Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Do Not Fear

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

FAITH Cover

COGwriter

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

Are you fearful? Are Christians supposed to be full of fear? What did Jesus tell His “little flock’? What does God’s word state is the fate of the cowardly? Have you read many biblical passages about fear? Jay Chiang addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to his message:s Do Not Fear.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Christian courage vs. cowardice As you courageous? What biblically is cowardice? Do YOU really understand this? Two sermons related to this article are available and are titled Courage and Cowardice and Cowardice and Overcoming Fear. A Spanish language article is also available: Valor Cristiano vs Cobardía.
Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
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.

SDA’s Ellen White and Jehovah’s Witnesses misidentified the archangel Michael

Friday, November 25th, 2016


Michael in the Hebrew language

COGwriter

Did you know that the Seventh-day Adventist ‘prophetess’ Ellen White taught that the archangel Michael was Jesus?

Did you know that the Jehovah’s Witnesses still teach that?

Recently, one raised as a Seventh-day Adventist told me that Ellen White held that view and that he found it blasphemous. When I asked him for citations, he sent the following that Ellen White taught:

Patriarchs and Prophets page 761—Again: Christ is called the Word of God. John 1:1-3. He is so called because God gave His revelations to man in all ages through Christ. It was His Spirit that inspired the prophets. 1 Peter 1:10, 11. He was revealed to them as the Angel of Jehovah, the Captain of the Lord’s host, Michael the Archangel.

Prophets and Kings page 572—For three weeks Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus; and before the contest closed, Christ Himself came to Gabriel’s aid. “The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days,” Gabriel declares; “but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” Daniel 10:13.

Early Writings page 164—Moses passed through death, but Michael came down and gave him life before his body had seen corruption. Satan tried to hold the body, claiming it as his; but Michael resurrected Moses and took him to heaven. Satan railed bitterly against God, denouncing Him as unjust in permitting his prey to be taken from him; but Christ did not rebuke His adversary, though it was through his temptation that the servant of God had fallen. He meekly referred him to His Father, saying, “The Lord rebuke thee.”

The Story of Redemption page 206—Moses passed through death, but Michael came down and gave him life before his body had seen corruption. Satan tried to hold the body, claiming it as his; but Michael resurrected Moses and took him to heaven. Satan railed bitterly against God, denouncing Him as unjust in permitting his prey to be taken from him; but Christ did not rebuke His adversary, though it was through his temptation that the servant of God had fallen. He meekly referred him to His Father, saying, “The Lord rebuke thee.”

19 Manuscript release 106.2—Jude presents the example of Christ. He says, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil He disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (As cited in an Email to COGwriter@aol.com 11/06/16)

Those in the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) believe that Michael is simply an archangel, not divine. Nowhere does the Bible teach that Jesus was once Michael.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses still teach that Jesus was the archangel Michael:

The foremost angel, both in power and authority, is the archangel, Jesus Christ, also called Michael. (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 9) Under his authority are seraphs, cherubs, and angels. (The Truth About Angels. Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site. Appeared in The Watchtower November 1, 1995. http://www.watchtower.org/library/w/1995/11/1/article_02.htm 07/09/07)

Michael is a name given to Jesus in his role as a heavenly Ruler (Pay Attention. p. 289).

Michael [another name for Jesus] and his angels battled with the dragon…Revelation 12 (What Does the Bible Really Teach?Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, 2005, p. 89).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God, but the CCOG does.

The Bible is clear that Jesus was not an angel and that God did not exalt any angel like Jesus was exalted.

Notice what the Book of Hebrews teaches:

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

5 For to which of the angels did He ever say:
“You are My Son,Today I have begotten You”?

And again:
“I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?

6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:
“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

7 And of the angels He says:
“Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.”

8 But to the Son He says:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

10 And:
“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.”

13 But to which of the angels has He ever said:
“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:1-14)

Angels, including archangels are ministering spirits–they are not part of the Godhead. For more details, see also Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus?

More information on the Godhead can be found in the following:

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

The archangel Michael is not Jesus, our Saviour.

Some items of related interest may include:

Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this, but does the Bible allow for this?
What is Restrained and Who is Restraining in 2 Thessalonians 2:7? Are sorceries being restrained until the future? What is the mystery of lawlessness? Could Michael be the restrainer? Here is a related article in Spanish: ¿Qué es lo que se restringe y quién lo está restringiendo en 2 Tesalonicenses 2:7?
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.
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
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? A related sermon is also available: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Right and Wrong Teachings?
Close Encounters of a ‘Spirit’ Kind discusses some experiences I believe were (demon) ‘spirit’ related. A video is also available titled: Poltergeists and Lying Wonders.
Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim This is information about various types of angelic beings.
Did Angels Marry Human Women? Many insist this is so and also that this mating caused giants to be born. Did this come from the ‘Book of Enoch’? What does Genesis 6:4 really mean? A related video is also available: Did Angels Marry Women and Produce Giants?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?

HWA Law of Success #3: Good Health

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

COGwriter

In his booklet, The Seven Laws of Success, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following related to the third law of success:

The Basic Third Law

The all-important law coming next in time order is GOOD HEALTH.

We are physical beings. The mind and the body form the most wonderful physical mechanism we know. But man is made of matter. He is basically 16 elements of organic, chemically functioning existence.

He lives by the breath of air—which is the breath of LIFE itself. If the bellows we call lungs do not keep inhaling and exhaling the oxygen-containing air, man won’t live to achieve any goal. You are only one heartbeat away from death! As the lungs pump air in and out, so the heart pumps blood through and intricate system of veins and arteries. These must be supported by food and water.

And so man IS just what he eats. Some of the most famous physicians and surgeons have said that 90% to 95% of all sickness and disease comes from faulty diet!

Most people are in utter ignorance of the fact that it does make a difference what we eat! Most people, and the customs of society, have followed a regimen of eating whatever tastes good to the palate.

Adults are babies grown up. Observe a nine-month-old baby. Everything that comes into his hands goes to his mouth!

My youngest brother may not like to read this in print, but I remember when he was about nine months old, and had managed to creep into the basement coal bin. We found him trying to eat little chunks of coal—his mouth and face well blackened!

