Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Does God heal today?

Monday, June 12th, 2017

COGwriter

Order of the Sacred Treasure

Decades ago, the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Hebert W. Armstrong, wrote a booklet on healing. Here are some excerpts:

Is the day of miracles PAST? We read in the New Testament that when Jesus Christ was on earth 1900 years ago, He HEALED THE SICK. It seems there are so MANY MORE sick today than there were then. Well, is the day of miracles past? WHAT ABOUT this thing we call divine healing?

I’ve encountered scores of folks who say, “Well, I know God can heal today if it’s His will, but HOW CAN WE KNOW WHETHER IT’S HIS WILL?”

Others say, “Well, I think God helps them that help themselves. I believe God works thru medical science. We should always call the doctor, and take his drugs and medicines, or submit to his knives, and then pray that God will cause this human means to heal.”

For OUR day, or Only for Time of Christ?
Some think Jesus Christ is like the professor Emeritus at the university — He USED to do great things, but now He’s grown old and feeble and doesn’t perform many miracles any more.

But, we read in I Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” and again in Hebrews 13:8 — “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” and in John 14:12 — “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

Some think healing was only to prove JESUS was the CHRIST — the promised MESSIAH — but not for this day and age.

When Divine Healing Began
My friends, do you know when divine healing — healing direct by a miracle from ALMIGHTY GOD, as a result of believing PRAYER, really began? And incidentally, let me say I’m not referring to some modern MENTAL science, so called, or power or mind over matter, or hypnotism. I’m speaking only of physical healing performed directly by the Eternal Creator GOD, as a result of BELIEVING PRAYER. Do you know when this first began? Well, most of you are going to be surprised. It didn’t begin with the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth at all. It began MANY CENTURIES BEFORE THAT!

It began WHEN the CHURCH began! Most people think the CHURCH was first started after the resurrection of Christ — on the Day of Pentecost. That was merely the NEW Testament Church. But the Church started long before that — it started way back in the days of MOSES. Of course, that was the OLD Testament Church, but it was God’s CHURCH just the same.

Listen! Acts 7:28 — “This is He, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to Him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us.”

Now physical healing by faith in God is something the Eternal placed in that Old Testament church, way back in the days of Moses!

Let me read to you the first account in all history of direct divine healing. Exodus 15:23-26 — “And when they, [the children of Israel], came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: and therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Eternal and the Eternal showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken unto the voice of the Eternal thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Eternal that healeth thee.'”

And do you know, that the same conditions, “If you will obey and keep my commandments,” etc. — apply today, and that’s one reason why a lot of people who have a little light on divine healing and believe in it are not being healed!

Let me read that to you over in the NEW Testament, my friends, I John 3:22 — “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him,” WHY? “because we keep His commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in His sight.”

Well, with so many telling the people, and so many people believing, that Jesus Christ did away with the commandments, it’s no wonder that many of us are not having prayers answered today! “Whatsoever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”

Yes, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has not changed and the same conditions apply today that did back in the days of Moses. Obedience and faith. Jesus said, “According to your faith be it unto you.”

God the ONLY Real Physician
You will notice that God said, “I am the Lord [or the Eternal] that heals you.” He is a jealous God in a sense, so far as the prerogatives of God are concerned. And so, turn over to the 20th chapter of Exodus where God was giving the ten commandments to all the people. Moses didn’t give the people the ten commandments. God gave the people the ten commandments, and He said, “I am the Eternal thy God . . . Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”

He had said, “I am the God that heals you,” and now He says that you should have no other gods before Me.

You know, my friends, a doctor can’t heal! And any honest doctor will admit it. None of his drugs, or medicines, or knives can heal. There is no healing in any of them. There is only one kind of healing, and that is healing directly by the Almighty God! There is no other healing!…

Leave the Way and Time to God

One word of caution! You can’t dictate to God. He usually doesn’t do things OUR way or always in OUR time. Leave that to Him! He PROMISES to heal you. Accept His promise. STAND ON THE PROMISES! Expect the answer! You KNOW you’ll get it. Leave the “how” and the “when” to God. Let Him do it His way and in His time. Faith is the evidence of things NOT SEEN — not felt. Don’t pay any attention to how you feel, or what you see, after you have called upon God for healing. Just KNOW you are to have it, and that’s that!

In our many, many experiences, we have had healings in our own family and many other cases that were instantaneous. Then I’m thinking now of a woman who came to me and another minister for prayer for healing. After we noticed no change and she felt none. It was four days later that she was suddenly, instantly healed. I’ve known some to heal gradually. It was even so in Jesus’ own ministry, one began to mend from that hour.

Leave the “how” and “when” to God. KNOW His promise is SURE!

The Scripture CANNOT BE BROKEN!

“Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth ALL thy diseases!”

(The above scripture comes from Psalm 103:3.)

Note: The old Worldwide Church of God no longer exists and the group that took it over would not make Herbert Armstrong’s writings available, even when I offered to pay. So the above article is shown in the public interest and reflects the personal views of Herbert Armstrong and is shown as a public service. The most faithful remnant of his old church is the Continuing Church of God.

Several items of possibly related interest 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.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This 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)?
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.
The Seven Laws of Success Are there tips that can help people become successful.
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?
Is Smoking a Sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change?
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.
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Why so much mental illness? Article by E.M. Walter goes into several of the causes of this.
ADHD diagnoses increasing Is diet a possible contributing factor in the increasing number of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder?
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.
UK Study Supports Daniel Diet Daniel and his companions looked better eating more vegetables and avoiding strange meats. Has modern science confirmed this?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.

Can God save Adam West?

Saturday, June 10th, 2017


Adam West as Batman

COGwriter

Adam West died:

10 June 2017

Adam West, the US actor best known as the star of the 1960s hit TV series Batman, has died aged 88.

West died peacefully in Los Angeles after a “short but brave battle” with leukaemia, a family spokesperson said.

His tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Batman and the superhero’s alter ego Bruce Wayne won a cult following. …

When the series ended, West struggled to break free from the character, but over a long career appeared in nearly 50 films including Drop Dead Gorgeous, An American Vampire Story and Nevada Smith. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40235142

June 10, 2017

(CNN)Adam West, star of the popular and campy 1960s “Batman” TV show, died Friday night after “a short but brave battle with leukemia,” his family said in a statement.
The actor was born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, and went on to earn a degree in literature and psychology from Whitman College.

Working as a disc jockey, West developed a dramatic and memorable voice, which he usedly effectively as the Caped Crusader.

“If I pick up a telephone and make an international call, the operator knows my voice immediately, as does everybody else,” he told CNN in an interview two years ago.

As Batman, West also demonstrated his strong command of vocabulary, delivering wacky one-liners in a deadpan style. http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/10/celebrities/obit-adam-west/index.html

While I rarely post about the death of American celebrities, since it has been a long time since I did so, I thought I would today.

