Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Sermon: Bearing Fruit Worthy of Repentance

Saturday, April 30th, 2016


COGwriter

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

Steve Dupuie discusses the role of Christians bearing fruit worthy of repentance.  What are good fruits and what are bad fruits?  He discusses ways to increase producing good fruit as well as ways to decrease producing bad fruit and why it’s important.
Here is a link to the sermon: Bearing Fruit Worthy of Repentance.

Some items of related interest may include:

Elementary Doctrines of the Church: Hebrews 6 Seven doctrines are mentioned and discussed. A related sermon is also available titled: Basic Doctrines of Hebrew 6.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Faith for those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.
Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church Was it by immersion? Did it include infants? Does Polycarp prove infant baptism? Here is a link to some information in the Spanish language: Bautismo de infantes o bendición de los niños pequeños. A related sermon video is titled Baptism: What is it and how should it be done?
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
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.

Bible Millionaire education and amusement

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Game Seat

By COGWriter

You have two holy days in a row.

Are you interested in a fun way to add to your knowledge of the Bible?

A very popular link at the COGwriter website is to the Who Wants to be a Biblical Millionaire? quiz, developed by Michael Thiel.

It is an interesting game and Michael is always adding more questions to it. The game has over 1,100 different questions. Think of it as an entertaining way to assist your doctrinal memory.

While I believe that this and other quizzes at the site help people better learn the Bible, the major reason I have quizzes, animations, photos, and even news, as opposed to only doctrinal articles, is to attempt to better follow the Apostle Paul’s example which was:

22 I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you (1 Corinthians 9:22-23).

Besides, the Bible teaches that there is a “time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl 3:1). Hence, there are new items, games, and other materials than simply doctrinal and prophetic ones at the www.cogwriter.com website.

Michael’s Free Bible Quizzes and Public Domain Animations.

Self Grading Bible Quiz 15 questions and a report card when you finish.
The Good Samaritan A public domain claymation for younger people.
Paul in Damascus Not a quiz, but a Lego-animation.
John 21 Not a quiz, but (other than a Lego suggesting a long-haired Jesus) a biblical story for young people.
David vs. Goliath A higher level animation for older young people.
Solomon’s Temple This is a a 5 minute animated film that shows one artist’s understanding of the details about Solomon’s temple.
Bible Crossword Puzzle
Who Wants to be a Biblical Millionaire?
A sophisticated quiz.
Pentecost Quiz This is a Pentecost quiz based upon the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.
The Antichrist Quiz Do you really know much about the Antichrist?
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
The Ten Commandments Quiz Developed by my son Michael.
Michael’s Day of Atonement Quiz Another free on-line Bible quiz by my son Michael.
Bible Hangman Michael’s most interactive Bible game to date. Another one of his free online Bible games.

The Seventh (Last) Day of Unleavened Bread

Friday, April 29th, 2016


Unleavened Bread

COGwriter

Today is the last, the seventh, day of unleavened bread. Here is some of what the Hebrew scriptures teach about it:

6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. 8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. (Leviticus 23:6-8)

18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. (Exodus 12:18)

So, today (the 21st of Nisan or Abib on the Hebrew calendar) faithful Christians are off work/school and attending some type of church service (including perhaps watching a sermon video).

Here is some of what the Greek scriptures teach about it:

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

In Exodus it states that the Days of Unleavened Bread, “shall be a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth” (13:9). Keeping seven days of unleavened bread pictures that we are to live in sincerity and truth by keeping God’s law–that we are not to continue in false religion, not to continue in sin.

Why seven days?

In the Bible God seems to use the number seven to show completeness. There are seven days in a week (Exodus 20:6), seven days of creation (Genesis1), seven Churches in Rev 2&3, seven candlesticks (Revelation 1:20), seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34), etc. The seven Days of Unleavened Bread seem to picture that after our sins have been forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus (Romans 3:25, I Corinthians 5:7)), that we are to no longer continue in the old ways but to walk in the true ways of the Bible (I Corinthians 5:8). The Days of Unleavened Bread help us to understand that sin is to be put out of our lives; throughout the year it reminds us that false religion is all around and needs to be avoided.

People who do not keep the Days of Unleavened Bread are not reminded about false religion and sin through this symbol during the year; maybe they do not want to be.

This last Day of Unleavened Bread lasts until sunset tonight. Are you keeping it? If not, why not start now?

For those of you who are scattered or otherwise and have interest, here is our suggested format for the last day of unleavened bread service this year:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one titled: For how go to the Donations page of the Continuing Church of God. There is a mailing address there, as well as the ability to give offerings online.
  • Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
  • Sermon, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is:  Does God have faith in humans? Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Because of this being an annual Holy Day, some may wish to have double-services.  If so, here is a suggestion for the second service (note: the sermon listed below is from 2015):

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


1:16:20

Does God have faith in humans?

Jesus said He wanted His followers to be perfect as His Father in heaven was perfect. But perfection is not something that humans attain in this life. Do converted Christians sin? Does God have faith in humans? Does God’s Holy Day plan reflect any of this? This is a message intended to be for the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread. (Note: In one place Dr. Thiel cited Revelation 13:8, but mistakenly referred to it as from Romans 13:8.)

This is a sermon for the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread, which runs until sunset April 29, 2016.

Here is a link to the sermon: Does God have faith in humans?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Perfection? Does God have faith in humans? A message for the seventh-day of unleavened bread. A related sermon is titled: Does God have faith in humans?
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here is a YouTube video intended to be viewed for the first day of unleavened bread: Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
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?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Why Easter? Did early Christians observe Easter? What are the origins of Easter? What does Easter have to do with the goddess Ishtar. Where did the word Easter come from? Where do Easter eggs come from? What do rabbits have to do with Easter? Was Jesus resurrected on a Sunday? This is a video.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? How do the Holy Days picture God’s plan of salvation? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
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.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Are you learning from the Days of Unleavened Bread?

Thursday, April 28th, 2016


Unleavened Bread

COGwriter

The days of unleavened bread are mainly over for this year. Did you learn anything from them?

What do the Days of Unleavened Bread picture?

The Bible makes various comments about these days as well as comments about what leaven pictures.

Perhaps before going further, I should quote and comment 1 Corinthians 5:7:

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

Notice clearly that the Corinthians must have been observing the Days of Unleavened Bread because the Apostle Paul stated “you truly are unleavened.” The problem that the Corinthians had was that they were not unleavened spiritually. That is why Paul continued and told them to also spiritually be unleavened “with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” This is what the Bible shows that the Apostle Paul was teaching.

Furthermore, in Romans 3:25 it states, “in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed”. Does this mean we are to continue is sin?

Of course not!

A few verses later Paul wrote, “On the contrary, we establish the law” (Rom 3:31). So while most understand that the Passover pictures a remembrance of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice (I Corinthians 11:24-26), many seem to not understand that we are not to continue in sin.

Why?

Maybe one of the reasons is that they do not observe the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Leaven

In the world, leaven is all around. Not only is it in baked goods, it is now in many other products. Leaven spreads and most of the items it becomes part of crumble. In the Bible, leaven normally pictures malice, wickedness, and hypocrisy (I Corinthians 5:8; Mat 16:6,12; Luke 12:1), while unleavened bread pictures sincerity and truth (I Corinthians 5:8). The Old Testament states, “no leaven shall be seen among you” (Deut 16:3), whereas the New Testament states, “His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7) and that “sin is lawlessness” (I John 3:4).

Leaven pictures the teachings of the Pharisees (Mat 16:6,12; Luke 12:1) whom Jesus called hypocrites (Mat 23:23,25,27,29). According to Strong’s, the Greek word Jesus used that was translated as hypocrite means, “an actor under an assumed role”. The Pharisees were false religious leaders who pretended to keep God’s law, but really did not (Mat 15:3-9).

Notice that leaven is a symbol of false doctrine and hypocrisy that Jesus warned against:

6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”

8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? — but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6-12)

Jesus further described the Pharisees by saying, “you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Mat 23:28). Jesus thus tied leaven (the Pharisees teachings, Mat 16:12) to false religion (being hypocrites) and sin (since “sin is lawlessness,” 1 John 3:4).

