Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

What is the meaning of YOUR LIFE?

Monday, January 12th, 2015

COGwriter

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

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

Why did God make YOU? What is YOUR purpose?

The Bible teaches:

God is love (1 John 4:16).

The LORD is good (Nahum 1:7).

God made you to share His love with YOU.

As a matter of fact,

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. 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,

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? 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:

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.

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 and you 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. And through various tests and trials build the type of character that will flourish in the coming Kingdom of God.

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.

There was sermon given by with the Continuing Church of God is titled: What is the meaning of your life?

The sermon contains a lot of information that is not in this post such as a few ways to demonstrate why God’s existence is logical and more about the an individual’s purpose, and even some speculative comments about why people die when they do.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
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?
Is God’s Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true?
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.
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.
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?
Deification: Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God? What does the Bible teach? Is deification only a weird or cultic idea?
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.

Have you studied the scriptures related to the ‘Universal OFFER of Salvation’?

Sunday, January 11th, 2015


Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

COGwriter

Have you actually studied the scriptures related to the ‘Universal OFFER of Salvation’?

The article Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis has also been translated into the Spanish language to assist those who better understand that language. Here is a link: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.

The Bible teaches that all are guilty of sin. Yet, most of humanity has never truly repented of those sins. Will “mercy triumph over judgment?” (James 2:13)? There are hundreds of scriptures that support that God will offer salvation to all. For the only place that I am aware of, the grouping of all of them is available in the English (Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis) and Spanish languages (Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis).

But are you truly familiar with them?

While some have claimed that believing them is “unorthodox,” even the so-called Eastern Orthodox church tends to accept the general conclusion of them (see also Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God).  The Roman Catholic church used to believe this general idea as well, though it changed (see Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

The Bible clearly teaches that those Gentiles, for example, who have been subject to condemnation will have an opportunity for salvation, but few seem to realize what that means.

To begin with Micah 7:18-19 teaches:

18 Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
19 He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.

Is your God going to pardon iniquity for a few or nearly all of the guilty?

Notice that Ezekiel 11:16-20 and 36:24-38 both record that God is going to convert many sinners so that they will walk in His statutes:

16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” ‘ 17 “Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” ‘ 18 “And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. 19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God…”

24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord GOD, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!” 33′Thus says the Lord GOD: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. 35 So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ 36 “Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it.” 37′Thus says the Lord GOD: “I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock. 38 Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the LORD.” ‘ “

Notice that the above has never been fulfilled by Israelites going back to the Middle East as God has YET to give them a new heart. Surely God has a plan to offer salvation to those who many now feel are lost.

Notice Daniel 12:2-4:

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase”

The above passage shows that death is like sleep. It also refers to a resurrection to everlasting life and resurrection to shame and to everlasting contempt. Notice that those who are wise will shine and still, after they shall awake, turn many to righteousness. Since they cannot turn those who are raised to everlasting contempt to life, who are they turning to life?

Obviously, those who were dead and not dead in Christ are those that are among the many that are turned to righteousness. Thus, the Bible clearly shows that there is a future offer of salvation past this current life and many will be turned to righteousness–many are then converted.

Jesus taught in Matthew 10:15 that those in Sodom and Gomorrah will do better than those who intentionally reject the message:

14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

If the fate of Sodom is already eternal condemnation, how could it be better for them than for others?

Matthew 11:20-26, notice what Jesus stated:

20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”

Notice the Jesus clearly teaches that some, like Sodom, will still have a chance and that this knowledge is hidden to many of the wise of this world.

Ezekiel 16:55 teaches that it was known that Sodom would return:

55 When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate (KJV).

What does your church teach is the fate of Sodom? Does it teach that they will have an opportunity for salvation? If not, how do they explain Ezekiel 16:55?

Matthew 12:38-42 teaches:

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

Notice that contrary to the views of what passes as mainstream “Christianity”, there will be a difference in judgment in the end.

Now God destroyed Sodom for its wicked works (Genesis 18:20;19:24)–wicked works, that according to Paul’s writings make it impossible for them to inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). If what most Protestants believe is correct, then all in Sodom will be destroyed and will be no better off than those in Capernaum–but that is a clear contradiction of what Jesus wrote.

Luke 10:8-15, Jesus taught:

8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. 9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’ 12 But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city. 13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be thrust down to Hades.

Notice that Jesus is holding those to a higher standard who saw miracles and should have understood His message, than those who were idolaters, pagans, and sexually immoral (including those that lived in Sodom). Jesus makes this concept clear in many other passages.

Does your church teach you that it will be more tolerable for certain non-Christians at the judgment than for others? If not, does it really understand the Bible?

Mark 6:10-11, notice what Jesus taught:

10 Also He said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. 11 And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!”

God completely destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins. Yet, Jesus says that it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than those who had some understanding but would not accept it.

Psalm 90:3 teaches:

3 You turn man to destruction, And say, “Return, O children of men.”

God is teaching that He turned humans over to destruction–He allowed sinners to die–yet notice that He teaches that He is going to have them return. Does your church teach anything like this?

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

For His mercy endures forever.

Why would God have to repeat that so much if He did not have a plan involving His mercy for more than this age? The expression “His mercy endures forever” is found 41 times in the NKJV and the version “his mercy endureth for ever” is found 33 times in the Douay-Rheims Bible. God wants ALL to realize that He really is merciful. Many who profess Christianity do not understand God’s mercy.

Notice that Psalm 107:1-3 teaches:

1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
3 And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

Thus, God is going to have mercy to those turned over to the enemy (the devil) because God’s mercy endures forever–Ambrose of Milan referred to this verse–and stated “this is the privilege not only of a few” (see article Hope of Salvation). When scripture refers to those gathered from all over in this manner, it often is referring to those who have died. Jesus also alluded to this verse in Matthew 8:10-11:

10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus was teaching that Gentiles will be part of the kingdom. And, I and others believe this means more than just a few.

Psalm 145:14 teaches:

14 The LORD upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down.

It should be clear that is God intending to raise up more than a few who fall.

Psalm 25:8 reveals:

8 Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.

Is He only intending to teach a few sinners or all sinners? God is not a respector of persons (Acts 10:34 KJV).

Hebrews 8:11-12, states:

11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Notice that the time is coming when all shall know the LORD. And notice that God is saying that He will forgive their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Does your church understand this?

Isaiah 46:12-13 teaches:

12 “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness: 13 I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.

Note, according to the marginal reference in the Nelson Study Bible, page 640, the word linger is perhaps better translated as “delayed.” Hence, God is teaching that those who were “far from righteousness” will have a time when God will not delay salvation, but bring it. This is not just a reference for Gentiles who will come to accept Christ in this age, this is a reference to an age to come.

One of the psalms, Psalm 66:3-4, teaches:

3 Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. 4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.

Notice that this is a prophecy. All the earth has not yet worshipped God. All the enemies who would have been alive when that verse was written thousands of years ago have long since died. But this passage shows that they will submit to God. This is considered to be an awesome work through God’s great power. Does the God you worship have the power to offer salvation to all so that even His enemies will submit to Him?

Isaiah 29:13-14, teaches:

13 Therefore the LORD said:

“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”

Thus, those who have been deceived by human traditions of false worship can be saved. And many have been! (See Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings).

