Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Did the Apostles observe Passover on different days?

Sunday, April 5th, 2020

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

Did the Apostles choose different dates for the observance of the Christian Passover?

Some claim that Peter and Paul kept Sunday, while teaching that John and Philip kept the 14th of the month of Nisan for the Christian Passover.

But does that make any sense?

Could the date of Passover be at all important?

Many seem to believe the following written by the 5th century Eastern Catholic historian Socrates Scholasticus:

Quartodecimans affirm that the observance of the fourteenth day was delivered to them by the apostle John, while the Romans and those in the Western parts assure us that their usage originated with the apostles Peter and Paul. Neither of these parties however can produce any written testimony in confirmation of what they assert. (Socrates Scholasticus. Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Chapter XXII. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 2. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890).

Is this true?

No.

But many believe this and related statements, hence they do not keep Passover on the 14th day of the first month of the biblical year (Exodus 12:2), which is often known as Nisan (Esther 3:7). Instead most who claim Christianity keep Easter Sunday.

Before going further, it may be of interest to note that ‘Easter’ is claimed to be Passover, Notice what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

1170 At the Council of Nicea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 332).

From this, notice that it is taught that what is now called Easter was originally observed as a change in the date of Passover. It originally was not a Christian resurrection holiday.

Easter itself is not a Christian term, and its celebration contains pagan elements. The Catholic Encyclopedia article on Easter notes:

The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring … Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method…For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. Philip.

(Holweck F. G. Easter. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, the Romans admit that the name Easter is the name of a pagan goddess and that the churches in Asia Minor (which they call the Orient) continued to observe Passover on the date that the Jews did, Nisan 14. But it was not just Jews, but also Gentile Christians who did so.

Now, let’s consider if there is early evidence that the Apostle Paul observed Passover or Easter Sunday.

The Apostle Paul declared to the Jews that he kept the law, etc. in the Book of Acts. Near the end of his life he declared he kept the customs of his people:

17 … Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18 who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death.” (Acts 28:17-18)

If Paul did nothing against the Jewish customs, this means he kept the Sabbath, Holy Days, and the Ten Commandments. That meant he kept the 14th. Those who claim Paul kept Sunday are in error. So, Acts 28 provides biblical proof he kept the 14th.

And, we also have biblical proof that the Apostle Paul told the Gentile Corinthians to keep Passover:

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).

Now how were Christians to do this?

The Apostle Paul explains:

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

So Christians were to keep the Passover in the manner that Jesus observed His final Passover. Which was on the 14th at night.

The Eastern Orthodox also recognize that Passover was at night. Here is something from one of their priests:

Our earliest sources for the annual celebration of the Christian Pascha come to us from the second century … The feast, however, must have originated in the apostolic period … According to the earliest documents, Pascha is described as a nocturnal celebration … (Calivas, Alkiviadis C. The Origins of Pascha and Great Week – Part I. Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1992. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8504 viewed 11/04/2011)

Notice that this was kept from the time of the apostles and at night. This is NOT the case for Easter Sunday, which is observed in early morning.

Furthermore, while we in the CCOG (Continuing Church of God) consider Jesus’ use of the bread and wine to be the Christian Passover, groups like the Church of Rome call it the ‘Last Supper’ as we see from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Jesus and his disciples conformed to the ordinary custom, that the Last Supper took place on the 14th of Nisan (Mershman, Francis. “The Last Supper.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912)

So, even those of the Church of Rome admit that Jesus did this on the 14th of Nisan. And that is when we in the CCOG keep it!

Notice some passages that the Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter wrote:

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

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: (1 Peter 2:21)

Those who keep Passover on the 14th are imitating both Jesus and the Apostle Paul. Which Peter would have himself also done.

Although I believe that portions of the text were corrupted (and the extant editions contain what seem to be non-original additions), there is some interesting information in the so called The Life of Polycarp. This document seems to be based upon writings in the second century, but the extant version contains information/changes that seem to be added in the fourth century.

Interestingly, it suggests that this Passover “tradition” in Asia Minor may not have first came to Smyrna from the Apostle John, but even earlier from the Apostle Paul:

In the days of unleavened bread Paul, coming down from Galatia, arrived in Asia, … So in Smyrna he went to visit Strataeas, … Paul then, entering his house and gathering together the faithful there, speaks to them concerning the Passover and the Pentecost, reminding them of the New Covenant of the offering of bread and the cup; how that they ought most assuredly to celebrate it during the days of unleavened bread, … For here the Apostle plainly teaches that we ought neither to keep it outside the season of unleavened bread, as the heretics do, especially the Phrygians… (Pionius, Life of Polycarp, Chapter 2. Translated by J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp.488-506)

The Phrygians were like early Pentecostals. And Paul, according to the above, was saying to keep Passover at its proper time.

Anyway, it makes no sense that those of Asia Minor who continued to keep Passover on the 14th for centuries had the Apostle Paul coming and telling them to change it to a Sunday, and then they changed back.

What about the Apostle Peter?

Did he go to Rome and tell them to switch to Sunday?

No.

Some Catholic sources claim that Pius of Rome was the one that formally decreed the Easter/Passover Sunday idea:

Pope Pius I is given great credit in establishing customs and norms of the Church. He wrote a decree indicating that Easter should only be on a Sunday, despite whatever customs had been practiced so far. However, it was up to Pope Victor I, at the end of the century, to enforce the decree. (Booton McCoy D. Pope Saint Pius I. Catholic365.com 09/30/15 http://www.catholic365.com/article/2463/pope-saint-pius-i.html retrieved 03/21/19)

So, the above admits that Sunday was NOT the original practice. Presuming the above account is accurate, Pius did not claim to get this from the Apostle Peter.

Furthermore:


Plain Truth, December 1962

“Pope Pius, who lived about 147, had made a decree, That the annual solemnity of the Pasch (Pasch is the Greek word for Passover), should be kept only on the Lord’s day” — Sunday — “and in confirmation of this he pretended, that Hermes, his brother, who was then an eminent teacher among them, had received instruction from an angel, who commanded that all men should keep the Pasch on the Lord’s day” — “Baal’s Day”! (From pp. 1148-1149 of Bingham’s Antiquities of the Christian Church. See also Apostolical Fathers, by Donaldson, p. 324)

If this letter was a deliberate forgery, it was invented after Polycarp’s time in an effort to lend weight to the pagan custom of Anicetus, bishop of Rome, who falsely maintained the Sunday observance of the eucharist. If it were not a forgery, then Pius himself was the author of this deceptive letter. (Pius died just prior to the visit of Polycarp to Rome)

This is the kind of deception by which Sunday was introduced into the professing Christian world! (Hoeh H. Where Did Jesus Command You to Observe SUNDAY? Plain Truth, December 1962)

Furthermore, Pius’ successor Bishop of Rome Anicetus did not state he got Sunday from Peter, but only early presbyters when he tried to defend the Sunday date against the date of the 14th advocated by the second century Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna (and he likely was so ordained in the first century A.D.).

Specifically, no further back than a practice of the Roman Sixtus, not Peter (Irenaeus. FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF IRENAEUS. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. American Edition copyright © 1885).

Consider also that the late 4th century historian and Roman and Eastern Orthodox saint Epiphanius clearly understood that the church used to observe the 14th when he wrote:

Audians … they choose to celebrate the Passover with the Jews–that is they contentiously celebrate the Passover at the same time as the Jews are holding their Festival of Unleavened Bread. And indeed that this used to be the church’s custom (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verses 8,11; 9,2. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 420-421).

The idea that Peter kept Passover on Sunday seemed to develop in the fourth century. It likely came about related to the sun-god worshiping pagan Emperor Constantine who summoned Greco-Roman religious leaders to Nicea in 325 A.D.


Sculpture of Constantine’s Head
(Photo by Jean-Christophe BENOIST)

Related to deciding that Passover should be on Sunday, Emperor Constantine declared:

Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way. (Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, Book III chapter 18)

Yet, Jesus did not declare that the Jews were detestable (He was a Jew) or that He changed the date of Passover. But apparently sun-worshipping Constantine felt otherwise.

As far as Easter Sunday goes, Socrates Scholasticus admitted:

The Saviour and his apostles have enjoined us by no law to keep this feast: nor do the Gospels and apostles threaten us with any penalty, punishment, or curse for the neglect of it, as the Mosaic law does the Jews. … So also the feast of Easter came to be observed in each place according to the individual peculiarities of the peoples inasmuch as none of the apostles legislated on the matter. And that the observance originated not by legislation, but as a custom the facts themselves indicate. In Asia Minor most people kept the fourteenth day of the moon, (Socrates Scholasticus. Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Chapter XXII. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 2. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890).

So, Easter Sunday was not something from the apostles or scripture. And Jesus and Paul were keeping Passover on the 14th. But, what about John and the other apostles?

In the second century, Irenaeus stated that Polycarp kept 14 and that “these things had been always [so] observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant” (Irenaeus. FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF IRENAEUS. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. American Edition copyright © 1885). Polycarp knew the Apostle John from the first century, and since Irenaeus also claimed to have known Polycarp, this is additional early evidence that John kept Passover on the 14th.

Additionally, we also have a second century account from Polycrates of Ephesus:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. 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 ? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man’…I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book V, Chapter XXIV, Verses 2-7 . Translated by A. Cushman McGiffert. Digireads.com Publishing, Stilwell (KS), 2005, p. 114).

Note that Polycrates:

1) Claimed to be a follower of the teachings passed on from the Apostle John
2) Claimed that he was being faithful to the teachings of the Gospel
3) Relied on the position that teachings from the Bible were above those of Roman-accepted tradition
4) Claimed that he was being faithful to the teachings passed down to him
5) Was then the spokesperson for many in Asia Minor
6) Claimed he and his predecessors observed the time of unleavened bread
7) Refused to accept the authority of Roman tradition over the Bible
8) Refused to accept the authority of the Bishop of Rome–he preferred to be separate (cf. Revelation 18:4)
9) Claimed that his life was to be governed by Jesus and not opinions of men

Polycrates mentioned that the two apostles who died in Asia Minor kept Passover on the 14th, plus several Gentile Church of God leaders.

So, we have at least 2 second century accounts that the Apostle John kept Passover on the 14th–and one that mentions the Apostle Philip.

Now, in the New Testament, after Jesus’ resurrection, at least eight times in the Book of Acts and once in Galatians, we repeatedly see that John and Peter were mentioned together (they are named those times, and were also often with each other when not named).

Does anyone really believe that John and Peter did not observe the same date of Passover?

That would make no sense.

Furthermore, modern Roman Catholic scholars have accepted that fact.

As did early ones. For example, the medieval historian and Catholic Priest Bede (also known as “the Venerable Bede”) recorded from a Roman Catholic Abbot named Wilfrid, who was trying to justify near the beginning of the 8th century why it was acceptable to not follow the Apostle John’s practices regarding Passover:

Far be it from me to charge John with foolishness: he literally observed the decrees of the Mosaic law when the Church was still Jewish in many respects, at a time when the apostles were unable to bring a sudden end to that law which God ordained…They feared, of course, that they might make a stumbling block for the Jewish proselytes…

So John, in accordance with the custom of the law, began the celebration of Easter Day in the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, regardless of whether it fell on the sabbath or any other day. … All the followers of St. John in Asia since his death and also the whole church throughout the world have followed this observance. That this is the true Easter and that this alone must be celebrated…(Bede. Edited by Judith McClure and Roger Collins. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Oxford University Press, NY, 1999, pp. 156-157)

Really, the Apostle John was afraid and that is why he kept the 14th?

That is absurd.

He kept the 14th because it was biblical and he kept what he learned from Jesus. That is the one true Passover!

John wrote:

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

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 4)

The truth is that Jesus and John kept Passover on the 14th after sunset.

Furthermore, John warned against those who did not follow his practices:

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (1 John 2:18-19)

Notice carefully that John was inspired to write that those who did not keep his same practices were antichrists. Obviously, John must have been keeping Jesus’ practices too or he would have been among the antichrists. Instead, Jesus had John record the Revelation.

Anyway, the records we have from the Bible as well as early post-biblical literature support the view that the Apostles John, Paul, Peter, and Philip all kept Passover on the 14th and that none of them were keeping Easter Sunday.

The evidence from the Bible is from the first century and we also have other records of that in the second century. That simply is not the case for Sunday Easter for Peter or Paul.

Do not be deceived by the craftiness of Satan (2 Corinthians 3:11) or others he has influenced, the Christian Passover is on the 14th of Nisan (which is after sunset on the 18th of April in 2019). The 14th is when Jesus observed His Passover, the Apostles observed the Christian Passover, and the faithful have observed it in the centuries since.

Christians are “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (to Jude 3). And not fall for arguments that suggest otherwise (cf. Jude 4-8).

Keeping Passover on the right day, right time, and right way was important to early Christians.

Keeping Passover on the 14th was part of the original faith. Keeping Easter Sunday certainly was not.

Is imitating the true practices of Jesus and the Apostles important enough to you?

Related to all of this, the Continuing Church of God just put together this video its ContinuingCOG channel:

24:02

The fifth century historian Socrates Scholasticus wrote the those of Asia Minor said they kept Passover on the 14th of Nisan following the practices of the Apostle John, whereas those of the Romans and the West observed what is now called Easter Sunday following the practices of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Socrates claimed that neither side had written evidence to back up their claims. But what does the Bible reveal? Do the earliest records outside the Bible point to the apostles keeping the 14 of Nisan or Easter Sunday. What does the Catholic Encyclopedia reveal? What about the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox writings? Was Passover supposed to e a nocturnal observance or a Sunday morning one? Can you know? Does this make any difference for Christians today? Dr. Thiel addresses these points from the Bible, historical records, and later church writings.

Here is a link to the video: Did Peter, Paul, & John keep Easter Sunday or Passover?