As far as Adam West goes, I do remember him when I was very young playing Batman on television. A couple of years ago, essentially by accident, my wife and I saw him live at an event in San Luis Obispo we were attending. He spent time discussing his life and his career. He also discussed that he played the Batman character the way he did because Batman was simply a comic-strip character and he felt he portrayed that angle in his acting. I do not recall him mentioning anything about religion, but do remember him wanting to have a ‘star’ on the Hollywood walk of fame. At the time he did not have one. As it turned out, he later got one, and by chance my wife and I saw it when we stopped in Hollywood on our way back from a trip to San Diego a few months ago.

As I mentioned, Adam West did not discuss religion when we saw him. Perhaps he had some type of Christian faith, perhaps not.

If not, is he and the others like him  doomed?

No.

Jesus taught:

31 Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).

It is reasonable to conclude that Adam West (and most others who have already died) did not commit true blasphemy against the Spirit, so can be forgiven.

The Bible teaches:

3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

While all will die (Hebrews 9:27), most have been blinded.

Jesus said:

41 If you were blind, you would have no sin (John 9:41).

But does not the Bible teach judgment after death?

Yes.

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

Those not raised in the first resurrection, who were blinded, will be raised again to physical life at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11).

Now will all people, including Adam West, be found guilty of sin?

Yes.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

But remember, most have been blinded by Satan.

The Book of James teaches:

13 Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:13)

Twenty-six times in its twenty-six verses, Psalm 136 states:

For His mercy endures forever.

God is merciful.

Jesus died for all (John 3:16-17). Most will accept Jesus after the second resurrection–after their first real, and unblinded, opportunity.

The Bible shows that God will plead with all flesh (Jeremiah 25:31; Isaiah 3:13) and that many who had been blind will respond (Isaiah 42:16-18; 65:24; Ezekiel 11:16-20;36:24-38; Hosea 2:23).

Nearly all who were blinded will accept God’s plan of salvation when they fully understand it (Isaiah 42:16-18).

I expect that Adam West will as well.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

My prayers go out to his family.

Initially, I was not going to cover Adam West’s death at this page, but then decided that some might be interested in understanding how we in the Continuing Church of God view the fate of for those that died and are not part of the true Church of God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love  and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
What Happens After Death? Is death like sleep, or is that a cultic idea? Can you speak to the dead? Here is a link to a related sermon: What really happens after death?
Are The Wicked Tormented Forever or Burned Up? How does one explain Revelation 14:11 in light of Malachi 4:3? What happens to the incorrigibly wicked?
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. A sermon is also available: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son. Here is a link to a shorter video The ‘Unpardonable Sin’ and ‘Climate Change’?

What is the meaning of YOUR life?

Friday, June 9th, 2017

COGwriter

What is the purpose of your life? Does God have a plan for you personally?

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

What is the meaning of life?

Why did God make YOU? What is YOUR purpose?

The Bible teaches:

15 God is love (1 John 4:16).

7 The LORD is good (Nahum 1:7).

God made you to share His love with YOU.

As a matter of fact,

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).

Love is the main part of the meaning of life.

And YOU are also to love,

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-8 7).

The Bible also shows,

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also (John 4:20-21).

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

32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:29-34)

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well (James 2:8).

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. (John 14:21)

The Sabbath, for example, reflects love towards others as well as God’s love toward humanity–as it is clear that God intended Divine rest from the beginning. The Bible does teach that real love and ethics are found in the law of God. For more on the Bible and love, please read the article The Ten Commandments Reflect Love.

Jesus taught:

31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise (Luke 6:31).

Jesus also taught:

It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

Since we are to be blessed (Matthew 25:34), this means that we are to be givers.

You may be thinking, “well I have heard some of this before from some religion,” what is MY purpose? Who am I? Why me?

YOU are unique. You are one who can give love in a unique way. Ultimately God has special plans for YOU personally. YOU are not the same as everyone else. Everything you have been through and will go through will help prepare you for what you will be able to do eternally.

The Bible makes it clear that we are not all the same and are not to contribute the same way, and it uses the analogy of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-23 to do so:

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.

Yes, YOU, whether strong or weak, are necessary. God’s plan includes a plan for YOU! Yes, you.

If you are having trouble now and wonder if your life is not going as it should, you may wish to read a booklet, based upon biblical principles, titled The Seven Laws of Success.

You are to receive love and you are to give love.

This is the true Christian meaning of life.

In the Old Testament, Job understood that God had a plan for him when he stated to God, “You shall desire the work of Your hands (Job 14:15). What Job meant was that after he was resurrected (this is discussed in the verses prior) Job knew that God had a meaning of life for him personally.

In the New Testament, Jesus taught the same thing. When He taught,

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself (John 14:2-3).

Jesus was saying that He would prepare a place for YOU if you were one of the Father’s children. God will work with you and you will not ever be forsaken:

6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)

5…For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Furthermore, notice the following:

But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1 John 2:5-6)

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:9-11).

We are to love and receive love.

Those who are depressed about the suffering in today’s world need to understand that the Bible teaches,

God Himself will be with them and be their God. 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 21:3-4).

And the happiness we will experience will be beyond that which humans can imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9).

God’s plan for you is to show you love through the forgiveness of sins, to ultimately reveal His loving plan of salvation to all, to give you more than you can even imagine, and for you to be able to show love to others throughout eternity.

God does have a plan for you. God loves you and wants you to love others.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
Has time been lost? It Saturday the seventh day of the week?
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.
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: 读圣经 Here is a link in the Spanish language: Lea la Biblia.
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
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?

Pentecost is today: Meaning and a sermon

Sunday, June 4th, 2017


Artist Depiction of Pentecost (Cadetgray)

COGwriter

Today is the Day of Pentecost for 2017. Unlike other biblical holy days, some version of the Day of Pentecost is observed by a lot of mainstream churches, both Catholic and Protestant.

And of course, since Pentecost is a biblical holy day, it is observed by Church of God groups like the Continuing Church of God. Pentecost is the day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles in the shape of fire (Acts 2:3-4). Here is a sermon suggested for today: Pentecost: What it Teaches and When it is and here is a second sermon: Pentecost Plan.

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

Since the Holy Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost, based upon the date and practices that God gave the children of Israel in the Old Testament, it is logical to conclude that the Old Testament can give us some insight into its meaning.

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

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

The Day of Pentecost has several names, and because of that, some have been confused about it. Its other names in the Bible include, the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks and the day of firstfruits:

… the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors (Exodus 23:16).

And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits (Exodus 34:22).

Also on the day of the firstfruits, when you bring a new grain offering to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation (Numbers 28:26).