You may laugh at babies trying to eat silver cups and chunks of coal. Or at people who dip small mice into a sauce, and, holding them by their tails, drop them as a delicious delicacy into their mouths.

If you do, they will laugh back at you. They will tell you that mice eat clean grain and clean foods, while you dip slimy, slithery oysters and other scavenger seafoods into cocktail sauces, and consider them a delicacy!

You think adults have actually LEARNED any better than nine-month-olds babies? Go to your fancy grocer’s and you’ll find on his shelves canned eel and canned rattlesnake.

WHY? As I said, humans know nothing at birth! We have to learn! But most of us do not know that! And, again, what we don’t know, we don’t know that we don’t know! And somehow, ever since babyhood, most humans seem to have grown up putting everything into the mouth. Most have grown up eating just whatever seemed to taste good—and whatever they saw others eating. There has been little education or even study about WHAT we ought—or ought NOT—to eat.

Most degenerative diseases are modern diseases—penalties for eating foods that have been demineralized in food factories—usually an excess of starch, sugar (the carbohydrates) and fats. Others are caused by a type of malnutrition—lack of needed minerals and vitamins in foods. Then people try to put the “vitamins” back into their systems by buying pills at the drugstore!

A famous director of a “Physical Fitness” program, lecturing at Ambassador College, reminded us that the medical profession has made great strides toward eliminating communicable diseases, yet is having little success coping with the increase of the non-communicable diseases,–such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases. These latter are affected by faulty diet.

Of course there are other laws of health—sufficient sleep, exercise, plenty of fresh air, cleanliness and proper elimination, right thinking, clean living.

Right now “jogging” has become the physical fitness fad. Even men in their late forties read a book by a self-professing “expert,” and suddenly are straining their hearts running two miles every day. “More and more exercise!” cry the faddists.

Why do humans tend to go to extremes? Exercise is good—it profits a little—but like most things, it can be carried past the law of diminishing returns. You can get an overdose that can cause harm. We are prone to forget the admonition of TEMPERANCE in all things.

What is the value of this excessive exertion in running two miles a day? It induces blood circulation. It gets circulation even to the extremities. And that is good. Stimulating blood circulation is good. Stimulating blood circulation is important. But we can also DESTROY HEALTH by going to unwise extremes. There is as much danger in overdoing exercise as in neglecting it.

Circulation can be induced without over-exertion or danger. I have never forgotten a lecture I heard as a young man in the days of the Chautauqua. The lecturer had been physical trainer to President Howard Taft. Immediately following the close of the Taft administration, this physical trainer managed to secure a list of all—or nearly all—of the centenarians in the United States. He personally visited every one. He asked to what they attributed their long life. One never used tobacco, and gave that as the reason. But another used tobacco all his life and still lived past a hundred years. One “tee-totaled”—but another drank beer and brandy all his life. And so it went. When he had interviewed them all, he analyzed his notes and was surprised to learn that ONLY ONE THING was common to them all. Yet not one gave it credit for his long life. Every one had taken a vigorous daily rub-down. Some with a bath towel, following a daily bath. Some with a brush But in one way or another, each had stimulated blood circulation even to the extremities of toes and fingers by daily rubbing or massaging.

Many ask how I (now in my nineties) keep up the energy, vigor and drive. I’m sure there is more than one reason—but I do not “jog” or go in for fads. I WALK—the best exercise for one of my age. But ever since I heard that lecture, perhaps 60 or more years ago, I have taken a daily RUB-DOWN. Method? A generous-size bath towel, following a daily shower. I try to get enough sleep. I watch elimination (very important). I try to be careful about my diet. And I have a tremendous INCENTIVE—a driving PURPOSE in life, because I have learned what is life’s PURPOSE. That spurs to action! I have a mission to accomplish that is more important than my life. There’s not much time left—and it MUST and WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED! Besides all this I draw on a greater and higher Power. I think that gives the answer.

The average person has never stopped to realize that it is not natural to be sick. Sickness and disease come only from violation of nature’s laws of body and mine—the physical LAWS of health. Most people have not learned that there are any such laws! They suppose that occasional illness or disease is natural in the course of life. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Sickness should not be taken for granted. Some authorities go so far as to say that we do not catch a cold—we eat our colds and fevers! They explain that a cold or fever is merely the unnatural and rapid elimination of toxins and poisons stored up in the glands, resulting from improper diet.

Now what about the great and the near-great of the world? They usually do not know all there is to know about the laws of good, vigorous health with clear, alert minds. But, compared to the average of the population, they know a great deal. They have, as a rule, enjoyed, shall we say, comparatively good health!

As an example, the President of the United States always has a White House physician who is constantly watchful over the President’s physical condition. A President is virtually required to get in certain exercise. President Eisenhower played golf frequently. President Kennedy took a daily swim. President Taft had a physical trainer who watched the overweight President daily.

Yet, there are many things that even these important people do not know about the causes of sickness, disease, debility.

One factor I think has worked universally in favor of such men. Mental attitude does have considerable influence on physical condition. Most “successful” men—as the world evaluates success—do think constructively, positively, in a mental attitude of confidence. They do not allow themselves to think negatively or assume an attitude of fear, worry, or discouragement. They do not allow themselves to get into uncontrolled moods of griping, complaining. They enforce on themselves emotional balance. And, mindful of the responsibilities on their shoulders, they probably put more restraint on dissipation than most people.

Without health one is direly handicapped, if not totally cut off from achievement. The fourth Law of Success is largely dependent on good health.

Many factors, including genetics and environment, affect health. But so do choices. (BTW, the fourth Law of Success in The Seven Laws of Success is “drive”).

Over a decade ago, I wrote a book related to natural health (which is still available) titled Combining Old and New : Naturopathy for the 21st Century. In addition to going over various views of health, causes of illness, and naturopathic modalities, it includes basically two chapters written by the late Herbert W. Armstrong (which were public domain and hence usable in a commercial book) on aspects of health.

People can influence and improve their health by making better choices.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Does God Heal Today? This historical article is by Herbert Armstrong and provides his views on healing circa 1952, which he seemed to later modify, at least to some degree.
Faith for those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido.Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Should Christians Smoke Tobacco or Marijuana? Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach?
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats.
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 who he was and how he should be viewed today.
The Seven Laws of Success Information that can help people become successful.
Combining Old and New : Naturopathy for the 21st Century. A book written by Dr. Thiel on natural health principles and modalities.

