Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?

Saturday, December 20th, 2014


‘Christmas Wreath’ in UK (Richard Croft)

COGwriter

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

Was December 25th observed by early Christians?  Since that date does not come from the Bible, where did it come from?  Whose birthday do Catholic and other scholars teach occurred on December 25th?  Is December 25th a date that real Christians should observe?  When was it first observed in Rome and Constantinople?  When did the term ‘Christmas” begin to appear?

Download MP3
http://tinyurl.com/lnjqpw2

A written article of related interest is titled What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?

Here is a link to the video sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. 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. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
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 is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
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.
Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos This is the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in Tagalog, the primary language of the Philippines.
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.

John Chyrsostom on Holy Days, Paganism, and Christmas

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

John Chrysostom on Ceiling in Constantinople

John Chrysostom (Istanbul, Turkey. May 2008)

COGwriter

John Chrysostom a ‘doctor’ of the the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. The improperly named Protestant publication Christianity Today went so far as to claim he was the “Early church’s greatest preacher.”

In the late fourth century he made various comments about paganism, Christmas, and biblical Holy Days. Since many of them were in the Fall and Winter of the year, this seemed to be an appropriate time to report about some of them.

John Chrysostom wrote the following in the fourth century:

And what, pray you, is that Minerva of theirs, and Apollo, and Juno? They are different kinds of demons among them. (Chrysostom J. The homilies of S. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople: on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume 1, Homily IV. John Henry Parker, 1851. Original from Harvard University. Digitized, Apr 12, 2008, p. 66)

So, on the surface it appears that John Chrysostom condemned pagan gods, yet he ended up endorsing a holiday originally for the sun god Mithra.

How?

It was John Chrysostom got the Orthodox in Constantinople to observe Christmas on December 25:

We may take it as certain that the feast of Christ’s Nativity was kept in Rome on 25 December…It was introduced by St. John Chrysostum into Constantinople and definitively adopted in 395 (Thurston. H. Transcribed by Rick McCarty. Christian Calendar. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

John Chrysostom admitted Christmas was not part of his church’s tradition in a sermon:

St. Chrysostom in a Christmas sermon, delivered at Antioch in the year 386, says, ” it is not ten years since this day [Christmas Day on December 25] was clearly known to us, but it has been familiar from the beginning to those who dwell in the West.” “The Romans who have celebrated it for a long time, and from ancient tradition, and have transmitted the knowledge of it to us.” (Addis WE, Arnold T. A Catholic Dictionary: Containing Some Account of the Doctrine, Discipline, Rites, Ceremonies, Councils, and Religious Orders of the Catholic Church. Benziger Brothers, 1893. Original from Columbia University, Digitized Sep 15, 2009, p. 178)

His claim that Rome or the West knew it from the beginning is blatantly false. The knowledge of December 25th does not come from any ancient actual Christian tradition.

As pretty much everyone who has looked into the history of Christmas knows, December 25th was selected because it was the birthday of the sun-god Mithras–it was not an original practice of true Christians in Rome or any part of the West. John Chrysostom should have known that and taught against it.

Why?

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

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

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

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

Anyway, mainstream Christianity will continue to try to overlook the fact that it adopted pagan practices, condemned biblical ones, and still prefers traditions of men over the Bible.

Another Roman Catholic supporter wrote this about the Council of Nicea a few decades later:

Three hundred Fathers or even more gathered together in the land of Bithynia and ordained this by law; yet you disdain their decrees. You must choose one of two courses: either you charge them with ignorance for their want of exact knowledge on this matter, or you charge them with cowardice because they were not ignorant, but played the hypocrite and betrayed the truth. When you do not abide by what they decreed, this is exactly the choice you must make. But all the events of the Council make it clear that they showed great wisdom and courage at that time. The article of faith they set forth at the Council show how wise they were…At that time the whole synodal gathering, welded together from these champions, along with their definition of what Christians must believe, also passed a decree that they celebrate the paschal feast in harmony together. They refused to betray their faith in those most difficult times [of persecution]; would they sink to pretense and deceit on the question of the Easter observance? (5) Look what you do when you condemn Fathers so great, so courageous, so wise (John Chrysostom. Homily III Against the Jews, III:3,4-5. Preached at Antioch, Syria in September, 386 AD).

So it is an article of faith that Roman Catholic bishops had the authority to change the scriptural date of Passover and make it an Easter celebration, even though Constantine said part of why he wanted it to have nothing in common with those he called the detestable Jewish crowd?

But this was simply not the faith of the true second century Christians in Asia Minor as Polycrates testified. The last words of his response to Roman bishop Victor about changing the date of Passover to Easter Sunday was:

I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man.’ (Polycrates. Letter to Victor. As quoted by Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24) .

So, those who held to the original faith and traditions from the Bible would not accept the change of Passover, but John Chrysostom did.

Notice also the following:

ALL SAINTS. As early as the fourth century, the Greeks kept on the first Sunday after Pentecost the feast of all martyrs and saints, and we still possess a sermon of St. Chrysostom de-livered on that day. In the West, the feast was introduced by Pope Boniface the Fourth after he had dedicated, as the Church of the Blessed Virgin and the Martyrs, the Pantheon, which had been made over to him by the Emperor Phocas. The feast of the dedication was kept on the thirteenth of May. About 731 Gregory III. consecrated a chapel in St. Peter’s Church in honour of all the saints, from which time All Saints’ Day has been kept in Rome, as now, on the first of November. From about the middle of the ninth century, the feast came into general observance throughout the West. (Addis W, Arnold T. Catholic Dictionary, 6th ed. The Catholic Publication Society Co, 1887. Nihil Obstat. EDUARDUS S. KEOGH, CONG. ORAT., Censor Deputatu Imprimatur. HENRICUS EDUARDUS, CARD. ARCHIEP. WESTMONAST. Die 18 Dec., 1883. Imprimatur. John Card. McCloskey, Archbishop of New York. Feb. 14, 1884. Copyright, Lawrence Kehoe, 1884/1887. p20).

All Saints’ Day

In the fourth century, neighbouring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast; as is shown by the invitation of St. Basil of Caesarea (397) to the bishops of the province of Pontus. Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all. The first trace of this we find in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. We also find mention of a common day in a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian (373), and in the 74th homily of St. John Chrysostom (407). (Mershman, Francis. “All Saints’ Day.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 11 Aug. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01315a.htm>)

So, John Chrysostom is credit for observing another holiday that did not come from the Bible (see also All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and All Souls’ Day).

A few decades after Christmas was adopted by Rome, the Roman Catholic saint John Chrysostom preached the following in 387 A.D.:

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

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

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

John Chrysostom preached against the Fall holy days, because some who professed Christ were observing them.

Yet, John Chrysostom wrote in favor about another “festival of the Jews”:

When, it says, the day of Pentecost was fully come: that is, when at the Pentecost, while about it, in short. For it was essential that the present events likewise should take place during the feast, that those who had witnessed the crucifixion of Christ, might also behold these…And, it says, there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men. The fact of their dwelling there was a sign of piety: that being of so many nations they should have left country, and home, and relations, and be abiding therefor it was Pentecost. (Chrysostom J. The homilies of S. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople: on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume 1, Homily IV. John Henry Parker, 1851. Original from Harvard University. Digitized, Apr 12, 2008, pp. 53, 55, 56).

So, he admitted that after the resurrection, the faithful needed to be present at what was then considered to be a “Jewish feast.” If God was opposed to all of them, why would the apostles have kept it? The obvious reason is that they were following Jesus’ example and had no reason to believe that they were somehow done away. (For more on Pentecost and what John Chrysostom and others wrote about it, please see the article Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2?

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

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

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

So who is right?

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

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

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

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

John Chrysostom supported days with pagan ties such as Christmas and Easter. His logic for Christmas on December 25th is clearly wrong and based upon lies and misinformation that he spread. So, it should be obvious that God’s days are not lies, but his (and those of churches who adopted those days that he promoted) were clearly lies.

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

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite This late fourth/early fifth century Bishop of Constantinople is considered to be a ‘saint’ and ‘doctor’ by the Church of Rome, Church of England, and the Eastern Orthodox, but he did not teach Christ’s love.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they? A related sermon is titled Tradition and Scripture.
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
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?