While some Protestant commentators (e.g. Radmacher E.D. ed. The Nelson Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1997, p213) refer to the wave sheaf offering as the feast of firstfruits, this is a misnomer. While “a sheaf of firstfruits” was offered then (Leviticus 23:10), as shown above, the Bible refers to the Feast of Weeks as the time of firstfruits (not simply one sheaf). And, as shown below, it refers to the time of counting fifty as being associated with firstfruits:

Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the LORD (Leviticus 23:16-17).

Does the term firstfruits help us understand this day? It should.

The New Testament, also, does discuss some concepts associated with firstfruits.

Paul also wrote the following:

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit (Romans 8:23).

Recall that it was the Holy Spirit that was first given on the Day of Pentecost. And that was a type of the firstfruits of the Spirit.

Who are the firstfruits?

These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb (Revelation 14:4-5).

In the Old Testament, God said:

“I found Israel Like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers As the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor…” (Hosea 9:10).

So originally, physical Israel was like the firstfruits on the branches of a fig tree, but they were unfaithful. In the New Testament, Paul alludes to this and Christians when he wrote:

For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either (Romans 11:16-21).

So while physical Israel was intended to be firstfruits, it was replaced by Christians as the firstfruits. And those firstfruits began on Pentecost.

But what about Jesus? Wasn’t He a type of firstfruits?

Yes, He certainly was. Paul notes:

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

Christ is the fulfillment of the wave sheaf offering in Leviticus 23:10. He is the sheaf of firstfruits. He also fulfilled that role when He ascended into heaven on the Sunday (the wave sheaf offering was on a Sunday) after He was resurrected (John 20:1,17). But neither He nor His true followers observed what is now called Easter.

Also, James notes that Jesus brought us forth to also be a type of firstfruit:

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).

So while Jesus was the original firstfruit to represent the wave sheaf offering, true Christians are a kind of firstfruits, represented by the Day of Pentecost. “Firstfruits” mean that only a few will make it in this age–but they also imply that there will be a greater harvest–a time where all who never had an opportunity for salvation will later have an opportunity (for more scriptural references, please read the article Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis).

Notice what the Apostle Peter stated on Pentecost:

Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses (Acts 2:29-32).

Notice that Peter, on Pentecost, referred to Jesus as fruit and that He was raised.

Now Jesus was not only the first of the firstfruits, He was also the firstborn among many brethren:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).

Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead (Revelation 1:5).

Since Jesus is the firstborn, this certainly implies that there will become others who are to be like Him. Thus, becoming like Jesus Christ is also part of the message of Pentecost.

In addition to marking the beginning of the NT church, Pentecost helps us better understand God’s plan of salvation. Most who profess Christ and observe this day seem not to realize how “firstfruits” tie in with this holy day.

Suggested Pentecost Services

Here is our suggested format for Pentecost services this Sunday:

For those who wish two services, here is a second suggested service:

Another possible sermon recommended for this day is Pentecost: Its Biblical Meaning and Date.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many “Christians” somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means? It is also called the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks, and the day of firstfruits. What about “speaking in tongues” and being led by the Holy Spirit? Here is a link to a video sermon titled Predestination and Pentecost.
Pentecost Quiz This is a Pentecost quiz based upon the Old and New Testaments in the Bible.
Pentecost is Part of God’s Plan. This combines a couple of articles from the 1980s, plus additional scriptures and modern comments about Pentecost. Here is a related sermon: Pentecost Plan.
Predestination: Does the Bible Teach It? Booklet by Herbert Armstrong. A related video is Predestination and Pentecost.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
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. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
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。.
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?
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. A sermon is also available: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?

Sermon: 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017


COGwriter

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


49:33

From New Zealand, John Hickey goes over the verses in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. He encourages people to study the Bible, be wary of Satan, and to associate with those who live according to the truth. He also mentions the falling away, restrainer, and signs and lying wonders. He encourages Christians to make the most of their talents and time.

Here is a link to the video sermon: 1 & 2 Thessalonians.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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 N{ÇQsNŽOáNðv„\e‡zà.
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 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.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
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.
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo.
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 video sermonettes for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them there.
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.

‘Jesus and the Bible: FAQs for Gay Pride Month’

Friday, June 2nd, 2017


The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

COGwriter

A while back someone designated June ‘”Gay Pride Month.”  A couple of years ago, someone sent an article to me titled Jesus and the Bible: FAQs for Gay Pride Month, by “Episcopal Priest Reverend Susan Russell.” The article was supportive of the homosexual agenda and misapplied scriptures. It had her top ten FAQs on the subject. Here is part of it and along with the the first question and her answer:

June is Gay Pride Month. It is a time for parades and for festivals, for rainbow flags and for dance tents. …

So here’s the 2015 version of my Top Ten FAQs about God, Jesus, the Bible and LGBT People — offered in hope that together we truly can be the change we want to see in the world and offered in rebuttal to the rabid rhetoric of the anti-gay religious right that infuses our public discourse and infects our political process. Those who use God, Jesus and the Bible as weapons of mass discrimination do not speak for me. And they do not speak for my church.

1. Is being gay a sin?
No. Sins are acts that separate us from God and keep us from loving our neighbors as ourselves. Being gay is not a sin. Bullying is a sin. Being hateful to other people is a sin. Putting yourself in the place of God to judge others is a sin. Being gay is not. (Russell S. God, Jesus and the Bible: FAQs for Gay Pride Month. June 6, 2015 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-susan-russell/god-jesus–the-bible-faqs_b_7523704.html)

Susan Russell is correct if she is saying that not being heterosexual is not a sin. However, if she is saying that lusting after someone else to have sex with them is not a sin, she is incorrect–and that is what she seems to be actually teaching.

While sin often involves physical acts, it can happen in the mind. Notice the following (the first is directly from Jesus):

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:16-17)

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7)

12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:12-15)

So, if one covets a sexual relationship with one who is not their proper spouse, that is sin. This is the case with all practicing homosexuals, and those who wish to also do so.

Here is the second FAQ:

2. What did Jesus say about gay people?
Jesus said the same thing about gay people that he said about all people: God loves you beyond your wildest imagining and calls you to walk in love with God and with each other. He also said a whole lot about welcoming the stranger, embracing the outcast, ministering to the marginalized and loving – not judging – your neighbor.

Jesus did teach that one should love strangers and neighbors, but did not make positive statements about being ‘gay.’

Now, it is true that God loves all. But what is the love of God? Notice what the Bible teaches:

6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. (2 John 6)

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6)

How did Jesus walk?

Well, other than the fact that He did not sin (Hebrews 4:5), He taught that marriage was between a man and a woman:

6 But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. (Mark 10:6-9)

From the beginning of creation marriage was to be between a man and a woman, a male and a female. Jesus never hinted that there was any type of same-sex marriage He would sanction.

It should be noted that the gospel accounts do not show that Jesus made a specific statement about people who were homosexual as none were mentioned as following Him nor listening to Him.

