Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Valentine’s Day ‘love’

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

COGwriter

Valentine’s Day is observed by many in February. Currently we are starting to see store displays and tv & print ads for it.

In the past, the improperly named Christianity Today (CT) has sometimes seemed to try to justify its position on the holiday by talking about love. For example, its Valentine’s page has begun as follows:

February 14

1 John 4:7
Let us love one another, for love comes from God. (NIV)

The implication of the above was that the Apostle John somehow supports Valentine’s Day. The misuse of this scripture here is appalling.

But what is the love of God?

2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. (1 John 5:2-4)

Valentine’s Day has more to do with lust than love–Valentine’s Day is not from the Father but from the world. Notice what the Apostle John wrote in a couple of chapters earlier in the same book:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17, NKJV)

Valentine’s Day is a worldly holiday, essentially built upon lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It will pass away, it is not a true Christian holiday.

An article on Valentine’s Day from CT stated:

So why do people send “valentines” or “love-tokens” to one another on that day? The origin of that tradition is not thought to have any connection with the saint’s day. Rather it comes from an early European belief that the second week of February was when birds began to mate. The idea suggests that lovers should probably exchange notes and gifts on February 14 in conjunction with what nature practiced. It then concludes with “Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is observed as a special day for love and romance. This topic is one of the oldest, and probably most-discussed, issues in history! As Christians, we know that love originates from God and that God is love (1 John 4:16).

Love comes from God, but paganism is a lie, and lies originated from the devil (cf. John 8:44). Compromise with pagan traditions for membership and/or economic factors is essentially one of the major areas that separates those truly in Christ’s Church from those who think that they are part of it. Furthermore, those in Christ’s Church try to live their lives in accordance with the law of God as Jesus and the original apostles did. Days that were compromises with paganism were not endorsed by Jesus or His early followers.

The same Apostle John who wrote that Christians were not supposed to be worldly but were to keep God’s commandment was not at the same time telling them to ignore the Bible and adopt pagan-compromised practices. But CT seems to want people to think otherwise.

And just because people use the name of Christ and call themselves Christian does not mean that they are faithful.

Notice what Jesus taught:

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

John did not observe Valentine’s Day or anything close to it.

Valentine’s Day is not a biblical holiday. It is actually banned in Saudi Arabia:

5 February 2017

Love it or loathe it, another Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. …

And if you want to avoid Valentine’s Day altogether? You’ll be in good company in Saudi Arabia, where it’s strictly banned. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-4192854/Surprising-foreign-Valentine-s-Day-traditions-infographic.html#ixzz4XpAg8tXF

Somewhat officially, Muslims consider that Valentine’s Day is proof that the world’s so-called ‘Christians’ have compromised with paganism as the Muslims realize it is not a biblical holy day.

As most scholars will tell you, the modern practice of giving cards to ask/tell someone to “be my Valentine” seems to be a holdover from the ancient sexual lottery.

Christians who may be tempted to compromise need to ask themselves if the origins of Valentine’s Day are biblical or pagan.

None who profess Christ should observe this February “holiday”–it simply is not a Christian holiday. It began as a sexual lottery and still has sexual ramifications, even in the 21st century. That is not what love really is all about.

For more information, please consider studying the following items:

Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine’s Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true? There is also a YouTube titled Should Christians Observe Valentine’s Day? A more detailed sermon is available and titled Valentine’s Day, Christianity, and Islam.
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.
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.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well. Here is a version in the Spanish language:.¿Están vigentes todavía los diez mandamientos?
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?
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
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.

Sermon: CCOG Q&A: Jubilee, Revelation, Origin of the Cross, & more!

Saturday, February 4th, 2017


COGwriter

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


1:17:58

CCOG Q&A: Jubilee, Revelation, Origin of the Cross

Dr. Thiel continues the series of going through answering questions that were commonly posed to the old Worldwide Church of God. Using a binder that many speakers were given by that church that contained standardized letters that were sent to answer questions, Dr. Thiel answers them.  Normally, in much greater detail than the normally single or double page answers that were given in the past. Subject covered included the ‘Jubilee year,’ economic restraints, aspects of the calendar, areas of the Book of Revelation, and the origin of the cross.

Here is a link to the sermon: CCOG Q&A: Jubilee, Revelation, Origin of the Cross.

Some items of related interest may include:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Christians, the Day of Atonement, and Fasting; here is another sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación –Su significado cristiano.
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
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.
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.
links to materials in nearly 100 languages.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA
We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in numerous Asian languages as well as some in English. Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God 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 has many Indian languages.
CCOG.EU
This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in numerous European languages.
CCOG.NZ
This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos
. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy
online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy
channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.
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.

From Antichrist to Brother in Christ?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017


Ecumenical Church Service

COGwriter

Former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron has the following in his February 2017 newsletter:

The Nature of Deception

Tragically, there are many who go to their graves having been deceived about life’s most critical issue. They either embraced the lie that good people go to heaven, or a similar lie that heaven can be merited by good works or religious activity. The only hope for victims of this kind of deception is for them to be lovingly confronted with the truth of God’s Word before it is too late.

The source of all spiritual deception is Satan, who is the god of this world, the master deceiver, and the father of lies. Rarely will anyone believe an outright lie, so he cleverly mixes truth with error to deceive even the elect if possible (Mat. 24:24). This is why so many evangelicals have been misled about Roman Catholicism. Many believe Roman Catholicism is a Christian denomination instead of an apostate church that radically departed from the eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ. This deceitfully insidious religion, headquartered in the Vatican, has become Satan’s greatest counterfeit. It hides its false and fatal gospel with a thin veneer of truth that seduces undiscerning people. Whenever truth is mixed with error it is no longer true. We need to heed the warning given by Dr. Harry Ironside, the former pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church. He said, “Error is like leaven which leavens the whole lump. Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent-looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.”

Those evangelical leaders who continue to promote ecumenical unity with Roman Catholics are being unfaithful to God’s Word and to the sanctity of His Church. As Ironside warned, “God hates such a mixture!”

Mike Gendron also put out the following in his newsletter a while back:

In his first-ever video declaring his “prayer intentions,” Pope Francis called for dialogue and collaboration among those of the various world religions asserting that they are simply “seeking or meeting God in different ways.” Francis contends that all the religions of the world simply represent mankind’s diversity in seeking God. He says that despite the differing beliefs, everyone is a child of the same God. The pope said, “Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways, but there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God.”