Islamic State’s horrifying answers about Non-Muslim females

Saturday, December 13th, 2014


Islamic State supporters are sending a message of destruction.

COGwriter

The Islamic State (also known as ISIL or ISIS) distributed a question and answer pamphlet about non-Muslim females, with many of the answers horrifying:

December 13, 2014

Perhaps you were wondering if all the terrible tales of sex slavery by ISIS could be true? After all, they claim to be a very religious group. Unfortunately, new evidence reveals the situation is indeed as grim, if not grimmer, than the reports.

The 27 questions and answers of the pamphlet translated by MEMRI reveal a systematic look into sexual slavery, answering a variety of questions, such as if one can sleep with two sisters , buying and selling slaves and covering up the slave during prayer.

Harrowing personal accounts from female escapees of ISIS’s sexual slavery have been flowing into the media over the last few months. This pamphlet’s publishing implies that questions concerning sexual slavery were becoming frequent following ISIS’s rise. Unfortunately, this confirms reports of thousands of Yazidi woman and other minorities being taken into sexual slavery by the terrorist group. http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/ISIS-published-female-sex-slave-handbook-384510

December 13, 2014

(CNN)– Can you take non-Muslim women and children captive? Yes, says ISIS.

Can you have sex with them, even prepubescent girls? Yes, according to the Islamist extremist group.

Can you sell them or give them as gifts to others? The answer is yes, once again.

People in Mosul — the Iraqi city now under control of the group calling itself the Islamic State — got these and other messages loud and clear after sunset prayers Friday, when armed men handed out a color-printed pamphlet “Question and Answers on Female Slaves and their Freedom,” three residents told CNN.

“People started gathering in small groups chattering about this (document),” said one of the men, whom CNN didn’t name for security reasons. “Most are shocked, but (we) cannot do much about it.” …

Its militants have justified their actions — like the beheadings of journalists and aid workers — in God’s name.

Even then, it is rare to see its rationale laid out as plainly as in “Question and Answers on Female Slaves and their Freedom.”

In the document, for instance, it is explained that capturing women is permissible if they are “nonbelievers.” It adds, “Female slaves are the women that Muslims took from their enemies.”

Much of the pamphlet talks about ISIS’ policy on having sexual intercourse with a female slave, something that the group cites the Quran to justify. …

As to girls: “It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse,” the document reads. “However, if she is not fit for intercourse, he (the owner ) can only enjoy her without intercourse.”

The Q&A is clear that, young and old, the captors have full control of their captives.

As such, the ISIS document claims, “It is permissible to buy, sell or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property.”  http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/12/world/meast/isis-justification-female-slaves/

The Islamic State continues, despite U.S. and other efforts to try to thwart it.

In my view, it is likely that the Islamic State believes that the pamphlet will assist in its recruiting drive to get more terrorists.  It mainly is recruiting males, and males that want to kill and terrorize.  Hence, the Islamic State probably feels that appealing to potential rapists will assist them.

The Bible tells of a time of even more terror.  And that terror will NOT be limited to the Middle East nor Africa.  Notice the following prophecies:

14 ‘But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15 and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, 16 I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you. (Leviticus 26:14-17)

25 The sword shall destroy outside; There shall be terror within (Deuteronomy 32:25)

12 “Cry and wail, son of man; For it will be against My people, Against all the princes of Israel. Terrors including the sword will be against My people; Therefore strike your thigh. (Ezekiel 21:12)

12 Behold, these are the ungodly,Who are always at ease; They increase in riches…19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. (Psalms 73:12,19)

25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27 When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. (Proverbs 1:25-27)

5 Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way (Ecclesiastes 12:5).

Jihadist gains in various parts of the world are a prelude to more terrorism and change. A confederation against the USA, its Anglo-Saxon allies, and Israel involving Arab and European forces is coming. And I have long believed that terrorism will have to be part of this based not only upon the “terror” prophecies, but those that discuss an arrangement between what is now mainly Islamic dominated lands and Europe in Psalm 83. While the current Islamic State will not lead as it wishes, it very well may be involved in major terrorist actions around the world.

How a ‘religious’ organization can engage in rape and selling women into sexual slavery is not at at justifiable–but now the Islamic State believes it has justified such atrocities. The female captives are in my prayers.

Additionally, we all need to pray, as Jesus said, ‘Thy kingdom come’ (Matthew 6:10, KJV).

Of course, the Islamic State terrorizes more than females and also takes military actions.  Notice, for example, the following:

December 13, 2014

Iraqi officials say Islamic State militants have shot down an Iraqi military helicopter, killing the two pilots onboard.

Media reported on Saturday the attack happened in the Shi’ite holy city of Samarra, about 95 kilometers north of Baghdad.  http://www.voanews.com/content/islamic-state-militants-shoot-down-iraqi-helicopter/2557674.html

Because of actions by groups such as the Islamic State, many in the West as well as in many of the Islam-dominated countries will decide that a coalition of nations in North Africa and the Middle East is what is needed for ‘peace.’  But this, according to the Bible, will not truly bring peace (Daniel 11:40-43), though it may well lead to a temporary peace (Daniel 9:27; see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Iraq, the King of the South, Armageddon, and Prophecy What will happen to Iraq? Is it the prophesied Mystery Babylon? What is Armageddon and how does that have to do with Iraq? Here is a related video Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy.
The Prophesied ‘Islamic’ Confederation Where is an Islamic caliphate prophesied? Will one happen? Should you be concerned about it? Here is a link to a related video video: Will an Arabic Calphiphate Destroy the West?
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims? An item of possibly related interest in the Spanish language would be: Líderes iraníes condenan la hipocresía de Occidente y declaran que ahora es tiempo para prepararse para el Armagedón, la guerra, y el Imán Mahdi.
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? Can humans bring peace to the Middle East? Here is a link to a related video: Middle East Peace? When?
Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Rise of the King of the South The Bible tells of the formation of a power of nations that are in the Middle East and North Africa that are part of the final “King of the South” (Daniel 11:40-43) The Muslim Brotherhood wishes to have an Islamic empire with basically the same nations. This YouTube video explains what to expect from such a confederation.
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 2014 o 2015? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2015?
  When will the Great Tribulation begin? Can it begin in 2015 as some have indicated? What are the biblical requirements that precede the Great Tribulation? What did Jesus teach would happen prior to the Great Tribulation. Are there definite clues in the Book of Daniel that Christians should look out for? Is there a King of the North or a King of the South yet? Where does the ‘prince’ of Daniel 9:26-27 come from? What about ‘blood moons’? Dr. Thiel videoed this on the Mount of Olives where Jesus specifically discussed events leading up to the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24.
World War III: Steps in Progress Are there surprising actions going on now that are leading to WWIII? Might a nuclear attack be expected? Does the Bible promise protection to all or only some Christians? How can you be part of those that will be protected? A related video would be Is World War III About to Begin? Can You Escape?
Wars, rumors of wars, and the Apocalypse Jesus foretold a time before the end where there would be wars and rumors of wars. The Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) warns of the red horseman of war. Now, even secular writers, like Larry Edelson, are worried that wars and rumors of war are the most menacing problem that now haunts the earth? Are they right? What is the solution? This is a sermonette-length video.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Prophecy Obama: Prophecies of Barack Obama? Reasons why Barack Obama is apocalyptic and reasons why Barack Obama is not the Antichrist. This article includes many biblical and non-biblical prophecies, from around the world, that seem to discuss Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist?  Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests?  Read it and decide for yourself if President Obama seems to be fulfilling various prophecies. Watch also the YouTube Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Just What Do You Mean the Kingdom of God? A booklet that was written by Herbert Armstrong answers questions about the Kingdom.
Women and the New Testament Church What roles did women play in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles? Did Jesus and the Apostle Paul violate Jewish traditions regarding their dealings with women? Do women have any biblical limitations on their role in the Church? Were there female prophets? Do women have any special responsibilities in terms of how they dress? What does the New Testament really teach about women? Here is a related sermon titled: New Testament Women.

Catholic and biblical warnings about ‘Christmas trees’

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

COGwriter

What does the Bible teach about using trees in worship? Have Catholic writers made warnings against Christmas trees?

First, notice that the Bible has a lot of warnings about trees:

2″Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.” (Jeremiah 10:2-5, NIV).