God deserves your thanks, American tackle football does not

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

COGwriter

Today is the national holiday in the USA called Thanksgiving. And despite certain claims, its specific origins are not pagan. But, of course, no Christian needs to celebrate national holidays like it. And the Bible does condemn gluttony.

Yet, whether on this day or others, the Bible teaches that people should give thanks:

4 Sing praise to the LORD, You saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name (Psalm 30:4).

The Bible is full of admonitions to give thanks to God. The New King James Version of the Bible has the word ‘thank’ 25 times, ‘thanks’ 75 times, ‘thankful’ 3 times, and ‘thanksgiving’ 32 times. It also has the word ‘praise’ 237 times and ‘praises’ 11 times.

One thing that I have noticed on the day called Thanksgiving by those in the USA, is when I have been at many other places than the home I lived in, American football has been playing on television.

For many, other than food and family, football is a major focus of the Thanksgiving holiday.

When I was posting a video on YouTube several weeks ago on giving thanks (watch Ingratitude and Giving Thanks), apparently because it mentioned ‘giving thanks,’ YouTube suggested that a ‘key word’ for the video should be ‘American football’ (which was not in the description).

Notice the also following:

Nov 22, 2012

For the fourth straight year, the Thanksgiving resolution from President Barack Obama fails to actually thank God — which is the fundamental reason why Thanksgiving is observed…

But, to President Obama, Thanksgiving is about food and football, according to his official remarks as distributed by the White House.

“For us, like so many of you, this is a day full of family and friends; food and football. It’s a day to fight the overwhelming urge to take a nap – at least until after dinner,” Obama said. http://www.lifenews.com/2012/11/22/4th-straight-year-obama-thanksgiving-resolution-doesnt-thank-god/

November 23, 2016

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama offered his final Thanksgiving message to the American people, while President-elect Donald Trump offered his first – a contrast in both style and substance.

Obama … did not mention to whom those thanks should be offered, nor did he reference prayer.

Trump did. http://www.wnd.com/2016/11/dueling-thanksgiving-messages-from-obama-trump/#tKq0jIm3pgWeiWIV.99

Whether or not the US president will publicly and officially thank God later today remains an open question. But the fact that Barack Obama did not do that in many past thanksgiving addresses, but instead advocates football is disturbing. Now the fact is that I have never considered that Barack Obama was a real Christian (nor Donald Trump for that matter), but what about real Christians today?

Should Christians support violent sports like American football?

A 1969 article by Eugene M. Walker put out by the old Worldwide Church of God had the following:

To many Americans Thanksgiving Day means sumptuous turkey dinners, family reunions and football games…There is nothing necessarily wrong with good food, family reunions…on Thanksgiving Day. But all too many use these activities wrongly and forget the purpose for the holiday. Many glut themselves with far more food than they ought to eat; few, however, stop to give God thanks for this food – even on Thanksgiving Day. Family reunions all too often turn out to be family brawls…Millions of others push and shove one another in large crowds at football games and parades, and kill one another on the highway as they madly strive to make sure they get their fair quota of pleasure. (Walker EM. Plain Truth, Thanksgiving Day: What does it mean to you? November 1969, pp. 39-41).

Notice he wrote that certain activities were not necessarily wrong. Of course, a friendly game of flag football and a family dinner should be fine. But what about violent professional or intercollegiate American football?

Over a decade later, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

Hostility toward the other is sin…

Football (American football) is a violent body-contact sport. It is often played with an attitude of hostility and is dangerous and is fraught with physical injury. (Plain Truth, July-August 1984)

Wherever a game in sports involves ANTAGONISTS–in HOSTILE ATTITUDE to harm the other and/or to “GET” from the other–to get the best of the other–then a harmful, Satanic and evil attitude enters in , and the sport is EVIL, not good…football,

(American football)…because football is such a violent body contact sport , it TOO OFTEN is played in an ATTITUDE OF HOSTILITY, and is too DANGEROUS and fraught with PHYSICAL INJURY . Therefore it must be BANNED so far as participation by God’s Church or people is concerned…This is sufficient to illustrate the application of the PRINCIPLE of God’s Law to sports. That participated in with an attitude of HOSTILITY toward the opponent is evil. That which HARMS mentally or physically an opponent is evil.

Satan is the author of COMPETITION based on hostility, harm to the opponent, GETTING by taking FROM an opponent–to his harm or loss. God’s way is LOVE TOWARD neighbor equal to love of self. (Armstrong HW. Not all sports are banned. Pastor General’s Report, Volume 2, Issue 36, September 5, 1980)

While I have even heard some people thank God for football, it is not a sport that I believe that the God of love would condone.

The person that Jesus stated was greater than all others born of women (Matthew 11:11), John the Baptist taught:

14 Do violence to no man (Luke 3:14, KJV)

The Apostle Paul taught:

Love does no harm to a neighbor (Romans 13:9).

What do sports like American football and boxing do? They harm people. Even if played according to all of their rules, American tackle football is evil because it actually physically harms many of its participants:

November 23, 2016

This past Monday, 26 retired Florida football players sued the NFL and demanded the league give them workers’ compensation. The players say the league hid the fact that repeated concussions cause a disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), in which a person’s brain wastes away until he or she dies. In all, 141 retired players filed suit, but only 38 are named.

In the suit, the players compare the NFL to a group of tobacco executives, desperately shoving bad information under the rug as increasingly frightening concussion science came to light.

The NFL “routinely failed to care for Plaintiffs’ repetitive head injuries during their careers in any medically competent or meaningful manner that complied with any known published contact sports return-to-play guidelines at the time in which the injuries occurred,” the suit says.

