Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

FDA moving on opioids, which are also now associated with with increased cases of hepatitis C

Monday, July 24th, 2017

 
Raw opium

COGwriter

The US FDA is hoping to reduce opioid addiction:

July 24, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration, as part of a sweeping overhaul in how it regulates opioid painkillers, plans to look to some unusual allies to limit the flood of the addictive pills — health insurers and companies that manage prescription drug benefits.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb plans to meet in September with the benefit payers and insurance administrators, groups the FDA hasn’t typically worked with in its role as a drug regulator. The plan, Gottlieb said, is to stem the tide of addiction to the pills by limiting the number of people exposed to them in the first place.

“Most people who become addicted to opioids are medically addicted,” Gottlieb said in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg in New York. “The way to reduce the rate of new addiction is to reduce the rate of exposure, and the way to reduce the rate of exposure is to make sure people are receiving prescriptions when it’s only medically appropriate.”

Gottlieb, who was picked by President Donald Trump earlier this year to lead the agency, said he views it as part of his mandate to tackle the opioid crisis, as well as other issues such as drug costs. The sessions with insurers and pharmacy managers will be his first official meetings with health-care companies, he said. The agency doesn’t have regulatory authority over insurance companies, which are largely overseen by state regulators or other departments within the Health and Human Services Department.

Millions of Pills

More than 240 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Deaths from opioid pain pill overdoses in 2015 totaled almost 23,000 in the U.S., double the number a decade ago, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-24/trump-s-fda-chief-takes-wide-aim-at-opioid-addiction-crisis

In addition to addiction, notice something else about the opioid problem:

Hepatitis C: The public-health worry lurking behind the opioid epidemic

July 24, 2017

The national hepatitis C transmission rate among IV-drug users increased by 350 percent from 2011 to 2014, the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show.

The state Department of Health Services reports that opioid overdoses killed more than two Arizonans a day last year, with heroin causing almost half of those. Gov. Doug Ducey declared a public-health emergency June 5.

The opioid crisis and the increase of hepatitis C bring to mind the following prophecy:

15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: …

20 The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. 21 The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. (Deuteronomy 28:15,20-21, NIV)

The USA certainly does not obey God’s commands, but it should (see also The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Back in 1976, the old Worldwide Church of God published the following:

 Psychoactive Drugs
Technically speaking, a drug is any substance (other than food) that by its chemical nature affects the structure or function of a living organism.
Doctors usually refer to a drug in terms of its ability to treat physical and mental diseases. They stress the therapeutic value. But many laymen now focus on the negative connotations of the word. For them, “drug” has become a four-letter word of the worst kind, an epithet, an obscenity. When used in conversation it provokes strong emotional reactions. It’s a good word to start an argument with, or even a fight.

Medicine and Menace

   You encounter a lot of this when discussing drugs. They can relieve pain, prevent infection and save lives. That’s good! But they can also destroy bodily tissue, impair healthy bodily metabolism, enslave by addiction and ultimately kill. That’s bad!
The drug problem would be greatly simplified if drugs were not ambivalent, if they were very selective in their effects. If only drug X eased pain, but was not addicting, if only drug Y helped people relax but didn’t adversely affect the brain or the liver.
But drugs don’t work that way. Rather, their effects are varied and often ambivalent — they have the potential to simultaneously hurt or harm, depending on a number of variables. Because any drug can play both the role of medicine or health menace, any description of its effects is bound to sound like a “that’s-good, that’s-bad” routine.
Morphine presents a good example of a “that’s-good, that’s — bad” story. It came into widespread use as a pain-killer during the American Civil War (1861-65). So effective was it as an analgesic for wounds and amputations that physicians sometimes referred to it as “G.O.M.” — “God’s own medicine.”
That’s good!
But in time morphine was found to be addicting — prolonged use followed by abstinence led to agonizing withdrawal symptoms. “God’s own medicine” turned out to be “the Devil’s own misery.” Hundreds, if not thousands (accurate statistics are hard to come by), of war veterans inadvertently became drug addicts.
That’s bad!
But that’s the nature of opiates. And it illustrates a fundamental principle of pharmacology: any drug can be dangerous depending on the dosage, the duration of use, its purity and many other factors. No drug is completely “safe.”
Recognizing this, the Federal government under the Controlled Substances Act regulates drugs according to their potential for abuse. The drugs are listed in five schedules in descending order of proven abuse potential and current medical usage.
Schedule I lists drugs deemed to have great abuse potential and no legitimate medical use. The score or so drugs on this list include heroin, LSD, mescaline, psilocybin and marijuana.
Schedule II lists drugs with great abuse potential that have legitimate medical uses. Drugs in this list can come under production quotas, and telephone and refillable prescriptions are prohibited. The psychoactive drugs listed here include the opiates such as morphine and synthetic opiates such as methadone and Demeral, certain barbiturates of the short-acting type, methaqualone and amphetamines. Altogether over 1300 drug preparations are listed!
Schedules III, IV and V list drugs with correspondingly less proven abuse potential. The widely used tranquilizers Librium and Valium are in Schedule IV — a classification the manufacturers have protested. Altogether over 3600 drug preparations are covered by these three schedules.
The list is not static. On the basis of new evidence and accumulated experience, drugs are often being added to the list. And drugs already listed are sometimes moved to higher schedules, indicating greater proven abuse potential.
The dual nature of drugs guarantees that the debate over their benefits versus hazards will continue for some time. (Graunke DP. The Dilemma of Drugs. Worldwide Church of God, 1976)

The reality is that many have physical and spiritual pain and they reach out to drugs for relief. This tends to be addictive.