2 Thus saith our Lord: According to the ways of the Gentiles learn not: and (a) of the signs of heaven, which the heathen fear, be not afraid:
3 Because the laws of the people are vain: because the work of the hand of the artificer hath cut a tree out of the forest with an axe.
4 with silver and gold he hath decked it: with nails and hammers he hath compacted it, that it fall not asunder.. .(Jerermie/Jeremiah 10:2-4, The Original And True Douay Old Testament Of Anno Domini 1609. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William von Peters, Ph.D. Copyright © 2005, Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2005 copyright assigned to VSC Corp.).

29 When the Lord thy God shall have destroyed before thy face the nations, that thou enterest in to possess, and thou shalt possess them, and dwell in their land:
30 beware left thou imitate them, after they be subverted at thy entering in, and thou require their ceremonies, saying: As these nations have worshipped their Gods, so will I also worship.
31 Thou shalt not do in like manner to the Lord thy God. For all the abominations, that our Lord doeth abhor, have they done to their Gods, offering their sons and daughters, and burning them with fire (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, DOT).

While the trees themselves cannot harm us, God says that they cannot do any good.

And nowhere in the Bible is there any hint that trees should be associated with the birth of Jesus Christ.

Catholics used to warn that because of Martin Luther’s promotion of Christmas trees, that this form of idolatry made Protestantism the “Tannenbaum religion” (tannenbaum literally means “fir tree” and is the German term for Christmas tree.

The “Venerable” Cesare Baronius, a Catholic of the 16th century, wrote about a practice of using lights (which are commonly used on Christmas trees):

If the candles which were formerly distributed at the Saturnalia are now identified with the feast of the Purification of our Lady? What, I ask, is there so surprising if holy bishops have allowed certain customs firmly rooted among pagan peoples, and so tenaciously adhered to by them that even after their conversion to Christianity they could not be induced to surrender them, to be transferred to the worship of the true God?” (Baronius, “Annales”, ad ann. 58, n. 77). (as cited in Thurston, Herbert. “Lights.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 21 Dec. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09244b.htm>)

Thus, Baronius seems to be saying that Saturnalia lights are a pagan practice, yet using them is acceptable. The period of Saturnalia coincides with the Christmas-New Year’s period in modern times.

But even the Rheims‘ version of the New Testament (a Catholic approved translation) states the following about pagan practices:

15. And what agreement with Christ and Belial? or what part hath the faithful with the infidel? 16. And what agreement hath the temple of God with Idols? For you are the temple of the living God. as God saith, Then I will dwell, and walk in them, and will be their God: and they shall be my people. 17. For the which cause, Go out of the midst of them, and separate yourselves. saith our Lord, and touch not the unclean: and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:15-17, The Original And True Rheims New Testament Of Anno Domini 1582. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William von Peters, Ph.D. Copyright © 1998, Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2004, copyright assigned to VSC Corp.).

So unclean practices associated with idols are prohibited by God. Does not that include celebrating as the idolaters celebrate, like using evergreen trees?

Even the the old Roman Saturnalia and Persian Mithraism (which have been somewhat combined in the Greco-Roman religions) were an adaption of an even earlier mystery religion – the Babylonian mystery cult. The ancient Babylonians celebrated the rebirth of Nimrod as the newborn Tammuz by worshipping an evergreen tree (like the ‘modern’ Christmas tree). The Babylonians also celebrated this rebirth during the time of the winter solstice. Despite biblical admonitions against the use of green trees (Jeremiah 3:12-13), many seem to think that this is fine.

Notice, however, that using green trees as part of worship was condemned by God thousands of years ago:

2 ‘You must completely destroy all the places where the nations you dispossess have served their gods, on high mountains, on hills, under any spreading tree; 3 you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred stones, burn their sacred poles, hack to bits the statues of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. (Deuteronomy 12:2-3, New Jerusalem Bible, NJB, a Catholic translation)

2 Destroy all the places in which the nations, that you shall possess, worshipped their gods upon high mountains, and hills, and under every shady tree: 3 Overthrow their altars, and break down their statues, burn their groves with fire, and break their idols in pieces: destroy their names out of those places. 4 You shall not do so to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 12:2-4, DOT, a Catholic translation).

16 Beware lest perhaps your heart be deceived, and you depart from our Lord, and serve strange Gods, and adore them (Deuteronomy 11:16, DOT).

12 So go and shout words towards the north, and say: “Come back, disloyal Israel, Yahweh declares, I shall frown on you no more, since I am merciful, Yahweh declares. I shall not keep my anger for ever.

13 Only acknowledge your guilt: how you have rebelled against Yahweh your God, how you have prostituted yourself with the Strangers under every green tree and have not listened to my voice, Yahweh declares. (Jeremiah 3:12-13, NJB)

24 God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24, NJB)

Catholic translations of the Bible show that spreading shady trees, like evergreens, were not to be part of the worship of the true God–and that people should not be deceived and serve such strange practices. The truth is that Christmas reminds us that people are often unwilling to worship God as He intended, but instead often prefer pagan substitutes that they rationalize as somehow acceptable if they pretend the holiday is about Jesus.

Those who truly believe Jesus’ words, “Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, NJB) will not celebrate a compromised pagan holiday such as Christmas because it contains practices and symbols (see also What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?) warned against in the Bible and was never enjoined upon true believers to practice.

And although many Catholics now have Christmas trees, notice something from the Vatican:

Rome, Dec. 22: Sant Claus, and Christmas trees, have been condemned in an editorial in the Vatican weekly newspaper, “L’Osservatore della Domenica.” The editorial describes Santa Claus as a “monstrous substitute” for the Christ Child, and says that the idea of Santa “is offensive to the faith” and “will not and must not be accepted or tolerated by Christians.” The use of Christmas trees — which have only recently become a part of the Italian Christmas — is condemned as “an attempt to substitute the Crib ….. with a certain feeling of naturalism and paganism.” (http://www.deccanchronicle.com/dc50/vatican-paper-disfavours-santa-claus-684)

No one should be using Christmas trees, Santa Claus, etc. And even some in the Vatican are telling people that.

The Catholics once considered that having a decorated fir tree in one’s house, which of course is not a symbol associated with the birth of Jesus in the Bible, during the Christmas season was a form of idolatry.

However, over time, as the use of trees gained more universal acceptance, those of the Catholic faith decided to no longer decry their use.

The Bible, Church of God sources, and Catholic sources have warned about the use of objects like Christmas trees. Since the use of them most certainly does not come from the Bible, no Christian should wish to have one.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity?
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? What about the use of the cross, by the early Church?
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?
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god?
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?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Feast of the Immaculate Conception?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

COGWriter

December 8th is observed by Roman, as opposed to Eastern Orthodox, Catholics as the ‘Feast of the Immaculate Conception.’ It is an official  holiday for certain countries in Europe and Latin America.

Here is some of what Pope Francis said about it today, from a translation posted by Zenit (a pro-Vatican news agency):

December 8, 2014

Dear brothers and sisters,

The message of today’s feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary can be summed up in these words: everything is a grace, everything is a free gift from God and his love for us. The Angel Gabriel calls Mary “full of grace” (Lk.1,28): in Her there is no room for sin, because God has always chosen Her as the mother of Jesus and has preserved Her from original sin.  http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/on-the-feast-of-the-immaculate-conception

Despite the pontiff’s claim, the Bible shows that other than Jesus (Hebrews 4:15, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23).

Here is some of what The Catholic Encyclopedia says about this Catholic feast:

The feast of the Immaculate Conception

The older feast of the Conception of Mary (Conception of St. Anne), which originated in the monasteries of Palestine at least as early as the seventh century, and the modern feast of the Immaculate Conception are not identical in their object.

