Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

God’s Incredible Plan for Humans

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

COGwriter

Does God have a plan for humanity?

Yes, but it is different than what many have believed.

The Book of Hebrews teaches:

5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:

“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”

For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:5-9)

Humans are to RULE OVER ALL THINGS!  The entire universe.  The late Herbert W. Armstrong called this “the Incredible Human Potential.”

Notice also that the Bible shows that in the world to come, humans, and not angels, are to be put over the works of God’s hands, but this is not the situation yet.

Do you believe it is coming?

The writer of the book of Hebrews was inspired to follow with something radically different – something to happen in the world to come!

In His word, God has revealed His purpose for humankind – it is an incredible and awesome potential – staggers the imagination. Higher education is in utter ignorance of it and science knows nothing of it.

Yet, notice what God says He has prepared for them that love Him:

9…”Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.  (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

How does God reveal them through His Spirit?

One, by inspiring the Bible to be written:

19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,  21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21)

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

And secondarily, giving us His Spirit so we can understand His word and become partakers of His divine nature:

5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (Romans 8:5-9)

God revealed a lot of necessary knowledge to our first parents, but they didn’t truly believe what He said! Then around 4,000 years later, Jesus Christ began to preach on the earth a message direct from God the Father in heaven, revealing the necessary knowledge – but only a handful – about one hundred and twenty – believed what He said, though many professed to “believe on Him” (as in John 8:30-31, 37-38, 40, 45-46).

Today science, religion, and education still do not believe WHAT JESUS SAID. Nearly two billion people reportedly believe in Jesus, but they do not believe Jesus (Matthew 7:21-23).  They are hearers, but not truly doers, and most are deceiving themselves (James 1:22).

Yet, God’s incredible plan is for humans to rule the universe!

Few grasp this today.  Notice, however, what was written nearly two thousand years ago:

10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren (Hebrews 2:10-11).

In other words, those who have God’s Spirit are joint-heirs with Christ to INHERIT all that Christ already has inherited. Humans, if converted and having God’s Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) are now only HEIRS – not yet a possessor.

But the Bible shows that Christ is already has been crowned with glory and honor – and is already in possession – has already inherited. Notice how the Book of Hebrews begins:

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. (Hebrews 1:1-4)

The living Christ already sustains the entire universe by His limitless divine power. He is the begotten and born Son of God – angels are merely individually created beings. Angels are now administering spirits (who are normally invisible to us), ministering to us – to us who are now in lower status than angels – but who are heirs of salvation, when we, like Christ, shall become born Sons of God (Hebrews 1:4-14).

Notice what happened with Jesus is supposed to happen to us:

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).

18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures (James 1:18).

4 These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb (Revelation 14:4).

16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches (Romans 11:16).

Christians are to be firstfruits like Christ. As a firstfruit, Christ is divine.

Notice something Jesus prayed:

10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. (John 17:10-11)

Since both the Father and Son are divine beings, Jesus prayed for His followers to be one as He and the Father are–which means part of the God family. Lest anyone wish to interpret the above scripture to mean something else, Jesus continued His prayer and also prayed the following:

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20-26)

Jesus prayed that His followers would become one in the same way. He and His Father are one. And they are one divine family.

Furthermore, notice that the Bible does teach that there is a whole family which is named after God the Father, and that we are to know the love of Christ so that we can truly have the fullness of God:

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19).

If one is filled with “all the fullness of God” does not that suggest that they will be also God as part of the Family of God?

The Apostle Paul also taught:

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (Romans 8:16-17, KJV).

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

18 ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15).

Notice that “the children of God” are to be “glorified together” with Christ as “joint-heirs” and are to be transformed into the same image as God. And God will be a Father to His sons and daughters.

The Apostle John taught:

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).

1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 2 Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God (1 John 3:1-2a).

The children of people are people, the children of cows are cows. What are the children of God?

The Apostle Peter taught deification:

3 His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Are not those that are “partakers of the divine nature” somehow deified? And fully partaking of this nature does not happen until after the resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:50-53).

If you respond properly to God (either in this age, or if applicable, the age to come), then ruling the creation, the universe is part of your destiny. Notice:

21…the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Romans 8:21-22)

The whole creation is groaning, waiting, for us to rule!

As joint heirs with Christ, resurrected converted humans are to rule all things, the universe, as Hebrews 2 teaches.

Being part of the God family and ruling in His everlasting kingdom.  Notice:

11 This is a faithful saying:

For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
12 If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him. (2 Timothy 2:11-12)

2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:2-4)

Truly, this is such a great salvation (cf. Hebrews 2:3).