Also notice the following from Jeremiah 30:9-10:

9. But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them. 10 ‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD,
‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar…

Isaiah 55:1-5 teaches:

1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you–
The sure mercies of David.
4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the LORD your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”

The above is not simply a reference to Gentiles becoming Christians as most Protestant commentators think. It is David that is the witness to the people. This is the same David that is prophecied to rule over the nations of Israel in the future (Ezekiel 37:24; Jeremiah 30:9). Thus, this is a prophecy for a later time. The simple truth is that even after Jesus came, the statement “nations who do not know you shall run to you” has simply not been fulfilled. I know of not one nation, let alone nations, that have run to become true Christians. What has happened is that after Greco-Roman “Christianity” became the religion of the empire, many were forced to become “Christians” and those that have followed them have almost never followed the Christianity of the Bible.

If some of that confuses you, recall that in Isaiah 55:8-11 God teaches that even though we think different than God that His word will not return void:

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Furthermore, notice what Isaiah 56:1-2 teaches:

1. Thus says the LORD:

“Keep justice, and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come,
And My righteousness to be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man who does this,
And the son of man who lays hold on it;
Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

If the salvation to come is simply the first coming of Jesus, then should not all Christians keep the Sabbath as both salvation and the Sabbath are part of the same quote? Does your church teach that one is “blessed” who does not defile the Sabbath? (You may also wish to read the verses that follow it, like Isaiah 56:3-8 as it makes it clear that foreigners-Gentiles-also are to keep the Sabbath.)

Also, notice the following from Isaiah 66:23:

23 And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD.

Notice that all flesh will worship God on the Sabbath. This has not yet happened.

In Isaiah 57:16-18 it teaches that God will not always be angry and that He will heal the souls He has made:

16 For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would fail before Me, And the souls which I have made.
17 For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.
18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him
And to his mourners.

Thus, even those who sinned that God punished (struck) and hid from, God will lead them back! Does your minister proclaim this?

Isaiah 62:1-5 shows:

1 For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns.
2 The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the LORD will name.
3 You shall also be a crown of glory In the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem In the hand of your God.
4 You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the LORD delights in you, And your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.

Notice that salvation is being discussed and that includes Gentiles and lands that were desolate and that God will delight in them. This is not simply a reference to Gentiles who accept Christ in this age, as they were not referred to in the Hebrew scriptures as “Forsaken”. Versions of the Hebrew term “azuwbah” translated as “Forsaken” are used many times in the Old Testament to refer to Israelites (NOT Gentiles)–God is apparently using that term because most seem to feel that the Gentiles prior to Jesus’ first coming were forsaken–which, however, they were not. Most also seem to feel that most people dwelling in lands that basically do not accept any version of Christ today are in that forsaken category. But again, recall that God states that they are not forsaken. Which means, according to Isaiah 62, that God has a plan of salvation for them.

Also notice that in Isaiah 65:1-5, God declares that even those who eat unclean meat and did not seek God will be called:

1″I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ To a nation that was not called by My name.
2 I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in a way that is not good, According to their own thoughts;
3 A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; Who sacrifice in gardens, And burn incense on altars of brick; 4 Who sit among the graves, And spend the night in the tombs; Who eat swine’s flesh, And the broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
5 Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, Do not come near me, For I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.

Notice that these people were not originally called. They even provoked God to anger by eating swine (a biblically unclean animal), but notice that they will find God even though they did not seek Him!

Isaiah 66:17-19 teaches:

17 “Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves,
To go to the gardens
After an idol in the midst,
Eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse,
Shall be consumed together,” says the LORD.
18 “For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory.
19 I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.

Even though He will punish those who eat unclean meat, notice that they will be gathered and declared God’s glory among the Gentiles. God’s glory among the Gentiles is when He calls them all and offers them salvation. Those who believe in the elitist approach that God is only going to save “good” Roman Catholics and/or Protestants and condemn the vast majority of eaters of unclean meats to fry in torment forever are in clear error.

Romans 8:19-21, Paul states:

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Notice that the creation was not subjected to futility willingly. And that the creation is waiting to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The entirety of creation is awaiting apocatastasis.

Hosea 2:23. Here is what a Protestant author wrote on this verse:

God had said that he would name these children as a sign to his people, but there would come a day of restoration:

“And I will have pity on Not-Pitied,
and I will say to Not-My-People,
‘You are my people;’
and he shall say, ‘Thou art my God.’” {Hos 2:23 RSV}

So that even in this time when God was announcing judgment, his grace also was being shown. (Stedman Ray. O.T. Prophetical Books).

That author is correct on that point. God specifically has foretold a time of restoration through the prophets. And those that were not His people, will become His people.

Romans 11:32-33, Paul states:

32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Notice that God’s plan has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Also notice that Paul is teaching that God’s mercy and judgment is apparently not easy for most to figure out.

Is it someone’s fault that they were born in an area that no one knew or taught Christ?

Notice that God knew that most would not at first obey, but that He has a plan to have mercy on them.

Romans 11:13-15, Paul states:

13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Notice that Paul is teaching that those being cast away can have acceptance after they are given life from the dead (see also vss 26-27). Paul is clearly teaching what is consisting with the CCOG view of apocatastasis.

God does have marvelous plan of salvation and it is laid out in hundreds of passages in the Bible.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

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.
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced several YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

Herbert Armstrong asked, ‘What will you be doing in the next life?’

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Order of the Sacred Treasure

COGwriter

Someone who was starting to attend a Protestant church made some comment to me that after death, one simply gazes at God for eternity.  She said it so matter-of-factually, that she thought that is what everyone believed.  I informed her that was not the case. I informed her that eternity was more than that and that God had more in mind for resurrected humans then.

Decades ago, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about the general subject:

What will you be doing in the
NEXT LIFE?

THIS OUGHT to disturb you — a pointed question put to me by a man in Middlesex, England.

That is, unless you are one of the very few who really does understand this difference. Don’t be too sure you know! Even most of the clergy do not!

The BIG Question

This man in Middlesex, England, had received his first three copies of The PLAIN TRUTH. He had been shocked out of complacency.

He wrote:

“As a lifelong ‘unquestioning’ believer in evolution, the most immediate impact of your magazine has been to shatter my complacency on the subject. However, this presents me with a problem, insofar as, IF I accept that God created mankind, and that there is, therefore, an afterlife, I simply cannot imagine what one ‘does’ for an eternity. This is proving to be something of a ‘stumbling block’ for me.” He asked for help.

You need to understand. Almost NO ONE DOES!

A woman explained recently what she expects to be doing through eternity.

“I expect to just be sitting at Jesus’ feet, looking up into His face,” she exclaimed. And this idea was so deeply implanted in her mind, nothing could shake her out of it!

It is perhaps ten times harder to UNLEARN error than to learn new truth. And nearly everyone who believes in God at all — or makes any profession of Christianity has had one idea so deeply implanted in mind that it is simply taken for granted — and almost impossible to root out!

