Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Sermon: Sacred Names: True or False Gospel?

Saturday, January 13th, 2018


Mesha Stele (c. 800 B.C.) contains the word translated as ‘Yahweh’ (Neithsabes)

COGwriter

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

1:14:34

What name did Jesus reveal to His followers? Can Christians use terms like Jesus, Lord, and God? Is the use of terms such as Yahshua or Yahweh essentially for salvation? What does the Bible teach? What did early Christians teach? What is the Tetragrammaton? Is the use of ‘sacred names’ something that was to be restored by the end time EliYah/Elijah for Philadelphian Christians? Is the name ‘Jesus’ a reference to Zeus? Was the New Testament written in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? What are the names/titles for deity in the Old and New Testaments? Dr. Thiel answers those questions and more.

Here is a link to the sermon: Sacred Names: True or False Gospel?

Some items of related interest may include:

The Bible, Church History, and Sacred Names What are ‘sacred names’? What is Jesus’ Old Testament name? Is the use of sacred names a subject of salvation or a false gospel? Must we refer to our Saviour as Yahweh or Yashua? A related sermon is available: Sacred Names: True or False Gospel?
Was the New Testament Written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic? What language was the New Testament written in? Does it make any difference? What about sacred names? Did the Apostle Paul ever teach in Greek?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
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. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? an CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? Here is a written link to a version of that first sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Hyginus: Did this Roman leader attempt to change times?

Thursday, January 11th, 2018


Vatican City (photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

January 11th is the feast day of the Church of Rome for a leader called Hyginus. Although the claimed early leaders of Rome in the Catholic “succession lists” refer to him as a pope, that title was not used by leaders there until the latter part of the fourth century.

The generally touted Catholic position is that Hyginus was the ninth pope and that all subsequent leaders of the true church passed through him. Is that correct?

Certain Claims

While visiting the Vatican in 2004, I purchased a book in its basilica museum bookstore titled The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997). The book states that it is sponsored by the “Pontifical Administration, which has tutelage over the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter”.

It makes many claims about the early “bishops” of Rome including this about Hyginus:

9. HYGINUS, ST. (136-140) Born in Athens, he was considered a philosopher and he behaved like one…During the baptism of children, he ordered the presence of a godfather or a godmother who would guide and direct them in leading a Christian life. He ordered that churches should be dedicated. His pontificate was marked by persecution and his martyrdom (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997, p. 3).

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this about him:

The ancient authorities contain no information as to his having died a martyr (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas.The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

There is also no evidence that he came up with godparents or requiring churches to be dedicated. Actually, these are unlikely to have been done then. Essentially, the Roman Catholics now teach that the godparent repents and accepts Christ on the behalf of infants that they baptize—godparents are part of the justification they have for infant baptism (please see article on Baptism).

For example, The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

When infants are solemnly baptized, persons assist at the ceremony to make profession of the faith in the child’s name. This practice comes from antiquity and is witnessed to by Tertullian, St. Basil, St. Augustine, and others. Such persons are designated sponsores, offerentes, susceptores, fidejussores, and patrini. The English term is godfather and godmother, or in Anglo-Saxon, gossip (Fanning W.H.W. Transcribed by Charles Sweeney, S.J. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Note that Hyginus is not listed as coming up with this as many Catholic scholars realize that there simply was no record that he did.

It is of interest to note that:

…the Gnostic Valentine came to Rome in Hyginus’s time, remaining there until Anicetus (Ibid).

According to the Catholic historian Eusebius, it was Polycarp of Smyrna who had to deal with that heretic as Hyginus apparently did not. This helps show that it was the leadership in Asia Minor, which at that time was clearly “Church of God,” that dealt with various heresies and heretics that the Church of Rome tolerated.

According to Tertullian, the Church of Rome tolerated Valentinus for decades after he was denounced by Polycarp of Smyran.

Easter Sunday

The Bible has the following warning:

25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. (Daniel 7:25)

While that still has a future application, to a degree, this happened with one or more Roman leaders in the second century.