Originally the Church celebrated only the Feast of the Conception of Mary, as she kept the Feast of St. John’s conception, not discussing the sinlessness. This feast in the course of centuries became the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, as dogmatical argumentation brought about precise and correct ideas, and as the thesis of the theological schools regarding the preservation of Mary from all stain of original sin gained strength. Even after the dogma had been universally accepted in the Latin Church, and had gained authoritative support through diocesan decrees and papal decisions, the old term remained, and before 1854 the term “Immaculata Conceptio” is nowhere found in the liturgical books, except in the invitatorium of the Votive Office of the Conception…

Today the Conception of St. Anne is in the Greek Church one of the minor feasts of the year. The lesson in Matins contains allusions to the apocryphal “Proto-evangelium” of St. James, which dates from the second half of the second century (see SAINT ANNE). To the Greek Orthodox of our days, however, the feast means very little; they continue to call it “Conception of St. Anne”, indicating unintentionally, perhaps, the active conception which was certainly not immaculate. In the Menaea of 9 December this feast holds only the second place, the first canon being sung in commemoration of the dedication of the Church of the Resurrection at Constantinople. The Russian hagiographer Muraview and several other Orthodox authors even loudly declaimed against the dogma after its promulgation, although their own preachers formerly taught the Immaculate Conception in their writings long before the definition of 1854…

In the Western Church the feast appeared (8 December), when in the Orient its development had come to a standstill. The timid beginnings of the new feast in some Anglo-Saxon monasteries in the eleventh century, partly smothered by the Norman conquest, were followed by its reception in some chapters and dioceses by the Anglo-Norman clergy…

The “Martyrology of Tallaght” compiled about 790 and the “Feilire” of St. Aengus (800) register the Conception of Mary on 3 May. (Holweck, F. (1910). Immaculate Conception. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved December 8, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm)

From the above we see that:

  • The ‘Feast of the Immaculate Conception’ NOT an original Christian observance.
  • The first version of it developed around the seventh century in the Greek/Orient (Eastern Orthodox) church.
  • Greek/Orient (Eastern Orthodox) church does not consider it to be of much importance.
  • A falsely named and false book (the so-called Proto-evangelium of James) was claimed centuries later to support this (having read the so-called Proto-evangelium of James, let me state that any ‘support’ even from it is weaker than weak).
  • The Russian Orthodox denounced the idea of the ‘immaculate conception of Mary.’
  • The Western Church of Rome did not start to observe a version of it until the 11th century.
  • Until 1854 the term Immaculate Conception was not officially used.
  • The date itself seems to have been changed.

Thus, the ‘Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary’ was not an original Christian observance.

Basically, Catholic dogma, defined in 1854 teaches that Mary was conceived without ‘original sin’ and that she allegedly lived a completely sinless life. Since Catholic scholars realize that this was not the original position of their early theologians (which they normally call “early Church fathers,” but are called “older Fathers” below), The Catholic Encyclopedia declares:

Proof from Tradition

In regard to the sinlessness of Mary the older Fathers are very cautious: some of them even seem to have been in error on this matter… these stray private opinions merely serve to show that theology is a progressive science. (Holweck, F. (1910). Immaculate Conception. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved December 8, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm)

So, the so-called “Proof from Tradition” disproves the belief in Mary’s claimed sinlessness. And instead of this being a biblical or early tradition, it developed over time.

Here is some of what I wrote about this subject in the past (note: DRB is an abbreviation for Douay-Rheims Bible, which is a Catholic-approved version):

In the 19th century, there was a female apparition in France, known as the Lady of Lourdes. One of the statements she reportedly stated in 1858 was, “I am the Immaculate Conception!”

Now this is an unusual and biblically contradictory idea as the Bible teaches that all have sinned (Roman 3:23) except Jesus (Hebrews 4:15), as He is the only one who had a biblically immaculate conception, but not the Marian kind.

For non-Catholics, let me explain that what became an extra-biblical Catholic doctrine was that Mary was conceived unlike all other humans and free of what many refer to as “original sin.” Specifically this “dogma” has been explained in Dr. Ludwig Ott’s 20th century book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma as:

“Mary’s freedom of original sin was an unmerited gift of God, and an exception from the law that was vouchsafed to her only.”

His book also teaches:

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in scripture… Neither the Greek nor the Latin Fathers explicitly (explicite) teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

So where did it come from?

Let’s have a look at some comparative religion. Before the birth of Christ, the Iranian goddess Aredvi Sura Anāhitā, known as the Persian Diana, was called “the virgin, ““the immaculate. “ Kore-Persephoneia was also the “immaculate Maiden“ and “Virgin of the World“ who gave birth to a son for Zeus, and she is believed to be same goddess Diana. Hence, it appears that at least some of the idea was part of paganism associated with “Diana“ goddess worship.

Jumping forward to the 12th century, a British monk Eadmer began to promote the idea of an Immaculate Conception of Mary. When he did so, “St. Bernard of Clairvaux… (about 1140), warned the faithful that this was an unfounded innovation…” So was the Catholic saint Bernard wrong in condemning Monk Eadmer’s heresy here? Of course not! Others, at least as late as the 17th century supported Bernard’s position on this.

Yet, after claiming to see an apparition in Rue du Bac, Paris in 1830, the Catholic saint Catherine Labouré claimed Mary “was conceived without sin.” The extra-biblical teaching of the so-called “Immaculate Conception” did not become a type of Catholic dogma until December 8, 1854. It, thus, was not part of early apostolic tradition…

In a letter to her confessor dated June 12, 1930, Lúcia {of Fatima fame} claimed that she was told the following on the night of May 29th-30th, 1930:

There are five kinds of offenses and blasphemies against the Immaculate Heart of Mary: (1) blasphemies against her Immaculate Conception; (2) against her perpetual virginity; (3) against her divine maternity, refusing to accept her at the same time as the Mother of humankind; (4) by those who try to publicly implant in the hearts of children an indifference, contempt, or even hate for this Immaculate Mother; and (5) for those who insult her sacred images.

Priest Andrew Apostoli, in his Fatima for Today book, wrote:

Those who commit such blasphemies against our Lady are in grave danger of losing their souls, for these sins seriously offend God himself.

I was shocked to read the above.

Now if all five of those statements are blasphemies, then many early Catholic and Eastern Orthodox saints are guilty of blasphemy by that definition. History records that recognized Catholic and/or Eastern Orthodox saints such as Melito, Irenaeus, Theophilus of Antioch, Origen, Basil, Cyprian of Carthage, John Chrysostom, Ambrose, Hilary, Gregory of Tours, Bernard of Clairvoux, Bonaventure, “Albert the Great,” and Thomas Aquinas all took one or more positions that the “messenger” apparently considered to be blasphemous.

Since Priest Apostoli says that salvation may be lost for taking positions against those messages, does not this mean that he is challenging the validity of the sainthood of all Catholic-approved saints who took such supposedly “blasphemous” positions?

He surely does not intend to, but that is what some of the “blasphemy messages” really mean…

Teaching Against the Immaculate Conception

It needs to be understood that the idea of an Immaculate Conception for Mary was not an early tradition of the church nor is it taught in scripture.

The Catholic Encyclopedia article of the Immaculate Conception clearly recognizes this:

No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture.

So, the doctrine is simply not provable from the Holy Bible.

One aspects of the belief in Mary’s “Immaculate Conception” is that “she was immune from all sin, personal, or inherited.” Yet, scripture states:

23 For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God. 24 Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:23-24, DRB)

15 For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin. 16 Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid. (Hebrews 4:15-16, DRB)

All, including Mary, sinned, and need redemption through Christ Jesus (and not Mary) according to the Bible.

Notice that the Catholic Encyclopedia article of the Immaculate Conception also teaches:

* Origen…thought that…for her sins also Christ died (Origen, “In Luc. Hom. Xvii”).
*…St. Basil writes in the fourth century: he sees in the sword, of which Simeon speaks, the doubt which pierced Mary’s soul (Epistle 259).
* St. Chrysostom accuses her of ambition, and of putting herself forward unduly when she sought to speak to Jesus at Capharnaum (Matthew 12:46; Chrysostom, Homily 44 on Matthew).

The book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma also admits that “individual Greek Fathers (Origen, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria) taught that Mary suffered from venial personal faults, such as ambition and vanity, doubt about the message of the Angel, and lack of faith under the Cross…”

Either those Catholic saints (or Orthodox saints in the case of Origen) were not committing blasphemy, they were not really saints, and/or the messages that Lúcia was told did not come from God.

Additionally, as late as the early 5th century, even the Catholic saint Augustine would not teach as dogma that Mary was without sin.

About 1140, the Catholic saint Bernard of Clairvaux warned the faithful not to believe the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary as it was an unfounded innovation.

The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma also teaches that “the leading theologians of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries (Petrus Lombardus, St. Alexander of Hales, St. Bonaventure, St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas…) rejected the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.”