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Why Easter? Did early Christians observe Easter? What are the origins of Easter? What does Easter have to do with the goddess Ishtar. Where did the word Easter come from? Where do Easter eggs come from? What do rabbits have to do with Easter? Was Jesus resurrected on a Sunday? This is a video.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
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. 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?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
What Happened in the ‘Crucifixion Week’? How long are three days and three nights? Was Palm Sunday on a Saturday? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter? (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Murió Jesús un día miércoles o un viernes?)
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean?
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。.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they? A related sermon is titled Tradition and Scripture.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
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?
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well. Here is a related sermon, also titled Melito’s Homily on the Passover.
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.

 

BibleNewsProphecy: ‘Get Ready: The World is About to Need You’

Sunday, April 5th, 2020


COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God (CCOG) put together the following video for our Bible News Prophecy program:

16:03

‘Get Ready: The World is About to Need You’

According to a secular source, related to COVID-19, Matt Smith wrote, “We could have been better prepared.” He also went over many issues, including lockdowns, illness, and deaths that should be anticipated related to COVID-19. But he then said, “Get ready. The world is about to need you.” Are you willing to step up spiritually and support the Philadelphian work? Most end time Christians are prophesied not to do so. Do the words the Mordecai passed on to Queen Esther have meaning for you today? Could you have been called into the Kingdom of God for a time such as this? What are the plans that God might have for you? Are you one who may have been prophesied to “instruct many” in the end time? Are you watching and praying? Are you cold or lukewarm when it comes to God’s work? Are you mainly a hearer of the word of a doer? Dr. Thiel goes over these subjects.

Here is a link to our video: ‘Get Ready: The World is About to Need You’.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available:
Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? If you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?
Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians. We all know the Bible prophecies famines. Should we do something? Here is a version in the Spanish language Escrituras sobre Preparación física para los Cristianos. Here is a link to a related sermon: Physical preparedness for Christians.
COVID 19 is NOT the End, but could it be TEOWAKI? The novel coronavirus called COVID-19 is wreaking havoc around the world. Many states of the USA as well as countries in Europe are on lockdown with shelter in place /shelter in residence requirements. In France, a form is required when you are not at your house. In Spain, drones are being used to warn people who are outside to got back to their homes–does that bring up feelings of ‘Big Brother’? Italy, France, and other areas are using police and/or military force to encourage people to stay inside. According to the Bible could this be the end? If not, what has to happen first? Have the second and third of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse started their ride? Could COVID-19 be the fourth horseman? Why or why not? Could we be seeing The End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAKI) like the R.E.M.’s 1987 single song discussed? Do Christians need to fear? What did Jesus teach? What did the Psalmist teach? This is a video. Here is a link to a version in the Spanish language: Corona 19 no es el final PERO es el TEOWAKI.
COVID-19 Leading to 666? The novel coronavirus of Wuhan, China fame, is now called COVID-19. It has also been called the ‘Coronapocalypse.’ Does COVID-19 have any prophetic ramifications? What did Jesus teach about pestilences and sorrows in the Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24? Could COVID-19 be the ride of the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse? Why was this type of disease expected according to the O. Here is a link to a version in the Spanish language: ld Testament prophecies in Deuteronomy and Leviticus? What has the US Centers for Disease Control warned about? What has the CDC reported about the flu? Were there lessons about fear and infections in the 2011 movie ‘Contagion’? Because of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO), nation of Iran, and certain French locations are telling people not to use cash, but instead electronic forms of payment. The US Federal Reserve is now quarantining money repatriated from Asia to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus on US currency bills. Is COVID-19 worse than we have been told or could this all be a ‘false flag’ event to encourage people to move towards a cashless society? If the thousands of deaths associated with COVID-19 are pushing parts of the world towards cashlessness, how much more likely will the ride of the fourth horseman and over a billion human deaths motivate people to move to making electronic payments that can be monitored? The Bible tells of a soon coming society that controls buying and selling to force allegiance to a coming European Beast power, known as 666 (Revelation 13:16-18). Does the ‘great tribulation’ begin before ride of the fourth horseman or with the opening of the fifth seal of Revelation 6? Do the words of Jesus helps us better understand the sequence of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and the start of the Great Tribulation? Will the ride of the fourth horseman help lead to the rise of 666? Is that ride very close? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video. Here is a link to a version in the Spanish language: El COVID-19 ¿Conduce al 666?
Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 Who is 666? This article explains how the COG views this, and compares this to Ellen White. Here is a link to a prophetic video Six Financial Steps Leading to 666?
Biological Warfare and Prophecy. Is biological warfare possible? Was it prophesied? Scientists have long warned that pathogenic organisms like the coronavirus could be weaponized. Furthermore, back in 2017, there were concerns that the biological research facility being constructed in Wuhan, China was risky and that a coronavirus from it could be released. On January 25, 2020, China’s President Xi Jinping publicly stated that the situation with the Wuhan-related strain of the coronavirus was grave. Did Church of God writers like the late evangelist Raymond McNair warn that engineered viruses (the “Doomsday bug”) were consistent with prophecies from Jesus? Did a warning from CCOG leader Bob Thiel warn about risks of genetically-modified (GMO) mosquitoes come to pass? Could human research and/or the consumption of biblically-unclean animals such as bats and snakes be a factor in current outbreaks or coming future pestilences? What about famines? How devastating have pestilences been? How devastating are the prophesied ones going to be? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video.
Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse What is the pale horse of death and pestilences? What will it bring and when? Some related videos may include Amphibian Apocalypse: Threat to Humans?, Zombie Deer Disease is Here! Are the 10 Plagues on Egypt Coming?, and Biological Warfare and Prophecy. Here is a version of the article in Spanish: El cuarto jinete de Apocalipsis, el caballo pálido de muerte y pestilencia.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse What do each of the four horseman of the Apocalypse represent? Have they began their ride? Did Jesus discuss the any of this? Might their rides coincide with the “beginning of sorrows? Do they start their ride prior to the Great Tribulation? Did Nostradamus or any other ‘private prophets’ write predictions that may mislead people so that they may not understand the truth of one or more of the four horseman? There is also a related YouTube video titled The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.

Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18?
Church of God Leaders on Prophets Have there been prophets throughout the church age? Are any supposed to be around in the last days? What have COG leaders stated or written about prophets? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.
What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles? Some in the West discount God’s calling of Gentiles, but the Apostle Paul wrote about the need for them to come to the truth before Jesus returns.
What is the Ezekiel Warning? Should the end-time descendants of Israel and Joseph be warned? What should the watchman warn about?
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? Two related sermons are available The Work per HWA and the Bible and Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
The Philadelphia Remnant: It’s All About Love This is what CCOG teaches. It is important to remember. A related video is available: Nairobi Conference: All About Love.
What is a True Philadelphian? Many claim to be part of the Philadelphia era of the Church, but is claiming enough? This article has biblical and historical evidence about who really are the Philadelphians.
Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees? Discusses similarities of the Sadducees and Pharisees to various COGs in this end-time.
Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle Herbert Armstrong claims God had him raise the Philadelphia up. Are there reasons to believe that the Philadelphia mantle in now within the CCOG? Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy. See also Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism 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]. Several related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History, The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character, The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon, Eucharist, Passover, and Easter, and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA
We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN
This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU
This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ
This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos
. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
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. Here is a link to a short intro: ContinuingCOG Channel.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of GodContend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) ” & continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs–the Statement gives answers? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese ~ç~íy^v„eYOv„OáNðXðf. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu. Here is a related link in the Chichewa language: ZIKHULUPIRIRO ZA MPINGO WA CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD. Here is a link in Romanian: Declarația de credințe a continuării Bisericii lui Dumnezeu. Here is a link in Portuguese: Declaração de Crenças da Continuação da Igreja de Deus. Here is a link in Russian: Утверждение верований о продолжении Церкви Божьей. Here is a link to a related English-language sermon: Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

Easter or Passover? Which did early Christians keep?

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020


Site of Calvary?

COGwriter

Many people, especially in the English-speaking nations do not realize that the holiday that they call Easter really is supposed to be Passover.

Passover is after sunset on April 7th this year, whereas Easter is April 12th, or for the Eastern Orthodox, April 19th.

In many other languages, some version of the Greek word páscha is often used, so in those cultures they tend to be more aware of the original biblical connection.

But some are confused about that.

Notice an assertion from a Lutheran source:

The ancient name for Easter is ‘Pascha’, from the Greek and Hebrew words for Passover, “for Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7). (The church season of Easter. King of Grace Lutheran Church, April 18, 2019)

That is a highly misleading assertion. Early Christians (like Jesus and His disciples) kept Passover which is the Greek word ‘Pascha’ that is in the New Testament. Christians kept Passover at night as a memorial of Christ’s death. Instead of being a memorial of Christ’s last Passover, for the Greco-Romans (and then Protestants) it became a resurrection holiday. Pascha is not the ancient name for Easter.

Centuries after many compromisers switched to Sunday, the name of what was supposed to be the observance of Passover was changed in some Teutonic languages (English, German) to Easter. Easter was the name of a Babylonian sex goddess (often spelled Ishtar, but pronounced about the same as Easter). Ishtar was the ‘queen of heaven’ who was celebrated each Spring by the pagans. Various non-biblical trappings were part of the Ishtar celebration that are similar to many that Protestants use today.

Some have claimed that instead of Ishtar, ‘Easter’ was derived from the pagan-German goddess Eostre/Ostara. She was the ‘bringer of light’ or the dawn, and is sometimes called ‘the queen of heaven.’ She was celebrated each Spring. She looks to be a direct tie to Easter sunrise services (since the Bible instead, has Passover right after sunset). Various researchers, such as the late L.L.C. Hamilton, have taught that Ishstar was both the ‘Ashtoreth’ condemned in the Old Testament (1 Kings 11:33) and the Eostre of the Germans (Hamilton LLC. Ishtar and Izdubar, the epic of Babylon; or, The Babylonian goddess of love and the hero and warrior king, restored in mod. verse by L.L.C. Hamilton. 1884, pp. 207-208).

Whether originally from a Babylonian goddess, a later German one or a combination of both, ‘Easter’ is a term, not for our Saviour, but of a pagan goddess.

Consider also that Easter’s ‘hot cross buns’ would not have been used by early Christians for many reasons, including the fact that the faithful kept the Days of Unleavened Bread, which comes right after Passover. Plus, the Bible warns against making similar cakes to the queen of heaven (Jeremiah 7:18, 44:16-29). Easter bunnies and Easter eggs are certainly not a biblical practice and were not part of early Christian Passover observances. Instead, they were part of the pagan worship of Ishtar/Easter/’Queen of Heaven.’ No Christian should take part in worship like that (1 Corinthians 10:20-22).

Early Christians clearly kept Passover and not Easter.

Notice what a respected Protestant scholar reported about the second century:

The most important in this festival was the passover day, the 14th of Nisan…In it they ate unleavened bread, probably like the Jews, eight days through…there is no trace of a yearly festival of the resurrection among them…the Christians of Asia Minor appealed in favor of their passover solemnity on the 14th Nisan to John (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A Text-book of Church History. Translated by Samuel Davidson, John Winstanley Hull, Mary A. Robinson. Harper & brothers, 1857, Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Feb 17, 2006, p. 166).

So, like the Apostle John (the last of the original apostles to die), the early faithful Christians observed Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.

When is Passover? Is it early in the morning?

No.

An early morning holiday that time of year was observed for Eostre, the pagan goddess of the dawn.

As far as early Christians go, Jesus and His disciples kept Passover in the evening (cf. John 13).

In the second century, it was reported that Passover was an annual event and that it was held at night (Epistula Apostolorum, Chapter 15 as shown in Elliot JK. The apocryphal New Testament: a collection of apocryphal Christian literature in an English translation, reprint edition. Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 565).

The Eastern Orthodox realize that this is so, as one of their priests has written:

Pascha is the feast of universal redemption. Our earliest sources for the an­nual celebration of the Christian Pascha come to us from the second century…The feast, however, must have originated in the apostolic period…According to the earliest documents, Pascha is described as a nocturnal celebration…(Calivas, Alkiviadis C. The Origins of Pascha and Great Week – Part I. Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1992. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith8504 viewed 11/04/2011)

Most people do not seem to realize that ALL early Christians kept Passover. And that because of various compromises “Easter” later came to be observed by most who claim Christ.

Later, that compromise was formally agreed to by a council called by a non-baptized Emperor in 325. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

1170 At the Council of Nicaea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox. Because of different methods of calculating the 14th day of the month of Nisan, the date of Easter in the Western and Eastern Churches is not always the same. For this reason, the Churches are currently seeking an agreement in order once again to celebrate the day of the Lord’s Resurrection on a common date. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 332)

It should be noted that ALL the churches did not agree and those in the true Church of God did not attend the Council of Nicaea.

That it is understood, even by some Catholic scholars, that “Judeo-Christian” churches were not represented on at that Council. Notice what Priest Bellarmino Bagatti wrote.

…the inhabitants of Syria, of Cilcia and of Mesopotamia were still celebrating Easter {Passover} with the Jews…

The importance of the matters to be discussed and the great division that existed had led Constantine to bring together a big number of bishops, including confessors of the faith, in order to give the impression that the whole of Christendom was represented.

In fact…the churches of Jewish stock had had no representation…From this we can conclude that no Judaeo-Christian bishop participated in the Council. Either they were not invited or they declined to attend. And so the capitulars had a free hand to establish norms for certain practices without meeting opposition or hearing other view points. ( Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 47-48)

Over time, not only the date, but the practices associated with Passover changed for the Greco-Roman churches as did the name in languages like English.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring…Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter…The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast. Easter has no fixed date, like Christmas, because the 15th of Nisan of the Semitic calendar was shifting from date to date on the Julian calendar. Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method…For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. Philip.