Studies show players who live through multiple concussions and blows to the head often develop a fatal disease in which the brain wastes away, causing severe memory loss and confusion. Multiple investigations have shown the NFL knowingly hid the risk of CTE from its players, and in 2015, the NFL agreed to pay retirees more than $1 billion for CTE-related medical claims. But players say that since that decision came down, science has shown the NFL should be taking care of even more players. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/twenty-six-florida-football-players-sue-the-nfl-for-concussion-related-workers-comp-8943352

The most popular sport in America causes irreparable harm to many of its participants, some of whom will stammer through sentences after they retire, lose their memories and have their dinners served to them through intravenous needles…If they’re modern-day gladiators, we’re little more than howling, new-millennium Romans — with better-stitched togas and viewing angles. Now armed with more information than ever about football and brain injuries, we think long and hard whether our kids should strap on a helmet and pads. (Wise M. Super Bowl: NFL confronts the highest stakes. Washington Post, January 28, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/super-bowl-nfl-confronts-the-highest-stakes/2013/01/28/b92e1fd8-69a0-11e2-95b3-272d604a10a3_story.html)

The NFL doesn’t have a PR problem. It has a reality problem. And it may be a grave one. Every month — and it seems every few days — the NFL is inundated by new, barely suspected revelations. What has the NFL become? Or is this what it has been for some time? Is the truth coming out of the shadows? The list is stunning. Its cumulative effect, not any one particular item, is the true confidence-shaking shock. The NFL is now the league of murder charges against Aaron Hernandez — gang execution style. The NFL is the league of murder, then suicide, with Jovan Belcher killing his girlfriend and then shooting himself in the head in a parking lot by his stadium as his coach and general manager watched. The NFL is the league of concussions, cover-ups for decades and in-house pseudo-science to discredit critical research. That is, until dementia, insanity and a $765 million settlement with its players hits the headlines. The NFL is a “League of Denial.” (November 6, 2013)

It would be wonderful if we could make the game safer, but there is far too much satisfaction as a player, owner, coach and consumer to quit. And there is no substitute “patch” for American football.

We are all too selfish to stop.

We now know, or highly suspect, that former players such as Dave Duerson and Junior Seau killed themselves due somewhat to the problems related to the brain trauma suffered in their long careers. We care, but not enough to stop…

You can disagree on the origins or the severity, but what is indisputable is that there is a far greater risk in playing football than we have ever been previously aware…The concussion issue in football is not only genuine, but it is never going away. Studies, and prevailing common sense, say that if you run into something continually at a high speed, eventually your body, and brain, will suffer as a result. http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/08/26/5110575/football-is-dangerous-but-we-cant.html#storylink=cpy

Research conducted on almost 100 deceased NFL players revealed that over 95 percent of them tested positive for the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

September 18, 2015

Research conducted on almost 100 deceased NFL players revealed that over 95 percent of them tested positive for the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

In a study published by Frontline on Friday, a total of 87 out of 91 players were found to have the disease. The CTE research was carried out by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University.

The chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System, Dr. Ann McKee, told Frontline that CTE is a “very real disease.”

“People think that we’re blowing this out of proportion, that this is a very rare disease and that we’re sensationalizing it,” McKee said. “My response is that where I sit, this is a very real disease. We have had no problem identifying it in hundreds of players.”

Although research had suggested that concussions were one of the likely causes of CTE, new evidence suggests that “minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football may pose” a greater risk than the occasional violent collision. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/25307746/study-956-percent-of-deceased-nfl-players-tested-positive-for-cte

The truth about the harm the sport causes is something that professing Christians, and others, who think that they should watch American football should think about.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Thanksgiving: A Time To Give Thanks and Praise the LORD Is this American holiday appropriate? Why or why not?
Giving Thanks Are Christians supposed to give thanks? Why? Is unthankfulness warned against? Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Ingratitude and Giving Thanks.
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.

Scholar’s view on prophets for the 21st century

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016


Elijah in the wilderness

COGwriter

A reader emailed me the following from an assistant professor of biblical studies:

Examining the church’s prophetic role

People have mixed feelings about prophets. Some associate prophets with fanaticism, others view them as revolutionaries, preachers of a new world order. Others still might consider them experts on matters of the occult.

But who were the biblical prophets, and why do they matter for the life of the church in the 21st century?

Prophets rose in prominence during the time of the monarchy in ancient Israel, circa 1020-1000 BCE. The narrative of the monarchy’s rise is found in 1 Samuel 8-12. Scholars differ as to whether those chapters support or oppose the monarchy.

In this context, prophets performed a crucial function of counterbalancing royal power. A clear example of this function can be found in the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12). …

For speaking truth to power, many prophets were persecuted. Their unwavering attitude in face of their suffering became an example for first century Christians (Hebrews 11:32-38).

But what did the prophets mainly criticize? A common theme is disapproval of illicit gains. …

For Amos and Isaiah, religious activities unaccompanied by love of your neighbor are deemed meaningless and even contemptible. Isaiah 1:15 reads, “When you spread out your hands, I will close my eyes to you; when you multiply your prayer, I will not hear it; your hands are full of blood.” This last sentence carries an irony with it.

Normally, the hands of those offering sacrifices would be full of animal blood. However, in the context of Isaiah 1:15, it becomes clear the “blood” on their hands is a result of not caring for the destitute (Isaiah 1:17). The same message can be found in Amos 5:18-27 and in the post-exilic prophet Zechariah, chapters 7-8. For these prophets, worship has social implications and true worship must be accompanied by love of your neighbor.

In conclusion, the church has a prophetic role in this world. After all, the church is built on the foundation of the “prophets and apostles, with Christ as the cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20). More than any other institution, the church bears the responsibility of speaking truth to power and counterbalancing the powers that be.

A native of São Paulo Brazil, Wilson de Angelo Cunha is an assistant professor of biblical studies in the School of Theology and Vocation at LeTourneau University. He teaches Hebrew, biblical literature and primarily Old Testament courses. (Cuna W. Longview News-Journal, August 29, 2015).

Prophets denounced the sins of the people and their leaders.

