Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

The Sabbath Sentinel: Ignatius and the Sabbath

Friday, May 27th, 2016

COGwriter

Did early Christians keep Saturday or Sunday?

While there are various opinions about this, some of those opinions are not based upon biblical or historical fact.

The Bible Sabbath Association, which is not a Church of God group (though it has members that are in the COGs, as well as members who are not), published a version of the following in the latest edition (May-June 2016) of its The Sabbath Sentinel magazine:

Ignatius and the Sabbath

By Bob Thiel, Ph.D.

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

Many on the internet and elsewhere, have pointed to some basically 19th century translations of certain ancient documents in an attempt to support their contention that Sunday was observed early on by the original Christians. But do they?

Perhaps the most commonly cited major claim in favor of early Sunday worship is from Ignatius’ Letter to the Magnesians.

Here is what the Greek states:

Εί ούν οί έν παλαιοîς πράγμασιν άναστραφέντες είς καινότητα έλπίδος ήλθον, μηκέτι σαββατίζοντες, άλλά κατά κυριακήν ζώντες, έν ή καί ή ζωή ήμών άνέτειλεν δι’ αύτού καί τού θανάτου αύτού, <öν> τινες άρνούνται, δι’ ού μυστηρίου έλάβομεν τò πιστεύειν, καί διά τούτο ύπομένομεν, ïνα εύρεθώμεν μαθηταί ‘Iησού Χριστού τού μόνου διδασκάλου ήμών· [1]

Here is a fairly typical 19th century translation of verse 9.1, by Dr. J.B. Lightfoot:

If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer observing sabbaths but fashioning their lives after the Lord’s day, on which our life also arose through Him and through His death which some men deny — a mystery whereby we attained unto belief, and for this cause we endure patiently, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ our only teacher [2].

But is that correct?

No, it is not. It should be noted that the word for ‘day’ is not in the Greek text.

Interestingly, like Lake and Hall/Napier, Dr. Lightfoot also failed to translate Κατα, which is in the text [3] as “according to.”

Yet, Lightfoot did translate Κατα as “according to” in three other places in this letter (verses 3.1,10.1, 13.2 [4]). He also failed to do so in his translation of the Didache, where he began verse 14.1 with “And on” [5]–an apparently intentional and improper translation as discussed above (Lightfoot translated Κατα as “according to” five other times in the Didache [6]).

It is sad that these translators, all born in the 19th century, all decided to selectively change the meaning of a word.

Why?

Well, in order to support Sunday worship.

Yet, even noted scholar Guy Fritz concluded that the text in Ignatius is too ambiguous to be used to support Sunday worship:

“in the study of the ‘Lord’s day’ in the early church … {it} cannot at the present time properly be introduced as evidence indicating its [Sunday] observance” [7].

The 19th century theologian John Kitto understood that neither the context nor the Greek required adding the word day. Thus he translated a highly relevant part of it correctly as follows:

…living according to our Lord’s life…[8].

John Kitto also made the following comments about the passage from Ignatius:

Now many commentators assume (on what ground does not appear), that alter κυριακήν [Lord’s] the word ἡμέραν [day] is to be understood … The defect of the sentence is the want of a substantive to which άvroύ can refer. This defect, so far from being- remedied, is rendered still more glaring by the introduction of ἡμέραν … the passage does not refer at all to the Lord’s day … it cannot be regarded as affording any positive evidence to the early use of the term ‘Lord’s day’ (for which it is often cited), since the word ἡμέραν [day] is purely conjectual [9].

Yet, almost all anti-Sabbath websites I have visited have ignored the scholars that understand the truth about Ignatius’ writings as they cite the mistranslations as “proof” of early Sunday observance—even though the actual Greek text does no such thing.

While in Greece, I was able to verify that the word in koine Greek translated as “Lord’s Day” in both the Didache and the Letter to the Magnesians, κυριακὴν, could not be translated as “Lord’s Day” as the Greek word for day is not present in the texts nor required by the contexts for either.

In Ignatius’ Letter to the Magnesians, like in the Didache (another ancient document some cite for ‘proof’ of Sunday), κυριακὴν would be better translated as “Lord’s way” or combined with the Greek word that follows it , ζωντες [10], “Lord’s way of life” or “Lord’s living.” This is also consistent with what Paul wrote:

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:4, NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted).

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

It was the custom of Jesus (e.g. Luke 4:16) and Paul to regularly keep the Sabbath (Acts 17:2). The Sabbath was part of the Lord’s way of life, and Paul imitated Christ that way. Understanding Jesus’ life is critical to understanding Ignatius.

Furthermore, to better understand Ignatius’ letter, we should look at more of the context and not just verse 9.1. out-of-context, as some Sunday advocates have.

A more literal (though not grammatical) translation of the relevant portion from Ignatius’ letter appears to be:

8.1 Be not seduced by strange doctrines nor by antiquated fables, which are profitless.

8.2  For if even unto this day we live according to the manner of Judaic concepts, we admit that we have not received grace: for the godly prophets lived after Christ Jesus. For this cause also they were persecuted, being inspired by His grace to the end that they which are disobedient might be fully persuaded that there is one God who manifested Himself through Jesus Christ His Son, who is His Word that proceeded from silence, who in all things was well-pleasing unto Him that sent Him.

9.1 If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer keeping sabbaths contrariwise according to the Lord’s way of life, on which our life also arose through Him and through His death which some men deny – a mystery whereby we attained unto belief, and for this cause we endure patiently, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ our only teacher –

9.2 if this be so, how shall we be able to live apart from Him? Seeing that even the prophets, being His disciples, were expecting Him as their teacher through the Spirit. And for this cause He whom they rightly awaited, when He came, raised them from the dead.

According to a scholar of koine Greek who I consulted with, Dr. Theony Condos (a non-Sabbathkeeper), the first portion of 9.1 would grammatically be better translated as:

“If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer {Judaically} keeping sabbaths but according to the Lord’s way of life…” [11]

This is because she insisted that the term ‘but’ (or ‘contrariwise’ as translated earlier above) had to refer to the “Lord’s way” instead of the Sabbath.

There are at least two reasons for this. The first is that the godly prophets had been keeping the seventh day Sabbath. And the second is since the portion of the Greek term translated as the first part of “no longer” is a ‘qualified negative’ [12] the context supports that the ‘Judaic concepts’ (verse 8.2) are part of the qualification.  It may be of interest to note that the terms first, day, or Sun are not in the above passages.

She confirmed with me that this section is certainly speaking about the same ancient prophets throughout, hence since they actually kept the Sabbath (and not Sunday), she felt that the idea of Judaically would have had to been in Ignatius’ mind. And that this type of reference was required in English to properly understand what Ignatius was writing (and I also had this confirmed by others with a working knowledge of koine Greek).

This assessment is also consistent with later testimony from Jerome who mentioned that the Sabbath-keeping Christians he ran into did not adhere to the Jewish traditions–in other words, although they kept the Sabbath, the Nazarenes did not keep the Sabbath Judaically:

Jerome declares:

“On Isaiah 9:1-4

“The Nazarenes, whose opinion I have set forth above, try to explain this passage in the following way: When Christ came and his preaching shone out, the land of Zebulon and Naphtali [the region of Galilee] first of all were freed from the errors of the Scribes and Pharisees and he shook off their shoulders the very heavy yoke of the JEWISH TRADITIONS. Later, however, the preaching became more dominant, that means the preaching was multiplied, through the gospel of the apostle Paul who was the last of all the apostles. And the gospel of Christ shone to the most distant tribes and the way of the whole sea. Finally the whole world, which earlier walked or sat in darkness and was imprisoned in the bonds of idolatry and death, has seen the clear light of the gospel” (p.64).

In this passage, we find that the Nazarene Christians — like Yeshua the Messiah, Peter, James, John and especially Paul — rejected Jewish traditionalism, invention, and additions to the Torah or Old Testament. They referred to them as the “very heavy yoke of the Jewish traditions.” [13].

Thus, instead of proving Sunday and disproving the Sabbath, Ignatius (and indirectly even Jerome) seems to be warning against incorrectly observing the Sabbath as certain Pharisaical Jews insisted, with their antiquated fables. Or in other words, Ignatius was condemning the observance of traditions of men over the Bible.

Dr. Noel Rude, a self-described “grammar-freak” and linguist, felt that perhaps the following would be even more grammatically correct for the first part of verse 9.1:

“If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer (Judaically) keeping sabbaths but living according to the lordly way…”[14]

And that seems to be consistent with how I feel this verse should be translated.

Ignatius was teaching that the godly prophets, who lived in ancient times, lived in accordance to the ways of Jesus Christ, and not after improper Judaic concepts.  There is no doubt that the ancient prophets (such as Isaiah) kept the Sabbath on the day now known as Saturday.

References

[1] Holmes M. The Apostolic Fathers–Greek Text and English Translations, 3rd printing 2004. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI) p. 154

[2] Ignatius. Letter to the Magnesians, Verse 9.1. Translated by J.B. Lightfoot. Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoot & Harmer, 1891 translation. © 2001 Peter Kirby

[3] Ignatius.  Letter to the Magnesians. In: Holmes M. pp. 150-159

[4] Ibid

[5] The Didache. Translated by J.B. Lightfoot. Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoot & Harmer, 1891 translation. © 2001 Peter Kirby

[6] Ibid

[7] Guy F.  Lord’s Day in the Letter of Ignatius to the Magnesians.  AUSS 2, 1964: 17 Cited in Bacchiocchi S. Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday, p. 93

[8] Kitto J.  The cyclopaedia of Biblical literature, Volume 2.  American Book Exchange, 1881.  Original from Harvard University, Digitized. Jan 31, 2008 p. 270

[9] Ibid

[10] Ignatius.  Letter to the Magnesians. Verse 8. In: Holmes M. The Apostolic Fathers–Greek Text and English Translations, 3rd printing 2004, p. 154

[11] Condos, Theony.  Meeting with Dr. Thiel regarding Ignatius’ Letter to the Magnesians.  Santa Barbara, California.  July 31, 2005 (in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011, Dr. Condos also served as the parish president for Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church)

[12] Strong J. Words 3371 & 3361 in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, Abington, Nashville, 1890 , p.48

[13] The Mysterious Relationship of The Early Nazarene Christians and Rabbinic Judaism. http://hope-of-israel.org/nazarene.htm 02/25/16

[14] Rude N. Emails to COGwriter, 2/23/11 and 03/03/2011

Dr. Thiel has been interested in the Church of God for over 40 years. He was baptized by a Worldwide Church of God minister in 1977. He writes extensively. He is currently the Overseeing Pastor of the Continuing Church of God, one of the top ten groups (in terms of membership) whose leaders were once part of the old Worldwide Church of God. Hundreds of thousands know him as “COGwriter” as he writes over 1000 news posts and articles per year at www.cogwriter.com.

This is the second article I have had published in The Sabbath Sentinel (here is a link to the first: The Sabbath Sentinel: The Didache and the Sabbath).

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

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

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

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
Early Sabbath Keeping in North America When did Europeans first keep the Sabbath in North America? Did the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower keep Saturday or Sunday?
How to Observe the Sabbath How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true? Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 一个不合理的神?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord?
Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? Who clearly endorsed Sunday? What relevance is the first or the “eighth” day? A related sermon is also available: Sunday: First and Eighth Day?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath
Did Ignatius write against the Sabbath and for Sunday? What about the Didache? What does the actual Greek reveal? Are mistranslations of these early writings relied on for false doctrinal positions?

LCG teaches prophets are rare, but look at the fruits

Friday, May 27th, 2016


Elijah in the wilderness

COGwriter

Sometime back, the Living Church News by the Living Church of God (LCG) had the following by its Dexter Wakefield:

Special Gifts

To serve the needs of the Church, God—through His Spirit—gives different members different gifts. “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills” (1 Corinthians 12:4–11).