In the rest of the empire another consideration predominated. Every Sunday of the year was a commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ, which had occurred on a Sunday. Because the Sunday after 14 Nisan was the historical day of the Resurrection, at Rome this Sunday became the Christian feast of Easter…

During Passover services in the Continuing Church of God, most of Jesus’ words in John 13-18 tend to be read and/or commented upon as part of the service. Most people do not seem to realize that this is what Jesus taught on the night He was betrayed. Also, most do not realize that much of the Gospel according to John had to do with two holy day seasons: the final Passover season (Chapters 13-21) and one particular Feast of Tabernacles’ season (Chapters 7-9). And although Martin Luther preferred John’s Gospel, he ignored those days himself.

But early Christians did not ignore them. Pretty much all scholars realize that all early Christians kept Passover (see also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.).

What about you?

Those who wish to learn more should also study the following:

Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well.
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week? How long are three days and three nights? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
How often should we partake of THE LORD’S SUPPER? Herbert Armstrong answers that question.
Examine Yourself before Passover This article goes into some of why real Christians are to do this. Two related sermons are Really examine yourself before Passover and Passover Examination.
Preparing for Passover The Apostle Paul taught that Christians should examine themselves prior to taking Passover. This YouTube video sermon gives suggestions on how to prepare.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well. Here is a related sermon, also titled Melito’s Homily on the Passover.
TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th? While the real COG observes Passover on the 14th, some observe it on the 15th. Why is the 14th correct? A related sermon is titled Is Passover on the 14th or 15th for Christians?
Unleavened Bread recipes A Serbian COG member, now CCOG elder, sent these recipes for those who would like more ways to prepare unleavened bread. Here is a link to recipes in Spanish: Recetas de Recuerdo.
The Night to Be Observed What is the night to be much observed? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date? A related animation is available and is titled: Night to Be Observed.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here are two YouTube videos intended to be viewed for the first day of unleavened bread:Leaven and Sin and Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

‘Pope: Catholics may now Confess Directly to God without a Priest Present’

Monday, March 30th, 2020


Roman Catholic confessional (Didier Descouens)

COGwriter

The Vatican has made a temporary announcement that is closer to the original practice of confession:

Pope: Catholics may now Confess Directly to God without a Priest Present

March 30, 2020

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Vatican issued a dispensation temporarily dispensing with the need for meeting with a priest to confess sins.

A Vatican tribunal issued a notice last week stating that due to the pandemic, Catholics need not meet with a priest to be given absolution for their sins.

“This Apostolic Penitentiary holds that, especially in places most impacted by the pandemic contagion and until the phenomenon subsides, there are cases of grave necessity” meeting the criteria for general absolution, the notice about confession said.

The Apostolic Penitentiary, is chiefly a tribunal of mercy, responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins in the Catholic Church. …

In an address at a Mass at the Vatican last week, the Pope advised that people unable to go to a priest due to pandemic restrictions should pray for forgiveness instead.

You do what the Catechism says,” he stated. “It is very clear: if you do not find a priest to hear your confession, speak to God, he is your father, and tell him the truth.” …

It should be noted that the rejection of confession to a priest was a major reason for Martin Luther, a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century, to break with the Catholic Church and for his subsequent excommunication from the Catholic Church. https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/147864/pope-catholics-may-now-confess-directly-to-god-without-a-priest-present/

Now, perhaps it should be added that the Church of Rome has always allowed for their members to pray directly to God for forgiveness of sins, but on the other hand has basically said that one should go to a priest to confess as the priest will prescribe penance–a list of prayers or penalties to supposedly help pay for the sins–even though Jesus paid the penalty for sins.

The Bible, of course, does say to confess sins, the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) taken this beyond the practices recorded in the Bible or any found in early, historical, Christian documents.

What do the Bible and the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) teach?

Let’s start by reading a passage from the Douay-Rheims Bible (a Catholic version, abbreviated herein as DRB):

16 Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much. (James 5:16, DRB)

Notice that this was not a command to confess sins to the clergy.

For those who prefer a more modern version, the following is the same verse from the New Jerusalem Bible (another Catholic version, abbreviated herein as NJB):

16 So confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another to be cured; the heartfelt prayer of someone upright works very powerfully. (James 5:16, NJB)

Both versions teach confession of sins to lay members of the church as opposed to auricular (essentially audible) confession to a priest.

Here is the other time the Bible specifically talks about confessing sins:

7 But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:7-10, DRB)

The above says that Christians are to confess sins, and Jesus will forgive them. There is no discussion of penance here or in James 5:16.

According to other scriptures, God/Jesus again is the one we are to confess to:

11 For it is written: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 Therefore every one of us shall render account to God for himself. (Romans 14:11-12, DRB)

1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly vocation, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus (Hebrews 3:1, DRB)

14 Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin. 16 Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. (Hebrews 4:14-16, DRB)

Notice also the following:

18 And many of them that believed, came confessing and declaring their deeds. 19 And many of them who had followed curious arts, brought together their books, and burnt them before all; and counting the price of them, they found the money to be fifty thousand pieces of silver. (Acts 19:18-19, DRB)

The above people apparently repented of their sins and destroyed certain wicked books, but this was not penance in the sense that the Church of Rome now advocates.

Since the Bible has a different view, than Rome now has, has the Roman Catholic Church changed its position? Well, yes it has, even though it has suggested otherwise in the past.

The Council of Trent in the 16th century made a variety of statements about auricular confession. Perhaps the first one to deal with is the following:

CANON VI.–If any one denieth, either that sacramental confession was instituted, or is necessary to salvation, of divine right; or saith, that the manner of confessing secretly to a priest alone, which the Church hath ever observed from the beginning, and doth observe, is alien from the institution and command of Christ, and is a human invention; let him be anathema. (The Council of Trent The Fourteenth Session The canons and decrees of the sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent, Ed. and trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), 92-121. Hanover Historical Texts Project Scanned by Hanover College students in 1995. http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct14.html 05/19/12)

Of course, the above is wrong as this most certainly was not the practice of the early Christians nor the Church of Rome from the beginning. And lest someone claim that I am “anathema” for teaching this, the reality is that even the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the “sacrament of forgiveness” was changed:

1447 Over the centuries the concrete form in which the Church has exercised this power received from the Lord has varied considerably. During the first centuries the reconciliation of Christians who had committed particularly grave sins after their Baptism (for example, idolatry, murder, or adultery) was tied to a very rigorous discipline, according to which penitents had to do public penance for their sins, often for years, before receiving reconciliation. To this “order of penitents” (which concerned only certain grave sins), one was only rarely admitted and in certain regions only once in a lifetime. During the seventh century Irish missionaries, inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition, took to continental Europe the “private” practice of penance, which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church. From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest. This new practice envisioned the possibility of repetition and so opened the way to a regular frequenting of this sacrament. It allowed the forgiveness of grave sins and venial sins to be integrated into one sacramental celebration. In its main lines this is the form of penance that the Church has practiced down to our day. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1447. Imprimi Potest + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Image Books by Doubleday, NY 2003)

So, it took until the 7th century for the modern practice to develop widely, but it seems to have been related to Callistus’ actions combined with a syncretic adaptation of scripture and non-biblical practices that took time to develop (along with the general acceptance of the Greco-Romans to be willing to utilize practices of non-Christian religions with theirs). But the fact is that the Council of Trent was wrong–and this Council put forth many dogmas, all of which had papal approval–thus the Council of Trent disproves the idea of papal infallibility. Catholics really need to realize that.

So, it took until the 7th century for the modern practice to develop widely.

Of course, repentance was taught for becoming a Christian, and acknowledging our sins to God is taught for remaining one:

8 If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us; 9 if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil. (1 John 1:9, NJB)

And while the Bible advocates repentance, penance is from outside of sacred scripture as well as the earliest traditions of the true Church of God.

While some Catholics believe that sins cannot be forgiven without the “sacrament of confession,” this is not the case. And, as the Catechism admits (#1447) the current “sacrament of confession” was not an original apostolic practice.

Furthermore, there were no ‘confessionals,’ like shown at the beginning of this post, used by early Christians. They also did not use crosses (there is one shown in the aforementioned confessional)–for details, check out the article What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol?

Penance vs. Repentance

The true Church of God which existed since the beginning (see, for example, the page The History of Early Christianity) is not Protestant (see, for example, the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants). It bases its beliefs primarily upon the Bible, which teaches:

38 ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered, ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38, NJB)

Repentance was taught for becoming a Christian, and acknowledging our sins to God is taught for remaining one:

8 If we say, ‘We have no sin,’ we are deceiving ourselves, and truth has no place in us; 9 if we acknowledge our sins, he is trustworthy and upright, so that he will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all evil. (1 John 1:9, NJB)

Christians are not to inflict punishment on ourselves, thinking that this will force God to hear our prayers (Isaiah 58:2-7). God is not interested in penance, but repentance and change. We should not be like certain Muslims and whip our backs, while effectively saying, “Look at our suffering, God, so hear us.”

And while the Bible advocates repentance, penance is from outside of sacred scripture as well as the earliest traditions of the true Church of God. While the Church of Rome tends to claim that its beliefs come from sacred scripture or the traditions of the original apostles, the idea of auricular confession and penance did not come from either source–they are late heresies, essentially adopted from non-Christian sources.

The Bible teaches against a worldly repentance:

10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Here is something that the late Herbert Armstrong wrote related to that:

Admit Your Sins

Prayer and fasting aren’t the only requirements in seeking God. If you will read back over the examples of Daniel and Nehemiah as well as any of the other prophets of God, you will notice that in every case they FREELY ACKNOWLEDGED their own sins and shortcomings. It takes a deeply sincere man to say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).

If we are earnestly seeking God and His way, this is the attitude we will be reflecting. We will freely admit our own sins and shortcomings and be earnestly importuning God to show us the right way. Jeremiah said, “O Lord, I know that THE WAY OF MAN IS NOT IN HIMSELF: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing” (Jer. 10: 23-24).

We as individuals do not know how to live. Once we begin to learn that lesson, and look to God to show us how to live and how to change our lives, we are on our way to real repentance.

The steps are simple. Yet it is not easy to completely give of yourself, to admit your own faults and sincerely ask for God’s forgiveness.

Turn From Own Ways

The people of this world outwardly follow many of these steps and yet fall short in the final, most important of all the steps — TURNING FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS. That is why it is so hard to distinguish between the believer and the non-believer. That is why the “distance between our professed faith and our daily performance is astronomical.” So many people of this day and age profess to be repentant — profess Christianity and yet still live in all the wretchedness of their sinful ways. So, finally, one of the most important of all the steps in coming to true repentance is to STOP SINNING! Millions CLAIM membership in a church. They loudly proclaim their belief in Jesus Christ. They testify for Christ, BUT THE FRUIT IS NOT THERE.

All too often our repentance is the worldly repentance spoken of in II Corinthians 7:10. What we really need to come to see and understand is the kind of repentance God speaks of. “Therefore also now, saith the Eternal, Turn ye even to me WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and REND YOUR HEART, and not your garments, and turn to the Eternal your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil”. (Joel 2:12-13).

No, God doesn’t want the worldly kind of repentance which is manifested by a trip down the sawdust trail. No, He doesn’t just want your name on the membership rolls of some church. What God wants and what you should come to deeply desire is to SINCERELY acknowledge your sins and ask forgiveness. God wants you to say, “I’M SORRY” — and mean it! He wants you to repent of breaking and to begin obeying His LAW. (Armstrong HW. Just What Do You Mean — Repentance?)

Notice, he taught that sins are to be acknowledged and behavior changed. More on this subject is also covered in the article When You Sin: Do You Really Repent?

All Sins that Are Properly Repented of Will Be Forgiven

While some Catholics believe that sins cannot be forgiven without the “sacrament of confession,” this is not the case. And, as the Catechism admits (#1447) the current “sacrament of confession” was not an original apostolic practice.

While some people erroneously believe that God could not forgive them and that they have possibly committed the “unpardonable sin,” those who feel that way pretty much can be assured that they have not committed it–recall that scripture teaches:

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. (1 John 1:9, DRB)

For more details about the “unpardonable sin,” please see the article What is the Unpardonable Sin?

The Bible, like the Continuing Church of God, says to confess sins to one another but mainly to the Father or Jesus Christ. Scripture does not say to do so to a priest, nor does the Bible ever authorize penance for sin. For more details, check out the new article History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’ Did early Christians confess their sins to priests? A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son. Here is a link to a shorter video The ‘Unpardonable Sin’ and ‘Climate Change’?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters? Some religions suggest this, but what does the Bible teach? What was the practice of the early church?
Did the Early Christian Church Practice Monasticism? Does God expect or endorse living in a monastery or nunnery?
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?
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.
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? Two related YouTube videos would be Beware of the ‘Ecumenical Cross’, The Chrislam Cross and the Interfaith Movement, and Origin of the Cross.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism 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]. Several related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History, The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character, The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon, Eucharist, Passover, and Easter, and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Sermon: Eucharist, Passover, and Easter

Saturday, March 28th, 2020


Breaking Bread
(Pixabay)

COGwriter

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

1:21:22

What does ‘eucharist’ mean? Was there any type of ‘eucharist’ associated with what some have called ‘the Last Supper’ or ‘communion’ or the ‘Christian Passover’? What does the New Testament teach? Did any ancient or modern Church of God leaders use the term ‘eucharist’ to mean the ‘Christian Passover.’ What day and what part of the day did early Christians keep the Passover? Was it kept on the night of the 14th of Nisan/Abib or on a Sunday before sunrise? Did Emperor Constantine assert that Passover could only be kept once per year? Is Passover a re-sacrifice of Jesus or a memorial of it? Is Jesus somehow present in the Passover? Is leavened bread and grape juice fine? Did Jesus use wine and unleavened bread? Does the Eastern Orthodox Bible support the use of unleavened bread? Did early true Christians use Latin incantations in their ceremonies? Do the Bible and the Catholic Encyclopedia teach that early Christians broke bread or if they used a round host? What about the Vatican’s website and the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’? What did Ignatius, Polycrates, and Irenaeus write? Have any writers claimed that IHS stands for Isis, Hoeb, and Seb? Was the Catholic saint Bernandine of Sienna denounced for using the IHS symbol with sun rays? Are there any ancient Egyptian connections to Greco-Roman eucharistic ceremonies? Did Tertullian and Justin Martyr note similarities between their eucharistic practices and Mithraism? What about influence from Valentinus or Marcus? Did the Marcosians connect a women to their mystical ceremony? Do Roman Catholics tie Mary in with their eucharist? Did the old Worldwide Church of God equate the term Eucharist with Passover? Should the word ‘Easter’ be in the Bible? Who were Ishtar and Eostre? Were rabbits associated with Ostara? Dr. Thiel addresses these questions and more.