Mike’s following comments are from his interview with CNN: Tragically, those who do not know the Bible or who refuse to submit to it as the supreme authority for truth, will be deceived by the pope’s latest pronouncement. The pope’s assertion that all mankind seeks after the same God, just in different ways, is false according to the Word of God. No one seeks for (the true) God (Rom. 3:11), but there are many who seek after false gods of their own imagination or false gods of their religious traditions. The only way to meet with the true God is His way, through the one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). The Word of God reveals that the human race is made up of people who are either children of God or children of the devil (1 John 3:10). When the Lord Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day for refusing to believe the truth of His Word, He told them that their father was the devil (John 8:44). This remains true today in that the god of this world (Satan) has created a variety of religions to blind all of his children from the light of the Gospel and the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). Everyone is a child of the ‘god of this world’ until they exchange their religion for a relationship with the one true God through Jesus Christ. Only those who receive Jesus by believing in His name become children of God (John 1:12-13).

The Apostle Peter taught:

10 … the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)

Yet, Pope Francis has an interfaith agenda that does NOT teach that one must accept Jesus in order to be saved. This is s FALSE GOSPEL! Yet, many are being taken in by it.

Mike Gendron also had a link in that February 1, 2016 newsletter to the following from the improperly named publication Christianity Today regarding the growing acceptance of the pontiff’s agenda by Protestant ministers.

From Antichrist to Brother in Christ: How Protestant Pastors View the Pope

More than half of evangelical pastors say Pope Francis is their brother in Christ.

More than one-third say they value the pope’s view on theology, and 3 in 10 say he has improved their view of the Catholic Church.

Those are among the findings of a new study of 1,000 Protestant senior pastors, released this week from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

Overall, the survey found that many Protestant pastors have taken a liking to Pope Francis.

Nearly 4 in 10 say the pope, known for his humility and concern for the poor, has had a positive impact on their opinions of the Catholic Church. Almost two-thirds view Pope Francis as a genuine Christian and “brother in Christ.” …

Evangelical pastors report more skepticism about Pope Francis than their mainline Protestant counterparts. While 80 percent of mainline Protestant pastors believe the pope is a true Christian, only 58 percent of evangelical pastors agree. About a quarter of evangelicals (23%) disagree, while one-fifth (19%) are not sure.

“The fact that some pastors don’t see the pope as their ‘brother in Christ’ seems strange to many outside Protestantism and evangelicalism, I imagine,” Stetzer said. “However, the forerunners of most Protestant pastors—from Luther, to Wesley, to Spurgeon, to many others—certainly did not see the pope as their ‘brother in Christ.’

“Within a few centuries, the pope has gone from anti-Christ to ‘brother in Christ’ for a lot of Protestants.”

In an editorial for CT this week, evangelical pastor Chris Castaldo argued that among Protestants and Catholics, disagreement over religious authority and salvation fades as piety trumps doctrine. http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/september/antichrist-brother-christ-protestant-pastors-pope-francis.html

Piety trumps doctrine?

Christianity Today really means that it believes that outward claims of piety trump truth.

Notice what Jude wrote from the New Jerusalem Bible (a Roman Catholic approved translation into the English language):

3 I felt that I must write to you encouraging you to fight hard for the faith which has been once and for all entrusted to God’s holy people. (Jude 3, NJB)

That scripture would also not suggest that doctrinal compromise is appropriate for the faithful. Jude does not say go along to get along. Actually, Jude advocates the opposite.

Notice also what Jesus taught:

17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (John 17:17-19)

Christians are to be sanctified, meaning be SET APART for religious purposes, by the truth in the word of God. Those who compromise the word of God are not true followers of Jesus.

The ecumenical movement ignores the truth. It keeps moving forward and the Vatican, Protestants, and many others are moving down a slope they should not.

Since many of the Protestants and Catholic have resolved certain of their differences and ignored some of their own histories, many of them are poised for greater unity. Such unity will happen, but it is not endorsed by the Bible. The Bible is clear that a group of churches, led by one from the city of seven hills, is to be avoided and will end in disaster (Revelation 17:1-10,18).

Martin Luther, the basic founder of the Protestant Reformation, taught against the concept that the Roman Catholic Church was the one true church. And while most modern Protestant leaders would agree on that point, Martin Luther took this much further. Specifically, Martin Luther taught that the Roman Catholic Church was the “great harlot of the Apocalypse” (O’Hare PF. The Facts About Luther, originally 1916, 1987 ed., p.9). Martin Luther also claimed that the Pope was the “Antichrist” (Ibid).

Notice also the following from some early Protestant leaders:

(1) Martin Luther:… We here are of the conviction that the Papacy is the seat of the true and real antichrist…

(2) John Calvin: I deny him to be the vicar of Christ. … He is an antichrist — I deny him to be the head of the Church (John Calvin Tracts, Volume 1, pages 219, 220). (Standish CD, Standish RR. The Evangelical Dilemma. Hartland Publications, 1996, p. 162)

Samuel Lee (a seventeenth century Rhode Island minister): It is agreed among all main lines of the English Church that the Roman pontiff is the Antichrist (Samuel Lee, The Cutting off of Antichrist, p. 1). (Standish CD, Standish RR. The Antichrist is Here. Hartland Publications, 1988, p. 16)

With all the ecumenical discussions going on these days, many Protestant leaders no longer seem to believe in the papal-antichrist position of many of their early leaders. But they should or they will not be able to tell Jesus Christ from the final Antichrist (watch also Will Jesus Christ be called the Antichrist?).

It may be of interest to note that it was people in groups with COG ties that originally made the claim that the papal office was that of Antichrist.

Notice what the Catholic Cardinal Newman wrote about it in the 19th century:

Now, one of the first questions which it is natural to ask on entering upon the subject is, whereas the Pope is said to be Antichrist, sometimes from the fourth, sometimes from the seventh century, when was he first detected and denounced, and by whom?