Notice that each of these gifts is a practical tool for serving the needs of God’s Church and His Work. The much-misunderstood gift of “tongues” is not a matter of one person babbling and barking, while another “interprets” the noise. Rather, as happened on the first Day of Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection, the Spirit gave Christ’s followers the ability to speak and understand multiple languages they had not humanly learned. Similarly, the gift of “prophecy” is primarily the gift of inspired speech, and can be exercised in a strong sermon that covers no “new ground” but simply explains with clarity and power the meaning of Bible prophecy and end-time events. “Prophets” in the sense of Elijah are rare, and when we encounter a man who declares himself a prophet we had better be sure of his fruits before we listen to him. Most self-proclaimed “prophets” are deceived, or are cunning deceivers—or both—and those who have God’s Spirit have the ability, and the responsibility, to discern their fruits and their genuineness.

The Spirit of Revelation and of Prophecy

The Apostle Paul urged all of God’s people to use His Spirit for spiritual vision and the revealing of things that others cannot see.

Much of what he wrote above is correct.

Statement on 1 Corinthians

Let’s look at some of the statements in the order Dexter Wakefield wrote them. Let’s start with the following:

To serve the needs of the Church, God—through His Spirit—gives different members different gifts. “…to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits … the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually … (1 Corinthians 12:4–11)

Yes, as it states in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, there are differing gifts AND prophecy is one of them. But also notice that the discerning of spirits IS NOT taught as being given to all as he seemed to imply.

Gift of Prophecy

Let’s look at another of Dexter Wakefield’s statements:

Similarly, the gift of “prophecy” is primarily the gift of inspired speech, and can be exercised in a strong sermon that covers no “new ground” but simply explains with clarity and power the meaning of Bible prophecy and end-time events.

Dexter Wakefield is correct that most of the time, one with a prophetic gift is properly explaining biblical prophecy and end time events. That occurs in the Continuing Church of God.

It should be noted certain leaders of other COGs (including in LCG in several instances) have disqualified themselves on certain matters of prophecy, especially when they insist on matters that are wrong, or at best questionable (see Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? and Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? and The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 and The Elijah Heresies and Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? and The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).

Furthermore, notice two other portions of the New Testament:

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? (1 Corinthians 12:27-29)

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. (1 Corinthians 14:29-33)

6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith (Romans 12:6).

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that not all are prophets. Prophet is an office and prophets are to prophesy. LCG’s position is that it has NO prophets (which is likely the case as I stopped attending late on 12/28/12).

But it should be noted that its top leader had repeatedly taught in the past that God may consider Bob Thiel to be a prophet (see How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).

Rarity Does Not Mean None

Dexter Wakefield continued with:

“Prophets” in the sense of Elijah are rare,

True. But rare does not mean that there are not and cannot be any. Now while Dexter Wakefield did not make that error, many in various COGs have concluded that rare means none. The New Testament is clear that God has prophets who prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:28-30) and will do so in the last days (Acts 2:17-18). Those in LCG and all other COGs need to realize this.

As far as ‘Elijah,’ the position of the Church of God since the beginning is that there would be three biblical ‘Elijahs.’ The original Elijah (e.g. 1 Kings 17:1), John the Baptist (Matthew 7:12-13), and an Elijah to come at the very end of the church age (Malachi 4:4-6) to restore all things (Matthew 17:11).

LCG has taught that Elijah will either be a man younger than its Roderick C. Meredith (Meredith, Roderick C. The Elijah Question. VTE 131, May 19, 2001) or that the Elijah is not a person but an “Elijah-type work” which fulfills the Elijah prophesies in Matthew 17:10-11 and Malachi 4:4-6 (Winnail D. The Mission of the Church. Living Church News, March-April 2006, p. 7). The Bible shows that ‘Elijah’ will be a person (see also The Elijah Heresies).

As far as rarity goes, I would ask, “How many people were told by an actual top evangelist in the Church of God that God may consider him to be a prophet?” In the 20th and 21st centuries, there is only one who comes to mind (details are in the article How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God). So, while prophets are “rare,” and being told one is a prophet by an ordained evangelist is also rare, rarity does not mean that there are none.

As far as “Elijah” goes, he is to “restore all things” (Matthew 17:11).

Even the Living Church of God has taught about restoration–yet LCG has NOT restored what it says should be done. Here are some items published and written by its Dr. Meredith:

RESTORE TRUE CHRISTIANITY!

What would it mean to restore the original Christianity of Christ and the apostles? What differences would we find if the “original Christianity” of the New Testament was genuinely taught and practiced once again?

Wow! This restoration would involve far more than most of you probably realize! (Meredith RC. Do You Live by What Christ Taught? Tomorrow’s World magazine, May-June 2006)

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TRUTH?

This magazine can give you the genuine answers to these questions because we in this Work of the living God are earnestly trying to restore “Apostolic Christianity”the original Christianity of those who lived in the time of Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. We feel that although most modern churchgoers are sincere and well-meaning, they are absolutely deceived regarding the major issues of life, death and the hereafter. They are certainly deceived if they think for one minute that they are practicing true “biblical Christianity!” Meredith RC. What Happened to the Truth? Tomorrows World magazine, November-December 2003)

RESTORING ORIGINAL CHRISTIANITY…

Through this very Work, we are beginning to restore original Christianity. This is a major reason for this Work of the living God at the end of this age. All who respond to His teachings will certainly have a “head start” in preparing to be those kings and priests Christ is now training to assist Him in ruling all the world in the coming Kingdom of God. (Meredith RC. Restoring ORIGINAL Christianity! Tomorrow’s World magazine, July-August 2011)

The truth about early and apostolic Christians is that it is PROVABLY NOT IN LCG AND IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT than Dr. Meredith realizes (for details, check out October 2012 Emails Related to GCA Booklet). When I was in LCG in 2011, I was trying to help them restore much of it; Dr. Meredith agreed, but then failed to keep his word. Dr. Meredith’s failure to keep his word on that and other matters was a major reason that the Continuing Church of God had to form.

Where has the historical knowledge of early Church of God been most fully restored?

In the Continuing Church of God!

A booklet which has proof of that would be: Continuing History of the Church of God.

Does this mean that nothing else is left to be restored?

No. But it does mean that based upon the criteria published by the LCG that CCOG is the group that has done this restoration the best. CCOG has also restored aspects of faith in God’s word (see Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen), prayer (see Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?), aspects of salvation (see Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis), and biblical prophecy better than LCG and other known groups (for a few examples, see Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? and Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? and The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 and The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings and The Elijah Heresies).

Although I have not “restored all things,” nor am I insisting that I personally must be the prophesied Elijah like RCG’s David Pack falsely claims about himself, the reality is that I and CCOG have restored what Dr. Meredith repeatedly wrote needed to be.

Fruits

Dexter Wakefield continued with:

and when we encounter a man who declares himself a prophet we had better be sure of his fruits before we listen to him

I totally agree. The Bible talks about personal (Luke 3:8), doctrinal (Luke 6:43-45), prophetic (Matthew 7:16-20), and proclamation fruits (Matthew 7:16; John 15:16). The Bible encourages the production of “good fruits” (Matthew 7:16).

Would fruits of a real converted prophet include any of the following?

  1. Standing up against teaching wrong materials about Church of God history, some of which perpetuate Catholic myths? See October 2012 Emails Related to GCA Booklet.
  2. Standing up against publishing “Fundamental Beliefs” that are in error and opposed to scripture? See December 2011 Proposed changes to LCG’s Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs.
  3. Standing up against prophetic errors that are opposed to the Bible? See The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings and Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? and Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? and LCG and PCG insisting on 10 or 11 ‘nations’ for the Beast? What does the Bible teach?
  4. Boldly proclaiming the truth to the world as a witness? See Isaiah 58:1 and Matthew 24:14.
  5. Praying for decades for the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1-5) and then unexpectedly being anointed for a double-portion of God’s spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9-13).

Doing all of the above, as well as standing up against violent sports, made me unpopular in certain LCG circles. Because of that, improper statements were published about me (e.g. Roderick C. Meredith’s Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel). Jesus taught:

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Contrary to scripture I was publicly and wrongly attacked in September 2012. Despite that I endured and continued to try to work with LCG evangelists, ministers, and Council members. Despite this, several months later I again was publicly and wrongly attacked (see Roderick C. Meredith’s Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel) contrary to the Bible (Acts 23:5; Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1).

After the second attack, it was clear that further attempts at reconciliation would be futile as various evangelists had broken their word and it was not possible that LCG had the character to possibly hold the Philadelphia mantle or lead the final phase of the work (cf. Acts 23:5).

What about proclamation fruits?

Through my writings on COGwriter and for the Continuing Church of God, I have reached millions of people in over 220 countries over the internet. The Bible teaches that the work of God will be done, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6) and that is what has been happening through CCOG.

I have also reached millions regularly via radio interviews, plus have had hundreds of thousands of views of our videos on the Bible News Prophecy and ContinuingCOG YouTube video channels. Part of why I am using the term “I” is because Dexter Wakefield said to look at the fruits of one claiming to be a prophet.

We have also sent printed literature around the world and I have been to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South Pacific, North America, and South America to proclaim the gospel (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20). In most of those places, I have also been involved with baptisms.

The fruits are there. And those fruits are there WITHOUT THE DOCTRINAL HERESIES AND FALSE PROPHETIC PRONOUNCEMENTS OF OTHER COG GROUPS.

Jesus taught:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)

Focusing so much on English, like many groups do, does not seem to be adequate to fulfill Matthew 24:4; 28:19-20. Consider that the Apostle Paul wrote:

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  (Romans 10:14)

How can they hear if they do not understand the language of the message? Through my human direction, the Continuing Church of God has put out materials in more languages than apparently any Church of God group in history. Our magazine, to cite one example, has been put out in 14 different languages, with others being considered.  We now have arranged to get materials in 55 languages, with the hope to expand that at some point in time.

What about doctrine?

If I had been willing to compromise doctrinally while in LCG, I could have accepted a salary I was offered by Dr. Meredith on at least two occasions (it was not specifically predicated upon me being willing to compromise, it is just that I felt that unacceptable compromise would have been required if I was an employee of LCG). I did neither.

In terms of character issues, notice something that Jesus taught:

45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God. (John 8:45-47)

No one ever “convicted me” of sin in that type of context.

Instead, like David was falsely accused of pride by an envious brother (1 Samuel 17:28), I, too, was on 12/28/14 in a letter from Dr. Meredith, and like David, I denied it (cf. 1 Samuel 17:29; Roderick C. Meredith’s Accusatory Letter to Bob Thiel). It should be noted that in violation of Matthew 18:15-17, Dr. Meredith made that accusation publicly despite the fact that neither Dr. Meredith nor my local minister had EVER raised that subject with me nor made that accusation.

Which of us had the proper fruits? The one who tried to comply with Matthew 18:15-18 or the one who did not feel he was subject to those scriptures?

When I told LCG I would not be back on 12/28/12, I did so without having lined up groups to support me.

Would not a prophet truly walk by faith and not by sight (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:7)? That is what what happened and I believe that this should be considered as another proper fruit.

As far as my genuineness, the fact that I still do not take a salary for this work should demonstrate that I am not any type of a hireling (cf. John 10:12-13; Ezekiel 34:2-6).

But what about other fruits?

The Apostle Paul admonished Christians to pray for the gift of prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14:1-5. For decades, I obeyed that biblical admonition. On October 3, 2008, Dr. Meredith (Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God) called me and said to me, “God may consider you to be a prophet.” Notice that this came from a long-time evangelist and did not first come out from me. It was Dr. Meredith who first brought up the topic about Bob Thiel being a prophet. I had never mentioned my prayers related to this prior to that telephone conversation, and when I did then, he concurred that I had been doing what the Bible said to do.