Here is a link to the sermon: Eucharist, Passover, and Easter.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Early Christianity and the Eucharist? What does ‘eucharist’ mean? Did early Christians tie it in with Passover? Should it be a rounded host? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eucharist, Passover, and Easter.
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Greco-Roman Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a baptismal ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ, as well as for promoting the ‘eighth day’ ogdoad. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria? Where did the eucharistic host and IHS come from?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?

EXODUS Exodus sermons include Exodus 1-4: Jewish Myths or Lessons for Christians Today?, Exodus 5-7: Serpents, Blood, and Revelation, Exodus 8-9: Plagues and Prophecy, Exodus 10-12: The Last Plagues & 21st Century Prophecies, and Exodus 13-15: Passover Protection and Armageddon. There is also more, such as the article: When was the Exodus? Did it Happen? Some deny the biblical account of the Exodus. Was Ramses II the pharaoh then? When did the Exodus occur? Is there proof outside of the Bible that there was an Exodus? Here is a related article in the Spanish language: ¿Cuándo fue el Éxodo? ¿Ocurrió realmente? Also: Reasons, Proofs, and Ramifications of the Ten Plagues of Exodus What do you know about these plagues? What happened to the ‘gods of Egypt’? Is there any confirmation outside the Bible? Might something worse be coming? A related two-part sermon is available: Egypt and the Plagues (Part 1) and Exodus Plagues and Prophecy (Part 2). Also: Exodus and the Days of Unleavened Bread This article discusses parts of the Book of Exodus with some connections to the Days of Unleavened Bread. Related sermons are available Exodus 1-4: Jewish Myths or Lessons for Christians Today?, Exodus 5-7: Serpents, Blood, and Revelation, Exodus 8-9: Plagues and Prophecy and Unleavened Bread: Lessons in Exodus. Another sermon is Exodus, Judgments, and Jesus. Also Exodus 4:24, Why would God have sought to kill Moses? What did Moses do wrong? Do you have a similar problem? Another article is Exodus 16-19 which covers all of those verses–here is a link to a related sermon: Exodus 16-19: Manna, Governance, and End Time Protection. Another article is Exodus 20 which covers all of the verses in that chapter–here is a link to a related sermon: Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments. Another article covers the verses in those chapters Exodus 21-24: These are the Judgments–here is a link to a related sermon: Exodus 21-24: Judgments. Here is a link to the article Exodus 25: Ark of the Covenant and Mercy Seat–here is a link to a related sermon: Exodus 25: Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. Here is a link to the article Exodus 26-32 Tabernacle, Sacrifices, & the Book of Life–here is a link to a related sermon:Exodus 26-32: Tabernacle, Golden Calf, and Book of Life. A final article is: Exodus 33-40, The Final Chapters. Here are links to two related video sermons: Exodus 33-36: Moses Shown and You Should Too. and Exodus 37-40: Finishing the Work.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations YouTube channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs. Also available at BitChute COGAnimations https://www.bitchute.com/channel/coganimations/
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced hundreds of videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. You can find them at them on YouTube at BibleNewsProphecy https://www.youtube.com/user/BibleNewsProphecy, plus also on Vimeo at Bible News Prophecy https://vimeo.com/channels/biblenewsprophecy as well as on Brighteon Bible News Prophecy https://www.brighteon.com/channel/ccogbnp and Bitchute Prophecy https://www.bitchute.com/channel/prophecy/
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo. Also available at BitChute COGAfrica https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogafrica/
CDLIDDSermones channel. This contains messages in the Spanish language
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos. Also available at BitChute COGTube https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogtube/
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of GodContend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) ” & continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs–the Statement gives answers? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese ~ç~íy^v„eYOv„OáNðXðf. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu. Here is a related link in the Chichewa language: ZIKHULUPIRIRO ZA MPINGO WA CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD. Here is a link in Romanian: Declarația de credințe a continuării Bisericii lui Dumnezeu. Here is a link in Portuguese: Declaração de Crenças da Continuação da Igreja de Deus. Here is a link in Russian: Утверждение верований о продолжении Церкви Божьей. Here is a link to a related English-language sermon: Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

Did the Apostle Peter hold Roman Catholic or Church of God views?

Thursday, March 26th, 2020


Artist portrayal of the Apostle Peter preaching

COGwriter

Former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron had the following in one of his newletters:

The apostle Peter played a prominent role in the early church. Soon after he abandoned his career as a fisherman to follow Christ, he became a fisher of men. Several of his sermons were recorded in the Book of Acts, and his two epistles are included in the divinely inspired Scriptures. Since Catholics have been taught that Peter was their first pope, I have developed some questions to shed some light on his theology, ecclesiology, and soteriology. All of the answers come directly from his writings and sermons…>

Peter, were you the first pope and the supreme head of the first century church?
“As a fellow elder, I exhort the elders among you… to shepherd the flock of God.” (1 Pet. 5:1-3)

Are you the rock upon which Jesus would build His church?
Jesus is “a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God, chosen and precious… The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense. They stumble because they disobey the word.” (1 Pet. 2:4,7-8)

Were you infallible?
Paul opposed me to my face because I was not in step with the truth of the Gospel.(Gal. 2:11,14)

Should we confess our sins to priests?
Repent of your wickedness and pray to God that your sins may be forgiven. (Acts 8:22)

Should we pray to Mary and the saints?
Pray to God. (Acts 8:22)

Can anyone be saved apart from the Lord Jesus Christ?
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

What would you say to Pope Francis who teaches that atheists can follow their conscience into heaven?
“There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” “The ignorant and unstable twist Paul’s letters to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” (2 Peter 2:1; 3:16)…

Is it possible for God’s grace or indulgences to be purchased for the remission of sins?
God ransoms us “not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:18-19)…

Should Jesus Christ be made a sin offering during the sacrifice of the Mass?
Christ suffered “once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Pet. 3:18)…

Should Jesus continue to be pictured as a dead man hanging on a cross or as a baby in Mary’s arms?
The resurrected Christ has “gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” (1 Pet. 3:21-22)

What should we do in these days of great deception? Take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pet 3:17-18)

There is a profound contrast between the divinely inspired teachings of Peter and the fallible, ungodly opinions of Pope Francis. The enormous disparity between the instruction of these two men Catholics call “pope” shows how far the Roman Catholic Church has departed from the faith of the apostles. May God give us all a greater compassion for the many victims of religious deception.

Most who claim some tie to Roman Catholicism do not realize how much that church has changed. An article that documents this in great detail is available: Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?

The Apostle Peter actually held to Church of God doctrines, and not various ones now embraced by the Church of Rome.

Peter, like the Apostle John, kept biblical holidays.

Peter, also, did not observe Christmas nor Easter.

Peter did not wear a cross.

As far as ‘apostolic succession’ goes, notice the following definition from a Roman Catholic priest and scholar:

Apostolic Succession...In its strict sense, apostolic succession refers to the doctrine by which the validity and authority of the Christian ministry is derived from the Apostles…In its broader sense, apostolic succession refers to the relationship between the Christian church today and the apostolic church of New Testament times. Thus, apostolic succession refers to the whole church insofar as it is faithful to the word, the witness, and the service of the apostolic communities. Understood in this way, the church is not simply a collectivity of individual churches; instead, it is a communion of churches whose validity is derived from the apostolic message that it professes and from the apostolic witness that it lives (McBrien R.P. Apostolic Succession. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txo/apossucc.htm 12/09/06).

In other words, according to the above priest, apostolic succession is actually related to the acceptance of the succession of biblical truth, as taught by the original apostles–spiritual apostolic succession is the most important factor to consider when it comes to the subject of apostolic succession (though the ‘laying on of hands’ is also a factor).

Jesus said:

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)

True successors of Jesus’ disciples would worship God in spirit and truth–“the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Yet, the Church of Rome has made many changes, including many that disagree with positions held by many it considers to be early ‘saints.’

I would add that it is not just Roman Catholics that made changes that disagree with the views of the original apostles.

Some details are in the free online booklets Continuing History of the Church of God and Where is the True Christian Church Today? and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism.

Items to assist in your studies may include:

Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a link to a sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession. Here is a related articlein the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups? A related sermon is also available Christianity: Two groups.
Laying on of Hands This is an elementary principle of Hebrews 6. Have you properly had hands laid upon you? Here is a link to a related sermon: Laying on of Hands and Succession.
Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom? How should Matthew 16:18-19 be understood? Here is a link to a related sermon: Peter, the Rock, and the Keys.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism 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]. Several related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History, The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character, The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon, Eucharist, Passover, and Easter, and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?

The Apostle Peter He was an original apostle and early Christian leader. Where was Peter buried? Where did Peter die?
Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Laying on of Hands This is an elementary principle of Hebrews 6. Have you properly had hands laid upon you? Here is a link to a related sermon: Laying on of Hands and Succession.
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?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
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?
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?
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? 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?

Freedom from Egypt, Passover, and the Night to be Much Observed

Monday, March 23rd, 2020


Site of Calvary?

COGwriter

The Temple Institute sent out the following in its newsletter:

Nisan 14, 5779/April 19, 2019

Freedom. That’s what the holiday of Passover is all about. …

This is the number one requirement of freedom, for an individual and for a people: responsibility to oneself, foroneself. Only with this ability to determine its own path can a nation determine who it is today and who it will be tomorrow. Responsibility for the passage of days and the setting of the seasons is the ticket to freedom.

But the nature of that freedom will determine the nature of that people. …

By commanding Israel to risk it all, to literally slay an Egyptian deity while still in Egypt, revealing to the world that there was but One G-d and One G-d only, G-d was asking Israel to take its new-found self determination and to attach it forever to the knowledge of G-d and to the path of Torah that Israel was yet to receive in Sinai.

(Note: The Jews consider that the “holiday of Passover’ also includes the Days of Unleavened Bread.)

For the Christian, what happened to the children of Israel in Egypt was to serve as an example and warning for us to be faithful (see 1 Corinthians 10:6-11).

During the night of the Passover in Exodus, the following happened:

29 And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. 30 So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. 31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the Lord as you have said. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.” 33 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders. (Exodus 12:29-34)

Now consider the following:

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. 24 And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. 25 It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. 26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’ ” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. (Exodus 12:21-28)

The above is important because it shows that the children of Israel were in their homes from around sunset on the 14th until the daylight hours of the morning of the 14th.

Then they did the following in the morning:

35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. 36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. (Exodus 12:35-36)

They left Egypt at night of the 15th of Nisan/Abib:

37 Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. 38 A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds–a great deal of livestock. 39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves. 40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years–on that very same day–it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It is a night of solemn observance to the Lord for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the Lord, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations. (Exodus 12:37-42)

Since the children of Israel were inside from sunset on the 14th to the morning of the 15th, they did not leave Egypt proper until the 15th. The first day of unleavened bread.

Thus after the Passover, they put Egypt, in a sense, behind them.

After the sacrifice of Jesus, our Passover, we are to put sin behind us:

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

As Christians, these days have meaning for us.

Early Christians kept them.

Notice what a respected Protestant scholar reported about the second century Christians:

The most important in this festival was the passover day, the 14th of Nisan…In it they ate unleavened bread, probably like the Jews, eight days through…there is no trace of a yearly festival of the resurrection among them…the Christians of Asia Minor appealed in favor of their passover solemnity on the 14th Nisan to John (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A Text-book of Church History. Translated by Samuel Davidson, John Winstanley Hull, Mary A. Robinson. Harper & brothers, 1857, Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Feb 17, 2006, p. 166).

Christians are to be unleavened and properly handle the freedom, the liberty, we have from Jesus being our Passover sacrifice:

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. …

9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! 13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:1, 9-13)

15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men– 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. (1 Peter 2:15-16)

23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:23-25)

Christians gain freedom in Christ, but it is not a freedom then go and become slaves of sin:

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!
16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:1-23)

So, after accepting Jesus’ Passover sacrifice, Christians are not then to become slaves of sin, but instead slaves of righteousness, which previously quoted verses show brings liberty.

As far as what happens after Passover, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following:

The PASSOVER pictures the DEATH OF CHRIST for the remission of sins that are past. The accepting of His BLOOD does not forgive sins we SHALL commit — it does not give LICENSE to continue in sin — therefore WHEN we accept it, our sins are forgiven only up to that time — PAST SINS.

But shall we stop there? Past sins forgiven. But we are still flesh beings. We still shall suffer temptations. Sin has held us in its clutch — we have been SLAVES to sin, in its power. And we are powerless to deliver ourselves from it! We have been in BONDAGE to sin. Let us understand the picture — the meaning. Quitting sin utterly To what extent shall we put away sin? Not partially, but COMPLETELY! And, as leaven is also a type of sin — leaven puffs up, and so does sin — and, as SEVEN is God’s number symbolizing COMPLETENESS, we are to follow the Passover with the seven Days of Unleavened Bread! The picture — the meaning — the symbolism, is not complete with Passover alone. Passover pictures the acceptance of Christ’s blood for the REMISSION of past sins. It pictures the CRUCIFIED — the DEAD — Christ.