While the USA is facing an opioid epidemic, that it is hoping to fight, it is in the process of increasing its marijuana epidemic, which many US states are encouraging.

Mind altering drugs are not the answer. Truly repenting and turning to the true Jesus and the coming Kingdom of God are.

But governments do not wish to acknowledge that.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
How to Overcome Depression and Discouragement This is an article by Paul Krautmann & John Siston.
Should Christians Smoke Tobacco or Marijuana? Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available:
Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? If you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?

Real Conversion Many think that they are converted Christians. But are they? Would you like to know more about conversion?
False Conversion! Have you really been converted? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote an article on this important subject–but more scriptures have been added to it. How can you tell false conversion? A related video is also available: False Conversion.

Are You Being Called by God? Norman Shoaf wrote various points to consider.
Is God Calling You? Alfred E Carrozzo wrote this.
What Did Christ Mean  Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen? This article was by Raymond McNair.
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?
Canada in Prophecy: What Does Bible Prophecy, Catholic Prophecy, and other Predictions Suggest About the Future of Canada? There are prophecies that suggest involvement with Canada. And many are not positive about its future.
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no Final End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Quién es el Rey del Occidente? ¿Por qué no hay un Rey del Occidente en la profecía del tiempo del fin?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2017, 2018, or 2019? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017?

The healing power of prayer

Monday, July 24th, 2017

PRAYER Book Cover - Front Final

COGwriter

A while back, a reader sent me the following item:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Though surveys show that four in five Americans believe in the healing power of prayer and a majority of medical doctors say miraculous healing sometimes occurs, few researchers have subjected such claims to scientific investigation. Enter Candy Gunther Brown, who used data derived from eight years of studying the prayer healing practices of Pentecostal Christians to write “Testing Prayer: Science and Healing,” recently published by Harvard University Press.

Brown worked in Mozambique with medical researchers, who used portable machines and vision charts to examine — before and after — the hearing and vision of subjects who claimed to have been healed through prayer.

“We found statistically significant improvement in both hearing and vision, much greater than would be expected from random recovery or placebo effects,” she said…

“Generally, you would not expect to see the level of improvement we found,” she said. “The data did not tell us what mechanism caused the change — only that there were changes.”

Brown also conducted long-term follow-up interviews — for several years — of people who claimed healing through prayer.

“Some of them had written narratives of their healing and medical records over several years,” she said. “Some continued to believe they’d been healed, and others said their physical ailment had returned.”

Brown said many of those who were convinced they’d been healed interpreted the healing as an act of God’s love for them. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/IU-researcher-examines-role-of-prayer-in-healing-4268472.php#ixzz2L5d5e300

There have been a variety of studies which have basically correlated prayer with better recovery. And the above is one of the newer ones.

The Bible teaches:

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:14-16)

Prayer avails, and much, if it is from one who is fervent, effectual, and righteous.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? People talk a lot about prayer. Many pray in public. Does God listen? What does the Bible teach about prayer? How can your prayers be more effective? Does the Bible give particular positions to pray in? What does God want you to pray for? What if what you want is difficult? What if what you want is humanly impossible? Why doesn’t God seem to answer all prayers? This free booklet answers all those questions and more. This contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
What Should I Pray About? An old article by Lynn Torrance on prayer.
Does God Heal Today? This historical article is by Herbert Armstrong and provides his views circa 1952, which he seemed to later modify, at least to some degree.
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject.
Faith for those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido.Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?

Sermon: Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes

Saturday, July 22nd, 2017


17th century artist Pasquale Ottino’s portrayal of Peter dictating the gospel being penned by Mark

COGwriter

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

This is the fourth part of a multi-part sermon series covering the entire Gospel According to Mark. In it, Dr. Thiel begins with Mark 10:1 and covers all the verses in that chapter until the end of chapter 12. He goes over Jesus being asked about divorce, and Jesus’ comments about marriage and adultery–he also goes over part of the Church of God wedding ceremony. Dr. Thiel also discusses the blessing of children, infant baptism, immorality, eternal life, the eye of a needle, rich people and the Kingdom, Jesus riding a colt, producing fruit, faith, prayer, forgiveness, God’s authority, taxes, love, the greatest commandments, purgatory, and the widow’s two mites.

Here is a link to the video sermon: Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Making Your Marriage Work Marriage is not always easy, but it pictures a divine relationship. How can you make your marriage work? Here is a link to the video sermon: You Can Make YOUR Marriage Work.
Ceremonies: Marriage, Funeral, Baptismal, and Laying on Hands Called ‘sacraments’ by some groups, what are the ceremonies in the Bible that Christians may be involved in? A related sermon is available online and is titled: Church of God Ceremonies.
Blessing of Children or Infant Baptism? Which does the Bible endorse? A video of related interest is available: The Blessing of Little Children Ceremony.

Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Taxes What caused the descendants of Israel to pay taxes? Should Christians pay taxes? If you prefer, or additionally, you could watch the video Should Christians Pay Taxes?
Tithing Questions and Some Answers Answers questions about tithing and also addresses some non-biblical arguments against tithing. Should people tithe? Here is a link to a related video sermon Tithing Answers from the Bible.
Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese N{ÇQsNŽOáNðv„\e‡zà.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available:
What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the ‘Gospel of Mark’: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark?
MATTHEW Here are links to twelve sermons covering the 28 chapters of Matthew: Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?, Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the Beatitudes, Matthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and Faith, Matthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical Agenda, Matthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights, -14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and Faith, Matthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & Peter, Matthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and Forgiveness, Matthew 19-20: Transgender? Divorce? Purgatory? The first shall be last?, Matthew 21-23: ‘Palm Sunday,’ Come as You Are?, and the Greatest Commandments, Matthew 24: Temple Destruction, Sorrows, Tribulation, and the Return of Jesus, and Matthew 25-28: Midnight Cry, False Christians, Resurrection, & Teaching what Jesus Taught.
LUKE Here are links to eight sermons covering the entire ‘Gospel of Luke’: Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the Census, Luke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the Ministry, Luke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and Signs, Luke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow Way, Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards, and Luke 21-22: Giving, Sorrows, Persecution, Tribulation, Fig Tree, and Violence. The last sermon also covers Jesus’ words in the Book of Acts.
JOHN Here are links to a seven-part sermon series covering the entire ‘Gospel of John’: John 1-3: Anti-unitarian, Wine, Being Born Again, & Heaven, John 4-6: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Miracles and the Bread of Life, John 10-12: Sheep, Hirelings, Lazarus/Soul Sleep and ‘Palm Day’, John 13-15: Footwashing and the Words of Jesus, John 16-18: Truth, Trinity, and Pontius Pilate, and John 19-21: Do not only try, do what God wants.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube video sermonettes for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
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.

The final phase of the work continues to move ahead

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017


Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

COGwriter

The final phase of the work is moving forward. More information is being put together, more people are being reached, and people are being reached in more languages.

What is the final phase of the work? How do biblical and non-biblical prophecies play a role? How will faithful Philadelphians be affected? And what is expected to be the Continuing Church of God’s (CCOG’s) part in it?

CCOG has a sermon titled The Final Phase of the Work and provides many details to help answer those questions. This post has some of the points of that sermon. Additionally, many details are in the article also titled The Final Phase of the Work.

It is the highly dedicated in the real Church of God (COG) that will finish the human part of the final phase of the work before (Matthew 24:14-15) and during (Revelation 11:3-14) the Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord. Presuming no significant organizational changes, for many reasons, the final phase of the work will be led by the Continuing Church of God (throughout Church of God history there have been significant organizational changes, so one must be cautious as more can happen).

This final phase of the work seemingly will consist of identifying what is happening in the world (specifically also in Europe, the Middle East, and the Anglo-descended nations), preaching what Jesus commissioned in Matthew 28:19-20 around the world, finishing the proclamation of Christ’s gospel of the kingdom as a witness along with persecution (Matthew 24:9-14), the rise and work of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:2-12; which will likely overlap a few days with Matthew 24:14), the likely assistance to the two witnesses by the scattered flock (Revelation 20:4; cf. Luke 9:2-6), the three angel’s messages (Revelation 14:8-11; plus other angelic interventions), and the witness of those persecuted and martyred for Jesus (cf. Revelation 17:6). And then Jesus will return and establish the Kingdom of God.

It should be clear to those who truly understand the warnings in the Bible that the final phase of the work for God’s people will also specifically involve dealing with the ecumenical religion that will rise up (cf. Daniel 11:36-38; Revelation 13:4,8; 14:8-13; Matthew 24:14-15) with signs and lying wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) fulfilling Satan’s plan, while enduring the Beast power who will take steps to eliminate the faithful (Revelation 13:7,13-17; 14:12-13; Daniel 7:21,25).

Being killed as the result of persecution is seemingly also part of the final phase of the work that some of God’s people will endure:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:12-13; cf. 6:11)

Even though other parts of the Book of Revelation show that persecution will come from a combination of church and state (i.e. 13:1-8), various verses (i.e. 12:13-17) show that it is truly Satan that is behind the persecutions. The old Radio Church of God taught this about Revelation 12:13:

Now turn to verse 13…this is the persecution that is yet in the future, a persecution that is being secretly planned…(Hoeh H. Are Christians Again to be Martyred? Plain Truth. November 1956, p. 21)

Having looked over a variety of Roman and Byzantine Catholic private prophecies, I would suggest that Satan’s planning has not always been completely in secret and that such private prophecies will be cited as “justification” for some of the coming persecutions (see also Persecutions by Church and State; there is also a YouTube video: The Coming Persecution of the Church).

In order to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20, personal visits, printed literature, and electronic media are key. In 2017, I both visited with leaders from seven countries in Africa, as well as established the website CCOGAFRICA.ORG. I also visited CCOG members in Europe and the USA, and plan to visit New Zealand later this year. Evangelist Evans Ochieng has been visiting people in various parts of Africa as well and plans even more visits (see Evangelist Ochieng reports on more growth in Africa).