Furthermore, although at least two LCG ministers told me that I did not need to have hands laid upon me to be a prophet, I was not convinced. So, I prayed that if I was a prophet that God would arrange something to happen in Charlotte, NC on a trip I was going to make there in mid-December 2011. God answered that prayer in a manner that I did not expect when LCG minister Gaylyn Bonjour anointed me and unexpectedly prayed that God would grant me a double-portion of His Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9-13). Later that day, LCG’s top three evangelists told me that they would correct the issues that I had been bringing up to them for years (some in accordance with Matthew 18:15-18). Yet, they did not resolve matters when they said that they would. What kind of fruits were they displaying?

Do you believe that answered prayer can be the fruit of a prophet? If not, then consider that you might not be willing to understand how God often works.

Despite many issues, I was not willing to leave LCG until I was convinced that LCG could no longer possess the mantle for the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15; Revelation 3:7-12).

The Bible says that prophets will sometimes be given a dream by God (Numbers 12:6). And I had a dream that was confirmed. So did another who also became part of CCOG. Also, there was a third dream from another who became part of CCOG in 2014 as well (see Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God).

As far as prophetic fruits, I have made hundreds of prophetic statements and explanations that have been confirmed by subsequent events. Regular readers at the www.cogwriter.com website can search this site to find many. There were also at least 33 associated with my book 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect (those are listed in the beginning of the article titled End of Mayan Calendar 2012–Might 2012 Mean Something?).

For many, these are not dramatic enough or are always lucky guesses. If you believe that ALL of them are, that is your prerogative.

Yet, notice also something else that Jesus taught:

39 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. (Matthew 12:39-42)

Those Jesus was speaking to would not have considered that Jonah being in the belly of the ‘great fish’ was a prophetic type of the Messiah. The Jews expected a conquering military Messiah. And while Jesus will return as such (Revelation 19), that is not how He came the first time. Most people pointed to the wrong signs, despite the truths that Jesus taught and the miracles the Father allowed Him to do (cf. John 5:30; 8:45; 10:37; 14:11).

JESUS CAME NEAR THE TIME WHEN MANY EXPECTED THE MESSIAH. YET, SINCE JESUS DID NOT APPEAR AS MANY EXPECTED AND THEY DISBELIEVED. SOME COUNTED ON SCRIPTURES THAT THEY WERE SURE WERE PROOF JESUS WAS NOT THE MESSIAH, BUT BECAUSE THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND ALL ABOUT JESUS, THEY WERE WRONG.

Even great prophet John the Baptist (Luke 7:38) had doubts about Jesus (Luke 7:19-21), and Jesus then decided to say that those are blessed who were not offended because of Him (Luke 7:22-23). Some will be offended by the truth and not accept it–even many Christians.

Those in Jesus’ day expected something other than Jesus. Jesus (Matthew 23:29-35; Luke 11:49-50) and the martyr Stephen (Acts 7:52) made it clear that people who thought that they were God’s people repeatedly have not accepted God’s prophets–even though they thought that they would (Matthew 23:30).

The fact that I have correctly explained various aspects of end time prophecy that LCG originally agreed with me on but changed (e.g. Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?) is another prophetic fruit.

The Abilities of Those With God’s Spirit Vary

Here is Dexter Wakefield’s last statement above:

those who have God’s Spirit have the ability, and the responsibility, to discern their fruits and their genuineness.

Dexter Wakefield seems to be suggesting that this ability for discernment is universal among all Christians. That is flat out not the case. It also contradicts something he quoted from the Bible.

Let’s look at it again:

To serve the needs of the Church, God—through His Spirit—gives different members different gifts. “…to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits … the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually … (1 Corinthians 12:4–11)

Discernment is given individually. If all had the same discernment, there would not be the multitude of Church of God groups these days. Discernment is a blessing to those who have increasing love (Philippians 1:9), and that would include those having a growing love of the truth.

If those in LCG would place a higher emphasis on loving the truth, they would be able to discern that LCG does not properly understand critical aspects of end time prophecy. They would also realize that unless LCG changes to what the CCOG is teaching regarding prophetic sequences and the start of the Great Tribulation, that those in LCG will NOT be subject to protection from a great tribulation that LCG will not know will begin.

Jesus clearly taught that there would be different groups of Christians in the end times in Revelation 2 & 3, and that different ones had different strengths, needs, and abilities. Thus, there are differing degrees of discernment.

It should also be noted that while they may have the ability, those who are NOT Philadelphians are clearly shown by scripture to not actually discern this in the very end-times. The Bible only promises to protect the remaining “Philadelphia Christians” from the hour of trial that will come on the entire earth. LCG’s prophetic errors, unless they repent of them, will prevent them from knowing when that “hour of trial” will come (see, for example Is the Future King of the South Rising Up?). The non-Philadelphia Christians (and these are those who do have God’s Holy Spirit) will not be protected (Revelation 12:17) and instead will be turned over to the hand of the Beast power for a time, times, and 1/2 a time (Daniel 7:25b).

Jesus taught, to “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24), yet most these days seem to wish to use a different criteria. Jesus was misjudged by those who thought He did not meet criteria they strongly felt that they Bible required.

Consequences of Ignoring Prophetic Interpretations

Some in various COGs have improperly called me a false prophet. But generally not because of any false prophecies I supposedly made, but based on their criteria for prophets which differ from what the New Testament teaches (see How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).

Notice something from the late Herbert W. Armstrong:

PERSECUTORS HAVE CALLED me a “false prophet.” Now how would you KNOW whether the accusation IS true- or false?…

Actually, it probably is not very important to you to know whether my persecutors are right or wrong, when they call me dirty names, hurl epithets, resort to innuendo, impute sinister motives, strive to discredit, attempt character assassination. What is important to YOU is whether what you read in The PLAIN TRUTH really is the truth – whether what you hear over The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast is true- not whether I , as an individual, am true or false.

I think our readers know by now that we always say: ” DON’ T believe what we say because you believe in us.” We say ” Listen with open mind, without prejudice, then CHECK UP in your own Bible-prove whether it is true, and BELIEVE what you find proved!” I don’t seek to induce people to believe in ME- I seek to lead them to believe in JESUS CHRIST! (Armstrong HW. Personal from the Editor. Plain Truth, May 1966, pp. 2)

Notice some prophetic teachings, and ramifications of some teachings that LCG holds that differ from the Continuing Church of God:

  1. The Great Tribulation begins with or after the King of the North invades the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43) (see PCG and LCG do not understand the end-time King of the South sequence–do you?). This is not the order that Daniel 11 teaches (see Who is the King of the North?). LCG’s position is out of biblical sequence, those who hold to LCG’s position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  2. The abomination of desolation of Daniel 11:31 occurs after the King of the North invades the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43; see PCG and LCG do not understand the end-time King of the South sequence–do you?). Since this will not happen, those who hold to LCG’s position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  3. The ‘Falling Away’ warned about in 2 Thessalonians 2 has mainly to do with the world and Protestants and not the Church of God (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings ). LCG is thus not teaching its members many things that they need to know so that they will not be subject to falling away in the future. And while there will be COG supporters (in various groups, including likely CCOG) who will fall away (Daniel 11:30-35), LCG, in my view, is not properly preparing members for this.
  4. The man of sin who sits in the temple of God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) is the Antichrist, not the Beast. Yet, this is the Beast (see Who is the Man of Sin?). So, when this happens, those who hold to LCG’s position will not understand its prophetic ramifications.
  5. A Jerusalem temple will be rebuilt before Jesus returns. While this is remotely possible (and not all in LCG insist on this), it is not required (the “temple of God” in the New Testament has to do with a Christian, not Jewish, location; see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?). Since this will not happen as LCG sometimes seems to teach, those who hold to LCG’s position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  6. The Beast power will consist of 10 or 11 current nations in the European Union (see Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?). The European Union has 28 nation members with others hoping to join it. And while it may lose nations, the reality is that if the Beast power rises up when there are more than 11 nations in it, those who hold to LCG’s position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin. Under Herbert Armstrong, the old WCG taught in at least a dozen documents (Plain Truth, Good News, Tomorrow’s World, booklets, Co-worker letter, Bible Correspondence Course) that this passage referred to 10 nations or GROUPS OF NATIONS. LCG should not have insisted on this as it recently did.
  7. The first verse in the Daniel 11 sequence relating to the beginning of the Great Tribulation is Daniel 11:40 (per LCG’s Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs; see also December 2011 Proposed changes to LCG’s Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs). LCG should teach that it begins with Daniel 11:39, which is shortly after Daniel 11:31, which is also consistent with the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7; see also Who is the King of the North?). Those who hold to LCG’s position will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin.
  8. Jesus is NOT the one who will “will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6) as LCG taught in 2015, but that this is part of the work of the final Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6; details on LCG’s and CCOG’s positions are in the article The Elijah Heresies).
  9. The EU will NOT collapse like the old Roman Empire as LCG asserted in December 2015 as the LCG view is contrary to prophetic scriptures (some details on LCG’s and CCOG’s positions are in the article Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?).

Some will come up with their preferred rational as why not to agree with CCOG. Yet, on most of those points, the old WCG taught what I believe that the Bible teaches on them (on the one or two that it did not, one is consistent with a November 1979 HWA writing and on the other an advisor to HWA told me that HWA would have agreed with me on that as well).

Additionally, at least one LCG evangelist, and normally multiple LCG ministers, told me that I was correct on each of those points when I was attending LCG (and I suspect they would on the points that changed after I left). Instead of correcting its errors, LCG has instead insisted on positions that are in conflict with the Bible. LCG also has other doctrinal and character issues which are not appropriate fruits (see, for example, What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God?). LCG also has backed off of teaching that Habakkuk 2:6-8 is an end time prophecy (which Habakkuk 2:3 teaches it is “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak”).

Many will read this post and ignore it as they feel that they personally will not be affected by this or they will figure out prophetic matters on their own in the future. That will be a mistake:

1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together,
O undesirable nation,
2 Before the decree is issued,
Or the day passes like chaff,
Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you,
Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you!
3 Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth,
Who have upheld His justice.
Seek righteousness, seek humility.
It may be that you will be hidden
In the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:1-3)

Those who do not ‘gather together’ to support the one with the highest ordained position who is truly a faithful Philadelphian leader will not be protected (watch also Zephaniah’s ‘Gather Together’ Prophecy). The time for all to humility is now and not hope to wait until later as that will not work.

The fact is that Laodiceans believe that they do not have need to listen to any of God’s end time prophets (Revelation 13:14-18). It astounds me how no one in LCG ever proved me false, but instead seem to prefer to believe false statements directed towards or about me. Or they hold to criteria for prophets that are not biblical.

Of course, most did not believe the great prophet John the Baptist (Luke 28:33), nor that Jesus was the Christ (Luke 28:34) as most of the people then had different criteria than God set (cf. Luke 28:35).

What about you?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Elijah: Past and Prophesied Information about the original Elijah and some information about the Elijah-related prophecies.
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.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets, yet many overlook what the Bible teaches about how to recognize a true one. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? This article contains a scripture-based checklist to assist with this determination.
How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God This is a sermon on YouTube addressing a subject that most in the Church of God do not seem to have looked into very much. It discusses scriptures and dispels some improper assertions that some associated with the COG have made about prophets in this time.
Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? Does Revelation 17:12 teach ten nations or not? Why is this important to know?
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Who Are The Two Witnesses? What is their job? What does the Bible reveal? What has the Church of God taught on this subject? Might even Roman Catholic prophecies give some clues here?
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
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.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Behind the Work: Go Therefore and Make Disciples How is the Continuing Church of God making disciples. What has been happening in the Continuing Church of God related to this and aspects of the final phase of the work. This ‘behind the work’ video shows New Zealand, Africa, Jerusalem, Vatican City, the USA, and the United Kingdom as well as one from Asia. Teaching and baptisms are shown.
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 towards Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, German, 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.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God and has articles in español/castellano.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.

