catholic bishop Hippolytus was a third century religious leader outside the Church of God. And although he held doctrines that we in the COGs would find to be heretical, he is considered to have been one of the greatest early theologians by Roman Catholics.

Hippolytus wrote:

Let us believe then, dear brethren, according to the tradition of the apostles, that God the Word came down from heaven, (and entered) into the holy Virgin Mary, in order that, taking the flesh from her, and assuming also a human, by which I mean a rational soul, and becoming thus all that man is with the exception of sin, He might save fallen man, and confer immortality on men who believe on His name (Hippolytus. Against Noetus, Chapter 17. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Notice that Hippolytus taught that Jesus needed to come in order to confer immortality on men. He would not have to do that if humans were immortal.

Hippolytus also wrote:

For concerning the general resurrection and the kingdom of the saints, Daniel says: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” And Isaiah says: “The dead shall rise, and those in the tombs shall awake, and those in the earth shall rejoice.” And our Lord says: “Many in that day shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live” (Hippolytus. On the End of the World, Chapter XXXVI. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Notice that Hippolytus is showing that death is like sleep and the dead must be raised.

The Catholic bishop Victorinus (ca. late third century) wrote:

“To him that overcomes I will give the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone.” The hidden manna is immortality; the white gem is adoption to be the son of God; the new name written on the stone is “Christian.” (Victorinus. Commentary on the Apocalypse. Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0712.htm> viewed 12/27/08)

There would be no reason to give immortality if it was possessed upon birth.

Pertaining to peoples in the third century, Eusebius wrote about some in Arabia:

They said that during the present time the human soul dies and perishes with the body, but that at the time of the resurrection they will be renewed together (Eusebius. Church History, Book VI, Chapter 37).

The immortality of the soul doctrine seemed to enter the Greco-Roman churches from compromises with paganism and likely originated in Egypt. A spurious document apparently from the second or early third century may have been used to introduce the immortality heresy into the Alexandrian Orthodox:

Now, the proof that the soul is immortal will be put past doubt, not from what it says, or from what I hear, but from what I see: for seeing it with my eyes, I shall ever after hold the surest conviction of its immortality; and no fallacy of words or uncertainty of hearing shall ever be able to disturb the persuasion produced by sight. (The Recognitions of Clement, 1.5. In the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors, Vol. VIII. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted 1995. Note: This text is considered to have been spurious and probably not written by Clement of Alexandria. It seems to be a second century document and could have impacted the views of Gregory the Wonder Worker and others.)

Notice that the claim for immortality above is NOT based on the Bible, but what the author claims to see. The Bible teaches that we are to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)–yet perhaps the first “pro-immortality” Greco-Roman writing does not appeal to scripture, unlike the future immorality writers generally did.

Since it is believed that Origen referred to this Recognition work c. 231, he would have been familiar with it, though some believe passages may have been added to it in the fourth or even later centuries (Smith T. Introductory Notice to The Recognitions of Clement. ANTE-NICENE FATHERS VOLUME 8. The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementina, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First Ages Edited by ALEXANDER ROBERTS, D.D., and JAMES DONALDSON, LL.D. Revised and Chronologically Arranged, with Brief Prefaces and Occasional Notes by A. CLEVELAND COXE, D.D. T&T CLARK EDINBURGH, pp. 73-74).

But it should be noted that in the mid-late third century a mystic often now referred to as Gregory the Wonder Worker studied under Origen in Alexandria Egypt. Gregory was the first to claim to see “Mary,” helped introduce heretical doctrines, and may have been the first of the Greco-Roman bishops to teach that the soul was immortal:

We prove, then, that the soul is simple…that what is simple is immortal…If, therefore, the soul is not corrupted by the evil proper to itself, and the evil of the soul is cowardice, intemperance, envy, and the like, and all these things do not despoil it of its powers of life and action, it follows that it is immortal. (Gregory Thaumaturgus. On the Soul, Chapters 5, 6. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0608.htm> viewed 06/05/11)

Sand, for another example, is simple, but that does not make it immortal. Yet the simplicity argument is supposedly proof of the false doctrine. Absurd.

And while this doctrine was not commonly accepted for a while, his change did get accepted (though to a significant degree because of others, but also likely some he at least indirectly affected). But it never should have been accepted. in Ezekiel 18:4 the Douay-Rheims Bible (a well known Roman Catholic rendition of scripture into the English language) teaches ” the soul that sinneth, the same shall die” and “The soul that sinneth, the same shall die” in Ezekiel 18:20.

Fourth Century

Athanasius was a fourth century religious leader outside the Church of God. And although he held doctrines that we in the COGs would find to be heretical (including some held by Gregory Thaumagutus), he is considered to be a major saint and historical figure by the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.

But even he understood the concept that after the resurrection, that Christians were to become God and that they had to inherit immortality, as man otherwise is mortal. Notice what he wrote:

…that by death immortality has reached to all, that by the Word becoming man, the universal Providence has been known, and its Giver and Artificer the very Word of God. 3. For He was made man that we might be made God; and He manifested Himself by a body that we might receive the idea of the unseen Father; and He endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality (Athanasius. On the Incarnation of the Word, Chapter 54, Verses 2-3. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

…for us, that us who are mortal and temporal, the Lord, become man, might make immortal, and bring into the everlasting kingdom of heaven? (Athanasius. Discourse I Against the Arians, Chapter 48, Verse 1. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

‘The Word became flesh,’ that He might make man capable of Godhead…He created us, the Economy of our salvation; that though by the serpent’s deceit we fell from Him, we might not remain quite dead, but having in the Word the redemption and salvation which was afore prepared for us, we might rise again and abide immortal, what time He should have been created for us ‘a beginning of the ways,’ and He who was the ‘First-born of creation’ should become ‘first-born’ of the ‘brethren,’ and again should rise ‘first-fruits of the dead.’ (Athanasius. Discourse I Against the Arians, Chapters 59,75. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

The fourth century Catholic apologist and teacher Lactantius wrote:

For since man consists of two parts, body and soul, of which the one is earthly, the other heavenly, two lives have been assigned to man: the one temporal, which is appointed for the body; the other everlasting, which belongs to the soul. We received the former at our birth we attain to the latter by striving, that immortality might not exist to man without any difficulty. That earthly one is as the body, and therefore has an end; but this heavenly one is as the soul, and therefore has no limit. We received the first when we were ignorant of it, this second knowingly; for it is given to virtue, not to nature, because God wished that we should procure life for ourselves in life.

For this reason He has given us this present life, that we may either lose that true and eternal life by our vices, or win it by virtue…For other animals incline towards the ground, because they are earthly, and are incapable of immortality, which is from heaven; but man is upright and looks towards heaven, because immortality is proposed to him; which, however, does not come, unless it is given to man by God. For otherwise there would be no difference between the just and the unjust, since every man who is born would become immortal. Immortality, then, is not the consequence of nature, but the reward and recompense of virtue…God seeks to be worshipped, and to be honoured by man as a Father, that he may have virtue and wisdom, which alone produce immortality. For because no other but Himself is able to confer that immortality, since He alone possesses it, He will grant to the piety of the man, with which he has honoured God, this reward, to be blessed to all eternity, and to be for ever in the presence of God and in the society of God (Lactantius. Divine Institutes, Book VII, Of a Happy Life, Chapter 5).

The fourth century, Bishop Ambrose of Milan wrote:

The third death is that of which it is said: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” In that death not only the flesh but also the soul dies, for “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” For it dies to the Lord, through the weakness not of nature but of guilt. But this death is not the discharge from this life, but a fall through error…The heathen mostly console themselves with the thought, either of the common misery, or of the law of nature, or of the immortality of the soul. And would that their utterances were consistent, and that they did not transmit the wretched soul into a number of ludicrous monstrosities and figures!

But what ought we to do, whose reward is the resurrection, though many, not being able to deny the greatness of this gift, refuse to believe in it? And for this reason will we maintain it, not by one casual argument only, but by as many as we are able…The blossom of the resurrection is immortality, the blossom of the resurrection is incorruption (Ambrose of Milan. Book II. On the Belief in the Resurrection, verses 37, 50, 54).