It is this — stated in my own terms (which may not be the way others would state it):

When you were born, you were started on a one—way railroad trip — your life’s journey. Because of Adam’s sin (or because you are a sinner) a switch in the railroad track at the end of your journey is turned automatically to shoot you down to hell. But IF, at some time during your life’s journey you “profess Christ” then that automatically throws the switch at the end of your life’s journey so that when you die you will be shot immediately up to heaven. And what will you be DOING through all eternity? Just sitting at Jesus’ feet, happily looking up into His face — or, as some may have it, playing on a harp. In any case the concept is that you’ll have NOTHING TO DO, but just “enjoy” idleness and ease forever and ever! This false concept totally blinds its followers’ eyes to the meaning and purpose of the Christian life after initial conversion after becoming a Christian.

There may be variations in the way differing sects or denominations, or different people conceive of it — but that’s approximately the generally accepted idea — taken for granted — and so deeply rooted it’s almost impossible to get the TRUTH, as GOD reveals it in HIS WORD, into such minds.

Now I wouldn’t enjoy lounging around in idleness with nothing to do for even three days — let alone for eternity!

But THAT explains, I think, WHY some ministers falsely accuse me of “proclaiming a salvation by WORKS.” Since we are to be SAVED, as your Bible states repeatedly, by GRACE, therefore these people simply cannot conceive of any WORKS whatsoever. They don’t understand that the Christian life is one of TRAINING for WHAT WE SHALL BE DOING through eternity IN THE NEXT LIFE. They miss the WHOLE PURPOSE of salvation!

Does that word “grace” sound a little technical — a little theological?

“Grace” is a term used in the Bible. It means undeserved FREE GIFT — and unmerited PARDON.

Nowhere does the Bible teach earning your salvation by your own “WORKS.” But what most do NOT understand is that the Bible DOES teach, over and over again, that we shall be REWARDED according to our WORKS!

That has EVERYTHING to do with the question: “WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING IN THE NEXT LIFE — FOR ETERNITY?”

It has little or nothing to do with whether you GET THERE — but everything to do with what will be your STATUS — what you will be doing in the next life IF YOU are SAVED BY GRACE.

Please believe me, THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS OF YOUR LIFE! YOU NEED to understand it. It’s very VITAL to YOUR ETERNITY!

There’s a Vast Difference!

WHY is it that so very FEW understand the great difference between being “saved by GRACE,” and “rewarded according to WORKS”? To UNDERSTAND, YOU need to know what “salvation” is, and what “reward” means.

But first, UNDERSTAND. The word “works” translated from the Greek ergon means deeds, actions, business — without regard, except as indicated by use in the sentence, to whether physical work, action or labor, or spiritual acts of righteousness. The Bible uses this word primarily in two ways, and there is a vast difference.

When joined with “law,” as, “the works of the law,” primarily in Romans and Galatians, it refers to the RITUALS of the Law of Moses. These were physical WORK — labor! These laborious physical rituals — “the works of the law” — were a SUBSTITUTE for Christ and the Holy Spirit, and were in force only until Christ. They were then ABOLISHED. There were certain other secular laws, such as statutes and judgments, that were not abolished. Nor, of course, the great spiritual Law, the Ten Commandments, which define righteousness, the transgression of which is sin.

But where the word “works” appears alone, unassociated in the context with the “works of the law,” usually refers to acts of RIGHTEOUSNESS — that is, GOOD works. In some instances the context uses the word in the sense of evil works.

In this booklet we are concerned with “works” in the sense of GOOD works — righteousness — not with “works of the law,” rituals which were abolished.

“Salvation” means being saved from the penalty of sin — which is DEATH — for eternity — eternal punishment (not eternal punishing!). But to be SAVED means, also, “preservation.” In this case, preservation of LIFE. One verse in the Bible explains BOTH: “For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

The “wages” you EARN by the “works” of SIN is eternal DEATH. It is ETERNAL PUNISHMENT — and since the punishment is DEATH, and not life, it is eternal DEATH. You now have only a chemical, temporary, physical existence, sustained by breathing, eating, drinking, and your physical heart continuing to beat and circulate your blood. Stop breathing, stop your heart beating, you die — you cease to live — almost instantly. Stop eating and drinking, and you’ll die in 45 or 50 days. This physiochemical life is only temporary.

So, to PRESERVE LIFE eternally means the GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE — spirit life — self-sustaining, INHERENT life.

Salvation, then, means to PRESERVE YOU FROM eternal death, the “wages” or consequences of sin, and to GIVE you inherent ETERNAL LIFE.

So, then, ETERNAL LIFE is something YOU DO NOT NOW HAVE. It is something you have no power to supply, or give to yourself.

You can’t earn it by “WORKS.” No human ingenuity or scientific effort can prolong human life eternally. The only life that is eternal is SPIRIT life. A physical being cannot turn himself into a spirit being. Spirit life comes as God’s free GIFT. Neither can you yourself erase the PENALTY of sins you have already committed — that is, PREVENT eternal DEATH. For “ALL have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). That includes YOU! You have brought on yourself the eternal DEATH sentence, as a penalty!

The Bible teaches NOTHING about an “immortal soul.” On the contrary, it teaches, twice, that “the soul that sinneth, it shall DIE” (Ezek. 18:4, 20). Jesus said the “soul” can be DESTROYED in gehenna fire (Matt. 10:28).

What your own “works” have earned for you is the “wages” of ETERNAL DEATH.

You see, everyone has “WORKS” — either good, or bad! And your bad works have earned the wages of eternal DEATH. Good works can earn something, too — which I will explain later — but it is NOT “salvation” or eternal life!

Jesus Christ only, of all who have been human, has immortality (I Tim. 6:16). GOD is IMMORTAL (I Tim. 1:17). He has given eternal life, inherent, to Jesus, who has eternal life inherent in Himself (John 5:26). We may receive it, as God’s GIFT, through Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:23). God has eternal life INHERENT. He has it TO GIVE. You do NOT have it! You must go to GOD to get it!

But, your sins have CUT YOU OFF from God! (Isa. 59:12.) You are so CUT OFF that you cannot reach Him! There is an impassable BARRIER between you and Him, brought on by your SINS!

How, then, can you gain ACCESS to Almighty God (the Father), to receive from Him eternal life and salvation — AS HIS GIFT? Well, Isaiah says, “Let the wicked forsake his way” (Isaiah 55:6-8) — the way of SIN. And, further, “GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD [of sinners], that He GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should NOT PERISH, but have everlasting LIFE” (John 3:16).

Yes, but How?

The answer is in Romans 5:8-10:

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, awhile we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, being NOW justified by His blood ….” GET THIS! “Being NOW justified” — HOW? — by “works”? No, by Christ’s DEATH — by His blood. He shed His blood and DIED. He paid the death penalty for you, in your stead.

So, IF you repent of sinning — that is, turn around to go the OTHER WAY — forsake YOUR way — the way contrary to God’s Law, and turn to GOD’S WAY — the way of His Law — if you have thus REPENTED of sinning, and have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior accepted His DEATH as PAYMENT IN FULL for YOUR sins — accepted Him as personal Savior not only from the PENALTY of past sins, but as living Savior to save you from SINNING (now and in the future) then you are NOW forgiven past guilt — you are now JUSTIFIED of your guilty past.

But “justified” refers to the guilty past, not to the FUTURE!

So, CONTINUE this scripture: “… Much more, then, being now justified by HIS blood, we SHALL BE saved from wrath through Him.” Notice, being “SAVED” is yet in the future. We are now “justified,” by God’s grace — by Jesus’ DEATH — and SHALL BE (future) “saved.”