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

The date was improperly changed.

Beginning with possibly the Roman leader Telesphorus or possibly Hyginus (or possibly 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). It was due to cowardice and antisemitism that the Sunday date was chosen (the fact that cowards often were killed anyway, does not prove they were not cowards).

The late SDA scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi noted that the change to Easter-Sunday and to a weekly Sunday 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).

It is likely that Telesphorus made this change at the time to attempt to distance himself from the Jews in Rome. If he was the one who did it, and if he thought that this would spare his life, he was wrong as he was later killed by the Roman authorities (circa 136 A.D.). On the other hand, it is perhaps more likely that Hyginus, who was also possibly Greek that decided to introduce the Passover Sunday tradition, perhaps to decrease the wrath of the anti-Jewish Roman authorities.

Since Anicetus’ account claimed that this practice was began by presbyters who preceded him (see Easter), 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 probably did not originate with Sixtus as he preceded Telesphorus, he was not believed to have been Greek, and he was dead, if he even existed, circa 125 A.D.).

It is probable that Hyginus either began, continued, or started the practice of observing Passover on a Sunday, but there is no specific information that proves he did. But if he did, he obviously is not someone who should be celebrated by Christians as the Bible teaches that Passover was held on the 14th of Nisan.

Historical records demonstrate that the Apostles John and Philip, as well as their spiritual descendants in Asia Minor, did not change or compromise on this point–they continued to follow the Bible. But Hyginus might have compromised, and the Church of Rome at some point in time most certainly did.

Some items of possibly related interest 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?
“Pope” Hyginus (136-140) He is claimed to have come up with the idea of “godparents”. He may have been involved in the institution of a Sunday Passover. The heretic Valentinus appeared by his time.
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.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
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.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Baptism and the Early Church Was it by immersion? Did it include infants? Does Polycarp prove infant baptism?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

The Church of Rome gets some things right, but others wrong, about church history

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018


Colosseum of Rome (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Ran across the following on a Roman Catholic website:

Catholic Church

Founded by Christ, propagated by His apostles, from Jerusalem through Asia Minor to Rome as its permanent world center, from which it spread throughout the world according to the mandate of its Divine Founder:

Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28). (Catholic Church. Star Quest Production Network, Priest Roderick Vonhögen – Chief Executive Officer. http://saints.sqpn.com/catholic-church/)

Now, it is absolutely certain that the Church founded by Jesus began in Jerusalem as Acts 1 and 2 show. It is also absolutely certain that the apostles went from Jerusalem via Antioch to Asia Minor. BUT while it is true that the Apostle Paul went to Rome, there was no type of mandate that Rome would be its “permanent world center.”

Notice what Jesus taught in Matthew and Paul taught in Hebrews using the Rheims New Testament and the New Jerusalem Bible (both are approved Catholic versions/translations of the Bible):

22…and you shall be odious to all men for my name, but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. 23 And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another (Matthew 10:22-23, RNT).

22 You will be universally hated on account of my name; but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. In truth I tell you, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of man comes. (Matthew 10:22-23, NJB)

14 For we have not here a permanent city: but we seek that which is to come (Hebrews 13:14, RNT).

14 There is no permanent city for us here; we are looking for the one which is yet to be. (Hebrews 13:14, NJB).

Thus, to claim that a city such as Rome could possibly be the “Eternal City” for Christians is to go against scripture as even Catholic renderings of scripture effectively prove that no single city, including Rome, could have remained the headquarters of Christendom for nearly 2000 years, if people are willing to actually believe what is written in the Bible.

Furthermore, it should be mentioned if there was to be one city from the beginning to the end, it likely would have had to be Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 21:2) as the Christian church began there (Acts 2) according to Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and Church of God scholars.