In the past nearly four years, on behalf of the Continuing Church of God, I have been part of videos that denounce both the sins of people as well as sins of certain specific leaders:

United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? A related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
Gambling and Sin: Is it a Sin for Christians to Gamble? What does the Bible reveal? A related video is Gambling: A Covetous Sin?
Tattoos: History and Biblical Teachings Would you like to know more about the history of tattoos, social concerns about tattoos, health risks of tattoos, and what the Bible teaches about them? Here is a related video titled Should Christians Get a Tattoo?
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.
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.
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Is There Another View of Evolution? and another titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
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?
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.
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.
The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Can homosexuals change? A related video sermon is titled What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
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?
Should Christians Smoke Tobacco or Marijuana? Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
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?
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.
Five Rules for Effective Parenting Do you know that there are five simple rules that can make you a more effective parent? Here is a link to a version in Mandarin Chinese 五条简单有效的子女养育规则. There is also a 12 1/2 minute English language YouTube video on this, also titled Five Rules for Effective Parenting.
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol?
Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? Here are some historical and biblical insight on this question. There are many cultures that have celebrations and observances that are similar to some associated with Halloween. What did the Druids do? Is Halloween one of the most important holidays for Satanists? Do the Japanese, Indians, and Chinese have any practices that are similar to some associated with Halloween? Does the Bible endorse or condemn practices that are associated with Halloween? Here is a related sermonette length video: International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween?
Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine’s Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true? There is also a YouTube titled Should Christians Observe Valentine’s Day? A more detailed sermon is available and titled Valentine’s Day, Christianity, and Islam.
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Is Mardi Gras Christian? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Where did it come from? There is also a related YouTube video Mardi Gras & Carnaval: Are they for Christians?
The Bible and Astrology Should Christians avoid participating in astrology or did God inspire it? Does the Bible encourage astrology? What does the Bible actually teach? What is astrology? How does astrology differ from astronomy? A related video would be Should Christians Be Involved In Astrology?
NBC: ‘Exposed in Ashley Madison Hack? Here’s What to Do Now’ Adultery is wrong. A related video would be Ashley Madison: Your Sins Will Find You Out.
Taxes What caused the descendants of Israel to pay taxes? Should Christians pay taxes? If you prefer, or additionally, you could watch the video Should Christians Pay Taxes?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? A related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
The Bible, Christians, and the Environment How should Christians view the environment? Does the Bible give any clues? What are some of the effects of air, water, and land pollution? Is environmental pollution a factor in autism and death? Do pollutants seem to double the autism risk? What will Jesus do? A YouTube video is available titled Air Pollution, Autism, and Prophecy.
Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? Pope Francis’ plans are misleading many. A related video is titled Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Donald Trump in Prophecy Prophecy, Donald Trump? Are there prophecies that Donald Trump may fulfill?  Are there any prophecies that he has already helped fulfill?  Could a Donald Trump presidency be apocalyptic?  A related video is titled: 13 Ways President-Elect Trump is Apocalyptic.

Videos were also made denouncing improper prophetic positions of those who claim to be part of the Church of God:

What is Restrained and Who is Restraining in 2 Thessalonians 2:7? Are sorceries being restrained until the future? What is the mystery of lawlessness? Here is a related article in Spanish: ¿Qué es lo que se restringe y quién lo está restringiendo en 2 Tesalonicenses 2:7?
The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? Some claim that these passages refer to a gathering of 10 currently existing nations together, while one group teaches that this is referring to 11 nations getting together. Is that what Revelation 17:12-13 refers to? The ramifications of misunderstanding this are enormous. A related sermon is titled Ten Kings of Revelation and the Great Tribulation.
Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising.

Wilson de Angelo Cunha is correct that there is still a need for prophets in the 21st century.

Many will not accept that–including most in the COGs.

Of course, there are many false prophets.

False predictions by Protestant-related leaders like Mark Biltz e.g. Knowledge of prophecy helps keep us vigilant, plus let’s us know that the world will not end with tonight’s blood moon), Jonathan Cahn (e.g. WND: Are you serious about ‘The Harbinger Man’ movie?), and the late Harold Camping quickly come to mind. Amongst those that claim to be COG, false predictions from Ronald Weinland, Gerald Flurry, and David Pack come to immediate mind. I should also add that the Laodicean COGs have a variety of inaccurate prophetic positions (watch, for example, 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy; a longer list is shown in the article The Laodicean Church Era).

The following is from a former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron’s newsletter regarding Pope Francis:

Beware of False Prophets in White Robes

As we watched the non-stop coverage of the pope’s visit to America last month, many of the scenes appeared to be apocalyptic. We saw multitudes of people flocking to get a glimpse of a mortal man who was unknown just three years ago. The national excitement for this false prophet was overwhelming as gullible people hung on his every word. It was heartbreaking to see such adoration given to a deceiver who holds people captive in his false religious system. Warnings from the true head of the church were ignored. The Lord Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mat. 7:15). Jesus said, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him” (John 5:43). Clearly, the pope did not come in the Father’s name, but he arrogantly wears the title reserved for the one and only “Holy Father” (John 17:11). Tragically, most Catholics do not know the Word of God, and their ignorance makes them easy prey for the worst kind of deception.

Pope Francis did not mention Jesus Christ a single time in his entire address to Congress, yet he claims to be the Vicar of Christ and the Head of Christ’s Church. Knowing that the Lord Jesus is the very foundation of the Christian faith, the pope’s omission speaks volumes about his worldly agenda. In a message the next day at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the pope did mention Jesus, but in a deceptively misleading way. He said, “We need to remember that we are followers of Jesus… and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.”

Where is the outrage among Roman Catholics? When will they awake from their stupor and run from this blasphemer? … How dare the pope say the life of Jesus ended in failure! The pope, and all other false prophets, are described by Jesus as thieves who come to steal and kill and destroy the sheep (John 10:10). The pope knows the difference between success and failure. No one has been more successful in directing people towards the wide road to destruction with his perverted gospel.

By the authority of God’s Word, we know the pope is under divine condemnation for preaching a gospel contrary to the Gospel of God. The apostle Paul warned us: “There are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:6-9).

The pontiff is not a true prophet of God. Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?

Sadly, because of false prophets and false predictions, people are unwilling to realize that God is not finished using prophets and uses at least one now (cf. Joel 2:28; Ephesians 4;11). But all who do so, do so to their own peril (cf. 2 Peter 3:2-3; Revelation 3:14-18).