CG7 on keeping your job and keeping the Sabbath

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

COGwriter

CG7-Denver’s Bible Advocate magazine had the following article by Dr. Daniel Botkin:

“I’d like to keep the Sabbath, but I can’t. I have to work on Saturdays.”

Wrong. No one who believes in keeping the Sabbath has to work on Saturdays, at least not in America. Americans who work on the Sabbath do so by their own choice, not because they have to.

Sabbathkeeping Christians in Communist Russia were ordered by their oppressive government to work on Saturdays. Many of them chose to obey God rather than man, and they lost a lot more than some crummy job. They suffered imprisonment,exile, and torture for refusing to break God’s holy Sabbath. When we stand with these faithful saints before the Lord on Judgment Day, will any of us have the gall to say, “Well, Lord, I wanted to keep the Sabbath, but I couldn’t. I had to work”?

Informing your employer

How does a disciple of the Messiah go about getting every Sabbath off from his job?

First, you do not go in and ask your employer if you can have Saturdays off. You are not there to make a request; you are there to inform. You inform your employer (politely and respectfully, of course) that you will not be available to work from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Your employer may respond in a number of ways:

“I’ll see what we can do, but for now you’ll have to keep working Saturdays.”

“We can give you Saturdays off, but you’ll have to work on Friday nights.”

“We’ll try, but you may have to occasionally come in on a Saturday if we’re short of help.”

None of these responses is acceptable. Pharaoh tried three times to persuade Moses and Aaron to compromise the Lord’s demands (Exodus 8:25-29; 10:8-11). Moses and Aaron steadfastly refused to accept Pharaoh’s solution, and we must likewise refuse to accept an employer’s offer to compromise.

If your employer refuses to accommodate you, one solution is to look for a different job. However, that may not be necessary. If this particular job is important to you, you may want to inform your employer of his legal obligation toward employees’ religious practices. This should be done politely and respectfully, not in an obnoxious or threatening way.

What the law says

Many people do not realize that federal law requires employers to accommodate employees who need time off for religious reasons, unless the employer demonstrates that accommodation would result in undue hardship on the conduct of its business. You, the employee, do not have to prove the validity of your case. It is the employer who must prove that letting you keep Sabbath would cause undue hardship to his business. The burden of proof is on the employer, not on the employee.

Federal law considers the following solutions to be “reasonable accommodation” that would not cause undue hardship to an employer’s business:

• Securing a substitute worker (even if the employer has to secure the substitute).

• Flexible scheduling (flexible arrival and departure times, floating or optional holidays, flexible work-breaks, use of lunch time in exchange for early departure, staggered work hours, permitting an employee to make up time lost due to the observance of religious practices).

• Lateral transfer and change of job assignment.

The employer must offer the alternative that least disadvantages the individual (i.e., the employee) with respect to his or her employment opportunities. The employer can also be required to bear the extra costs of accommodating the employee, unless the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determines that it is “more than a de minimis cost.”

Sometimes an employer is afraid to give an employee every Saturday off for fear that other employees will see this and likewise demand every Saturday (or Sunday) off for religious reasons. However, according to federal law, this is not proof of undue hardship: “A mere assumption that many more people, with the same religious practices as the person being accommodated, may also need accommodation is not evidence of undue hardship.” The above legal information can be found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (sections 701[j], 703, and 717, eeoc.gov) and in Part XII Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Religion.

These laws apply to labor organizations as well as to employers. The laws pertain not only to scheduling (though this is the most frequent accommodation needed) but also to other religious practices, such as a man’s right to wear a beard because of his religious convictions. The employer’s legal obligation to accommodate “pertains to prospective employees as well as current employees.”

Sabbathkeepers need to know that employees have legal rights to reasonable accommodations and that some employees take their employers to court to enforce these rights. Sometimes the employer wins the case, when it truly would cause undue hardship for the employer to accommodate the employee.

When undue hardship is not an issue, though, the law is on our side. Most employers are reasonable people and intelligent enough to know that it would be wiser for them to accommodate your need than it would be to refuse. Many employers will respect you for taking a firm but polite stand for what you believe. If they are smart, they will know that a person with strong convictions is likely to be a reliable, honest worker with integrity and will find a way to accommodate you.

Other options

Some employers are not so kind and understanding and will simply say, “No, you have to work on Saturdays.” In that case, you must pray and ask the Lord to show you what He would have you to do.

Would the Lord have you take your employer to court, or would He have you look for a different job? (You don’t need to pray about whether or not the Lord would have you keep working on the Sabbath. He’s already told you in the Ten Commandments not to do that!) Fighting for your legal rights in court is one issue, but there is also the issue of maintaining a good testimony as the Messiah’s disciple. Some questions to consider:

• Do I really want to work for an employer who lets me have the Sabbath off only because he was forced by the court to do so?

• Will going to court result in resentment or jealousy in my workplace, and do I want to work in such an atmosphere?

• Is this job really worth fighting for?

• Is it possible that letting me have every Sabbath off really would cause undue hardship for my employer’s business?

• Even if the court rules in my favor, would there still be some hardship, and would it be right to let my employer bear this inconvenience?

Keeping your job should be your third priority here. Keeping the Sabbath and your testimony are top priorities. If you can do this and keep your job, great. Personally, I would not feel comfortable forcing my employer to pay extra costs in order to accommodate me, even though the law can require the employer to bear these minimal costs. For the sake of my testimony as the Lord’s disciple, I would prefer to not exercise this legal right and pay the extra costs myself, unless my employer cheerfully insisted on bearing the cost.

If my employer is willing to bear some minor inconvenience in order to accommodate me, then I should be willing to bear some minor inconvenience to keep the Sabbath. Every situation is unique and has many factors to consider. If you do lose your job for the sake of obeying the Lord, the Lord will honor your sacrifice. He may not provide another job immediately, but He has promised to meet your physical needs if you seek His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).

True identity

So don’t let your employer or anyone else tell you that you have to work on the Sabbath. You are not called to be a slave to your job. You are to treat your employer with honor and respect, but he is not your Owner and Master.

If you are a disciple of the Son of God, then He is your real Owner and Master. You are called to be a servant in His kingdom, not a slave to the world system.

While laws vary in differing locations, as do interpretations of laws, most of the time in the USA (if unions are not involved) it is possible to keep a job and the Sabbath when there is a conflict. However, this does not mean that one will not have other problems or be somehow discriminated against in other ways. A past case in New Zealand protected a Sabbath keeper there (see NZ man awarded cash because of Sabbath-related termination).

I personally was nearly jailed (while working for the government) and threatened with job loss throughout my earlier careers, because I kept the Sabbath.  As it turned out I was not jailed nor fired, but there still is a risk for many.

It takes faith to keep the Sabbath when your job or livelihood (Exodus 34:21) seem to be at risk. But the Bible teaches that we are to obey God rather than men (Acts 5;29).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
How to Observe the Sabbath? How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true? Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 一个不合理的神?
Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath Did Ignatius write against the Sabbath and for Sunday? What about the Didache? What does the actual Greek reveal?
Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace their history through this group. Whaid Rose is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.

The Mark of the Antichrist will be misunderstood by most

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

COGwriter

Many wonder what ‘mark’ or marks may be associated with the final Antichrist.

But few understand who the final Antichrist can be, let alone his mark. And relatively few will properly perceive it.

The terms ‘antichrist’ and ‘antichrists’ are only used in the Bible five times (four and one respectively), and are only found in four verses of the Bible—all written by the Apostle John.

Those verses are 2 John 7, 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22, and 1 John 4:3. All of them discuss some aspect of theology, which suggest, therefore, that the final Antichrist is mainly a religious figure.

Probably starting no later than with Simon Magus (Acts 8:18-24), the “mystery of lawlessness” that the Apostle Paul wrote of was “already at work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

Irenaeus wrote that followers of Simon Magus felt that the apostles were too influenced by Jewish opinions and that the faith needed to be distant from that (Against Heresies. Book III, Chapter 12, Verses 11-12).

One of the reasons that it is considered to be a mystery is that the supporters of changing the practices of the faithful claimed to be faithful, while they were also distancing themselves from the faithful like John.

In addition to Simon Magus, the Bible specifically warns about a group called the Nicolaitans whose deeds the Church of God in Ephesus was praised for hating (Revelation 2:6). Scriptural references to the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:6;14-15) seem to be referring to a group who wrongly seemed to feel that various of their physical actions/deeds were not of spiritual consequence.  The Nicolaitans were seemingly among those “who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality” (Jude 4, NIV; see also What is the Mark of Antichrist?) and/or were certain “semi-Gnostics” who instituted anti-biblical practices—they understood a false gospel.  (The Apostle Paul warned about this in 2 Corinthians 11:4 and Galatians 1:6-7.)

For example, while Justin Martyr positively referred to the Apostle John’s writings at least twice (First Apology, Chapter 61 and Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 81), he distanced himself from John’s practices, while endorsing a compromise with pagan Roman culture.

In Ephesus around 135 A.D., Justin wrote the following, in response to a Jew named Trypho:

But if, Trypho, some of your race, who say they believe in this Christ, compel those Gentiles who believe in this Christ to live in all respects according to the law given by Moses, or choose not to associate so intimately with them, I in like manner do not approve of them (Justin.  Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 47. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Thus, Justin admits that there were two groups in Ephesus, one that kept all the law and the other that did not. He also admits that he did not approve of those who kept the law. Justin Martyr records this accusation from Trypho:

But this is what we are most at a loss about: that you, professing to be pious, and supposing yourselves better than others, are not in any particular separated from them, and do not alter your mode of living from the nations, in that you observe no festivals or Sabbaths…you do not obey His commandments (Justin Martyr.  Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 10. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright © 1885. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.).

This confused Trypho.  Justin was claiming to be pious and faithful, but was actually practicing the mystery of lawlessness.

While the Christians in Ephesus were told to live differently than the other Gentiles in whose nation they co-existed with (Ephesians 4:17), those with Justin Martyr could not be distinguished. It is interesting to note that Trypho expected that Justin would have kept the Sabbath–this is because that was the common practice of those that professed Christ in Asia Minor.  Polycarp of Smyrna, for example, lived there and kept practices like the festivals, Sabbaths, and Passover on the 14th (and not Sunday, see Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenæus, Chapter 3; Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 2; Polycrates. Letter to Bishop Victor).

It is believed that the discourse between Trypho and Justin Martyr took place in Ephesus, though Justin Martyr later ended up in Rome (Lebreton J.  St. Justin Martyr. The Catholic Encyclopedia)–which may have been when he adopted or further pushed Sunday on Rome.

Justin’s writings prove that there would have had to be two very different professing Christian groups in Ephesus. Justin Martyr specifically claimed his group did not observe the Sabbath, keep the Feasts, or eat unleavened bread (Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 18)—yet, according to the Catholic historian Eusebius, Polycrates later confirmed that Passover was continually kept on the 14th and unleavened bread was still eaten annually by the Christians who were the followers of Polycarp and John in Ephesus (Eusebius.  Church History. Book V, Chapter 24).

Justin was the first writer to specifically discuss worship on Sunday:

But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter (The First Apology. Chapter LXVII).

According to most scholars, this writing occurred in 150 A.D. The Greek expression he used was τῇ τοῦ Ηλίου λεγομένη ἡμέρᾳ which literally seems to mean “on the day said to be Helios” (Helios was the name of the Greek sun god). Helios was the name of the Greek sun god, and Justin was telling the Greek reading Roman emperor (if he ever actually saw the letter) that Justin’s faith was consistent with those who worshiped the sun god. The apostate Justin is considered to be a saint by the Greco-Roman-Protestant faiths.