What about the claim that the Church of God in Rome was originally founded by Peter and Paul (which is what Irenaeus falsely suggested in the late second century)? Notice this comment from a Catholic priest and scholar about Irenaeus, Peter, Paul, and Rome:

Irenaeus focuses on the church of Rome which he describes as “greatest, most ancient and known to all, founded and established by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul.” Here we must acknowledge a bit of rhetoric, as the church of Rome was obviously not so ancient as those of Jerusalem or Antioch, nor was it actually founded by Peter or Paul (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 147).

The Catholic Encyclopedia also agrees with F.A. Sullivan here (and not Irenaeus) as it states this about Paul’s epistle to the Romans:

Paul would have worded his Epistle otherwise, if the community addressed were even mediately indebted to his apostolate (Merk A. Transcribed by W.G. Kofron. Epistle to the Romans. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Furthermore, the Bible clearly agrees with The Catholic Encyclopedia, and F.A. Sullivan here. The Bible shows that Paul did not start the Church in Rome–thus the apostolic tradition that Irenaeus relied on is a fraudulent one–as it is not true–it is a myth. For here is what Paul wrote to the church at Rome:

20. And I have so preached this Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build
upon another mans foundation:
21. But as it is written, They to whom it hath not been preached of him, shall see: and they
that have not heard, shall understand
.
22. For the which cause also I was hindered very much from coming unto you (Romans 15:20-22, Rheims NT of 1582).

There is no way that Paul could have written the above if he considered that he founded or co-founded the church in Rome as in these verses he explains that he did not first come to Rome lest he build on another man’s foundation. (Note: I choose to use the Rheims New Testament of 1582 A.D. as this is considered to the Catholic standard English translation of the New Testament).

Catholic scholar F.A. Sullivan also further agrees, as he wrote:

…it doesn’t appear that Paul ever appointed any one person as “resident bishop” over any of his churches…(Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 35).

Admittedly the Catholic position, that bishops are the successors of the apostles by divine institution, remains far from easy to establish…The first problem has to do with the notion that Christ ordained apostles as bishops…The apostles were missionaries and founders of churches; there is no evidence, nor is it at all likely, that any one of them ever took up permanent residence in a particular church as its bishop…The letter of the Romans to the Corinthians, known as I Clement, which dates to about the year 96, provides good evidence that about 30 years after the death of St. Paul the church of Corinth was being led by a group of presbyters, with no indication of a bishop with authority over the whole local church…Most scholars are of the opinion that the church of Rome would most probably have also been led at that time by a group of presbyters…There exists a broad consensus among scholars, including most Catholic ones, that such churches as Alexandria, Philippi, Corinth and Rome most probably continued to be led for some time by a college of presbyters, and that only in the second century did the threefold structure of become generally the rule, with a bishop, assisted by presbyters, presiding over each local church (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, pp. 13,14,15).

And that is certainly correct concerning Rome. There were no “bishops of Rome” in the first century and certain Roman Catholic scholars understand this, hence the idea that there is an unbroken line of bishops in apostolic succession from Rome and Rome being the “permanent world center” for the true Church is false (more information can be found in the article Apostolic Succession).

And as far as getting the gospel out to the world as a witness is concerned, the true church was not limited to Asia Minor. True churches were spread throughout many lands, such as northern Italy, France, Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Antioch, and elsewhere.

And where did those churches come from? Well, logically, they did not come from Rome, but from the Smyrnaeans (an earlier Church era) in Asia Minor and Palestine. According to A.N. Dugger, Dr. T.V. Moore noted:

“The type of Christianity which first was favored, then raised to leadership by Constantine was that of the Roman Papacy. But this was not the type of Christianity that first penetrated Syria, northern Italy, southern France, and Great Britain. The ancient records of the first believers in Christ in those parts, disclose a Christianity which is not Roman but apostolic. These lands were first penetrated by missionaries, not from Rome, but from Palestine and Asia Minor. And the Greek New Testament, the Received Text, they brought with them, or its translation, was of the type from which the Protestant Bibles, as the King James in the English, and the Lutheran in German, were translated.” — Dr. T. V. Moore, The Culdee Church, chapters 3 and 4, and Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, pp. 25, 26 (As cited in Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed. Jerusalem, 1972 (Church of God, 7th Day). 1990 reprint, pp. 90-91).