As far as Jesus supposedly not teaching to ever judge, notice what He actually taught:

24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

The Bible teaches:

172…For all Your commandments are righteousness. (Psalms 119:172)

Jesus had the Apostle John make statements in the Book of Revelation that would include condemnation of those who practice homosexuality:

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14-15)

Here are statements from two commentaries on what the term ‘dogs’ in Revelation 22:15 may mean:

κύνες, an archaic metaphor, coloured by the nomad’s hatred of hounds; cf. Arabia Deserta, i. 337, 339 (“only the dog has no citizenship in the nomad life”. “It is the only life mishandled by the gentle Arab, who with spurns and blows cast out these profane creatures from the tent.”) Here κύνες are not merely impure pagans, but the impudently impure, possibly in the special and darker sense of “sodomites” (cf. 1 Timothy 1:10; Deuteronomy 23:17-20, collated with πόρνη and βδέλυγμα). cf. on Revelation 21:8 and Cooke’s North Sem. Inscriptions, p. 68. Such loathsome practices were not uncommon in the Oriental cults. Expositor’s Greek Testament

For without are dogs,…. That is, without the holy city are such persons who are comparable to dogs for their filthiness, impudence, and voraciousness, as are persecutors, heretics, and apostates, Matthew 7:6. Some think Sodomites are intended, as in Deuteronomy 23:18. So Abarbinel and others interpret the law; and who abound in the Roman jurisdiction, called therefore Sodom, Revelation 11:8 and indeed all wicked men, who will be cast out into outer darkness, may be signified hereby. Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Sodomy is a practice of male homosexuals. Even if the term translated as ‘dogs’ does not have to mean homosexuals, Revelation 22:14-15 condemns all sexual immorality, which includes homosexual relations.

Furthermore, notice what the Apostle Paul, who Jesus personally called (Acts 9:3-6), was inspired to write:

9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person.

12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)

Jesus would not have endorsed His followers fellowshipping with those who claimed to be His followers, yet were practicing sexual immorality.

Here is part of the third FAQ:

3. Does the Bible really condemn homosexuality?
The short answer is no, it does not. The handful of passages in the Old and New Testaments that talk about God condemning specific sexual acts have nothing whatsoever to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with contexts such as cultic prostitution or gang rape.

The Bible clearly condemns homosexuality and this is not limited to the context of cultic prostitution or gang rape. The verses she is referring to are mainly in Deuteronomy 23:17-18 (plus Judges 19:22-23 and 2 Kings 23:7-8), which means that she seemingly agrees that the statements in Deuteronomy are a reference to homosexuality, which confirms my response to her 2nd FAQ.

Now let’s read some direct statements from the Old Testament against homosexuality that are not made in the context of rape or cultic worship:

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

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

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

Here are some statements from the New Testament that related to sexual immorality and specifically homosexuality and practices associated with homosexuality:

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:22-32)

The Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong and is dangerous. Early Christian leaders, like Polycarp of Smyrna and Melito of Sardis, also condemned illicit sexual behaviors including homosexuality:

Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory …For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit; ” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

53. But in addition to this there were to be found among men many things still more monstrous and terrifying and brutal: father cohabits with his child, and son and with his mother, and brother with sister, and male with male, and each man lusting after the wife of his neighbor. (Melito’s Homily on the Passover)

Real Christianity does not condone homosexuality.

Here is some of the fourth FAQ:

4. How do I respond when people say “God hates f–s”?
First of all, God’s nature is to love, not to hate. We believe that what God cares about is not our sexual orientation but our theological orientation — and that the question that matters is not “who do you love?” but “do you love?”

The Bible says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Bible also teaches that God loves sinners and sent His son to die for them:

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

But, although Jesus died for sinners, He also taught:

14 Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you. (John 5:14)

1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:1-11)

Those who practice sexual immorality of any kind are sinning and going contrary to what Jesus taught.

Here is the fifth FAQ:

5. What do I tell people when they say being gay is a sin and a choice?
Tell them that Jesus said absolutely nothing about being gay, but he said a lot of things about judging other people. Then tell them that while there is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation, there is consensus that sexuality is a continuum. So the “choice” is not to be gay, straight or somewhere in between; the “choice” is to build our own healthy relationships — and give other people the grace to build theirs.

People choose whether or not to sin. Unless being raped, people choose whether or not to engage is sexual activity or immorality. Participating in homosexual relations is a choice–a choice that the Bible repeatedly condemns in various ways throughout its books.

Being a former practicing homosexual or idolator is not a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Being a current one is (cf. Revelation 22:14-15).

Here is the sixth FAQ:

6. How about transgender people? Where do they fit in?
The same place all God’s beloved children fit in: smack dab in the center of God’s care, love and desire for health and wholeness for every single human being.

It is true that God loves everyone. However, God’s word has statements against those who try to be ‘transgender’:

5 A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 22:5)

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (1 Corinthians 6:9, KJV)

The word translated as ‘effeminate’ above, μαλακοί, implies effeminacy, and by extension, homosexuality.

The Bible condemns cross-dressing, which many so-called transgendered people do, as an abomination.

Real Christian leaders, like Polycarp of Smyrna, also condemned acting in a transgendered way:

Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory …For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit; ” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

God loves all, but does not want people to be transgendered nor commit other abominations.

Here is the seventh FAQ:

7. How do I respond when politicians condemn my sexuality, citing their belief in the Bible?
Remind them that the First Amendment protects them in believing whatever they want to about what God does or does not bless, but it also prohibits them from using those beliefs to decide who the Constitution protects or doesn’t protect. Tell them to stop confusing their theology with our democracy. And then campaign for and donate to their opponent in the next election cycle.

The Constitution does not prohibit leaders from using their theology to help them understand the Constitution. The US Constitution was written by people who generally believed that biblically-based beliefs helped governance. The ‘founding fathers’ of the USA felt that marriage was to be a state, not federal issue, and none of them proposed that homosexuals had a right to marry each other.

Here is the eighth FAQ:

8. What about those who say they need “religious freedom laws” to protect their right to discriminate against LGBT people because of their religion?
They are wrong. The Constitution already protects their right to exercise their religion. It does not protect their right to impose their religion. Just as using the Bible to justify racial segregation was wrong in 1965 using it to justify LGBT discrimination is wrong in 2015.

The declaration of the above is wrong, though the US Constitution was to protect the right to exercise religion, various courts have sadly ruled against people acting in accordance with their religious beliefs. This has been worsening in recent years.

Historically, the Constitution has been interpreted to mean that people did NOT have to violate their religious conscious. From even before the time that the Constitution was adopted, hotel owners, to cite one example, were able to refuse to rent to people that they suspected might engage in sexual immorality. But that was not called ‘discrimination’ against fornication.