Shall we leave Christ hanging on the cross? The seven Days of UNLEAVENED BREAD, following Passover, picture to us the COMPLETE putting away of sin, the KEEPING of the Commandments — after past sins are forgiven. They picture the life and work of the RISEN CHRIST — who ascended to the throne of God where He is actively at work in our behalf as our HIGH PRIEST, cleansing us of sin — delivering us completely from its POWER! To observe Passover alone, and then fail to observe the seven Days of Unleavened Bread, means, in the symbolism, to accept Christ’s blood, and to continue on in sin — to say with the Sunday churches the LAW is done away, we are under grace, meaning license, to continue in sin! The seven Days of Unleavened Bread picture the keeping of the Commandments, which is another way of saying the putting away of sin.

And, as Rome’s followers have the MARK of the BEAST in their right hand and forehead, so God’s true Church is to have these feast days, the first of which is a MEMORIAL picturing deliverance from sin, in OUR right hand and forehead, as God’s SIGN, in order that we shall KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. And since the forehead is the seat of the intellect and symbolizes ACCEPTANCE, and the right hand symbolizes WORK, we have this SIGN OF GOD thereby accepting this truth about the Holy Days and Days of Unleavened Bread, and by NOT WORKING on these Holy Days! Not only is the weekly Sabbath God’s SIGN (Exodus 31:12-17) but annual Sabbaths are SIGNS as well! (Armstrong HW. What You Should Know About the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread. Good News, March 1979)

We in the Continuing Church of God keep God’s festivals today.

After the Exodus Passover, the children of Israel left their homes in Egypt. They arrived outside a portion of Egypt on the evening of the first Day of Unleavened Bread. And God told them to remember that night.

The CCOG put together an animation about that night:

What is it? When is it? The KJV refers to it as “THE NIGHT TO BE MUCH OBSERVED.” This scripture-packed animation includes background and specific information related to the children of Israel. It also gives some of the Old and New Testament prophetic ramifications of this event. How the NTBO is typically observed is also covered. The animation also includes a chart of scriptures and biblical dates to determine when that NTBO actually is. Furthermore, the animation provides information from the “Jewish Encyclopedia” which, through scripture, shows that many Jews have confused Passover with the “night to be observed.” This is a great animation to give background on the NTBO and is also appropriate to be watched on the NTBO.

Here is a link to the animation: Night to Be Observed.

The Night to Be Observed reminds us that we have our part in our ultimate salvation. We must repent of sin and walk out of spiritual Egypt. This night pictures the beginning of that journey. We learn from this Feast that we cannot stay in the slavery of spiritual Egypt. We are not to be joined unequally with this present evil world. Even as God separated His people from Egypt, we must be separated from modern day Egypt with all of its lures and attractions. Just as ancient Israel had to put forth effort to get out of bondage, so we too must put forth effort to remove ourselves from the bondage of this world.

Christians attain freedom in Christ. It is a freedom from being a slave to sin.

God’s plan of salvation, as revealed through His Holy Days, help us to better understand that.

The Christian Passover is after sunset on April 7th in 2020 and the Night to be Much Observed is after sunset April 8th in 2020.

Those who wish to learn more should also study the following:

Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here are two YouTube videos intended to be viewed for the first day of unleavened bread:Leaven and Sin and Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
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. Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cómo guardar los Festivales de Dios?¿Cómo guardar los Festivales de Dios?
How often should we partake of THE LORD’S SUPPER? Herbert Armstrong answers that question.
Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread How should Christians keep Passover, especially if they are by themselves. Why does the Church of God not require lambs for Passover? How does one keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? For a step-by-step video for Christians to keep it, check out a CCOG Passover Service. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: Guardando la Pascua y los Días de los Panes sin Levadura.
Examine Yourself before Passover This article goes into some of why real Christians are to do this. Two related sermons are Really examine yourself before Passover and Passover Examination.
Preparing for Passover The Apostle Paul taught that Christians should examine themselves prior to taking Passover. This YouTube video sermon gives suggestions on how to prepare.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well. Here is a related sermon, also titled Melito’s Homily on the Passover.
TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th? While the real COG observes Passover on the 14th, some observe it on the 15th. Why is the 14th correct? A related sermon is titled Is Passover on the 14th or 15th for Christians?
Unleavened Bread recipes A Serbian COG member, now CCOG elder, sent these recipes for those who would like more ways to prepare unleavened bread. Here is a link to recipes in Spanish: Recetas de Recuerdo.
The Night to Be Observed What is the night to be much observed? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date? A related animation is available and is titled: Night to Be Observed.
The Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread What happened? Does this day have any type of fulfillment in the Book of Revelation?
Offertories: Unleavened Offering and 7th Day of Unleavened Bread Offertory for 2018.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
Overcoming Sin What is sin? How are Christians suppose to overcome it? Here is a link to a version in Mandarin Chinese: QKg f/‘͉v„. Here is a link to a version in Spanish: Vencer al pecado. Here is also a link to a video in English titled How YOU Can Overcome Sin.
Early Christianity and the Eucharist? What does ‘eucharist’ mean? Did early Christians tie it in with Passover? Should it be a rounded host? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eucharist, Passover, and Easter.
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
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 Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Why Easter? Did early Christians observe Easter? What are the origins of Easter? What does Easter have to do with the goddess Ishtar. Where did the word Easter come from? Where do Easter eggs come from? What do rabbits have to do with Easter? Was Jesus resurrected on a Sunday? This is a video.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

 

Many have renamed ‘Passover’ after a pagan goddess

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020


Eostre: Goddess of the Dawn

COGwriter

Passover will be April 7th after sunset in 2020. And while most seem to consider that Passover is a Jewish holiday, the reality is that most who profess Christ actually are in churches that somewhat claim to observe Passover.

Oddly many call it something else–Easter. What kind of word is that? Well it is the name of a pagan goddess (also spelled Ishtar), they also do not keep Passover as Jesus and His disciples did. Here is a link to a YouTube video that goes through various scriptures and history about Christians keeping Passover: History of the Christian Passover.

Some have claimed, to try to partially justify them keeping ‘Easter,’ that instead of Ishtar, ‘Easter’ was derived from the pagan-German goddess Eostre/Ostara. She was the ‘bringer of light’ or the dawn, and is sometimes called ‘the queen of heaven.’ She was celebrated each Spring. She was the goddess of the dawn and rabbits were associated with her worship. Various researchers, such as the late L.L.C. Hamilton, have taught that Ishstar was the ‘Ashtoreth’ condemned in the Old Testament (1 Kings 11:33) and the Eostre of the Germans (Hamilton LLC. Ishtar and Izdubar, the epic of Babylon; or, The Babylonian goddess of love and the hero and warrior king, restored in mod. verse by L.L.C. Hamilton. 1884, pp. 207-208).

Whether originally from a Babylonian goddess or a later German one, ‘Easter’ is a term, not for our Saviour, but of a pagan goddess.

Although most who profess Christianity now celebrate it, Easter-Sunday was not observed by the second century Christians in Asia Minor. They observed Passover.

However, beginning with possibly Telesphorus or possibly Hyginus or maybe even Sixtus (there are no contemporaneous records, only an unclear report 5-6 decades later written by Irenaeus), what is now called Easter began to be observed in Rome. First, it was apparently a change in date of Passover from the 14th of Nisan to a Sunday. This is believed to have happened because there was a rebellion by Jews and that any distancing between Jews and Christians seemed physically advantageous (at least to some in Rome and the Greeks in Jerusalem).

The SDA scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi noted that the change to Easter-Sunday and to a weekly Sunday observance was due to persecution (the new Gentile hierarchy he is referring to are Greek bishops in Jerusalem, which took over after the rebellion was crushed):

The actual introduction of Easter-Sunday appears to have occurred earlier in Palestine after Emperor Hadrian ruthlessly crushed the Barkokeba revolt (A.D. 132-135)…

The fact that the Passover controversy arose when Emperor Hadrian adopted new repressive measures against Jewish religious practices suggests that such measures influenced the new Gentile hierarchy to change the date of Passover from Nisan 14 to the following Sunday (Easter-Sunday) in order to show separation and differentiation from the Jews and the Jewish Christians…

A whole body of Against the Jews literature was produced by leading Fathers who defamed the Jews as a people and emptied their religious beliefs and practices of any historical value. Two major causalities of the anti-Jewish campaign were Sabbath and Passover. The Sabbath was changed to Sunday and Passover was transferred to Easter-Sunday.

Scholars usually recognize the anti-Judaic motivation for the repudiation of the Jewish reckoning of Passover and adoption of Easter-Sunday instead. Joachim Jeremias attributes such a development to “the inclination to break away from Judaism.” In a similar vein, J.B. Lightfoot explains that Rome and Alexandria adopted Easter-Sunday to avoid “even the semblance of Judaism” (Bacchiocchi S. God’s Festival in Scripture and History. Biblical Perspectives. Befriend Springs (MI), 1995, pp. 101,102,103).

The respected Protestant scholar J.B. Lightfoot specifically wrote:

the Churches of Asia Minor which regulated their Easter festival by the Jewish passover without regard to the day of the week, but with those of Rome and Alexandria and Gaul which observed another rule; thus avoiding even the semblance of Judaism (Lightfoot, Joseph Barber. Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. Macmillan and co., limited, 1910. Original from the University of California. Digitized Oct 16, 2007, p. 331).

It is possible that the Roman “bishop” Telesphorus made a change to Sunday Passover around 135 A.D. to attempt to distance himself from the Jews in Rome. If he was the first Roman leader who did it, and if he thought that this would spare his life, he was wrong as he was apparently later killed by the Roman authorities (circa 136 A.D.). On the other hand, it is perhaps more likely that Hyginus, who was apparently Greek decided to introduce the Passover Sunday tradition in Rome, perhaps to direct the wrath of the anti-Jewish Roman authorities away from those who professed Christ but avoided some of the outward signs of Judaism. Christian leaders that refused to switch from Passover on the 14th to a Sunday observance have been labeled Quartodecimans (Latin for fourteenth) by most historians—with the bulk of them apparently being in Asia Minor near the end of the second century.

Since Roman Bishop Anicetus’ account (see below) claimed that this practice was begun by presbyters who preceded him, it would need to have been no later than the Greeks Telesphorus or Hyginus, as they were followed by Pius who was then followed by Anicetus (it may have originated with Sixtus as he preceded Telesphorus, though he was not Greek, but he died during the time of Hadrian).

[It should be added here that because Dr. Bacchiocchi had an error on p. 81 of his book From Sabbath to Sunday regarding a statement from Epiphanius (he has that statement correct on page 161 of the same book), that some have erroneously felt that Passover should be on the 15th of the month. Suffice it to say that I have a copy of the relevant section of Epiphanius’ writings and he did not write anything about the 15th of the month being celebrated by the Jewish bishops (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verses 9,7-10,1. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 411-412). I contacted Dr. Bacchiocchi about this point years ago and he responded that he hoped to fix that. Also, I should add that the observance of Passover on the 14th of Nisan is one of the historical signs of who may be part of the true Church of God. An article that discusses this in more depth would be TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th?]

Of course the question is, “Was the church supposed to change its beliefs and practices throughout history or be faithful to what the apostles originally received?”

The Bible suggests that the church was not to change its doctrines as Jude wrote:

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Around 155 A.D. Polycarp of Smyrna went to Rome to deal with various heretics and he tried to persuade the Roman bishop Anicetus not to change Passover to an Easter Sunday holiday. Irenaeus records this about Passover:

And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points…For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect (Irenaeus. FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF IRENAEUS, Chapter 3. 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).

For it apparently was in Rome and Greco-Roman Jerusalem that the habit of changing the date of Passover began.

It may be of interest to note “And in Rome …Anicetus assumed the leadership of the Christians there… But Justin was especially prominent in those days” (Eusebius Church History. Book IV, Chapter 11). This may indicate that the heretic Justin Martyr influenced Anicetus so much that he would not agree to observe only the Nisan 14 Passover (Justin opposed various biblical practices).

However, those in Asia Minor, did not change the date in the second century.

Apollinaris was a church leader of Hierapolis in Phrygia of Asia Minor. Around 180 A.D. he wrote:

The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb (Apollinaris. From the Book Concerning Passover. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors; American Edition copyright © 1885. Copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby).

One Anglican scholar noted:

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

Melito of Sardis of Asia Minor, probably by 180 A.D., wrote the following on Passover:

When Servilius Paulus was proconsul of Asia, at the time that Sagaris suffered martyrdom, there arose a great controversy at Laodicea concerning the time of the celebration of the Passover, which on that occasion had happened to fall at the proper season (Melito. Translation by Roberts and Donaldson. On the passover. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 11/18/06).