So, it was Asia Minor, and not Rome that was the main location of the true Church of God in the first and second centuries, and even into the third century. And while a confederation involving Rome rose up in the second through fourth centuries, it ended up changing doctrines and not holding to original Christianity in many ways.

Most people, Catholic or otherwise, simply do not know enough about the real truth about early church history. But they can if they are willing to look at the truth of what really happened. Here is a link to a free online pdf booklet: Continuing History of the Church of God.

Some items documenting these and other items of possibly related interest include the following:

What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
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?
The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc. Here is a link to a related video sermon: Ephesus Church Era.
The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.
Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom? How should Matthew 16:18-19 be understood?
The Apostle Peter He was an original apostle and early Christian leader. Where was Peter buried? Where did Peter die?
The Apostle Paul He was a later apostle, but also an early Christian leader.
The Apostle John He was an original apostle, early Christian leader, and the last of the original apostles to die.
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!
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.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

The Sabbath Sentinel: Sabbath–Post New Testament

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

COGwriter

Did early Christians keep Saturday or Sunday? While there are various opinions about this, some of those opinions are not based upon biblical or historical fact.

The Bible Sabbath Association, which is not a Church of God group (though it has members that are in the COGs, as well as members who are not), has published a series of articles from me on this subject.

The following is in the latest edition (January-February 2018) of its The Sabbath Sentinel magazine which helps give additional historical information:

Sabbath–Post New Testament

By Bob Thiel, Ph.D.

This is the fifth part of a five-part series explaining why certain early documents that are claimed against the seventh-day Sabbath are misunderstood and not actually against it.

In my previous articles, I explained that the Greek word Κυριακήν did not mean Sunday and many have misinterpreted writings from the Didache and Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Magnesians as endorsing Sunday. Thus, the earliest claimed post-New Testament documents cited as “proof” that the seventh-day Sabbath was done away truly did not do so.

Is there other proof?

Yes.

If Jesus and/or His apostles did away with the Sabbath as many claim, then it would be reasonable to conclude that the later faithful disciples would not keep it. Yet, other records and writings demonstrate that the faithful did continue to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.

It is well know that from the first century until about 135 A.D. the first fifteen bishops/pastors of Jerusalem all kept the seventh-day Sabbath and were all circumcised Jews (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book III, Chapter V, Verses 2,3.& Book IV, Chapter 5, Verses 2-4,  pp. 45, 71).

Although they have their own biases, even the historians Philip Schaff and Johann Gieseler correctly noted:

The Jewish Christians, at least in Palestine, conformed as closely as possible to the venerable forms of the cultus of their fathers, which in truth were divinely ordained, and were an expressive type of the Christian worship. So far as we know, they scrupulously observed the Sabbath, the annual Jewish feasts, the hours of daily prayer, and the whole Mosaic ritual (Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, Chapter 9. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner’s Sons by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.)

While the Jewish Christians of Palestine retained the entire Mosaic law, and consequently the Jewish festivals, the Gentile Christians observed also the Sabbath and the passover (1 Cor. v. 6-8), with reference to the last scenes of Jesus’ life, but without Jewish superstition (Gal. iv. 10 ; Col. ii. 16) (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A text-book of church history, Volume I, Chapter II. New York : Harper & brothers. Date 1857-80).

It is known that early Jewish Christians did keep the Sabbath and biblical holy days. And as prophesied by Isaiah (Isaiah 56:1-7), so did the faithful Gentile Christians (and the Isaiah prophecy still has future application).

Ignatius and Polycarp

The faithful Gentile Christians were also keeping the Sabbath outside of Jerusalem. In the early second century, Pastor/Bishop Ignatius of Antioch wrote:

…to Polycarp, bishop of the Smyrnaeans…So approving am I of your godly mind, which is as it were, grounded upon an unmovable rock, that my praise exceeds all bounds…Do not let those who appear to be trustworthy yet who teach strange doctrines baffle you.  Stand firm, like an anvil…Grace will be…always…with Polycarp [Ignatius.  Letter to Polycarp.  In: Holmes, pp. 194-201].