Thus, to teach that it is blasphemy or a serious sin against God to not accept the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (as being different than how other humans were conceived) does not seem to be a biblical or early historical truth—even Catholic saints opposed the view.

Notice also what Jesus taught:

32 And the multitude sat about him; and they say to him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.
33 And answering them, he said: Who is my mother and my brethren?
34 And looking round about on them who sat about him, he saith: Behold my mother and my brethren.
35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, he is my brother, and my sister, and mother. (Mark 3:32-35, DRB)

Jesus is showing that all who do God’s will are His mother, brother, or sisters. If Mary was sinless or conceived differently, He would have not included His mother in those statements.

The Eastern Orthodox in their Patriarchal Encyclical of 1895 declared:

XIII. The one holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the seven Ecumenical Councils teaches that the supernatural incarnation of the only-begotten Son and Word of God, of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, is alone pure and immaculate; but the Papal Church scarcely forty years ago again made an innovation by laying down a novel dogma concerning the immaculate conception of the Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, which was unknown to the ancient Church (and strongly opposed at different times even by the more distinguished among the Papal theologians).

Thus, the Eastern Orthodox have long taught that the idea of an “Immaculate Conception” of Mary was “unknown by the ancient Church.”386 And they correctly teach that Jesus alone is pure and immaculate, and refer to the Immaculate Conception teaching as a novel “innovation.” An innovation adopted since the 1800s is not an original teaching—true traditionalists cannot accept such late traditions as essential.

Since Pope Benedict XVI considers that those of the Eastern Orthodox are churches in “the proper sense,”387 obviously the Pope does not believe that they are committing sin or blasphemy in denying the modern teaching of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Nor should anyone else based upon what the Bible teaches.

The pro-Vatican news source Zenit.com reported these two items:

Best Wishes for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

ROME, DEC. 7, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Padre Pio said that “The Madonna is the shortcut to get to God.”

There is no doubt that in order to see the face of Jesus, we must turn to His Mother, and it is to Her who we look to heal our diseases, to turn our tears into prayer. http://www.zenit.org/article-36131?l=english

Vatican City,

Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s address before and after the recitation of the Angelus today to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters, …

The Virgin Mary is the “path” that God Himself has prepared to come into the world. Let us entrust to Her the expectation of salvation and peace for all men and women of our time.  http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/on-the-lord-s-consolation

This also is in conflict with scripture. It is by Jesus’ stripes we are to be healed (Isaiah 53:5), not Mary. Jesus, not His mother Mary, is the one mediator.’Mary’ is NOT the whom to whom Christians entrust their salvation.  Salvation comes through Jesus Christ, not Mary, only Jesus according to the Bible (Acts 4:12).

Here is something I wrote related to the mediator matter on page 249 of my book Fatima Shock!:

Mark Miravalle, a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, wrote:

Let us pray daily for the solemn definition of Our Lady’s spiritual motherhood as co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces, and advocate, which truly reveal the saving actions of motherly intercession which come forth from her Immaculate Heart, and thus to bring the Church and the world a giant step closer to the Fatima-prophesied “Era of Peace.”

Yet, there is nothing in scripture about Mary bringing in an era of peace or being our intercessor—the only intercessor listed in the Bible is Christ (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)—the Bible says He is the “one mediator” (1 Timothy 2:5, DRB). The Bible shows that we are only to call upon the name of the Lord/God/Jesus (2 Timothy 2:22; Romans 10:12-13; Acts 26:20)—never Mary.

Although it is proper for Christians to state that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was blessed (Luke 1:48), it is blasphemous to insist that she was sinless (cf. Romans 3:23) and that one must turn to Mary in order to see Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

Fatima is a town in Portugal where an immodestly-dressed ‘Lady” allegedly appeared to three children once a month for six months in 1917 (watch also Did the Lady of Fatima Wear a Short Skirt?). Many decided that Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared there. But the ‘Lady’ never claimed to be Mary and absolutely could not have been. Yet, Pope Francis dedicated his pontificate to her. If Pope Francis actually adopts the agenda of the ‘Fatimists’ who believe that peace will only come to the earth if a pope and his bishops will consecrate Russia to the allegedly immaculate heart of Mary, this could well be a major fulfillment of biblical prophecies related to false declarations of peace as found in Ezekiel 13:2-20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

Jesus warned that all but the very elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24). The Apostle Paul added that and that signs and lying wonders will deceive those that do not have the love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). Marian apparitions may very well be part of that deception and the more that Pope Francis and others emphasize ‘Mary,’ the easier it will be for people to believe deceptive apparitions.

There is nothing in the Bible, or even in early church writings, that supports the view that December 8th is to be a festival for some type of ‘immaculate conception’ of Mary. Those who are willing to believe what the Bible teaches, as well as truly connect-the-dots related to early church history, will realize that. Sadly, however, multiple millions are not willing to do so.

For more information, please check out the following:

Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?
Women and the New Testament Church Were women important in the New Testament Church? Which women and how were they involved?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Genuine Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a verdadeira igreja do deus? Tambien Español: ¿Que es fiel: La Iglesia Católica Romana o la Iglesia verdadera de Dios? Auch: Deutsch: Welches ist treu: Die römisch-katholische Kirche oder die Kirche Gottes Original?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! provides concerned Christians with enough Catholic-documented facts to effectively counter every false Marian argument. In addition to the print version, there is a Kindle version of Fatima Shock! which you can acquire in seconds.

Sermonette on Satan

Sunday, December 7th, 2014


17th Century Depiction of Michael and Satan

COGwriter

Here is the latest recommended sermonette from the Continuing Church of God:


21:28

Dealing with Satan

Steve Dupuie goes over Satan’s techniques and information about some of his angels. Satan is cunning and seeks to destroy Christians. Satan continues to try to bring Christians down. What are ten methods the Bible shows to help Christians overcome Satan?

Some items of related interest may include the following:

Human Nature: Good or Evil? a Did God create humans evil or good? What is human nature? Where does it come from? Here is a link to a related sermon: Human Nature: Where Did it Come From?
Did God Create a Devil? If not, what happened? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet.
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future? Here is a link to a related video: Satan’s Plan A Brief Introduction.
Is this Satan’s Throne? Is the Cathedra Petri really Peter’s seat or might it be something else? There is also a YouTube sermon about Vatican City, Peter, and this same throne shot in Rome and Vatican City: The Vatican, Peter, and ‘Satan’s Throne.’
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

GCI promotes Christmas cards

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

TRANSFORMED FROM TRUTH

Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales

COGwriter

Last December, I received an email from GCI (Grace Communion International, essentially the group that originally ran the new Worldwide Church of God) today with a link to a letter and a video message from its J. Tkach. The letter starts out with:

The Christmas season is here again, and you know what that means: Christmas cards!

The video message from J. Tkach concluded with:

During this season of Advent as we move toward the celebration of Christ’s birth, I want to personally wish you:“the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…” (Philippians 4:7).

I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.

No, most people do not use the term “Advent” to refer to the December celebration of Saturnalia that most people now call “Christmas.” Partially because of sensitivities of some of its members, J. Tkach has tended not often use the term Christmas, though this seems to be changing. The old WCG did not observe Christmas nor encourage substitute words to celebrate it nor endorse Christmas cards.

But ignoring Christmas/Advent semantics, while Jesus was born, the real evidence is that He was not born in December. Nor did early followers of Christ either celebrate the day of His birth, nor, when the compromisers got more influence, did those that did originally celebrate it in December.

By the end of the second century, some of the compromisers did celebrate something in the late December time period, but it had nothing to do with Jesus’ birth.

Notice what Tertullian wrote (late 2nd early 3rd century) about winter celebrations, such as Saturnalia (from a pagan deity whose name meant plentiful):

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

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

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

What Tertullian seems to be saying is that observing mid-winter celebrations make Christians appear to be followers of pagan gods, and since the pagans would not intentionally celebrate days considered by many to be Christian, Christians should not celebrate days that are honored by the heathen. Specifically, he felt that those who profess Christ should not celebrate Saturnalia, New Year’s, or other pagan days, as even the observance is a form of idolatry (click here for an article titled Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate?). He also suggested that his type of “Christian” was more pagan than the average pagan. Interesting.