But, continue, verse 10 of Romans 5: “For if, when we were enemies, we were RECONCILED to GOD by the death of His Son ….” Here, you see, being JUSTIFIED by Christ’s death is ALSO being RECONCILED to God by His death. In other words, we have at last, through Christ’s death established CONTACT with God.

Now continue, same sentence: “… much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved BY HIS LIFE.”

Not already “saved.” But “shall be saved.” And HOW? Saved by the “blood of Christ”? — by His DEATH? NO!!! By His LIFE! We are justified of past guilt, which had cut us off from access to God, by Christ’s DEATH — but SHALL BE, in the future, SAVED by His LIFE. He ROSE from the dead. He is a living Christ!

Not saved by your “works” but saved by Christ’s LIFE, after having been forgiven your sins, and reconciled to God by Christ’s DEATH.

His writings on this subject continue to the booklet What will you be doing in the NEXT LIFE?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What will you be doing in the NEXT LIFE? An important question that Herbert Armstrong addresses.
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 Is the Place that Jesus Is Preparing? Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote this and answered whether the saints go to heaven upon death.
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?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
What is the Gospel? True religion should be based upon the true gospel. What are some of the different gospels and where did they come from? Do you believe the true or a false gospel?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Just What Do You Mean the Kingdom of God? A booklet that was written by Herbert Armstrong answers questions about the Kingdom.
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.

Top six scams in the USA?

Friday, January 9th, 2015


The Ten Commandments

COGwriter

CBS put out a report about a while back about what one author believes are the top six scams that affect people in the USA:

Overall, the nation’s most prevalent scam remains a fake check con, which involves “overpaying” for a product or service and asking the recipient to refund the difference. By the time the victim realizes that the check used for payment was bogus, the con artist has walked away with the consumer’s money…

The top six scams in order:

1. Fake checks
2. Bad Internet sales – products never delivered or misrepresented
3. Sweepstakes/prize/free gift cons that request payment to get your winnings.
4. Advance fee cons that promise a loan or line of credit, if you pay them first.
5. Phishing scams that attempt to get personal information to get access to your accounts, your tax refund or to open credit cards in your name.
6. Recovery/refund cons that promise past victims a recovery of swindled funds in exchange for a fee. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/top-6-us-scams/

Of course, there are also other scams.

As far as these six go, a while back someone tried the fake check scam for a business I own. I did not fall for it. The only one in the list that someone has not directly tried to involve me about is number 4 (although I may not have read every loan offer enough to see if that was the case). Otherwise, numbers 3, 5, and 6 are very commonly pushed to me. But other than number 2 (I have made some purchases over the internet that were misrepresented, so took action), I have not fallen for any of the scams.

Sadly, many people are greedy and do not care how they harm others. Scams are based upon lies, theft, and deception. Scammers are, according to what Jesus said, a type of destroyer and murderer:

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10)

The Bible teaches “love truth” (Zechariah 8:19) and that those who do not have the “love of the truth” will perish (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

Lying is prohibited by the Ten Commandments:

16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16)

20 ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Deuteronomy 5:20)

Notice what Jesus taught:

33 Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all (Mathew 5:33-34).

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts…false witness…20 These are the things which defile a man (Matthew 15:19-20).

18 You shall not bear false witness (Matthew 19:18).

19 Do not bear false witness (Mark 10:19).

20 You know the commandments:…Do not bear false witness (Luke 18:20).

2 And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars (Revelation 2:2).

Notice what Paul taught:

9 You shall not bear false witness (Romans 13:9).

19 I do not lie (Galatians 1:19).

25 Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor’ (Ephesians 4:25).

9 Do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9).

9…the lawless and insubordinate…10 liars…perjurers (1 Timothy 1:9,10).

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be…3 slanderers (2 Timothy 3:1,3).

2 God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

18…it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).

Those who scam defile themselves and others.

Those of us who believe the Bible, have read the Bible, and believe in keeping the Ten Commandments have long realized that telling the truth contributes to happiness. Notice the following:

18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18)

14 Happy is the man who is always reverent (Proverbs 28:14).

And since lying is a violation of the law, logic dictates that those who lie are less happy than those who do not.

The real biggest scam in the USA is how its theologians and political leaders do not truly understand and teach the Bible.  If they did, we would see a massive increase in wealth and a decrease of scams here.  But this is not expected to occur until after the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His millennial kingdom.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Lies Where did they originate? What was really the first lie? What happens for lies?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

Norman Edwards: The Church of God needs more prophets

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015


Elijah in the wilderness

COGwriter

Norman Edwards, a former board member of the old Global Church of God wrote an article Need Prophets More than Prophecy.  Norman Edwards granted me permission to post the article in its entirety (because of potential copyright issues, I rarely post articles in their entirety unless permission has been given/suggested). The following is from a file Norman Edwards emailed me:

Need Prophets more than Prophecy

by Norman Scott Edwards, Shepherd’s Voice Magazine

This writer can still remember the excitement he felt when he first heard a preacher explain that the Bible was a prophetic book, and we could understand the events of our time in advance by reading it. The preacher explained that the prophecies of the Bible were complicated and often symbolic. He also said a firm grasp of world history was necessary to properly distinguish the fulfilled prophecies from the ones in the future. This task obviously exceeded the capability of fledgling Christians, so I needed to get his booklet on the subject. And so many others have had a similar experience, and were excited to take in the book, video or seminar where the future events of prophecy were all explained for them.

This first encounter is generally most exciting—because one feels that one really knows exactly what is going to happen. But if one reads more widely, sees how many conflicting prophetic interpretations are available, and sees how many such interpretations have failed over the centuries, the excitement wears off.

The approach of some is to ignore Bible prophecy altogether. But the prophetic book of Revelation pronounces a blessing on those who read it (Rev 1:3), and Christ told us to live by “every word of God” (Luke 4;4). So why should we read Bible prophecy if we cannot put it together and figure out what it all means? Because prophecy gives us a clear general understanding that God will judge the world through Christ (Rom 2:16; 2Tim 4:1), and good will be rewarded and evil punished. It shows how God thinks, works and judges. When we need to know what is about to happen, God will show us through direct revelation and through the right Scriptures at the right time.

Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).

The entire New Testament is like this. There are no long expositions or charts of Old Testament prophecy explaining how they all fit together. Rather there are numerous references to a few verses showing how they apply to a specific situation as revealed by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament teaching of God continuing to work through prophets in the Church is overwhelming. A few verses, such as the beginning of Hebrews 1:1-2, have caused some believers to think that there are no more prophets:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (Heb 1:1-2).

But these verses simply accurately state the greatness of Christ’s teaching compared to those of the prophets. Christ’s righteous teaching and words of eternal life are so much more important than knowing what kingdom will arise or be defeated. Christ is “heir to all things” and we indeed can be “joint heirs” with Him (Rom 8:17). These verses do not contradict the numerous other statements of the New Testament telling us about Christian prophets, their prophecies and the need for on-going prophecies in the Church.