The Bible itself DOES justify religious segregation from those who claim to be true Christians, but who violate God’s laws regarding matters including sexual immorality:

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

The New Testament does not say that related to race (see also God’s Grace is For All).

One is born into one’s race. Unless being raped, one chooses whether or not to have homosexual relations. The two are not the same.

Furthermore, notice:

3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:3-7)

Many Protestant leaders are trying to deceive people with empty words that forms of sexual uncleanness are fine and should be allowed to be part of the Church–the Bible warns against this.

Here is part of the ninth FAQ:

9. So is your church in favor of marriage equality?
Yes. In 2012 the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution entitled “End Discrimination Against Same-Sex Marriages” urging the repeal the of DOMA and the extension of federal benefits to couples in a same-sex marriage.

If so-called ‘marriage equality’ is agreeing that same-sex marriage is as valid before God as a proper heterosexual marriage, then this is not the position of the Continuing Church of God. The only marriages sanctioned throughout the Bible were between a man and a woman.

Here is the tenth FAQ:

10. Should I try to “pray away the gay”?
No. If you need to pray away something, pray away homophobia. Homosexuality doesn’t need healing. Homophobia does.

The Bible condemns even the condoning of homosexual behavior (Romans 1:18-32)–if Susan Russell defines that as ‘homophobia,’ then she is specifically condemning the Bible.

The Bible says that true Christians can overcome practicing homosexuality:

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 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 6:18-20)

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

But in this age, many who claim to be Christians, do not believe that.

Of course, the Bible also does not endorse female priests (for details, see Women and the New Testament Church), but many do not believe that as well.

Encouraging the homosexual agenda is something that the Bible warns against:

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

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

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

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

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

So the Bible shows that Sodom was destroyed for many things including its pride and the committing of abominations. Homosexuality is an abomination. Sodom and Gomorrah were turned into ashes making them an example–but many leaders in the UK, USA, Scotland, Canada, New Zealand, and elsewhere do not wish to consider the ramifications of what they are doing. Much of the ‘extreme weather’ that has been going on lately appears related to the increasing acceptance of the homosexual agenda (cf. Amos 4:7-12).

Notice that not just participating in homosexual and lesbian acts are prohibited by the Bible, but that condemnation is also given to those who approve such acts per Romans 1:22-32.

Several Protestant denominations apparently do not know and/or care that the survival of many in the United States and the Anglo-Saxon lands is at risk! There are other sins of immorality, such as pornography and abortion, that are rampant and wrong in these lands as well.

More wrong arguments from Protestant leaders are also dealt with in the video sermon: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?

No one should be ignoring the warnings of the Bible. No one should be pushing the homosexual agenda. Yet, many in the West, judges included, foolishly are–and this will be to their peril.

While some hope that US President Donald Trump will stop that, that is an overly optimistic view of him. Though Donald Trump may slow some of its agenda, unless he truly repents, all should realize that he goes along with a lot that the LGBT crowd wants. This does not bode well for the USA.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Can homosexuals change? A sermon of related interest is titled What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There is also a YouTube video on this, titled Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children.
Weather Blessings and Sorrows Are weather problems a warning? What should be done? What does the Bible teach about weather? What about floods, droughts, heat, earthquakes, tornadoes, and solar storms? Here is a related YouTube video Does God Use Weather? A related item in the Spanish language would be Bendiciones y maldiciones del clima.
Love, Marriage, and Sex It is important to get them in the right order.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. A sermon is also available: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
Abortion, the Bible, and a Woman’s Right to Choose Do you know what the Bible teaches on this? Has the Roman Catholic Church allowed abortions? What about the real Church of God? Some may also, or instead, wish to view the YouTube video Abortion, the Bible, and US Debt.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
British and American Moral Decay Public nudity is becoming more prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon lands. What are some of the consequences?
Can those in the USA/UK see the Handwriting on the Wall? Is everything fine in the USA/UK or is it like the days of Noah? Can we learn from the handwriting that appeared on a wall thousands of years ago? Here is a link to a related YouTube video Can you see the ‘Handwriting on the Wall’?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2017, 2018, or 2019? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017?
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: Donald: ‘Trump of God’ or Apocalyptic?
Trump Presidency Magic 8 Ball or Bible Prophecy? BBC reported that one might as well use a ‘Magic Eight-Ball’ to try to predict what will happen in the remaining time of Donald Trump’s presidency. What is a ‘Magic Eight-Ball’? Dr. Thiel not only explains that, but also briefly goes over 10 biblically-based warnings he wrote would happen if Donald Trump were elected that have already began to come to pass. He also goes over something he wrote back in 2008 that the Trump presidency is also helping lead to fulfillment. Should you trust Bible prophecy or not? Dr. Thiel says that Bible prophecy can be trusted, despite the view of skeptics and others that either overlook or despise the Bible. This is a video.
Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse This 188 page book is for people truly interested in prophecies related to Donald Trump and the United States, including learning about several that have already been fulfilled and those that will be fulfilled in the future. The physical book can be purchased at Amazon for $12.99 from the following link: Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse.
Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse-Kindle Edition This electronic version of the 188 page print edition is available for only US$3.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse-Kindle Edition.

Justin Martyr: True saint or worldly apostate?

Thursday, June 1st, 2017


Artist’s Imagination on Justin Martyr’s Appearance

COGwriter

Justin, called Justin Martyr, is considered to have been an important religious leader and saint by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and even most Protestants. June 1st certain Catholics celebrate him as June 1st is considered to be his holiday:

The saint who was one of the earliest Fathers of the Church

St Justin Martyr (June 1) began his career as a pagan philosopher…

Justin Martyr (c 100-165) was one of the earliest Fathers of the Church. Yet he began his career as a pagan philosopher and did not convert to Christianity until he was about 30. Thenceforward he was much concerned with the relation between faith and reason, exploring the differences and similarities between his new religion and the speculative Hellenism in which he had been raised.

Justin was born to Greek parents at Shechem (modern Nablus) in Samaria, the hilly region to the north of Jerusalem. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/spirituallife/saintoftheweek/2013/05/29/the-saint-who-was-one-of-the-earliest-fathers-of-the-church/

He is not considered to be a Christian saint by those of us in the Continuing Church of God.

Why?

Because some of us have studied about him and considered the ramifications of several of his teachings. Catholics who closely study what he taught would likely not consider that he was one of their saints either, but most still do. Nor do we in the Continuing Church of God celebrate his holiday.

However, Justin, despite his heresies, does add information of use to those interested in early Church history.

In the second century, Justin was in Ephesus as were early Christians.

Ancient Ephesus
Photo of Ancient Ephesus taken June 2005

Perhaps one of the most important points that needs to be emphasized was that there were two main groups of professing Christians in Ephesus during Justin’s time (plus the various known gnostic and other heretical groups).