On this point Dr. Todd supplies us with much information, from which it appears that the belief that the Pope was Antichrist was the conclusion gradually formed and matured out of the belief that the Church of Rome was Babylon, by three heretical bodies, between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries, in consequence of their being submitted to persecution for their opinions:

“In the middle of the eleventh century, numerous emigrants from Thrace and the East had established themselves in the north of Italy, and especially in the neighbourhood of Milan; and some, despising a fixed habitation, or unable to obtain one, itinerated throughout various parts of France and Germany. The doctrines of these sects exhibit various shades of extravagance and error, and appear to have had a close affinity with the Oriental Manichees or Paulicians, from whom they are historically descended…they despised all external religion, ridiculed the office and powers of the priesthood, the efficacy of the Sacraments, and especially the use of baptism.”—Pp. 28-30.

These were the Albigenses, the first of the three independent families of heresy above mentioned…It would appear from these that the Albigenses founded their opposition to the Church on a Manichæan principle, viz., that, as there was an evil deity, and he the author of the visible world, so was he author also of the visible Church, which in consequence was “the devil’s basilica and synagogue of Satan,” and, in the language of the Apocalypse, “the mother of fornications.” (Newman JH. The Protestant Idea of Antichrist. [British Critic, Oct. 1840]. Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman. Copyright © 2004 by The National Institute for Newman Studies. http://www.newmanreader.org/works/essays/volume2/antichrist1.html viewed 12/03/07).

What the Cardinal seems to be teaching is that beginning in the fourth-seventh century one or two groups apparently began to feel that the Pontifex Maximus was an antichrist and that one who calls himself Pontifex Maximus may be the final antichrist. The Roman bishops did not refer to themselves by the pagan title of Pontifex Maximus (literally meaning the “greatest bridge-builder” between mortals and the gods) until the late 4th century–hence that is probably why they began to be referred to as “anti-Christ” or at least his representative back then.

It is of interest to note that groups that traced their descent from the Paulicians were clearly teaching a version of the papal antichrist doctrine in the eleventh and later centuries. Some affiliated with the Paulicians and Albigenses were in the Church of God (see articles The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present; 2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.; 3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church; 4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition).–hence an understanding of the papal antichrist view has long been a Church of God view.

Although the Bible teaches that there are many antichrists, but that one will later be the Antichrist. And essentially all the antichrists preach a message different from John–hence we in the Churches of God recognize that to a degree, all false religious teachers claiming Christianity are antichrists–we do not limit this to Roman or Orthodox Catholic leaders (we also include Protestant leaders).

This seems to be consistent with what one group told Bernard the Inquisitor, in the early 14th century, who reported:

…they claim that there is a double Antichrist, one spiritual or mystical and the other the real, greater Antichrist…(Bernard Gui: Inquisitor’s Manual, Chapter 5. Translated by David Burr, History Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. http://phi.kenyon.edu/Projects/Margin/inquisit.htm 04/09/07).

As far as a spiritual or mystic antichrist and a later one, that is consistent with what the Apostle John taught in 1 John 2:18. The “spiritual antichrists” would be perhaps all false Christian leaders (this is not at all limited to Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders, it includes even some who claim to be in the Church of God), while the “real Antichrist” is the final MAJOR false prophetic leader.

For the record, I should state that I agree with certain Catholic leaders who have claimed that the final Antichrist will be some type of antipope (see Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies?).

Jesus DID NOT come so that the world would be united in this age. Notice what Jesus said:

51 ‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. (Luke 12:51, NJB).

Scripture warns against a coming ecumenical unity which it teaches will be successful:

4 They prostrated themselves in front of the dragon because he had given the beast his authority; and they prostrated themselves in front of the beast, saying, ‘Who can compare with the beast? Who can fight against it?’ 5 The beast was allowed to mouth its boasts and blasphemies and to be active for forty-two months; 6 and it mouthed its blasphemies against God, against his name, his heavenly Tent and all those who are sheltered there. 7 It was allowed to make war against the saints and conquer them, and given power over every race, people, language and nation; 8 and all people of the world will worship it, that is, everybody whose name has not been written down since the foundation of the world in the sacrificial Lamb’s book of life. 9 Let anyone who can hear, listen: 10 Those for captivity to captivity; those for death by the sword to death by the sword. This is why the saints must have perseverance and faith. (Revelation 13:4-10, NJB)

The Bible warns against an end time Babylon unity (Revelation 17:1-6; 18:1-9).

In Zechariah, the Bible warns against a coming Babylon and shows that proper unity will not happen until after Jesus returns:

10 Look out! Look out! Flee from the land of the north — Yahweh declares- for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven — Yahweh declares. 11 Look out! Make your escape, Zion, now living with the daughter of Babylon!

12 For Yahweh Sabaoth says this, since the Glory commissioned me, about the nations who plundered you, ‘Whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye. 13 Now look, I shall wave my hand over them and they will be plundered by those whom they have enslaved.’ Then you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me! 14 Sing, rejoice, daughter of Zion, for now I am coming to live among you -Yahweh declares! 15 And on that day many nations will be converted to Yahweh. Yes, they will become his people, and they will live among you. Then you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you! 16 Yahweh will take possession of Judah, his portion in the Holy Land, and again make Jerusalem his choice. (Zechariah 2:10-16, NJB; note in translations such as the NKJV these are shown as Zechariah 2:6-12)

The ecumenical and inter-faith movements that the Vatican and the Eastern Orthodox leaders are promoting are clearly condemned by the Bible and should not be encouraged.

The Bible itself warns against the type of ecumenical unity that Pope Francis and various Protestant leaders are working towards (e.g. Revelation 17). The Bible does not teach that Christians will have the type of unity that the Vatican claim to want UNTIL AFTER THE FALL OF BABYLON (Zechariah 2:10-13 NKJV; Zechariah 2:12-16 NJB).

The Bible tells that the ecumenical/inter-faith movement will also end in destruction (Revelation 18 & 19). This is not something that Catholics nor the Protestants should want. But Pope Francis keeps pushing for it.

Despite the Reformation rallying cry of sola Scriptura, the reality is that the Catholics of Rome and the Protestant both must ignore many scriptures for the type of reconciliation and unity that many are pushing for.

Only the return of Jesus Christ and the millennial kingdom will bring the true type of unity that the world needs. The Vatican and many of the Protestants are pushing for a type of unity that will end in disaster according to the Bible.