Physically, leavening agents include yeast, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), and baking powder. Physically, leavening agents “puff up” grain containing products and make them look larger than they would be otherwise. Since the Bible teaches:

15 On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses (Exodus 12:15).

Those who attempt to obey God follow this and remove most breads, crackers, etc. from their houses, clean out their toasters, and otherwise remove physical leaven from their lives just prior to the start of the Days of Unleavened Bread each year. Since the removal involves work, and the term for day in Exodus 12:15 is Miyowm (Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.) which is different than the Hebrew term for day, Uwbayowm, in Exodus 12:16 (despite the fact that Strong’s uses the same number, 3117, for both words)–this suggests that the removal perhaps should be done before the start of the first day, which is a holy convocation. And this is consistent with other statements in Exodus such as for all of the “seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses” (Exodus 12:19) and “Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters” (Exodus 13:7). The only way for no leavened bread to be seen in one’s quarters for those seven days is if it is gone prior to the start of those seven days.

In Exodus it states that the Days of Unleavened Bread, “shall be a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth” (13:9). Keeping seven days of unleavened bread pictures that we are to live in sincerity and truth by keeping God’s law–that we are not continue in false religion, not to continue in sin.

Why seven days?

In the Bible God seems to use the number seven to show completeness. There are seven days in a week (Exodus 20:6), seven days of creation (Genesis1), seven Churches in Rev 2&3, seven candlesticks (Rev 1:20), seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34), etc. The seven Days of Unleavened Bread seem to picture that after our sins have been forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus (Rom 3:25, I Corinthians 5:7)), that we are to no longer continue in the old ways but to walk in the true ways of the Bible (I Corinthians 5:8). The Days of Unleavened Bread help us to understand that sin is to put out of our lives; throughout the year it reminds us that false religion is all around and needs to be avoided.

People who do not keep the Days of Unleavened Bread are not reminded about false religion and sin through this symbol during the year; maybe they do not want to be.

A Warning

Now it is interesting to note that Jude warned that, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

This is interesting because in the next verse he ties this problem with deliverance (from Egypt) during the Days of Unleavened Bread (which should be kept as an annual reminder of sin and deliverance, Exodus 13:3-10, I Corinthians 5:8).

“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 5). In like manner, just because of the sacrifice of Jesus “God had passed over the sins that were previously committed” (Rom 3:25), he may afterward destroy “those who did not believe”. How do you know if you truly have faith and believe? By doing what God says.

James warned, “You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead (James 2:19-20). In a similar way Paul wrote, “for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Rom 2:13). Paul also warned, “For if we sin willfully after we have received knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation” (Heb 10:26-27).

Like the Old Testament (Exodus 12:15,19), the New Testament teaches us “Therefore purge out the old leaven” I Corinthians 5:7. From a physical standpoint it is easy to not obey these teachings. Physically it is easier not to purge or remove all the leaven from our dwellings. But spiritually, by not keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, many fail to understand that they have to live the way of life that Jesus taught–many accept a false outward religion! Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). By not keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, many have fallen for a religion based upon traditions of men instead of God’s commands!

The Bible vs. ‘Traditions of Men’

Believe it or not Jesus ran into the same problem in His day. The religious rulers (the Pharisees) were condemned because “you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition” (Mathew 15:6). Although traditions of men say that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for keeping the law, the opposite is true. Remember that Jesus said to them that “inside you are filled with lawlessness and hypocrisy” (Matthew 23:28). Actually, they pretended that they believed the Bible, but taught that their understandings (hermeneutics in modern terms) were more important than the literal commands in the Bible (Mark 7:8-9).

Nowadays, the prevailing “tradition” is to NOT keep the days of unleavened bread.

So the problem of the Pharisees exists even to our day.

The Days of Unleavened Bread last until sunset Friday. Are you keeping them? If not, why not start now?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here is a sermon titled Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
UCG and Its Unleavened Bread Study Paper What does the Bible say about eating unleavened bread for seven days? What has UCG officially said about it?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
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?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Why Easter? Did early Christians observe Easter? What are the origins of Easter? What does Easter have to do with the goddess Ishtar. Where did the word Easter come from? Where do Easter eggs come from? What do rabbits have to do with Easter? Was Jesus resurrected on a Sunday? This is a video.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Walpurgis night is really not a Christian holiday

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016


Witches’ Sabbath

COGwriter

On April 30th, some observe something they call Walpurgis Night.

Walpurgis Night is somewhat considered to be a Catholic holiday as its name comes from a Catholic saint named Walpurga. It is sometimes also known as the Witches’ Sabbath. It is widely celebrated in parts of Europe on April 30th and May 1st, and is sometimes called the other “Halloween.”

Here is some of what The Catholic Encyclopedia says about Walpurga:

St. Walpurga Born in Devonshire, about 710; died at Heidenheim, 25 Feb., 777. She is the patroness of Eichstadt, Oudenarde, Furnes, Antwerp, Gronigen, Weilburg, and Zutphen, and is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors…

At Mainz she was welcomed by her uncle, St. Boniface, and by her brother, St. Willibald. After living some time under the rule of St. Lioba at Bischofsheim, she was appointed abbess of Heidenheim, and was thus placed near her favourite brother, St. Winibald, who governed an abbey there. After his death she ruled over the monks’ monastery as well as her own…

The various translations of St. Walburga’s relics have led to a diversity of feasts in her honour. In the Roman Martyrology she is commemorated on 1 May, her name being linked with St. Asaph’s, on which day her chief festival is celebrated in Belgium and Bavaria. (Casanova, Gertrude. “St. Walburga.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 27 Apr. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15526b.htm>)

Here are some modern reports about Walpurgis Night:

“Walpurgis Night was when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroad—when the graves were opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel.” ~ Bram Stoker, “Dracula’s Guest”

The other Halloween – exactly six months from All Hallow’s Eve – is known as May Eve. April 30 is also known as Walpurgis Night. Beltane, which also corresponds to April 30/May 1, is one of eight solar Sabbats observed by pagans. The holiday incorporates traditions from the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, but it bears more relation to the Germanic May Day festival.

Ancient Celts recognized only two seasons of the year, summer and winter, and their pivotal dates, Beltane and Samhain, were very important for the world, both seen and unseen.

As with Halloween, the veil separating the world of the living and the dead was supposed to wear particularly thin at this time of year. In Medieval Christendom, it was not only Hallowe’en or All Souls’ Day when a spooky atmosphere was cultivated, but on May Eve, among other nights of the year, it also was believed that the world of ghosts and fairies, and witches and shapeshifters, could spill over to our own. http://blog.al.com/strange-alabama/2013/04/the_other_halloween.html

Tonight, April 30th, Germany celebrates Walpurgis Night, or Hexennacht – “witches’ night”. According to German folk tales, this is the night when witches fly to Mount Brocken in the East of Germany to hold a celebration and await the beginning of spring.

So what can you expect in this magical night? Many people dress up as witches and flock to Mount Brocken, located in the Harz region of Germany. Big bonfires are lit, and the “witches” dance around the flames. If you want to skip the dressing up but still want to go dancing, visit one of the many Tanz in den Mai (“dance into May”) events, held all over Germany. http://gogermany.about.com/b/2013/04/30/a-night-out.htm

Walpurgis Night is another pagan ritual celebrating the arrival of spring. According to Wiki, it is widely celebrated across much of central and northern Europe; I can attest to that.

Wiki also claims that Walpurgis Night is named after the English missionary Saint Walpurga (ca. 710–777/9) who was canonized on 1 May (ca. 870). Over the centuries since, Walpurgis Night has become celebrated in conjunction with the night of April 30 to May 1…

Walpurgis Night

Common perception is that WP is the night when witches from across the universe converge on to the Brocken mountain in Germany to hold their annual meeting. It’s thought to be sort of an annual meeting to review past activities and plan for the future, the like of which any society or company has.

Witches

Witches are (female) characters of super-natural powers, thought to have been the cause of much trouble in the past…modern-day celebrations of this pagan ritual abound over much of Europe. http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/54785

Walpurgis Night (Walpurgisnacht) is a traditional spring festival on 30 April or 1 May in large parts of Central and Northern Europe. It is often celebrated with dancing and with bonfires. It is exactly six months from All Hallows’ Eve…

The German term is recorded in 1668 by Johannes Praetorius (writer) (de)[3] as S. Walpurgis Nacht or S. Walpurgis Abend. An earlier mention of Walpurgis and S. Walpurgis Abend is in the 1603 edition of the Calendarium perpetuum of Johann Coler,[4] who also refers to the following day, 1 May, as Jacobi Philippi, feast day of the apostles James the Less and Philip in the Catholic calendar.

The 17th century German tradition of a meeting of sorcerers and witches on May Day is influenced by the descriptions of Witches’ Sabbaths in 15th and 16th century literature.