Justin (c. 135) taught that there were Christians in Asia Minor who had Jewish practices like the Holy Days and the Ten Commandments, but that he did not care to associate with them. Justin also seemed to accept the false “Gospel of Peter,” which the true Christians never did. Hence there were two groups in Asia Minor in the second century–one under the direction of faithful leaders such as Bishop Polycarp and others who were more independent like Justin. Apparently, the true Christians in Asia Minor (who were apparently the majority at that time) did not care to associate with those like Justin either, so Justin went to Rome.

Before the time of Justin, the Apostle Paul told those in Ephesus:

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk… (Ephesians 4:17).

Yet certain ones like Justin did not heed this. In Ephesus, Justin Martyr wrote, in response to a Jew named Trypho,

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

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

Justin Martyr records this accusation from Trypho,

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

While the Ephesians were told to live differently than the other Gentiles in whose nation they co-existed with, those with Justin Martyr could not be distinguished. It is interesting to note that Trypho expected that Justin would have kept the Sabbath–this is because that was the common practice of those that professed Christ in Asia Minor.

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

Thus, there would have had to be two very different professing Christian groups in Ephesus. Justin Martyr specifically claimed his group did not observe the Sabbath, keep the Feasts, or eat unleavened bread (Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 18)—yet, according to the Catholic historian Eusebius, Polycrates later confirmed that Passover was continually kept on the 14th and unleavened bread was still eaten annually by the Christians who were the followers of Polycarp and John in Ephesus (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24). Yet, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox claim both Polycarp and Justin as saints–the two were too different for both to have been saints. To determine which of the two could have been, please read this article completely and also read the article Polycarp of Smyrna.

It is possible that the reason that Justin Martyr decided to leave Ephesus and go to Rome was because the true Christians in Ephesus (and nearby Smyrna) would not accept him or his teachings.

Although the Catholics of Rome keep Sunday, there are many teachings that Justin had, however, that even Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and even most Protestants would find troublesome.

Notice:

Was Christ Cursed?

One concern that Trypho had was,

But whether Christ should be so shamefully crucified, this we are in doubt about. For whosoever is crucified is said in the law to be accursed, so that I am exceedingly incredulous on this point (Dialogue. Chapter 89).

Ultimately, Justin responded with,

Therefore our suffering and crucified Christ was not cursed by the law, but made it manifest that He alone would save those who do not depart from His faith (Dialogue. Chapter 111).

This seems to conflict with what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:13,

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).

Thus, it appears that Justin somewhat contradicted this scripture. Instead, Justin perhaps should have simply quoted the entire section in Galatians 2:10-14 where Paul appears to address this particular concern.

Who is the Supreme Pontiff and the Father? Is the Roman Senate Sacred?

Justin addressed his First Apology to the Emperor and “to the sacred Senate” (The First Apology. Chapter I).

And in his conclusion mentioned,

The Emperor Caesar Titus AElius Adrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Supreme Pontiff, in the fifteenth year of his tribuneship, Consul for the third time, Father of the fatherland, to the Common Assembly of Asia, greeting (The First Apology. Chapter LXVIII).

The ultimate “Father of the fatherland” would seem to be God the Father, though it is likely that Justin is simply trying a bit too hard to be polite here.

Catholics may have been surprised to learn that when addressing the Supreme Pontiff in Rome, Justin was referring to the Emperor (the bishop of Rome did not take this title to himself until the late 4th Century). Pontiff is a term that seems to mean bridge builder and has historically, in a religious context, has suggested being the bridge between the Chief God (Jupiter for the Romans, or the Father for the Catholics) and man. Or essentially, a mediator.

The Bible teaches this, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). It is also not likely that God would consider that the assembly of the Roman Senate was sacred (e.g. Amos 5:21).

Justin also stated,

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

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

Justin is clearly stating that those who believe that souls are taken to heaven when they die are not Christians. Therefore, it is surprising that any in Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches would consider Justin to be a saint, since he teaches that none of them can be.

An article of related interest may be Did the Early Church Teach Human Immortality?

Justin was not a saint. Yes, he had some belief in a compromised form of Christianity, but simply refused to live as a Christian. Though he had some correct doctrinal points, he also took a variety of positions that were typical of apostates.

Justin tends to be revered by many because of one of his comments about the day of the Sun god Helios (now called Sunday), but in my view that showed that he held apostate, not saintly views, of such matters. He was not a real saint, nor should his ‘day’ be celebrated.

More on Justin, some of his doctrines, and church history can be found in the articles:

Justin Martyr: Saint, Heretic, or Apostate? Justin is considered one of the first Christian theologians and scholars. But did he support a Gnostic version of Christianity? Do you know what he taught about souls going to heaven upon death? This article shows from his own writings, what Justin really taught.
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups? A related sermon is also available Christianity: Two groups.
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? Who clearly endorsed Sunday? What relevance is the first or the “eighth” day?
Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven? What do the Bible and scholars teach? What about ‘near-death experiences’? Here is a link to a related sermon: Heaven and Christianity.
What Happens After Death? Is death like sleep, or is that a cultic idea? Can you speak to the dead? Here is a link to a related sermon: What really happens after death?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
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.
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
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?
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality?
What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?

US Memorial Day and War

Monday, May 29th, 2017


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

COGwriter

Today, many in the USA observe ‘Memorial Day.’ It was originally known as ‘Decoration Day.’ It started after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day was extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.

A reader sent me a link to the following article about it:

Memorial Day a time to question war

It is proper to pay respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us. Memorial Day should also be a time of reflection on when it is moral for the United States to wage war and, if allowed, how this country should conduct war.

War is awful. In these days of shallow, sanitized news coverage, the real horror of war rarely confronts us with the terrible death it levies against fellow humans, soldiers and civilians alike, and the maiming injuries, physical and psychological, it leaves behind in its wake…

Over the centuries, religious leaders and moral philosophers have clarified moral principles for commencing a “just war.” Choices about war and peace involve not only military and political options, but also moral questions

The ‘just war’ concept, to a major degree, is based upon the writings of the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas, and was a term used by early followers of Martin Luther. In the 16th century, Martin Luther’s followers condemned those who did not believe that Christians were to be soldiers. Notice what the followers of Martin Luther declared in 1530:

Article XVI: Of Civil Affairs. Of Civil Affairs they teach that lawful civil ordinances are good works of God, and that it is right for Christians to bear civil office, to sit as judges, to judge matters by the Imperial and other existing laws, to award just punishments, to engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers...They condemn the Anabaptists who forbid these civil offices to Christians.

It should be noted that some of those called Anabaptists were in the Church of God (please see the article The Sardis Church Era). Martin Luther would have also condemned groups like the Continuing Church of God which hold to beliefs that he condemned on these matters.

Yet, from the beginning of the New Testament church, true Christians (and even most of the heretical apostates) would not participate in carnal warfare.