As Dr. Bacchiocchi  indicated, some of the first documented changes that the Greco-Roman churches adopted was distancing themselves from practices considered to be Jewish.  Sometimes because of fear of imperial persecution, but sometimes because of hate towards Jews or things considered to be Jewish.

The heretic Marcion hated the seventh-day Sabbath and things he considered to be Jewish:

Marcion acquired his very perverse opinions not from a master, but his master from his opinion! … He displayed a hatred against the Jews’ most solemn day, He was only professedly following the Creator, as being His Christ, in this very hatred of the Sabbath… (Tertullian. Against Marcion, Book IV, Chapter 12. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Marcion insisted that the Church had obscured the Gospel by seeking to combine it with Judaism (Latourette KS. A History of Christianity, Volume 1: to A.D. 1500. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1975, p. 126).

Although he is considered to be an apostate, Marcion was accepted by the Church of Rome.

He was later denounced by Polycarp of Smyrna, when Polycarp visited Rome:

Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, “Dost thou know me?” “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.” (Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

So, Polycarp personally denounced one who taught against the Sabbath.  Yet, Rome kept him for decades.

Irenaeus (a Catholic/Orthodox/Protestant saint) reported:

Marcion, then, succeeding him, flourished under Anicetus, who held the tenth place of the episcopate. (Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

One that Polycarp denounced, and is now considered an apostate by the Church of Rome, flourished under Bishop Anicetus of Rome.  Some Protestants have embraced Marcion as an original Protestant.  Yet, Marcion was an antichrist.

In the early fourth century Constantine became Emperor of Rome. He personally claimed to see an apparition of the sun god Sol in a grove of Apollo in Gaul in 310 (discussed in Rodgers, Barbara S. “Constantine’s Pagan Vision, ”Byzantion, vol. 50, 1980, pp. 259–78).

Even after his alleged conversion to his claimed version of the Christian faith in 312 (if he was ever baptized, it was supposedly on his death bed in 337 A.D., despite him declaring himself a lay “Christian” bishop by 325), Emperor Constantine still put the sun god Sol on his coins.

Constantine was devoted to Sunday and decreed circa March 7, 321:

Let all judges, the people of cities, and those employed in all trades, remain quiet on the Holy Day of Sunday. Persons residing in the country, however, can freely and lawfully proceed with the cultivation of the fields; as it frequently happens that the sowing of grain or the planting of vines cannot be deferred to a more suitable day, and by making concessions to Heaven the advantage of the time may be lost (Code of Justinian, Book III, Title XII, III. THE JUSTINIAN CODE FROM THE CORPUS JURIS CIVILIS. Translated from the original Latin by Samuel P. Scott. Central Trust Company, Cincinnati, 1932).

Shortly after the above decree, Eusebius recorded this about Constantine:

Accordingly he enjoined on all the subjects of the Roman empire to observe the Lord’s day, as a day of rest (Eusebius. Life of Constantine, Book IV, Chapter 18).

Notice that “the Lord’s day” became enjoined by a decree of a Roman Empire. Also notice the following:

There is a large body of civil legislation on the Sunday rest side by side with the ecclesiastical. It begins with an Edict of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, who forbade judges to sit and townspeople to work on Sunday (Slater T. Transcribed by Scott Anthony Hibbs. Sunday. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).

The bolded quote shows one of the first official intertwinings of European politics and Catholic doctrine. Despite the fact that he was not baptized nor ordained, the influence of the sun-god worshiping Emperor Constantine, who declared himself a bishop, was highly significant:

So prominent had Christians and their day become that when the Emperor Constantine proclaimed Sun Day as the weekly holy day for all Romans, some Christians believed that it was for their sake. More likely Constantine, like many Roman aristocrats of the time, was simply trying to find common ground for his mixed pagan and Christian subjects, especially his soldiers. Unity was for the good of the state and the emperors’ power (Harline C. Sunday: A History of the First Day from Babylonia to the Super Bowl. Doubleday, NY, 2007, p. 17).

However, after a time, Constantine did clearly begin to provide more favor to the Roman version of ‘Christianity’ which (like the pagans, but unlike the Church of God) endorsed Sunday.

In 325 A.D., he convened the Council of Nicea which endorsed Sunday as the weekly day of worship as well as the day for Passover.

Of course, the Greco-Roman faiths liked this as they had already adopted Sunday in most regions (though they still had to face opposition in Asia Minor).  After that council, those in the Church of God who kept the Sabbath as well as Passover on the proper date were considered to be heretics and outcasts.

Roman Catholics consider that Sunday is their mark:

“Sunday is our mark of authority. .  . .The church is above the Bible, and this transference is proof of that fact.” The Catholic Record, September 1, 1923.

“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change (from Saturday to Sunday) was her act.  It could not have been otherwise, as none in those days would have dreamed of doing anything in matters spiritual and religious without her, and the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters. The Catholic Mirror,  September 23, 1893. (as reported in: Wehr J.  Who Are These Three Angels? Hartland Publications, 1997, p. 112)

“Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did, happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. ‘The Day of the Lord’ (dies Dominica) was chosen, not from any directions noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church’s sense of its own power. The day of resurrection, the day of Pentecost, fifty days later, came on the first day of the week. So this would be the new Sabbath. People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically…keep Saturday holy”.  Priest Leo Broderick, Saint Catherine Catholic Church Sentinel, Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995. (as reported in Morgan K.  Sabbath Rest. TEACH Services, Inc., 2002, p. 59)

“It was the Catholic Church which…transferred this rest to the Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of the Lord. Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the church.” (Monsignor Louis Segur. “Plain Talk about the Protestantism of Today.” Patrick Donahoe, 1868, p 225 (note some other sources say p. 213); as cited in Hartland Publications. What Shall I Do to Inherit Eternal Life? 2004, p. 83)

So, Catholics believe that their authority is shown by adoption of Sunday.  Notice also the following from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

The Church, on the other hand, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, to the first, made the Third Commandment refer to Sunday as the day to be kept holy as the Lord’s Day (Stapleton, J.H. The Ten Commandments. Transcribed by Marcia L. Bellafiore. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

A non-biblical change was made.  It did not come from Jesus nor His early faithful followers. Perhaps it should also be mentioned that some Catholics consider the cross to be their mark (see also What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? and The Mark of the Beast).

What do the Eastern Orthodox Catholics teach?

The Orthodox believe that Sabbath is Saturday (to this day, the Greek word for Saturday is pronounced ‘sabbado’ – as is the case in many other languages). Hence, Saturday is the old Sabbath and Sunday is the Lord’s Day or the Day of Resurrection. In the Orthodox tradition, Saturday always has the feastly character of the Jewish sabbath; it is never a strict fasting day. Moreover, it has always been the liturgical practice to serve Divine Liturgy both on Sabbath and the Lord’s Day, and this remains the case in Orthodox monasteries. However, Christians are not under the Law and they are not subjects of the Old Creation. The old Sabbath was the seal of the old creation, whereas Sunday is seal of the New Creation, the first or eighth day. For this reason, Gentile Christians have never been bound by Sabbatical laws on the old Sabbath. (Cleenewerck L, editor. Orthodox Answers: Sabbath. http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/details.asp?ID=10 viewed 06/13/09)

As the day after the seventh day (when God rested from His six days of creation) and as the day of Christ’s Resurrection, Sunday early on came to be understood in a mystical way among Christians as the “Eighth Day.” … And from ancient times, Christian baptisteries and fonts have been built with eight sides, indicating the newly baptized are entering the realm of the Eighth Day, the day of eternal rest (Heb 4:1-11) in Christ’s Heavenly Kingdom. (The Sabbath Day, Sunday, and the Eighth Day. St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church Bellingham, Washington. http://www.saintsophias.org/the-sabbath-day.html viewed 10/30/14)

So Roman Catholics claim Sunday is their mark, whereas Eastern Orthodox ones say Sunday is a seal. Both groups know Saturday is the Sabbath, but long ago accepted Sunday as the weekly day for worship and Easter. Both groups also accepted the decisions of the pagan Emperor Constantine’s Council of Nicea. Both groups plan to have a reunion commemorating that Council as well (watch 3rd Council of Nicea in 2025?). They both push and accept Sunday and ignore/reason around scriptures such as Hebrews 4:9-11, to instead accept a day revered by paganism.

In his 1951 Encyclical Letter, Evangelii Praecones, Pope Pius XII wrote:

. . . the Catholic Church has neither scorned nor rejected the pagan philosophies. (Pius XII, Pope as cited in Jesus Christ and the Gentile Mission. Gregorian Biblical BookShop, 2002, p. 355)

Notice what the late Pope John-Paul II taught:

In fact, in the weekly reckoning of time Sunday recalls the day of Christ’s Resurrection. It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ’s victory over sin and death, the fulfilment in him of the first creation and the dawn of “the new creation” (cf. 2 Cor 5:17). …

God blessed the seventh day and made it holy” (Gn 2:3) . . .

The commandment of the Decalogue by which God decrees the Sabbath observance is formulated in the Book of Exodus in a distinctive way: “Remember the Sabbath day in order to keep it holy” (20:8). And the inspired text goes on to give the reason for this, recalling as it does the work of God: “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (v. 11). Before decreeing that something be done, the commandment urges that something be remembered. It is a call to awaken remembrance of the grand and fundamental work of God which is creation, a remembrance which must inspire the entire religious life of man and then fill the day on which man is called to rest. Rest therefore acquires a sacred value: the faithful are called to rest not only as God rested, but to rest in the Lord, bringing the entire creation to him, in praise and thanksgiving, intimate as a child and friendly as a spouse. …

We move from the “Sabbath” to the “first day after the Sabbath”, from the seventh day to the first day: the dies Domini becomes the dies Christi! . . .

Sunday is not only the first day, it is also “the eighth day”, set within the sevenfold succession of days in a unique and transcendent position which evokes not only the beginning of time but also its end in “the age to come”. (APOSTOLIC LETTER DIES DOMINI OF THE HOLY FATHER JOHN PAUL II TO THE BISHOPS, CLERGY AND FAITHFUL OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON KEEPING THE LORD’S DAY HOLY. 31 May 1998. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_05071998_dies-domini_en.html viewed 10/29/14)

I would add here that Jesus was NOT resurrected on the day we now call Sunday (see What Happened in the ‘Crucifixion Week’?) and Passover was not intended to be kept weekly and called Easter (the name of a pagan goddess).

Roman Catholic leaders know which day is the biblical Sabbath and seventh day, but still push Sunday. I would add here that the ‘eighth day’ argument came from Gnostics that claimed Christianity. Although Catholics and Protestants have denounced the Gnostics, both groups have leaders that clearly embraced the ‘eighth day’ (for details, see Sunday and Christianity).

Former Pope Benedict XVI claimed that Easter Sunday was an identifying sign:

The intention of this Eucharistic Congress, which ends today, was once again to present Sunday as the “weekly Easter”, an expression of the identity of the Christian community and the centre of its life and mission.

The chosen theme – “Without Sunday we cannot live” (PASTORAL VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO BARI FOR THE CLOSING OF THE 24th ITALIAN NATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI Esplanade of Marisabella Sunday, 29 May 2005. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2005/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20050529_bari_en.html viewed 10/29/14)

And Easter is truly a sign that those who observe it have deviated from the Bible and changed from the practices of the Apostle John. The claim that Christians cannot live without Sunday is wrong and indicates a willingness to kill those that will not keep it.

Notice more from former Pope Benedict XVI:

After reflecting in the past on the Roman Martyrology and on Sacred Music, you are now preparing to examine in depth the theme: “Sunday Mass for the sanctification of the Christian People”. Because of its spiritual and pastoral implications, this is a very timely topic.