If you are unsure about this, please read the following scriptures to remove all doubt! Many religious groups have doctrines based upon just one or a few verses in the Bible. There are over 40 separate passages about prophets and their prophecies in the New Testament—so many that one might easily get tired of reading them! We have left out verses about the Old Testament prophets and New Testament false prophets to keep the list shorter. If we want God to show us what will happen in the future, we need to “desire earnestly to prophesy” (1Cor 14:39). It is a New Testament teaching we must not ignore!

John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

Acts 2:15-18 “For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.”

Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”

Acts 9:10-12 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.”

Acts 10:1-3 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!”

Acts 10:10-20 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”

The above pair of prophetic visions were so important, their story is completely retold in Acts 11:4-14.

Acts 11:27-29 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.

Acts 12:8-9 Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.

Acts 13:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 15:32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.

Acts 16:9-10 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Acts 18:9-10 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

Acts 19:5-7 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.

Acts 20:23 “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.

Acts 21:8-9 On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.

Rom 12:4-6 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;

1Cor 11:4-5 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.

1Cor 12:7-10 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

1Cor 12:28-29 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?

1Cor 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

1Cor 13:8-9 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

1Cor 14:1,3-6 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy…. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification. But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?

1Cor 14:22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.

1Cor 14:26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

1Cor 14:29-32 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

1Cor 14:37-39 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.

2Cor 12:1-2, 7 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I [Paul] will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a one was caught up to the third heaven…. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

Gal 1:12 For I [Paul] neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Eph 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,

Eph 2:19-20 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Eph 3:3-5 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:

Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

1Th 5:19-21 Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.

1Tim 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

1Tim 4:14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.

2Tim 3:1-2, 5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be… lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Do people today have faith that God is able to prophecy through people in their congregations?

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

Note: If there were no true prophets, there would be no need to “test the spirits”—because every prophet would be a “false prophet”. But because there are both true prophets and false prophets, we need to “test the spirits”.

Rev 1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

The last book of the Bible is a prophecy inspired by Christ, given to the apostle and prophet named John.

Rev 10:7 But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

There is no Old Testament prophecy about a “seventh angel” and very little about a “mystery of God”.

Rev 10:10-11 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

Here an angel is commanding John (or some end-time fulfillment of him) to prophesy. It does not say what he is to prophesy, but it will be given to the prophets when they need it. Similarly, there are two specific prophets, the “two witnesses”, prophesied to come in the future at the time of the end. Prophets are found throughout the history of the church.

Rev 11:3, 6, 10, 18 “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”… These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire…. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth…. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”

Rev 16:6 “For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.”

Rev 18:19-20 “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’ Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”

Rev 18:23-24 “The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”

Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Rev 22:7-10 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.

Rev 22:18-19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Where Are the Prophets today?

Many have said, “If God is still providing prophets to the church, where are they?” My church—even my whole denomination—does not recognize any.” Our national leaders do not recognize any either. That is “business as usual” when it comes to prophets. We must remember that God sends prophets to speak His messages and do His work, which often conflicts with the purposes of political and religious leaders. Political and religious groups tend to only allow teachers and preachers who are educated in their schools or approved by their management. Yes, God might choose to give one of them the gift of prophecy, but since most such groups and their schools do not seek out prophetic gifts, they rarely receive them. Notice these important passages:

Matt 23:37-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! “See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ “

Matt 21:24-27 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John — where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

If there was no prophet greater than John the Baptist (Matt 11:9-11) and if the leaders of his day refused to recognize him, what makes us think that the leaders of our day will recognize any true prophets today? This writer has met people whom he believes have the gift of prophecy, but they are often in small congregations or keep a “low profile” in larger ones. In most cases, they have said or done things in conflict with popular or leader’s opinions, so are not held in high esteem by the brethren.

As an example, throughout the New Testament, the leaders and most of the common people were looking for a Messiah who would establish a physical kingdom apart from the Roman power. Even after Christ’s death and resurrection, his own disciples where still asking about this (Acts 1:6-8). That was their prophetic interpretation. So of course, the teaching of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, which was from God, did not fit in with the doctrine of the day. And so today’s prophetic interpretations have detailed descriptions of “the rapture” or a “place of safety”, the “beast” and his “mark”, the “battle of Armageddon” “Christ’s return”, etc. God knows more than today’s prophetic interpreters. So when He speaks through prophets today, He will probably not always agree with popular prophetic interpretations.

While the Bible teaches us to listen to prophets in meetings of brethren (1Cor 14:29), the overwhelming teaching is not to seek out prophets to hear, but to “desire to prophecy”(1Cor 14:1, 24-25, 39; 12:31; 1Th 5:20; 1Ti 4:14). While there is no guarantee that anyone will receive any particular spiritual gifts, desiring them certainly means they are worth praying for. We can pray to receive the gift of prophecy. We should be willing to pray for it over a long period of time—just as we might pray for family members, a better job, a new home, etc. We should pray about using it for good, not for selfish reasons. We do not want people to say, “Look at him, he’s spiritual” or “Look at her, she’s a prophetess.” We should pray for strength to withstand the persecution the gift of prophecy usually brings on.

Sometimes, we may not feel that we are righteous enough to receive the gift of prophecy. Do not worry. Nobody is “righteous enough” to receive it. It is an undeserved gift from God! If we do have unrighteousness in our lives, we need to repent, seek forgiveness and overcome—whether we receive the gift of prophecy or not. It is not something that one has to “work up” or “get the right feeling to receive.” Whether it is a dream, a vision, a voice or an overwhelming feeling, most people know when God has clearly spoken to them. The prophets of the Bible were completely honest about what they saw or heard, and were very careful not to add to it, take away form it, or confuse their own interpretation and feelings with what God gave them. Sometimes, they had to be content not to understand it (Dan 12:8-9). One can always judge by making accurate records of revelations and then seeing if they come to pass as understood.

As the time of the end approaches, we need more prophets, not less. Local prophets can help each person and each group survive and be a powerful witness in the tribulations to come. The gift of prophecy is not vulnerable to electronic surveillance, network failures, police action, restrictive laws or religious censorship. It works in any language, custom or culture. It works no matter what other nations and churches do.

Matt 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Here is a link to this article in the Spanish language: La Voz del Pastor: La Iglesia de Dios necesita más profetas.

Norman Edwards runs the Port Austin Bible Campus and is editor for Shepherd’s Voice magazine. He is not part of the Continuing Church of God, where, I function its human leader (and am an ordained prophet; the only known such prophet in any legitimate Church of God group).

While Norman Edwards and I have long disagreed about aspects of church governance and various matters of doctrine (and I would have suggested a different title, etc. for his article), we both agree that many who are in or claim to be in the Church of God (COG) wrongly do not accept that God has any prophets today. We also agree that most have severe difficulty to identify one who really is a prophet because of various unscriptural biases and improper criteria that they have.

As Norman Edward’s article points out, it is scriptural to now have prophets according to the New Testament. But many who truly believe that they live by the word of God have discounted or overlooked what the Bible actually teaches and/or have been influenced by others who have done the same or worse. The COG has at least one demonstrably true prophet today, yet most in the greater COG world seem to be able to ignore the truth about that, like most ignored John the Baptist and others in their day.

An even more detailed article about prophets in the Church of God is How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God. That article not only has scriptures, it also has historical COG writings that should help people who will believe the truth to be able to see the truth.