30 April is pálení čarodějnic (“burning of the witches”) or čarodějnice (“the witches”) in the Czech Republic, the day when winter is ceremonially brought to the end by the burning of rag and straw witches or just broomsticks on bonfires around the country. The festival offers Czechs the chance to eat, drink and be merry around a roaring fire.

In Estonia, Volbriöö is celebrated throughout the night of 30 April and into the early hours of 1 May, where 1 May is a public holiday called “Spring Day” (Kevadpüha). Volbriöö is an important and widespread celebration of the arrival of spring in the country. Influenced by German culture, the night originally stood for the gathering and meeting of witches. Modern people still dress up as witches to wander the streets in a carnival-like mood.

In Finland, Walpurgis day (Vappu) is one of the four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus). Walpurgis witnesses the biggest carnival-style festival held in the streets of Finland’s towns and cities. The celebration, which begins on the evening of 30 April and continues to 1 May, typically centres on copious consumption of sima, sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages…

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Brocken and await the arrival of spring.

Walpurgis Night (in German folklore) the night of 30 April (May Day’s eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their gods…”

Brocken is the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany. It is noted for the phenomenon of the Brocken spectre and for witches’ revels which reputedly took place there on Walpurgis night.

The Brocken Spectre is a magnified shadow of an observer, typically surrounded by rainbow-like bands, thrown onto a bank of cloud in high mountain areas when the sun is low. The phenomenon was first reported on the Brocken.

—Oxford Phrase & Fable.

A scene in Goethe’s Faust Part One is called “Walpurgisnacht,” and one in Faust Part Two is called “Classical Walpurgisnacht.” The last chapter of book five in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain is also called “Walpurgisnacht.” In Edward Albee’s 1962 play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Act Two is entitled “Walpurgisnacht.”

In Sweden, Walpurgis Night (Swedish: Valborgsmässoafton or simply Valborg, Vappu in Finland) has more or less become a de facto half holiday… On the eve of the festival, huge bonfires, which should be lighted by striking two flints together, blaze on all the hills and knolls…(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night viewed 04/28/2013)

Walpurgis Night (521-30): No other scene in Goethe’s Faust places such difficult demands on the reader for understanding its place and significance in the drama The essential meaning which Goethe wished to convey resides in the “Walpurgis Night” revels themselves, quite apart from any necessary association with Faust and his pact with Mephistopheles. Concerning the legends of the May Day Witches’ Sabbath, Goethe associated Faust with the murky spirit world of Nordic, Germanic legend. “Walpurgis Night” therefore provides a logical extension of the hocus-pocus and murky superstition established in “Witch’s Kitchen.” the sources for “Walpurgis Night” used have been traced by scholars from several books borrowed from the Ducal library in Weimar at the time when work en the scene was in progress. For the most part these consist of obscure and pseudo-scientific compendia of medieval folklore from the seventeenth century

These accounts offer a fantastic picture of medieval witches’ sabbaths, colored by a mixture of popular superstition and moralistic outrage. The annual revels involved a procession of witches which ascended in the darkness to the summit of the Brocken, where orgiastic revels were held in celebration of Satan…Goethe initially planned to follow the accounts of such satanic debauchery—even to the inclusion of Satan himself, who figures nowhere else in Faust!

Goethe’s view of the witches’ Sabbath on the Brocken gradually shifted away from the orgiastic revels at the summit, as these were conceived in response to the popular tradition, toward a kind of festival of May Day night which has much more positive and serious implications for the drama of Faust as a whole. For this view of the rites of May–just as pagan in origin as the cult of Satan and perhaps originally identical with it—Goethe’s chief source for the ”Walpurgis Night’s Dream-”eminently served his purpose the fairy-folk of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

WALPURGIS NIGHT

After the cathedral scene, a violent shift of mood and locale takes us to the witches’ rendezvous on the Brocken with Faust and Mephisto as spectators and participants in the tumultuous annual convocation…

Wapurgis Night: St. Walpargis or Walburga, abbess of Heidenheim, in Franconia, was born in England and died in 779; her name appears to be derived from “Wolborg,” a “good fortress” (against evil, by her purity) and she was invoked in aid against witchcraft. Her day, l May, is also an ancient Pagan spring festival, and she is thus associated by antithesis with the witches’ sabbath which was traditionally supposed to take place on the Brocken during the previous night. (http://legacy.owensboro.kctcs.edu/crunyon/CE/03-Goethe/52130.htm viewed 04/28/2013)

Walpurgis Night combines two legends: a springtime gathering to drive away evil spirits and an eighth century nun named Saint Walpurga, who was believed to be pursued by evil spirits. http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/germantown-more-news/item/54018-hunt-for-ghosts-at-grumblethorpe-this-saturday-night?Itemid=18

Here is a report machine-translated from German about it:

Every year, countless characters in extravagant costumes in the Harz and elsewhere on Walpurgis Night…At more than 20 locations in the resin Walpurgis Night is celebrated with the colorful stage shows and loud music, the spokeswoman said the Harz Tourism Association, Eva Christin Ronkainen, in Goslar. In these cauldrons – Brown of Lower Saxony location to Schierke in Saxony-Anhalt – then dance bearded wizards, witches and tempting little devil. http://www.mz-web.de/mitteldeutschland/walpurgis-alte-mythen-und-junge-klischees,20641266,22604280.html

Walpurgis Night really has little to do with Walpurga and is not a Christians holiday. It seems to be a combination of paganism, witchcraft, popular fiction, and a party combined with the name of someone associated with demons.

It seems to have a lot in common with Halloween. It is not a Christian celebration.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? Here are some historical and biblical insight on this question. There are many cultures that have celebrations and observances that are similar to some associated with Halloween. What did the Druids do? Is Halloween one of the most important holidays for Satanists? Do the Japanese, Indians, and Chinese have any practices that are similar to some associated with Halloween? Does the Bible endorse or condemn practices that are associated with Halloween? Here is a related sermonette length video: International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween?
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?
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.
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.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Overcoming sin

Monday, April 25th, 2016

COGwriter

Christians need to overcome the world and its sinful ways.

Christians realize that Jesus died for our sins. The Bible makes this clear:

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted).

3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:3-5)

Through biblical observances such as Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread (it is currently the Days of Unleavened Bread in 2016), Christians better learn the price of sin through Jesus’ sacrifice, the prevalence of sin in the world, and the necessity to put sin out of our lives.

Just like the children of Israel had to leave the bondage of physical Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:6), Christians need to leave the spiritual Egypt (Revelation 11:8) of this present evil world (Galatians 1:4). Christians need to come out of sin, but they need God’s help in overcoming sin.

Verses to Memorize to Help with Overcoming Sin

Before going into sin and repentance, there are some portions of scripture that perhaps should be shown first. These are also verses that you really should memorize.

Here is the first:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Nearly every day I pray a slightly modified version of the above more or less as follows:

Father in heaven, let us trust in You with all our hearts and lean not to our own understandings. In all our ways help us acknowledge You and You will direct our paths.

If you sin, at the time you do so you are not obviously trusting in God with all your heart.

Interestingly, notice the verse that comes immediately after Proverbs 3:6:

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:7)

So, we see that not trusting in God, but trusting in ourselves (vanity) can lead to evil. But that fearing and trusting God is the way to depart from evil.

Christians should also consider the following words of Jesus:

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)

I would suggest that all memorize at least the first half of Matthew 6:33.

If you are truly seeking first the kingdom of God, this will help you overcome sin–unlike the children of Israel who did not seek God’s righteousness (cf. Romans 10:1-3).

There is another verse that all should memorize, and it is bolded below:

1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)

The children of Israel saw the miracles, but although they went along with God’s physical plan, they did not truly repent. We, as Christians, all must however.

Putting Sin Out Requires the Help of Jesus

During the Days of Unleavened Bread we are to have no sin in our lives, symbolically, by having to leaven in our dwellings (see also Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread). This annual reminder helps Christians better focus on the need to try to live without sin.

Just as you are not to have a little leaven then, you are not to have a little sin as it affects you (cf. Galatians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 5:7; James 2:8-13)

Christians, however, still sin, but upon confessing them, Jesus will forgive them:

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

But that does not mean we are to deliberately and intentionally sin and remain in it:

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27)

Sometimes the sin is so within one that it seems to defy human will. Notice some of what the Apostle Paul wrote:

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15-25)

Jesus also said, “with men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

We all have lost the struggle with sin at times, but through Christ we can overcome.

Jesus was tempted as we are and understands:

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

No matter how much you feel you messed up, you still can boldly go to the throne of grace to obtain mercy.