Melito, a leading Church of God Christian leader wrote around 170 A.D., that if a leader is just, then God provides peace:

My opinion is this: that in `this’ way a kingdom may be governed in peace-when the sovereign is acquainted with the God of truth, and is withheld by fear of Him from doing wrong to those who are his subjects, and judges everything with equity, as one who knows that he himself also will be judged before God; while, at the same time, those who are under his rule are withheld by the fear of God from doing wrong to their sovereign, and are restrained by the same fear from doing wrong to one another. By this knowledge of God and fear of Him all evil may be removed from the realm. For, if the sovereign abstain from doing wrong to those who are under his rule, and they abstain from doing wrong to him and to each other, it is evident that the whole country will dwell in peace. Many blessings, too, will be enjoyed there, because amongst them all the name of God will be glorified. For what blessing is greater than this, that a sovereign should deliver the people that are under his rule from error, and by this good deed render himself pleasing to God? For from error arise all those evils from which kingdoms suffer; but the greatest of all errors is this: when a man is ignorant of God, and in God’s stead worships that which is not God. (Melito. Translation by Roberts and Donaldson. A DISCOURSE WHICH WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF ANTONINUS CAESAR, AND HE EXHORTED THE SAID CAESAR TO ACQUAINT HIMSELF WITH GOD, AND SHOWED TO HIM THE WAY OF TRUTH. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 11/18/06).

Tatian, a professing Christian apologist, wrote around 170 A.D.:

And for these the witnesses take their seats, and the boxers meet in single combat, for no reason whatever, nor does any one come down into the arena to succour. Do such exhibitions as these redound to your credit? He who is chief among you collects a legion of blood-stained murderers, engaging to maintain them; and these ruffians are sent forth by him, and you assemble at the spectacle to be judges, partly of the wickedness of the adjudicator, and partly of that of the men who engage in the combat. And he who misses the murderous exhibition is grieved, because he was not doomed to be a spectator of wicked and impious and abominable deeds (Tatian. Translated by J.E. Ryland. Tatian’s Address to the Greeks, Chapter XXIII . Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Athenagoras, a professing Christian apologist, wrote around 170 A.D.:

What man of sound mind, therefore, will affirm, while such is our character, that we are murderers?…

Who does not reckon among the things of greatest interest the contests of gladiators and wild beasts, especially those which are given by you? But we, deeming that to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles (Athenagoras. A Plea for the Christians, Chapter XXXV. Translated by B.P. Pratten. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Even today, many Christians realize that watching brutal events intent on causing physical harm, such as real boxing and American football, is inappropriate.

Now, here is something from Theophilus of Antioch (who apparently was part of the Church of God) perhaps written about 180 A.D.:

Consider, therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live indifferently, and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious of all, eat human flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to witness shows of gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of murders. But neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter XV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition)

So, true Christians did not believe that they were to fight nor even watch the violent sports that were popular in the second century.

Notice that this is also the position of the third century Catholic theologian and bishop Hippolytus, who also adds various occupations to those that reject one from being a follower of Christ:

16:6 A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who  goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 7 If someone is a gladiator, or one  who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast  shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he  shall cease, or he shall be rejected. 8 If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols,  he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 9 A military man in authority must not execute men. If  he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall  be rejected. 10 If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple,  he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 11 The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a  soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. (Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. From the work of Bernard Botte (La Tradition Apostolique. Sources Chretiennes, 11 bis. Paris, Editions du Cerf, 1984) and of Gregory Dix (The Treatise on the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. London: Alban Press, 1992) as translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb http://www.bombaxo.com/hippolytus.html viewed 08/06/09)

Around 250 A.D., elder/presbyter Pionius of Smyrna asked:

To whom have we done wrong? Have we perchance murdered someone? Or, do we persecute anyone? Or have we obliged anyone to venerate idols? (Martyrdom of Pionius as translated in Monroy, Mauricio Saavedra. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 155)

He asked those questions knowing full well that real Christians had not done any of those things.

As late as the beginning of the fourth century, the Catholic apologist Lactanus/Lactanius wrote:

For when God forbids us to kill, He not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but He warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. Thus it will be neither lawful for a just man to engage in warfare (Lactanus. Divine Institutes, Book VI (Of True Wisdom and Religion), Chapter 20).

Or why should he carry on war, and mix himself with the passions of others, when his mind is engaged in perpetual peace with men? {The Christian} considers it unlawful not only himself to commit slaughter, but to be present with those who do it, and to behold it (Lactanus. Divine Institutes, Book V (Of True Wisdom and Religion), Chapter 18).

Christianity Today has recognized that early Christians were against military service:

The ancient church understood that war has been around as long as human beings and sin have coexisted. It is a consistent tenet throughout the Christian tradition that war is the result of sin. The responses to war, however, have followed two basic trains of thought: pacifism, and the idea that certain wars can be just.

Pacifism is characteristic of the early centuries of Christianity in someone like the North African apologist Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), who regularly warned Christians to distance themselves from pagan culture. He wrote:

“How will he serve in the army even during peacetime without the sword that Jesus Christ has taken away? Even if soldiers came to John and got advice on how they ought to act, even if the centurion became a believer, the Lord by taking away Peter’s sword, disarmed every soldier thereafter. We are not allowed to wear any uniform that symbolizes a sinful act” (On Idolatry 19.3).

The third-century Roman Presbyter Hippolytus wrote The Apostolic Tradition, Canon 16, (ca. 215 A.D.) which opposed serving in the military as a matter of church discipline:

“A soldier in the lower ranks shall kill no one. If ordered to do so, he shall not obey, and he shall not take an oath. If he does not want to comply with this directive, let him be dismissed [from the church].”

(Elowsky, Joel. Ancient Christian Commentary on Current Events: What Is War Good For? Christianity Today, posted October 28, 2003).

Now, I should add that is doubtful that most of those quoted in the article were true Christians themselves. Yet, it is clear that they understood that John the Baptist and the Apostles were against war.

Here are more from Tertullian’s writings:

But now inquiry is made about this point, whether a believer may turn himself unto military service, and whether the military may be admitted unto the faith, even the rank and file, or each inferior grade, to whom there is no necessity for taking part in sacrifices or capital punishments. There is no agreement between the divine and the human sacrament, the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot be due to two masters–God and Caesar. And yet Moses carried a rod, and Aaron wore a buckle, and John (Baptist) is girt with leather and Joshua the son of Nun leads a line of march; and the People warred: if it pleases you to sport with the subject. But how will a Christian man war, nay, how will he serve even in peace, without a sword, which the Lord has taken away? (Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapter 19. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

The Roman Catholic theologian Hippolytus, early third century, noted this:

That it is not meet for Christians to bear arms (Hippolytus. Heads of the Canons of Abulides or Hippolytus, Which Are Used by the Ethiopian Christians. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Theological historian Bart Ehrman noted this as a difference between the Jews and the early Christians:

Further indications of a separation of Christians from Jews came soon thereafter in the Jewish uprising against the Romans in Palestine, leading to a three-year war and the ultimate destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in the year 70 C.E. Old traditions indicate that the Christian Jews refused to participate in the struggle (Ehrman B. From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity. The Teaching Company, Chantilly (VA), 2004, p. 33).