Since the modern Christmas celebration is at the same time as the old Gentile Saturnalia holiday (and with many of the same elements, like wreaths and gift-giving), it is clear that Tertullian is condemning these practices by stating that those that keep it are of the pagan god Saturn. He also wrote against winter giving:

…gifts like those you have in the Saturnalia! (Tertullian. De Fuga in Persecutione, Chapter 13. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 4. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

So basically, those who teach “Jesus is the reason for the season” are in error. The reason for the season appears to be that those who professed wanted to have a party. And did not care if the party was related to pagan gods.

It is interesting to note that Tertullian objected to keeping a celebration lasting until the Roman New Years, putting up wreaths, and giving gifts. Since most of these quotes come from his writing titles “On Idolatry” apparently he considered those practices as idolatrous.

It seems to me that no true Christians would do this, only those who were somewhat nominal, but who had been accepted, to some degree, by part of the Greco-Roman confederation. His complaints apparently did not stop this from happening, though his objections certainly have biblical support.

Oddly, although he endorsed Christmas (which included traces of pagan worship), Archbishop of Constantinople John Chrysostom (who condemned people for keeping God’s Holy Days in the fourth century) wrote the following in the late fourth century:

And what, pray you, is that Minerva of theirs, and Apollo, and Juno ? They are different kinds of demons among them. (Chrysostom J. The homilies of S. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople: on the Acts of the Apostles, Volume 1, Homily IV. John Henry Parker, 1851. Original from Harvard University. Digitized, Apr 12, 2008, p. 66)

Venerable Cesare Baronius, a Catholic of the 16th century, wrote:

If the candles which were formerly distributed at the Saturnalia are now identified with the feast of the Purification of our Lady? What, I ask, is there so surprising if holy bishops have allowed certain customs firmly rooted among pagan peoples, and so tenaciously adhered to by them that even after their conversion to Christianity they could not be induced to surrender them, to be transferred to the worship of the true God?” (Baronius, “Annales”, ad ann. 58, n. 77). (as cited in Thurston, Herbert. “Lights.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 21 Dec. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09244b.htm>)

Thus, Baronius seems to be saying that Saturnalia lights are a pagan practice, yet using them is acceptable.

But even the Rheims‘ version of the New Testament (a Catholic approved translation) states the following:

15. And what agreement with Christ and Belial? or what part hath the faithful with the infidel?
16. And what agreement hath the temple of God with Idols? For you are the temple of the living God. as God saith, Then I will dwell, and walk in them, and will be their God: and they shall be my people.
17. For the which cause, Go out of the midst of them, and separate yourselves. saith our Lord, and touch not the unclean: and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:15-17, The Original And True Rheims New Testament Of Anno Domini 1582. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William von Peters, Ph.D. Copyright © 1998, Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2004, copyright assigned to VSC Corp.).

So unclean practices associated with idols are prohibited by God. Does not that include celebrating as the idolaters celebrate?

The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches that:

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

The above is true.

Why did Christmas end up on December 25th?

Probably because that was the day of celebration of the birthday of the sun-god Mithra. December 25th also took place during the Saturnalia, hence it was acceptable to at least two groups of pagans. Followers of Mithra represented an influential group in the Roman Empire. Other practices associated with Mithraism have become part of the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches (such as their communion services) (for more details, please check out the documented article Do You Practice Mithraism?).

Notice the following:

Mithraism A pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-god Mithra. It entered Europe from Asia Minor after Alexander’s conquest, spread rapidly over the whole Roman Empire at the beginning of our era, reached its zenith during the third century, and vanished under the repressive regulations of Theodosius at the end of the fourth century…Helios Mithras is one god…Sunday was kept holy in honour of Mithra, and the sixteenth of each month was sacred to him as mediator. The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigours of the season (Arendzen. J.P. Transcribed by John Looby. Mithraism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Until the Council of Nicea, the December 25th Christmas holiday was not even accepted by the Roman Catholics.

The World Book Encyclopedia notes,

In 354 A.D., Bishop Liberius of Rome ordered the people to celebrate on December 25. He probably chose this date because the people of Rome already observed it as the Feast of Saturn, celebrating the birthday of the sun (Sechrist E.H. Christmas. World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 3. Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, Chicago, 1966, pp. 408-417).

It needs to be understood that some scholarly sources believe that the celebration in Rome of Christmas may have began 2-3 decades earlier (by Constantine), but none I am aware of suggest it was prior Constantine in the fourth century.

There have been scholars who believe that Constantine was involved as tradition claims a certain church in Rome as the first site of a December 25th “Christmas” celebration as the following 2007 news account indicates:

The church where the tradition of celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 may have begun was built near a pagan shrine as part of an effort to spread Christianity, a leading Italian scholar says.

Italian archaeologists last month revealed an underground grotto that they believe ancient Romans revered as the place where a wolf nursed Rome’s legendary founder, Romulus, and his twin brother, Remus. A few feet from the grotto, or “Lupercale,” the Emperor Constantine built the Basilica of St. Anastasia, where some believe Christmas was first celebrated on Dec. 25…

It opted to mark Christmas, then celebrated at varying dates, on Dec. 25 to coincide with the Roman festival celebrating the birth of the sun god, Andrea Carandini, a professor of archaeology at Rome’s La Sapienza University, told reporters Friday. The Basilica of St. Anastasia was built as soon as a year after the Nicaean Council. It probably was where Christmas was first marked on Dec. 25, part of broader efforts to link pagan practices to Christian celebrations in the early days of the new religion, Mr. Carandini said. “The church was built to Christianize these pagan places of worship,” he said. “It was normal to put a church near these places to try to ‘save’ them.” Rome’s archaeological superintendent, Angelo Bottini, who did not take part in Mr. Carandini’s research, said that hypothesis was “evocative and coherent” and “helps us understand the mechanisms of the passage from paganism to Christianity.” (Scholars link 1st yule church to pagan shrine. Washington Times – Dec 23, 2007 ROME (AP). http://washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071223/FOREIGN/924350661/1001 viewed 12/24/07).

And the December 25th date was adopted apparently because the Greco-Roman church was filled with people who did not care that this was the Saturnalis/Mithra birthday (see also Do You Practice Mithraism?), so calling it by the name of Christ somehow was believed to make the sun rebirth activities more acceptable.

And the December 25th Christmas did not become part of the observations in Constantinople until the famous hater of Jews, John Chrysostum, introduced it there:

We may take it as certain that the feast of Christ’s Nativity was kept in Rome on 25 December…It was introduced by St. John Chrysostom into Constantinople and definitively adopted in 395 (Thurston. H. Transcribed by Rick McCarty. Christian Calendar. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York ).

Furthermore, here is even more that The Catholic Encyclopedia admits this about Christmas:

Christmas…Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts; Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday; Arnobius (VII, 32 in P.L., V, 1264) can still ridicule the “birthdays” of the gods.

Alexandria. The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. About A.D. 200, Clement of Alexandria (Strom., I, xxi in P.G., VIII, 888) says that certain Egyptian theologians “over curiously” assign, not the year alone, but the day of Christ’s birth, placing it on 25 Pachon (20 May) in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus…

Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Asia Minor. In Cyprus, at the end of the fourth century, Epiphanius asserts against the Alogi (Hær., li, 16, 24 in P. G., XLI, 919, 931) that Christ was born on 6 January…

Rome. At Rome the earliest evidence is in the Philocalian Calendar (P. L., XIII, 675; it can be seen as a whole in J. Strzygowski, Kalenderbilder des Chron. von Jahre 354, Berlin, 1888), compiled in 354, which contains three important entries. In the civil calendar 25 December is marked “Natalis Invicti”…

By the time of Jerome and Augustine, the December feast is established, though the latter (Epp., II, liv, 12, in P.L., XXXIII, 200) omits it from a list of first-class festivals. From the fourth century every Western calendar assigns it to 25 December…

The Gospels. Concerning the date of Christ’s birth the Gospels give no help; upon their data contradictory arguments are based. The census would have been impossible in winter: a whole population could not then be put in motion…

Natalis Invicti. The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont’s epoch-making “Textes et Monuments” etc., I, ii, 4, 6, p. 355…The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in Cypr., “De pasch. Comp.”, xix, “O quam præclare providentia ut illo die quo natus est Sol . . . nasceretur Christus.” – “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born . . . Christ should be born.”…

Cards and presents. Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas…

The yule log. The calend fires were a scandal even to Rome, and St. Boniface obtained from Pope Zachary their abolition (Martindale C. Christmas, 1908).