Do Not Put Yourself in a Place that You Are as Tempted to Sin

There are also practical, physical, considerations that can help you overcome sin.

When you pray, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13, KJV), the implication is that you do not intentionally place yourself in areas to be tempted.

For example, if one is inclined to overly gamble, one should avoid going to casinos or visiting cities such as Las Vegas.

One who is inclined to smoke should not hang out with others who smoke. Nor should they ever buy cigarettes. However, since smoking is a very difficult habit to break, sometimes one may find replacement behaviors or some other physical item helpful to break the habit. But if someone wants to stop smoking, they really need to stop buying cigarettes. They  should also repent and ask forgiveness of their sins each time they smoke (or commit any other sin).

As far one’s diet goes, God tells His people to “eat what is good” (Isaiah 55:2), thus Christians should be careful about their diets and not eat that which is not good for them.

Jesus lived without sin (Hebrews 4:5) and the Bible teaches that we do not have to allow sin in our lives either, but we are to put on Christ:

13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:13-14)

When it comes to alcohol, one should not hang out with those that overly drink. Notice what the Apostle Peter wrote:

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:1-4)

Peter even warns that some will think it strange if you stop such improper behaviors, but that is what Christians are to do. Furthermore:

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Christians are not to run with the crowd and go along with the world. Sin grows (James 1:15) and spreads (Romans 5:12).

When it comes to sexual immorality, the Apostle Paul wrote:

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

One flees sexual immorality by not getting oneself in a situation that could be somewhat expected to possibly lead to it, or immediately leaving a situation if it appears possible.

And Jesus taught:

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish (Matthew 5:27-29)

So, it is not just doing something wrong that is sin, but also wishing to do the sin is a sin. And if internet pornography is a problem for someone, then they should avoid the internet completely–at least for a while. They also should not go to improper movies, have or buy improper magazines, etc.

But you have to do more than avoid temptation: you are supposed to do good (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:35).

Now you may say that you do not have a problem with gambling, alcohol, drugs, fornication, or pornography, and if you do not, then that is good. But probably all of us have been guilty of the type of murder that Jesus warned against:

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger (Matthew 5:21-22)

And furthermore, notice what Jesus called the greatest commandment:

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

I would submit that this first commandment is the commandment that is violated the most, by probably everyone on the planet, Christian and non-Christian alike. Anytime you sin, you show God that you love something more than Him. The second is also violated a lot.

Basically, humans have a very difficult time getting sufficiently serious about God and His ways to put them above EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME, in their lives.

As Christians, it is not just enough not to sin, we are to do the work of God. Furthermore, consider that when you pray God is not limited to what He can give you–in other words do not neglect to pray for major change, not to just not sin, but to do and support His work.

Jesus taught and warned:

25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matthew 16:25-27)

Christians need to do the true work of God no matter what it costs. This involves personal growth, trusting and loving God, loving others, and supporting God’s end time work.

But there are rewards for doing so:

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:3-5)

We Christians must truly trust God and commit our ways to God.

6 Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (Psalms 20:6-7)

If Christians truly trust in God, and not themselves, they will be saved.

That is part of why Jesus taught:

9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)

Notice it is God’s will that is to be done and what we are to pray for, as well as His kingdom to come.

Notice what God really wants:

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Satan’s problem was that he refused to walk humbly. He was the anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28:14)–he had it all–but his pride got in the way (cf. Ezekiel 28:17). Humans often let their pride get in the way (Proverbs 29:33)–and pride puffs people up (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6).

Yet, Christians are to try to think like God:

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7)

Jesus had more than we humans can imagine, yet He was humble enough to give it up to serve and die for us. That is the attitude to have to truly overcome.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Overcoming Sin What is sin? How are Christians suppose to overcome it? There is also a YouTube video titled How to Overcome Sin.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Do Christians Sin? This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it?
History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’ Did early Christians confess their sins to priests?
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
What is the Meaning of Life?
Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally?
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?

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Suicides up

Sunday, April 24th, 2016


Robin Williams (photo by Eva Rinaldi)

COGwriter

Suicides are up in the USA:

“We’re going in the wrong direction”: America is facing a suicide epidemic

A sobering new study finds the rate of death by suicide increased 24 percent from 1999 to 2014

April 24, 2016

“It’s very sobering and disappointing,” said Harold Koplewicz, a psychiatrist and president of the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit in Manhattan. “We’re not making progress. We’re actually going in the wrong direction.”

“It’s a very important report, and the results are very striking,” said Jeffrey Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, a mental health nonprofit based in New York. “The rate has increased so much since 1999, especially during the second half of that period.” The main people at risk of dying from suicide are those with psychiatric conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, points Borenstein.

But the issue is not just a mental health problem. “Many people view suicide as a mental health problem, but many people who die of suicide do not have a mental health problem. It’s a public health problem,” said Kristin Holland, a behavioral scientist at the Center for Disease Control. http://www.salon.com/2016/04/24/were_going_in_the_wrong_direction_america_is_facing_a_suicide_epidemic_partner/

April 22, 2016

A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that suicide rates have jumped 24 percent over the years between 1999 and 2014.

The study published late Thursday showed that rates increased sharply after 2006, as the economic boom of the late 1990s faded and the onset of what became the 2008 recession began.

Suicide rates for all men under age 75, the rate shot up 43 percent between 1999 and 2014.

Among women under 75, the rate of increase was greatest among women between the ages of 45 and 64. The suicide rate among those women was 80 percent higher in 2014 than in 1999.

The results show the traditional gender gap in suicide rates narrowing: while men usually are more likely to commit suicide than women, the rate of women who took their own lives grew much faster than among men. …

Suicide rates, US, 1999 and 2014

Suicide rates, US, 1999 and 2014 . . .

Key findings

  • From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24 percent, with the pace of increase greater after 2006.
  • Suicide rates increased from 1999 through 2014 for both males and females and for all ages 10–74.
  • The percent increase in suicide rates for females was greatest for those aged 10-14, and for males, those aged 45-64. http://www.voanews.com/content/united-states-suicide-rate/3298204.html

The photo at the beginning of this post if that of comedian Robin Williams who is believed to have committed suicide:

August 13, 2014

The suicide by a famous celebrity, such as Robin Williams on Monday, tends to be jarring because it adds a public element to what is an irrational decision based on private misery…

There was an illusion that Williams, 63, had things under control even though he shared his problems with depression and substance abuse through his comedy routines.

“We tend to think that people who have it all don’t deal with problems like the rest of us, and then we question how could they do this to themselves,” Andy Hagler, executive director of The Mental Health Association in Forsyth County, said Tuesday. “People think that because celebrities have wealth, they have avenues for help the rest of us don’t.

“However, the pain — both mentally and physically — does not discriminate. It is oftentimes associated with depression, along with co-occurring substance use, such as alcohol and/or drug use.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 90 percent of Americans who commit suicide experienced a combination of depression and substance abuse. http://myfox8.com/2014/08/13/forsyth-co-mental-health-advocates-hope-robin-williams-suicide-will-spark-public-action/

There is almost an epidemic of suicide today:

Warm, funny Robin Williams wasn’t so alone when he died in an apparent suicide on Monday, leaving behind his grieving family and a nation of bewildered fans. Recently self-harm has been taking more lives annually around the world than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. In more advanced countries, only three causes of death steal more years of life expectancy, according to data prepared last spring by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

And yet suicide remains a largely silent epidemic, the rare top-10 cause of death that fails to inspire celebrity sing-alongs, bake-sales, and all-night telethons. Last year the Centers for Disease Control flagged self-harm as “an increasing public health concern.” But even with grabby data—like the fact that U.S. suicide deaths now outnumber deaths by automobile accident—the subject drifted off the op-ed pages and out of the public mind. …

The suicide rate—the number of people per 100,000 who kill themselves each year—dropped in developed countries between 1990 and 2010, according to the University of Washington data. In the United States, meanwhile, the rate has jumped almost 20 percent in the last decade, according to the CDC. …

The suicide rate among Americans 45 to 64 has jumped more than 30 percent in the last decade, according to the CDC, and it’s possible to slice the data more finely than that. Among white, upper-middle-aged men, the rate has jumped by more than 50 percent, according to the public data. If these men were to create a breakaway territory, it would have the highest suicide rate in the world. …

Williams was depressed, his publicist said on Monday…http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/robin-williams-death/deadly-stigma-robin-williams-suicide-exposes-silent-epidemic-n179206

The Bible teaches to ‘choose life’ and not the way of death (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The late Herbert W. Armstrong noted that some who seemed successful in this age, truly were not successful. Here is some of what he wrote decades ago:

Every two minutes someone in the United States attempts suicide. Each day nearly 70 persons succeed—but is that success? The World Health Organization estimates that some one thousand people commit suicide in the world—every day!