Our newest BNP video covers this and is available online: Pope Francis’ Celebration of Reformation’s 500th Anniversary.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! and World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus? Will the final “Anti-Christ” be Jewish, insist on Saturday, be opposed to the trinity, and bring in the millennium? Certain Catholic writings indicate this, while others take a different view, but what does the Bible show? A related sermon is Will Jesus Christ be called the Antichrist?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
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.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? A related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? Former Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is now Pope Francis. According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? Could a Jesuit be “the black pope”?
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 Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
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.

First they came for the Jews, then will they come for the true Christians?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017


Anti-Semitic graffiti

COGwriter

Antisemitism is in the news again:

February 1, 2017

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Jewish Community Centers in the U.S. and Canada again were targeted by bomb threats Tuesday, including one in a suburb of Toledo, reports say. …

“We are concerned about the anti-Semitism behind these threats,” David Posner, a director at the JCC Association of North America who advises centers on security, tells Reuters.

In Sylvania, Ohio, a suburb west of Toledo, the YMCA/JCC was evacuated after a bomb threat late Tuesday morning, 13abc.com reports. Three bomb-sniffing dogs and the Joint Terrorism Task Force were called to the scene, but nothing was found.

Centers in California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Massachusetts, Utah, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada, also received threats, Reuters reports.

According to USA Today, 27 centers in 17 states received threats on Jan. 18, and 16 center in nine states on Jan. 9. A center in Bexley, Ohio, a Columbus suburb, was targeted on Jan. 18. http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2017/02/bomb_threats_again_targeted_at.html

At least 13 Jewish Community Centers were evacuated Tuesday, after the third wave of bomb threats this month was made against the religious centers.

This latest spate of threats, which came in between 10 a.m. and noon, targeted JCCs in at least 11 states and is being investigated by the FBI.

“The FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country,” the FBI said in a statement emailed to NBC News. “The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner. As this is matter is ongoing, we are not able to comment further at this time.” http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jewish-community-centers-face-third-wave-bomb-threats-nationwide-n715086

Antisemitism and threats against Jewish facilities are wrong.

My wife and I attended Worldwide Church of God services in a Jewish Community Center in Long Beach, California for a number of years. At least once it was hit by anti-Semitic graffiti that I am aware of.

Sadly, in the Greco-Roman world, various ones who claimed Christianity have long promoted antisemitism.

And persecution against ‘Jews’ has often turned into persecution against those with biblical Christians practices.

According to Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, Book III chapter 18, the Eastern Orthodox saint and Roman emperor Constantine in the fourth century stated:

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

The way that Jesus, who was Jewish, taught differently was love. Jesus never taught to have ‘nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd.’ Roman Catholics refer to Constantine as ‘Constantine the Great,’ but he obviously held anti-semitic views.

Notice something that Jesus the Jew said what would happen to Christians:

20 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. (John 15:20)

Around 332, Constantine issued what is known as the Edict Against the Heretics which included persecution against Christians who held to the original faith and had practices, such as the date of Passover, the same as the Jews (see also Persecutions by Church and State).

In 387, the Eastern Orthodox saint and bishop John Chrysostom preached the following:

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

John Chrysostom preached the following in his Homily Against the Jews (of which there are at least eight anti-Semitic homilies):

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

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

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

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

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

John Chrysostom is considered to be a major Roman Catholic saint. He is one of the four ‘doctors of the church’ who is shown supporting a large black chair that is called the Cathedra Petri (Chair of Peter) in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The late Joseph Tkach once referred to this chair as Satan’s throne (see Satan’s Throne).

The improperly named Protestant publication Christianity Today once had a link titled, “Person of the Week: John Chrysostom” which went to an article titled: John Chrysostom Early church’s greatest preacher. So, Protestants too, endorse an anti-semite. More on him can be found in the article John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite.

These anti-Semitic views have included persecutions against Christians who the Greco-Romans considered to have “Jewish” practices.

People like the Albigneses were condemned by various councils. And one, the Council of Albi (sometimes spelled Alby) in 1254 apparently stated:

They savour of Judaism…they observe the Jewish sabbath, but say that the holy Dominical day is no better than any other day; let them be accursed (Quoted in Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 64).

Notice what a former Roman Catholic priest reported:

It has been reckoned that in the last and most savage persecution under Emperor Diocletian about two thousand Christians perished, worldwide. In the first incident of Pope Innocent’s Crusade ten times that number of people were slaughtered. Not all were Albigensians. It comes as a shock to discover that, at a stroke, a pope killed far more Christians than Diocletian (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolberg Press, Dublin, 2000, pp. 160-161).

(The entire persecution that Roman Emperor Diocletian unleashed lasted from 303-313 A.D; the inquisition-persecution that Pope Innocent III unleashed lasted hundreds of years.)

It perhaps should be pointed out that sometimes those in the true Church of God have been considered to be secretly Jews by some in Greco-Roman faiths:

In the Middle Ages, the Popes and the Councils were successful in destroying the Jewish revolutionary movements which appeared within Christianity in the form of false teaching and which were introduced by those who were Christians in appearance but Jews in secret. The latter then recruited upright and good Christians for the arising heretical movement by persuading the latter in a crafty way.

The secret Jews organised and controlled in secret manner the movements, which were the creative and driving force of wicked false teachings, such as those of the Iconoclasts, the Cathars, the Patarines, the Albigensians, the Hussites, the Alumbrados and others. (Pinay, Maurice. The Plot Against the Church, Part Four Chapter One. Translated from the German and Spanish editions of the same work. 1962)

The above book is still recommended by and for many Catholics (though some others distance themselves from it).  Hence, some of the Greco-Romans have considered some of whom we in the Continuing Church of God include in our tracing of our spiritual ancestors (like some of the Cathars and Albigenses) to have been a secret Jewish group that only professed Christ.

As far as Protestant leaders themselves with anti-semitic views, one can notice the some of the teachings of Martin Luther, who wrote in the 16th century:

My heart is fuller of these thoughts than my tongue can tell. I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will always curse and blaspheme God as all the prophets have predicted. He who neither reads nor understands this, as yet knows no theology, in my opinion. And so I presume the men of Cologne cannot understand the Scripture, because it is necessary that such things take place to fulfill prophecy. If they are trying to stop the Jews blaspheming, they are working to prove the Bible and God liars (“Martin Luther’s to George Spalatin,” from Luther’s Correspondence and Other Contemporan, Letters, trans. by P. Smith (1913), Vol. 1, pp. 28-29).