The Second Vatican Council teaches that “the Church celebrates the Paschal Mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the “Lord’s Day’ or “Sunday’” (Sacrosanctum Concilium,n. 106). …

Inspired by knowledge of this, St Ignatius of Antioch asserted: “We are no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord’s Day” (Ad Magn. 9, 1). … (LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO CARD. FRANCIS ARINZE ON THE OCCASION OF THE STUDY DAY IN HONOUR OF THE 43rd ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROMULGATION OF THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY, SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM. 27 November 2006. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20061127_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html viewed 10/29/14)

Truly a ‘mystery of lawlessness,’ Sunday does not set apart of sanctify God’s people. According to Jesus, it is the truth of God’s word that sets true Christians apart:

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

The Bible teaches to observe, not every Sunday, but every Sabbath. And the ‘Paschal Mystery,’ by which he is supposed to be referring to as Passover, is to be kept annually. That was clearly the practice of the apostles and the early faithful (see Polycrates‘ letter to Victor). As far as his appeal to Ignatius, that is a mistranslation and Benedict should have known that (see also Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath).

One should ask themselves, if the Greco-Roman churches are true Christian faiths tied to the word of God, why do they repeatedly and often bring up false arguments to try to convince all to follow their changes to weekly-Sunday and Easter-Sunday?

Notice something the Apostle Paul warned against:

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he is removed from the scene. (2 Thessalonians 2:7, NAB, a Catholic translation)

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7, NKJV throughout unless otherwise indicated)

How can iniquity or lawlessness be a mystery?

Well, it is a mystery because most people who profess Christ do not understand what Paul meant by using the term anomia.

A few verses earlier, the Apostle Paul warned about “the man of sin” “the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, the final King of the North), yet many do not understand that sin is related to anomia.

The Apostle John used the word anomia. when he wrote about sin:

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4, KJV)

4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4, NKJV)

4 Whosoever committeth sin commmitteth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity. (1 John 3:4 , Douay-Rheims)

Anomia is shown to be the iniquity of lawlessness–transgressing God’s law. Sin and lawlessness are mysteries to many who profess Christ.

Many rely on ‘traditions’ and ‘traditional explanations’ of portions of the Bible, without realizing that they are guilty of practicing sin and believing in lawlessness.

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were considered to be the strictest, law abiding, religious people. The Apostle Paul affirmed the strictness of that sect himself (Acts 26:5).

Yet, Jesus said that because of their traditions, they were guilty of lawlessness:

3 “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God” — 6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

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 15:3-9)

Notice that Jesus condemned the Pharisees as lawbreakers. The Pharisees thought that they kept the Ten Commandments, but they really did not. (For details about how the Pharisees violated each of the Ten Commandments, see the article Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it?)

Many who profess Christ that believe they keep the Ten Commandments today are, sadly, like the Pharisees. They think because of their traditional ‘exceptions’ to God’s commandments (which they normally do not consider to be exceptions) that they are not partakers of the ‘mystery of lawlessness.’

But many do not understand the mystery of iniquity.

Forcing Sunday, forcing idolatry (and probably a type of cross), economic blackmail, murder, and persecution are tools of Antichrist. The true Christian church should never be persecuting (see Persecutions by Church and State and Where is the True Christian Church Today?).

While those in the world will go along with this, true Christians will not:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

True Christians will persevere and keep all of God’s commandments and not engage in lawlessness.

Lawlessness is the ‘mark’ of antichrists, and Sunday and idolatry are two marks that have been used in the past and are expected to be in the future.

Antichrist will be influenced by Satan and his demons and will persecute those that will not support his mystery of lawlessness. Commandment breaking is the mark of Antichrist.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Mark of Antichrist What is the mark of Antichrist? What have various ones claimed? Here is a link to a related sermon What is the ‘Mark of Antichrist’?
Mystery of Iniquity What is the mystery of iniquity? How did it start? How will it end? A related sermon is also available: The Mystery of Iniquity.
Mark of the Beast What is the mark of the Beast? Who is the Beast? What have various ones claimed the mark is? What is the ‘Mark of the Beast’?
Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath Did Ignatius write against the Sabbath and for Sunday? What about the Didache? What does the actual Greek reveal?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for? A related sermon is titled Jesus, Pharisees, and the Ten Commandments.
Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he?
Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord? Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
How to Observe the Sabbath? How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos This is the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in Tagalog, the primary language of the Philippines.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Does 1 John 5:7-8 prove the Trinity?

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016


COGwriter

Some claim that 1 John 5:7-8 is proof of the Greco-Roman trinity (and that the above diagram ‘explains’ the trinity). This recently happened to me.

But is 1 John 5:7-8 really even supposed to be in the Bible?

The above drawing is also used by some trinitarians to explain the trinity, even though it clearly violates laws of logic. It was basically developed because although most who profess Christ claim to believe in the trinity, it is a concept that is contradictory, so trying to show it in a drawing supposedly makes the illogical easier to understand.

But was the trinity a doctrine of the New Testament or early Christians?

Here is what one modern historian has written about it:

Like other doctrines that became central to the faith, however, belief in the Trinity was a historical development, not a “given” from the early years of the faith. A. The basic notion of the Trinity is that there are three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These are all equally God and of the same substance, but despite the fact there are three persons, together, they compromise only one God, indivisible in nature. B. This doctrine does not appear to be a doctrine pronounced by the historical Jesus, Paul, or any other Christian writer during the first hundred years or so of Christianity. C. It cannot be found explicitly stated in the earliest Christian writings. The only passage of the New Testament that declares the doctrine (1 John 5:7-8) was not originally part of the text but was added by doctrinally astute scribes at a later date (it is not found in any Greek manuscripts until the 11th century) (Ehrman B. From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity, Part 2. The Teaching Company, Chantilly (VA), 2004, p. 43).

The above properly concludes that the trinity was not an original Christian belief and that only passage in the New Testament that supposedly declares that doctrine (1 John 5:7-8) was added at a later date.

Here is the version of 1 John 5:7-8 as improperly shown in the NKJV and the modern Douay Rheims:

7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one. (1 John 5:7-8, NKJV)

7 And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one. 8 And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one. (1 John 5:7-8, Douay-Rheims)

But much of what is shown above was ADDED to the original biblical texts.

Here is what the original text supports according to Dr. Daniel Wallace, professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary (a trinitarian institution) wrote:

The Textual Problem in 1 John 5:7-8:

“5:7 For there are three that testify, 5:8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are in agreement.” –NET Bible

Notice that this is much shorter than what most Protestant or Catholic translators now show. Even certain trinitarian scholars realize that instead of teaching the trinity, the above has to do with Jesus and baptism (see Nelson Study Bible, p. 2147 which is also quoted in the article Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?). It was only after someone scribbled a side note well after the Bible was written that the trinitarian view was added.

How late was the addition that makes it longer?

Here is more from Dr. Daniel Wallace on the longer addition:

This longer reading is found only in eight late manuscripts, four of which have the words in a marginal note. Most of these manuscripts (2318, 221, and [with minor variations] 61, 88, 429, 629, 636, and 918) originate from the 16th century; the earliest manuscript, codex 221 (10th century), includes the reading in a marginal note which was added sometime after the original composition. Thus, there is no sure evidence of this reading in any Greek manuscript until the 1500s; each such reading was apparently composed after Erasmus’ Greek NT was published in 1516. Indeed, the reading appears in no Greek witness of any kind (either manuscript, patristic, or Greek translation of some other version) until AD 1215 (in a Greek translation of the Acts of the Lateran Council, a work originally written in Latin)…

The Trinitarian formula (known as the Comma Johanneum) made its way into the third edition of Erasmus’ Greek NT (1522) because of pressure from the Catholic Church. After his first edition appeared (1516), there arose such a furor over the absence of the Comma that Erasmus needed to defend himself. He argued that he did not put in the Comma because he found no Greek manuscripts that included it…

In reality, the issue is history, not heresy: How can one argue that the Comma Johanneum must go back to the original text when it did not appear until the 16th century in any Greek manuscripts? (Wallace DB. The Textual Problem in 1 John 5:7-8. http://bible.org/article/textual-problem-1-john-57-8)

Although the NIV gets I John 5:7-8 right, in the KJV, Douay-Rheims, NKJV and many other translators of I John 5:7-8 include words not in the original text. On page 1918, The Ryrie Study Bible reminds everyone, related to the NKJV:

“Verse 7 should end with the word witness. The remainder of v. 7 and part of v. 8 are not in any ancient Greek manuscript…”.

In other words the words “in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth” are not inspired and are not supposed to be in the Bible.

Now lest any Catholics have a different view, although the CHANGED version of the Latin Vulgate contains a version of this, the Codex Amiatinus (Codex Amiatinus. Novum Testamentum Latine interpreter Hieronymo. Epistula Iohannis I V:6-8. Constantinus Tischendorf, Lipsiae. 1854 http://books.google.com/books?hl=pl&id=x0opAAAAYAAJ&q=NOVUM_TESTAMENTUM_LATINE#v=onepage&q=NOVUM_TESTAMENTUM_LATINE&f=false viewed 04/21/12), which is believed to be the closest to the original document that Jerome originally translated into Latin, also does not have this as The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

Codex Amiatinus The most celebrated manuscript of the Latin Vulgate Bible, remarkable as the best witness to the true text of St. Jerome…(Fenlon, John Francis. “Codex Amiatinus.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 21 Apr. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04081a.htm>)

Note: Yes, I personally read the Latin in the Codex Amiatinus and compared it to the changed version and more modern version of the Latin Vulgate which differs from the early version in that the modern version adds “in caelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus Sanctus. Et hi tres unum sunt. Et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra:” (Latin Vulgate . com is provided by Mental Systems, Inc. http://www.latinvulgate.com/verse.aspx?t=1&b=23&c=5 viewed 04/21/12).

In other words, Catholic scholars realize that the texts that Jerome used to originally put together the Latin Vulgate Bible (the basic Bible for Catholics) did not have the late addition (which, of course, it could not originally have had as that addition came about many centuries after Jerome did his translation).

Basically, what seems to have happened is that a monk put a personal note related to his interpretation of the ‘three’ mentioned in the first part of 1 John 5:7. One or more scribal monks after him, inserted his note actually in the text. It was NOT inspired by God.

The Protestant and Catholic Bibles that have the added words are relying on very late documents that were not considered to be original. Some, of course, have ignored the truth about the origin of 1 John 5:7-8 and wish to believe that because early heretics seem to have possibly referred to it (one popular online source falsely claims that Tertullian, who followed the heretic Montanus, quoted the omitted words in Against Praxeas–this is not true as I have read that writing and it is not in there–but even if it was, Tertullian was a heretic follower who did not seem to have the proper canon), that it must be true–but that of course is a lie.

Even various trinitarian scholars have concluded that 1 John 5:6-8 essentially has to do with Christ–not the “trinity” (see Nelson Study Bible, p. 2147 which is also quoted in the article Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?).

I would like to mention here that BECAUSE most Bibles contain the false long addition to 1 John 5:7-8, that Muslims often cite this as absolute proof that the Bible has been tampered with and cannot be trusted like they claim the Koran can. The belief and use of 1 John 5:7-8 causes the name of Christ (through the term ‘Christianity’) to be blasphemed among the Gentiles (Romans 2:24; Isaiah 52:5). No honest translator should have ever included it in the Bible as anything other than a footnote that it was improperly added in later centuries as a pretended addition to the text.

Origins of Certain Trinitarian Terms

The Cathecism of the Catholic Church itself admits that the Church (not the Bible) had to come up with terms of “philosophical” (pagan/Greek) origin to explain the trinity:

251 In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop its own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance,” “person,” or “hypostasis,” “relation” and so on (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 74).