In addition to having a plan for humanity, God does have a plan for you personally. 

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God? What is your ultimate destiny? What does the Bible teach? Is deification only a weird or cultic idea? Are you to rule the universe? Here is a link to the video sermon What is Your Destiny?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
Is God’s Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Where the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long?
Where Did God Come From? Any ideas? And how has God been able to exist? Who is God?
How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient? Here is a biblical article which answers what many really wonder about it.

Some Israelis puzzled that Christians would keep the Feast of Tabernacles

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

COGwriter

The Feast of Tabernacles is in progress around the world, with faithful Christians striving to keep it. Yet, Israelis appear to be puzzled about those believing themselves to Christian involved with this observance:

Every year, thousands of Christians from a round the world ascend to Jerusalem to take part in the biblical Feast of Tabernacles, known in Hebrew as Sukkot. And this year was no different, despite mounting regional instability.

The overwhelming presence of Christians at this time of year is now a common occurrence. But many Israelis are still baffled by the phenomenon, unsure what to make of so many foreigners taking part in their holiday…http://www.israeltoday.co.il/Default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=24137

Even the author of the above did not truly understand it.

What do actual Christians who observe the Feast of Tabernacles teach about it?

Christians who observe this festival sometimes point to the following in Zechariah to show that this festival will be observed in the future (hence, they feel this is evidence that it has not been done away with):

16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16-19)

So, since it is clear that the Feast of Tabernacles is to be kept in the future, hence this is another reason why Christians should be keeping it now (f0r more about Egypt, please check out the article Egypt in Prophecy).

The Feast of Tabernacles is to be kept every year (Zechariah 14:16; Deuteronomy 16:16).

Where is it to be kept? The Bible teaches “in the place which He chooses”? Since God does not physically speak the physical locations for every year, the responsibility for this falls on His ministry (cf. Leviticus 23:1,4,37). In modern times, generally this will be near the area where enough Christians live or can travel too. Here is a link to Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014 from the Continuing Church of God.

While some falsely claim that the Feast of Tabernacles from the past through current times must only be kept in Jerusalem, this is in error as the children of Israel were not even in Jerusalem for centuries after the commands for its observance in Leviticus 23 were recorded–hence Jerusalem was not possibly an initial option for them. Furthermore, the Bible shows that the Feast of Tabernacles can be kept in cities other than Jerusalem (Nehemiah 8:15; cf. Deuteronomy 14:23-24).

Throughout the history of the faithful Church of God, the Feast of Tabernacles has been observed (for details, see The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians?).

The basic New Testament understanding is that the Feast of Tabernacles pictures the Millennium, the 1000 year period when the earth will be ruled by Jesus Christ and His saints (see also the information in Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days Which?).

Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians. The Bible teaches that the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth “as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

During the millennium, Christ will rule as King of kings, and His saints will rule with and under Him for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4-6). God will restore Israel and will bless all nations that learn to worship Him. The Bible shows that there will be peace and prosperity throughout the earth (Amos 9:11-15, Isaiah 19:24-25). It will be an abundant time for all people and all nations (Micah 4:3-4, Ezekiel 36:33-37) who obey (there will problems for those who stubbornly will at first refuse to obey ). Sickness and disease will be cured (Jeremiah 30:17; Malachi 4:2). Various problems will be removed from the earth (Isaiah 51:11-13; 35:4). The true worship of God and His truths will be taught throughout the world (Isaiah 30:21; Ezekiel 11:19-20, Hebrews 8:11-12; Revelation 20:1-6). The Feast of Tabernacles essentially helps picture God’s kingdom on this earth. The Bible teaches that Christians are to pray, “Thy Kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10). That kingdom will usher in the time when the promise described in Revelation:

6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in this first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be the priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

More on the Kingdom can be found in the articles The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church and Just What Do You Mean the Kingdom of God?

Those in Israel and elsewhere would do well to study those and other related information.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law The Bible teaches that every seven years that the law should be read at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what I did at the first Feast site were I gave an actual sermon (as opposed to a sermonette) in 2006.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014 This is information on the expected Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God for 2014. The Feast in 2014 begins the evening of October 8th.
Is Second Tithe and Third Tithe Still Valid Today? Should you save and use second tithe? Some in the COGs no longer teach payment of third tithe, is this biblically correct?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.