Suicides now outnumber murders. Now various organizations for the prevention of suicide are a reality! But the cause is individual failure!

Only a minority, of course, go to this extreme, but the overwhelming majority do end their lives in failure…

People will ignore all their lives any idea of divine guidance and help—yet if one should find himself on a foodless and waterless raft after a shipwreck in mid-ocean, it is remarkable how quickly he would begin to believe there really is a living God! In last-resort desperation most people will cry out to Him whom they have ignored, disobeyed, and set at naught all their lives.

Wouldn’t it seem axiomatic that, if there is a compassionate beneficent Creator standing ready and willing to give us emergency help as a last resort, it would have been more sensible to have sought His guidance and help all along? Yet some have acquired wealth, lived luxuriously, and then, suddenly losing all, turned finally to God in their economic distress. Others have committed suicide…

Is it possible that the living GOD might be a factor in determining the success or failure of one’s life? Few have thought so.

People will ignore all their lives any idea of divine guidance and help—yet if one should find himself on a foodless and waterless raft after a shipwreck in mid-ocean, it is remarkable how quickly he would begin to believe there really is a living God! In last-resort desperation most people will cry out to Him whom they have ignored, disobeyed, and set at naught all their lives.

Wouldn’t it seem axiomatic that, if there is a compassionate beneficent Creator standing ready and willing to give us emergency help as a last resort, it would have been more sensible to have sought His guidance and help all along? Yet some have acquired wealth, lived luxuriously, and then, suddenly losing all, turned finally to God in their economic distress. Others have committed suicide. Few, it seems, will ever rely on their Maker and life-Sustainer until they feel helpless and in desperate need. Even then the motive too often is selfish.

Yet, if we are to enjoy the good things of life—freedom from fears and worries, peace of mind, security, protection, happiness, abundant well-being—the very SOURCE of their supply is the Great God! Since all comes from Him anyway, why not tap the SOURCE from the very beginning?

But in our day of modern science, sophistication and vanity, it has not been fashionable to believe in a Maker. In this deceived world, knowledge of God has found little or no place in modern education.

The ALL-IMPORTANT seventh Law of Success, nevertheless, is having contact with, and the guidance and continuous help of GOD!

And the person who does put this all-important seventh law last is very probably dooming his life to failure at the end. (Armstrong HW. The Seven Laws of Success,)

The Bible teaches that one is not to murder (Exodus 20:13). And that includes murdering oneself. Notice also the following:

Is suicide a crime?…

God commands: “THOU SHALT NOT KILL” (the sixth commandment). Webster defines the word kill as “to deprive of life.” To commit suicide, then, is breaking one of the Ten Commandments -and is definitely condemned by God. Paul admonishes us saying, “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

If any man DESTROY (KJV margin) the temple of God, him shall God DESTROY; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Cor. 3 : 16, 17 ) . “What, know you not that your BODY is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?” (I Cor. 6: 19). No murderer-or suicide-has eternal life abiding in him (I John 3: 15). He has no hope unless and until in the general resurrection after the millennium he repents of his sin (Matthew 11 :20-24). (Plain Truth. January 1960, pp. 15-16)

It is sad and disturbing when people commit suicide or commit other forms of murder.

Decades ago, a Worldwide Church of God minister told of experiences he had with three successive would-be suicides. Each time he said to them, “Well, go right ahead — but first you’d better learn what happens at the moment you die. So far as your consciousness goes, the next fraction of a second you will wake up in the resurrection — and if you commit this self-murder, you’ll still be facing all your problems, and the guilt of this SELF-MURDER crime in addition. Why not solve the problems NOW, before you commit this murder?” Not one of the three went on through with his intended suicide!

While that may not work for everyone, the truth is that there’s nothing to gain by “ending it all,” thinking that is the easy way out. Death only brings instant awakening in the resurrection. You will know absolutely NOTHING from the second you die, till the second you awake in the resurrection. These men, the minister explained, had supposed that suicide would END IT ALL — and they’d be out of their troubles, but when they learned they would still have their troubles plus a MURDER charge against them in THAT JUDGMENT, it no longer seemed that suicide was the “quick way out of it all.”

No, death is not a friend to solve problems. Jesus came to DESTROY DEATH — to make a happy, peaceful, abundant life possible for all — for each in his own due time. He came that we might have LIFE, “and have it more abundantly.”

In today’s society, hopefully the depressed and disappointed will not turn to suicide. There is hope for those, however, who will turn to God.

Some items of possibly related concerns may include:

What Happens After Death? Is death like sleep, or is that a cultic idea? Can you speak to the dead? Here is a link to a related sermon: What really happens after death?
Are The Wicked Tormented Forever or Burned Up? How does one explain Revelation 14:11 in light of Malachi 4:3? What happens to the incorrigibly wicked?
The Seven Laws of Success Herbert W. Armstrong had seven laws that he felt could help people become successful.
How to Overcome Depression and Discouragement This is an article by Paul Krautmann & John Siston.
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach?
Christian Success Does the Bible teach that Christians are to be successful? Are there at least seven laws of success that Christians should follow? How does the Bible teach we are to become successfully spiritually? Does the Bible really teach that Christians should be successful physically? This video answers these questions and more from the Bible. An outline of some of the scriptures used is here: Christian Success Outline.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Do Christians Sin? This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong.
Overcoming Sin What is sin? How are Christians suppose to overcome it? Here is a link to a version in Mandarin Chinese: 克服是重要的. Here is also a link to a video in English titled How to Overcome Sin.
How to Prevent Sin This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong. Here is a version in Mandarin: 如何不犯罪
Real Conversion Many think that they are converted Christians. But are they? Would you like to know more about conversion.
False Conversion Have you really been converted? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this article on this important subject.
All About Water Baptism What is baptism? Would you like to know more about it. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. As far as early history, see also Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church.
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
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?
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.

Sermon: Christianity and the Days of Unleavened Bread

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016


Unleavened Bread

COGwriter

Last night at sunset began the seven day feast of unleavened bread. Yet even many Westerners have never even heard of this biblical period. And most of those who have consider it to be a Jewish practice. But early Christians kept them.

First, notice God’s instructions in the Hebrew scriptures:

6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6).

Jesus, of course, kept these days (Luke 2:42; John 4:45).

According to the Bible and the early available records, others did as well.

First, let’s start with the Apostle Paul’s writings in the Bible:

6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).

Notice that Paul is telling Christians to keep the feast. Now while some may try to argue that he meant something else, the plain truth is that the records of history do show that Christians continued to keep this Feast of Unleavened Bread.

In addition to I Corinthians 5:7-8, we can see that the Days of Unleavened Bread were still to be kept after the crucifixion. In Acts 12:3, it says that, “Now that was during the Days of Unleavened Bread”. It does not say that these days were done away. Also, Luke wrote,

6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6).

Now Philippi was (according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary) a gentile town. It was in Macedonia and was ruled by the Romans. Thus, in at least two places in the New Testament, in gentile areas, we see that the Days of Unleavened Bread were to be kept (I Corinthians 5:7; Acts 20:6). If Christians were not to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread, why didn’t Luke or Paul say so? Why did Paul say to keep them?

Early faithful Christians believed that they were supposed to keep them. And they probably understood this from the Bible and the practices of the early apostles.

An old document that was probably altered in the 4th century, titled The Life of Polycarp, specifically mentions the Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost. And it records that the Apostle Paul said that they should be kept:

In the days of unleavened bread Paul, coming down from Galatia, arrived in Asia, considering the repose among the faithful in Smyrna to be a great refreshment in Christ Jesus after his severe toil, and intending afterwards to depart to Jerusalem. So in Smyrna he went to visit Strataeas, who had been his hearer in Pamphylia, being a son of Eunice the daughter of Lois. These are they of whom he makes mention when writing to Timothy, saying; Of the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois and in thy mother Eunice; whence we find that Strataeas was a brother of Timothy. Paul then, entering his house and gathering together the faithful there, speaks to them concerning the Passover and the Pentecost, reminding them of the New Covenant of the offering of bread and the cup; how that they ought most assuredly to celebrate it during the days of unleavened bread, but to hold fast the new mystery of the Passion and Resurrection. For here the Apostle plainly teaches that we ought neither to keep it outside the season of unleavened bread, as the heretics do, especially the Phrygians…but named the days of unleavened bread, the Passover, and the Pentecost, thus ratifying the Gospel (Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 2. Translated by J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp.488-506).