Now comes the mystery of the passover, even as it stands written in the law…The people, therefore, became the model for the church, and the law a parabolic sketch. But the gospel became the explanation of the law and its fulfillment, while the church became the storehouse of truth…What is the passover? Indeed its name is derived from that event–”to celebrate the passover” (to paschein) is derived from “to suffer” (tou pathein). Therefore, learn who the sufferer is and who he is who suffers along with the sufferer. Why indeed was the Lord present upon the earth? In order that having clothed himself with the one who suffers, he might lift him up to the heights of heaven…So indeed also the suffering of the Lord, predicted long in advance by means of types, but seen today, has brought about faith, just because it has taken place as predicted. And yet men have taken it as something completely new. Well, the truth of the matter is the mystery of the Lord is both old and new–old insofar as it involved the type, but new insofar as it concerns grace. And what is more, if you pay close attention to this type you will see the real thing through its fulfillment. Accordingly, if you desire to see the mystery of the Lord, pay close attention to Abel who likewise was put to death, to Isaac who likewise was bound hand and foot, to Joseph who likewise was sold, to Moses who likewise was exposed, to David who likewise was hunted down, to the prophets who likewise suffered because they were the Lord’s anointed. Pay close attention also to the one who was sacrificed as a sheep in the land of Egypt, to the one who smote Egypt and who saved Israel by his blood. For it was through the voice of prophecy that the mystery of the Lord was proclaimed. And David said: Why were the nations haughty and the people concerned about nothing? The kings of the earth presented themselves and the princes assembled themselves together against the Lord and against his anointed. And Jeremiah: I am as an innocent lamb being led away to be sacrificed. They plotted evil against me and said: Come! let us throw him a tree for his food, and let us exterminate him from the land of the living, so that his name will never be recalled. And Isaiah: He was led as a sheep to slaughter, and, as a lamb is silent in the presence of the one who shears it, he did not open his mouth. Therefore who will tell his offspring? And indeed there were many other things proclaimed by numerous prophets concerning the mystery of the passover, which is Christ, to whom be the glory forever. Amen. When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death. For this one, who was led away as a lamb, and who was sacrificed as a sheep, by himself delivered us from servitude to the world as from the land of Egypt, and released us from bondage to the devil as from the hand of Pharaoh, and sealed our souls by his own spirit and the members of our bodies by his own blood. This is the one who covered death with shame and who plunged the devil into mourning as Moses did Pharaoh. This is the one who smote lawlessness and deprived injustice of its offspring, as Moses deprived Egypt. This is the one who delivered us from slavery into freedom, from darkness into light, from death into life, from tyranny into an eternal kingdom, and who made us a new priesthood, and a special people forever. This one is the passover of our salvation. This is the one who patiently endured many things in many people: This is the one who was murdered in Abel, and bound as a sacrifice in Isaac, and exiled in Jacob, and sold in Joseph, and exposed in Moses, and sacrificed in the lamb, and hunted down in David, and dishonored in the prophets. This is the one who became human in a virgin, who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from among the dead, and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven. This is the lamb that was slain. This is the lamb that was silent. This is the one who was born of Mary, that beautiful ewe-lamb. This is the one who was taken from the flock, and was dragged to sacrifice, and was killed in the evening, and was buried at night; the one who was not broken while on the tree, who did not see dissolution while in the earth, who rose up from the dead, and who raised up mankind from the grave below. This one was murdered (Melito. Homily On the Passover. Verses 11, 40,46-47, 58-72. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology , http://www.kerux.com/documents/KeruxV4N1A1.asp 09/14/05).

Click here for a complete version of The Homily On the Passover by Melito. If your church does not teach you about the Passover and why you should observe it, your church simply is not following the teachings and practices of Early Christianity.

A decade or so after Melito’s death, Roman Bishop Victor tried to enforce the preferred Roman Sunday date for Passover and stop Christians from following the biblical date of Nisan 14.

The Orthodox Church reports this brief explanation of events in one of its timelines:

193 A.D. – Council of Rome, presided over by Bishop Victor, condemns the celebration of Pascha on Nisan 14, and addresses a letter to Polycrates of Ephesus and the Churches in Asia.

193 A.D. – Council of Ephesus, presided over by Bishop Polycrates, and attended by several bishops throughout Asia, reject the authority of Victor of Rome, and keep the Asian paschal tradition (Markou, Stavros L. K. An Orthodox Christian Historical Timeline. Copyright © 2003 OrthodoxFaith.com).

The Catholic writer Lopes noted this about the Roman bishop Victor:

14. VICTOR I, ST. (189-199) An African…Victor tended not to advise other churches but to impose Rome’s ideas on them, thus arousing resentment at times in bishops not inclined to accept such impositions. This was the case of Polycratus, the Bishop of Ephesus, who felt offended at this interference. The question was again that of Easter. Victor reaffirmed the decisions of Soter and Eleutherius both with regard to the date, which had to be a Sunday, and with regard to several customs of Jewish origin which were still practiced in some Christian communities…Polycratus justified himself before the pope with a letter containing the phrase “…it is more important to obey God rather than men” (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997, p. 5).

The Catholic writer Eusebius recorded that Polycrates of Ephesus, around 195 A.D. wrote the following to the Roman Bishop Victor who, as the previous writing showed, wanted those who professed Christ to change Passover from the 14th of Nisan to Sunday:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. 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? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man’ (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. 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).

Notice that Polycrates said that he and the other early church leaders (like the Apostles Philip and John, and their successors like Polycarp, Thraseas, Sagaris, Papirius, Melito) would not deviate from the Bible, and that they knew the Bible taught them to keep the Passover on the correct date, and not on a Sunday. Also notice that they always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. Polycrates also reminded the Roman bishop that true followers of Christ “obey God rather than men”.

Hence it is clear that throughout the second century, the churches in Asia Minor continued to observe the Passover on the 14th of Nisan (and for doing so, they were labeled as Quartodecimans by the Romans), unlike the Romans, and they refused to accept the authority of any Roman bishop over scripture.

Notice that Polycrates specifically claimed that he followed what John did. Now notice that John calls those who do not follow what he taught as antichrists:

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us (1 John 2:18-19).

Thus, this subject of Passover is important (see also the article Doctrines of Antichrist).

In addition, notice what a respected Protestant scholar reported about the second century:

The most important in this festival was the passover day, the 14th of Nisan…In it they ate unleavened bread, probably like the Jews, eight days through…there is no trace of a yearly festival of the resurrection among them…the Christians of Asia Minor appealed in favor of their passover solemnity on the 14th Nisan to John (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A Text-book of Church History. Translated by Samuel Davidson, John Winstanley Hull, Mary A. Robinson. Harper & brothers, 1857, Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Feb 17, 2006, p. 166).

So, like the Apostle John (the last of the original apostles to die), the early faithful Christians observed Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Late Second/Early Third Century

Although he was not part of the Church of God and held some unbiblical views, Tertullian noted:

“Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened.” The unleavened bread was therefore, in the Creator’s ordinance, a figure of us (Christians). “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” But why is Christ our passover, if the passover be not a type of Christ, in the similitude of the blood which saves, and of the Lamb, which is Christ? Why does (the apostle) clothe us and Christ with symbols of the Creator’s solemn rites, unless they had relation to ourselves? (Tertullian. Against Marcion, Book V, Chapter 7. 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).

Tertullian raised some appropriate questions above. Since the days of unleavened bread were a figure for Christians, and Passover is a type of Christ, why does the New Testament endorse these rites unless they were to be observed by Christians?

Even though true Christians claimed that they were simply following Jesus’ example and the Bible, they were condemned by Roman leaders because of it. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, in the third century:

Hippolytus was the most important theologian and the most prolific religious writer of the Roman Church in the pre-Constantinian era (St. Hippolytus of Rome, The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910).

Yet he condemned Christians who felt that they needed to keep the Passover on the correct date and he considered them to be a cause of trouble. Notice:

(from the Paschal Chronicle, PG 92.80-81)…I see now what the cause of the disquiet is. For somebody might say “Christ kept the Pascha and then, during the day he died. It is necessary for me to do what the Lord did, just as he did it.” They are in error…he himself was the Pascha which was announced in advance, and which was fulfilled on the appointed day.

(from the Refutatation of All Heresies, 8.18) There are others, fractious by nature…who maintain that it is necessary to keep the Pascha on the fourteenth of the first month in accordance with the provision of the law, on whatever day it might fall…In other things they conform to everything which has been handed down to the church by the apostles (as cited in Stewart-Sykes A. Melito of Sardis On Pascha. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood (NY), 2001, p. 81).

Thus, there were repeated attempts by Roman-supporting leaders to condemn those who kept the Passover on the 14th. Those who consider themselves Christians, but do not observe the Passover on the 14th are following the lead of those Roman-supporting leaders (the first Roman-supporting leader to clearly distance himself on this subject was the heretic Justin in circa 135).

But notice what the Apostles Paul and John taught:

1 Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1, Douay-Rheims)

11 Dearly beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doth good, is of God: he that doth evil, hath not seen God. (3 John 11, Douay-Rheims)

Thus, the early Christians absolutely should have followed Jesus’ practice and kept Passover when He did. Yet some associated with Rome have long taught otherwise.

The Fourth Century

In spite of the condemnations, Passover was always kept on the 14th of Nisan by those who claimed to be faithful to the practices of the Apostle John and the Bible.

However, even after condemnations from Bishops Victor and Hippolytus, even many of those with a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox background, continued to keep Passover on the 14th of Nisan until at least sometime into the fourth century.

But Emperor Constantine did not like that at all and convened the famous Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. to decide on a universal date:

…the emperor…convened a council of 318 bishops…in the city of Nicea…They passed certain ecclesiastical canons at the council besides, and at the same time decreed in regard to the Passover that there must be one unanimous concord on the celebration of God’s holy and supremely excellent day. For it was variously observed by people… (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verses 1,1 and 1,3. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp.471-472). A Sunday date was selected, instead of Nisan 14 (which can fall on any day of the week).

Notice what Constantine declared about this:

The commemoration of the most sacred paschal feast being then debated, it was unanimously decided, that it would be well that it should be everywhere celebrated upon the same day. What can be more fair, or more seemly, than that that festival by which we have received the hope of immortality should be carefully celebrated by all, on plain grounds, with the same order and exactitude? It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. By rejecting their custom, we establish and hand down to succeeding ages one which is more reasonable, and which has been observed ever since the day of our Lord’s sufferings. Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. For we have received from our Saviour another way… (Theodoret of Cyrus. Ecclesiastical History (Book I), Chapter IX. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Actually, the Saviour observed Passover on the 14th of Nisan. It is those who reject the ways of our Saviour who accept the decision of the Roman Emperor over the Bible who do not observe it then. Notice that the first consideration was to not follow the Jews–and they were the ones who followed the Bible. Second, he claimed that people always accepted his Sunday date, but there is absolutely no evidence of this–Sunday Passover was something that second century Romans implemented–there is no proof whatsoever that any observed it on Sunday prior to that, thus Constantine’s second reason is also in error.

According to Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, Book III chapter 18, a more accurate translation of that last line above from the Roman Emperor Constantine should be:

Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.

I do not recall Jesus indicating that Jews were detestable (He was a Jew) nor that He ever changed the date of Passover. But apparently Constantine felt otherwise. And the Sunday observance is now known as Easter (a related article of interest may be Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

1170 At the Council of Nicea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 332).

But the idea that “all the Churches agreed” is not true as the bishops from the faithful churches did not attend that Council.

Notice what the Roman Catholic priest and historian Bellarmino Bagatti wrote:

…the inhabitants of Syria, of Cilcia and of Mesopotamia were still celebrating Easter {Passover} with the Jews…

The importance of the matters to be discussed and the great division that existed had led Constantine to bring together a big number of bishops, including confessors of the faith, in order to give the impression that the whole of Christendom was represented.

In fact…the churches of Jewish stock had had no representation…From this we can conclude that no Judaeo-Christian bishop participated in the Council. Either they were not invited or they declined to attend. And so the capitulars had a free hand to establish norms for certain practices without meeting opposition or hearing other view points. Once the road was open future Councils would continue on these lines, thus deepening the breach between the Christians of two-stocks. The point of view of the Judaeo-Christians, devoid of Greek philosophical formation, was that of keeping steadfast to the Testimonia, and therefore not to admit any word foreign to the Bible, including Homoousion (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 47-48).

So not every church was represented. Nor did everyone accept the decree of the sun-worshipping emperor as the Roman Catholic supporting Epiphanius noted a few decades after that Council:

The Quartodecimans contentiously keep Passover on one day, once per year…They keep the Passover on whichever day the fourteenth of the month falls…Christ had to be slain on the fourteenth of the month in accordance with the law (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section IV, Verses 1,3;1,6;2,6. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 23-25).

The Quartodecimans only kept Passover once per year–not daily like most Roman Catholic priests do–not weekly or monthly like some Catholics/Protestants do. It is of interest to note that Epiphanius recognized that Jesus HAD to be slain on the 14th of the month. It is sad that he and others did not believe they needed to observe it when and how Jesus taught. Strangely he wrote this about the practices of the Greco-Roman church (which we now call Roman and Orthodox Catholics, but he calls “God’s holy church”):

But God’s holy church does not miss the truth in any way in her fixing the date of this mystery. She uses not only the fourteenth day. but also the seven days which recur order of the seven days of the week…And she uses not only the fourteenth day of the lunar month, but the course of the sun as well, to keep us from observing two Passovers in one year and not even one in another. We observe the fourteenth day, then, but we wait until after the equinox and bring the end of our full observance to the sacred Lord’s day (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section IV, Verses 3,1; 3,2; 3,3-4. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 25).

Well, the Catholics most certainly do not observe Passover on the evening of the 14th unless that happens to fall when some observe an evening mass–the equinox argument is not scriptural. And since the “Lord’s Supper” is observed frequently, most practicing Catholics and Protestants do observe it more than once per year.

Epiphanius even admits that the church used to observe the 14th when he wrote:

Audians…they choose to celebrate the Passover with the Jews–that is they contentiously celebrate the Passover at the same time as the Jews are holding their Festival of Unleavened Bread. And indeed that this used to be the church’s custom (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verses 8,11; 9,2. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 410-411).

Anyway, since Constantine’s declarations did not stop everyone from properly observing Passover, a later Roman Emperor after he became a baptized “Christian” decreed the death penalty:

Edicts of Theodosius against the heretics, A.D. 380-394…Theodosius…decreed that…by the death of the offender; and the same capital punishment was inflicted on the Audians, or Quartodecimans, who should dare to perpetrate the atrocious crime of celebrating on an improper day the festival (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume III, Chapter XXVII. ca. 1776-1788).