Sermon: Christian Pilgrims

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce a sermon posted at its ContinuingCOG channel:

Are Christians to be pilgrims?  What is the ‘pilgrim feast’?  How do Christians sojourn?  What about Abraham, Enoch, and David?  How are Christians to view the world?  Does staying in temporary dwellings in the Feast of Tabernacles help picture, not only the millennium, but also our sojourn in this life?

A written article is titled Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims?

This was produced during the Feast of Tabernacles in 2014.  Here is a link: Christian Pilgrims

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims? Should Christians sojourn? What does the Bible and Feast of Tabernacles teach? A related video sermon is titled Christian Pilgrims.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach?
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014 This is information on the expected Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God for 2014. The Feast in 2014 begins the evening of October 8.
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?
Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it? Here is a related article in the Spanish language: Unidad: ¿Cuál Iglesia de Dios para usted?
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.
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of GodContend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) “…continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI.
Overview: How Does the Church of God Agree and Disagree with Other Faiths Professing Christ? This overview answers that and explains what the Church of God basically stands for. In the appendices provides information about certain complaints and as well as an overview about many COG-related groups.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos This is the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in Tagalog, the primary language of the Philippines.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

The Feast of Tabernacles has begun: Should you do anything?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

COGwriter

The Feast of Tabernacles has begun around the world.

What should you do if you wish to obey God?

If you are at or near one of the Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014 you should attend church services every day.

But if you are not able to physically attend those locations, what should you do?

The Bible teaches that the children of Israel were to have offerings for every day of the Feast (Leviticus 23:36. And while we in the Continuing Church of God do take up offerings on the First Day of the Feast and the Last Great Day, we do not take up financial offerings on the other days. But one way for you to fulfill what God expects is for you to attend or at least watch church services each day. Notice something that the Apostle Paul wrote:

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

Viewing services each day is a way for you to offer yourself as a living sacrifice which is your reasonable service. We have sermons posted at the www.ccog.org website. If you are not able to physically attend, hopefully you will be able to watch at least one sermon and other message every day.

While there are many things that we should learn from the Feast, this year I plan like to focus on the law, as well as also teaching about the millennium.

Here is something that Herbert Armstrong wrote in his Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days Which? booklet:

When Christ Returns

Then it is that God shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people Israel (Isaiah 11:11)…

Then it is that “living waters shall go out from Jerusalem,” and the Gentile nations that have not heard previously “shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles“! (Zechariah 14:16.)

Then it is that many nations “shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain [nation] of the Lord . . . and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares . . . neither shall they learn war any more. . . . In that day, saith the Lord . . . the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever” (Micah 4:2-7). This does not apply to God’s Church now but to the glorious time of the Kingdom, after Christ returns. What a wonderful plan of redemption!

For opening night, you could watch the short message that was prepared for those attending in New Zealand and Africa: Feast of Tabernacles’ Opening Night Message.

Here is a link to a sermon on the millennium: Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?

Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel. Some from 2014 are also expected to be uploaded to the ContinuingCOG channel throughout the Feast of Tabernacles.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach?
Tabernacles Offertory: Sojourning Now for the Kingdom to Come Are Christians pilgrims and sojourners? What is the pilgrim feast? Are Christians to worry or seek first the kingdom? Should an offering be taken up on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles? What does the Bible seem to teach about that? Dr. Thiel goes over scriptures and facts related to this.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law The Bible teaches that every seven years that the law should be read at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what I did at the first Feast site were I gave an actual sermon (as opposed to a sermonette) in 2006.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014 This is information on the expected Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God for 2014.
Is Second Tithe and Third Tithe Still Valid Today? Should you save and use second tithe? Some in the COGs no longer teach payment of third tithe, is this biblically correct?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.

Bible Study Games

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

Game Seat

By COGWriter

Looking for another way to add to your knowledge of the Bible?

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

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

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

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

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

Michael’s Free Bible Quizzes and Public Domain Animations.

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

Atonement Sermon from New Zealand

Saturday, October 4th, 2014


Day of Atonement in New Zealand

COGwriter

The Day of Atonement lasts until sunset October 4, 2014.  The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce a sermon which is at its ContinuingCOG channel, that was recorded in New Zealand on the Day of Atonement:


1:10:30

Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement

The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? Was it observed in the New Testament? What did some of the ancient Hebrew ceremonies surrounding it mean? How does any of this represent Jesus Christ? Does one goat in Leviticus represent Jesus and the other Satan? How does the New Testament help answer this?