According to a Catholic bishop named Marcellus of Ancyrae, around the middle of the fourth century, certain aspects of trinitarianism came from paganism and the term “hypostases” entered the professing Christian world from a heretic named Valentinus:

Now with the heresy of the Ariomaniacs, which has corrupted the Church of God…These then teach three hypostases, just as Valentinus the heresiarch first invented in the book entitled by him ‘On the Three Natures’. For he was the first to invent three hypostases and three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he is discovered to have filched this from Hermes and Plato (Source: Logan A. Marcellus of Ancyra (Pseudo-Anthimus), ‘On the Holy Church’: Text, Translation and Commentary. Verses 8-9. Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Volume 51, Pt. 1, April 2000, p.95 ).

So, it was a heretic that introduced the trinitarian term hypostasis.

The term “substance” basically comes from a Greek term that was introduced to the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches by the pagan sun-worshiping Emperor Constantine. Protestant scholar H. Brown noted:

Although Constantine is usually remembered for the steps he took toward making Christianity the established religion of the Roman Empire, it would not be wrong to consider him the one who inaugurated the centuries of trinitarian orthodoxy. It was he who proposed and perhaps even imposed the expression homoousis at the Council of Nicea in 325, and it was he who provided government aid to the orthodox and exerted government pressure against nonconformists. ( Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988)

It should be noted that it is understood, even by some Catholic scholars, like Priest Bellarmino Bagatti, that those considered to be Judeao-Christians did not accept the Emperor’s non-biblical term:

The point of view of the Judaeo-Christians, devoid of Greek philosophical formation, was that of keeping steadfast to the Testimonia, and therefore not to admit any word foreign to the Bible, including Homoousion. ( Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 47-48)

Regarding the New Testament, even a trinitarian scholar has admitted that the Bible promotes a binitarian view, and does not teach what is now considered to be the trinity:

The binitarian formulas are found in Rom. 8:11, 2 Cor. 4:14, Gal. 1:1, Eph. 1:20, 1 Tim 1:2, 1 Pet. 1:21, and 2 John 1:13…No doctrine of the Trinity in the Nicene sense is present in the New Testament…There is no doctrine of the Trinity in the strict sense in the Apostolic Fathers…(Rusch W.G. The Trinitarian Controversy. Fortress Press, Phil., 1980, pp. 2-3).

The terms trinity, threeness, or trinitarian are not found in the Bible. The Protestant reformer Martin Luther himself taught:

It is indeed true that the name “Trinity” is nowhere to be found in the Holy Scriptures, but has been conceived and invented by man. (Luther Martin. The Sermons of Martin Luther, Church Postil, 1522; III:406-421, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

According to Roman Catholic sources, the term trinity, in relation to the Godhead, did not come until the late second/early third century. Yet, the idea of the trinity was apparently voiced by the heretic Montanus and as well as developed by a famous Gnostic heretic named Valentinus in the mid-2nd Century. One of the so-called Montanist Oracles, spoken by Montanus was:

“I am the Father and the Son and the Paraclete.” (Didymus, De trinitate iii. 41. 1.) (Assembled in P. de Labriolle, La crise montaniste (1913), 34-105, by Bates College, Lewston (Maine) http://abacus.bates.edu/Faculty/Philosophy%20and%20Religion/rel_241/texts/montanism.html 01/31/06).

This is one of the first references to a trinitarian view of the Godhead (the other earliest one was from the heretic Valentinus–it is unclear which was first). The paraclete is a term used to signify the Holy Spirit (it is from the Greek term parakletos). Eusebius records (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapters 18-19) that church leaders in Asia Minor and Antioch, such as Apollonius of Ephesus, that Serapion of Antioch, Apollinaris of Hierapolis, and Thraseas of Eumenia opposed the Montantist heresies (Apollinaris of Hierapolis and Thraseas of Eumenia were Quartodecimans, and Apollonius likely was as well). And Irenaeus recorded that Polycarp denounced Valentinus.

The reality is that the longer addition of 1 John 5:7-8 was unknown to early Christians as it was not part of the Bible. And shockingly to some, the early faithful clearly held what has been called a binitarian or semi-Arian view of the Godhead.

Those interested in studying this doctrine in more detail, should consider looking at the following documented items:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Why Does Jesus Have Two Different Genealogies listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 seemingly list two different genealogies for Jesus. Why?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
What is the Holy Spirit? This is an article by Rod Reynolds.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.
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.
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.

BibleNewsProphecy: USA pushing gender confusion

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

COGwriter

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


13:37

USA pushing gender confusion

On May 13, 2016, the Obama Administration sent notices to school districts around the USA on how it wants them to deal with toilets, lockers, sports, and other issues of interest to the LGBT crowd. The Obama Administration has redefined the word ‘sex’ as written in the 1964 Civil Rights Act as expanded in 1972. Does the Bible teach transgenderism? Are accommodations for those considering themselves transgendered helpful or evil? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing and other transgender issues? Does the Bible warn of terrible consequences for those who merely approve the LBGT agenda?

Here is a link to our video: USA pushing gender confusion.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There are also two YouTube videos related to this, titled Transgender ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ and Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? A related sermons is titled: Pornography, False Comfort, and False Religion. Here a shorter YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Can homosexuals change? A related video sermon is titled: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
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.
Love, Marriage, and Sex It is important to get them in the right order.
Husbands Love Your Wives An article written by the late Selmer Hegvold.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018? 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 video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives. A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West?
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Edition for Second Obama Term This is a 160 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Barack Obama and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled (which the book documents in detail) and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also has a chapter about a Republican choice. This book is available to order at www.barackobamaprophecy.com. The physical book can also be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Barack Obama Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Kenyan, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Republican Leaders? Second Edition for Second Obama Term.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States This is a 188 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Hillary Clinton and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also discusses Republicans. The physical book can be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Hillary Clinton Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Hopi, and other America-Related Prophecies? $11.99.
Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version of the 188 page print edition is available for only US$3.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Amazon Kindle edition.
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. It also lists 18 Laodicean errors in prophetic teachings. A sermon related to the booklet is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
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 other British-descended dominated lands.
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 and has articles in español/castellano.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
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.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy
channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.

‘Audit of US Catholic church shows sharp spike in sex abuse reports’

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

COGwriter

The Church of Rome’s sex abuse scandal has not gone away:

Audit of US Catholic church shows sharp spike in sex abuse reports

May 20, 2016

BOSTON, May 20 (Reuters) – An annual audit of reports of sexual abuse by members of the U.S. Roman Catholic clergy released on Friday showed sharp increases in the number of new claims and in the value of settlements to victims.

The audit showed that 838 people came forward from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, to say they had been sexually abused by priests, deacons or members of religions orders while they were children, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said.

That is up 35 percent from 620 new reports of abuse a year earlier, an increase that the bishops said largely reflected a large number of claims in six dioceses that had either filed for bankruptcy or were located in states that opened windows allowing victims to sue over old cases of sexual assault.

While the bulk of the reports related to cases of abuse date back to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, there were 26 reports made by minors of more recent abuse.

The report also found that Catholic parishes and other orders spent $153.6 million on settlements, legal fees and other expenses related to claims of sex assault over the audit period, up 29 percent from $119.1 million a year earlier. http://www.aol.com/article/2016/05/20/audit-of-us-catholic-church-shows-sharp-spike-in-sex-abuse-repor/21381140/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl20%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D-1142827524_htmlws-main-bb

It has long been my view, that the Vatican’s insistence on celibacy for its priesthood is a major contributing factor to the problem of sex abuse.

Why?

The policy is without biblical support and actually goes against the Bible.  So, it should not come as a surprise that trying to force something opposed to scripture bears terrible consequences. Various writers have indicated that because of the celibacy requirement, the Roman Catholic priesthood has attracted a higher percentage of homosexually-leaning men than are found in the general population–and the sex scandals indicate that they do not always remain celibate.

The Vatican itself is aware that celibacy was not a biblical requirement. Most, if not all of the apostles, including Peter, were married (Paul was not married as an apostle, but some writers have speculated that he had been married and his wife may have died).

The Bible shows that bishops and presbyters/elders were supposed to have a wife and children. This was partially to demonstrate they could handle a church as Paul wrote per the Roman Catholic approved Rheims New Testament:

1.FAITHFUL saying. If a man desire a Bishops office, he desireth a good work.
2. It behoveth therefore a Bishop to be irreprehensible, the husband of one wife,
sober, wise, comely, chaste, a man of hospitality, a teacher,
3. Not given to wine, no fighter, but modest, no quarreler, not covetous,
4. Well ruling his own house, chaving his children subject with all charity.
5. But if a man know not to rule his own house: how shall he have care of the Church of
God? (1 Timothy 3:1-5).

5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest reform the things that are
wanting, and shouldst ordain priests by cities, as I also appointed thee:
6. If any be without crime, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not in the
accusations of riot, or not obedient.
7. For a Bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not angry, nor
given to wine, no striker, nor covetous of filthy lucre (Titus 1:5-7).

Note that the term translated as priest in verse 4, presbyter, simply means elder. Also notice that the Bishop is also allowed to be married. In Eastern Orthodox circles, while their priests are allowed to be married, their bishops are not.

Even The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that from the beginning, celibacy was not a requirement for church leaders:

Turning now to the historical development of the present law of celibacy, we must necessarily begin with St. Paul’s direction (1 Timothy 3:2, 12, and Titus 1:6) that a bishop or a deacon should be “the husband of one wife”. These passages seem fatal to any contention that celibacy was made obligatory upon the clergy from the beginning (Thurston H. Transcribed by Christine J. Murray. Celibacy of the Clergy. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Celibacy became an ideal for the clergy in the East gradually, as it did in the West. In the fourth century we still find St. Gregory Nazianzen’s father, who was Bishop of Nanzianzos, living with his wife, without scandal. But very soon after that the present Eastern rule obtained. It is less strict than in the West. No one can marry after he has been ordained priest (Paphnutius at the first Council of Nicaea maintains this; the first Canon of the Synod of Neocaesarea in 314 or 325, and Can. Apost., xxvi. The Synod of Elvira about 300 had decreed absolute celibacy for all clerks in the West, Can. xxxiii, ib., pp. 238-239); priests already married may keep their wives (the same law applied to deacons and subdeacons: Can. vi of the Synod in Trullo, 692), but bishops must be celibate. As nearly all secular priests were married this meant that, as a general rule, bishops were chosen from the monasteries, and so these became, as they still are, the road through advancement may be attained (Fortesque A. Transcribed by Marie Jutras. Eastern Monasticism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, the celibacy requirement for clergy did not occur until the fourth century–and many did not abide by it for centuries in various areas. Furthermore, a requirement for clerical celibacy contradicts the biblical teaching on this matter.

When the subject of celibacy came up in the fourth century, a Greco-Roman bishop denounced it:

Paphnutius then was bishop of one of the cities in Upper Thebes: he was a man of such eminent piety, that extraordinary miraclas were done by him. In the time of the persecution he had been deprived of one of his eyes. The emperor honoured this man exceedingly, and often sent for him to the palace, and kissed the part where the eye had been torn out. So devout was the emperor Constantine. Having noticed this circumstance respecting Paphnutius, I shall explain. another thing which was wisely ordered in consequence of his advice, both for the good of the church and the honour of the clergy. It seemed fit to the bishops to introduce a new law into the church, that those who were in holy orders, I speak of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, should have no conjugal intercourse with the wives which they had married prior to their ordination. And when it was proposed to deliberate on this matter, Paphnutius having arisen in the midst of the assembly of bishops, earnestly entreated them not to impose so heavy a yoke on the ministers of religion: asserting that ” marriage is honourable among all, and the nuptial bed undefiled;” so that they ought not to injure the church by too stringent restrictions. ” For all men,” said he, ” cannot bear the practice of rigid continence ; neither perhaps would the chastity of each of their wives be preserved.” He termed the intercourse of a man with his lawful wife chastity. It would be sufficient, he thought, that such as had previously entered on their sacred calling should abjure matrimony, according to the ancient tradition of the church: but that none should be separated from her to whom, while yet unordained, he had been legally united…The whole assembly of the clergy assented to the reasoning of Paphnutius (Socrates Scholasticus. Book 1, Chapter XI. A History of the Church in Seven Books: From the Accession of Constantine, A.D. 305, to the 38th Year of Theodosius II, Inluding a Period of 140 Years. Published by S. Bagster, 1844. Original from Harvard University, pp. 53-54)

So as late as the early fourth century, the idea of required celibacy was opposed by most of the clergy.