About a decade ago, the late evangelist R.C. Meredith and I were talking and he agreed with various points I was raising about the end time work. And back then, I was able to help lead him to essentially state that in the end it would not mainly be the message of the COG vs. the Protestants, but it would be the COG basically vs. the ecumenical religion that will rise up in the end that will likely (for a while) refer to itself as “Catholic.” In 2005, during the Feast of Tabernacles in Clearwater Beach, after a private lunch, we and our wives met at his hotel room and I also discussed various aspects of the final phase of the work with him–and I had other meetings, discussions, and emails related to that with the other Charlotte evangelists through December 14, 2012. Yet, even though he and others in his church agreed to take many steps related to the final phase of the work, few, if any, of the promised steps were taken by his group–this is a major part of why the Continuing Church of God needed to form.

Interestingly, in December 2015, Dr. Meredith lamented the slow growth in his church. He said that 30% should be attained, but he hoped for at last 15% growth per year–something his church does not attain. Consider that the Continuing Church of God has been the fastest growing COG since its formation in late 2012. On a compounded basis, it has exceeded the 30% growth in both membership and income since it formed in late 2012. Even exceeding the percentage the late Herbert W. Armstrong often pointed to as a proof of a blessing from God. While our growth rate will fluctuate, the Continuing Church of God is the only one of the ten largest COGs whose leaders had origins in the old Worldwide Church of God to do so. Currently, we have around 2,800 people with us.

During the final phase of the work, the faithful in God’s Church will take a stand against the views of those who will support the compromised persecuting religious power (cf. Revelation 17:1-6). And though aspects of this have occurred throughout history, in the end it will be a major testing of their patience (cf. Daniel 11:28-35; Revelation 14:8-12).

A bolder, yet truthful, willingness to “name names” and call out what is happening will need to happen than the official COG groups formed between 1986 and 2011 have done–and this would seem to have to be led by the Continuing Church of God. (I have emails from one or more LCG evangelists where they objected to doing parts of this themselves, as well as notes from a meeting where they told me, and one was Dr. Meredith, that they were afraid that I could become too bold and that they did not want to take bold proclamation steps that could trigger the persecution that they teach is biblically prophesied.)

Faithful Christians need to be “ready to give an answer” (1 Peter 3:15, KJV), “ready to give a defense” (1 Peter 3:15, NKJV) to those that will tend to support the power that God opposes. And they are not to be “ignorant” of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11) nor be deceived by “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Part of the way that the more faithful will do this will be by better understanding the Bible, church history, prophecy, and Satan’s plans and tactics. Educating the membership about this is part of the final phase of the work. This is something that the Continuing Church of God realizes and is working to accomplish.

Notice what the late evangelist C. Paul Meredith wrote about where have many Catholic (and Protestant) traditions, including certain prophetic understandings, come:

PROTESTANT REFORMERS found the people unwilling to change their doctrines. The reformers quickly took the popular road, rejected the faith once delivered for all time to the saints, and began to FOLLOW tradition-CATHOLIC TRADITION which has its roots in pagan philosophy and doctrines of demons! (Meredith C, Paul. Lesson 14, What is Man? Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. 1958,.p. 3)

Part of the way that the more faithful will be able to resist these “traditions” will be by better understanding the Bible, church history, prophecy, and Satan’s plans and tactics. And it is part of what we in the Continuing Church of God are working on educating people about.

The gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed more powerfully to the world as a witness and the end will come (Matthew 24:14). We in the CCOG are reaching people in over 220 countries and territories and expect to continue to lead the humanly-involved portion of that, and certain other aspects, of the final phase of the work.

It is possible that this short work will temporarily swell the ranks of the Church of God (including some Philadelphians, but perhaps with many Laodiceans and many others not truly faithful—many may well fall away—though some of the first will be last and the last first, cf. Mark 10:31). Some will be faithful and bear fruit, while many others may leave (cf. Matthew 13:18 -23; 2 Thessalonians 2:3) once the persecuting tribulation that seems prophesied to occur prior to the Great Tribulation hits (cf. Matthew 24:9-10;21). Then the end will come.

Partially because of the message of the COG, the people of the holy covenant will enrage the upcoming prince/king of the North (Daniel 11:28-30). One or more associated with the Continuing Church of God will be identifying that the European “prince” (Daniel 9:26-27) who is rising up to become a king, will not be able to truly bring peace, but instead will bring war and will be in league with the final Antichrist. This will likely trigger major media coverage. Scrutiny of real, as well as claimed, COG literature will likely happen and various aspects of real and incorrect COG doctrines will likely be ridiculed.

Media coverage would then be expected to cover more of the COG message and this may be associated with the “short work” of Romans 9:28. Since the true COG is so small, it is highly likely that it getting significant media coverage will help fulfill Matthew 24:14. Some of the Philadelphia remnant will be explaining that it is Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God and not the rise of a militaristic leader that the world needs. According to Daniel 11:32 it is “the people who know their God [that] shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” Hundreds of millions, if not billions, will receive at least a partial witness.

All of that will likely trigger the King of the North to take actions that lead to the end–this includes the persecutions, pre- (Daniel 7:25a, 11:29-36) and post-tribulation (Daniel 7:25b).