The New Testament shows that the the Gentile Gospel writer Luke knew about the Day of Atonement, when he wrote:

9…sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over (Acts 27:9).

The Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God states this about the Day of Atonement (and more detail is in the article The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance):

The Day of Atonement, called “the Fast” in the New Testament (Acts 27:9), helps show our own weaknesses and need to be closer to God (Isaiah 58:5,11). It also helps picture that Satan has a role in the sins of humankind and that he will be bound for one-thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3; cf. Leviticus 16:20-26; Isaiah 14:12-16).

Again, here is the link to the sermon recorded in New Zealand: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement.

Here are a couple of Spanish language items related to the Day of Atonement:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance
El Día de Ayuno –Su significado cristiano
http://www.cdlidd.es/el-dia-de-ayuno-su-significado-cristiano/

The slain goat in OT Atonement ceremony represents Jesus
El sacrificio del macho cabrío en la ceremonia de Ayuno en el AT representa a Jesús
http://www.cdlidd.es/el-sacrificio-del-macho-cabrio-en-la-ceremonia-de-ayuno-en-el-at-representaba-a-jesus/.

Those who have more interest may wish to study the following articles:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today?  Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Ayuno –Su significado cristiano.
Sermon: The Bible and the Day of Atonement The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? Was it observed in the New Testament? What did some of the ancient Hebrew ceremonies surrounding it mean? Does one goat in Leviticus represent Jesus and the other Satan? How does the New Testament help answer this?
Atonement Offertory Should an offering be taken up on the Day of Atonement? What does the Bible seem to teach about that? Was Jesus a type of atonement offering? If you send an offering, how does that support the work? Does God need your money or do you need to give? Dr. Thiel goes over scriptures and facts related to this. Here is a link to the donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal: http://www.ccog.org/donations/
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.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Michael’s Day of Atonement Quiz Another free on-line Bible quiz by my son Michael.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach?
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement”. Does it have any relevance for Christians today?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach?
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014 This is information on the expected Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God for 2014. The Feast in 2014 begins the evening of October 8th.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
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 J. Tkach: Lose the Trinity and What Have You Got?

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

TRANSFORMED FROM TRUTH

Worldwide Church of God Transformed from Truth to Fairy Tales

COGwriter

Got 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, titled Lose the Trinity and What Have You Got? The letter gives answers like:

The doctrine of the Trinity proclaims the mystery that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are fully God and personally distinct from one another. The God of the universe, revealed through the incarnation, is really a communion in which there is a continual giving and receiving of holy love and glory to and from one another. And while this doctrine can seem kind of “heady” at first, it’s crucial to our understanding of every other core Christian concept – from creation to atonement and redemption.

But this doctrine should also have a transformative affects on our daily lives.

Well, if you ‘lose the Trinity,’ you have an opportunity for the truth.

Early Christians DID NOT TEACH THE CURRENT GRECO-ROMAN TRINITY DOCTRINE THAT JOSEPH TKACH IS PUSHING.

Those who wish to learn the truth about the Godhead may wish to study some of the following articles:

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 shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

The truth is that early Christians and many other early professors of Christ held what has been termed a ‘binitarian’ view of the Godhead.

It is now the Day of Atonement in many parts of the world.  Years ago, J. Tkach and his supporters decided to lose this and adopt fables instead of God’s Holy Days (cf. 2 Timothy 4:4).

Losing the Holy Days leads to not only disobedience, but the loss of the knowledge of God’s plan of salvation, which is something that happened to GCI.

GCI has embraced non-biblical doctrines, such as the ‘trinity’ (which it adopted before it changed its name to GCI).

When did the ‘Trinity’ get near universal acceptance?  Not until the fourth century.  The ‘trinity’ was formally adopted at the Imperial ‘church’ Council of Constantinople in 381 that Emperor Theodosius called and then enforced.   The ‘Trinity’ was not an original Christian doctrine and GCI would do well to repent and lose that false doctrine itself.

Lose the Trinity and What Have You Got?

A chance to believe the truth!

Keep God’s Holy Days and what have you got?

A chance to better understand the truth!