Thus even into the fourth century, the immortality of humans was not taught as is now accepted by Catholics and Protestants. But this seemed to change as many who professed Catholicism ended coming from a background in Mithraism (such as Emperor Constantine).

Mithraism Taught the Immortality of the Soul

In the fourth century, there was a sort of merging between the Greco-Roman churches and many who had been followers of the sun-god Mithras. And while the Greco-Romans did not adopt everything associated with Mithraism, they did adopt some practices and beliefs that those who followed Mithras had.

While many Roman emperors had been followers of Mithras, they tended to distain forms of Christianity. However this changed with Emperor Constantine.

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports:

…it was especially in the western part of the empire that the veneration of Mithras predominated. Would it not be possible to gather all the different nationalities around his altars? Could not Sol Deus Invictus, to whom even Constantine dedicated his coins for a long time, or Sol Mithras Deus Invictus, venerated by Diocletian and Galerius, become the supreme god of the empire? Constantine may have pondered over this. Nor had he absolutely rejected the thought even after a miraculous event had strongly influenced him in favour of the God of the Christians…As pontifex maximus he watched over the heathen worship and protected its rights…It is true that the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas. Consequently Constantine speaks not of the day of the Lord, but of the everlasting day of the sun.

(Herbermann, Charles, and Georg Grupp. “Constantine the Great.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 1 Sept. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04295c.htm>)

It should be mentioned that the coins dedicated to Mithras still were produced for years after Constantines’ alleged acceptance of “Christianity”.

Mithraism taught the immortality of the soul. And though that was not the original position of the Greco-Roman churches, scholars recognize that both Mithraism and mainstream Christianity ended up with a similar teaching on this subject:

The resemblances between Mithraism and Christianity may be quickly summed up,—belief in the immortality of the soul (Aiken C.F., Mithraism and Christianity. The Catholic University bulletin, Volume 19, 1913. Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Dec 19, 2008, p. 380)

They both admitted the existence of a Heaven inhabited by beatified ones, situate in the upper regions…they both, finally, believed in the immortality of the soul (Cumont, Franz. Translated from the second revised French edition by Thomas J. McCormack. The Mysteries of Mithra. Chicago, OThe Catholic University bulletin Author Catholic University of America Publisher Catholic University of America., 1913 Item notes v. 19 Original from the University of Michigan Digitized Dec 19, 2008pen Court [1903] p. 193).

Because of Emperor Constantine’s strong influence (perhaps also combined with Gregory the Wonder Worker’s writings), it should be little surprise that the Greco-Romans began to change to accept a teaching that they original taught against. But for a while, the “immortality of the soul” view was in the minority.

Others also noticed some of this. Here is some of what the late Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about it in a paper dated November 23, 1949:

In Avesta, Mithra was the genius of celestial light…The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was another view which was very prominent in Mithraism…Of all the mystery cults, Mithraism was the greatest competitor of Christianity…That Christians did copy and borrow from Mithraism cannot be denied (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 213-214, 217, 222, 224).

So, immortality of the soul was a prominent view within Mithraism and the Greco-Romans adopted it for their form of “Christianity”. (For more on Mithraism, please check out Do You Practice Mithraism?)

Here is a link to a ContinuingCOG YouTube video titled: Are humans immortal?

Some articles to assist in your studies may include:

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?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
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 c. 31 A.D. to 2014. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
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?

7 Jewish points and 7 CCOG responses related to Rosh Hoshanah

Monday, September 26th, 2016

A shofar made from the horn of a Greater kudu

An animal horn trumpet.

COGwriter

The Feast of Trumpets begins after the setting of the sun on October 2nd, 2016 and ends sunset October 3rd, 2016. The modern Jews keep a version of it which they call Rosh Hoshahah.

Let’s look at seven points from an article titled The Rosh Hashanah Guide for the Perplexed, 2014 (http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/09/24/the-rosh-hashanah-guide-for-the-perplexed-2014/) which is intended to give an explanation to Jews about the current Jewish meaning of the day. I will also provide some CCOG (Continuing Church of God) comments on each of the points.

Here is Jewish point one:

1. Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal, and hopeful holiday, celebrated on the 6th‎ day of The Creation, which produced the first human being, Adam.

The Bible states that on the first day of the seventh month on the biblical calendar, there will be “a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:23-24). The idea that this coincides with the sixth day of creation is a view put forth by certain rabbis in the Talmud. The Talmud is basically a book of traditions written between 70 – 500 A.D.

Certain Jewish teachers taught that the creation was most likely in the Fall, rather than in the Spring, because in Genesis 1:11 when God states, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit,” this would be the Fall, for that is when there is both grass and fruit on trees.

The creation probably was in the Fall, but Genesis 1:3-4 more likely was the first day of the seventh month as it is called the first day, than when humans were created (Genesis 1:24-31), but that seventh month designation for the creation is not absolutely certain from the Bible.

Here is Jewish point two:

2. Rosh means, in Hebrew, ”beginning,” “first,” “head,” “chief.” The Hebrew spelling of Rosh (ראש) is the root of the Hebrew word for Genesis (בראשית), which is the first word in the Bible.

While that is interesting, it should be understood that the day was not called Rosh Hoshanah by the Jews until Talmudic times (Kramer, Amy J. Rosh Hashana Origins. Copyright © 1998-1999 Everything Jewish, Inc. http://www.everythingjewish.com/RoshH/RH_origins.htm 9/16/04).

The term ‘Rosh’ is not used in the scriptures that specifically mention the festival on the first day of the seventh month, and the term is an interpretation of Jewish tradition, not a strictly biblical one.

Notice a few scriptures:

2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. …

23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:12, 23-24)

Since Leviticus 23:2 states it lists God’s feasts, and the one that begins on the first day of the seventh month is a feast for the memorial of blowing trumpets, we in the Continuing Church of God believe that the name Feast of Trumpets better conveys the name than the later adopted Jewish term Rosh Hoshanah.

Here is Jewish point three:

3. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which means beginning/Genesis in ancient Akkadian.The Hebrew spelling of Tishrei (תשרי) is included in the spelling of Genesis (בראשית).

It is correct that the Feast of Trumpets is to be observed starting at the beginning of the seventh month of the biblical calendar that the Jews now call Tishri/Tishrei. In the Bible the month has a different name, Ethanim:

2 Therefore all the men of Israel assembled with King Solomon at the feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the seventh month. (1 Kings 8:2)

It should be noted that the months in the Bible can have different names. The first month is called the Abib (cf. Exodus 12:2; 13:4) and Nisan (Esther 3:7) in the Hebrew scriptures. Renaming the seventh month probably came from a Talmudic tradition.

Here is Jewish point four:

4. Rosh Hashanah is also referred to as “Ha’rat Olam” (the pregnancy of the world), and its prayers highlight motherhood, optimism, and the pregnancies of Sarah and Rachel, the Matriarchs, and Hannah, who gave birth to Isaac, Joseph and Benjamin, and the Prophet Samuel respectively.

While it may be likely that the world was created in the seventh month, calling the day the “pregnancy of the world” is a Jewish tradition. The Bible does not refer to it as a time of motherhood. Because of the visit from the angels in Genesis 19 along with the mention of unleavened bread in verse 3 and that juxtaposition to the promise to Sarah in Genesis 18, her pregnancy could seem to perhaps more logically have been in the Spring or Summer.

Here is Jewish point five:

5. Rosh Hashanah underlines human fallibility, humility, soul-searching, responsibility (as a precondition to the realization of opportunity), renewal/rebirth, memory (lessons of history), and the need for systematic education.

Humans are fallible and in need of humility, repentance (Acts 2:38; 17:30), and learning the truth (cf. John 8:31-32; 2 Peter 3:18). Nearly all times of holy convocations are times to reflect on that.

Here is Jewish point six:

6. The Shofar (ritual horn) is blown on Rosh Hashanah as a wake-up call to mend human behavior. Rosh Hashanah is also called “Yom Te’roo’ah” (the day of blowing the Shofar). Shofar (שופר) is a derivative of the Hebrew word for enhancement/improvement (שפור), which is constantly expected of human beings. It requires humility, symbolized by the Shofar, which is bent and is not supposed to be decorated.