And according to the later testimonies of Irenaeus, Polycrates, and Tertullian, the leader of the Sabbath-keeping Smyrnaeans [The Martrydom of Polycarp. Verse 8.1. In: Holmes, p. 233], Polycarp, did just that in Asia Minor.

Polycarp also taught that Christians should keep the commandments [Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians. In: Holmes, pp. 206-221].

And on the following sabbath he said; ‘Hear ye my exhortation, beloved children of God. I adjured you when the bishops were present, and now again I exhort you all to walk decorously and worthily in the way of the Lord…Watch ye, and again Be ye ready, Let not your hearts be weighed down, the new commandment concerning love one towards another, His advent suddenly manifest as of rapid lightning, the great judgment by fire, the eternal life, His immortal kingdom. And all things whatsoever being taught of God ye know, when ye search the inspired Scriptures, engrave with the pen of the Holy Spirit on your hearts, that the commandments may abide in you indelible.’ [Life of Polycarp, Chapter 24. (1889) from J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, pp. 488-506]

(Note: While some claim Polycarp also kept Sunday, that appears to be a later edition to the text [Monroy MS. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 31].)

According to the The Martyrdom of Polycarp by the Smyrnaeans [The Martyrdom of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Verses 7.1 & 8.1. Charles H. Hoole’s 1885 translation] and other sources [Sozomen. THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF SOZOMEN. Book VII, Chapter XIX.], Christians in Polycarp’s area kept the Sabbath after he died.

And since Polycarp referred to Ignatius as ‘blessed’ and endorsed Ignatius’ letters in his Letter to the Philippians [Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, verse 13.2. In: Holmes, p. 219], it is logical to conclude that Ignatius was faithful to the same teachings and practices that Polycarp did.

Theophilus

In the late second century, Pastor/Bishop Theophilus of Antioch wrote:

And on the sixth day God finished His works which He made, and rested on the seventh day from all His works which He made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because in it He rested from all His works which God began to create…Moreover, [they spoke] concerning the seventh day, which all men acknowledge; but the most know not that what among the Hebrews is called the “Sabbath,” is translated into Greek the “Seventh” (έβδομάς), a name which is adopted by every nation, although they know not the reason of the appellation…God having thus completed the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and all that are in them, on the sixth day, rested on the seventh day from all His works which He made (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapters XI, XII, XIX. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885, pp. 99,102).

The early faithful Gentile Christians kept the Sabbath. Until the early third century, there was harmony between the faithful Christians in Antioch and Asia Minor.

Conclusion

Early Jewish and Gentile Christians kept the seventh day Sabbath. The faithful did not believe that the Sabbath was done away.

As explained in early parts of this article, neither the Didache or Ignatius’ Letter to the Magnesians actually mention the term Sunday or directly refer to the first day of the week. The Didache is not an endorsement of early Sunday observance.

Ignatius, himself, would have had to be a supporter of the seventh day Sabbath and would not have written against it. Nor, if properly translated, do Ignatius’ letters ever truly write against the seventh day sabbath–instead they endorse the concept that Christians are to keep the Sabbath in accordance with the commandments and the Lord’s way of living, but not according to the ways endorsed by unbiblical Jewish tradition.

There is no evidence whatsoever that any who professed Christ regularly worshiped on Sunday when Ignatius was alive. The simple fact is that Ignatius’ writings do not support the idea that the early New Testament Church observed Sunday.

The Greek expression he used in Magnesians (κυριακήν ζωντες) simply did not mean Sunday when Ignatius wrote his letters. And there is no other contemporaneous reference that any professing Christian at the time of Ignatius observed Sunday. Available evidence (including the Bible, i.e. Acts 13:42-44; Hebrews 4:9) clearly supports the idea that early Christians kept the seventh day Sabbath.