Some items of related interest may include:

Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
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 shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today?  Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Ayuno –Su significado cristiano.
Sermon: The Bible and the Day of Atonement The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? Was it observed in the New Testament? What did some of the ancient Hebrew ceremonies surrounding it mean? Does one goat in Leviticus represent Jesus and the other Satan? How does the New Testament help answer this?
Atonement Offertory Should an offering be taken up on the Day of Atonement? What does the Bible seem to teach about that? Was Jesus a type of atonement offering? If you send an offering, how does that support the work? Does God need your money or do you need to give? In this video, Dr. Thiel goes over scriptures and facts related to this. Here is a link to the donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal: http://www.ccog.org/donations/
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.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Michael’s Day of Atonement Quiz Another free on-line Bible quiz by my son Michael.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
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 (non GCI) which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
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.
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?

Day of Atonement and the Binding of Satan

Friday, October 3rd, 2014


17th Century Depiction of the Binding of Satan

COGwriter

The Day of Atonement lasts from sunset October 3 until sunset October 4, 2014.

In the original Hebrew, the Bible calls the day Yom Hakippurim (which is Hebrew for “Day of the Atonements”).

The Day of Atonement in the Old Testament

A unique ceremony related the the Day of Atonement is discussed in in the Old Testament:

8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for Jehovah, and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat upon which the lot fell for Jehovah, and offer him for a sin-offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall be set alive before Jehovah, to make atonement for him, to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, ASV)

8 ‘And Aaron hath given lots over the two goats, one lot for Jehovah, and one lot for a goat of departure; 9 and Aaron hath brought near the goat on which the lot for Jehovah hath gone up, and hath made it a sin-offering. 10 ‘And the goat on which the lot for a goat of departure hath gone up is caused to stand living before Jehovah to make atonement by it, to send it away for a goat of departure into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, YLT)

Christians note the parallels between the first of the two goats with Jesus and the second of the two goats with Satan (the Azazel goat).

Such as Jesus does get killed, but that Satan does not.

As far as ‘Azazel,’ notice the following:

R. Menachem interprets Azazel of Samael, the angel of death, the devil, the prince that hath power over desolate places: there are several Christian writers of great note, that understand this of the devil as Origen (b), among the ancients; and of the moderns, Cocceius (c), Witsius (d), and Spencer (e), who think that by these two goats is signified the twofold respect of Christ our Mediator; one to God, as a Judge, to whom he made satisfaction by his death; the other to the devil, the enemy with whom he conflicted in life; who, according to prophecy, was to be delivered up to Satan, and have his heel bruised by him; and who was to come, and did come into the wilderness of this world…(Gill, John. Exposition of the Entire Bible. [1746-63])

So, basically a Jewish rabbi (“R.” is an abbreviation for Rabbi) and certain leaders who professed Christ believed that the Azazel goat represented Satan. And that is consistent with the passages in Leviticus 16 and other scriptures.

Notice more about part of an Old Testament ceremony that occurred on the Day of Atonement:

And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness…And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp (Leviticus 16:20-22,26).

While some Protestant commentators understand this correctly, others either do not know what the Azazel goat represents or think it represents the physical life of Christ. Yet, that latter explanation would not seem to be consistent with the statements in Leviticus 16:26 (bolded above).

Why?

Because notice that it is a fit man that takes the goat into the wilderness and he has to wash himself after he has released the aza’zel goat. If the second goat represented Christ, the fit man would have to wash BEFORE touching the goat and not AFTER releasing it. Touching the one representing Satan would make one unclean, but not touching the one representing Christ.

What happened to the live goat in Leviticus 16 is symbolic of Satan for two basic reasons:

  1. The term scapegoat is an inappropriate translation into English, as it implies that blame is being placed where blame is not due. The Hebrew term is actually aza’zel. This is a term that some Jewish people have historically ascribed to a Satanic adversary.
  2. What happens with the Azazel goat and what happens to Satan is quite similar, if one compares Leviticus 16:20-22,26 to Revelation 20:1-3.

The New Testament Fulfillment of the Binding of Azazel/Satan

The New Testament shows that Satan will be bound for a thousand years to be kept away from humanity during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ:

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-3)

Since the above is consistent with the ceremony in the Old Testament about the binding of the Azazel goat, it appears that the above binding of Satan will occur on the Atonement.

Notice that the Old Testament shows that it is a fit man that places the Azazel goat which bares blame for sins into the wilderness, and in the New Testament an angel that places Satan, who brought sin into the world, into the wilderness of the bottomless pit.