Norman Edwards, former board member of the old Global Church of God pointed out:

1Jo 4:1-2 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

Note: If there were no true prophets, there would be no need to “test the spirits”—because every prophet would be a “false prophet”. But because there are both true prophets and false prophets, we need to “test the spirits”. (Edwards N. Need Prophets More than Prophecy. Shepherd’s Voice, Fall 2013)

Instead of being “cold,’ following false prophets, most in the end times will not be ‘hot,’ they will rationalize that it is ‘safer’ to not recognize anyone as a prophet of God, hence they will be lukewarm.

Jesus said:

15 … I could wish you were cold or hot.  16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:19)

The Bible teaches that God will have prophets in the 21st century (cf. Acts 2:17-18; see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God). Those who prefer to be lukewarm are advised to change, quickly.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets, yet many overlook what the Bible teaches about how to recognize a true one. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? This article contains a scripture-based checklist to assist with this determination.
How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God This is a sermon on YouTube addressing a subject that most in the Church of God do not seem to have looked into very much. It discusses scriptures and dispels some improper assertions that some associated with the COG have made about prophets in this time.
Elijah: Past and Prophesied Information about the original Elijah and some information about the Elijah-related prophecies.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are  available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?
There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind? There is also a YouTube video with information Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
Protestant and Church of God views of the United States in Bible Prophecy Is the USA mentioned in Bible prophecy? Some Protestants say yes, while others say no. What does the Bible really teach? Learn the truth about this. There is also a video available: Is The United States Mentioned In Bible Prophecy?
Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors What are some errors that various Protestants hold to that will tend to prevent them from knowing when the Great Tribulation will begin? A related video is titled Ten Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors.
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous? A related sermon video is titled Preterism: You’ve Gotta Be Kidding…Right?
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
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.
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?

DNA damage? Should Christians smoke?

Monday, November 21st, 2016


(Photo by Geierunited)

COGwriter

Should Christians smoke?

Does smoking show love to self or neighbor?

Tobacco use is believed to kill about six million people each year.

Smoking is dangerous and hurts the smoker and those around the smoker. Can or should smokers quit?

Here is information about his own smoking and views on it by the late Hebert W. Armstrong from his Autobiography:

In order to keep up with the job, due to inadaptability and resultant slowness, it became necessary to work nights. I established a system. I worked alternately one night until ten, the next until midnight, rising at 5:30 every morning. Time had to be taken out to walk the one or two miles from my room to the mill, and also to walk over to the boarding house where I took meals. I kept awake on the job nights by smoking a pipe — my first habitual smoking. In just six months this overwork and loss of sleep exacted its toll, and I was sent to the hospital with a very severe case of typhoid fever…

I had taken up pipe smoking during those long and frantic night hours at Wiggins, Mississippi, as an aid to staying awake while I worked over the books. I had smoked, moderately, ever since. However, I will say that I was never a heavy smoker. Never more than one cigar a day, or three or four cigarettes in a day. That’s the reason I did not have the battle many men have had in breaking the habit, when I saw that it had to be broken…

{Later} I was baptized, the matter of smoking had to be settled. Of course the Quaker church, in which I had been reared as a boy, taught that smoking was a sin. But I had been unhappily disillusioned to see that in so many basic points the Bible teaching is the very opposite of what I had absorbed in Sunday school. “I’ve got to see the answer to the tobacco question IN THE BIBLE!” I said to myself. Until I found the answer in the Bible, I decided I would continue as before — smoking mildly. I had continued to smoke lightly, averaging three or four cigarettes a day, or one cigar a day. I had never been a heavy smoker.

Now I had to face the question: Is smoking a SIN? I wanted the BIBLE answer, for I had learned by this time that Christ had said we must live by EVERY WORD OF GOD. The BIBLE is our Instruction Book on right living. We must find a BIBLE reason for everything we do. I knew, of course, there is no specific command, “Thou shalt not smoke.” But the absence of a detailed prohibition did not mean God’s approval. I had learned that GOD’S LAW is His WAY OF LIFE. It is a basic philosophy of life.

The whole Law is summed up in the one word LOVE.

I knew that love is the opposite of lust. Lust is self-desire — pleasing the self only. Love means loving others. Its direction is not inward toward self alone, but outgoing, toward others. I knew the Bible teaches that “lust of the flesh” is the way of SIN.

So now I began to apply the principle of God’s Law. I asked myself, “WHY do I smoke?” To please others — to help others — to serve or minister to or express love toward others — or only to satisfy and gratify a desire of the flesh within my own self? The answer was instantaneously obvious. I had to be honest with it. My only reason for smoking was LUST OF THE FLESH, and lust of the flesh is, according to the BIBLE, sin! I stopped smoking immediately.

This beginning of overcoming was not too difficult, for it had not been a “big habit” with me. Once weaned, I was able to see it as it is — a dirty, filthy habit. And today we know it is a serious and major contributing cause of lung cancer! God designed and created the human body. He designed the LUNGS to take in FRESH AIR to fire and oxidize the blood, and at the same time to filter out of the blood the impurities and waste matter the blood has picked up throughout the body. Befouled smoke, containing the poisons of nicotine and tars, reduces the efficiency of the operation of this vital organ.

The physical human body is, God says, the very TEMPLE of His Holy Spirit. If we defile this TEMPLE — this physical body — God says He will destroy us! God intended us, if we are to be COMPLETE, to live happy, healthy and abundant lives, and to gain eternal life, to take in HIS SPIRIT — not poisonous foreign substances like tobacco.

Hebert W. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986, at age 93 1/2. His reasons for quitting smoking make biblical sense to me. People should not smoke. It harms them and others around them.

He concluded, correctly, that Christians should not smoke.

(Those interested in learning more about Herbert W. Armstrong, should read the article Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today?)

Smoking causes DNA damage:

November 3, 2016

Smoking leaves an “archaeological record” of the hundreds of DNA mutations it causes, scientists have discovered.

Having sequenced thousands of tumour genomes, they found a 20-a-day smoker would rack up an average of 150 mutations in every lung cell each year.

The changes are permanent, and persist even if someone gives up smoking.

Researchers say analysing tumour DNA may help explain the underlying causes of other cancers. …

The study, in the journal Science, was carried out by an international group, including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridgeshire and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

The analysis shows a direct link between the number of cigarettes smoked in a lifetime and the number of mutations in tumour DNA.