Hence it is clear that even early Roman writers such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen did not endorse Christmas, nor did Augustine even list it as an important holiday. And that even later Catholic sources recognize that it is not likely that a census (as shown in Luke 2:1) would be done during the winter–making a December 25th date of birth unlikely (it was also too cold for shepherds to spend the night with their flocks out in an open field, as shown in Luke 2:8, making a December 25th birth basically impossible).

It appears that towards the beginning of the third century, there were some in Alexandria (not Asia Minor, or even Rome) who began to feel that Jesus’ birth should be celebrated, and that it would be on May 25th. But later, in the fourth century, Christmas began to be celebrated with January 6th or December 25 being the dates observed (and that is believed to be because the sun-worshiping Emperor Constantine, or one of his successors, wanted to have a Sun holiday at the time of Saturnalia and Brumalia to placate the Gentiles.

The simple fact is that early Christians did not have a holiday to observe the “incarnation.” If God wanted it celebrated, perhaps the date, as well as some admonition to observe it, would be in the New Testament. Compromisers who claimed to be Christian could not pass up a December party called Saturnalia. Those who had ties to the sun god Mithras wanted to keep observing his day. And so, in the fourth century, something like Christmas was officially observed in Rome and Constantinople.

But, history suggests that there were actual Christians who would not follow Rome or Constantinople. And there still are today. What about you?

Some items of related interest may include:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
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?
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

The truth about the real ‘Saint Nicholas’

Saturday, December 6th, 2014


Russian Iconic Portrayal of Nicholas of Myra

COGwriter

Who was the real Catholic and Orthodox saint called Nicholas?

Here are some answers from a Catholic monsignor priest:

The Real St. Nicholas – Not Fat and Not Very Jolly Either.

Today (Dec 6) is the Feast of St. Nicholas. The real St. Nicholas was nothing close to the St. Nick (Santa Claus) of the modern age. He was a thin curmudgeonly man with a zeal for the Lord that caused flairs of anger. Compromise was unknown to him. The slow transformation of him into “Jolly ole’ Saint Nicholas is a remarkable recasting of him centuries in the making…

Enjoy this excerpt on the real St. Nicholas of Myra (aka Santa):

He approaches Arius, fist raised menacingly. There are gasps. Would he dare? He would. Fist strikes face. Arius goes down. He will have a shiner. Nick, meanwhile, is set upon by holy men. His robes are torn off. He is thrown into a dungeon…

Saint Nicholas. Paintings show a thin man. He was spare of frame, flinty of eye, pugnacious of spirit. In the Middle Ages, he was known as a brawling saint. He had no particular sense of humor that we know of. He could be vengeful, wrathful, an embittered ex- con….No doubt, Saint Nick was a good man. A noble man. But a hard man.

Nicholas was born in Patara, a small town on the Mediterranean coast, 280 years after the birth of Christ. He became bishop of a small town in Asia Minor called Myra. Beyond that, details of his life are more legend than fact….He became a priest at 19, and bishop in his twenties…Nicholas of Myra might not seem like the kind of person who relates to kids, and few acts attributed to him involve children.

St. Nicholas of Myra morphed into Santa Claus. (Pope C, Msgr. The Real St. Nicholas – Not Fat and Not Very Jolly Either. http://blog.adw.org/2012/12/the-real-st-nicholas-not-fat-and-not-very-jolly-either/ viewed 12/6/12)

So, Nicholas was a violent and hard man according to a senior Catholic priest.

Here are two more articles about him, with a Germanic focus:

Though they have similar outfits, Nikolaus is not to be confused with Santa Claus, who Germans call the Weihnachtsmann, or Father Christmas…

Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra (now the Anatolia region of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles and giving gifts secretly, and is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Known as Nicholas the Wonderworker for his miracles, he is also identified with Santa Claus. Beliefs and traditions about Nikolaus were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children…

Children were often quite frightened of being questioned about their behaviour because they’ve been told that St. Nicholas will hurt them with his rod or even put them in a sack and take them away. http://www.thelocal.de/society/20111206-15915.html

Each year on December 6, Germans remember the death of Nicholas of Myra (now the Anatolia region of modern Turkey), who died on that day in 346. He was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles… is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. Known as Nicholas the Wonderworker for his miracles, he is also identified with Santa Claus. Beliefs and traditions about Nikolaus were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children. http://www.thelocal.de/society/20121206-15915.html

Notice the following from the St. Nicholas Center:

In 325 Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea, which was the first ecumenical council ever held. More than 300 bishops from all over the Christian world came to debate the nature of the Holy Trinity, one of the early church’s most intense theological questions. Arias, from Egypt, taught that the Son Jesus was not equal to God the Father. This was the Arian controversy which shook Christianity’s very foundations. According to one account, when confronted by the unyielding Arias, Nicholas slapped him in the face. For such a breach of decorum, Nicholas was brought before Constantine, who stripped him of his office and had him thrown into prison. During the night, Jesus with his Mother Mary appeared to Nicholas: Jesus bringing the book of the Gospels, and Mary, the bishop’s stole which had been taken from him. In this way Nicholas was reinstated. (Bishop of Myra. St. Nicholas Center. http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/bishop-of-myra/ viewed 12/05/14)

While Jesus is God, since Jesus said, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28), this should help prove that Nicholas was wrong to punch somebody who claimed to believe something like that–plus Christians are not to be violent (Luke 3:14; see also Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? ). Hence this helps demonstrate that Jesus’ mother Mary truly DID NOT appear to him, to get him acquitted of this. Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not appear to Nicholas (see also Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).

Here is some of what the Eastern Orthodox have strangely claimed about him:

As a faithful bishop/shepherd, St. Nicholas was revered as a saint even before his death because of his great holiness and tender care of his flock. After the Blessed Mother and St. John the Forerunner (Baptist), Nicholas was the most revered saint in the early church. He is most honored in the East, especially in Russia. Throughout the world many churches are named for him—more than for any other saint. His ministry continues to this day as a powerful intercessor for the protection and advancement of the Church. (Orthodox America and St. Therese Byzantine Catholic Church, St. Petersburg, Florida. http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/wonderworker/)

Of course, according to the Holy Bible, the only intercessor listed in the Bible is Christ (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)–and Jesus is specifically called the “one mediator” (1 Timothy 2:5, Douay-Rheims). Nicholas is not one who should be revered and he is NOT our intercessor.

Christmas itself is not a biblical holiday, but a compromise with pagan festive and religious practices. It was not observed by early Christians, and even the Church of Rome did not observe it on December 25th until some time in the fourth century. And the English word for “Christmas” did not even enter the literature before 1038 A.D. It was not an original day observed by early Christians.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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?
Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?

Sermon:CCOG Q&A: New Moons, Marriage, Dreams, Veils, & 6000 Year Plan

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce a sermon posted at its ContinuingCOG channel:

This is a sermon that covered questions and answers in the old Worldwide Church of God correspondence letter series. Specifically, this sermon covers old WCG letters L045 to L057. Subjects covered include the identity of the multitude in Revelation 19:1, significance of biblical numbers, New Moons, burning of the earth, what happens after the millennium, modern identity of the tribes of Israel, dreams, marriage & divorce, veils, hair, baldness, and 6000 year plan.

Here is a link to the sermon: CCOG Q&A: New Moons, Marriage, Dreams, Veils, & 6000 Year Plan.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

New Moons Some observe them, some do not; here are scriptures and comments.
God Created Marriage Some falsely claim that God did not create marriage and that fornication is fine.  What does the Bible really teach? Here is a version in Mandarin Chinese 神创造婚姻.
Making Your Marriage Work Marriage is not also easy, but it pictures a divine relationship. How can you make your marriage work?
Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God?
Veils and Other Head Coverings Do women need to wear veils or similar coverings while praying or attending church services? What does the Bible teach about hair length? What about going around bald? Here are some scriptures on that subject.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2021 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up?
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 is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
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.
Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos This is the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in Tagalog, the primary language of the Philippines.
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.