Some Catholic leaders, oddly, believe that this already happened physically or spiritually:

Revelation 20:1-3 . . . God has always respected our freedom of choice between covenant fidelity to him and to apostasy. That seems to be the theological point of this thousand-year period that is relatively free from Satanic temptations. (Kurz, W. What Does the Bible Say About the End Times? A Catholic View. Servant Books, Cincinnati. Nihil Obstat: Kistner H., Schehr T.P. Imprimi Potest: Link F., Paul J.M. Imprimatur: Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004, p. 168, 173-174)

Millenium {sic}: Since the Holy Office decreed (July 21, 1944) that it cannot safely be taught that Christ at His Second Coming will reign visibly with only some of His saints (risen from the dead) for a period of time before the final and universal judgment, a spiritual millennium is seen in Apoc. 20:4-6. St. John gives a spiritual recapitulation of the activity of Satan, and the spiritual reign of the saints with Christ in heaven and in His Church on earth. When Christianity triumphed over the Beast (in its sixth head, the pagan Roman empire) Satan was chained. With the re-appearance of the Beast in the anti-Christian world empire (the seventh head), he will be unchained, and muster all his forces against the Church until the peak of the persecution under Antichrist. Meanwhile, the church enjoyed its milleniun {sic} with Christ enthroned among the nations. (LeFrois, Bernard J. Eschatological Interpretation of the Apocalypse. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, pp. 17-20; Cited in Culleton RG. The Reign of Antichrist, 1951. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1974, p. 9).

Notice that the above suggests that Satan has been gone a thousand years. Does any thinking person believe that Satan was ever bound and away from the earth for 1,000 years after Revelation (which Catholics often refer to as the Apocalypse) was written? This has never happened literally or spiritually–though it will in the millennium (see also
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?).

Contrary to the claims of those who do not take this portion of Revelation literally, this 1000 year binding of Satan has certainly not taken place since John was inspired to pen Revelation.

The New Testament shows that the the Gentile Gospel writer Luke knew about the Day of Atonement, when he wrote:

9…sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over (Acts 27:9).

The Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God states this about the Day of Atonement (and more detail is in the article The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance):

The Day of Atonement, called “the Fast” in the New Testament (Acts 27:9), helps show our own weaknesses and need to be closer to God (Isaiah 58:5,11).  It also helps picture that Satan has a role in the sins of humankind and that he will be bound for one-thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3; cf. Leviticus 16:20-26; Isaiah 14:12-16).

While some believe that what the Old Testament pictures is past, the reality is that the Holy Days help show God’s plan of salvation, and in the case of the Day of Atonement, it also shows Satan’s role in sin and his coming binding for 1000 years.

Those who have more interest may wish to study the following articles:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today?  Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Ayuno –Su significado cristiano.
Sermon: The Bible and the Day of Atonement The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? Was it observed in the New Testament? What did some of the ancient Hebrew ceremonies surrounding it mean? Does one goat in Leviticus represent Jesus and the other Satan? How does the New Testament help answer this?
Atonement Offertory Should an offering be taken up on the Day of Atonement? What does the Bible seem to teach about that? Was Jesus a type of atonement offering? If you send an offering, how does that support the work? Does God need your money or do you need to give? In this video, Dr. Thiel goes over scriptures and facts related to this. Here is a link to the donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal: http://www.ccog.org/donations/
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.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Michael’s Day of Atonement Quiz Another free on-line Bible quiz by my son Michael.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach?
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement”. Does it have any relevance for Christians today?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law The Bible teaches that every seven years that the law should be read at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what I did at the first Feast site were I gave an actual sermon (as opposed to a sermonette) in 2006.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014 This is information on the expected Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God for 2014. The Feast in 2014 begins the evening of October 8th.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos.

Vatican condemned Halloween

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014


St. Peter’s Basilica

COGwriter

While we in the true Church of God have always condemned Halloween as a pagan, non-Christian, holiday, the Vatican used to not do that. But about five years ago, the Vatican put out a position closer to the Continuing Church of God:

Vatican condemns Hallowe’en as anti-Christian

The Vatican has condemned Hallowe’en as anti-Christian, saying it is based on a sinister and dangerous “undercurrent of occultism”.
Telegraph - Oct 30, 2009

The Holy See has warned that parents should not allow their children to dress up as ghosts and ghouls on Saturday, calling Hallowe’en a pagan celebration of “terror, fear and death”.

The Roman Catholic Church has become alarmed in recent years by the spread of Hallowe’en traditions from the US to other countries around the world.

As in Britain, it is only in recent years that Italian children have dressed up in costumes, played trick or treat on their neighbours and made lanterns out of hollowed out pumpkins.

The Vatican issued the warning through its official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in an article headlined “Hallowe’en’s Dangerous Messages”.