Since “Catholic” leaders have renounced the millennial portion of the gospel message, some of them will not want it to be broadcast into all the world in the 21st century (for some details, please see Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?). They will support the King of the North’s efforts to stifle the message, probably in the name of “tolerance” and/or calling parts of the message “hate speech.” A famine of the word is coming (Amos 8:11-12; cf. Romans 10:14-15). The Bible tells of a time, which to a degree we are now in, when a certain amount of self-censorship will be needed:

2 For I know your manifold transgressions
And your mighty sins:
Afflicting the just and taking bribes;
Diverting the poor from justice at the gate.
13 Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time,
For it is an evil time. (Amos 5:12-13)

And while some COG groups overly “keep silent,” hence pull-punches in proclamation, the reality is that there is not truly full freedom of truthful speech in countries like the USA without consequences.

However, the work will be done and it will trigger persecution. Until the work is done the most faithful will:

1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

Of course, no matter what some Laodiceans insist upon, the end has not yet come–the final phase of the work is not over. Jesus also does not want us to give up early:

44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing (Matthew 24:44-46).

I should add that one person argued with me that since Jesus does not return until after the “place of safety,” that this verse does not mean we need to proclaim the Gospel now. Since it is likely that many of God’s people will die before then, for them, the Master could come anytime.

Remember that James wrote, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?,” James 2:18-20.

Thus it would seem more logical that the work should continue to be done now. Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that the Continuing Church of God has already reached millions and millions of people in over 220 countries and territories through the internet, radio, personal contact, and the written word.

We are reaching people in the English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Kiswahli, German, Korean, Dholuo, and Tagalog (Philippines) languages, and have our Bible News Prophecy magazine in thirteen languages now, with other languages expected in the future. We also have had a couple of booklets translated into about 100 languages–for a full listing of languages, check out www.ccog.org. People of all tongues will be reached according to the Bible (cf. Revelation 7:9).

Will you support the final phase of the work?

Satan and the Laodiceans simply do not wish to properly support God’s work. Of course, many Laodiceans do not know that they are in that condition, and for many reasons will not understand the final phase of the work or who is leading it.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
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.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near?
Just What Do You Mean the Kingdom of God? A booklet that was written by Herbert Armstrong answers questions about the Kingdom.
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like the beliefs held of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God Several have speculated reasons, but here is the truth. (En el idioma español: ¿Por qué Bob Thiel dejó la Iglesia del Dios Viviente?)
Journal Report on Continuing Church of God Leader Bob Thiel Bob Thiel was interviewed by The Journal News of the Churches of God related to him being a prophet, the proclamation goals of the Continuing Church of God, and why he left LCG.
What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God? This article explains some information and doctrines of the Living Church of God as led by Roderick C. Meredith and some concerns about them. (En el idioma español: ¿Qué hay acerca de la Iglesia de Dios Viviente? ¿Hay diferencias doctrinales con la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios?)
Church History Book This is a URL with some information on Church History.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced several YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel.
Bible News Prophecy magazine This is the official magazine of the Continuing Church of God and it has articles on a wide variety of subjects of Christian interest. It is produced in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Tagalog, Kiswahili, and Mandarin Chinese. The language of Telugu is in-process.
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.
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。
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.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
Continuing
Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.

Angelic beings

Monday, July 17th, 2017


Artist’s portrayal of a Cherubim

COGwriter

Do you know about angelic beings? Here is an article titled ANGELS SERVANTS OF GOD by Hugh Mauck that was put out by the old WCG:

When I was a teenager back in the late thirties and early forties, I wondered what it would be like to be invisible. I remember so well the movie The Invisible Man starring Claude Raines. It was the story of a chemist who had discovered a formula that made him invisible.

Although invisible, he could still be felt and sometimes heard when he did not wish to be. His footprints could be seen; an opening door would betray him; or he would fall over an unseen object. Unable to discover the antidote that would make him visible again, he soon became very unhappy; the novelty of being invisible became a tragedy.

The Invisible World

Science fiction and Hollywood aside, there is a very real, but invisible world – another dimension, as some choose to call it – existing along with our own – but absolutely undiscernible to our five senses. It is the spirit world of God and angels.

God tells us that He is a spirit (John 4:24); that spirit is invisible (John 3:8, Col. 1:15); and that He is the Father of all spirit beings (Heb.12:9).

God speaks of His son Jesus Christ, saying: “Who is’ the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be [or have] thrones, or dominions, or [whether they be] principalities [holders of high offices in heaven or on earth], or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1: 15-17).

Angels are called God’s sons (Job 1:6; 38:7) because God created them. But they aren’t begotten sons as is Christ. They exist in a hierarchy below the God-plane level of God the Father and Christ (Heb. 1:5-14).

Paul speaks plainly of the angels of God in the first two chapters of Hebrews. He tells us that we are created a little lower than the angels; but we have the awesome potential of becoming far greater. We are called the sons of God – not sons by creation as they are, but begotten sons with a far greater future than they. We can be born into God’s very own family as fellow-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8: 17; Gal. 3:26-29).

God’s Angels Created Before Adam

God created angels and archangels before He created and placed Adam on this earth. They were here even before the foundation of the earth was laid. They shouted for joy when they first saw the earth in all its perfection (Job 38: 1-7).