The various enactments against heretics are contained in the Code of Theodosius (16. tit. 5. s. 6—23 ; and the commentary of Gothofredus): the Eunomians, whose guilt consisted in denying any resemblance between the two sub- tances, and who were accordingly Anomoeans, were also deprived of the power of testamentary disposition, and of taking by testamentary gift: they seem, in fact, to have been deprived of all the rights of citizens. The Manichaean heresy was punishable with death; and the same penalty threatened the Audians or the Quartodecimans, who celebrated the festival of Easter on the wrong day. To the reign of Theodosius belonged the glory or the infamy of establishing Inquisitors of Faith, who seem to have been specially enjoined to look after the crime of the Quartodecimans (Smith W. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology : Oarses-Zygia. J. Murray, 1890 Item notes: v. 3 Original from Harvard University Digitized Jul 8, 2008, p. 1064).

Is killing those that followed the example of Jesus and John to observe the Passover on the 14th instead of Sunday a sign of a true Christian leader or a sign of a supporter of antichrist? Notice that the office of the “Inquisitors” was actually first formed to deal with people who kept Passover on the original biblical date–did you know that the date of Passover was considered to be that important?

The Catholic and Orthodox saint John Chrysostom preached the following in 387 A.D.:

In speaking about this feast of the Passover, the Law says to them something such as this: “You will not be able to keep the Passover in any of the cities which the Lord your God gives to you.” The Law bids them keep the feast on the fourteenth day of the first month and in the city of Jerusalem. The Law also narrowed down the time and place for the observance of Pentecost, when it commanded them to celebrate the feast after seven weeks, and again, when it stated: “In the place which the Lord your God chooses.” So also the Law fixed the feast of Tabernacles. (4) Now let us see which of the two, time or place, is more necessary, even though neither the one nor the other has the power to save. Must we scorn the place but observe the time? Or should we scorn the time and keep the place? What I mean is something such as this. The Law commanded that the Passover be held in the first month and in Jerusalem, at a prescribed time and in a prescribed place…But the Passover comes to an end on the twenty-first of that month. If they began the feast on the fourteenth day of the first month and then continued it for seven days, they then come to the twenty-first …the Law said they must not observe those rituals outside Jerusalem (John Chrysostom. Homily IV Against the Jews IV:3-4,V:4,5. Catholic Christians of Antioch. Turning to Sabbath and The New Moon Day and Other Holy Days. 387 A.D.).

Although he is correct that the Bible specifies the dates of the Holy Days, John Chrysostom is incorrect that Jerusalem is the only place.

That is never taught in the law.

To the contrary, the Jews were not even in Jerusalem when God listed the holy days in the books of Exodus and Leviticus (Jerusalem was not taken by the children of Israel until after the death of Joshua, see Judges 1:1-8).

It is also clear from the testimonies of Polycarp, Melito, Apollinaris, and Polycrates, that the New Testament second century Christians observed Passover outside of Jerusalem, as they ALL lived in Asia Minor and none lived in Jerusalem.

Some item for future interest may include the following:

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?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread How should Christians keep Passover, especially if they are by themselves. Why does the Church of God not require lambs for Passover? How does one keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? For a step-by-step video for Christians to keep it, check out CCOG Passover Service. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: Guardando la Pascua y los Días de los Panes sin Levadura.
Preparing for Passover The Apostle Paul taught that Christians should examine themselves prior to taking Passover. This YouTube video sermon gives suggestions on how to prepare.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well. Here is a related sermon, also titled Melito’s Homily on the Passover.
Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week? How long are three days and three nights? Was Palm Sunday on a Saturday? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter? (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Murió Jesús un día miércoles o un viernes?)
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs 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]. Two related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
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.
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。.

Christians mainly sang Psalms for hymns

Monday, March 16th, 2020


The Hymnal of the Continuing Church of God Consists Mainly of Psalms and Biblical Passages Set to Music

COGwriter

Having attended both Roman Catholic and Protestant church services while growing up, one of the things I noticed that was different about the true Church of God was the type of hymns that were sung.

While Catholics and Protestants tended to sing songs that had religious messages, the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) mainly sung hymns which were extracted from the Psalms in the Bible. Most of those of us in groups with ties to the old WCG still do.

And while we have been criticized for that (see Praises to Jesus Christ or Biblical Hymns: Which Should Christians Primarily Sing?), the fact is that the practice of the Churches of God appear to be the same as those of the earliest professors of Christ.

The Book of James teaches:

13 Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms (James 5:13).

The Apostle Paul noted:

26 Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm (1 Corinthians 14:26).

The noted historian K.S. Latourette observed:

From a very early date, perhaps from the beginning, Christians employed in their services the psalms found in the Jewish Scriptures, the Christian Old Testament. Since the first Christians were predominantly Greek-speaking, these psalms were in a Greek translation. We hear of at least one form of service in which, after the reading from the Old Testament, the “hymns of David” were sung…Until the end of the fourth century, in the services of the Catholic Church only the Old Testament Psalms and the hymns or canticles from the New Testament were sung…Gradually there were prepared versical paraphrases (Latourette K.S. A History of Christianity, Volume 1: Beginnings to 1500. Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1975, pp. 206,207).

Because of fears of gnostic influence, Christians did not add outside poetic phrases or non-biblical lyrics until well after the second century (Ibid).

On the Roman date of 7 March 203, Tertullian records that while being prepared for martyrdom:

Perpetua sang psalms (Tertullian. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Here is a quote from a fourth century publication known as the Apostolic Constitutions :

Be not careless of yourselves, neither deprive your Saviour of His own members, neither divide His body nor disperse His members, neither prefer the occasions of this life to the word of God; but assemble yourselves together every day, morning and evening, singing psalms and praying in the Lord’s house: in the morning saying the sixty-second Psalm, and in the evening the hundred and fortieth, but principally on the Sabbath-day. And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead (Apostolic Constitutions (Book II, Chapter LIX). Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Isn’t this astounding? Even in the Church that was ruled by Rome, psalms were mainly sung on the Sabbath. This is most likely due to the continuance of the practice that the early (before Rome increased its influence) church had.

It appears likely that the Sunday practice of singing songs of praise to God ultimately led to the practice of shifting the primacy of psalm singing to praises towards Jesus in what we now consider to be the Protestant world (as they got Sunday from the Romans). A 21st century book on early biblical and church practices states:

Modern New Testament scholarship is studying extensively the early church in its relationship to Judaism. It is certainly without question that Judaism is Christianity’s mother religion…

The Book of Psalms, as the temple hymnbook, continued to be used in Jewish congregations as well as Christian congregations (Roberts T. From Sacral Kingship to Sacred Marriage: A Theological Analysis of Literary Borrowing. Vantage Press. New York, 2003, pp.138-139).

Hence evidence does support the idea that psalms were the main types of hymns that the early Christians sang on the Sabbath (as that is when the early Christians, did in fact meet–Sunday worship is not alluded to in any historical literature prior to the 2nd Century–and the first clear mention of Sunday worship was by Justin Martyr: A Saint, Heretic or Apostate?).

The songbook of the Continuing Church of God (as well as the old Worldwide Church of God) is almost exclusively English-translations of the Book of Psalms and other parts of the Bible set to music. The actual hymnal (called The Bible Hymnal) used by the Continuing Church of God consists of all the songs that were part of the 1974 edition of ‘The Bible Hymnal’ used by the old Worldwide Church of God, plus ten other hymns that Herbert Armstrong approved that were written by Ross Jutsum. The songs in this book are essentially the Psalms and other passages in the Bible set to music.

In non-English speaking areas, Church of God congregations basically sing the same hymns translated into other languages such as Spanish, Kiswahili, Dholuo, Ekegusii, etc.

Notice that the Continuing Church of God also has its Bible Hymnal in Kiswahili:

BIBLE HYMNAL FRONT COVER - SWAHILI

Early Christians mainly sung hymns that were from the Psalms. We in the Continuing Church of God also mainly do so today.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Praises to Jesus Christ or Biblical Hymns: Which Should Christians Primarily Sing? This biblical article on music is in response to an advertisement critical of WCG’s 1974 The Bible Hymnal. It also address early church practices here.
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
Overview: How Does the Church of God Agree and Disagree with Other Faiths Professing Christ? This overview answers that and explains what the Church of God basically stands for. In the appendices provides information about certain complaints and as well as an overview about many COG-related groups.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The Bible Hymnal via Amazon. This is the paperback edition of the hymnal used by the Continuing Church of God. It consists of all the songs that were part of the 1974 edition of ‘The Bible Hymnal’ used by the old Worldwide Church of God, plus ten other hymns that Herbert Armstrong approved that were written by Ross Jutsum. The songs in this book are essentially the Psalms and other passages in the Bible set to music. To access it free online, click: The Bible Hymnal. Amazon sells a hard copy of The Bible Hymnal for $8.99. We also have the Kiswahili version on Amazon: Nakala ya Nyimbo za Biblia.

Completely trust the King James Version of the Bible?

Sunday, March 15th, 2020


Front cover of 1611 edition of the King James Version Bible
(Wikipedia)

COGwriter

Is the original King James Version (KJV) of the Bible the one you can completely trust?

Yesterday, I noticed that someone posted a comment related to one of our videos to that effect. Last Friday, I received something in the mail from Chick Publications that also was pushing the KJV. Today, I went to their website and here are a few comments that they posted:

The King James Bible is a true and direct translation from the original languages. … What if you found out it’s the one English Bible that deserves your complete trust? … the King James … should be the only Bible that you need —and can completely trust. … trusting the KJV. Build your faith in God’s Word by learning why you can trust the KJV alone and why it is the most accurate translation in English. https://www.chick.com/products/item?stk=1425 accessed 03/15/20

Is that accurate?

No.

While the KJV is superior in many ways to many translations, it was translated by men.

Men are fallible.

Other writings from Chick Publications indicate that because of God’s inspiration and because so many men checked and rechecked it, the KJV had no bias and is completely accurate.

But that simply is not true.

That argument reminds me of the argument that the Eastern Orthodox have about the Septuagint. The Eastern Orthodox basically claim that God inspired the translators to correct and improve the Old Testament when they translated the original text from Hebrew to Greek. That is blasphemous. God did not need His word corrected.

Nor is it correct to state that you can completely trust the KJV translation.

The King James Version was written over 400 years ago. In the time since, the English language has undergone many changes. Sometimes those texts which are vague and unclear in the King James can be cleared up very easily by just reading a more modern translation.

Since some have attempted to challenge me about translation errors in the KJV, I thought I would share something another source put together about it:

Genesis 1:2 should read “And the earth became without form . . . .” The word translated “was” is hayah, and denotes a condition different than a former condition, as in Genesis 19:26.

Genesis 10:9 should read ” . . . Nimrod the mighty hunter in place of [in opposition to] the LORD.” The word “before” is incorrect and gives the connotation that Nimrod was a good guy, which is false.

Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26 in the KJV is “scapegoat” which today has the connotation of someone who is unjustly blamed for other’s sins. The Hebrew is Azazel, which means “one removed or separated.” The Azazel goal represents Satan, who is no scapegoat. He is guilty of his part in our sins.

Deuteronomy 24:1, “then let him” should be “and he.” As the Savior explained in Matthew 19, Moses did not command divorcement. This statute is regulating the permission of divorce because of the hardness of their hearts.

II Kings 2:23, should be “young men”, not “little children.”

Isaiah 65:17 should be “I am creating [am about to create] new heavens and new earth . . . .”

Ezekiel 20:25 should read “Wherefore I permitted them, or gave them over to, [false] statutes that are not good, and judgments whereby they should not live.” God’s laws are good, perfect and right. This verse shows that since Israel rejected God’s laws, He allowed them to hurt themselves by following false man made customs and laws.

Daniel 8:14 is correct in the margin, which substitutes “evening morning” for “days.” Too bad William Miller didn’t realize this.

Malachi 4:6 should read ” . . . lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction.” “Curse” doesn’t give the proper sense here. Same word used in Zechariah 14:11.

Matthew 5:48 should be “Become ye therefore perfect” rather than “be ye therefore perfect.” “Perfect” here means “spiritually mature.” Sanctification is a process of overcoming with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 24:22 needs an additional word to clarify the meaning. It should say “there should no flesh be saved alive.”

Matthew 27:49 omits text which was in the original. Moffatt correctly adds it, while the RSV puts it in a footnote: “And another took a spear and pierced His side, and out came water and blood.” The Savior’s death came when a soldier pierced His side, Revelation 1:7.

Matthew 28:1, “In the end of the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week . . .” should be translated literally, “Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward the first day of the week . . . .” The Sabbath does not end at dawn but at dusk.

Luke 2:14 should say, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of God’s good pleasure or choosing.” That is, there will be peace on earth among men who have God’s good will in their hearts.

Luke 14:26 has the unfortunate translation of the Greek word miseo, Strong’s #3404, as “hate”, when it should be rendered “love less by comparison.” We are not to hate our parents and family!

John 1:31, 33 should say “baptize” or “baptizing IN water” not with water. Pouring or sprinkling with water is not the scriptural method of baptism, but only thorough immersion in water.

John 1:17 is another instance of a poor preposition. “By” should be “through”: “For the law was given by [through] Moses . . . .” Moses did not proclaim his law, but God’s Law.

John 13:2 should be “And during supper” (RSV) rather than “And supper being ended” (KJV).

Acts 12:4 has the inaccurate word “Easter” which should be rendered “Passover.” The Greek word is pascha which is translated correctly as Passover in Matthew 26:2, etc.