The paper quoted a liturgical expert, Joan Maria Canals, who said: “Hallowe’en has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.”

Parents should “be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death,” said Father Canals, a member of a Spanish commission on church rites.

Last year a newspaper controlled by the Italian bishops, Avvenire, called for a boycott of Hallowe’en, calling it a “dangerous celebration of horror and the macabre” which could encourage “pitiless [Satanic] sects without scruples”.

Earlier this week the Catholic Church in Spain also condemned the growing popularity of Halloween….http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/6467253/Vatican-condemns-Halloween-as-anti-Christian.html

It is good that religious leaders discourage those who profess Christ from observing pagan holidays.

Some Catholics have defended Halloween as a “Catholic holiday”:

It should be noted that Halloween is a Catholic holiday. Pope Gregory IV in 835 made it the universal practice in the Roman Catholic Church to celebrate All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1. All Souls’ Day follows the next day as the commemoration of all of the faithful who have departed.

“All Hallows’ Even” as the evening before All Hallows’ Day — All Saints’ Day – eventually became shortened to Halloween. Hallow, as in “hallowed be thy name” in the Lord’s Prayer, is an older form of the word “holy.”

It was the Protestant Reformation that rejected the universal practice of devotion to the dead (Martin Luther dropped any references to praying for the dead from his Bible). This Catholic holiday was attacked, much like the church as a whole, for being pagan and evil. Hence I wouldn’t be surprised if this cloud of suspicion hovering over Halloween originated from the spirit of anti-Catholicism.

But Nov. 1st was the day of the Celtic Summer’s End feast of Samhain, the day when the dead returned to the earth. We have retained some of these pagan elements to Halloween, as is true of Christmas and Easter.

Why would a pope put the Catholic celebration of the dead on top of the pagans’ celebrations of the dead? Because the Catholic feasts are in continuity and fulfill the meaning of the pagan ones…

So what about the indulgence in the spooky and scary? Skeletons are spooky, but they are also very Catholic. In fact, one couldn’t find a better haunted house for a Halloween pilgrimage than the various “chapel of bones” that can be found across Europe (Killian Brian. Halloween, as autumn celebration, reminder God’s name is hallowed. Catholic Online International News. 10/31/06. http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=21818).

The reality is that Halloween is NOT a Christian holiday and should not be observed by those who claim Jesus Christ as Savior.

It is nice that the Vatican has realized some of the dangers associated with holidays containing pagan practices.

Some items of related interest may include the following:

Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.
Walpurgis Night: Witches’ Sabbath? This is observed in parts of Europe April 30th-May 1st. Though named after a Catholic saint, it tends to be like Halloween.
International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween? 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? This is a video.
All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and All Souls’ Day When did “All Saints Day” and the “Day of the Dead” begin? “What about All Soul’s Day”?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
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?

The slain goat in OT Atonement ceremony represents Jesus

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

COGwriter

The Christian Day of Atonement is coming up soon. It begins at sunset Friday night, October 3, 2014 and lasts until sunset October 4, 2014.

In the original Hebrew, the Bible calls the day Yom Hakippurim (which is Hebrew for “Day of the Atonements”).

The original rites and practices for the Day of Atonement are set forth in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus (cf. Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 23:27-31, 25:9; Numbers 29:7-11). It is considered to be a time for fasting, on which no food or drink are be consumed:

26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. 27 It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls…32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath (Leviticus 23:26-27,32).

This fasting is historically how the phrase “afflict your souls” has been interpreted by the Jewish community (this is also verified by such passages as Psalm 35:13; 69:10 and Isaiah 58:5) to mean fasting, unless one is somehow ill, and thus is already afflicted. Evening to evening means from sunset to sunset.

In the New Testament, the Day of Atonement is referred to as “the Fast” (Acts 27:9). The fact that this day was referred to that way (or even at all) is an indication that it was observed by Christians after Christ’s resurrection. The Bible clearly shows that so-called Jewish holy days, such as Pentecost were observed by Christians after Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2:1).

A unique ceremony related the the Day of Atonement is discussed in Leviticus 16:

8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for Jehovah, and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat upon which the lot fell for Jehovah, and offer him for a sin-offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall be set alive before Jehovah, to make atonement for him, to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, ASV)

8 ‘And Aaron hath given lots over the two goats, one lot for Jehovah, and one lot for a goat of departure; 9 and Aaron hath brought near the goat on which the lot for Jehovah hath gone up, and hath made it a sin-offering. 10 ‘And the goat on which the lot for a goat of departure hath gone up is caused to stand living before Jehovah to make atonement by it, to send it away for a goat of departure into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, YLT)

Christians note the parallels between the first of the two goats with Jesus and the second of the two goats with Satan (the Azazel goat).