The first clear reference to Sunday worship, even according to Roman Catholic sources, was from Justin Martyr [Slater T. Sunday. Transcribed by Scott Anthony Hibbs. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York]. Yet he held so many heretical positions [e.g. see Justin Martyr. The First Apology and Letter to Trypho], it makes no sense to this author that any could truly consider him to be a true Christian.

On the other hand, Polycarp and those faithful Christians who remained in Asia Minor and Antioch did continue to keep the Sabbath for centuries after Jesus died. Faithful Christians still keep the Sabbath to this day.

This is the fifth or sixth article (there was one related to the Holy Days that was not part of this series) I have had published in The Sabbath Sentinel (here is a link to the first: The Sabbath Sentinel: The Didache and the Sabbath).

The published article is basically an extract from my article Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath. Because of the restrictions in article length for The Sabbath Sentinel, I submitted just a few pages which they published.

It is my hope and prayer that those who read the submitted articles will see that early church history supports Saturday, and not Sunday, as the Christian day of rest. This article should be able to reach people we have not been able to reach in other ways. It is also my hope and prayer that those who read the articles will see that we in the Continuing Church of God have a true and proper grasp of early church history.

The series of articles expected to be published in The Sabbath Sentinel should also help non-Sabbath keepers realize that the historical evidence points to early, faithful, Christians resting on Saturday and not Sunday.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath Did Ignatius write against the Sabbath and for Sunday? What about the Didache? What does the actual Greek reveal?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
The Christian Sabbath. This is a series of articles from the Catholic Mirror essentially proving that the biblical Sabbath was Saturday, that the Lord’s day in Revelation 1 is not a reference to Sunday, that the Church of Rome implemented Sunday, and that nearly all Protestants followed Rome.
Early Sabbath Keeping in North America When did Europeans first keep the Sabbath in North America? Did the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower keep Saturday or Sunday?
How to Observe the Sabbath How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true? Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 一个不合理的神?
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 Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord?
Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? Who clearly endorsed Sunday? What relevance is the first or the “eighth” day? A related sermon is also available: Sunday: First and Eighth Day?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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?
Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught? A YouTube video or related interesy may be: Polycarp of Smyrna: Why Christians should know more about him.
Theophilus of Antioch This is one of the second century leaders of some Christians in Antioch and is considered a Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.

Did Apollinaris hold Continuing Church of God or Church of Rome doctrines?

Monday, January 8th, 2018


Hierapolis, Turkey (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

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

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

The Protestant scholars Roberts and Donaldson wrote this:

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

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

Apollinaris Wrote About the Passover

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

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

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

One Anglican scholar commented;

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

Quartodecimans held to the original position of the apostles.

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

Apollinaris was praised by Serapion of Antioch:

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

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

Apollinaris Taught the Millenium

Notice the following:

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

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

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

Here is a writing from the Eastern Orthodox:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

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

January 1st: Which god’s New Year?

Sunday, December 31st, 2017


Roman God Janus in Vatican Museum

COGwriter

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

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

It did not come from the Bible.

What About Resolutions?

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible teaches:

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

New Year’s clearly has demonic origins.

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports:

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

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

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

The Feast of Circumcision?

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

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

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

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

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

What Happens?

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

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

TO JANUS, ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, 1726.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Germans Call it Silvester

A reader sent me the following today:

Why on earth do Germans call New Year Silvester?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, this is NOT a Christian holiday.

God’s New Year Begins in the Spring

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

No.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some items of related interest may include:

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

Sermon: CCOG’s Five Years of Listening to God

Saturday, December 30th, 2017


COGwriter

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

1:15:39

The Continuing Church of God has been the fastest growing COG in the 21st century. Though it traces its history from Acts 2, the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) was officially declared on December 28, 2012. What has been happening? What has been accomplished? Is the Continuing Church of God actually listening to God? Were there similarities between the start of the CCOG and the old Radio Church of God? Do dreams have anything to do with this? What about proclamation fruits? Never before have so few people been able to reach so many with so little money, prior to the formation of the CCOG. Dr. Thiel goes over some aspects of CCOG history, proclamation, size, growth, doctrine, and other matters related to the CCOG.