Furthermore, the historian Kenneth Scott Latourette noted that even late into the third century:

…perhaps most of the early Christians had conscientious scruples against military service (Latourette K.S. A History of Christianity, Volume 1, Beginnings to 1500. Harper, San Francisco, 1975, p. 89).

And while after some time, much of the empire soldiers professed Christ, this empire-wide acceptance of Christianity occurred with a “compromise with the world…a serious peril to the Gospel” (ibid, p.108).

For the most part until near the time of the sun-god worshiping Emperor Constantine, even the Greco-Romans who professed Christ were opposed to being part of the military (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?). From around the time of Constantine, a variety of arguments were developed to try to justify violating this original Christian practice, yet those who continued the original faith resisted these human arguments.

As far as war goes, it will be eliminated by the final phase of the Kingdom of God. Notice what the Bible teaches:

2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4)

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 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.”

5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

So, as many remember the soldiers who died in warfare today, Christians can look forward to the time that there will be no more war nor pain of war.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Christian Soldiers How are Christians to be like soldiers? How are they to be different?
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse What do each of the four horseman of the Apocalypse represent? Have they began their ride? Did Jesus discuss the any of this? Might their rides coincide with the “beginning of sorrows? Do they start their ride prior to the Great Tribulation? Did Nostradamus or any other ‘private prophets’ write predictions that may mislead people so that they may not understand the truth of one or more of the four horseman? There is also a related YouTube video titled The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
World War III: Steps in Progress Are there surprising actions going on now that are leading to WWIII? Might a nuclear attack be expected? Does the Bible promise protection to all or only some Christians? How can you be part of those that will be protected? A related video would be Is World War III About to Begin? Can You Escape?
Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse What is the pale horse of death and pestilences? What will it bring and when? Spanish: El cuarto jinete de Apocalipsis, el caballo pálido de muerte y pestilencia.
Wars, rumors of wars, and the Apocalypse Jesus foretold a time before the end where there would be wars and rumors of wars. The Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) warns of the red horseman of war. Now, even secular writers, like Larry Edelson, are worried that wars and rumors of war are the most menacing problem that now haunts the earth? Are they right? What is the solution?

1 John 5:7-8 and the Trinity

Monday, May 29th, 2017


COGwriter

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

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

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

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

Here is what one modern historian wrote about it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How late was the addition that makes it longer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Origins of Certain Trinitarian Terms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Why Does Jesus Have Two Different Genealogies listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 seemingly list two different genealogies for Jesus. Why?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
What is the Holy Spirit? This is an article by Rod Reynolds.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? For a related sermon, watch: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from 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.
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.

Mathematicians correctly conclude that the universe had a beginning

Saturday, May 27th, 2017


NASA Photo

COGwriter

Do any mathematicians realize that the universe had to have a beginning? Well some mathematicians from Tufts University have challenged some anti-biblical models of the origin of the universe and concluded that it did:

Mathematics of Eternity Prove The Universe Must Have Had A Beginning

Cosmologists use the mathematical properties of eternity to show that although universe may last forever, it must have had a beginning…

In recent years…cosmologists have begun to study a number of new ideas that have similar properties. Curiously, these ideas are not necessarily at odds with the notion of a Big Bang.

For instance, one idea is that the universe is cyclical with big bangs followed by big crunches followed by big bangs in an infinite cycle.

Another is the notion of eternal inflation in which different parts of the universe expand and contract at different rates. These regions can be thought of as different universes in a giant multiverse.

So although we seem to live in an inflating cosmos, other universes may be very different. And while our universe may look as if it has a beginning, the multiverse need not have a beginning…

Audrey Mithani and Alexander Vilenkin at Tufts University in Massachusetts say that these models are mathematically incompatible with an eternal past. Indeed, their analysis suggests that these three models of the universe must have had a beginning too.

Their argument focuses on the mathematical properties of eternity–a universe with no beginning and no end. Such a universe must contain trajectories that stretch infinitely into the past.

However, Mithani and Vilenkin point to a proof dating from 2003 that these kind of past trajectories cannot be infinite if they are part of a universe that expands in a specific way.

They go on to show that cyclical universes and universes of eternal inflation both expand in this way. So they cannot be eternal in the past and must therefore have had a beginning. “Although inflation may be eternal in the future, it cannot be extended indefinitely to the past,” they say.

They treat the emergent model of the universe differently, showing that although it may seem stable from a classical point of view, it is unstable from a quantum mechanical point of view. “A simple emergent universe model…cannot escape quantum collapse,” they say.

The conclusion is inescapable. “None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal,” say Mithani and Vilenkin. http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27793/?ref=rss

And if the physical universe had to have a beginning, then something that was not physical must have started it. And that leads to the logical conclusion that a non-physical being, like God, must have done so. And that is what the Bible teaches:

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5)

And while the mathematicians at Tufts did not go into biblical detail, their conclusion that the physical universe must have had a beginning is correct.

As far as the future role of resurrected human beings in the universe, notice the following passage from Hebrews:

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. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

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. (Hebrews 2:6-10)

So, the entire universe was made for humankind, but is not yet under human subjection, but will be first under Jesus. And then, later under humankind.

But there is more. Notice something else that the Bible teaches:

33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:33)

6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end…(Isaiah 9:6-7)

This seems to mean that either the physical dimensions of Christ’s kingdom will always be increasing (hence perhaps more and more planets, stars, and galaxies) and/or their will be a continual increase in the number of beings in Christ’s kingdom.

Interestingly, the same mathematicians at Tufts agree with this concept as they stated that the universe can, according to their mathematical model, continue to expand into the future, consistent with scripture (which, no, they did not cite).

As I have written here for some time, scripture and properly understood science are compatible (and I am not declaring that there cannot be any flaws in the Tufts’ mathematical model, though I agree with their conclusions that the physical universe had to have a beginning and that it can continue to expand forever).

While humans now are fairly insignificant in certain physical ways, God has a plan to involve humanity in ruling the universe. A universe that He began (Genesis 1:1).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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? Here is a link to a sermon: Genesis, ‘Prehistoric man,’ and the Gap theory. Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cuán vieja es la Tierra? ¿Cuán largos fueron los Días de la Creación? ¿Teoría de la brecha?
Questions and Answers from Genesis Many wonder about certain early events that this article discusses.
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.
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?