Notice that Paul is shown to have taught Gentiles to keep the biblical Holy Days. Which is also what he did in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.

Interestingly, Polycarp himself also kept the biblical Holy Days and he even told Bishop Anicetus of Rome that Rome needed to observe Passover the same day as the Jews and not on a Sunday (this is documented in more detail in the article Polycarp of Smyrna: Heretic Fighter).

Polycarp is considered to be a saint by Catholics, Orthodox, many Protestants, and those in the Continuing Church of God. Yet of those groups, only the Continuing Church of God continues his practices as far as the Holy Days are concerned.

Notice what the Catholic writer Eusebius recorded that Polycrates of Ephesus, around 195 A.D. wrote to the Roman Bishop Victor who, as the previous writing showed, wanted all who professed Christ to change Passover from the 14th of Nisan to Sunday:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man’ (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Notice that Polycrates said that he and the other early church leaders (like the Apostles Philip and John, and their successors like Polycarp, Thraseas, Eumenia, Sagaris, Papirius, Melito) would not deviate from the Bible, and that they knew the Bible taught them to keep the Passover on the correct date, and not on a Sunday. Also notice that they always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. Polycrates also reminded the Roman bishop that true followers of Christ “obey God rather than men”.

Notice what a respected Protestant scholar reported about the second century:

The most important in this festival was the passover day, the 14th of Nisan…In it they ate unleavened bread, probably like the Jews, eight days through…there is no trace of a yearly festival of the resurrection among them…the Christians of Asia Minor appealed in favor of their passover solemnity on the 14th Nisan to John (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A Text-book of Church History. Translated by Samuel Davidson, John Winstanley Hull, Mary A. Robinson. Harper & brothers, 1857, Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Feb 17, 2006, p. 166).

So, like the Apostle John (the last of the original apostles to die), the early faithful Christians observed Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread.

In the late third century, Anatolius of Alexandria wrote the following:

I am aware that very many other matters were discussed by them, some of them with considerable probability, and others of them as matters of the clearest demonstration, by which they endeavour to prove that the festival of the Passover and unleavened bread ought by all means to be kept after the equinox…

But nothing was difficult to them with whom it was lawful to celebrate the Passover on any day when the fourteenth of the moon happened after the equinox. Following their example up to the present time all the bishops of Asia—as themselves also receiving the rule from an unimpeachable authority, to wit, the evangelist John, who leant on the Lord’s breast, and drank in instructions spiritual without doubt—were in the way of celebrating the Paschal feast, without question, every year, whenever the fourteenth day of the moon had come, and the lamb was sacrificed by the Jews after the equinox was past; not acquiescing, so far as regards this matter, with the authority of some…(THE PASCHAL CANON OF ANATOLIUS OF ALEXANDRIA. Chapters V,X, p. 415, 419).

This should be proof to any with “eyes to see and ears to hear” that some who professed Christ were keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread centuries after Jesus died.

Adventist researcher Daniel Liechty reported Sabbath-keepers in Transylvania in the 1500s and later kept the biblical Holy Days (such as the Feast of Trumpets called Day of Remembrance below) (and those are days his church does not observe):

The Sabbatarians viewed themselves as converted Gentiles.. They held to the biblical holidays. Passover they celebrated with unleavened bread…The first and last seventh day of Passover were full holidays…There is no mention of circumcision, so it is unlikely that they practiced circumcision (Liechty D. Sabbatarianism in the Sixteenth Century. Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs (MI), 1993, pp. 61-62).

Notice that in the 1600s, those who kept the days of unleavened bread were persecuted for their beliefs:

And finally, the tragic “Accord of Deés” or Complanatio Deesiana in July 1638 definitely disjoined Sabbatarians from Unitarians. Unitarians were ordered to worship Jesus, baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and to allow their publications censured–a coerced “complanatio.” The “Judaizers” and those who rejected and cursed Jesus, however, were excluded even from the new amnesty. Sabbatarians were easy target of the new discriminatory law: they observed the Sabbath, therefore they farmed on Sundays, abstained from eating pork and blood, celebrated the Passover with unleavened bread, and refused baptism of their children–the very sign of their expected conversion” (Gellérd, Judit. Spiritual Jews of Szekler Jerusalem A Four-Centuries History of Transylvanian Szekler (Székely) Sabbatarianism. In Literature of Memory VI: Hope and Despair STH TS 870, Fall 2000 Professor Elie Wiesel. http://www.unitarius.hu/cffr/papers/sabbat.htm–12/14/02).

Note that the “Judaizers” are separate from “those who rejected and cursed Jesus.” In this region, there were both true Christians (the “Judaizers” who celebrated the Passover with unleavened bread, etc.) and those who rejected Christ as Messiah (hence the Judaizers were not actually unitarian).

So, we have both biblical and historical evidence that Christ and His true followers observed the days of unleavened bread.

Shouldn’t you? If not, why not?

Speaking of bread, perhaps it should be mentioned that the Passover ceremony that the Catholic eucharist is supposed to be based upon involved breaking bread. This, of course, is known to all Catholic scholars. Article 3, under the Seven Sacraments of the Church in the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the eucharist. Section II asks and answers the question, What is this Sacrament Called? Several names are listed, including “The Breaking of Bread” (#1329). The Catechism of the Catholic Church also states the following:

1339 Jesus choose the time of the Passover…And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them…(Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 373)

This is important to realize as that while bread is broken during a Passover ceremony (per the Bible, cf. Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19), it is no longer broken as part of the Catholic eucharist. For details about where the round host and other eucharistic practices seem to have originated, please see Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist?

Here is a suggested format for the First Day of Unleavened Bread this year:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one titled: Offering After Passover. For how go to the Donations page of the Continuing Church of God. There is a mailing address there, as well as the ability to give offerings online.
  • Announcements (if any).
  • Sermon, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Christians and Unleavened Bread. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Because of this Sabbath also being an annual Holy Day, some may wish to have double-services.  If so, here is a suggestion for the second service (note: the sermon listed below is from 2015):

Will you observe it this year?

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

Should Christians keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? What is leaven anyway? What are some of the physical and spiritual lessons to be gained by observing these days? Did early Christians keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Can they be kept outside of Israel according to the New Testament? Dr. Thiel addresses these subjects and more.

Here is a link to the video sermon: Christians and Unleavened Bread.

Do you follow the Bible or traditions of men?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers.
Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread What does the Bible teach about the Days of Unleavened Bread? Did the apostles such as John, Paul, and Philip keep it? What is leaven? Does history show that true Christians kept the Days of Unleavened Bread? Who condemned these days? Should you live like the Pharisees that relied more on tradition or the teachings of the Bible? This YouTube was intended to be viewed on the first day of unleavened bread.
When was the Exodus? Did it Happen? Some deny the biblical account of the Exodus. Was Ramses II the pharaoh then? When did the Exodus occur? Is there proof outside of the Bible that there was an Exodus?
Reasons, Proofs, and Ramifications of the Ten Plagues of Exodus What do you know about these plagues? Is there any confirmation outside the Bible? Might something worse be coming?
Exodus and the Days of Unleavened Bread This article discusses parts of the Book of Exodus with some connections to the Days of Unleavened Bread. A related sermon is available and is titled: Unleavened Bread: Lessons in Exodus.
UCG and Its Unleavened Bread Study Paper What does the Bible say about eating unleavened bread for seven days? What has UCG officially said about it?
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
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?
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Typical vitamin supplements are fake and cause harm, as does typical religion

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016


Typical B vitamin supplement tablets (Ragesoss)

COGwriter

Here is another report out about the dangers of the typical vitamin supplements that many people take:

Dietary supplements linked to increased cancer risk

Dr. Tim Byers, director for cancer prevention and control at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, conducted a meta-analysis of two decades worth of research — 12 trials that involved more than 300,000 people — and found a number of supplements actually made a person much more likely to develop certain types of cancer.

Byers began his investigation on the association between supplements and cancer risk 20 years ago. He and many other researchers observed that people who ate more fruits and vegetables cut their risk for cancer. Byers and his colleagues wondered if taking supplements that provide the same vitamins and minerals as fruits and vegetables could offer similar protection.

But his findings suggested just the opposite — rather than warding off cancer, taking lots of supplements may raise a person’s risk. …

Byers presented his research Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, in Philadelphia.