Here is a link to the sermon CCOG’s Five Years of Listening to God.

Some items of related interest may include:

CCOG’s Five Years of Listening to God Jesus warned Christians to hear the messages to the churches. CCOG is doing so. A related sermon is also available: CCOG’s Five Years of Listening to God.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? Here is a link in Spanish: Sueños, la Biblia, la Iglesia de Dios de la Radio, y la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
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. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? an CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? Here is a written link to a version of that first sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Islam condemns ‘New Years,’ should Christians?

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

COGwriter

A while back, a religious leader in Turkey publicly condemned New Year’s and Christmas as pagan:

Christmas and New Year celebrations are events where both pagan rituals and capitalist drives are intertwined, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Görmez said in a statement…

“What I will most object to as the religious affairs head is the Christmas consumer economy that causes cultural and identity-related erosion in children,” Görmez said…

“I see mass parties and celebrations similar to a form of revenge people take on the time phenomenon,” Görmez said. “Especially [celebrating] with drinking, gambling and lotteries… it is impossible to approve of such things.”

So, one who does not claim to be Christian has properly suggested that New Year’s parties are wrong and that Christmas’ influence on children is not positive for children.

The Bible teaches that God’s year begins in the Spring (Exodus 12:2).

Did you know that not only were Christmas and New Year’s not observed by early true Christians, even Roman Catholic supporting writers condemned the celebration associated with them? For details, please see Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? and What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?

Also, notice what the Bible teaches:

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:12-14)

20 Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)

1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valleys, To those who are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, Like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, Like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, Who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. 3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, Will be trampled underfoot; (Isaiah 28:1-3)

18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (Ephesians 5:18)

A night of drunken revelry is not a Christian holiday and should not be observed by the faithful.

The partying drunkard is also specifically condemned as part of those that will not inherit the kingdom of God:

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

1…there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

Christians should not participate in pagan holidays, and especially those that involve drunken revelries. Does not the observance of New Year’s Day contribute to blasphemy by the Gentiles (at least by some of the Muslim ones) because many who profess Christ keep it? This should never be.

Those who are Christians and used to do those things are expected to repent:

3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:3-4)

11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (1 Corinthians 5:11)

The fact that professors of Christ ignore clear scriptures causes a false version of “the Way” to be blasphemed by the Gentiles (Romans 2:24). The Turkish leader noticed the falseness of the practices of many who profess to be Christian.

Some items of related interest may include:

Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day. A video of related interest is also available: God’s or Satan’s New Year?
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.
Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God What are some of the main differences? Are there any similarities? A video of related interest is titled: Islam: Any Christian Concerns or Similarities?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival?
Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival?
Is Smoking a Sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

DW reports events that did and did not take place today

Monday, December 25th, 2017

COGwriter

The German publication Deutsche Welle (DW) ran the following

 

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

    Sol Invictus – the Invincible Sun

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

     

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

    Charlemagne is crowned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

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

Did Jesus look like many think He did?

Monday, December 25th, 2017


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

COGwriter

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

What about His appearance?

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

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

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

But did he really look like this?

Probably not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice what the Bible says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus: Married with Children?
Was Jesus the Christ married? Did He have two children as some claim the so-called “Lost Gospel” teaches? Was He married to Mary Magdalene as the “Da Vinci Code” and others have stated? How many gospels are there? Are the supposed ‘historical records’ that Jesus was married, simply false? When were the gnostic gospel accounts written? Did Polycarp of Smyrna list any of the extra or so-called “lost gospels” in his letter? Does the Bible clearly contract the assertions of the book “The Lost Gospel”? This is a video.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did Catholic and Orthodox “saints” endorse or condemn idols and icons for Christians?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermons Why Teach the Kingdom of God? and The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?