The authors found that, on average, smoking a packet of cigarettes a day led to:

  • 150 mutations in each lung cell every year
  • 97 in the larynx or voice box
  • 23 in the mouth
  • 18 in the bladder
  • six in the liver

Joint lead author Prof Sir Mike Stratton, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: “The more mutations there are, the higher the chance that these will occur in the key genes that we call cancer genes, which convert a normal cell into a cancer cell.”

The researchers said that in tissues such as the lung, which are directly exposed to smoke, they could find the mutational signature of the chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 60 are carcinogens. …

Dr David Gilligan, consultant oncologist at Papworth Hospital and Roy Castle Lung Foundation trustee, said: “For every 150 mutations in the cell each year, that is 150 opportunities for lung cancer to develop.

“Lung cancer has been at the bottom of the survival league for many years, but there are many exciting developments, including immunotherapy and genetically targeted drug treatments.” http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37849000

Smoking is not good.

Notice some of what the New Testament teaches:

19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

37…”‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Consider that smoking does not glorify God in your body–it harms your body. Consider that smoking also does not show love towards one’s neighbor–it harms your neighbor. Smoking is a sin against the body, and sometimes more than that.

Smoking is wrong and it kills people. God wants people to change/repent (Acts 17:30)–which means that, despite its difficulties it can be done (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13). The sooner one starts the better one will be. Christians should strive to not smoke and should strive to be healthy.

Several items of possibly related interest include:

Should Christians Smoke Tobacco? Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Alcohol Drinking and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach?
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
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.

PCG’s and CGFF’s position on HWA as the ‘restrainer’ are in biblical error

Sunday, November 20th, 2016


17th Century Depiction of Michael and Satan

COGwriter

A while back, I watched the Key of David program by PCG’s Gerald Flurry. Here is some of what he taught:

Satan cast down…It has happened…He had a war with God.

Revelation 12:13:
Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.

He did in this end time…

Revelation 12:12… because he knows that he has a short time…Why does Satan have a short time?

About 5% of God’s people are doing the work in this end time…

There are two men…

The man of sin… there is no truth in him… He attacks God’s church…The son of perdition here is second Thessalonians 2…in all likelihood is possessed by the devil…That is why he shows himself that he is God. …

There is another man {2 Thessalonians 2:7} the mystery of lawlessness … only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way…

He was taken out of the way…The very day he was taken away, Satan was cast down. (Flurry G. Satan Cast Down (2014). November 16, 2014)

I know the above is a bit cryptic–yet Gerald Flurry did not lay out the specifics of the identity of the two men in that video. But based upon other items from Gerald Flurry, it is clear that he believes that Satan was (or probably was) cast down to the earth on January 16, 1986.

Why?

Two basic reasons.

First, Gerald Flurry taught the following:

Remember that Malachi is about an end-time messenger, like John the Baptist, who prepares the way for Christ’s Second Coming (Malachi 3:1-2). It all occurs just before “the great and dreadful Day of the Lord.” Common sense would tell us the events Malachi prophesied about couldn’t happen while Mr. Armstrong was alive. There was a type of it in the 1970s—but he stopped it, and as one pcg member said, that was the only time in recorded secular and biblical history that it ever happened! The only time! Mr. Armstrong restrained it (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). (Flurry G. Malachi’s Message, Chapter 9. Copyright © 1990, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2008 Philadelphia Church of God)

Second, because Herbert W. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986, and that is the event that Gerald Flurry seemed to be alluding to in his video program.

Now, I do NOT believe that Herbert W. Armstrong could possibly be the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:7–the restrainer would need to exist from the time of the Apostle Paul to now. While a change from the Philadelphia to Laodicean church era may have happened then, I do not believe that Satan was cast down on January 16, 1986.

Notice what the old Radio Church of God taught about the restrainer:

One prominent writer attempts to prove that II Thessalonians 2:7-8…has not yet begun to be fulfilled…But notice the first part of verse 7:, “For the mystery of iniquity DOTH ALREADY WORK”–even in Paul’s day. (Hoeh H. The Secret Rapture: Fact or Fiction. Plain Truth, July, 1959, p. 30)

Read the rest of this alarming prophecy! “… sitteth in the temple of God, chewing himself that he is God… for the mystery of iniquity (a babylonish MYSTERY religion!) doth ALREADY work (yes, Paul said it had its insidious beginnings even then!) only he who now letteth (an old word meaning “restrains”) will let, until HE BECOME TO BE!” (The original Greek verb, “ginomai” has this sense, rather than “taken out of the way,” as it appears in the King James translation) “And then shall that WICKED (A WICKED ONE — ONE EVIL PERSON IN HIGH OFFICE — is the whole subject and content of this passage of scripture!) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming” (II Thess. 4:8). (Armstrong GT. And when you see the ABOMINATION… Plain Truth, July 1963)

The above is teaching that the restainer was restraining nearly two thousand years ago. That understanding agrees with that of the Apostle Paul, the late Herbert W. Armstrong, and me (see also What is Restrained and Who is Restraining in 2 Thessalonians 2:7?).

Don Billingsley, of Church of God, Faithful Flock (CGFF), also has improperly taught that Herbert Armstrong was the restrainer:

Mr. Armstrong…He had to be taken out of the way by his death to make the fulfillment of them possible (II Thessalonians 2:7). (Billingsley D. Philadelphia Remnant, written January 16, 2007. http://philadelphiaremnant.com/).

As I wrote earlier, the restrainer was at work during the Apostle Paul’s day–it was NOT Herbert W. Armstrong. See also What is Restrained and Who is Restraining in 2 Thessalonians 2:7?

Perhaps, I should mention that Gerald Flurry also teaches that Joseph Tkach was the man of sin. He originally taught that it was Joseph Tkach Sr., who became in charge of the old Worldwide Church of God at the time of Herbert W. Armstrong’s death; Gerald Flurry later changed that to Joseph Tkach, Jr. But neither of those are correct. Other COG groups also misunderstand the identity of the “man of sin/son of perdition.”

To understand who that is, please check out Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? and/or watch a related YouTube video titled Who is the Man of Sin?

This shows that PCG is publicly proclaiming, though cryptically in its Key of David program, error. Hopefully those part of PCG will realize this soon. Gerald Flurry is NOT God’s prophet nor apostle as he falsely claims to be.