That was prior to creation week, which took place sometime after the destruction on the earth caused by Lucifer’s rebellion (Isa. 14: 12-17). The earth was not created waste and in confusion, as we find it in Genesis I:2. God created the earth to be inhabited; He did not create it in the ruined state in which it later became (Isa. 45:18).

Angels are invisible, immortal spirit beings with superior power and knowledge (II Pet. 2: 11). They have seen all the activities of man on earth, and therefore know far more about the human mind, psychology, sociology, science and all the arts than any man living. And God has put them here with us as ministering spirits, to serve us! “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14).

They are put here to help us along the road to eternal life, to save us from premature death, accident, etc., and to help us fight our battles and protect us from the devil and his demons. No wonder Elisha had no fear of his physical enemies when He saw one of God’s spirit armies standing upon the mountain (II Kings 6: 15-17).

God has had angels specifically assigned to supervise and protect His Church throughout all of its history (Rev. 1:4, 16, 20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). He has angels who continually walk through the earth to observe and report back to Him the overall conditions on earth (Rev. 5:6; Zech. 4: 10; II Chron. 16:9).

And God has angels specifically assigned to look after His begotten human children (Acts 12:15; Matt. 18: 10). God promises: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Ps.91:11).

Twelve of God’s angels will be the gatekeepers in the new city of Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12), one for each tribe of Israel. These same twelve are probably assisting the Archangel Michael now.

Angels were messengers to the patriarchs of old. They appeared to Abraham, Lot, Hagar, Moses, Manoah, Gideon, Elijah and many of the prophets and apostles.

Angels do exist.

Many are fascinated by angelic beings, but some improperly pray and speak with “their angel.” In most cases where there is believed to be a response, if this is not from their imagination, they are actually connecting to the demonic world.

There are also various types of angels and spirit beings. The article partially posted above later includes information on Cherubim and Seraphim (see Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim).

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim This is information about various types of angelic beings.
Did Angels Marry Human Women? Many insist this is so and also that this mating caused giants to be born. Did this come from the ‘Book of Enoch’? What does Genesis 6:4 really mean? A related video is also available: Did Angels Marry Women and Produce Giants?
Did God Create a Devil? If not, what happened? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet.
Close Encounters of a ‘Spirit’ Kind discusses some experiences I believe were (demon) ‘spirit’ related. A video is also available titled: Poltergeists and Lying Wonders.
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.

BibleNewsProphecy: Land of ‘Free’ Abortions and Debt

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:


14:07

The State of Oregon decided to make abortions free for those that want them. Does freedom of choice include the right to shed innocent blood? What has happened to the economy of the USA since abortions became legalized? What has happened to incomes since that time? How many babies have been killed since the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973? Is there a cost to abortion beyond the financial and emotional? What does the Bible teach? What does the Bible prophesy? Dr. Thiel addresses these and other questions.

Here is a link to our video: Land of ‘Free’ Abortions and Debt.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Abortion, the Bible, and a Woman’s Right to Choose Do you know what the Bible teaches on this? Has the Roman Catholic Church allowed abortions? What about the real Church of God? Some may also, or instead, wish to view the YouTube video Abortion, the Bible, and US Debt.
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2017, 2018, or 2019? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017?
USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no Final End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Quién es el Rey del Occidente? ¿Por qué no hay un Rey del Occidente en la profecía del tiempo del fin?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be: Are Chinese threats against Australia for real?
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA
We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN
This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU
This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ
This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos
. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
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.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
Bible News Prophecy
channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.
ContinuingCOG
channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Sermon: Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration

Saturday, July 15th, 2017


17th century artist Pasquale Ottino’s portrayal of Peter dictating the gospel being penned by Mark

COGwriter

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

This is the third part of a multi-part sermon series covering the entire Gospel According to Mark. In it, Dr. Thiel begins with Mark 6:1 and covers all the verses in that chapter and the next three. He goes over Jesus being without honor among those who knew Him, the work will be done, the killing of John the Baptist, the feeding of the five and four thousand, walking on water, faith, prayer, tradition, keeping the commandments, signs, and doctrine. Dr. Thiel discusses about a future coming Elijah and some of the late Herbert W. Armstrong’s writings on that subject. He explains what Jesus said about the purpose of the parables. Dr. Thiel goes over a vision that some of the disciples saw as well as discusses and also discusses some of how the analogy of salt applies to the faithful.

Here is a link to the video sermon: Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are  available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong.
MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the ‘Gospel of Mark’: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark?
MATTHEW Here are links to twelve sermons covering the 28 chapters of Matthew: Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?, Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the Beatitudes, Matthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and Faith, Matthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical Agenda, Matthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights, -14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and Faith, Matthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & Peter, Matthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and Forgiveness, Matthew 19-20: Transgender? Divorce? Purgatory? The first shall be last?, Matthew 21-23: ‘Palm Sunday,’ Come as You Are?, and the Greatest Commandments, Matthew 24: Temple Destruction, Sorrows, Tribulation, and the Return of Jesus, and Matthew 25-28: Midnight Cry, False Christians, Resurrection, & Teaching what Jesus Taught.
LUKE Here are links to eight sermons covering the entire ‘Gospel of Luke’: Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the Census, Luke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the Ministry, Luke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and Signs, Luke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow Way, Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards, and Luke 21-22: Giving, Sorrows, Persecution, Tribulation, Fig Tree, and Violence. The last sermon also covers Jesus’ words in the Book of Acts.
JOHN Here are links to a seven-part sermon series covering the entire ‘Gospel of John’: John 1-3: Anti-unitarian, Wine, Being Born Again, & Heaven, John 4-6: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Miracles and the Bread of Life, John 10-12: Sheep, Hirelings, Lazarus/Soul Sleep and ‘Palm Day’, John 13-15: Footwashing and the Words of Jesus, John 16-18: Truth, Trinity, and Pontius Pilate, and John 19-21: Do not only try, do what God wants.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube video sermonettes for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
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.