Through his analysis, Byers found that people who took high doses beta carotene supplements had an increased risk for lung cancer. Selenium supplements were associated with skin cancer. Men who took vitamin E had an elevated risk for prostate cancer. Folic acid, a B vitamin, taken in excess could lead to an increased risk for colon cancer.

Byers says it’s still unclear why supplements could have this adverse effect, but he and other researchers hope to learn more about the association. (Firger J. CBS News. April 20, 2015 http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dietary-supplements-linked-to-increased-cancer-risk/)

So why do typical vitamin supplements not provide the same protection as nutrients found in foods?

For decades the ‘natural’ health industry has been touting thousands of vitamin supplements. The truth is that most vitamins in supplements are made of or processed with petroleum derivatives or hydrogenated sugars hence they are synthetic. Even though they are often called natural, most non-food vitamins are isolated substances which are crystalline in structure. Vitamins naturally in food are not crystalline and never isolated. Non-food vitamins are isolates, which means that they are individual chemicals lacking substances that real foods contain. Vitamins found in any real food are chemically and structurally different from those commonly found in ‘natural vitamin’ formulas. Food vitamins contain a matrix of substances which improve bioavailability and safety. Since they are different, naturally-oriented people should consider non-food vitamins as vitamin analogues (imitations) and not actually vitamins. Whether sold retail or wholesale, nearly all companies sell synthetic vitamins.

A ‘dirty little secret’ of the so-called natural health industry is that nearly all vitamins sold are synthetic isolates often made of petroleum derivatives.

Although many mainstream health professionals believe, “The body cannot tell whether a vitamin in the bloodstream came from an organically grown cantaloupe or from a chemist’s laboratory,” this belief is quite misleading for several reasons. First it seems to assume that the process of getting the amount of the vitamin into the bloodstream is the same (which is frequently not the case). Secondly, scientists understand that particle size is an important factor in nutrient absorption even though particle size is not detected by chemical assessment. Thirdly, scientists also understand that, “The food factors that influence the absorption of nutrients relate not only to the nature of the nutrients themselves, but also their interaction with each other and with the nonabsorbable components of food.” Fourthly, “the physiochemical form of a nutrient is a major factor in bioavailability” (and food and non-food vitamins are not normally in the same form). Fifthly, most non-food vitamins are crystalline in structure.

Natural food vitamins are nutritionally superior to synthetic ones. Synthetic isolates are crystalline in structure and are often in chemical forms that are foreign to the human body.

I have known for years that synthetic vitamins are dangerous and have had papers published about this (e.g. Thiel R. Natural vitamins may be superior to synthetic ones. Med Hypo 2000 55(6):461-469).

As far as what most people take as vitamins goes, it does NOT matter if the label says ‘natural’ as there is no government standard of what that means in most supplements.

Notice the following (bolding in source below):

Some ‘natural’ products are anything but

Vitamin pills can be synthetically, and legally, produced in a lab. Synthetic ingredients are even allowed in multi-vitamins that bear the Department of Agriculture’s “Organic” seal…

“Vitamins can be synthetic because, by definition, a vitamin does not have to come from nature,” says Fabricant at the FDA. (Vitamins & supplements. Consumer Reports, September 2012: 18-23)

Most people who take vitamin supplements falsely believe that what they are taking is ‘natural,’ but that is not the case. Isolated vitamins simply do NOT NATURALLY EXIST in nature. Foods are a complexed matrix of many substances and vitamins are never isolated in foods. I would also add that most so-called ‘antioxidant’ vitamins that people take DO NOT HAVE PROVEN SIGNIFICANT ANTIOXIDANT EFFECTS IN THE HUMAN BODY, but only are ‘antioxidants’ in test tubes (Hendler S, Rorvik D, editors. PDR for Nutritional Supplements. Medical Economics, Montvale (NJ), 2001 ). But people mislead themselves about this all the time.

Furthermore, there is NO SUCH THING AS ‘NATURAL’ FOLIC ACID. Folic acid is unnatural, folic acid is synthetic, and that the body cannot properly convert much folic acid into a usable folate form. Furthermore, concerns about folic acid feeding cancer are now a real concern in the 21st Century—too much folic acid may kill you.

“Folic acid is a synthetic folate form” and was not developed until the 20th century. Folic acid is chemically known as pteroylglutamic acid (PGA) and is a crystalline substance (no food vitamins are naturally crystalline in structure). Folate, once also known as vitamin B9, exists in foods, yet crystalline folic acid does not. Folates also differ from folic acid “in the extent of the reduction state of the pteroyl group, the nature of the substituents on the pteridine ring and the number of glutamyl residues attached to the pteroyl group.”

A 2010 report states, “”The more we learn about folic acid, the more it’s clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks,” says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England…The risk experts worry about most: colon cancer. Last year, health officials in Chile reported that hospitalization rates for colon cancer among men and women age 45 and older more than doubled in their country since fortification was introduced in 2000. In 2007, Joel Mason, MD, director of the Vitamins and Carcinogenesis Laboratory at the Tufts University School of Medicine, described a study of the United States and Canada suggesting that rates of colon cancer rose — following years of steady decline — in the late 1990s (around the time our food was being fortified)” (Bell L. Is your breakfast giving you cancer? Research links too much folic acid to certain cancers. Prevention. March. 29, 2010. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35874922/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition//).

The same report also states, “Other research links high doses to lung and prostate cancers. In one study conducted in Norway, which doesn’t fortify foods, supplementation with 800 mcg of folic acid (plus B12 and B6) daily for more than 3 years raised the risk of developing lung cancer by 21 percent. Another, in which men took either folic acid or a placebo, showed those consuming 1,000 mcg of folic acid daily had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer. And a new worry recently came to light when scientists discovered the liver has limited ability to metabolize folic acid into folate — which means any excess continues circulating in the bloodstream. “Unlike folate, folic acid isn’t found in nature, so we don’t know the effect of the excess,” says Smith. Indeed, many scientists have grown increasingly concerned about mounting research — including a study published last winter in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer.”

Even foods “fortified” with folic acid may cause serious neurological problems in patients deficient in vitamin B12 (Carmel R. Folic Acid. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 2006:470-481). Furthermore, “no folic acid dose can be considered as truly safe in the presence of untreated cobalamin deficiency” (Carmel R. Folic Acid. In Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, 2006:470-481).

Thousands of years ago, God inspired one of his prophets to pen the following, which encourages people to eat what is good:

2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance. (Isaiah 55:2)

Intentionally eating synthetic vitamins is not good. Real science supports this view.

Despite the truth, most people (over 98%) who take typical vitamin supplements believe that the whatever they take is actually natural and does not have the risks that researchers keep finding that typical vitamin supplements have. This is a false belief. The truth about vitamins in supplements can be known (see The Truth About Vitamins in Nutritional Supplements), but most do not want to learn and then act on the truth.

It is a lot like religion. False religion DOES NOT BRING salvation, despite what people like Pope Francis have indicated.

Because of tradition, family influence, and/or social pressures, most people (over 99%) have a faith (religious, atheistic, or agnostic) that is based upon false belief.

Ignoring eastern faiths which do not even claim Jesus, let’s simply state that those who have studied early Christianity and the Bible honestly realize that what is practiced by the Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox is in massive contradiction to the “faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The same can also be said of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Messianic Jews, Seventh-day Adventists, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons).

The reality is those in those religions tend to have a false understanding of salvation and do not understand God’s plan. The truth about the early Christian church and what happened to it can be known (see Continuing History of the Church of God). Where the most faithful Christian church is can also be determined (see Where is the True Christian Church Today?).

Jesus said:

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

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

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

Most WILL NOT WORSHIP GOD IN TRUTH, but instead cling to falsehoods and false traditions. Many use Jesus’ name, but He says He will say to many that He does not know them.

Like those who swallow synthetic vitamins, nearly all take false beliefs into their hearts and minds all the time. They hope, despite the truth, that salvation will come from faiths built upon falsehood.