Such as Jesus does get killed, but that Satan does not.

The slain goat represents Christ who actually dies for our sins. Notice Leviticus 16:15-19:

15 Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. 16 So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 And he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19 Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

Christ’s sacrifice is an atonement sacrifice to reconcile us to God. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:

18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

The late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

Now the goat which God selected through lot, to represent Christ was slain, as Christ, its antitype was slain. But the other goat selected by God to represent Azazel was not slain, but was driven, alive, into an uninhabited wilderness. It was not a resurrected goat, symbolizing the resurrected Christ, for it never died. The uninhabited wilderness, to which this goat was driven, cannot, as we shall show, represent heaven, where Christ went. Heaven is neither uninhabited, nor a wilderness.

After God designated which goat represented Christ and which Azazel, the high priest (verse 11) killed the bullock for a sin offering for himself, then took the burning coals of fire and the sweet incense into the Holy of Holies, also sprinkling the blood of the bullock before the mercy seat, typical of the throne of God, covering the tables of testimony (the law). This the high priest was required to do in order to purify himself to officiate, and to represent Christ as High Priest. In the antitype, this was not done, for Christ, our High Priest, had no need of this purification as the typical substitutionary priests did.

Now the Levitical high priest was ready to go out and officiate.

Next, the goat which God selected by lot to represent Christ, as the sin offering of the people, was killed. Thus the sins of the people were borne by the goat, even as Christ, finally, once for all, bore our sins on the cross. But Christ rose again from the dead, and ascended to the throne of God in heaven.

Now, who, or what, from this point on in the Levitical ceremony, typified the resurrected Christ, who went to heaven? Some say the goat representing Azazel. Let us see.

The risen Christ, now at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven (I Peter 3:22), is called what? Our High Priest! What was the earthly type of God’s throne? The uninhabited wilderness? No! That is where the live goat went!

The earthly type of God’s throne was the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. After Christ died, He went to the heavenly mercy seat interceding for us, as our High Priest. “. . . Entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:19-20).

Now, again, who, or what, in the Levitical ceremony of the Day of Atonement, typified the risen Christ, our High Priest, who went within the veil to God’s throne in heaven? The one goat had been slain. It represented the slain Christ. It can no longer represent the risen Christ. The slain Christ was not our High Priest, because the Levitical priesthood, with its high priest, did not end until Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven as a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. But the risen Christ was High Priest. Now WHO took this part in the Levitical ceremonies, temporarily re-enacted year by year, on this eternal Holy Day? Why, so obviously a child could see, it was the Levitical high priest, not the goat representing Azazel!

The High Priest Type of Christ

As soon as the slain goat was dead, who went within the veil, presenting the blood of this goat before the typical throne of God?

Leviticus 16:15-16 “Then shall he [the high priest] kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and [now the high priest himself typifying the work of the risen Christ] bring his blood within the veil . . . and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat: and he shall make an atonement for the holy place. . . .”

And so it was the high priest taking blood within the veil, to the mercy seat, that typified the risen Christ figuratively taking HIS blood, once for all, within the veil to the very throne of God in heaven, there to intercede for us as High Priest. Surely this is so plain a child can see.

The slain goat represented the crucified Jesus. The high priest, by taking the blood of this slain goat into the veil to the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies, a type of God’s throne, represented and did the work of the risen Christ, who ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high, there interceding as our High Priest. (Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days Which?)

The Holy Days of the Hebrew scriptures have applicability now and all help point to Jesus Christ.

People attempting to be faithful to the Bible have observed the Day of Atonement and we faithful in the Continuing Church of God continue to do so in the 21st century.

Those who have more interest, may wish to study the following:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? A sermon of related interest may be Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement.
Atonement Offertory Should an offering be taken up on the Day of Atonement? What does the Bible seem to teach about that? Was Jesus a type of atonement offering? If you send an offering, how does that support the work? Does God need your money or do you need to give? Dr. Thiel goes over scriptures and facts related to this. Here is a link to the donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal: http://www.ccog.org/donations/
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Michael’s Day of Atonement Quiz Another free on-line Bible quiz by my son Michael.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach?
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.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach?
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014 This is information on the expected Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God for 2014. The Feast in 2014 begins the evening of October 8.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.