A Shofar is blown on this day. Notice the following:

3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon,
At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.
4 For this is a statute for Israel,
A law of the God of Jacob. (Psalms 81:3-4)

The Hebrew word for shofar is the one translated as “trumpet” in Psalm 81:3. The idea that it is a naturally bent horn and that humans need improvement is an interesting one that is consistent with the truth.

Here is Jewish point seven:

7. The pomegranate – one of the seven species blessing the Land of Israel – features during Rosh Hashanah meals and in a key blessing on Rosh Hashanah: “May you be credited with as many rewards as the seeds of the pomegranate.” The pomegranate becomes ripe on time for Rosh Hashanah and contains – genetically – 613 seeds, which is the number of Jewish statutes (of Moses).

There are two different points to make here. The first is about a possible connection between pomegranates and trumpets.
Notice the following which mention the pomegranate tree and the blowing of a trumpet:

12 The vine has dried up,
And the fig tree has withered;
The pomegranate tree,
The palm tree also,
And the apple tree —
All the trees of the field are withered;
Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men.

13 Gird yourselves and lament, you priests;
Wail, you who minister before the altar;
Come, lie all night in sackcloth,
You who minister to my God;
For the grain offering and the drink offering
Are withheld from the house of your God.
14 Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
Gather the elders
And all the inhabitants of the land
Into the house of the Lord your God,
And cry out to the Lord.

15 Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is at hand;
It shall come as destruction from the Almighty. (Joel 1:12-15)

1 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand:
2 A day of darkness and gloominess,
A day of clouds and thick darkness,
Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. (Joel 2:1-2)

Notice that the pomegranate tree is referred to in Joel 1:12 in a destructive time, and that the trumpet (from the Hebrew word for Shofar) is telling of the time of the day of the Lord (see also When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? What is the Day of the Lord?). So, it could be said that there seems to be a type of connection.

But what about the 613 seeds of pomegranates?

Notice what one Jewish rabbi wrote:

Misconception: According to rabbinic tradition, a pomegranate (rimon) has 613 seeds.

Fact: The pomegranate is used in rabbinic tradition as an example of a fruit that contains many seeds, but not necessarily 613. …

The misconception about the pomegranate having 613 seeds is widespread, but its source is readily apparent. In a discussion on the meaning of seeing the fruit in a dream, the gemara in Berachot4 explains that “seeing small ones portends business being as fruitful as a pomegranate, while seeing large ones means that business will multiply like pomegranates. If, in the dream, the pomegranates are split open, if the dreamer is a scholar he may hope to learn more Torah … while if he is unlearned, he can hope to perform mitzvot ….” Drawing upon a verse in Shir HaShirim (4:3; 6:7), the gemara concludes by stating that even “the empty ones among the Jews are full of mitzvot like a pomegranate [is full of seeds].”5 Many misread this gemara to mean that there are precisely 613 seeds in a pomegranate, as there are 613 mitzvot. It should be clear, however, that the gemara uses pomegranates to imply an abundance. In fact, the very name “pomegranate” is derived from Latin’s “pomum” (apple) and “granatus” (seeded), alluding to the fruit’s many seeds. (Zivotofsky A. What’s the Truth about … Pomegranate Seeds? Jewish Action, September 20, 2008. http://www.ou.org/jewish_action/09/2008/whats_the_truth_about_pomegranate_seeds/

So, there are not normally 613 seeds in a pomegranate.

What about the so-called 613 Jewish statutes of Moses?

As it turns out, many of them are NOT statutes that God inspired Moses to write. Instead, they were developed by a Jewish rabbi and based upon various traditions, many of which were not adopted from the Bible. (See also Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain? What about the 613 mitzvot? and/or Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God.) Moses did NOT write all of the 613 statutes that Jews and certain others believe they need to keep.

Anyway, as far as the Feast of Trumpets goes, some of the Jewish points are accurate, some have a scriptural connection, and some others are based more upon tradition than biblical truth.

We in the Continuing Church of God are Christian. And while we believe that the Bible and church history enjoin the observance of the Feast of Trumpets on true believers, we are not Messianic Jews (many of whom claim that they should keep the 613 mitzvot) nor do we fully share the views of the Jews on this Holy Day.

We, unlike the Jews, also accept the New Testament as scripture, which means some of our understanding of this day comes from the New Testament, hence we have a better understanding of this day and how it fits in with God’s plan of salvation.

In the New Testament, the Bible shows that during the time period known as the Day of the Lord that there will be seven trumpets blown. And the last one, the seventh one, announces the return of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the saints, and meeting Jesus in the air:

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-54)

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)

Those are points that the Jewish interpretation of this Holy Day seem to miss. As Christians, we can draw comfort from the words of the New Testament, while we appreciate that there is a tie to the Old Testament.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
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.
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
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. they related?
Offertory: Blowing the Trumpet
Why should there be an offertory on the Feast of Trumpets. What does the Bible teach? How is the ‘trumpet’ being blown now? How is the Continuing Church of God reaching the world with the gospel of the kingdom? Do those in the Church of God also need to pay attention to the trumpet? Shofar blowing is also heard in this video. Here is a link to the: Donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal.
The Trumpet Release This is a sermon focused on the Feast of Trumpets for 2013. What is the Feast of Trumpets? How can this be part of God’s plan of salvation? Why do the Jews refer to it as Rosh Hashanah? What is the seventh year of release? Should it be restored and proclaimed? Did early Christians keep the Feast of Trumpets? Why should any one keep it now? What will happen with the seven trumpets of Revelation? Why do many not understand aspects of it?
Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God Both groups keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but have important differences in doctrines and practices. Here is a link to a related sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain? What about the Ten Commandments? What about the 613 regulations (called 613 Mitzvot) in the Old Testament? Which were ‘done away’?
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Where the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long?
Questions and Answers from Genesis Many wonder about certain early events that this article discusses.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?
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。.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?

The first claimed Roman ‘successor’ of Peter was not a pope according to Catholic scholars

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

September 23rd is the day recognized by the Catholics of Rome to honor Linus of Rome. Typically he is shown second on the list of bishops that purport to show the Roman Catholic pontiffs and is the claimed successor to the Apostle Peter. For information about him in the Spanish language, check out Linus no fue obispo de Roma.

There is an individual named Linus in the Bible. He is mentioned one time. Here is the only passage that mentions him:

Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren. The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen (2 Timothy 4:19-22).

The above was probably written, in approximately 67 A.D. – 68 A.D., by the Apostle Paul while in prison in Rome to the evangelist Timothy, who was in Ephesus.

This passage shows that Paul knew someone named Linus. Linus, therefore knew Paul, and was in Rome when Paul wrote this letter. It can probably be reasonably implied that Linus probably knew Timothy, and perhaps others in Ephesus. And based on Paul’s writings, it can be concluded that Paul, at that time, considered that particular Linus to be a Christian. It is probably logical to conclude that Linus met with Paul in prison on multiple occasions and probably, like the others, assisted him to some degree.

What it does not show is that Linus was to be the leader of those in Rome or ordained by Peter. Others are listed before him, hence, at least at the time Paul wrote this letter, there is no preeminence for Linus in Rome (and it should be noted that one of the proofs that Rome often cites to prove that Peter had preeminence is that Peter was quite often listed first in various New Testament passages involving multiple people). Linus simply was one of many who knew and probably assisted the Apostle Paul. The lack of emphasis/preeminence in Paul’s writings would seem to suggest that Linus could not have been the one to become the “bishop of Rome” and the successor of Peter and Paul in 67 A.D. Especially since it is believed that the Apostle Paul probably did not die until 68 A.D.

Whether or not this is the same individual named Linus that many Roman Catholics consider to be the first pope (the first “bishop of Rome”) to succeed Peter cannot be determined from the passages in 2 Timothy. This is confirmed by Catholic scholars, such as J.P. Kirsch, who wrote:

We cannot be positive whether this identification of the pope as being the Linus mentioned in II Timothy 4:21, goes back to an ancient and reliable source, or originated later on account of the similarity of the name (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Gerard Haffner. Pope St. Linus. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

But it seems that even if the Roman Catholics are referring to the same person, that he was not the one who was going to immediately become THE bishop of Rome–if he was it would be logical if Paul would have given Linus some special mention. Instead, he is simply grouped in with several others in Rome at that time (nor is Linus even mentioned first).