Consuming large amounts of synthetic vitamins can increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. Being a consumer of false religion does not lead to salvation in this age.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Truth About Antioxidants Most ‘antioxidant supplements are not effective for humans.
The Truth About Vitamins in Nutritional Supplements Nearly all vitamins people take are synthetic.
The Truth about Minerals in Nutritional Supplements Nearly all mineral supplements people take consist of industrially processed ground up rocks.
GMOs and Bible Prophecy What are GMOs? Since they were not in the food supply until 1994, how could they possibly relate to Bible prophecy? Do GMOs put the USA and others at risk? Here is a related YouTube video GMO Risks and the Bible.
Chimeras: Has Science Crossed the Line? What are chimeras? Has science crossed the line? Does the Bible give any clues?
Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians. We all know the Bible prophecies famines. Should we do something? Here is a version in the Spanish language Escrituras sobre Preparación física para los Cristianos.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they? A related sermon is titled Tradition and Scripture.
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?
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.
Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith. Do you know much about them? Both groups have some interesting similarities, but many major differences. Would you like information on how to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God Both groups keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but have important differences in doctrines and practices. Here is a link to a related sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The genuine Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White. Did Ellen White make prophetic errors? Did Ellen White make false prophecies? Here is a version in the Spanish language: SDA/COG Diferencias: La bestia de dos cuernos de Apocalipsis y 666. Here is a sermon in the English language: CCOG and SDA differences and similarities.
Some Dissimilarities Between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and the Continuing Church of God The genuine Church of God is not related to the Mormons and this article explains some differences and a couple of similarities. Also, might certain LDS prophecies apply to Mitt Romney?
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?
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 c. 31 A.D. to 2014. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

The Sabbath and Pope Leo IX

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016


Pope Leo IX

COGwriter

April 19th is a date that some in the Church of Rome honor, as one of their saints, Pope Leo IX (whose name had been Bruno). Here is some of what they teach about him:

Son of Count Hugh of Egisheim. Cousin of Emperor Conrad II. Chapter canon of Saint Stephen’s, Toul, France. Deacon. Soldier and officer in the imperial army. In 1021, while still in the military, he was chosen bishop of Toul, France, a position he held for 20 years. Commanded troops under emperor Conrad II in the invasion of Italy in 1026. http://saints.sqpn.com/pope-saint-leo-ix/

Although it is known that Christians were not militaristic, the Greco-Roman faith became militaristic around the time of Emperor Constantine (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?). Yet despite claims of being a Christian, Bishop Bruno was certainly militaristic.

We in the Continuing Church of God do not consider that Pope Leo IX was a real Christian, despite him being considered as a saint of the Church of Rome.

Leo IX was believed to have been a factor in causing the Great Schism between the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox in 1054.

While politics and other doctrines are believed to have played a major role in the schism, some have suggested that the Orthodox tendency to somewhat honor the seventh day Sabbath (in addition to Sunday) was also a factor:

[A] treatise, entitled in Latin Adversus Graecorum Columnias was composed in the form of a debate about the year 1054 by Cardinal Humbert. The Cardinal had been sent by Pope Leo IX early in 1054 as the papal nuncios to Constantinople to endeavor to bring the Greeks into conformity with the religious practices of the Roman (Latin) Church. The mission however did not succeed. The treatise was composed as a further attempt to dissuade the Greeks from holding on to certain divergent religious practices such as veneration of the Sabbath…The Cardinal argues that the Latins in no way resemble the Jews in their observance of the Sabbath…He proceeds then to show the Greeks that they are the ones who judaize as they observe the Sabbath in the identical manner of the Jews.

Dr. Bacchiocchi observed:

R.L. Odom has persuasively brought out that the Roman insistence on making the Sabbath a day of fast contributed greatly to the historic break between the Eastern and Western Christian Church which occurred in A.D. 1054. (Cited in Bacchiocchi Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday, p. 67)

So, Pope Leo IX had a Cardinal that was opposed official honoring of the Sabbath and this was apparently one of various factors for the split with the Eastern Orthodox.

A split that has gone on for close to a thousand years, but one that the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox are looking to resolve.

As far as Sabbath fasting goes, that seemed to originate with the heretic Marcion :

Marcion who fasted on the Sabbath to show his contempt for the God of the Old Testament whom he considered to be evil (Bacchiocchi S.  Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday.  The Pontifical Gregorian University Press, Rome, 1975, p. 62).

Fasting on the Sabbath was a practice adopted by the Roman Church, but not the Churches in Asia Minor in the second and third centuries.

The Catholic and Orthodox saint Irenaeus noted that the faithful Church of God leader/bishop Polycarp opposed Marcion:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time — a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles — that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” And 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).

Polycarp, and other true early Christian writers, kept all the ten commandments that were first mentioned in the Old Testament (an article of related interest may be The Ten Commandments and the Early Church). This is how Polycarp (and others) differed from many of the early heretics like Marcion (more on Cerinthus can be found in the article Cerinthus: An early heretic).

Another to specifically oppose Marcion was Church of God leader/bishop Theophilus of Antioch (late 2nd century). The Syriatic version of Eusebius’ Church History notes:

BUT as to Theophilus, concerning whom we have said that he was Bishop of Antioch, there are three treatises by him against Antolycus, and another which is inscribed “Against the heresy of Hermogenes,” in which he uses testimonies from the Revelation of John; and there are other books by him which are suitable for teaching. But those, who pertained to heretical doctrine, even at that time like tares were corrupting the pure seed of the doctrine of the Apostles; but the Pastors which were in the churches in every country, were driving them like beasts of the wilderness away from the flock of Christ; at one time by teaching and exhortation to the Brethren, but at another time openly before their faces they contended with them in discussion, and put them to shame; and again, also, by writing treatises they diligently refuted and exposed their opinions. But Theophilus, together with others, contended against them; and he is celebrated for one treatise, which was ably composed by him against Marcion, which, together with the others that I have already mentioned, is still preserved. And after him Maximinus received the Bishoprick of the Church of Antioch, who was the seventh after the Apostles.

But Philip, respecting whom we have learned from the words of Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth,2 that he was Bishop of the church of the city of Gortyna, he also composed with accuracy a treatise against Marcion (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, Syriac version, Book 4 (Extract), Chapter 24. Spicilegium Syriacum (1855). This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font/Polytonic Greek).

This is of interest because it shows that both Philip and Theophilus also wrote against the heretic Marcion (though the document, while apparently available to Eusebius, is currently unavailable).

Notice what the Protestant historian Kenneth Latourette stated:

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).

In other words, the original true Church of God truly did combine faith in Christ with practices that Marcion considered to be to Jewish.  And Marcion was denounced by leaders from Asia Minor for rejecting the true faith.

In the third century, Hippolytus of Rome wrote:

But Marcion, a native of Pontus, far more frantic than these (heretics), omitting the majority of the tenets of the greater number (of speculators), (and) advancing into a doctrine still more unabashed, supposed (the existence of) two originating causes of the universe, alleging one of them to be a certain good (principle), but the other an evil one. And himself imagining that he was introducing some novel (opinion), founded a school full of folly, and attended by men of a sensual mode of life, inasmuch as he himself was one of lustful propensities. This (heretic) having thought that the multitude would forget that he did not happen to be a disciple of Christ, but of Empedocles, who was far anterior to himself, framed and formed the same opinions,–namely, that there are two causes of the universe, discord and friendship. For what does Empedocles say respecting the plan of the world? Even though we have previously spoken (on this subject), yet even now also, for the purpose, at all events, of comparing the heresy of this plagiarist (with its source), we shall not be silent. This (philosopher) affirms that all the elements out of which the world consists and derives its being, are six: two of them material, (viz.,) earth and water; and two of them instruments by which material objects are arranged and altered, (viz.,) fire and air; and two of them, by means of the instruments, operating upon matter and fashioning it, viz., discord and friendship. (Empedocles) expresses himself somehow thus:- “The four roots of all things hear thou first: Brilliant Jove, and life-giving Juno and Aidoneus, And Nestis, who with tears bedews the mortal font.” (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies (Book VII), Chapter XVII. Translated by J. H. Machmahon. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight)

Marcion taught against the law and the Creator’s Sabbath–the seventh-day Sabbath. Marcion eliminated or overlooked many portions of the Bible. His attitude seems to have been similar to Luther’s in this respect (Martin Luther’s attitude toward the Bible can be found in the article Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?).

While the Church of Rome eventually condemned Marcion, sadly, its Pope Leo pushed for at least one of his non-biblical practices.

Some items of 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.
Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he? Here is a link to a related sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?
The Coming Persecution of the Church Jesus foretold persecution. Many are aware of some of the early persecutions, but few understand what teachings true Christians were persecuted for in the fourth century and beyond–some may seem shocking. At least two major persecutions are prophesied to come. Which doctrines are expected to be causes for the coming persecutions? Are the Greco-Roman churches planning on persecuting Sabbath-keepers, those who do not accept a non-biblical Mary, and those who do not wear crosses? This is a video.
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.
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.
Why Should American Catholics Should Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good?
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.
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.