Why are there atheists?

Friday, July 14th, 2017

COGwriter

At the Christianity Today website, an author (Shawn Graves) asked and provided some answers to the question, Why are there still atheists?

A lot of ink has been spilled over whether God exists. Within this context, some theists like to point out that “God has made it plain” that he exists, that “God’s invisible qualities … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19-20). They urge us to remember that the “heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Ps. 19:1). In a recent Christianity Today article, Jim Spiegel cites these passages and writes: “This naturally prompts the question: If the evidence for God is so abundant, then why are there atheists?”

Spiegel asserts that for many atheists, it’s not “cool, rational inquiry” that led to their atheism. Rather, in many cases it’s complex moral and psychological factors that produce atheism. For example, Spiegel points to research suggesting that some prominent atheists had broken, defective relationships with their fathers. Others live in perpetual disobedience and rebellion—resisting lifestyle changes required upon adopting theism. And still others confess that they just don’t want there to be a God. Spiegel contends that immorality has cognitive consequences—it impedes one’s ability to recognize that theism is true.

No doubt he’s right. Surely some people accept atheism due in part to such powerful motivational factors. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2011/marchweb-only/whytherearestillatheists.html

Now, actually one of the reasons that there are evolutionary atheists is, believe it or not, in the 19th century various male “intellectual” were looking for excuses to not have to abide by biblical standards of sexual morality. And back then, some of them even admitted that is why they embraced the concept that life randomly evolved without a creator God.

I would also add hypocrisy to the list. The fact that evangelicals, for one example, are more likely to be involved with fornication than the general public, despite biblical admonitions against it, turns people off.

War is another factor. Many non-believers point to religions such as Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism as major causes of war, which turns many people off to the idea that there is a truly loving God. But of course, all scholars realize that early Christians would not participate in carnal warfare. And in my opinion, this is still true of faithful Christians today (for details, please check out Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?).

There are also scholars, for example, like Bart Ehrman, who started out as Protestant but when they learned more about church history, realized that Protestantism simply did not fit with much of the Bible (see also Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants) nor church history (see Continuing History of the Church of God ). And while he may be more of an agnostic than an atheist, the fact that most of what is considered by the world to be Christianity, is not Christianity, and this turns many off of religion (though it does not necessarily make them atheists). Information on genuine Christianity is in the free booklet Where is the True Christian Church Today?

But I would like to add that it is illogical to be an atheist. While there may be many reasons that people may doubt the existence of a personal God, such as the one that the Bible teaches about, the reality is that any that conclude that there cannot be a creator/god are being foolish:

1 The fool has said in his heart,”There is no God.” (Psalms 14:1, NKJV)

One of the reasons that it is foolish to conclude that there is no God is because humans should realize that we are finite beings. No human has been to ever place in the universe, no human has lived forever, no human has been to every possible dimension that may exist in the universe. Since no human has done that, for any human to conclude that there cannot be a god or any type is illogical. Why? Because no human has enough possible proof that God cannot exist. Doing so with limited “evidence” is foolish.

Furthermore, if the laws of bioscience are accepted as valid, one can easily prove that something outside of those laws (God) was necessary for life to begin and to continue. Amino acids simply did not randomly line up, become alive, realize that they had to eat, realize that they had to have a means to eat, immediately have a way to utilize food (like a properly developed digestive system), realize they had to reproduce for survival of life, and have the means to do so. It is illogical to conclude otherwise.

But, despite the fact that some claim to be atheists, God’s existence is logical.

Some items of possible related interest may include:

Is God’s Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Where the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long?
Where Did God Come From? Any ideas? And how has God been able to exist? Who is God?
How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient? Here is a biblical article which answers what many really wonder about it.
Has time been lost? It Saturday the seventh day of the week?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Church of Rome and CCOG teachings on repentance and confession

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

COGwriter

The Bible does say to confess sins, but has the Church of Rome taken this beyond the practices recorded in the Bible or any found in early Christian documents?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice also the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Penance vs. Repentance

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible teaches against a worldly repentance:

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

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

Admit Your Sins

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

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

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

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

Turn From Own Ways

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

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

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

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

All Sins that Are Properly Repented of Will Be Forgiven

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

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

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

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

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

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’ Did early Christians confess their sins to priests? A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it?
Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters? Some religions suggest this, but what does the Bible teach? What was the practice of the early church?
Did the Early Christian Church Practice Monasticism? Does God expect or endorse living in a monastery or nunnery?
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Cardinal says priests should ‘pray to the east,’ but what does the Bible teach about prayer?