NYC protests Garner death; Cleveland police found to use excessive force

Friday, December 5th, 2014


Al Sharpton and Mrs. Eric Garner at protest
(photo by Thomas Altfather Good)

COGwriter

There were protests in New York City and elsewhere related to the death of Eric Garner and others related to police actions:

December 5, 2014

New York City Police arrested 223 people in overnight protests, the second consecutive night of demonstrations in opposition to a grand jury’s decision not to indict officers in the choke hold death of Staten Island man Eric Garner.

Many of the arrests involved charges for disorderly conduct or refusal to clear the streets, authorities told ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/US/protesters-police-clash-york-city-eric-garner-decision/story?id=27383303

December 5, 2014

Demonstrators disrupted New York City streets again Thursday night over the decision not to charge Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. While the protests were large and more than 200 arrests were made by NYPD officers, they were mostly peaceful — nothing like the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, last week surrounding the death of Michael Brown…

In this case, it was preparation and experience that made a difference, CBS News’ Michelle Miller reports.

“Demonstrators were not intent on using violence, and the police were certainly intent on giving them room to demonstrate, if you will,” New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. “I think one of the things we benefit from is that we have so many different demonstrations. I have 150 events on average every week in the city.”

Last week, Ferguson exploded despite assurances that law enforcement had a plan months in the making. Businesses and police cars were torched, looters ransacked stores, police fired tear gas and dozens were arrested for arson and robbery. … Ijames said deployment in New York also made a difference. Five thousand cops were standing by on Wednesday… http://www.cbsnews.com/news/eric-garner-case-why-werent-protests-as-violent-as-in-ferguson/

December 5, 2014NEW YORK—Protests in New York and other U.S. cities continued Thursday, following a New York grand jury’s decision not to charge a white police officer in the death of an unarmed African American man.

Demonstrators in New York and other American cities, from Chicago to Minneapolis, protested Thursday over a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. The case has become another flashpoint for the issue of police use of excessive force against people of color in many American cities, as President Obama acknowledged Thursday.

“Too many Americans feel deep unfairness when it comes to the gap between our professed ideals and how laws are applied on a day-to-day basis,” said Obama.

Graduate student Monica Melton demonstrated in New York early in the evening, before the peaceful protests closed several major arteries.

“It’s becoming a really disturbing and unfortunate trend with Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless others. And I wanted to show my support, and say that this is not something that is going to be tolerated,” said Melton.

Retraining ordered

New York Mayor Bill Di Blasio said the city’s police force will undergo three days of retraining to reduce unnecessary use of force and give confidence to all New Yorkers that they will be treated equally.

“They need to know that in doing this crucial work, our police will always, with every fiber of their beings, avoid any needless injury, and God forbid, avoid any death that could have been stopped. People need to know that, they need to feel that,” said de Blasio.

Cleveland case

In Cleveland, Ohio, where police shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in November while he was holding a fake gun, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department’s nearly two-year-long review of Cleveland police found a pattern of excessive force and that the department will come under federal supervision.

“The city has acknowledged that the department’s findings raise issues of importance to people really throughout this community, and together, we have agreed to a statement of principles that will lead to a court-enforceable consent decree,” said Holder.

Among those protesting in Washington was student Nicole Dashiell who grew up in Cleveland.

“It’s finally gotten my home town, the effects of racialized police violence, and I just wanted to let the world know that a lot of Americans are upset about this, and we want it to change,” said Dashiell.

Civil rights leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton, have announced a national demonstration to be held December 13 in Washington. http://www.voanews.com/content/new-protests-against-police-brutality-in-many-us-cities/2546908.html

Many are upset that a Grand Jury concluded that no charges needed to be brought against the white police officer who shot the black Michael Brown, and the other Grand Jury who concluded that no charges needed to be brought against the white police officer who put some type of choking arrest move on the black Eric Garner. Many believe that both incidents were racially motivated, which if either was (and I have strong doubts that either were) that would, of course, be wrong.

While I am glad that the more recent protests have been more peaceful than some last month, I do expect more serious and severe civil unrest in the future.

I believe that there are people who want to make issues of police behavior racial issues when they were not racial issues. Some people bring up race to incite protests and even violence–they play the ‘race card’ for what they perceive to be their personal and/or political benefit.  And of course, there are profiling and other racial things that the police do, despite their official denials.

As far as race goes, notice the following from the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God:

LOVE AND SALVATION FOR ALL RACES AND PEOPLES

Racial hatred is wrong.  While there can be racial differences, the Bible does not teach that one race is superior in His eyes to any other. The Bible commands all humankind to love their neighbors as themselves (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Acts 17:24-29). Jesus came to bring joy to all peoples (Luke 2:10). The Bible shows that salvation is now freely offered to both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 10:12-13; cf. Joel 2:32) and that God intends to save people “of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9). Christian love should be shown to people of all ethnicities (Romans 13:10; Luke 10:30-37). “Our God is the God of salvation” (Psalm 68:20) “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6).

God has a plan so that all can be saved, irrespective of race. God is NOT a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, KJV).

How are we saved?

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

God’s Word shows that God loves everyone (John 3:16-17). God also commands all mankind to love their neighbors as themselves (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Acts 17:24-29). Jesus came to bring joy to all peoples (Luke 2:10)–this is not limited to one race or group.  God’s Word shows that salvation is now freely offered to both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 10:34-35; Romans 10:12-13; cf. Joel 2:32) and that God intends to save people “of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9).

Not only can all be saved, prior to the age to come, God will save people of all races.  And that is the position of the Continuing Church of God.

Another issue to address in this post is violence.  Notice the following about the police department in Cleveland, Ohio, USA:

A sign you’d expect to see in a war zone, hanging at a police station. Two unarmed civilians shot more than 20 times after a high-speed chase. A man in the middle of a medical emergency, jolted with a Taser while strapped to a gurney.

These are alarming examples, federal investigators say, that show police in Cleveland have been using unnecessary and unreasonable force at a “significant rate,” employing “dangerous tactics” that put the community at risk.

A report released Thursday details a nearly two-year Justice Department investigation which found that Cleveland police use guns, Tasers, pepper spray and their fists excessively, unnecessarily or in retaliation. Officers also have used excessive force on those “who are mentally ill or in crisis,” the Justice Department said. …

Sign of the times: Above a vehicle bay at one of the Cleveland Division of Police’s district stations hangs a sign that reads, “forward operating base,” a term usually used to describe an area of tactical operations in a war zone. The sign sends a message indicative of the community’s opinion of the division, Justice Department officials said.

“This characterization reinforces the view held by some — both inside and outside the Division — that CDP is an occupying force instead of a true partner and resource in the community it serves,” the investigative report said. It’s one illustration, the Justice Department’s report says, that “officer training instills in officers an ‘us-against-them’ mentality.”

Issues resonate beyond Cleveland

The results of the federal review come as the Cleveland Division of Police is under fire for the November fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. The incident sparked even more outrage amid high tensions over Michael Brown’s shooting death in Missouri and similar situations that have put police use of force under a microscope.

Cleveland police Chief Calvin Williams has defended Rice’s shooting, saying he reached for an air pistol that was “indistinguishable from a real firearm.”

While Thursday’s announcement was set in Cleveland, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that the problems it highlights aren’t contained by city limits.  http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/04/us/cleveland-justice-department-police-excessive-force/

There has been a ‘militarization,’ if you will, of many police departments all across the U.S.A.  The fact that New York City had 5,000 police in reserve to deal with Eric Garner related protests suggests that the police believe that they need to function like an army, or as the United Nations would classify them “peacekeeping’ troops.

Violence is not the answer to violence. Notice what Jesus and John the Baptist said:

52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. (Matthew 26:52, KJV)

2…the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins… 14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. (Luke 3:2-3, KJV)

Christians are not to be violent.

Vengeance belongs to God:

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:17-19, NKJV)

What is needed is peace:

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)

It is my view, that some of the protesters and some in the government turn too quickly to violence and that some play the ‘race card’ for their own purposes. None of that bodes well for various ones in the USA.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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?
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.
Christian Soldiers How are Christians to be like soldiers? How are they to be different?
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.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
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?
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Edition for Second Obama Term This is a 160 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Barack Obama and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled (which the book documents in detail) and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also has a chapter about a Republican choice. This book is available to order at www.barackobamaprophecy.com. The physical book can also be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Barack Obama Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Kenyan, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Republican Leaders? Second Edition for Second Obama Term.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition.