Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

BibleNewsProphecy: Famine of the Word?

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce our latest video on our Bible New Prophecy YouTube channel:


21:32

God inspired the Prophet Amos to write that the time would come when there would be a famine of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11-12). Are we seeing anything that is leading up to this? Is the Christian message already too ‘politically incorrect’?

A written article of related interest is titled: Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word.

Here is a link to our video: Famine of the Word?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it?
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing?  This is a sermonette length video.
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.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and other British-descended dominated lands.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God and has articles in español/castellano.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy
channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.

Sermon: CCOG Answers on the Soul, Reincarnation, Creeds, and Michael the Archangel

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015


Buddhist Wheel of Reincarnation (Calton)

COGwriter

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

 
1:12:55

CCOG Answers: The Soul, Reincarnation, Creeds, and Michael the Archangel

This sermon covers various questions and provides biblically-based answers which help show the position of the Continuing Church of God on the subjects.  The subjects included the mortality of the soul, how Christians should view and explain reincarnation, the original ‘creed,’ and why Jesus could not be Michael the archangel (like the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim).

Written articles related to these matters are also on this page.

Here is a link to the video sermon: CCOG Answers: The Soul, Reincarnation, Creeds, and Michael the Archangel.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
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? What about reincarnation? 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.
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this, but does the Bible allow for this?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
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.
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.

Will the Supreme Court ‘legalize’ more of the homosexual agenda?

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015


Ruth Bader Ginsburg

COGwriter

The US Supreme Court is to decided whether homosexual marriage is a ‘Constitutional right’:

April 28, 2015

Historic arguments over same-sex marriage got underway before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, with justices drilling lawyers on opposing sides on the power of states to prohibit gay unions.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered a swing vote, pointed out that for centuries marriage was understood as between a man and a woman. He asked whether the public and scholars need more time to debate changes to marriage.

This definition has been with us for millennia. And it ­­it’s very difficult for the court to say, oh, well, we know better,” Kennedy told Mary Bonauto, a lawyer representing same-sex couples.

But Kennedy also grilled John Bursch, a lawyer for states that ban gay marriage, asking how such prohibitions damage traditional marriages. Bursch argued that, absent the central rationale of raising children, same-sex marriage weakens the parents’ commitment to remaining together if their own relationship breaks down. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/supreme-court-hears-arguments-gay-marriage-n349631

April 28, 2015

(Reuters) – The nine justices of the Supreme Court … set on Tuesday to hear arguments on whether the Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, taking up a contentious social issue in what promises to be the year’s most anticipated ruling.

Hundreds of demonstrators on both sides of the issue gathered outside the white marble courthouse ahead of the scheduled 10 a.m. start of the 2-1/2 hours of oral arguments in the case, known as Obergefell v. Hodges.

Gay marriage advocates held up signs with slogans including “Love for all” and “America is ready for freedom to marry.” A small, vocal group of people against legalizing gay marriage held signs including one calling gay sex sinful and another stating, “Satan rules over all, the children of pride.”

The decision, due by the end of June, will determine whether gay marriage will be legal nationwide. The arguments center on gay marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, four of the 13 states that currently prohibit it.

All eyes will be on conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, who may cast the deciding fifth vote on a court closely divided on gay rights. The four liberal justices are expected to support same-sex marriage, and Kennedy has a history of backing gay rights. In decisions since 1996, Kennedy has broadened the court’s view of equality for gays.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/28/us-usa-court-gaymarriage-idUSKBN0NI20G20150428

Do gays and lesbians have as much a constitutional right to marry as opposite sex couples do?

Polls in recent years have shown a sea change among Americans in support of same-sex marriage, but the U.S. political system has resulted in patchwork of laws for gay couples.

With lower federal courts issuing conflicting opinions, the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the arguments signaled an intention to bring clarity to a question that was unthinkable a generation ago.

“I think the writing is on the wall,” said Nan Hunter, a Georgetown University law professor.“I think almost everyone believes that it is just a matter of time before gay couples can marry anywhere in the United States.” …

Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in 36 states and Washington D.C., made so by either voter initiatives, court rulings or legislative action.

Two years ago, the high court by a 5-4 vote overturned a 1996 law that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages for the purposes of federal benefits, like tax and inheritance laws.

That ruling, United States v. Windsor, paved the way for Tuesday’s hearing, which focuses on four separates cases challenging bans on same-sex marriage in Michigan, as well as in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

Some legal scholars believe the Supreme Court already has telegraphed its ultimate intention, and will rule in favor of same-sex marriage, though it’s unclear how narrow the ruling will be.

“We have now absurd situations in which a [gay] couple marries in one state legally. They move to another state where it isn’t legal, not married for state law purposes even though they are for federal purposes,” Hunter said.  http://www.voanews.com/content/us-scotus-same-sex-marriage/2736567.html

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was already been speaking out in favor of homosexual marriage being a ‘Constitutional right’ before today, so she is expected to vote that way.

Sadly, fewer North Americans read and believe the Bible nor what it says about homosexuality.  Sadly also is the fact that certain theologians have misrepresented what the Bible teaches about homosexuality.

But you do not need to be a theologian nor Supreme Court justice to realize that the Bible does not endorse homosexual marriage.  The Bible warns against homosexuality.

The Bible tells of an early event that occurred in the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah between three thousand and four thousand years ago:

24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (Genesis 19:24-25)

And why did it happen?

7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

Homosexuality is a form of sexual immorality that involves going after “strange flesh.”

Why mention this in the 21st century?

Because God turned:

6…the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6)

Thus, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were to serve as an example to those who would live as they did. Yet despite biblical warnings, many modern leaders are endorsing so-called homosexual “rights” and “same-sex marriage.” The Bible, however, warns about such leaders:

12…Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths. (Isaiah 3:12)

16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed (Isaiah 9:16).

So, leaders that ignore what the Bible teaches are leading others toward destruction.

Of course, not everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexuals as those that strictly practice that could not reproduce. Yet, notice that the destruction that hit their cities destroyed all that were there and notice that something like this is to happen again according to Jesus:

26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-29)

Various ones can pretend that increasing “homosexual rights” is acceptable, but the Bible suggests otherwise. A marriage as the above indicates, as do other scriptures (e.g. Matthew 19:4-5), is between a man and woman (for more details see God Created Marriage). Not two of the same sex.

Homosexual acts are clearly prohibited in the Bible:

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)

13 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. (Leviticus 20:13)

Those who try to claim that the Bible does not clearly condemn homosexuality are intentionally misreading what it actually teaches. The Bible prohibits and condemns homosexual behavior–the Bible calls it an abomination!

Notice also the following:

9 The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves. (Isaiah 3:9)

13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)

18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit. (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

So the Bible shows that Sodom was destroyed for many things including its pride and the committing of abominations. Homosexuality is an abomination and a sin.

Yet, in modern times there are “gay pride” parades, etc. God still does not approve of pride or homosexual abominations. Various ones in the USA and elsewhere “declare their sin as Sodom.”

Notice that not just participating in homosexual and lesbian acts are prohibited by the Bible, but that condemnation is also given to those who approve such acts:

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:26-32)

Most of the justices on the current US Supreme Court have decided to not heed the warning in the Bible on all of this. Apparently they do not know and/or care that the survival of many in the United States and the Anglo-Saxon lands is at risk! There are other sins of immorality, such as pornography and abortion, that are rampant and wrong in these lands as well.

No one should be ignoring the warnings of the Bible. No one should be pushing the homosexual agenda–but the US Supreme Court will assist in this-and this will be to the peril of the USA.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Can homosexuals change?
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There is also a YouTube video on this, titled Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children.
Weather Blessings and Sorrows Are weather problems a warning? What should be done? What does the Bible teach about weather? What about floods, droughts, heat, earthquakes, tornadoes, and solar storms? Here is a related YouTube video Does God Use Weather? A related item in the Spanish language would be Bendiciones y maldiciones del clima.
Love, Marriage, and Sex It is important to get them in the right order.
God Created Marriage Some falsely claim that God did not create marriage and that fornication is fine.  What does the Bible really teach? Here is a version in Mandarin Chinese 神创造婚姻.
Making Your Marriage Work Marriage is not always easy, but it pictures a divine relationship. How can you make your marriage work? Here is a link to the video sermon: You Can Make YOUR Marriage Work.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
Abortion, the Bible, and a Woman’s Right to Choose Do you know what the Bible teaches on this? Has the Roman Catholic Church allowed abortions? What about the real Church of God? Some may also, or instead, wish to view the YouTube video Abortion, the Bible, and US Debt.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
British and American Moral Decay Public nudity is becoming more prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon lands. What are some of the consequences?
Can those in the USA/UK see the Handwriting on the Wall? Is everything fine in the USA/UK or is it like the days of Noah? Can we learn from the handwriting that appeared on a wall thousands of years ago? Here is a link to a related YouTube video Can you see the ‘Handwriting on the Wall’?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2015, 2016, or 2017? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2014 o 2015? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Edition for Second Obama Term This is a 160 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Barack Obama and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled (which the book documents in detail) and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also has a chapter about a Republican choice. This book is available to order at www.barackobamaprophecy.com. The physical book can also be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Barack Obama Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Kenyan, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Republican Leaders? Second Edition for Second Obama Term.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition.
Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States This is a 188 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Hillary Clinton and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also discusses Republicans. The physical book can be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Hillary Clinton Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Hopi, and other America-Related Prophecies? $11.99.
Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version of the 188 page print edition is available for only US$3.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Hillary Clinton, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Amazon Kindle edition.

National Guard called out in Baltimore

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015


Baltimore (Excel23)

COGwriter

The National Guard was called out in Baltimore and even its governor has had to relocate:

April 28, 2015

National Guard troops have been deployed across the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland as authorities attempt to restore order a day after riots broke out following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died from injuries sustained while in police custody earlier this month.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and public schools in the city are closed Tuesday. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who called the rioting “one of the darkest days the city has ever faced,” has declared a weeklong nighttime curfew.

Firefighters continued to battle several blazes across Baltimore well into the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, including a church-run senior center that was still under construction.

What sparked violence

The violence began as hundreds of high school students marched towards a local mall after classes had dismissed for the day, then spread out across several neighborhoods, overwhelming the police department’s ability to respond as the protests turned violent.

Protesters looted and burned dozens of businesses and vehicles, and threw rocks, bricks, bottles and other objects at riot police.  Police Commissioner Anthony Betts said 15 officers were injured in the clashes, including six who were hospitalized.  At least two dozen people were arrested.

“I understand anger.  What we see isn’t anger, it’s the destruction of a community,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake told reporters late Monday, calling the protesters “thugs.”

Gray’s family called for the rioting to stop late Monday night.  “And I’m as hurt but I do not want you all to be out here,” said Gloria Darden, Gray’s mother.  “I want you all to get justice for my son but don’t do it like this here. Don’t tear up the whole city, man. Just for him? It’s wrong.”

The sister of Freddie Gray also condemned the rioting. “I think the violence is wrong… I don’t like it at all,” Fredericka Gray said late Monday.

The attorney for Gray’s family, Billy Murphy, said the family had hoped to organize a peace march later in the week.

Initial response questioned

State and local authorities pledged to restore order and calm, but quickly found themselves responding to questions about whether their initial responses had been adequate.

Rawlings-Blake was asked why she waited hours to ask the governor to declare a state of emergency, while the governor himself hinted she should have come to him earlier.

“We were all in the command center in the second floor of the State House in constant communication, and we were trying to get in touch with the mayor for quite some time,” Gov. Larry Hogan told a Monday evening news conference. “She finally made that call, and we immediately took action.”

Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard, said up to 5,000 troops would be available for Baltimore’s streets.

“We are going to be out in massive force, and that just means basically that we are going to be patrolling the streets and out to ensure that we are protecting property,” Singh said at a news conference Monday night. http://www.voanews.com/content/national-guard-deployed-as-violence-engulfs-baltimore/2737354.html

April 28, 2015

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is temporarily moving his office from the state capital, Annapolis, to Baltimore on Tuesday after rioting and fires broke out in the city.

Hogan spokeswoman Erin Montgomery says the governor will visit sites around the city Tuesday morning and plans to work out of state offices in downtown Baltimore with Cabinet members and senior staffers. …

Rioting erupted around the city Monday, hours after the funeral for Freddie Gray. The 25-year-old died of a spinal injury days after being taken into police custody. National Guard troops took up positions in the city, and cleanup was beginning early Tuesday morning. http://www.miamiherald.com/living/health-fitness/article19789482.html#storylink=cpy

Ex-New Black Panther chairman a notorious racist

April 26, 2015

Major news media outlets have failed to report one of the main leaders of the “splinter group” of Baltimore protesters who turned violent is a notorious racist and the former national chairman of the New Black Panther Party.

The New York Times, the Associated Press, the New York Daily News, CBS local and other news media outlets all name Malik Shabazz as a leader of the breakaway, chaotic protests. Yet each of these news outlets only identify Shabazz only as “president of Black Lawyers for Justice.”

The AP reported: “One of the protest’s organizers, Malik Shabazz, the president of Black Lawyers for Justice, said the crowd exceeded their expectations, adding that protesters’ anger is not surprising….

Not a single news media outlet quoted above informed its readers of that which a simple Google search of “Malik Shabazz” reveals. As highlighted on his Wikipedia page, until October 2013, Shabazz notoriously served as the national chairman of the New Black Panther Party.   http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/media-fail-to-identify-leader-of-baltimore-riots/

We are seeing increased militarization of the police, seeing more documented evidence of police misconduct because of the prevalence of video equipment, as well as ‘professional’ agitators who try to ‘add fuel to the fire.’  In the case in Baltimore, we have seen suspicious activity that resulted in the death of a man who was treated violently.  Yet when there are such issues, we also see various politicians, activists, and others who attempt to fan the flames to further their own agendas.

Anyway, I do not condone the use of excessive force by the government nor violent protests against the government. Multiple wrongs do not make a right and violence begets violence. After Jesus was being mistreated by semi-governmental authorities, one of His followers attempted to use a sword to try to change the situation. Notice what Jesus said:

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

Vengeance belongs to God:

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

What is needed is peace:

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

As far as violence goes, the Bible also shows that God is against violence and that destruction will come because of it:

23 ‘Make a chain,
For the land is filled with crimes of blood,
And the city is full of violence.
24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles,
And they will possess their houses;
I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease,
And their holy places shall be defiled. (Ezekiel 7:23-24)

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality…30…violent, proud, boasters,…31…unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)

8…And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it. ( Habakkuk 2:8)

In my view, some of the protesters and some in the government turn too quickly to violence.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Christian Soldiers How are Christians to be like soldiers? How are they to be different?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?

Ending financial worries

Friday, April 24th, 2015

COGwriter

The USA has the most debt any nation in world history has ever had. The per capita debt of those in the UK are amongst the highest of all time. The Eurozone has struggles between members, plus its own debt issues. Those in Asia and South America have seen their economic standards of living generally rise, but great apprehension exists. There have been gains in some parts of Africa and the Middle East, but also great perils.

Instead of focusing on national and international finance (which I tend to post about a lot), this post will mainly consists of quotes from the late Herbert W. Armstrong about personal finance from a biblical perspective. Anyway, here is some of what he wrote:

Ending Your
FINANCIAL WORRIES

by Herbert W. Armstrong
©Copyright 1959

What are YOU most concerned about? Is it the threat of hydrogen bomb WAR that can blast all human life from off this planet? Is it the race to conquer SPACE? MOST are concerned not about these issues but about making ends meet. THINK OF IT! In the industrial nations about 25% of parents are “farming out” their children so that both parents can work! WHY are most families experiencing such desperate financial worry? WHY such worry and striving over MAKING ENDS MEET?

FINANCIAL worries Seem to plague us all! IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!

When you stop to think about it, never in the history of this world were any nations so rich as the English-speaking and the western European nations today! Our peoples possess more developed resources and national wealth than any people ever had before.

Yet nearly every one of us is engaged in a constant STRUGGLE to make ends meet. Financial worries seem constantly to bear us down — rob us of real happiness and joy! WHY SHOULD THIS BE?

There is a reason! You CAN BE FREE from financial worry!

What Most People Don’t Know

There is something you probably don’t know about your income. If there is anything people are jealous of, it is the money they earn. They usually work hard for it. And they want full freedom in deciding for themselves what they do with it.

People say: “What I earn is MINE — I can do what I please with it!”

But is the money you earn really your own? Don’t be too sure. Notice these FACTS about your income you probably haven’t known!

What you earn is not yours!

The man who says, “What I do with the money I earn with my own labor is nobody’s business — I produced it — it belongs to me,” is mistaken.

What you earn, by work performed or investments made is not yours — not any of it — that is, not UNTIL …!

And here is what most people don’t know about their income!

There are two prior claims on your income. One, of course, is taxes.

Human governments, by virtue of MAN-made laws, are able forcibly to extract from your incomes not one tenth, but an average of over ONE QUARTER, a vast amount of which is mis-spent. Jesus said we are to pay taxes — render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s — be subject to the powers that be. Governments, therefore, have exercised a PRIOR right to one quarter of your income — and in the case of salary or wages, governments take it out BEFORE YOU get your pay.

But the first claim is GOD’S claim. You probably never realized this fact before — but it is a fact. God Almighty the living CREATOR-RULER of the universe claims it all — every dollar — every pound — every franc — every mark. Your Maker who gives you the very air you breathe tells you it all belongs to Him, not to you!

But didn’t you earn it? Didn’t YOU produce it?

Not exactly! Everything produced — money, and all that money can buy — comes out of the earth. You didn’t produce that! God created that. You merely applied certain energy in physical action and in thinking to what God had created and owned. And God created even that energy you expended — He created your thinking processes. He not only created, originally, but He sustains what He created, including all force and energy.

So, after all, it was GOD’S LABOR of creating and sustaining that really produced all. God’s claim to its ownership of all you have THOUGHT YOU produced is valid. It is prior to yours.

God Almighty says, in His written Word: “The earth is the Eternal’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods” (Psalm 24:1-2). These inspired words are repeated in I Corinthians 10:26.

“Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is MINE,” claims God (Job 41:11).

“Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the ETERNAL’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is” (Deut. 10:14). “All the earth is MINE” (Ex. 19:5).

“If I were hungry,” says God (Psalm 50:12), “I would not tell thee; for the world is MINE, and the fulness thereof.” “For every beast of the forest is MINE, and the cattle upon a thousand hills” (verse 10).

Yes, even the money — even the gold and silver: “The silver is MINE, and the gold is MINE, saith the ETERNAL of hosts” (Hag. 2:8).

DARE any man deny this claim of God? These same words of God are the words by which every man shall be JUDGED at the last. If any man deny God’s claim, the decision will be rendered against him, in the judgment! God’s claim stands! Admit, then, your income BELONGS TO GOD! It’s HIS to do with as HE wills.

How God’s Law Regulates It

However, God is a God of love. He knows your need. God is concerned about you. He is not selfish. He has your interest and welfare in mind. Therefore God has made A LAW respecting that portion of HIS WEALTH which your thinking, and your labor has extracted and worked upon.

Get this fixed thoroughly in your mind. Your wages, your salary, your profit, your income BELONGS TO GOD, not to you. Probably you never realized this before. This may seem like a new idea to you. But it is not an idea — it is a fact.

GOD IS THE OWNER OF WHAT YOU WORK ON AND HAVE A PART IN PRODUCING. You could produce nothing apart from God’s matter which He created — apart from the use of laws of force and energy which God set in motion and sustains.

Therefore GOD HAS A RIGHT to take, or dispose of what you regard as your income AS HE WILLS. He OWNS it. It is not yours, it is HIS!

So God, the rightful OWNER of your income, has MADE A LAW respecting its disposal and its use. By virtue of being Creator and Sustainer of the earth and all in it, God is supreme RULER and LAWGIVER.

God’s LAW respecting what you earn is in fact a DEAL He has made with you. He allows you to work on HIS EARTH, to use a part of the earth or what is in it or on it, and of its forces and energies, and to extract from it food, materials, supplies, metals, wood, oils, coal, or whatever — or to work on or with that which others have extracted from the earth, in manufacturing, distributing, selling, buying, investing — whatever may be your occupation or job or profession — and so, whether you have realized it or not YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH GOD.

The farmer or gardener may plant seed, plow, and expend his labor in raising food. But WHO supplied the SOIL? WHO created the living process that makes the seed sprout and grow? Who sends the rain, or provides water for irrigation? Who set the sun in the sky and causes it to shine and warm the earth? Who causes the plant to drink out of the soil the minerals, vitamins, and good elements, and to grow into the vegetable, the grain, or the fruit? Did YOU perform this part of the business of raising the food you eat?

When we sit down and really THINK, we shall see that God supplies about NINE parts of everything man makes or produces, and man’s thinking, planning, and working supplies only about ONE part. But God does not take nine tenths of the proceeds, or the income. He doesn’t take even eight tenths, or seven, or even three or two tenths. God is GENEROUS. God has reserved for HIS use only one little tiny tenth of what is produced out of His earth through His forces and energies!

God takes only ONE tenth. And after you have been honest in PAYING God’s tenth to God’s chosen representative, then — AND NOT UNTIL THEN — God has decreed that the other NINE tenths becomes legally YOURS!

THAT’S GOD’S LAW! Not a penny of what you earn, or a penny’s worth of the value of what you produce, is YOURS — it ALL belongs to God to do with as HE directs. But God has legally directed that after you have honestly paid Him the one little, small tenth He requires for His use, then the other NINE tenths He gives to YOU. Then, and not until then, you can rightfully claim OWNERSHIP over that nine tenths. Then and thereafter it is YOURS to do with as YOU decide.

When we get our thinking straight — when we get UNDERSTANDING — when we stop to realize HOW MUCH of what we have was provided by GOD — then we realize how LOVING, how GENEROUS, how solicitous for our welfare God is.

How to HAVE MORE

But that’s only part of the story.

What does God want with that first TENTH? How does He use it? He requires that small fraction of what is produced out of HIS earth for the purpose of disseminating to the people HIS MESSAGE OF THE WAY OF LIFE that will free them from fears and worries, give them peace of mind and happiness, give them joy and success and LIFE ETERNAL!

Yes, even this tenth which God withholds for His use is expended for HUMAN GOOD! For proclaiming His gospel of peace, and happiness and joy and salvation! For letting people know God will heal them when they are sick — that God will deliver them from every trouble — supply their every need! Give them Eternal Life! (You can click the following for the rest of the article: Ending Your FINANCIAL WORRIES)

I will simply add that God is faithful and that one can live in this age as a tithe payer.  No modern currency is going to last over a few decades from now.  Do not put your faith in it.

Remember what Jesus taught:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

The world will pass away, but God’s word will not (cf. Matthew 24:35).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Tithing Questions and Some Answers Answers questions about tithing and also addresses some non-biblical arguments against tithing. Should people tithe? Here is a link to a related video sermon Tithing Answers from the Bible.
Ending Your FINANCIAL WORRIES How can people help themselves and others financially? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. A video of related interest would be: Dealing With Financial Worries.
Gambling and Sin: Is it a Sin for Christians to Gamble? What does the Bible reveal? A related video is Gambling: A Covetous Sin?
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?
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?

Did early Christians believe in the immortality of the soul?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

History of Early  Christianity

COGwriter

The vast majority in the Greco-Roman faiths of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxism, and Protestantism believe that humans have an immortal soul. Yet, the Continuing Church of God does not.

What does the Bible teach?  What was that the teaching of early church leaders often venerated as saints by the Greco-Romans on this?

This was addressed in a sermon titled Are humans immortal? that was played by many in the Continuing Church of God yesterday.

The terms immortal and immortality are not found in the Old Testament (NKJV).

Interestingly, Ezekiel recorded:

Behold, all souls are Mine;
The soul of the father
As well as the soul of the son is Mine;
The soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4).

Notice that Ezekiel says that souls that sin shall die. But since it is appointed unto men once to die (Hebrews 9:27), is this talking about the first or second death (Revelation 2:11;20:6,14;21:8)?

Well, notice the next several verses from Ezekiel:

But if a man is just And does what is lawful and right;
If he has not eaten on the mountains,Nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel,Nor defiled his neighbor’s wife, Nor approached a woman during her impurity;
If he has not oppressed anyone, But has restored to the debtor his pledge; Has robbed no one by violence, But has given his bread to the hungry And covered the naked with clothing;
If he has not exacted usury Nor taken any increase,But has withdrawn his hand from iniquity And executed true judgment between man and man;
If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully–He is just; He shall surely live!”Says the Lord GOD (Ezekiel 18:5-9).

Ezekiel is obviously talking about the first death.

Why?

Notice that the just man shall live. This is in contrast to the one who practices sin, who shall die. And, think about this point, the just man was already alive, hence the fact that he shall live suggests that God will resurrect him so that he can live forever.

Ezekiel basically continues and again warns:

The soul who sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20).

These writings in the Old Testament seem to set the stage for the writings in the New Testament.

The New Testament

The New Testament teaches the same basic doctrines as the Old Testament, but tends to expand on them.

Jesus confirmed that souls can and will be destroyed when He taught:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body (Matthew 10:28).

If souls were truly immortal, then they could not be destroyed. Jesus taught that death was like sleep:

11 These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”

12 Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13 However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.

14 Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead” (John 11:11-14).

Notice also that Jesus taught that eternal life was given at a later time, in the age to come:

29 Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come everlasting life (Luke 18:29-30).

Thus, humans do not possess that eternal life now. The dead are asleep now:

14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14)

Perhaps the most famous passage in the New Testament is John 3:16. It states:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Notice the contrast above. Humans would perish (and this means eternally, since all die physically) if God had not loved the world enough to send Jesus so that the believers could have everlasting life.

Paul clearly understood this concept as here is some of what he wrote about immortality:

1 Corinthians 15:51-54 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” NKJV (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).

Notice that Paul is saying that we must be changed in order to possess immortality, and that the sleeping dead will be raised. And that this occurs at the resurrection. No human has immortality now.

Nor did Paul as he taught:

I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended (Phillipians 3:8-13).

Thus, the immortality attained at the resurrection is not something that Christians have today.

Furthermore, all humans cannot possible possess immortality now. Look at what the Apostle John taught:

…you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3:15).

Since many people are or have been murderers, this proves that not all humans possess immortality.

Currently, look at who only has immortality:

He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

Thus, Jesus is the only one who was born human that who alone currently possesses immortality.

Other than the quotes above, the following are all the remaining times the NKJV uses the terms immortal or immortality:

…who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality (Romans 2:6-7).

…our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10).

However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal (1 Timothy 1:16-17).

Note that every passage in the Bible that uses the terms immortal or immortality say that Jesus has immortality, that humans do not have it, that Jesus came so that humans can have it, and that He came to abolish death.

Why would this even be an issue if humans were already immortal?

Furthermore although some have used the term “soul sleep” in a negative manner towards those of us who believe that death is like sleep, notice what the Apostle Paul was inspired to write:

16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. (1 Corinthians 15:16-18)

It is proper for Christians to teach and believe that death is like sleep. Those who condemn “soul sleep” are also condemning Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

Second Century Church Writings

But what about the early Church? After the apostles died (John being the last around 100 A.D.), there were early church writers who continued to teach what the apostles taught, which is what is in the Old and New Testaments. Many of the second century writings here are from true Church of God saints, and most of these writings are accepted as coming from “saints” according to the Greco-Roman churches.

Here is something from what is believed to be “the oldest complete Christian sermon that has survived” (Holmes M.W. Ancient Christian Sermon. The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 2nd ed. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2004). This Ancient Christian Sermon contains these statements about it:

Now I do not think that I have given any mean council respecting continence, and whosoever performeth it will not repent thereof, but will save both himself and me his councilor. For it is no mean reward to convert a wondering and perishing soul, that it may be saved (15:1).

For if we have received commands, that we should make this our business, to tear men away from idols and to instruct them, how much more is it wrong that a soul which knoweth God already should perish! (17:1).

Souls that can perish cannot be immortal.

Notice this from Ignatius’ Letter to the Ephesians:

For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into His Church (Chapter 17).

Especially [will I do this] if the Lord make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ (Chapter 20).

Ignatius is essentially teaching that Christ suffered to give immortality to the Church and we in the Church when we properly partake of Passover can live forever in Christ–otherwise we would die.

Be sober as an athlete of God: the prize set before you is immortality and eternal life, of which you are also persuaded (Ignatius. Letter to Polycarp, Chapter 2).

Polycarp of Smyrna (mid-2nd century) taught that the body and soul were to be resurrected, hence he taught against the immortality of the soul doctrine:

I bless you for because you have considered me worthy of this day and hour, that I might receive a place among the number of martyrs in the cup of your Christ, to the resurrection to eternal life, both of soul and of body, in the incorruptibility of the Holy Spirit (The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 14:2. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p.239).

Though the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch now lists him in their succession list, around 170 A.D. Theophilus of Antioch wrote a position that seems to differ from current Eastern Orthodox doctrine on immortality:

When thou shalt have put off the mortal, and put on incorruption, then shall thou see God worthily. For God will raise thy flesh immortal with thy soul; and then, having become immortal, thou shalt see the Immortal, if now you believe on Him; and then you shall know that you have spoken unjustly against Him (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 1, Chapter VI. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God…so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God…For God has given us a law and holy commandments; and every one who keeps these can be saved, and, obtaining the resurrection, can inherit incorruption (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXVII. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

But God at least, the Father and Creator of the universe did not abandon mankind, but gave a law, and sent holy prophets to declare and teach the race of men, that each one of us might awake and understand that there is one God. And they also taught us to refrain from unlawful idolatry, and adultery, and murder, fornication, theft, avarice, false swearing, wrath, and every incontinence and uncleanness; and that whatever a man would not wish to be done to himself, he should not do to another; and thus he who acts righteously shall escape the eternal punishments, and be thought worthy of the eternal life from God (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXXIV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Probably prior to 180 A.D., Melito of Sardis, a famous church leader and writer, wrote:

He killed death which had put man to death (Melito. Homily On the Passover, Verse 66. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology, http://www.kerux.com/documents/KeruxV4N1A1.asp 09/14/05). .

And by this, Melito is teaching that Jesus could provide immortality, as humans did not possess it (he obviously is not referring to physical death, as Christians have died throughout history).

Even though he held some heretical views, Irenaeus is considered to have been an important early theologian by Catholics and Protestants (around 180 A.D.) wrote, that:

Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King…may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book 1, Chapter 10, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Thus Irenaeus did understand the idea that humans do not possess immortality and that it is a gift of God. And this gift is only given to those that have kept His commandments.

He also understood that the resurrection was physical:

We therefore have formed the belief that [our] bodies also do rise again. For although they go to corruption, yet they do not perish; for the earth, receiving the remains, preserves them, even like fertile seed mixed with more fertile ground. Again, as a bare grain is sown, and, germinating by the command of God its Creator, rises again, clothed upon and glorious, but not before it has died and suffered decomposition, and become mingled with the earth (Irenaeus. Fragments of Irenaeus, Fragment VII. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright © 1885. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.).

And even though he was not part of the true Church of God, Justin wrote:

Justin also stated, “For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians” (Dialogue. Chapter 80).

While those of us in the Continuing Church of God would agree that souls die (Ezekiel 18:4) and are not taken to heaven upon death (Job:14:14; John 3:13), those in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches would seem to disagree with Justin here.

The second century apologist Tatian and associate of Justin wrote:

The soul is not in itself immortal, O Greeks, but mortal. Yet it is possible for it not to die. If, indeed, it knows not the truth, it dies, and is dissolved with the body, but rises again at last at the end of the world with the body, receiving death by punishment in immortality (Tatian. Translated by J.E. Ryland. Tatian’s Address to the Greeks, Chapter XIII . Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Polycrates of Ephesus in the late second century wrote and told the Roman Bishop Victor:

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? (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24, Verse 5. 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).

Thus immortality was something to be obtained, not something inherent. And the idea of man’s destiny to become God was known in the second century.

Tertullian was a second century religious leader outside the Church of God. And although he held doctrines that we in the COGs would find to be heretical, he is considered to have been an important early theologian by Roman Catholics. Tertullian wrote:

The resurrection is first, and afterwards the kingdom. We say, therefore, that the flesh rises again, but that when changed it obtains the kingdom. “For the dead shall be raised incorruptible,” even those who had been corruptible when their bodies fell into decay; “and we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. For this corruptible”–and as he spake, the apostle seemingly pointed to his own flesh–” must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” in order, indeed, that it may be rendered a fit substance for the kingdom of God. “For we shall be like the angels.” This will be the perfect change of our flesh–only after its resurrection. Now if, on the contrary, there is to be no flesh, how then shall it put on incorruption and immortality? Having then become something else by its change, it will obtain the kingdom of God, no longer the (old) flesh and blood, but the body which God shall have given it. Rightly then does the apostle declare, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” for this (honour) does he ascribe to the changed condition which ensues on the resurrection (Tertullian. Against Marcion, Book V, Chapter 10. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Thus, he is correctly teaching that we are not now immortal and not as we now are fit for the kingdom of God–this occurs after the resurrection.

Third Century

The Catholic bishop Hippolytus was a third century religious leader outside the Church of God. And although he held doctrines that we in the COGs would find to be heretical, he is considered to have been one of the greatest early theologians by Roman Catholics.

Hippolytus wrote:

Let us believe then, dear brethren, according to the tradition of the apostles, that God the Word came down from heaven, (and entered) into the holy Virgin Mary, in order that, taking the flesh from her, and assuming also a human, by which I mean a rational soul, and becoming thus all that man is with the exception of sin, He might save fallen man, and confer immortality on men who believe on His name (Hippolytus. Against Noetus, Chapter 17. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Notice that Hippolytus taught that Jesus needed to come in order to confer immortality on men. He would not have to do that if humans were immortal.

Hippolytus also wrote:

For concerning the general resurrection and the kingdom of the saints, Daniel says: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” And Isaiah says: “The dead shall rise, and those in the tombs shall awake, and those in the earth shall rejoice.” And our Lord says: “Many in that day shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live” (Hippolytus. On the End of the World, Chapter XXXVI. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Notice that Hippolytus is showing that death is like sleep and the dead must be raised.

The Catholic bishop Victorinus (ca. late third century) wrote:

“To him that overcomes I will give the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone.” The hidden manna is immortality; the white gem is adoption to be the son of God; the new name written on the stone is “Christian.” (Victorinus. Commentary on the Apocalypse. Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0712.htm> viewed 12/27/08)

There would be no reason to give immortality if it was possessed upon birth.

Pertaining to peoples in the third century, Eusebius about wrote that some in Arabia:

They said that during the present time the human soul dies and perishes with the body, but that at the time of the resurrection they will be renewed together (Eusebius. Church History, Book VI, Chapter 37).

The immortality of the soul doctrine seemed to enter the Greco-Roman churches from compromises with paganism and likely originated in Egypt. A spurious document apparently from the second or early third century may have been used to introduce the immortality heresy into the Alexandrian Orthodox:

Now, the proof that the soul is immortal will be put past doubt, not from what it says, or from what I hear, but from what I see: for seeing it with my eyes, I shall ever after hold the surest conviction of its immortality; and no fallacy of words or uncertainty of hearing shall ever be able to disturb the persuasion produced by sight. (The Recognitions of Clement, 1.5. In the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors, Vol. VIII. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted 1995. Note: This text is considered to have been spurious and probably not written by Clement of Alexandria. It seems to be a second century document and could have impacted the views of Gregory the Wonder Worker and others.)

Notice that the claim for immortality above is NOT based on the Bible, but what the author claims to see. The Bible teaches that we are to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)–yet perhaps the first “pro-immortality” Greco-Roman writing does not appeal to scripture, unlike the future immorality writers generally did.

Since it is believed that Origen referred to this Recognition work c. 231, he would have been familiar with it, though some believe passages may have been added to it in the fourth or even later centuries (Smith T. Introductory Notice to The Recognitions of Clement. ANTE-NICENE FATHERS VOLUME 8. The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementina, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First Ages Edited by ALEXANDER ROBERTS, D.D., and JAMES DONALDSON, LL.D. Revised and Chronologically Arranged, with Brief Prefaces and Occasional Notes by A. CLEVELAND COXE, D.D. T&T CLARK EDINBURGH, pp. 73-74).

But it should be noted that in the mid-late third century a mystic often now referred to as Gregory the Wonder Worker. Gregory studied under Origen in Alexandria Egypt. Gregory was the first to claim to see “Mary,” helped introduce heretical doctrines, and may have been the first of the Greco-Roman bishops to teach that the soul was immortal:

We prove, then, that the soul is simple…that what is simple is immortal…If, therefore, the soul is not corrupted by the evil proper to itself, and the evil of the soul is cowardice, intemperance, envy, and the like, and all these things do not despoil it of its powers of life and action, it follows that it is immortal. (Gregory Thaumaturgus. On the Soul, Chapters 5, 6. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0608.htm> viewed 06/05/11)

Sand is simple, but that does not make it immortal, yet the simplicity argument is supposedly proof of the false doctrine.

And while this doctrine was not commonly accepted for a while, his change did get accepted (though to a significant degree because of others, but also likely some he at least indirectly affected). But it never should have been accepted. in Ezekiel 18:4 the Douay-Rheims Bible (a well known Roman Catholic rendition of scripture into the English language) teaches ” the soul that sinneth, the same shall die” and “The soul that sinneth, the same shall die” in Ezekiel 18:20.

Fourth Century

Athanasius was a fourth century religious leader outside the Church of God. And although he held doctrines that we in the COGs would find to be heretical (including some held by Gregory Thaumagutus), he is considered to be a major saint and historical figure by the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.

But even he understood the concept that after the resurrection, that Christians were to become God and that they had to inherit immortality, as man otherwise is mortal. Notice what he wrote:

…that by death immortality has reached to all, that by the Word becoming man, the universal Providence has been known, and its Giver and Artificer the very Word of God. 3. For He was made man that we might be made God; and He manifested Himself by a body that we might receive the idea of the unseen Father; and He endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality (Athanasius. On the Incarnation of the Word, Chapter 54, Verses 2-3. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

…for us, that us who are mortal and temporal, the Lord, become man, might make immortal, and bring into the everlasting kingdom of heaven? (Athanasius. Discourse I Against the Arians, Chapter 48, Verse 1. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

‘The Word became flesh,’ that He might make man capable of Godhead…He created us, the Economy of our salvation; that though by the serpent’s deceit we fell from Him, we might not remain quite dead, but having in the Word the redemption and salvation which was afore prepared for us, we might rise again and abide immortal, what time He should have been created for us ‘a beginning of the ways,’ and He who was the ‘First-born of creation’ should become ‘first-born’ of the ‘brethren,’ and again should rise ‘first-fruits of the dead.’ (Athanasius. Discourse I Against the Arians, Chapters 59,75. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1892. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

The fourth century Catholic apologist and teacher Lactantius wrote:

For since man consists of two parts, body and soul, of which the one is earthly, the other heavenly, two lives have been assigned to man: the one temporal, which is appointed for the body; the other everlasting, which belongs to the soul. We received the former at our birth we attain to the latter by striving, that immortality might not exist to man without any difficulty. That earthly one is as the body, and therefore has an end; but this heavenly one is as the soul, and therefore has no limit. We received the first when we were ignorant of it, this second knowingly; for it is given to virtue, not to nature, because God wished that we should procure life for ourselves in life.

For this reason He has given us this present life, that we may either lose that true and eternal life by our vices, or win it by virtue…For other animals incline towards the ground, because they are earthly, and are incapable of immortality, which is from heaven; but man is upright and looks towards heaven, because immortality is proposed to him; which, however, does not come, unless it is given to man by God. For otherwise there would be no difference between the just and the unjust, since every man who is born would become immortal. Immortality, then, is not the consequence of nature, but the reward and recompense of virtue…God seeks to be worshipped, and to be honoured by man as a Father, that he may have virtue and wisdom, which alone produce immortality. For because no other but Himself is able to confer that immortality, since He alone possesses it, He will grant to the piety of the man, with which he has honoured God, this reward, to be blessed to all eternity, and to be for ever in the presence of God and in the society of God (Lactantius. Divine Institutes, Book VII, Of a Happy Life, Chapter 5).

The fourth century, Bishop Ambrose of Milan wrote:

The third death is that of which it is said: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” In that death not only the flesh but also the soul dies, for “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” For it dies to the Lord, through the weakness not of nature but of guilt. But this death is not the discharge from this life, but a fall through error…The heathen mostly console themselves with the thought, either of the common misery, or of the law of nature, or of the immortality of the soul. And would that their utterances were consistent, and that they did not transmit the wretched soul into a number of ludicrous monstrosities and figures!

But what ought we to do, whose reward is the resurrection, though many, not being able to deny the greatness of this gift, refuse to believe in it? And for this reason will we maintain it, not by one casual argument only, but by as many as we are able…The blossom of the resurrection is immortality, the blossom of the resurrection is incorruption (Ambrose of Milan. Book II. On the Belief in the Resurrection, verses 37, 50, 54).

Thus even into the fourth century, the immortality of humans was not taught as is now accepted by Catholics and Protestants. But this seemed to change as many who professed Catholicism ended coming from a background in Mithraism (such as Emperor Constantine).

Mithraism Taught the Immortality of the Soul

In the fourth century, there was a sort of merging between the Greco-Roman churches and many who had been followers of the sun-god Mithras. And while the Greco-Romans did not adopt everything associated with Mithraism, they did adopt some practices and beliefs that those who followed Mithras had.

While many Roman emperors had been followers of Mithras, they tended to distain forms of Christianity. However this changed with Emperor Constantine.

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports:

…it was especially in the western part of the empire that the veneration of Mithras predominated. Would it not be possible to gather all the different nationalities around his altars? Could not Sol Deus Invictus, to whom even Constantine dedicated his coins for a long time, or Sol Mithras Deus Invictus, venerated by Diocletian and Galerius, become the supreme god of the empire? Constantine may have pondered over this. Nor had he absolutely rejected the thought even after a miraculous event had strongly influenced him in favour of the God of the Christians…As pontifex maximus he watched over the heathen worship and protected its rights…It is true that the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas. Consequently Constantine speaks not of the day of the Lord, but of the everlasting day of the sun.

(Herbermann, Charles, and Georg Grupp. “Constantine the Great.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 1 Sept. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04295c.htm>)

It should be mentioned that the coins dedicated to Mithras still were produced for years after Constantines’ alleged acceptance of “Christianity”.

Mithraism taught the immortality of the soul. And though that was not the original position of the Greco-Roman churches, scholars recognize that both Mithraism and mainstream Christianity ended up with a similar teaching on this subject:

The resemblances between Mithraism and Christianity may be quickly summed up,—belief in the immortality of the soul (Aiken C.F., Mithraism and Christianity. The Catholic University bulletin, Volume 19, 1913. Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Dec 19, 2008, p. 380)

They both admitted the existence of a Heaven inhabited by beatified ones, situate in the upper regions…they both, finally, believed in the immortality of the soul (Cumont, Franz. Translated from the second revised French edition by Thomas J. McCormack. The Mysteries of Mithra. Chicago, OThe Catholic University bulletin Author Catholic University of America Publisher Catholic University of America., 1913 Item notes v. 19 Original from the University of Michigan Digitized Dec 19, 2008pen Court [1903] p. 193).

Because of Emperor Constantine’s strong influence (perhaps also combined with Gregory the Wonder Worker’s writings), it should be little surprise that the Greco-Romans began to change to accept a teaching that they original taught against. But for a while, the “immortality of the soul” view was in the minority.

Others also noticed some of this. Here is some of what the late Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about it in a paper dated November 23, 1949:

In Avesta, Mithra was the genius of celestial light…The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was another view which was very prominent in Mithraism…Of all the mystery cults, Mithraism was the greatest competitor of Christianity…That Christians did copy and borrow from Mithraism cannot be denied (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 213-214, 217, 222, 224).

So, immortality of the soul was a prominent view within Mithraism and the Greco-Romans adopted it for their form of “Christianity”. (For more on Mithraism, please check out Do You Practice Mithraism?)

Here is a link to a ContinuingCOG YouTube video titled: Are humans immortal?

Some articles to assist in your studies may include:

Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
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.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
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 cause cancer; false religion does not bring salvation

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015


Typical B vitamin supplement tablets (Ragesoss) 

COGwriter

Another report is 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.

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, 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.

CG7: Can you keep your job and the Sabbath?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

COGwriter

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

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

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

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

Informing your employer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the law says

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

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

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

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

• Lateral transfer and change of job assignment.

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

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

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

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

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

Other options

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

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

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

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

• Is this job really worth fighting for?

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

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

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

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

True identity

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

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

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

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

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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

Marijuana nation? New poll leaning in that direction.

Monday, April 20th, 2015


Marijuana, Cannibis sativa

COGwriter

CBS released a new poll showing increased acceptance of marijuana in the USA:

April 20, 2015

Fifty-three percent of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be legal, an all-time high in CBS News polling; 43 percent think it should not be legal.

Public opinion on legalizing pot has shifted over the last few years, and has changed dramatically since 1979 when CBS News first asked about it. Back then, just 27 percent said marijuana use should be legal. As recently as 2011, a majority of Americans opposed legalized pot use.

should-marijuana-use-be-legal.jpg

More information on the poll is at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/poll-support-for-legal-marijuana-use-reaches-all-time-high/

What has basically been happening is that the media has tended to focus on individuals who believe that marijuana has helped them with ‘untreatable’ pain or other ‘untreatable’ medical conditions.  This, along with the fact that the current President of the USA (Barack Obama) was a heavy marijuana user in his youth, has greatly impacted the public perception about marijuana while overlooking its dangerous facts.

Before getting to some of the dangers of marijuana, let me flat out state that just because the conventional medical profession cannot properly treat many diseases and painful conditions does NOT mean that marijuana is the only alternative.  There are many treatments, including dietary changes, that can ‘treat’ conditions that medical treatments have failed to properly treat.  Legalizing marijuana is not the answer.

Marijuana is dangerous.  Not only does heavy marijuana use causes brain problems, a study that came out last year also found that casual use of marijuana messes with the brain:

For the first time, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures…

“There were abnormalities in their working memory, which is fundamental to everything you do,” Breiter, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com. “When you make judgments or decisions, plan things, do mathematics – anything you do always involves working memory. It’s one of the core fundamental aspects of our brains that we use every day. So given those findings, we decided we need to look at casual, recreational use.”

For their most recent study, Breiter and his team analyzed a very small sample of patients between the ages of 18 and 25: 20 marijuana users and 20 well-matched control subjects. The marijuana users had a wide range of usage routines, with some using the drug just once or twice a week and others using it every single day.

Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers analyzed the participants’ brains, focusing on the nucleus accumbens (NAC) and the amygdala – two key brain regions responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation. They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape.

According to Breiter, all three were abnormal in the casual marijuana users.

“For the NAC, all three measures were abnormal, and they were abnormal in a dose-dependent way, meaning the changes were greater with the amount of marijuana used,” Breiter said. “The amygdala had abnormalities for shape and density, and only volume correlated with use. But if you looked at all three types of measures, it showed the relationships between them were quite abnormal in the marijuana users, compared to the normal controls.”

Because these brain regions are central for motivation, the findings from Northwestern help support the well-known theory that marijuana use leads to a condition called amotivation. Also called amotivational syndrome, this psychological condition causes people to become less oriented towards their goals and purposes in life, as well as seem less focused in general. (Grush L. Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities, study finds. Fox News, April 15, 2014. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/04/15/casual-marijuana-use-linked-with-brain-abnormalities-study-finds/)

The facts about marijuana are not good.

The Bible repeatedly condemns drunkenness and activities associated with it:

18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty (Proverbs 23:21)

11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (1 Corinthians 5:11)

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

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)

Becoming intoxicated by marijuana is sinful and not something that Christians should do.

The Bible warns of disaster coming upon a nation that is in debt and a nation that is drunk. Marijuana essentially makes one drunk. Notice:

2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.
4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
5 “Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations And heaps up for himself all peoples.
6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him,And a taunting riddle against him, and say,’Woe to him who increases What is not his — how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges’? 7 Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, All the remnant of the people shall plunder you, Because of men’s blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it. (Habakkuk 2:2-8)

15 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor,
Pressing him to your bottle,
Even to make him drunk,
That you may look on his nakedness!
16 You are filled with shame instead of glory.
You also — drink!
And be exposed as uncircumcised!
The cup of the Lord’s right hand will be turned against you,
And utter shame will be on your glory. (Habakkuk 2:15-16)

The above will come to pass. A people that ‘party’ and increase debt will be eliminated. No nation in history has been as indebted as the USA. Expect increased partying and drunkenness as marijuana gets more legal and more public acceptance in the USA.

The USA needs repentance, not marijuana, to deal with its problems.

Getting high on marijuana is not good for Christians nor any nation. But its use is getting increasingly accepted. even though it is known to be harmful and addictive. This legalization movement is not good for the USA as it seems that it will encourage more to get high on marijuana more often.

Some items of possibly related interest include:

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?
Should Christians Smoke? Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
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.
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?
Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today?
Includes quotes from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong and explains how he is and should be viewed today.
Overcoming Sin What is sin? How are Christians suppose to overcome it? Here is also a link to a video titled How to Overcome Sin.
How to Prevent Sin This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong.
Just What Do You Mean Conversion? Many think that they are converted Christians. But are they? Would you like to know more about conversion. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Edition for Second Obama Term This is a 160 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Barack Obama and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled (which the book documents in detail) and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also has a chapter about a Republican choice. This book is available to order at www.barackobamaprophecy.com. The physical book can also be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Barack Obama Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Kenyan, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Republican Leaders? Second Edition for Second Obama Term.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition.

Pentecost is May 24, 2015

Friday, April 17th, 2015


Artist Depiction of Pentecost (Cadetgray)

COGwriter

The Day of Pentecost for 2015 is approaching, and is May 24 in 2015. Unlike other biblical holy days, some version of the Day of Pentecost is observed by a lot of mainstream churches, both Catholic and Protestant. And of course, since Pentecost is a biblical holy day, it is observed by Church of God groups like the Continuing Church of God. Pentecost is the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles in the shape of fire (Acts 2:3-4).

Most groups that profess Christ consider that Pentecost marked the formal beginning of the New Testament church.

The term Pentecost is a Greek term meaning 50th. That term is derived from the following Hebrew description of calculating the date:

And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath (Leviticus 23:15-16).

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

For example, the Apostle Paul continued to keep Pentecost decades after the Pentecost mentioned in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Notice what he wrote, about 56 A.D.:

For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:8).

This shows that Paul knew when Pentecost was, that he felt that the Corinthians must know when Pentecost was, and that the Ephesians would have known when Pentecost was. Thus, it apparently was being observed by Paul and the Gentiles in Ephesus and Corinth.

In another year, the Apostle Paul also wished to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost, around 60 A.D.:

For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16).

Thus, Christians in Jerusalem were still observing Pentecost and Paul was observing it too. Otherwise, there would be no obvious reason why Paul wanted to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.

This was clearly understood by second century writers such as Irenaeus who wrote (circa 180):

Paul taught with simplicity what he knew, not only to those who were [employed] with him, but to those that heard him, he does himself make manifest. For when the bishops and presbyters who came from Ephesus and the other cities adjoining had assembled in Miletus, since he was himself hastening to Jerusalem to observe Pentecost (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book III, Chapter 14, Verse 2). Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

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, including Pentecost. Polycarp, himself, was a faithful early Christian leader who was apparently ordained by the Apostle John and was believed to be a Gentile.

Since the Apostle Paul and other faithful Christians kept Pentecost, shouldn’t you?

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many “Christians” somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means? It is also called the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks, and the day of firstfruits. What about “speaking in tongues” and led by the Holy Spirit? (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Pentecostés: ¿Es más que Hechos 2? plus one by Herbert Armstrong HWA sobre Pentecostés). Here is a YouTube sermon titled Pentecost: Feast of Firstfruits.
Pentecost Quiz This is a Pentecost quiz based upon the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.
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?
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?