Monday, July 10th, 2017

PRAYER Book Cover - Front Final

COGwriter

Sometime back, the Catholic Herald reported the following:

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, has asked priests to begin celebrating Mass ad orientem, that is, facing east rather than towards the congregation.

The proposed reform is arguably the biggest liturgical announcement since Benedict XVI’s 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum gave greater freedom for priests to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass.

Speaking at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London on Tuesday, the Guinean cardinal, who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, addressed priests who were present, saying: “It is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction – eastwards or at least towards the apse – to the Lord who comes”.

The cardinal continued: “I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible.”

He said that “prudence” and catechesis would be necessary, but told pastors to have “confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people”.

“Your own pastoral judgement will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend ‘the Lord who will come’ and ‘who will not delay’.”

These words were met with prolonged applause in the conference hall.

Cardinal Sarah had spoken on previous occasions about the merits of ad orientem worship, saying that from the Offertory onwards it was “essential that the priest and faithful look together towards the east”. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/07/05/cardinal-sarah-asks-priests-to-start-celebrating-mass-facing-east-this-advent/

So, the Vatican’s ‘liturgy chief’ says it is good for its priests to pray to the east.

Perhaps he and others may wish to read the Bible, as it objects to this. Here are quotes from the New Jerusalem Bible, which is a Roman Catholic translation of the scriptures into the English language:

15 He said, ‘Son of man, do you see that? You will see even more loathsome things than that.’

16 He then led me to the inner court of the Temple of Yahweh. And there, at the entrance to Yahweh’s sanctuary, between the portico and the altar, there were about twenty-five men, with their backs to Yahweh’s sanctuary and their faces turned towards the east, before the rising sun. (Ezekiel 8:15-16)

So, although the Bible warns against worship towards the east and associates with sun-god worship, the Church of Rome is encouraging this.

Why might the Church of Rome be encouraging something in conflict with the Bible here?

Well, sadly, many practices associated with sun-god worship, specifically Mithraism were adopted by the Church of Rome. Mithraism had priests pray towards the sun, which in the morning meant towards the east. Notice the following report from the Catholic scholar F. Cumont (bolding mine):

The priest was the intermediary between God and man. His functions evidently included the administration of the sacraments and the celebration of the services. The inscriptions tell us that in addition he presided at the formal dedications, or at least represented the faithful one on such an occasion along with the Fathers; but this was the least portion only of the duties he had to perform; the religious service which fell to his lot appears to have been very exacting. He doubtless was compelled to see that a perpetual fire burned upon the altars. Three times a day, at dawn, at noon, and at dusk, he addressed a prayer to the Sun, turning in the morning toward the East, at noon toward the South, at evening toward the West. The daily liturgy frequently embraced special sacrifices.

the orthodox and heretical liturgies of Christianity, which gradually sprang up during the first centuries of our era, could find abundant inspiration in the Mithraic Mysteries… it appears certain that the commemoration of the Nativity was set for the 25th of December, because it was at the winter solstice that the rebirth of the invincible god,* the Natalis invicti, was celebrated. In adopting this date, which was universally distinguished by sacred festivities, the ecclesiastical authority purified in some measure the profane usages which it could not suppress. The only domain in which we can ascertain in detail the extent to which Christianity imitated Mithraism is that of art. The Mithraic sculpture, which had been first developed, furnished the ancient Christian marble-cutters with a large number of models, which they adopted or adapted…(Cumont, pp. 166, 193,196-197).

Many of the doctrines and practices mentioned above were NOT held by the original Christians. For articles related to them, please see Do You Practice Mithraism?, Sunday and Christianity, What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?, Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?, and What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons?

Even Wikipedia realizes that worship towards the east does not come from Christianity:

The practice of praying towards the East is older than Christianity (East. Wikipedia, accessed 07/06/16)

Eastern worship is condemned in the Continuing Church of God booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?:

Notice what Jesus Himself taught:

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

Many think that it does not matter what or how they worship, only that they make some attempt. That is not what Jesus said that the Father wants.

Jesus also taught:

8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9)

People may pray out loud or silently, but notice that they can be worshiping God in vain if they are following the imaginations of their own mind or ‘traditions’ of human beings which are contrary to God’s ways. Intentionally praying to the east (Ezekiel 8:16) and certain holidays that many who claim Christianity observe, do not come from the Bible, but from compromises with pagan “traditions of men” (see also our booklet Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?). …

While some have said that having icons around reminds them to pray, the Apostle John wrote:

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1 John 5:21).

He did not say that idols/icons should be around to encourage prayer. The pagans did that. And the Bible teaches that the true God does not want to be worshiped as other gods have been (Leviticus 18:24-30; Deuteronomy 12:29-31).

The Bible points to God’s throne being in the far north (Psalm 48:1,2; Job 37:22; Isaiah 14:13; Ezekiel 1:4) and when I pray, I tend to look towards the heavens to the north, presuming God’s throne is above that (cf. Isaiah 40:22). This helps remind me that God rules the expanses of the universe (Thiel B. Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? Nazarene Books, 2015).

To learn more about what the Bible teach about prayer, check out our freeonline booklet Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related sermon is available and titled: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer?
What Should I Pray About? An old article by Lynn Torrance on prayer. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 我应该祷告什么?
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
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?

Faith for those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido.Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was their Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.