There are several demonstrably incorrect claims made about him by some in the Church of Rome. For example, here is something from a book I purchased in Vatican City:

2. LINUS, ST. (67-76)…He was the first to take up the inheritance of St. Peter…He made disposition for women to be admitted to the holy places and attend functions with their heads covered…He was buried beside St. Peter in the first Vatican burial spot. It is certain that he did exist while some have thrown doubt on his election to the pontificate. (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni as sponsored by the Pontifical Administration, Roma, 1997, p. 1)

The main historical fact is that Linus’ name showed up on a list. Not that he was Peter’s successor.

Here is some of what the Catholic scholar J.P. Kirsch wrote in The Catholic Encyclopedia about Linus:

The “Liber Pontificalis” asserts that Linus’s home was in Tuscany, and that his father’s name was Herculanus; but we cannot discover the origin of this assertion. According to the same work on the popes, Linus is supposed to have issued a decree “in conformity with the ordinance of St. Peter”, that women should have their heads covered in church. Without doubt this decree is apocryphal, and copied by the author of the “Liber Pontificalis” from the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (11:5) and arbitrarily attributed to the first successor of the Apostle in Rome. The statement made in the same source, that Linus suffered martyrdom, cannot be proved and is improbable. (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Gerard Haffner. Pope St. Linus. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York)

Much about Linus is more than improbable.

Netherland’s Priest Roderick Vonhögen is the Chief Executive Officer of a pro-Catholic media group (SQPN) which correctly teaches, “Pope Saint Linus…ancient documents about his papacy have proven to be inaccurate or apocryphal” (Pope Saint Linus. saints.sqpn.com/saintl23.htm, viewed 09/18/12).

Yet, Linus is claimed to have been the first successor of Peter and head of all Christendom by the Church of Rome.

Here is what John O’Malley, a Jesuit Priest and Catholic historian, published:

The earliest lists of popes begin, not with Peter, but with a man named Linus. The reason Peter’s name was not listed was because he was an apostle, which was a super-category, much superior to pope or bishop…

The Christian community at Rome well into the second century operated as a collection of separate communites without any central structure…Rome was a constellation of house churches, independent of one another, each of which was loosely governed by an elder. The communities thus basically followed the pattern of the Jewish synagogues out of which they developed. (O’Malley JW. A History of the Popes. Sheed & Ward, 2009, p. 11)

It should be pointed out that the Apostle John outlived Linus and some of the others considered to have been early “popes.” Thus, the above admission is consistent with the Church of God view that the leadership of the Christian church in the late first century was clearly in Asia Minor, and not Rome, as that is where the Apostle John was based.

The Apostle Paul noted that there were three leaders in Jerusalem during one of his visits there:

James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars (Galatians 2:9).

He undoubtedly listed James first because James was the leader who actually lived in Jerusalem (the others were mainly visiting then). But notice that Paul then listed Cephas, who is Peter, and then John. This may suggest that Paul considered that Peter, at that time, had higher authority, sometimes called primacy, than John then did. It also shows that Peter apparently conferred with John, hence Peter helped train him as a potential successor.

Now, possibly around 64-67 A.D., Peter was killed, hence he no longer held physical primacy over the remaining apostles.

As it turned out John greatly outlived Peter and is believed to have lived as late as 98-105 A.D. (he also outlived James).

John was an apostle, the early leaders of Rome were only presbyters.

The Bible clearly teaches that apostles were first (I Corinthians 12:28). Notice that even Roman Catholic scholars understand:

Unlike Peter, the pope is neither an apostle nor an eyewitness of the Risen Lord (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p.33).

Since that is true, it makes no sense that the Apostle John would be somehow subordinate to Linus, Anacletus, Clement, and Evaristus, all of whom have been claimed to have been “bishop of Rome” and supposedly had primacy over all Christianity after Peter died and while John was still alive.

Note that Paul wrote:

And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles (1 Corinthians 12:28).

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11).

And since the Bible teaches that the true church is first led by apostles and other positions are lower ranked, there is no way that the Apostle John would have been below any bishop (essentially a pastor) in rank–Note that although the Bible uses the Greek term for pastor more than the one for bishop, it seems to show that the terms are interchangeable (see I Peter 2:25).

Hence, after Peter died (as well as the other apostles), it is clear that the one true successor–who had been appointed by Christ Himself–would be the Apostle John (the last of the original apostles to die) and that true apostolic successors would probably have had contact with him. John was the successor to Peter. This is consistent with the Bible.

It should also be mentioned that none of the Roman Bishops took the title Pope until the late 4th century, so there is no way that Linus was Pope Linus. It is also not clear that the early leaders in Rome were called ‘bishop’ prior to Anicetus in the mid-second century A.D.

Anyway, there likely was a genuine Church of God Christian leader in Rome named Linus who may have been an elder. Since there is no contemporary biblical nor other historical evidence that Rome had a bishop over it then, etc. Linus was certainly not the “Bishop of Rome” who somehow supposedly succeeded the Apostle Peter. Catholics and others might be surprised to learn that the first known “Bishop of Rome” did not take that title until the mid-second century and that title “Pope” or Pontificus Maximus was not taken by the bishops of Rome until the late fourth century.

Some items of possibly related interest may including the following:

“Pope” Linus (67-76)…He is claimed to be the first to take up the inheritance from Peter, but he is omitted from Tertullian’s list. There is a Linus mentioned in the Bible. For some information about him in the Spanish language, check out Linus no fue obispo de Roma.
Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom? How should Matthew 16:18-19 be understood?
The Apostle Peter He was an original apostle and early Christian leader. Where was Peter buried? Where did Peter die?
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.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
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.
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?
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.

Should you keep the FALL Holy Days?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Blowing of a Shofar

COGwriter

Today is the first day of Fall. The ‘Fall’ Holy Days will start soon for 2016.

The Continuing Church of God has this sermon which is at its ContinuingCOG channel.

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?

Those of us faithful in the Continuing Church of God who are able, keep the Feast of Tabernacles and believe that it foreshadows the coming millennium.

Notice also that the Catholic, Orthodox, and Church of God Saint Polycarp of Smyrna kept the Fall Holy Days:

I will give the narration in order, thus coming down to the history of the blessed Polycarp…

So also he pursued the reading of the Scriptures from childhood to old age, himself reading in church; and he recommended it to others, saying that the reading of the law and the prophets was the forerunner of grace, preparing and making straight the ways of the Lord, that is the hearts, which are like tablets whereon certain harsh beliefs and conceptions that were written before perfect knowledge came, are through the inculcation of the Old Testament, and the correct interpretation following thereupon, first smoothed and levelled, that, when the Holy Spirit comes as a pen, the grace and joy of the voice of the Gospel and of the doctrine of the immortal and heavenly Christ may be inscribed on them. And he said that they could not otherwise receive the impression of the seal which is given by baptism and engrave and exhibit the form conveyed in it, unless the wax were first softened and filled the deep parts. So also he thought that the hearts of the hearers ought to be softened and yield to the impress of the Word. For he said that it unfolded and opened, like closed doors, the minds of recent comers; and accordingly the prophet was bidden by God, Cry out mightily and spare not, Raise thy voice as a trumpet. What must one say, when even He that was gentler than all men so appeals and cries out at the feast of Tabernacles? For it is written; And on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, If any man thirsteth, let him come to Me and drink. (Pionius, Life of Polycarp (1889) from J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, pp.488-506.)

Polycarp, according to the above, seems to have endorsed the Fall Holy Day season which begins with the Feast of Trumpets, includes the Feast of Tabernacles, and ends on The Last Great Day. And while the Day of Atonement was not specifically mentioned above, it was mentioned in the Book of Acts, where it is referred to as the Fast (Acts 27:9).

While the Greco-Roman churches have some acknowledgement of the Spring Holy Days, historically they have not observed those that are in the Fall, despite the fact that people that they claim as saints, such as the Apostle Paul and Polycarp of Smyrna actually did.

During the Middle Ages the fall holidays were observed, though records are limited.

Notice the following report:

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

Furthermore, Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania in the 1500s and probably later kept the Fall Holy Days such as the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Trumpets (called Day of Remembrance below):

The Sabbatarians viewed themselves as converted Gentiles..They held to the biblical holidays…The Day of Atonement was a day of fasting, although they emphasized that pentinence is more easily acheived by a peaceful and quiet meditation on the law and one’s life than by fasting. The Day of Remembrance (New Year, which they celebrated in the Fall of the year) was the day on which they thanked God especially for the creation of the universe. There is no mention of circumcision, so it is unlikely that they practiced circumcision (Liechty D. Sabbatarianism in the Sixteenth Century. Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs (MI), 1993, pp. 61-62).

And the Fall Holidays are still observed into the 21sth century by many Sabbath-keeping Church of God groups, such as the Continuing Church of God.

The biblical Holy Days (both Spring and Fall) were kept by early, faithful Christians, and this is clear from both scripture and early church records. And there is a scattering of later records showing that they have been kept by some professors of Christ throughout history. More information can be found in the free online booklet Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

The first Holy Day this Fall season is the Feast of Trumpets (called Rosh Hashanah by the Jews) which begins October 2nd, 2016 at sunset until sunset October 3rd, 2016.

The second Holy Day this Fall season is the Day of Atonement (called Yom Kippur by the Jews) which begin October 11th, 2016 at sunset until sunset October 12th.

The seven day Feast of Tabernacles begins at sunset October 16th, continues until sunset October 23rd, and is immediately followed by the Last Great Day, which ends October 24th, 2016 at sunset. Most people travel to attend the Feast of Tabernacles (here is a link to CCOGs Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2016). This has limited information on many Feast of Tabernacles locations for this Fall feast.)

Then, other than the weekly Sabbaths, after the Last Great Day there are no Holy Days until Passover in the Spring.

The early, faithful, Christians kept what many now refer to as “Jewish” holidays. Jesus, Paul, and the apostles did. They were part of “the faith once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

Perhaps you should look into them more?

Again, the first one this year is the Feast of Trumpets which starts after sunset on the 2nd of October.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Should you keep the Fall Holy Days? This is a video sermon. 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?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? Did they? Did Jesus? Should you? This is an article.
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? A related sermon video would be Feast of Trumpets and the Book of Life as well as 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?
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.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
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。.

‘Unclean’ arguments overlook biblical and historical facts

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016


Peter’s vision of a sheet as painted by Domenico Fetti, 17th century

COGwriter

GoogleNews suggested the following for me:

Jesus Declaration about Foods

When God was trying to convince Peter to rise, kill, and eat unclean foods, Peter said that he had never eaten anything unclean in his life (Acts 10:11-14) God said “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (Acts 10:15) meaning that the gospel is now intended for the Gentiles too and not just for the Jewish people. In similar fashion, Jesus said “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him” (Mark 7:15) and His disciples asked what this meant (Mark 7:17). Jesus replied, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him” (Mark 7:18-20). In other words, what we eat doesn’t defile a person…it is not what goes into the mouth but what comes out of the mouth that defiles a man and a woman. Besides, Jesus did away with the old Mosaic dietary laws when He went to Calvary. There was no need to avoid certain foods anymore since these dietary laws were written specifically to Israel just like the old animal sacrificial system was also voided due to Jesus’ one-for-all sacrifice of Himself on the cross. …

Conclusion

Today we have liberty to eat what we desire and our diets are not restricted by what God commanded the nation of Israel. We cannot pick and choose what we believe out of the Bible. It is not a buffet of what we want to believe; I’ll have a little of that and some of this but none of that. We must look at the context, to what verses were written to whom, and not judge others for what the Bible clearly shows they have liberty in.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. August 21, 2015

(GoogleNews now has a section where it puts news items that it believes it has tailored to the individual, and this is one of two items it suggested when I went to it last year.)

The Bible warns about those who love and believe a lie:

15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:15)

And, in my view, those who believe that God’s people are to eat biblically unclean animals are accepting a lie. They are also ignoring biblical, historical, and other facts. Consider, for example, that dogs are biblically-unclean animals that eat any type of animal and that they are not to be emulated according to the last chapter of the last book of the Bible.

All should realize that the Apostle Paul did not want Gentile Christians to participate in uncleanness and that is something that they should repent of. Paul also wrote:

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them (Ephesians 5:5-7).

Is eating biblical prohibited foods or not eating them a sign of disobedience? Is not consuming what the Bible prohibits covetous?

Although some feel that Christians can eat unclean meats, Paul wrote:

7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness (I Thessalonians 4:7).

The Apostle Peter added:

9…the Lord knows how…10 to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority (II Peter 2:9-10).

Some, sadly, despise biblical authority to eat whatsoever they lust after.

Most who profess Christianity, however, will claim to believe that Jesus declared all animals to be clean to eat, even though He did not.

Now, while Jack Wellman is correct that the vision to the Apostle Peter was about accepting that God was calling Gentiles, Peter himself obviously did not believe that Jesus declared all animals as clean meat as he never ate it. Peter knew Jesus and the other disciples and none of them came to the conclusion that certain Protestant and Catholic leaders have come to.

The primary “proof” text many use is Mark 7:18-19 in which Jesus declares:

18 Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods? (NKJV throughout except as otherwise noted).

There are at least seven problems using this as a “proof” text.

First of all, “thus purifying all foods” is not in all manuscripts, such as the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament Text and thus may have been improperly added, nor is that the proper translation. This addition is NOT in the Textus Receptus (from whence the KJV and NKJV are translated, nor is it in the Rheims’ New Testament (the one-time Roman Catholic standard English translation). Furthermore , Peter made it clear in Acts 10:14 that he still had not eaten anything unclean–hence he did not rely on this spurious verse. Also, verses in Revelation (16:3; 18:2) clearly show that unclean animals remained after Mark 7.

Watch also the short video: Did Jesus declare all animal flesh food?

Secondly, even if the above addition should be part of scripture, it is more literally to be translated as purging all the foods as the Greek term for “the” is in the text that contains the rest of that statement.

Here is how J.P. Green’s Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (a standard scholarly reference) literally translates Mark 7:18-19:

18 Do you not perceive that everything having entered from the outside into the man is not able to defile him? 19 (This is) because it does not enter into his heart but into the belly, and goes out through the toilet bowl, purging all the foods.

Hence, Jesus (presuming that the Greek words relating to purging are actually what He said) appears to be saying that the digestive tract purges all the foods that go into it. He is NOT saying that all unclean meats are then clean.

Thirdly, notice that Jesus is asking a question in either verse 19 or 20 according to the translators. He did not make a declaration that unclean meats are clean or are food.

Fourthly, the context of Mark 7 was the Pharisees complaint that Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hands in the tradition of the elders (Mark 7:1-3)–it had nothing to do with unclean meats. If it did, the Pharisees would have most likely raised this charge against Jesus when they brought Jesus before Pilate. In case Jesus’ meaning was unclear, in Matthew’s synoptic account he plainly taught what He meant: “to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man” (Matthew 15:20).

Fifthly, Jesus did not consider all animals to be food, nor did He ever eat any unclean animals. If Jesus declared all animals to be clean, would the Bible still use unclean animals as symbols of uncleanliness?

In Matthew 13:47-48, Jesus tells a parable about fishing with a net and catching “every kind” and then separating the good from the bad; possibly meaning the clean from the unclean–there would be no “bad” if Jesus was declaring all meats as clean.

In Luke 11:11-12, Jesus teaches that bread, fish, and eggs, but not stones, serpents (snakes, an unclean animal), or scorpions are good for food (see parallel account in Matthew 7:9-11).

Jesus clearly knew what unclean meats were and clearly taught that they were not fit to be food.

Actually, unclean animals are never mentioned as food anywhere in the New Testament–they are either mentioned as beasts of burden (John 12:15) or mentioned in a negative fashion (Matthew 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-12; Revelation 16:13; 18:2).

Sixthly, after the incident in Mark 7 (and Matthew 15) Jesus said, “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:24).

Thus Jesus apparently still considered gnats and camels to be unclean, thus this verifies that He never declared all animals to be clean.

Seventhly, Peter and others apparently did not understand that they could eat unclean meat from this or Peter would not have objected to it in Acts 10:14 where he says he never had eaten any unclean meat (he also would have known nothing was unclean IF he thought that was what Jesus was teaching in Mark 7). Even the Orthodox scholar and teacher Origen realized that as he wrote:

Peter himself seems to have observed for a considerable time the Jewish observances enjoined by the law of Moses, not having yet learned from Jesus to ascend from the law… Peter “went up into the upper room to pray about the sixth hour. And he became very hungry, and would have eaten”…Peter is represented as still observing the Jewish customs respecting clean and unclean animals. (Origen. Contra Celsus, Book II, Chapter 1)

I would also add that even Roman Catholic scholars realize that it was not until about a century and a half after Jesus was resurrected that their church accepted the consumption of unclean animals.

According to the Liber Pontificalis, the acceptance of unclean meat came from the Roman Bishop Eleutherius:

He also decreed that no kind of food in common use should be rejected especially by the Christian faithful, inasmuch as God created it; provided it was a rational food and fit for human kind (Book of the Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) 2nd edition. Translation by Raymond Davis. Liverpool University Press – Translated Texts for Historians, Liverpool, 2001, p.17).

The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The “Liber Pontificalis” ascribes to Pope Eleutherius a decree that no kind of food should be despised by Christians (Et hoc iterum firmavit ut nulla esca a Christians repudiaretur, maxime fidelibus, quod Deus creavit, quæ tamen rationalis et humana est).

It should be noted that Roman bishops were not called Popes that early (that did not happen until the late fourth century). Anyway, according to Lopes book The Popes, Eleutherius was bishop of Rome from 175-189 AD. This book (which I purchased at the Vatican itself) states this about Eleutherius:

He dispensed with the obligations of Christians to follow dietary laws of Judaic origin (page 5).

The above book should have said the obligations of biblical origin as the dietary restrictions began with God and not Jews (the distinction between clean and unclean animals was known by at least Noah’s time, since God so declared in Genesis 7:2-3). Perhaps it needs to be stated that no one called of God in the Old Testament is ever shown to have consumed unclean meat. Hence the Catholics (and the Protestants that follow this edict) are relying on a possible pronouncement of a bishop of Rome for justification of eating unclean meats more than they may realize. And this alleged decree did not happen until about 150 years after Jesus was resurrected.

Now, I should add that the Liber Pontificalis was composed in the fifth/sixth centuries and has a reputation, even among Roman Catholic scholars, for arbitrarily assigning events with certain “popes” (some of this is documented in the article What Does Rome Actually Teach About Early Church History?). It would seem, however, that this could not have been assigned any earlier than 175 A.D. because of Irenaeus’ writings. Hence, it is clear that well into the second century, the laws concerning clean and unclean meats were considered to have been in force for Christians in general (exceptions including the apostates in Alexandria and the apostate Justin). And that it is due to a later Catholic tradition that unclean animals became food for Roman supporters.

Consider that in the third century an elder named Pionius, who claimed to be part of the Catholic Church, refused to eat unclean meat:

3. It was Saturday and after they had prayed and taken the sacred bread with water, Polemon the temple verger came in on them with his men in order to seek out the Christians and drag them off to offer sacrifice and to taste forbidden meats. “Surely you are aware,” said the verger, “of the emperor’ edict commanding us to sacrifice to the gods.” “We are aware,” said Pionius, “of the commandments of God ordering us to worship him alone.”

Polemon said: “Come then to the market-place; there you will change your minds.”

Sabina and Asclepiades said: “We obey the living God.” He led them off then without restraint and as they walked along everyone saw that they were wearing their chains, and such a crowd rushed up in haste as it were for a strange sight, that they jostled one another. As they came into the forum, by the eastern Stoa and the double gate, all the forum and the upper storeys of the porches were crowded with Greeks, Jews, and women. They were on holiday because it was a great Sabbath. They drew near, looking towards the tribunal steps and the voting urns.

6. There was a lawyer by the name of Alexander, a wicked man, who spoke: “Listen to us, Pionius.”

“You should be concerned,” said Pionius, “to listen to me. What you know, I know; but what I know, you are ignorant of.” Alexander was minded to make sport of him, for he said to him ironically: “Why are you wearing these chains?” “First of all,” said Pionius, “so that though we are passing through your city, we mlght not be suspected of having come to eat forbidden foods…

9. Then he interrogated him for the sake of the record, while a notary took everything down. “What is your name?” he asked him.

“Pionius,” was the answer. “Are you a Christian?” asked Polemon

“Yes,” said Pionius.

Polemon the verger said: “What church do you belong to?”

“The Catholic Church,” was the answer; “with Christ there is no other.” (The Martyrdom of Pionius and his Companions, Chapters 3,6, & 9. Text from H. Musurillo, The Acts of the Christian Martyrs (Oxford, 1972), 137-167. http://archive.is/abf7S accessed 07/25/15)

While some associated with the Greco-Romans, like Justin, apparently ate unclean meat, Pionius (who seems to have had a connection to Polycarp of Smyrna) did not. (As far as the ‘Catholic Church’ goes, the first two times this appears in the literature it is a reference to the Church of God in Smyrna. It was not until the late 4th century that the Church of Rome and its Eastern Orthodox confederation had it for its exclusive legal use because of a decree of the Emperor Theodosius related to the Council of Constantinople he called for in 381.) I should also add that the Church of Rome considers that the presbyter Pionius was a saint, hence the fact that he did not even wish to be accused of eating it in the mid-third century should show that those that considered themselves faithful Christians did NOT eat biblically unclean meats in the third century.

Real Christians DID NOT come to the same conclusion that people like Jack Wellman have. Believing what God’s word says on this is NOT picking and choosing, it is those that refuse to obey God’s word or follow the example of early Christians that are choosing to disobey.

Perhaps it should be mentioned that there REMAIN health problems associated with eating bats (Ebola transmission) pork and many other biblically-unclean animals.


Egg of Pork Tapeworm Taenia Solium

In at least three books of the Bible, eating the flesh of pigs (an unclean animal) is prohibited–and a couple of references in the Book of Isaiah are negative and prophetic–that means that unclean meats are still unclean.

Thus, the prohibitions against pork were NOT nailed to the cross or otherwise done away with (see also Which Laws were Superceded? Which Remain?). Jesus’ death did NOT change the flesh of pork or reduce its ability to pass on health problems (more details are in the article The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats.

It may also be of interest to note that in the New Testament, Jesus also makes negative comments towards pigs/swine. Notice:

6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Matthew 7:6)

The Bible also teaches:

2…Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good (Isaiah 55:2).

God did not intend pork to be a food for human beings.

Even the Church of Rome admits that early Christians did not consume pork (some details are in the article The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats). We in the Continuing Church of God do not consume pork–and the Bible supports this position.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats.
Did Jesus declare all animal flesh food? Many have claimed that Jesus declared all animal flesh as food in Mark 7. Mulvane Brethren Pastor Jack Wellman cited this verse as partial proof that Jesus declared that all animals were clean for Christians. Is this what Jesus really said? What did early Christians believe about this? Were faithful Christians still avoiding unclean meats after Jesus was resurrected? What did the Apostle Peter do? What did the third century martyr Pionius do? When did the Church of Rome claim it changed to allow promotion of biblically unclean animals? Were any unclean animals mentioned in the New Testament after Mark 7?
American foods that gross out foreigners A study done in the Fall of 2014 found out which foods that non-USA Americans considered weird or gross that Americans eat. This video discusses those foods, ingredients in some of those foods, and warns against consuming ‘that which is not bread’ (Isaiah 55:2). Dr. Thiel also warns about synthetic vitamins and some of the issues associated with them. He also discusses something promoted by the late Seventh-day Adventist, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. This is a video. A partially related written post is titled American ‘foods’ that gross out foreigners.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods?
Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy Are there disadvantages to being overweight? Is junk food really bad for you? Does the Bible discuss overeating and/or obesity? Is overeating having an effect on the US military? What are the ramifications of personal and national health for overeating? What should you eat? This is a sermonette-length YouTubevideo.
GMOs and Bible Prophecy What are GMOs? Since they were not in the food supply until 1994, how could they possibly relate to Bible prophecy? Do GMOs put the USA and others at risk? Here is a related YouTube video GMO Risks and the Bible.
Chimeras: Has Science Crossed the Line? What are chimeras? Has science crossed the line? Does the Bible give any clues?
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Does God Heal Today? What does the Bible teach? Herbert Armstrong tries to explain this.
UK Study Supports Daniel Diet Daniel and his companions looked better eating more vegetables and avoiding strange meats. Has modern science confirmed this?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? 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.

‘Mark,’ Venice, and ‘apostolic succession’

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

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

COGwriter

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

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

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

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

San Marco means “Saint Mark.”

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

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

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

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

Some Religious History of Venice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark, the Alexandrians, and the Body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Later, Paul apparently changed his mind about Mark.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also notice what other scholars have noted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctrines That Mark Would Have Held Should Matter

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

Notice something that Mark was inspired to write:

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

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

Mark was also inspired to write:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice also the following that Mark reported:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is any of this important to Christians?

There are basically two reasons.

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

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

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

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

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

Some items to assist in your studies may include:

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?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a version in the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years. It also discusses the concept of church eras. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

John Crysostum denigrated Jews and God’s Holy Days

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

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 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, 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, 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 October 2ndh through sunset October 3rd, in 2016.

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 you keep the Fall 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. 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.
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?

‘Mary’s birthday’ is celebrated today, but she is not my mother

Thursday, September 8th, 2016


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

COGwriter

Roman Catholics and others are celebrating today as the so-called birthday of Jesus’ mother Mary:

BIRTH OF MARY
September 8th
A. Valentini


The present Feast forms a link between the New and the Old Testament. It shows that Truth succeeds symbols and figures and that the New Covenant replaces the Old. Hence, all creation sings with joy, exults, and participates in the joy of this day…. This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which by a stupendous project a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator” (Saint Andrew of Crete). “Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Virgin Mary, of whom was born the Sun of Justice…. Her birth constitutes the hope and the light of salvation for the whole world…. Her image is light for the whole Christian people” (From the Liturgy). …At Rome the Feast began to be kept toward the end of the 7th century, brought there by Eastern monks. Gradually and in varied ways it spread to the other parts of the West in the centuries that followed. From the 13th century on, the celebration assumed notable importance, becoming a Solemnity with a major Octave and preceded by a Vigil calling for a fast. The Octave was reduced to a simple one during the reform of St. Pius X and was abolished altogether under the reform of Pius XII in 1955.The present Calendar characterizes the Birth of Mary as a “Feast,” placing it on the same plane as the Visitation. For some centuries now, the Birth has been assigned to September 8 both in the East and in the West, but in ancient times it was celebrated on different dates from place to place….

As we know, the Gospels have not transmitted to us anything about the birth of the Virgin Mary. Their attention is completely centered on the mystery of Christ and His salvific mission.

The birth of Mary is recounted by the Protevangelium of James (5:2), an apocryphal writing from the end of the 2nd century. Subsequent tradition is based on this account.

The description – although in the manner of an apocryphal document – obviously presents an important historical event: the birth of the Mother of the Lord.

But the problem that concerns us here is the significance of this event. In the case of all the Saints, the Church commemorates their birthday on the day of their return to the Lord. However, in the cases of St. John the Baptizer and the Blessed Virgin, it also celebrates the day of their earthly birth. (Dictionary of Mary (NY: Catholic Book, 1985) Catholic Book Publishing Company. Provided Courtesy of:
Eternal Word Television Network
)

Notice that although this ‘holiday’ is supposedly a bridge between the Old and New Testaments, Rome did not start to observe it until the 7th century, the date used to vary, and it is based on an admittedly false account. And let us quote the false account that this observance is supposedly based upon:

2 And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Anna brought forth. And she said unto the midwife: what have I brought forth ? And she said: A female. And Anna said: My soul is magnified this day, and she laid herself down. And when the days were fulfilled, Anna purified herself and gave suck to the child and called her name Mary. (Protevangelium of James 5:2)

The above does NOT enjoin the observation of Mary’s ‘birthday.’ Notice that it basically says Mary was born, nursed, and her mother was happy she was born–that is not particularly different than what happens with most live births. It should also be noted that neither the Jews or the early Christians observed birthdays (see also Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?). Birthday observances, including for Mary (and Jesus for that matter, see What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?), were NOT part of the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Despite the truth, it is, Mary’s alleged birthday is even observed in India:

September 8, 2014

Mount Mary, Bandra: Happy Birthday to the Blessed Virgin

Who is Virgin Mary? Virgin Mary or Saint Mary was a Jewish woman and the mother of Jesus through divine intervention. Birthday of Virgin Mary is celebrated on the first Sunday in a Roman Catholic Basilica which is located in Bandra. After this day the feast is usually followed by a long week full of fairs and thousands of visitors visiting the fair. The Bandra fair is around 300 years old and the fair started when the statue of Mother Mary found to be floating in the Arabian Sea around 1700-1760. There is a myth according to a great legend that a Koli fisherman dreamt the same few years ago. …

Mount Mary birthday is celebrated all around Mumbai and the fair draws more than lakhs of devotees every year. Devotees pray to Mary in thanksgiving or requesting for some kind of favors. Outside the church there are many religious objects which includes candles which are beautifully shaped like hands, feet, house, etc. Devotees choose the correspondent objects and offer the same in front of Mary. Hope this will help you’ll to understand about the importance this day carries in itself. http://us.india.com/whatever/mount-mary-bandra-happy-birthday-to-the-blessed-virgin-138312/

Question: Catholics celebrate the Virgin Mary’s birthday as the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When is the Virgin Mary’s birthday?

Answer: The Virgin Mary’s birthday is September 8… http://catholicism.about.com/od/holydaysandholidays/f/Virgin_Mary_Birthday.htm

Because of the fascination with religious statues/idols in India, those claimed to be of Mary fit in with parts of the pagan Hindu culture there.

The Catholics have a plan for the Hindus which also seems to involve their version of “Mary”:

Jaffa, Israel, Aug 2, 2013 / 04:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Preparations for the Feast of the Nativity of Mary this September are already underway in the Holy Land, particularly among Indian migrant workers.

“Mother Mary is revered with great devotion by the Indian community as a mother and a spiritual figure of maternal protection,” said Friar Jayaseellan Pitchaimuthu OFM, head of the Indian Chaplaincy in Holy Land.

She is acknowledged as the “protector and patroness” of the Indian Chaplaincy in Holy Land because she is a “model” for the migrants, he told CNA. He noted that the Holy Family took refuge in Egypt for safety and settled for livelihood in Nazareth, and that Jesus carried out his apostolic mission in Judea, Galilee and Jerusalem.

Many Indian Catholic migrant workers “seek grace and invoke (Mary’s) motherly protection,” he said…

The friar explained that the Marian feast day is particularly important in the Indian context because of its relation to other faiths.

Members of other religions, including Hindus and Muslims, “regard Marian devotions in esteem,” he said.

Thousands of devotees – both Catholics and non-Catholics – flock every week to the Marian apparition site at Velankanni, near Chennai in South India, and other shines that have recorded various miracles, he said.

In this way, the friar explained, “Marian devotion also leads to a platform for inter-religious dialogue.” (Gonzales AA. Indian migrants in Holy Land prepare for Marian feast. CNA, August 2, 2013. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/indian-migrants-in-holy-land-prepare-for-marian-feast)

There basically is an ecumenical Catholic plan that expects to use ‘Mary’ to reach those of Indian heritage. But this is a false gospel (cf. Galatians 1:6-7). the Church of Rome has long had plans and beliefs that they would get more Indians to be part of their church and have believed that utilizing versions of statues claimed to be Mary would help them. Notice the following confirmation of several of those points from my book Fatima Shock! (note: Fulton Sheen was a very famous Catholic archbishop, see Fulton Sheen, ‘Mary,’ and the End Times):

Archbishop Sheen essentially thought that the appearance in Fatima was to also ultimately result in Muslims (and possibly Hindus) accepting his faith. Notice that he also wrote:

Our missionaries report the most extraordinary reaction of these peoples as the Pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima was carried through the East. At the edge of Nepal, three hundred Catholics were joined by three thousand Hindus and Moslems, as four elephants carried the statue to the little church for Rosary and Benediction…The final evidence of the relationship of the village of Fatima to the Moslems is the enthusiastic reception that the Moslems in Africa and India and elsewhere gave to the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima…

Missionaries in the future will, more and more…be successful in the measure they preach Our Lady of Fatima….

Archbishop Sheen also wrote:

At Patna, the Brahman Hindu governor of the province visited the church and prayed before the statue of Our Lady. In one tiny village of Kesra Mec, more than twenty-four thousand people came to see the statue.

But, that is not an isolated incident. Notice the following account of a group of Hindus who visited Cova da Iria in 2004:

Hindus…were allowed to conduct a pagan prayer chant at the altar in the sanctuary of the Little Chapel of the Apparitions…on May 5, 2004…a national television station in Portugal broadcast that a group of Hindus from Lisbon was allowed to commandeer the Shrine for a pagan prayer chant, with the Hindu “priest” standing at the Catholic altar invoking false gods in the causes of peace, while the Hindu congregation in the Little Chapel responded with a chant. This is a desecration…since Sacred Scripture teaches “the gods of the Gentiles are devils” (Psalm 95:5)

This Hindu ceremony, as expected, upset some Catholics. (Note that Psalm 95:5 in the DRB is Psalm 96:5 in the NJB/NKJV which use the word “idols” instead of “devils.”)

Eastern Signs and Faiths

While “Mary” is known throughout the Middle East and West, she is less known, though revered by some like a goddess, in Eastern religions:

Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and other pilgrims regularly worship at famous Roman Catholic shrines to the Virgin Mary such as Lourdes in France and Fatima in Portugal…Many venerate her like one of their own goddesses.

…those in various Eastern faiths can be intrigued by the feminine, and may be highly impacted by public alleged Marian apparition(s) in the future. But, no Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Hindu, Protestant, Mormon, Catholic, or anyone else should. (Thiel B. Fatima Shock! Nazarene Books, 2012)

Jesus’ mother Mary is not to be venerated like pagan goddesses, but often is.

Of course, not all are taken in by this. Notice the following from a Protestant writer:

September 2014

Pope Francis, Mary Is Not My Mother, and I Am Not an Orphan

Pope Francis has been a breath of fresh air for many Catholics seeking greater liberty and a growing concern for conservative Christians who take issue with his comments about homosexuality and other cultural issues.

But the pontiff’s latest statement is sparking an uproar from believers around the world. Pope Francis sent a tweet Tuesday that absolutely violates the truth of Scripture:

“The Christian who does not feel that the Virgin Mary is his or her mother is an orphan,” Pope Francis tweeted. …

What About Romans 8:14-15?

Mary was a humble willing servant and a good example of godly motherhood, but she does not bring forth sons and daughters through baptism or nourish us through the Word of God beyond her example of humble servanthood in the Bible. What concerns me more, though, is the notion of people being orphans if they don’t consider Mary their mother. Let’s consider this statement in the light of Scripture. Romans 8:14-17 shines light on the issue of orphans in Christ—there are no orphans in Christ:

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

Nowhere in these verses does it make mention of Mary. Rather, we see the Father, the Christ and the Holy Spirit at work in a believer’s life. That’s Bible. If that’s not enough, Jesus Himself stated plainly: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). I don’t mean this in a sarcastic manner at all, but please note that Jesus did not say Mary would come to them, or that He would bring Mary with them, or that Mary is praying for them, or that they should pray to Mary.

There are other issues in the Catholic religion that don’t line up with Scripture, but suggesting that “The Christian who does not feel that the Virgin Mary is his or her mother is an orphan” contradicts the simplicity of the gospel and excludes the millions of Protestants around the world who honor Mary as the mother of Jesus but do not ask for her help from heaven. Christians are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1)—the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Mary was a blessed vessel God chose to bring the Messiah into the world, but Jesus did not exalt her, and neither should we. http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/watchman-on-the-wall/45287-pope-francis-mary-is-not-my-mother-and-i-am-not-an-orphan

But even many Protestants are starting to venerate Mary. This veneration is part of Pope Francis’ objective and he continues to encourage his ecumenical/interfaith Marian agenda (see also Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction?).

Pope Francis hopes that Marian veneration will help his interfaith and ecumenical plans.

While many like that, Catholics often do not realize that Marian veneration was NOT part of the original apostolic faith (see also Origin of the Marian Dogmas).

Those truly interested in the history of the true Christian church should study the free online booklet Continuing History of the Church of God as well as the articles, etc. we have available, and compare them to what the Bible itself proves.

Some items of related interest may include:

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?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th.
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?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
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?
India, Its Biblical Past and Future: Any Witness? The Bible discusses the origins of those of Indian heritage. This article quotes the Bible and also discusses some of the witness to India throughout history and what is happening in the 21st century (including those in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).
India and the Beast of Revelation 13 Do biblical, Catholic, and even Hindu prophecies suggest that many in India will follow, for a while, the Beast and False Prophet/Antichrist? Here is link to a related YouTube video Will People in India Worship the Beast of Revelation 13?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
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?
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
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.
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
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.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of a new 186 page book (in the print version). And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? What does the Bible say about a pope near this time? Is the final pope to be an antipope and antichrist? Does Catholic prophecy point to Pope Francis as being the dreaded “Peter the Roma”? This 186 page book provides information and answers. This book is available for USD$9.98 in printed form The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist? 1964 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! provides concerned Christians with enough Catholic-documented facts to effectively counter every false Marian argument. In addition to the print version, there is a Kindle version of Fatima Shock! which you can acquire in seconds.
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.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church?

Did Jesus declare all animal flesh as fit to eat?

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

COGwriter

Did Jesus declare all animal flesh as fit to eat?

Most people who profess Christ seem to act like it is so.

But is that true?

Would you like to know?

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce the following video on our Bible New ProphecyYouTube channel:


20:16

Did Jesus declare all animal flesh food?

Many have claimed that Jesus declared all animal flesh as food in Mark 7. Mulvane Brethren Pastor Jack Wellman cited this verse as partial proof that Jesus declared that all animals were clean for Christians. Is this what Jesus really said? What did early Christians believe about this? Were faithful Christians still avoiding unclean meats after Jesus was resurrected? What did the Apostle Peter do? What did the third century martyr Pionius do? When did the Church of Rome claim it changed to allow promotion of biblically unclean animals? Were any unclean animals mentioned in the New Testament after Mark 7?

A written article of related interest is titled: Unclean arguments overlook biblical and historical facts.

Here is a link to our video: Did Jesus declare all animal flesh food?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats.
American foods that gross out foreigners A study done in the Fall of 2014 found out which foods that non-USA Americans considered weird or gross that Americans eat. This video discusses those foods, ingredients in some of those foods, and warns against consuming ‘that which is not bread’ (Isaiah 55:2). Dr. Thiel also warns about synthetic vitamins and some of the issues associated with them. He also discusses something promoted by the late Seventh-day Adventist, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. This is a video. A partially related written post is titled American ‘foods’ that gross out foreigners.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods?
Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy Are there disadvantages to being overweight? Is junk food really bad for you? Does the Bible discuss overeating and/or obesity? Is overeating having an effect on the US military? What are the ramifications of personal and national health for overeating? What should you eat? This is a sermonette-length YouTubevideo.
GMOs and Bible Prophecy What are GMOs? Since they were not in the food supply until 1994, how could they possibly relate to Bible prophecy? Do GMOs put the USA and others at risk? Here is a related YouTube video GMO Risks and the Bible.
Chimeras: Has Science Crossed the Line? What are chimeras? Has science crossed the line? Does the Bible give any clues?
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Does God Heal Today? What does the Bible teach? Herbert Armstrong tries to explain this.
UK Study Supports Daniel Diet Daniel and his companions looked better eating more vegetables and avoiding strange meats. Has modern science confirmed this?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? 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.
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 other British-descended dominated lands.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God and has articles in español/castellano.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy
channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.