I Corinthians 1:18 should be: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness; but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God”, rather than “perish” and “are saved.” Likewise, II Thessalonians 2:10 should be “are perishing” rather than “perish.”

I Corinthians 15:29 should be: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the hope of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the hope of the dead?”

II Corinthians 6:2 should be “a day of salvation”, instead of “the day of salvation.” This is a quote from Isaiah 49:8, which is correct. The day of salvation is not the same for each individual. The firstfruits have their day of salvation during this life. The rest in the second resurrection.

I Timothy 4:8 should say, “For bodily exercise profiteth for a little time: but godliness in profitable unto all things . . . .”

I Timothy 6:10 should be, “For the love of money is a [not the] root of all evil . . . .”

Hebrews 4:8 should be “Joshua” rather than “Jesus”, although these two words are Hebrew and Greek equivalents.

Hebrews 4:9 should read, “There remaineth therefore a keeping of a sabbath to the people of God.”

Hebrews 9:28 is out of proper order in the King James. It should be: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them without sin that look for him shall he appear the second time unto salvation.”

I John 5:7-8 contains additional text which was added to the original. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” The italicized text was added to the original manuscripts. Most modern translations agree that this was an uninspired addition to the Latin Vulgate to support the unscriptural trinity doctrine.

Revelation 14:4 should be “a firstfruits”, because the 144,000 are not all the firstfruits.

Revelation 20:4-5 in the KJV is a little confusing until you realize that the sentence “This is the first resurrection.” in verse five refers back to “they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” in verse four.

Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are [correction: should be ‘were cast’ because the beast and false prophet were mortal human beings who were burned up in the lake of fire 1,000 years previous to this time, Revelation 19:20], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” The point is that Satan will be cast into the same lake of fire into which the beast and false prophet were cast a thousand years previously. (Errors and Mistranslations in the KJV Written by: Richard Nickels. http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/graphic1designer/errors.html accessed 07/16/17)

It is not that the KJV is always a terrible translation, or that others are perfect, it is just people should not insist that God inspired the translators to do a perfect job. Because, obviously He did not. THE KJV CANNOT BE COMPLETELY TRUSTED AS IT IS NOT THE ORIGINAL INSPIRED TEXT.

The mistranslation of Genesis 1:2 has resulted in many not understanding about the age of the world and various aspects of prehistory (see How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Gap Theory?). This has resulted in many Protestants making scientifically unsound statements that have turned many against the reliability of scripture.

Th KJV translators intentionally mistranslated the Greek term sabbatismos (ςαββατισμóς) which is actually found in Hebrews 4:9 (Green JP. The Interlinear Bible, 2nd edition. Hendrickson Publishers, 1986, p. 930). This mistranslation by the KJV translators has resulted in many people not realizing that the New Testament enjoins the seventh-day Sabbath. Hence, the KJV translators have misled many to violate the fourth commandment (see also The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad). They also intentionally mistranslated passages related to the biblical Holy Days (for details, see the free online book Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?)–this has resulted in many NOT understanding God’s true plan of salvation (see also the free online book Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).

Notice also that the Latin Vulgate was mentioned related to 1 John 5:7-8. The original Latin Vulgate as translated by the Catholic saint and doctor Jerome did NOT have this error–it was added later (see also 1 John 5:7-8 and the Trinity).

And as far as the word “Easter” does any thinking person really believe that God wanted the word for Passover changed to the name of a pagan goddess in His word? That is absurd (more on Easter can be found in the article Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?). EVERY TRANSLATOR IN THE KJV WHO ‘CHECKED’ THAT PART OF THE ‘TRANSLATION’ HAD TO HAVE KNOWN THAT WAS IN ERROR–PARTICULARLY SINCE THAT SAME WORD IS TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK IN THE KJV 28 TIMES AS ‘PASSOVER’!

Now, one of the things that Chick Publications likes about the KJV is that it often uses the word ‘hell.’ Chick Publications indicates that using the actual Greek words of the New Testament transliterated into English results in people not understanding about God’s punishment. Notice some of what it says about that:

Question: Gehenna is not hell, is it? It was a valley where outcasts, thieves and infected people where thrown when they died. The Bible refers to “Gehenna” as the place of death and pain. The word “hell”, as you so often use, where eternal pain and fire awaits is actually “Gehenna”. If you have read a bible written before 1400, you will notice a very important thing: “HELL” is missing. Instead it says “Gehenna”. There is no fire breathing eternal pain demon hell!! In fact YOU are committing a sin here. Telling people, or lying to people about hell, when you should know about “Gehenna”. There is no hell. Only the valley of “Gehenna”. A graveyard!!

Answer: The word “Gehenna” is properly translated “hell” in the King James Bible. …

Even though the word “Gehenna” comes from the Valley of Hinnom, simply rendering it as “garbage dump” or “valley of waste disposal” or “burning garbage” could not be an accurate translations, because that’s not what Jesus and the apostles meant when they used the word. It meant “the place where people go when they die.” That’s what we mean when we say “hell”. …

Not until Young’s Literal Translation in the late 1800s, followed by the Catholic New American Bible of 1970 was the untranslated “Gehenna” put in. … And “hell” accurately translates the meaning of the word “Gehenna.” “Gehenna” is not a translation; it is just a transliteration (translating letters, but not meaning). https://www.chick.com/information/article?id=does-gehenna-mean-hell accessed 03/15/20

In other words, Chick Publications is saying that IT KNOWS BETTER WHAT THE WORD IS SUPPOSED TO MEAN THAN THE WORD JESUS HIMSELF USED.

Now, we in the Continuing Church of God rarely use the word “hell.” The word “hell” originally meant to cover or to hide. Another old meaning of word was “a tailor’s receptacle” according to Merriam-Webster. In time, it tended to mean being underground.

Furthermore, consider that the KJV IMPROPERLY TRANSLATES THREE DIFFERENT WORDS TO MEAN THE SAME THING!

There are three different words in the New Testament–Hades, Gehenna, or Tartaroosas–which the King James Version of the Bible translated as “hell.” And not one of them means what most people think the word hell means.

The fact of the three different Greek words, as well as various understandings and traditions, has resulted in confusion concerning what hell means.

Now, since the term has become highly used in cursing and in various vulgarities it is often not appropriate to use.

Furthermore, because of influence from Dante’s book The Divine Comedy, the area he called the Inferno/Infernus many people got the wrong impression that God has a place of torturing that would last forever. And later the term hell got attached to it, and that is how most Protestants (including Chick Publications as its tract Some Like It Hot shows) and Roman Catholics now view it.

Yet, Chick Publications and others should know better. Even in its post against Gehenna, it had the following:

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). No power on earth can destroy a soul. The soul is a part of a person that exists beyond physical death (Revelation 20:4). “Gehenna” has to be a place to destroy both the body and the soul. https://www.chick.com/information/article?id=does-gehenna-mean-hell accessed 03/15/20

Note Chick Publications admits that the body and soul are destroyed in Gehenna. In Jesus’ time what was tossed into Gehenna burnt up and was no more. In the Gehenna to come, the same thing will happen.

Chick Publications also has the following:

“Hades” has a big pagan meaning that is completely divorced from the Bible. “Sheol” is a Hebrew word without any meaning at all to an ordinary reader. Have you ever heard people say they don’t want to “go to gehenna?” … We need a Bible with a lot of hell in it. We need to know where we are not going. The whole purpose of evangelism is to save people from hell.  … That forceful warning word, “hell,” is found in the King James Bible. https://www.chick.com/information/article?id=Who-Needs-Hell accessed 03/15/20

No, the whole purpose of proclaiming the good news of the Bible is not to save people from the type of hell that Chick Publications wants to believe in. One of the main purposes of evangelism, according to Jesus is to have “gospel of the kingdom … preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations”(Matthew 24:14) and to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). This way, those converted will build godly character so that they will be able to give love in a unique way to make eternity better for them and all who ultimately will accept Jesus (see also our free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?).

What about Gehenna? This Greek word represents “the Valley of HINNOM which lay just outside of Jerusalem and was the place refuse was constantly being burned up.” It is first referred to in scripture in Joshua 15:8. It was also associated with pagan fire practices in 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3, 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31-32, 19:2-6, & 32:35.

Trash, filth, and the dead bodies of animals and DESPISED CRIMINALS were thrown into Gehenna. Ordinarily, everything thrown into this valley was DESTROYED by fire. Christ used it to picture the terrible fate of UNREPENTANT SINNERS! Please understand that JESUS USED THE WORD GEHENNA 11 TIMES IN THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS (the text that the KJV was translated from). Jesus knew what it meant! But instead, Chick Publications (and others) want you to not comprehend what Jesus was really teaching!

Now, consider that Chick Publications says that Hades has a pagan meaning, but apparently overlooks the true meaning of the word Easter (the name of one or more pagan goddesses – Ishtar and Eostre). That being said, JESUS USED THE WORD HADES 5 TIMES IN THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS (the text that the KJV was translated from). Jesus was NOT trying to teach a pagan concept. Hades means the ‘grave.’ It does NOT mean an ever burning hell fire of torture.

On the use of the word “hell” in the New and Old Testament, let’s read what an old Bible dictionary, edited by James Hastings, a leading authority on such technical matters, says:

In our Authorized Version the word ‘hell’ is unfortunately used as the rendering of three distinct words, WITH DIFFERENT. It represents, 1. the ‘sheol’ of the Hebrew Old Testament, and the ‘hades’ in the New Testament … It is now an entirely misleading rendering, especially in the New Testament passages. The English revisers, therefore, have substituted ‘Hades’ [going back to the original Greek word] for ‘hell’ in the New Testament …. In the American revision the word ‘hell’ is entirely discarded in this connexion ….

The word ‘hell’ is used 2. as equivalent to [the Greek word] ‘tartaros’ (II Peter 2:4), … and, 3. more properly as the equivalent of [the Greek word] ‘gehenna’ (Hastings J., ed. Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 2. 1900, pp. 343-344)

So, we see that the real MEANINGS of three different Greek words – “hades” (“sheol” in Old Testament), “tartaros,” and “gehenna” – have been confused with each other because translators, like those of the KJV, have attempted to make the ONE English word “hell” cover all THREE meanings! But now let us amplify the foregoing facts.

The original Old Testament HEBREW word “sheol” and the New Testament Greek word “hades” mean basically the same thing. These original words have been translated “grave” in many places in the Bible.

THE WORD “SHEOL,”… It is never used by Moses or the Prophets in the sense of a place of torment after death; and in no way conflicts with the statement already proved, that the Law of Moses deals wholly in temporal rewards and punishments.

This position, also, I wish to fortify by the testimony of Orthodox critics, men of learning and candor. They know, and therefore they speak.

  1. CHAPMAN. “Sheol, in itself considered, has no connection with future punishment.” Cited by Balfour, First Inquiry.
  2. DR. ALLEN, quoted above, says: “The term sheol does not seem to mean, with certainty, anything more than the state of the dead in their deep abode.”
  3. DR. CAMPBELL. “Sheol signifies the state of the dead without regard to their happiness or misery.”
  4. DR. WHITBY. “Sheol throughout the Old Testament signifies not the place of punishment, or of the souls of bad men only, but the grave only, or the place of death.” (Thayer TB. THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE Doctrine of Endless Punishment. 1855; Universal Publishing House 1871)

Sheol is a reference to the grave, as is the word hades.

Note that the Greek word TARTAROS, which has also been translated into the English word “hell” in the KJV, occurs only once in the New Testament (2 Peter 2:4) and does not refer to humans, but to the RESTRAINED condition of fallen angels. Its meaning, translated into English, is “darkness of the material universe,” or “dark abyss,” or “prison.”

More on ‘Hell’ can be found in the following: Study the Bible Course Lesson 15: What is “Hell”?

Furthermore, the KJV erred by assigning the male gender to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. The Hebrew term for spirit in the Old Testament is grammatically female, and the Greek term in the New Testament is grammatically neuter–this is noted by even trinitarian scholars, such as Dr. Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary (see also Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? ). This MISTRANSLATION by the KJV translators has resulted in a major misunderstanding of the Godhead and has resulted in many believing differently about the Godhead than early Christians did (see also Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning).

Now, getting back to the KJV Bible, many do not realize that it originally also included, basically as an appendix, what the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics called the deuterocanonical books (otherwise known as the Apocrypha)–these books were NOT inspired by God and should not have been in the Bible. Yet, for about two centuries they were part of some of the printings of the KJV.

But since they have not been in it for about two hundred years, many people do not realize that flaw with the KJV.

Do not be deceived by men who do not want to hold to what the original biblical text teaches. The KJV has real errors and most certainly CANNOT BE COMPLETELY TRUSTED as an accurate portrayal of the words of God.

ALL TRANSLATIONS by men are subject to error. And while the KJV and the more modern NKJV are fine in many areas, both have translation flaws, many of which are intentional.

Believe the originally inspired word of God. That is what God had recorded in the original languages in the Old and New Testaments. It was NOT English. It was NOT the KJV translation.

There are even more Protestant errors than this post points out. To learn more about them, check out the free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
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.
The Apostle John He wrote a lot that people should study. John was an original apostle, early Christian leader, and the last of the original apostles to die. Here is a link to a related sermon titled Apostle John: The Disciple that Jesus Loved. John is the final original apostle that we in the Continuing Church of God trace our ecclesiastical succession through.
Laying on of Hands This is an elementary principle of Hebrews 6. Have you properly had hands laid upon you? Here is a link to a related sermon: Laying on of Hands and Succession.
Lost Books of the Bible? Is the Bible missing books? What about the Book of Jasher and the Book of Enoch? What are the pseudepigrapha?
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: 读圣经
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible? Some have claimed that Matthew 28:19 has added words as part of a trinitarian plot. Is that true?
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Augustine show?
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.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs 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]. Several related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History, The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character, The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon, and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?