Furthermore he wrote:

I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that those miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them…They are so blind and stupid that they see neither the words found in Genesis 17 nor the whole of Scripture, which mightily and explicitly condemns this lie…They are real liars and bloodhounds who have not only continually perverted and falsified all of Scripture with their mendacious glosses from the beginning until the present day. Their heart’s most ardent sighing and yearning and hoping is set on the day on which they can deal with us Gentiles as they did with the Gentiles in Persia at the time of Esther…The worse a Jew is, the more arrogant he is, solely because he is a Jew — that is, a person descended from Abraham’s seed, circumcised, and under the law of Moses. David and other pious Jews were not as conceited as the present-day, incorrigible Jews…I wanted to present this to us Germans so that we might see what rascals the blind Jews are and how powerfully the truth of God in our midst stands with us and against them (Medieval Sourcebook: Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543)

Martin Luther advised his followers:

…to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss in sulphur and pitch (Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543 as quoted from Luther’s Works, Volume 47: The Christian in Society IV, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971). pp 268­293).

The sad reality is that leaders esteemed by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Protestants have all advocated horrible antisemitism.

Sadly, many in Europe and elsewhere hold anti-Semitic views. It is little wonder that many Jews are leaving and others are considering to leave.

We will see persecution greatly increase before Jesus returns. And this will not be limited to Jews, but will include all real Christians (cf. Daniel 7:25; see also Persecutions by Church and State).

The underlying antisemitism throughout the world will allow for this, especially when the time will come when the Beast’s government will mandate it (Revelation 13:15-17).

Some items of related interest may include:

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.
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite This late fourth/early fifth century Bishop of Constantinople is considered to be a ‘saint’ and ‘doctor’ by the Church of Rome, Church of England, and the Eastern Orthodox, but he did not teach Christ’s love.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2017, 2018, or 2019? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017?
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
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.
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.
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.

Black History Month: Christian history and news related to Africa

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017


Celebration of Black History Month

COGwriter

February was designated as Black History Month in 1969 and observed since 1970 by various Americans. Its origins are even earlier:

February 1, 2017

February marks the launch of Black History Month, a time to recognize the central role and revolutionary work of black people in America.

Historian Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926 and it officially evolved into a month-long celebration forty years later. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-black-history-month-we-declare-we-too-are-america_us_588fa515e4b0c90efeff4088

Instead of focusing on secular history in the USA, this post will attempt to cover some of the history of Christianity in Africa as well as some African-related news, but will start with scripture.

The New Testament discusses in some detail the conversion of at least one influential African and shows that God intended him to receive the message:

6 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water.

And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:26-39).

According to Fox’s Book of Martyrs, at least one of the twelve apostles preached into Africa:

XV. Simon Surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74. (Fox’s Book of Martyrs. Edited by William Byron Forbush. Copyright 1926/1967. Zondervan, Publishing, Grand Rapids (MI), pp. 3-5).

Another source agrees that the apostles got to Africa (Ruffin C.B. The Twelve: The Lives of the Apostles After Calvary. Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington (IN), 1997, pp. 17-171).

Early church history shows that there were both true as well as false Christians in northern Africa (as well as other places).

In the third century, Origen noted in northern Africa that there were two groups that he considered to be “Ebionites,” one who believed in the virgin birth (and that would be those who this paper suggests were also known as the Nazarenes) and those who did not:

Let it be admitted, moreover, that there are some who accept Jesus, and who boast on that account of being Christians, and yet would regulate their lives, like the Jewish multitude, in accordance with the Jewish law,—and these are the twofold sect of Ebionites, who either acknowledge with us that Jesus was born of a virgin, or deny this, and maintain that He was begotten like other human beings…(Origen. Contra Celsus, Book V, Chapter 61).

The true Christians in Africa were not those associated with Origen (please see what happened in Alexandria), nor those that denied the virgin birth. The true Christians were those who professed Jesus and had practices similar to those of the Jews.

Origen of Alexandria, however, was not a true Christian. Origen even appeared to recognize several non-canonically writings as scripture and had been influenced by some Gnostic teachings. Sadly, Origen referred to The Epistle of Barnabas like he does actual parts of the Bible (Origen. Contra Celsus, Book I, Chapter 63), seems to also do so with the falsely titled Gospel of Peter (Origen. Commentary on Matthew, Book X, Verse 17. ANF), and even calls what I consider to be the “demonically-influenced” Shepherd of Hermas as “divinely inspired” (Cited in Metzger, Bruce M. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance).

Antioch (which is now in present day Syria) probably resisted much of this Gnostic influence until some time into the early third century. And while Origen and some others recognized the falsely titled “Gospel of Peter” it was specifically condemned by Serapion, Bishop of Antioch. Serapion went to see a group that he thought was Christian in the seaside port of Rhossus, which is located southwest of Alexandria. When he got there he was disappointed to learn that they were reading this “Gospel of Peter” (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book VI, Chapter XII, verse 1, p. 125 ) and thus he realized that they were not all part of the “true faith”:

For we, brethren, receive both Peter and the other apostles as Christ; but we reject intelligently the writings falsely inscribed with them, knowing that such were not handed down to. When I visited you I supposed that all of you held the true faith…(Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book VI, Chapter XII, verses 3-4, p. 125-126).

Thus while there were some true Christians in northern Africa in the early part of the third century, Serapion ran into false ones. And like the rest of the world, sadly the majority of people in Africa (and elsewhere) who profess the religion of Christ, are not practicing the religion of the Christ of the Bible as the true church was only expected to be a “little flock” (for more information, please see the article The History of Early Christianity).

It probably should also be mentioned that around the time of Serapion, at least one African leader named Nepos stood up to allegorists like Origen. The Catholic Encyclopedia reported:

An Egyptian bishop, Nepos, taught the Chiliastic error that there would be a reign of Christ upon earth for a thousand years, a period of corporal delights; he founded this doctrine upon the Apocalypse in a book entitled “Refutation of the Allegorizers” (Chapman, John. “Dionysius of Alexandria.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 14 Aug. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05011a.htm>.).