In January 2013, I also gave a sermon titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God and it is available at the ContinuingCOG YouTube channel. Some may also find it of interest.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets, yet many overlook what the Bible teaches about how to recognize a true one. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? This article contains a scripture-based checklist to assist with this determination.
How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God This is a sermon on YouTube addressing a subject that most in the Church of God do not seem to have looked into very much. It discusses scriptures and dispels some improper assertions that some associated with the COG have made about prophets in this time.
Elijah: Past and Prophesied Information about the original Elijah and some information about the Elijah-related prophecies.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong?
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Who Are The Two Witnesses? What is their job? What does the Bible reveal? What has the Church of God taught on this subject? Might even Roman Catholic prophecies give some clues here?
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.

Six Questions and Answers from Genesis

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Answers_From_Genesis

COGwriter

Many people have questions about the Bible in general and the first several chapters of the Book of Genesis in particular.

The first six chapters of Genesis present a sum­mary of vital high points of approximately the first 1600-1700 years of mankind — from Adam’s creation to just before Noah’s Flood (details on calculations can be found in the article Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).

We in the Continuing Church of God have looked at various questions were taken from authentic letters emanating from Ambassador College sponsored programs and publications or received as emails by us. This particular set of questions and answer is an update strongly based upon those in the 1973 booklet (shown above) written by the late John Ross Schroeder, but with most answers partially updated by Dr. Bob Thiel in 2014. Biblical quotes are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

We addressed many of them before, and here are six more:

• “Where is the land of Nod?”

“And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden” (Genesis 4:16). Cain was exiled to the land of Nod as punishment for brutally murdering his younger brother, Abel.

It was located east of Eden. Eden was probably in the region of the Holy Land. So Nod was probably east of the region we now know as the Holy Land — the area where the twelve tribes of ancient Israel dwelled together. The Hebrew word for “Nod” means “wandering.” This was the land of Cain’s wandering. It is a general area — not a specific geographical location.

• “The Bible says that Enoch ‘was not, for God took him’ (Genesis 5:24), and that he was ‘translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him’ (Hebrews 11:5). What actually happened to Enoch? Where did he go? Where is he now?”

At this moment Enoch is dead and in his grave. We know this because it clearly states in Hebrews that Enoch died in faith, not having received the promises (Hebrews 11:5, 13). And Genesis 5:23 plainly states that all the days of Enoch were 365 years.

It is true that God dealt with Enoch in a unique manner. Enoch was one of those rare persons who realized the tremendous importance in living God’s way. From age 65 until his death, three hundred years later, Enoch “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22). And God is always particularly concerned for those who put Him first in their lives. You may also wish to read the free booklet titled Where are Enoch and Elijah? It explains more fully what happened to Enoch.

• “Genesis 6:4 seems to indicate that angels married women prior to Noah’s Flood. How could this possibly be true?”

The biblical record reveals that angels are created spirits (Hebrews 1:14). They are not mortal flesh like humans. Christ said in three places that angels do not marry.

Angels are created spirits and do not reproduce by sexual intercourse or any other means (Luke 20:34-36; Matt. 22:30; Mark 12:25).

With this understanding, read the first four verses of Genesis 6: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose … the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

Who were these “sons of God”? Obviously they were male human beings. Adam was a son of God by creation (Luke 3:38). And all of Adam’s male descendants are sons of God in that sense. Since these “sons of God” married women, they can­not be angels — notice the context of Genesis 6. “The Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man …” (verse 3). Here again the sons of God are called men. Because the sons of God sinned, God said: “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” (verse 7). Not one word about angels.

Notice that God said because of sin He would destroy man — not angels. Angels are spirits and could not be destroyed by water. With the outpouring of the deluge “all flesh died … and every man” (Genesis 7:21-23).

• “Some say there was no rain on the earth from the time of Adam to Noah. Is this what Genesis 2:5-6 means?”

Genesis — the first book of the Old Testament — answers basic questions about origins. Genesis means “beginning” or “origin.” The second chapter of Genesis fills in various details of the creation account that the first chapter leaves out. When both chapters are taken together, they complement and mutually amplify each other.

With this in mind, observe what Genesis 2:5-6 actually says: “No shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground; but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Jewish Publication Society translation).

Now consider these facts: (1) God causes rain — He set laws in motion to bring it about. There could be no rain if God had not set laws in motion to produce it. (2) Most important, Genesis 2:6 does not say that the mist descended upon the earth, as most assume. It says that a mist went UP FROM the earth! (3) Genesis 2:5-6 is speaking of a time prior to — not after — the third day of creation week.

Notice the proof.

The mist ascended from the earth before any shrubs or herbs appeared. Genesis 1:11-13 shows that the types of vegetation on earth today were not created until the third day. The mist that ascended before the third day was needed to prepare the soil for plant life on that day. The mist ascended according to the laws of evaporation, became clouds, descended as rain, and readied the land for vegetation.

Genesis 2:5-6 tells us who is the Originator or Maker of weather and climate. It tells us about the beginning of climate for the age of man. God is the Beginner or Originator of a climatic process set in motion on the third day of creation week. This process is still in effect today. It is common knowledge that clouds are formed by the condensation of water vapor and mist that has first gone up from the earth by evaporation. Under certain conditions water droplets form and return to the earth as rain or other types of precipitation. A mere mist without rain could not have sustained plant life over all the earth for the great length of time between Adam and Noah.

The Bible is clearly telling us about the beginning of weather patterns to water the soon-to-be-created plant life. The little word “yet” is clearly implied in the latter portion of Genesis 2:5: “. . . for the Lord God had not [that is, not YET] caused it to rain upon the earth…. ”

Afterward it did rain when the evaporation-condensation-precipitation cycle was begun by a gracious God who takes care of His creation and sustains it.

• “Did God intend man to eat meat before the Flood (Genesis 9:3)?”

The Bible shows that Abel offered a sacrifice of his flock before the Flood (Genesis 4:4). His occupation was keeping sheep (verse 2). Wouldn’t it be a bit odd for a man to keep a large flock of animals just to offer an occasional sacrifice? The obvious indication is that he and others ate of the flocks.

The laws of clean and unclean animals were well known before the Flood. God told Noah to take seven pairs of each kind of clean animal and one pair of each unclean animal into the ark (Genesis 7:2). There is no record that God explained to Noah which animals were clean and which were unclean. This must have been common knowledge among those who followed God’s way of life. Such knowledge was then important only if mankind was actually eating meat.

The fossil record of the pre-Flood world indicates that man ate all types of meat before the Flood. It is most likely that Genesis 9:3 is simply a reaffirmation from God to man that animal life would still be available for food — even though many animals had now been given a wild nature (see Genesis 9:2). They now had a fear of man which they did not have before the Flood. This made it more difficult (but not impossible) for man to hunt them for food. Neither did God go to the trouble of telling Noah about the differences between the clean and unclean when He commanded him, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you.” Noah already knew the distinction.

If you wish to learn more about biblically clean and unclean meats, read our free article: The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats.

• “I’ve asked several people if they knew who wrote the book of Genesis and no one can give me an answer. Can you help?”

Pick up any authorized King James Version of the Bible. Open it to the book of Genesis. The title the translators chose was “The first book of Moses called Genesis.”