Nor is Don Billingley’s CGFF the ‘faithful flock’ as its name implies. Earlier this month, his claim that God told him that Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the USA and then get re-elected in 2020 were proven false (see also How Will President-Elect Trump be Apocalyptic? Two false prophets exposed!).

That being said, many are afraid to believe that God uses any prophets in the 21st century. That is also NOT biblical (see How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God), but instead is a dangerous and lukewarm position to hold (cf. Revelation 3:14-22; see also Laodicean Church Era).

Some items of related interest may include the following:

What is Restrained and Who is Restraining in 2 Thessalonians 2:7? Are sorceries being restrained until the future? What is the mystery of lawlessness?
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself ‘Philadelphia’ does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9), nor does Gerald Flurry calling himself “that prophet” make it so. This article provides many quotes from this group which tries to look faithful.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.

BibleNewsProphecy: Binge Drinking and the Bible

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

COGwriter

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


15:31

Binge Drinking and the Bible

Binge drinking is engaged by many. It is popular on many college campuses. What is binge drinking? Can it have any harmful side effects? What seems to cause some to binge drink? Does the Bible condone binge drinking? Does the Bible actually allow the use of alcohol? Can drinking problems be overcome? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more.

Here is a link to our video: Binge Drinking and the Bible.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
Should Christians Smoke Tobacco or Marijuana?  Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
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?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA
We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN
This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU
This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ
This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos
. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy
online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy
channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.
ContinuingCOG
channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Sermon: Revelation: Jesus’ Final Words

Saturday, November 19th, 2016


Jesus spoke to the Apostle John on the island called Patmos

COGwriter

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


1:22:50

Revelation: Jesus’ Final Words

In this sermon, Dr. Thiel covers all the words that the New Testament records from Jesus that are in the books of Revelation, 1 Corinthians, and 2 Corinthians. Dr. Thiel explains the historical and prophetic significance of many of Jesus’ statements. He discusses church eras, characteristics of those eras, and some prophetic ramifications. He also explains what the Bible says the “testimony of Jesus” is. With this sermon, Dr. Thiel has, in accordance with Matthew 28:19-20, completed going over all the words that the New Testament shows that Jesus commanded.

Here is a link to the sermon: Revelation: Jesus’ Final Words.

Some items of related interest may include:

Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
5. 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.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety?  Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

GCI’s Joe Tkach again pushing Christmas as the ‘incarnation’

Friday, November 18th, 2016

TRANSFORMED FROM TRUTH

Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales

COGwriter

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

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As Christmas approaches, I’ve been preparing my heart for the season. I’ve prayed for new eyes to marvel at the birth of Jesus once again. It can be a challenge for those of us who know the story so well to remember the wonder of the incarnation. …

We’ve put together a beautiful series of short films grounded in the story of Advent, our anticipation of Christmas, and what it all means to us as believers.

There are four videos in total, each focused on a central Christian virtue modeled for us in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth …

My prayer is that these videos along with other resources and our personal example (both yours and mine) will reach beyond GCI and touch someone losing hope, searching for peace, struggling to find joy, and in need of his love this Christmas.

I would like to point to his statement, “those of us who know the story so well to remember the wonder of the incarnation.”

The story of Jesus in the Gospel accounts show us that He was not born, ‘incarnated’ anywhere near Christmas.

That is a story that Joe Tkach should know well.

What does the Bible teach about the time of Jesus birth?

Here is a Catholic-accepted translation of the account in the Gospel According to Luke:

1 Now it happened that at this time Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be made of the whole inhabited world. 2 This census — the first — took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, 3 and everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

4 So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee for Judaea, to David’s town called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, 5 in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 Now it happened that, while they were there, the time came for her to have her child, 7 and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the living-space.

8 In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. 9 An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’

13 And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words: 14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favours.

15 Now it happened that when the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16 So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, 18 and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:1-18, NJB)

Notice that, at the time of the census, Luke teaches that the shepherds were out all night in the field at the time of Jesus’ birth.  This is biblical evidence that Jesus could not have been born in late December for a couple of reasons.  One of them is that the practice of shepherds spending the night with their flocks outside ceased each Fall.

Furthermore, related to the reason that Joseph had to go to Bethlehem (the census) at the time of Jesus’ birth, even The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that the “census would have been impossible in winter” (Christmas, 1908).  If something is impossible, then it did not happen.  Jesus was not born on December 25th according to even Catholic teachers.

Since Jesus was not born then, why did Christmas end up on December 25th?

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

Notice the following:

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

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

But Emperor Constantine, who was a follower of Mithra, decided that the date of Mithra’s birthday should also be the date to celebrate Jesus’ date of birth:

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December. (Why is Christmas Day on the 25th December? http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/25th.shtml accessed 12/07/15)

The eventual choice of December 25, made perhaps as early as 273, reflects a convergence of Origen’s concern about pagan gods and the church’s identification of God’s son with the celestial sun. December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman “birth of the unconquered sun”), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian “Sun of Righteousness” whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers. The winter solstice, another celebration of the sun, fell just a few days earlier. Seeing that pagans were already exalting deities with some parallels to the true deity, church leaders decided to commandeer the date and introduce a new festival.

Western Christians first celebrated Christmas on December 25 in 336, after Emperor Constantine had declared Christianity the empire’s favored religion. (Coffman E. Why December 25? For the church’s first three centuries, Christmas wasn’t in December—or on the calendar at all. Christianity Today, August 8, 2008. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2000/dec08.html accessed 12/07/15)

The Church of Rome decided to later require all to observe it as The World Book Encyclopedia notes:

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

It needs to be understood that some scholarly sources believe that the celebration in Rome of Christmas may have began 2-3 decades earlier (because Constantine kept it on 12/25 in 336 A.D.), but none I am aware of suggest it was prior to Constantine in the fourth century.

Should real Christians call the night that the pagans worshiped the sun-god and had a wild party holy? It was not holy to the God of the Bible.

Obviously not, yet many who claim Christianity still do.

The Gospel accounts do NOT teach that Jesus was born anywhere near Christmas.

Some items of related interest may include:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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?