The sex-pedophile scandals involving Roman Catholic priests have caused a number of Catholics to leave the Church of Rome.

Perhaps it should also be mentioned that Catholic writings indicate a political leader, called the Great Monarch, will arise in Europe when the Church of Rome has had a scandal:

Ven. Holzhauser (17th century): The Great Monarch will come when the Latin Church is desolated, humiliated, and afflicted with many heresies (Dupont Y. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1973, p. 114).

These sex scandals have humiliated the Church of Rome (“the Latin Church”). The Bible tells of a European leader, called the Beast, who will arise. Biblically,  we are very near the time that the “Beast” leader will rise up.

According to an Eastern Orthodox writing, the “Great Monarch” is also supposed to rise up during the time there are “very impious priests” (Tzima Otto H.  The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. Verenika Press, Rock City (SC), 2000,p. 53)–which would be consistent with the whole sex scandal issue among the Catholic priesthood.

Since other churches generally do not have a celibacy requirement for the ministry/priesthood, this is something that Pope Francis may decide to change in order to push his ecumenical agenda–as well as to show he has taken a major step to reduce the apparent temptations his ‘celibate’ priests face.

A major goal of the Vatican to have the Eastern Orthodox, and as many of the Protestants as possible, unify with Rome.

Although both biblical and certain Catholic prophecies warn against this, they both indicate that an ecumenical religion will be adopted by nearly all the world. And, based upon my understanding of biblical and Catholic prophecies, I believe that this will be a religion that calls itself “Catholic” but which changes many doctrines. And celibacy is likely to be one of them. Especially, since the celibacy requirement was waived for the Anglicans in 2009 who wanted to become part of the Church of Rome (see Some Anglicans Starting to Accept Pope’s Offer of Unification).

Look for changes in ‘the Church of Rome.’

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
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. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants) Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
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?
Christ or Antichrist? 1961 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist? 1964 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future? Here are links to a two-part sermon series: What are Some of the Parts of Satan’s Plan? and Satan’s Plan is More Dramatic than Many Realize.
Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus? Will the final “Anti-Christ” be Jewish, insist on Saturday, be opposed to the trinity, and bring in the millennium? Certain Catholic writings indicate this, while others take a different view, but what does the Bible show? A related sermon is Will Jesus Christ be called the Antichrist?
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a version in the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Sermon: Jesus, Pharisees, and the Ten Commandments

Saturday, May 21st, 2016


Ten Commandments in Hebrew

COGwriter

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


1:13:56

Jesus, Pharisees, and the Ten Commandments


Who were the Pharisees? Were they legalists that Jesus condemned because they kept God’s laws? Or were they hypocrites who practiced lawlessness? Did Jesus condemn the Pharisees for keeping or violating God’s laws? Did the Pharisees value tradition over the word of God? Did they keep or violate each of the Ten Commandments? What is a hypocrite?

Here is a link to the sermon: Jesus, Pharisees, and the Ten Commandments.

Some items of related interest may include:

Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for? A related sermon is titled Jesus, Pharisees, and the Ten Commandments.
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
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?
Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai? Some have said not. This article provides biblical quotes to answer this important question. Were the Ten Commandments in Place prior to Mt. Sinai?
Job and the Ten Commandments Was Job written prior to Mount Sinai? Did Job know about the ten commandments? This article provides biblical answers to those questions.
What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments? This article quotes what Jesus actually said about them (His words are in red).
Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? Some have said so. This article provides some biblical quotes to answer this important question.
What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments? Many say Paul taught against the ten commandments. Is this true? This article quotes Paul with his words in green.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well. Here is a version in the Spanish language:.¿Están vigentes todavía los diez mandamientos?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings. A related sermon is titled: Christians and the Ten Commandments.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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.

Have Roman Catholic popes really supported abortion?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016


Colosseum of Rome (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Abortion is wrong and it is good that many Catholics now realize this.

But not all of them. I recall hearing former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, mention that the Church of Rome was not always opposed to abortion. And on that point, Nancy Pelosi was correct.

Most Catholics would generally be surprised to hear that in the third century, Callistus Bishop of Rome, openly allowed abortion.

In circa 217 A.D., Callistus became bishop of Rome. The Roman Catholic saint Hippolytus reported:

Callistus…a man cunning in wickedness, and subtle where deceit was concerned, (and) who was impelled by restless ambition to mount the episcopal throne…Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time! And withal, after such audacious acts, they, lost to all shame, attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church! And some, under the supposition that they will attain prosperity, concur with them. (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VII)

Notice that Callistus allowed (or at least permitted) abortion and adultery.

Note what The Catholic Encyclopedia has admitted about Callistus:

Callistus…permitted noble ladies to marry low persons and slaves, which by the Roman law was forbidden; he had thus given occasion for infanticide. (Chapman , Pope Callistus I)

Yet, the following is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church on abortion and was approved by the late Pope John Paul II and the current Pope Benedict XVI (when Benedict XVI was still known as Cardinal Ratzinger):

Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to moral law (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2271. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 606).

However, they seem to be ignoring the Roman Bishop Callistus (as well as later Popes and others) who did allow abortion.

Furthermore notice what one Protestant scholar wrote about other Roman Catholic Popes:

Most Catholics are not aware that the infallible Church and popes have changed their minds several times on this topic–unthinkable from today’s perspective.

From the fifth century onward, Aristotle’s view that the embryo goes through stages from vegetable to animal to spiritual was accepted. Only in the final stage was it human. Thus Gregory VI (1045-6) said, “He is not a murderer who brings about abortion before the soul is in the body.” Gregory XIII (1572-85) said it was not homicide to kill an embryo of less than 40 days since it wasn’t yet human. His successor, Sixtus V, who rewrote the Bible, disagreed. His Bull of 1588 made all abortions for any reason homicide and cause for excommunication. His successor, Gregory XIV, reversed that decree. In 1621 the Vatican issued another pastoral directive permitting abortion up to 40 days (Hunt D. A Women Rides the BeastHarvest House Publishers, Eugene (OR), 1994, pp. 519-520).

Quite similarly notice what one former Roman Catholic priest wrote:

Most Catholics assume that the soul is infused at conception…For fourteen hundred years until the late nineteenth century, all Catholics, including the popes, took it for granted that the soul is not infused at conception…

From the fifth century, the church accepted without question, the primitive embryology of Aristotle. The embryo began as a non-human speck that was progressively animated.

In the fifteenth century, moralists began to ask whether it was not possible in certain circumstances to get rid of the foetus without fault…Some went further. They said it was permissable to save a mother’s life even after the foetus was humanized…

Gregory XIII (1572-85) said it was not homicide to kill an embryo of less than forty days since it was not human…His successor, the tempestuous Sixtus V, who rewrote the Bible, disagreed entirely. In his Bull Effraenatum of 1588, he said all abortions for whatever reason were homicide and were penalized by excommunication reserved to the Holy See. Immediately after Sixtus died, Gregory XIV realized that, in the current state of theological opinion, Sixtus’ view was too severe. In an almost unique decision, he said Sixtus’ censures were to be treated as if he had never issued them (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolbeg Press, Dublin, 2000, p.p 374-375).

Even some Catholic monks put out instructions for how women could perform abortions in the Middle Ages:

Looking for Medical Miracles in Medieval Manuscripts

Spiegel – March 25, 2010 excerpts…

Obscure passages can also be found in “Macer floridus,” another standard work of monastic medicine. “When a pregnant woman takes in the scent of the wilting flower through her nose, this shall abort the fruit of the womb,” a monk wrote in punchy Latin hexameter. He was referring to the flower of the wild arum plant. The same effect could be achieved, he added, “if the crushed root is inserted into the uterus from below with a small wool suppository.”

The abortion method involving the suppository could even have worked. “Arum is quite toxic,” says Mayer. However, the intervention was probably not completely safe for the pregnant woman. “In the Middle Ages, toxic substances were used very often,” Mayer explains. “The people in the monasteries knew about the risks and side effects, but they often had no better alternatives.”

Monks giving abortion tips? The medical historian doesn’t find this outlandish at all. “The Catholic Church only formulated its rigid position on abortion in the 19th century,” Mayer explains. It was not as clear in the past, he adds. http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,685432,00.html

Although there is no evidence that any legitimate Church of God leader endorsed abortion, sadly some affiliated with the Roman Church have.

So, while it is good that some Catholics now oppose abortion, Catholics may wish to consider that their church has sometimes held to different positions.

Most people, Catholic or otherwise, simply do not know enough about the real truth about early church history.

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

Callistus (217-222) He is the first bishop known to have been a criminal prior to his election. He was also accused of a variety of corrupt acts, including allowing indulgences and infanticide (abortion).
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
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.
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. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
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?

Time: If America Became a Christian Nation, They probably wouldn’t like what it looks like

Monday, May 16th, 2016

COGwriter

A while back, I saw something from Time that seemed interesting. It was partially in response to the PEW survey showing that less people in the USA identify themselves as Protestants or Roman Catholics (see PEW: Declines in USA Catholics and Protestants).

Anyway, here is part of the Time article:

They probably wouldn’t like what it looks like

With political season kicking off again, so is the season where folks begin to use the term “Christian nation.” Some claim we were one, some claim we are one, and some say we need to become one. Yet, each time I hear that phrase I have an inner Princess Bride moment where I say to myself, “you keep using that word, but it doesn’t mean what you think it means.”

So, what if we became a Christian nation? Well, a few things would have to change… drastically. Here’s a few quick examples:Because truth be told, if America actually were to become a Christian nation, I don’t think the people who advocated for it would be too happy with the end product. …

We’d Have To Abolish the 2nd Amendment.

The 2nd Amendment is so beloved by American Christians that this alone would likely be the sticking point preventing us from ever becoming a Christian nation. Jesus taught his disciples that they were to never use violence to respond to evil (Matthew 5:39) and that they were to actively love their enemies. He also lived a life of nonviolent enemy love as a model for us to follow– and living our lives patterned after how he lived his is the ultimate proof that we belong to God (1John 2:6). A Christian nation would have no room for the 2nd Amendment.

No, the USA would not have to get rid of the 2nd amendment (cf. Luke 22:36). But it would have to cease being a warlike nation (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?) and also its love of violent sports (see Is American Football Evil?).

Early Christians would NOT participate in carnal warfare nor watch violent sports (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?).

Most who claim to be Christian in the USA would condemn the original Christian faith as a cult (see also Is the Genuine Church of God a Cult?) and not be willing to accept it. This is despite the fact that Jude wrote “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Most do not understand original Christianity and do not want to. You can learn about it if you are interested in the truth:

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 in the first century to the 21st century. 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.

Let me also add that if the USA were a Christian nation, there would not be crosses associated with churches (see What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol?), the religious holidays would change (see Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible?), people would finally really keep the Ten Commandments (see The Ten Commandments and the Early Church), and there would be many blessings that most cannot conceive of truly happening today.

But because the USA is not Christian, but is ‘an hypocritical nation’ (Isaiah 10:6, KJV), punishment will be coming (Isaiah 10:5-11; Romans 1:18-32; Daniel 11:39) and some of the prophesied sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8) are already here.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings. A related sermon is titled: Christians and the Ten Commandments.