Jesus said, in a conversation with certain religious leaders of His day, “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:45-47). Here is Jesus’ own personal testimony that Moses wrote Scripture.

But what part?

Jesus gave the division of the Old Testament in Luke 24:44: “… All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms [a representative book of the writings].”

That being said, at least one other added a little bit in the Book of Deuteronomy that Moses primarily wrote, as it documents Moses’ death (Deuteronomy 38:5-12) . But there is no scriptural reason to believe that Moses was not the one who originally penned the Book of Genesis.

Some additional questions and answers are found in the article: Questions and Answers from Genesis.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Questions and Answers from Genesis Many wonder about certain early events that this article discusses.
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?
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 are Enoch and Elijah? Booklet by the late Dr. Herman Hoeh.
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?
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?

BibleNewsProphecy: Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy

Monday, January 5th, 2015

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce a video about concerns about eating on our YouTube channel called Bible New Prophecy.

Are there disadvantages to being overweight? Is junk food really bad for you? Does the Bible discuss overeating and/or obesity? Is overeating having an effect on the US military? What are the ramifications of personal and national health for overeating? What should you eat?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Obesity, processed foods, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned?
Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy This is a video. Are there disadvantages to being overweight? Is junk food really bad for you? Does the Bible discuss overeating and/or obesity? Is overeating having an effect on the US military? What are the ramifications of personal and national health for overeating? What should you eat?
GMOs and Bible Prophecy What are GMOs? Since they were not in the food supply until 1994, how could they possibly relate to Bible prophecy? Do GMOs put the USA and others at risk? Here is a related YouTube video GMO Risks and the Bible.
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Does God Heal Today? What does the Bible teach? Herbert Armstrong tries to explain this.
UK Study Supports Daniel Diet Daniel and his companions looked better eating more vegetables and avoiding strange meats. Has modern science confirmed this?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?

Sermon: The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015


Reuben Was in Palestine Until Deportation

COGwriter

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

There are ten tribes of Israel that many consider to be lost. In this sermon, videoed in France, Dr. Thiel discusses the “lost tribe” of Reuben and scriptures related to Reuben and ties the migration of some of the Gauls and Sycthians in France to the descendants of Reuben. Source from the Bible to Josephus to Dibar Apartian to Yair Davidiy are cited as well as other observations and information.

This is the first part of a series. Here is a link to the second part of the sermon: France and Prophecy.

A written article of related interest is titled: The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy?

Here is a link to the video sermon: The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy? What is the origin of this in France? What is prophesied to happen to them? A two-part sermon related to history and prophecy is available online: The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben and France and Prophecy.
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There is also a related YouTube video you can watch titled Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated.
Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? Some claim that these passages refer to a gathering of 10 currently existing nations together, while one group teaches that this is referring to 11 nations getting together. Is that what Revelation 17:12-13 refers to? The ramifications of misunderstanding this are enormous. A related sermon is titled Ten Kings of Revelation and the Great Tribulation.
Ten clues tying Belgium and Luxembourg with the tribe of Asher Who did some in Belgium and Luxembourg descend from?
Ten clues tying Zebulun with the Dutch Who did some in the Netherlands descend from?
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
European Technology and the Beast of Revelation Will the coming European Beast power would use and develop technology that will result in the taking over of the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies? Is this possible? What does the Bible teach? Here is a related YouTube video: Military Technology and the Beast of Revelation.
Might German Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg become the King of the North? Is the former German Defense Minister (who is also the former German Minister for Economics and Technology) one to watch? What do Catholic, Byzantine, and biblical prophecies suggest?
Germany’s Assyrian Roots Throughout History Are the Germanic peoples descended from Asshur of the Bible? Have there been real Christians in Germanic history? What about the “Holy Roman Empire”? There is also a You-Tube video sermon on this titled Germany’s Biblical Origins.
Germany in Biblical and Catholic Prophecy Does Assyria in the Bible equate to an end time power inhabiting the area of the old Roman Empire? What does prophecy say Germany will do and what does it say will happen to most of the German people?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European? The Book of Revelation tells of a beast power that will rise up. Some think that this must be Russia or could be Islamic, while others say that this power is European. The Book of Daniel tells of the rise of an end time King of the North that some think must be referring to a Russian leader, while others say that this power is European. How can you be sure? This YouTube video has all the scriptural proofs that you should need to prove that this power must be a European one.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?
WTO/TTIP and the Babylonian Beast Will international trade agreements like WTO/TTIP/CETA lead to the fulfillment of end time prophecies concerning the Babylonian Beast power that the Book of Revelation warns against? What does the Bible teach? A related video would be WTO Trade Deal and the Rise of the European Beast Power.
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?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos This is the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in Tagalog, the primary language of the Philippines.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Seventh-day Adventist on Sunday laws

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Sunday Church Naxos Greece

Sunday Church, Naxos Greece

COGwriter

The late Seventh-day Adventist scholar Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi had the following in one of his newsletters:

SUNDAY LAWS PROPOSED BY THE EUROPEAN EPISCOPAL COMMISSION

Many years Adventists have been wondering what could triggers thepromulgation of international Sunday laws. In my past readings I found references to social, ecological, economic, and energy considerations as possible reasons for introducing Sunday Laws.

I came as surprise for me to learn this past week that the impetus for Sunday laws may come from the current financial crisis that affects many nations today. The European Episcopal Commission, known as COMECE, consisting of 24 bishops, each representing a western country, met in Brussels, the headquarter of the European Parliament from November 12-14, 2008.

The Bishops agreed that “the financial crisis has exposed a deeper spiritual crisis and a misguided set of values. The sense and value of human work has been pushed to the background in the general struggle for profit.”“In their exchange of views with the State Secretary for European Affairs, the Church representatives expressed their wish to see the Sunday rest day being better protected in national legislations as well as in the future EU Working Time Directive which is currently being revised.” http://www.comece.org/comece.taf?_function=news_new&_sub=&id=2&language=en

“The Bishops called for respect for Sunday rest as one of the foundations of the European social model and as a way of balancing work and family life. In recent years, Sunday as a weekly rest day has been threatened by legislation in many Member States thanks to liberal and consumerist-driven political concepts. In the context of the present economic crisis, Bishops call on the Members of the European Parliament to assume their responsibilities and include the protection of Sunday in the Working Time Directive that will be submitted to the European Parliament’s vote by the middle of December.” (http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk/ccb/catholic_church/media_centre2/press_releases/press_releases_2008/the_financial_crisis_is_a_test_for_the_values_of_european_society).

What this means is that at their next meeting scheduled by December 15, the European Parliament will discuss the European Bishops’ request to pass a legislation “for the protection of Sunday.” This is a startling new development in Western Europe where Sunday has become a secular day.

There are signs that such legislation could draw support in the USA. In an article entitled “ Barack Obama and Joe Biden: The Change We Need,” Michael Pearce’s Blog writes: “There have been a lot of changes in the past 100 years.Not only have we seen gang activity increase along with crimes, but so has energy consumption.The other change I realized was the rescinding of the ‘Sunday Laws’ across the United States.”

The article continues listing a host of benefits provided by Sunday Laws. The conclusion of the article is: “So perhaps we should consider enacting a Sunday Law.Not to restrict people from working, but to give liberty to those who can’t choose.And imagine the tax dollars that would be saved?” (http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/Tritium/gG5ngR).