A nineteenth century anti-millennial scholar named Giovanni Battista Pagani went as far as to write the following about Nepos and those who supported the millennium:

…all those who teach a millennium framed according to Jewish ideas, saying that during the millennium, Mosaic law will be restored…These are called Judaical Millenarians, not as being Jews, but as having invented and upheld a millennium according to Jewish taste. The principal authors of this error were Nepos, an African Bishop, against whom St. Dionysius wrote his two books on Promises; and Apollinaris, whom St. Epiphanius confound in his work against heresies (Pagani, Giovanni Battista. Published by Charles Dolman, 1855. Original from Oxford University. Digitized Aug 15, 2006, pp. 252-253).

It should be of interest to note that neither Nepos nor Apollinaris were Jews, but were condemned for having a religion that had “Jewish” beliefs. And since Apollinaris is a Catholic saint (see article Apollinaris of Hierapolis), it should be clear that the respected and non-Jewish Christian leaders in the early third century clearly did hold to ideas that were condemned by the allegorists.

The following from Dionysius clearly shows that Nepos was still respected after he died (Nepos died prior to Dionysius’ mid-third century writing of the following) and really did not refute him from a biblical perspective:

But as they produce a certain composition by Nepos, on which they insist very strongly, as if it demonstrated incontestably that there will be a (temporal) reign of Christ upon the earth, I have to say, that in many other respects I accept the opinion of Nepos, and love him at once for his faith, and his laboriousness, and his patient study in the Scriptures, as also for his great efforts in psalmody, by which even now many of the brethren are delighted. I hold the man, too, in deep respect still more, inasmuch as he has gone to his rest before us. Nevertheless the truth is to be prized and reverenced above all things else. And while it is indeed proper to praise and approve ungrudgingly anything that is said aright, it is no less proper to examine and correct anything which may appear to have been written unsoundly. If he had been present then himself, and had been stating his opinions orally, it would have been sufficient to discuss the question together without the use of writing, and to endeavour to convince the opponents, and carry them along by interrogation and reply. But the work is published, and is, as it seems to some, of a very persuasive character; and there are unquestionably some teachers, who hold that the law and the prophets are of no importance, and who decline to follow the Gospels, and who depreciate the epistles of the apostles, and who have also made large promises regarding the doctrine of this composition, as though it were some great and hidden mystery, and who, at the same time, do not allow that our simpler brethren have any sublime and elevated conceptions either of our Lord’s appearing in His glory and His true divinity, or of our own resurrection from the dead, and of our being gathered together to Him, and assimilated to Him, but, on the contrary, endeavour to lead them to hope for things which are trivial and corruptible, and only such as what we find at present in the kingdom of God. And since this is the case, it becomes necessary for us to discuss this subject with our brother Nepos just as if he were present (Dionysius of Alexandria. From the Two Books on the Promises. Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight. Viewed 8/14/08).

In other words, Nepos knew his Bible, but did not hold to the same position that allegorists like Dionysius of Alexandria held. But those who held to Judaeo-Christian beliefs, while slightly chastised, simply were almost never condemned by the early allegorists. Mainly, because the early allegorists knew that the original Christians held to beliefs and practices that the allegorists considered to be Jewish–and at this stage, the allegorists simply did not have the ability to condemn the literalists because most who professed Christ at the time knew that the literalists had ties to the original apostolic church. (More information on faithful Christians in northern African locations can be found in the article Arabic Nazarenes May Have Kept Original Christian Practices.)

Africa has long had groups of people who have kept the seventh-day Sabbath. In the 21st century, there are Church of God groups throughout Africa.

The Continuing Church of God has many congregations in various African countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. We also have members/tentative supporters that we know of in Uganda, South Africa, Sudan, and elsewhere. I personally visited Africa back in 1985 and was able to visit Africa again in 2014 (information related to a conference held there is in the post CCOG Letter and Nairobi Conference). I  am  scheduled to fly to Africa in a few days for a conference we plan to have with Continuing Church of God leaders across Africa. This conference is planned to happen in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Continuing Church of God has sent songbooks, Bible News Prophecy magazines, other books, history booklets, literature, and other support to those in Africa (including food for the hungry and support for widows and orphans). In addition to English, the Continuing Church of God has had literature, such as the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God (see KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI) and our Study the Bible Course (see Somo 1 Katika Kiswahili), translated into Kiswahili which is the ‘linga-Franca’ in many nations in Africa.

While English is understood in many parts of Africa, it is often a second or third language. Right now, in addition to English and Kiswahili, we have produced literature in Ekegusii and Dholuo. We are currently also have limited information in Chichewa and a few other African languages (to see a list go to: www.ccog.org).

We also now have a YouTube channel called CCOGAfrica. This channel features messages from ministers in Africa and mainly in African languages (see also CCOGAfrica YouTube channel now live!).

Africans are sometimes willing to stand up for what is right when others do not.

Some items of related interest may include:

Africa: Its Biblical Past and Prophesied Future What does the Bible teach about Africa and its future? Did the early Church reach Africa? Will God call all the Africans?
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, and Dholuo.
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.
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
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.

WND: Did the Reformation go far enough?

Saturday, January 28th, 2017


Poster for 500th Reformation Anniversary Reconciliation

COGwriter

Joseph Farah, editor of World News Daily, reported the following:

Did the Reformation go far enough?

Did you know that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation?

That’s right. On Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, launching a powerful movement that transformed the entire world.

While much good resulted from the Reformation that followed, there were some really destructive aspects of the Protestant revolution. …

But did the Reformation go far enough?

By 1517, the church had also fallen into some ugliness that was not swept away by the Reformation. …

The ugliness that began before the Reformation and survived it intact was “replacement theology,” the notion that the church replaced Israel in terms of the inheritances promised by God. In my book, for instance, there’s biblical evidence to suggest this notion was taking root while at least one of the Apostles was still alive.

In 3 John 9-11, we read about something astonishing – the Apostle John and other Jewish believers in the Messiah Jesus were kicked out of the church!

“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”

We don’t know a lot about Diotrephes. This is the only reference to him in the Bible. But all we need to know is revealed in this short book. His name means “nourished by Jupiter” or “nourished by Zeus.” That sounds like a strange name for a believer in Jesus in the first century, given that all of his early followers were Jews. He was obviously not a Jew because he was bearing a pagan name. It was common for early gentile believers with pagan names to change them. Diotrephes did not. He kept his pagan name that glorified a pagan Greek god.

We also know that Diotrephes spoke maliciously against the inspired Jewish apostolic leadership and refused to allow messianic Jewish believers into his assembly.

Think about that! The Apostle John was not welcome in a “Christian church.”

That’s how early replacement theology began.

It continued over the centuries with Luther and John Calvin and their Reformation.

Here’s a quote from Luther: “What shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews. Since they live among us and we know about their lying and Blasphemy and cursing, we can not tolerate them if we do not wish to share in their lies, curses, and blasphemy. In this way we cannot quench the inextinguishable fire of divine rage nor convert the Jews. We must prayerfully and reverentially practice a merciful severity. Perhaps we may save a few from the fire and flames [of hell]. We must not seek vengeance. They are surely being punished a thousand times more than we might wish them. Let me give you my honest advice. … their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one will may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it And this ought to be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians, and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of His son and His Christians.”

John Calvin wrote of the Jews: “Their rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.”

But that’s not biblical.

And that was not reform. http://www.wnd.com/2017/01/did-the-reformation-go-far-enough/#R6P8QUJljxEs91oH.99

Protestants, as a general rule, do NOT follow many of the practices of the Apostle John or the Bible (holy days, for one example, come to mind–see Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?).

It should be understood that in addition to racial hatred against Jews, Martin Luther and many of his followers killed many people and destroyed property.

Martin Luther encouraged that and was not apologetic about it:

… burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss in sulphur and pitch (Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543 as quoted from Luther’s Works, Volume 47: The Christian in Society IV, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971). pp 268­293).

Pure devilry is urging on the peasants…Therefore let all who are able, mow them down, slaughter and stab them, openly or in secret, and remember that there is nothing more poisonous, noxious and utterly devilish than a rebel.  You must kill him as you would a mad dog…

The authorities must resolve to chastise and slay as long as they can raise a finger…It may be that those who are killed on the side of the authorities is really a martyr in God’s cause.  A happier death no man could die.  The present time is so strange that a prince can gain Heaven easier by spilling blood than by praying (Luther M.  Against the Murderous and Rapacious Hordes of the Peasants, May 4, 1525-Erl, 24, 287, ff.  As cited in O’Hare PF.  The Facts About Luther, p. 232).

I, Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the rebellion, for I said that they should be slain; all their blood is upon my head. But I cast it on the Lord God, who commanded me to speak this way (Werke, Erl. Edition, lix, p. 284 ‘Table Talk’ as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.96).

It is reported that 100,000 perished at the time of the peasant ‘rebellion.’ It should also be understood that politics, and not just religion, was a major factor that led to the ‘military accomplishments’ of the Protestant reformers and their supporters.

Dr. Luther should have realized that real Christians would not have done that (see also Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?).

Protestant’s claimed ‘sola Scriptura’ when they separated from Rome. Yet, the fact that Lutherans (and Roman Catholics for that matter) even have ‘altars’ where they consume ‘communion’ is not scriptural.

Perhaps the two biggest problems with Martin Luther was that he was NOT a converted Christian and he did NOT believe in sola Scriptura. Notice the following from a Protestant scholar who supported Martin Luther:

Although classical theology is certainly not without its problems, historically it is almost always the case that the appeal to the Bible alone…leads to the reemergence of ancient heresies…The Reformation began with the slogan “To the sources!” and sought to deal a fatal blow to the place of church tradition in shaping life and faith…Despite their efforts not to be influenced by the authority of tradition, each of the major Reformation churches found itself borrowing from the past and building up a traditionalism of its own…when the Anabaptists and other radicals discovered Scripture to be teaching things the Lutherans found detestable, Lutherans learned the usefulness of tradition…(Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 335,350-351).

The “usefulness of tradition”?  In other words, teaching traditions of men even when they contradict scripture.

It should be noted that the above is not limited to one Protestant scholar, Martin Luther truly did not believe in rallying cry sola scriptura and even discounted several books of the Bible (an article of related interest may be Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?). (The Anabaptists are mentioned in the article on the Sardis Church era).

The reality is the fact that Protestants, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics accept tradition, they call many biblical practices that were enjoined upon and practiced by the early New Testament church, heresies. But if practices were original and based upon the Bible, can they logically be called heresies?

Are not the heretics, those that changed the teachings of the Bible in favor of traditions of men?

A major problem with the Protestant Reformation was that many of its leaders were murderous anti-Semites, who would not rely on the Bible for many doctrines, and would not “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Those of us in the true Church of God believe that all 66 books of the Bible are inspired and profitable for doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16). Because we also believe that we are not allowed to add or subtract from the Bible (see Revelation 22:18-19), we cannot follow the teachings of Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther—who changed or diminished the importance of at least 18 of them (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Esther, Job, Ecclesiastes, Jonah, Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation). For quotes from Martin Luther and other information, check out the article Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?

As far as Joseph Farah is concerned, he seems to understand some of the problems the Protestant Reformers had, but, in my view, not enough of them.

As far as the Protestants go, if they had gone far enough to embrace original Christianity, they would not be teaching a lot of what they do today.

Furthermore, many of the institutional Protestant groups want some type of unity with the Church of Rome. The 500th anniversary later this year is intended to be a type of ecumenical celebration. Essentially the view is that since the Vatican is no longer believed to sell indulgences (though it, in my view, still does with some of its practices related to purgatory) and has eliminated some items Protestants find objectionable, then the Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholics should consider each others brothers in Christ and overlook the remaining differences.

While many of the Greco-Roman-Protestants will do that, the Bible warns against the type on ecumenical unity that they are working towards.  The type of unity that they are working towards is not biblical. It is ‘Babylonian’ (cf. Revelation 17).

As far as unifying with those who will not accept the original and true faith, Christians are warned:

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities…” (Revelation 18:4-5)

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 ‘I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Real Christians will be separate from those that truly will not be set apart by the truth of the Bible (John 17:17).

Thus, no true Christian would endorse the ultimate goal of the reconciliation of the 500th anniversary of what is considered to be the start of the Reformation. These people do not truly believe the Bible and we are to realize that we must remain spiritually-separate from them.

The Continuing Church of God, which is NOT Protestant, traces its history from the apostolic church established in Acts 2 and holds to the original, biblical, doctrines that the early Christians had (see Continuing History of the Church of God).

Many biblical doctrines that early Christians held to are NOT held to by Protestants today.  Nor the Church of Rome or the Eastern Orthodox for that matter.

Those interested in the truth can prove this if they are willing.

Some items of possibly related interest to help you do this may include:

Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future? Here are links to a two-part sermon series: What are Some of the Parts of Satan’s Plan? and Satan’s Plan is More Dramatic than Many Realize.
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did Catholic and Orthodox “saints” endorse or condemn idols and icons for Christians?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? Two related videos include UN’s ‘New Universal Agenda’ is a False Gospel! and United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
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.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
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.
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Sermon: Simon Magus and ‘Christianity’?

Saturday, January 28th, 2017


Avanzino Nucci’s 1620 impression of Peter being offered money by Simon Magus

COGwriter

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


1:14:46

Simon Magus and ‘Christianity’?

Do you know much about Simon Magus? He is called a man from Samaria that the Samaritans referred to as a ‘great one’ in the Book of Acts. He believed Philip’s message and was baptized, Yet after attempting to purchase the giving of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands, he was condemned by the Apostle Peter. Simon Magus went to Rome and is considered by some to have been the ‘father of heresies.’ Many groups, directly, and indirectly hold to doctrines that he and his followers and/or followers of early followers held. Do you know which teachings those were? Do you and/or your church hold to any of the doctrines of Simon Magus?

Here is a link to the sermon: Simon Magus and ‘Christianity’?

Some items of related interest may include:

Simon Magus, What Did He Teach? Sometimes called “the father early heretics” or the “father of heresies”, do you know what early writers claimed that Simon Magus taught? Sadly, most who profess Christ still hold to versions of his teachings. Here is a link to a related sermon: Simon Magus and ‘Christianity’?
Cerinthus: An early heretic What did he teach? What did the Apostle John do about him?
Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he? Here is a link to a related sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?
Marcus of Jerusalem: Apostolic successor or apostate? Marcus is claimed to have been the 16th bishop of Jerusalem, but did he get his position from faithfulness or politcal compromise?
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.
Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate? Justin is considered one of the first Christian theologians and scholars. But did he support a Gnostic version of Christianity? Do you know what he taught about souls going to heaven upon death? This article shows from his own writings, what Justin really taught.
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ, as well as for promoting the ‘eighth day’ ogdoad. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria? Where did the eucharistic host and IHS come from?
Irenaeus: The Most Dangerous Heretic? Was Irenaeus a faithful peacemaker or was he possibly the most dangerous of the early heretics?
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.
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.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
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.
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.

Martin Luther King, Jr. had some interesting writings about religion

Monday, January 16th, 2017

COGwriter

Today is observed in the USA as Martin Luther King, Jr. day. And although I normally do not take this day off (nor presidents’ days unless sometimes when I am out of town), I thought it might be appropriate to quote some writings from the late Martin Luther King Jr.

His birth name was Michael King, Jr. His father was also born Michael King, but the elder King changed his and his son’s names following a 1934 trip to Germany to attend the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin in honor of the Protestant leader, Martin Luther.

Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister who became best known as a civil rights activist.

But he also noticed certain things about religion before he became well known as a civil rights leader.

In the middle of the last century, he wrote about many things, including Mithraism. Mithraism was a religion that observed Sunday and had followers such as the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century.

Here is some of what Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about it in a paper dated November 23, 1949:

In Avesta, Mithra was the genius of celestial light…The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was another view which was very prominent in Mithraism…

Women were compelled to seek salvation in some other cult, for Mithraism excluded them entirely…

When Mithraism is compared to Christianity, there are surprisingly many points of similarity. Of all the mystery cults, Mithraism was the greatest competitor of Christianity…

That Christians did copy and borrow from Mithraism cannot be denied (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 213-214, 217, 222, 224).

Here are some of his writings dated February 15, 1950:

Mithraism…was suppressed by the Christians sometime in the latter part of the fourth century A.D.: but its collapse seems to have been due to the fact that by that time many of its doctrines had been adopted by the church, so that it was practically absorbed by its rival.

…the Church made a sacred day out of Sunday partially because…of the resurrection. But when we observe a little further we find that as a solar festival, Sunday was the sacred day of Mithra: it is also interesting to notice that since Mithra was addressed as Lord, Sunday must have been “the Lord’s Day” long before Christian use. It is also to be noticed that our Christmas, December 25th, was the birthday of Mithra, and was only taken over in the Fourth Century as the date, actually unknown, of the birth of Jesus.

To make the picture a little more clear, we may list a few of the similarities between these two religions: (1) Both regard Sunday as a Holy Day. (2) December 25 came to be considered as the anniversary of the birth of Mithra and Christ also. (3) Baptism and a ritual meal were important parts of both groups…

In summary we may say that the belief in immortality, a mediator between god and man, the observance of certain sacramental rites…were common to Mithraism and Christianity. (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 307, 309.)

Notice that Martin Luther King, Jr. clearly understood that the Sunday churches dropped the Sabbath, that “the Lord’s Day” essentially first meant the day of Mithra, and that the worlds’ churches did adopt many practices from Mithraism. Much of what now is called “Christianity” is a compromise with the religion of Mithraism.

I wish that Martin Luther King, Jr. and others would have emphasized this aspect of his writings more. I would also add that Christians faithful to the original teachings of Christ, the apostles, and the New Testament did not adopt the practices of Mithraism.

Actually, early records show that there were basically two main groups that professed Christianity. One that was mainly based upon the Bible, and the other that accepted doctrines from those who followed Simon Magus and Mithras.

While Dr. King was most known for his civil rights protests, he figured out that much of what passed for Christianity in his day was really a form that adopted Mithratic practices.

Does that include your version? Are you sure?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Do You Practice Mithraism?Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis? Dr. Thiel is recorded in Vatican City and points to a variety of symbols and displays there and explains where some of them seem to have originated from. Specifically, he discusses the connection of the cave grotto and mitre to Mithraism as well as obelisks and certain other ties to Isis. He also briefly touches on some doctrines that those groups share.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
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?
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? 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.

Could Hyginus have changed Passover for Rome?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017


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

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

However, beginning with possibly 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!
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?
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?

Apollinaris of Hierapolis: Church of God or Church of Rome?

Saturday, January 7th, 2017


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 Church of God, not Church of Rome views. 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, that 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 millenium 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 the 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 day, 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?