It will be interesting to see if the European Parliament will pass a legislation “for the protection of Sunday,” and the possible repercussions of such legislation in other countries, including the USA.

While the SDAs have a lot of prophetic misunderstandings (SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666), they are correct that Europe will adopt Sunday (I do not believe that the USA will seriously adopt Sunday until militarily forced to).

Sunday was essentially adopted by Greco-Roman supporters who had contact with Mithraism (see Sunday and Christianity and Do You Practice Mithraism?) who seem to decide that they would be subject to less Imperial persecution if they adopted the more acceptable (to the Romans, not God) Sunday as opposed to Saturday.

The ideas of Sunday laws are not new. The first Sunday law was enacted by Emperor Constantine in the early 4th century.

Constantine decreed circa March 7, 321:

Let all judges, the people of cities, and those employed in all trades, remain quiet on the Holy Day of Sunday. (Code of Justinian, Book III, Title XII, III. THE JUSTINIAN CODE FROM THE CORPUS JURIS CIVILIS. Translated from the original Latin by Samuel P. Scott. Central Trust Company, Cincinnati, 1932).

Shortly after the above decree, Eusebius recorded this about Constantine:

Accordingly he enjoined on all the subjects of the Roman empire to observe the Lord’s day, as a day of rest (Eusebius. Life of Constantine, Book IV, Chapter 18).

Notice that “the Lord’s day” became enjoined by a decree of a Roman Empire. Also notice the following:

There is a large body of civil legislation on the Sunday rest side by side with the ecclesiastical. It begins with an Edict of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, who forbade judges to sit and townspeople to work on Sunday (Slater T. Transcribed by Scott Anthony Hibbs. Sunday. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).

Perhaps it should be mentioned that Pope Francis has indicated a desire for more Sunday laws in the 21st century (see Pope Francis pushes for no work on Sunday–a prelude to a new Sunday law? What about Saturday?).

Notice the following related to Constantine and Sunday written by one who observes Sunday:

So prominent had Christians and their day become that when the Emperor Constantine proclaimed Sun Day as the weekly holy day for all Romans, some Christians believed that it was for their sake. More likely Constantine, like many Roman aristocrats of the time, was simply trying to find common ground for his mixed pagan and Christian subjects, especially his soldiers. Unity was for the good of the state and the emperors’ power (Harline C. Sunday: A History of the First Day from Babylonia to the Super Bowl. Doubleday, NY, 2007, p. 17).

However, after a time, Constantine did clearly begin to provide more favor the Roman version of Christianity which (like the pagans, but unlike the Church of God) endorsed Sunday. He, the sun-worshiping emperor, then called for the famous Council of Nicea, which took place in 325 A.D. This council decided that Sunday was to be the day of worship and that Passover was to be observed on Sunday (and that eventually became what is known as Easter). After that council, those in the Church of God who kept the Sabbath were considered to be heretics and outcasts and had to flee in the wilderness.

The Emperor authorized persecution. Around 332, Constantine issued what is known as the Edict Against the Heretics,

Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to the heretics. “Understand now, by this present statute, ye Novatians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Paulians, ye who are called Cataphrygians, and all ye who devise and support heresies by means of your private assemblies, with what a tissue of falsehood and vanity, with what destructive and venomous errors, your doctrines are inseparably interwoven; so that through you the healthy soul is stricken with disease, and the living becomes the prey of everlasting death. Ye haters and enemies of truth and life, in league with destruction! All your counsels are opposed to the truth, but familiar with deeds of baseness; full of absurdities and fictions: and by these ye frame falsehoods, oppress the innocent, and withhold the light from them that believe. Ever trespassing under the mask of godliness, ye fill all things with defilement: ye pierce the pure and guileless conscience with deadly wounds, while ye withdraw, one may almost say, the very light of day from the eyes of men. But why should I particularize, when to speak of your criminality as it deserves demands more time and leisure than I can give? For so long and unmeasured is the catalogue of your offenses, so hateful and altogether atrocious are they, that a single day would not suffice to recount them all. And, indeed, it is well to turn one’s ears and eyes from such a subject, lest by a description of each particular evil, the pure sincerity and freshness of one’s own faith be impaired. Why then do I still bear with such abounding evil; especially since this protracted clemency is the cause that some who were sound are become tainted with this pestilent disease? Why not at once strike, as it were, at the root of so great a mischief by a public manifestation of displeasure?” (Chapter LXIV.—Constantine’s Edict against the Heretics. This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College).

Originally,

As with the Jewish Sabbath, the observance of the Christian Sunday began with sundown on Saturday and lasted till the same time on Sunday (Slater T. Transcribed by Scott Anthony Hibbs Sunday. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).

But this changed for most who observed Sunday, to a midnight to midnight observance.

Many Protestant groups seem to wish to support the agenda of Rome when it comes to Sunday. Perhaps they should consider what this will really lead to.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? How clearly endorsed Sunday?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
How to Observe the Sabbath? How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
The Mark of Antichrist What is the mark of Antichrist? What have various ones claimed? Here is a link to a related sermon What is the ‘Mark of Antichrist’?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Continuing Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The Continuing Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White.
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?

Jan-Mar 2015 BNP out: Will the Great Tribulation begin in 2015?

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

BNP Cover JAN-MAR 2015

COGwriter

The January-March edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine is now available.

Here is a pdf link to the January-March 2015 edition of Bible News Prophecy magazine.

Contents:

3 Will the Great Tribulation Begin in 2015? Many in the professing Christian world are clinging to wrong prophetic ideas and misconceptions. What does the Bible teach? What is the required sequence?

8 Internet & Radio Mobile App The Continuing Church of God now has its own Internet radio presence.

9 25 Faulty Laodicean and Fringe Views on Prophecy There are many prophetic misunderstandings that some who claim to be Church of God have held to. Those who continue to hold many of them will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin nor when it is time to flee.

13 Study the Bible Course Test 1: This is a test related to the first four lessons of this course to help people study and better understand the Bible.

22 Do You Like to be Corrected? Be honest with yourself! Do you actually like to be corrected?

25 The Passover Plots What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover?

Here is a pdf link to the January-March 2015 edition of Bible News Prophecy magazine.

Here is a link to a relatively short video: Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2015?

Other items of related interest may include:

When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2015, 2016, or 2017? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2014 o 2015? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.  Here is a link to the video: Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2015?
Project Prophecy: Economic Collapse Starting in 2015? Jim Rickards once worked for the CIA and also was once part of a a USA government program called called ‘Project Prophecy.’ He has a video were he claims that starting in 2015, the USA may have economic collapse resulting in a 25-Year Great Depression. He mainly cites debt figures and claims advises alternatives to the USA dollar which he says will collapse? What did Rand Paul state? Can the USA dollar collapse?  See also ‘Project Prophecy’ 25 Year Depression
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? Can humans bring peace to the Middle East? Here is a link to a related video: Middle East Peace? When?
Blood Moons and Prophecy There are four ‘blood moons’ expected in 2014 and 2015. Do they signal the Day of the Lord or the return of Jesus Christ? A related YouTube video is also available: Blood Moons, Prophecy, 2014, and 2015.