Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Job and the Ten Commandments

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016


Hebrew Scroll of the Book of Job (Pete Unseth)

COGwriter

Job is recognized by various faiths in the month of May, and on differing days.

Job is commemorated by the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod in their Calendar of Saints on May 9, by the Roman Catholic Church on May 10, and by the Eastern Orthodox Church on May 6. He is also commemorated by the “Armenian Apostolic Church” on May 6 and December 26, and by the Coptic Orthodox Church on April 27 and August 29.

While the Church of God does not commemorate a specific date, we in the Continuing Church of God recognized Job as one God worked with (e.g. Job 38-42) and blessed (Job 42:12) in the Old Testament. Job is also mentioned in the New Testament:

11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord — that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. (James 5:11, NKJV throughout unless as otherwise noted).

Many scholars teach that Job was likely to have been alive around the time of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), thus the subjects in the Book of Job were all known prior to Mount Sinai. Biblical evidence includes the facts that both Job and Abraham’s wealth are listed in livestock (Job 1:3;42:12; Gen 12:16;13:2;30:43;32:5), the Chaldeans are portrayed as raiders (Job 1:17; as a people, they were not raiders later), the particular Hebrew word for ‘piece of silver’ in Job 42:11 is only used otherwise in conjunction with Jacob (Gen 33:19; Josh 24:32), and Job’s age (Job 42:16) appears to be consistent with the patriarchs.

Job knew about God before the Book of Genesis was written, as he said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5).

Here are some Jewish views on when Job may have lived:

According to Bar Ḳappara, Job lived in the time of Abraham; according to Abba b. Kahana, in the time of Jacob, he having married Dinah, Jacob’s daughter (ib.; B. B. 15b; comp. additions in Targ. Yer. to Job ii. 9). R. Levi said that Job lived in the time of Jacob’s sons; and he also said, in the name of Jose b. Ḥalafta, that Job was born when Jacob and his children entered Egypt and that he died when the Israelites left that country. Job consequently lived 210 years (comp. Rashi on Ex. xii. 40). When Satan came to accuse the Israelites of being idolaters, God set him against Job, whence Job’s misfortunes (Gen. R. l.c.). This opinion is supported by the statement that Job with Jethro and Balaam was consulted by Pharaoh as to the means of reducing the number of the children of Israel and that Job was stricken with calamity because he had remained silent (Sanh. 106a; Soá¹­ah 11a). It may be mentioned that this legend is narrated differently in the “Sefer ha-Yashar” (section “Shemot,” p. 110a, ed. Leghorn, 1870) as follows: At first Job, who was one of Pharaoh’s eunuchs and counselors, advised Pharaoh to have every male child murdered (Ex. i. 16). Afterward Pharaoh, having had a dream which prognosticated the birth of a helper, again consulted Job. The latter answered evasively: “Let the king do as he pleases” (“Sefer ha-Yashar,” l.c. p. 111a). Levi b. Laḥma also held that Job lived in the time of Moses, by whom the Book of Job was written. Some of the rabbis even declare that the one servant of Pharaoh who feared the word of God (Ex. ix. 20) was Job (Ex. R. xii. 3). Raba, specifying the time more accurately, said Job lived in the time of the spies who were sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan (B. B. 15a). According to these rabbis, Job was a Gentile—an opinion which is elsewhere expressed more fully, in that Job is said to have been a pious Gentile or one of the prophets of the Gentiles (ib. 15b; Seder ‘Olam R. xxi.). Other tannaim place Job variously in the reign of Saba, in that of the Chaldees, and in that of Ahasuerus. R. Johanan and R. Eleazar both declared that Job was one of those who returned from the Captivity and that his bet ha-midrash was at Tiberias (Yer. Soá¹­ah v. 8; B. B. l.c.; Gen. R. l.c.). It is said in B. B. (ib.) that these tannaim necessarily considered Job an Israelite; but R. Hananeel (ad loc.) has in his text, “All the Tannaim and Amoraim, with the exception of the one who placed Job in the time of Jacob, were of opinion that Job was an Israelite” (comp. also Gen. R. l.c.). (Job. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8692-job accessed 05/06/15)

A few have indicated that Job could have been the first written book of the Bible, though many point to a later time of writing. Even if it were not written down prior to Mount Sinai, the narrative appears to be before the children of Israel entered the land of Egypt during the time of Joseph.

Many who teach that Christians do not need to obey the ten commandments also teach that the ten commandments were not in effect prior to Mount Sinai (Ex 20). The truth is that all of the ten commandments are listed in the Bible prior to Mount Sinai (please see the article Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai?).

Although the Book of Job does not specifically quote any of the ten commandments, it does appear to allude to each one of them. This suggests that the ten commandments were not only known before Mount Sinai, but that they were possibly known outside of the descendants of Israel.

Commandment 1:

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:2-3)

The Book of Job states:

21 Blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21).

28 And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding’ (Job 28:28).

28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgement, For I would have denied God who is above (Job 31:28).

1 The Job answered the LORD and said: 2 ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You’ (Job 42:1-2).

What is interesting about Job 28:28 is that Job said that this is what God said to man and there is no record of this being said in Genesis (which is the primary biblical book with information prior to the story of Job), thus this verse proves that God spoke to humankind prior to Moses in at least one way that was not recorded in Genesis. Thus this refutes the argument that none prior to Mount Sinai could have known what the commandments were! If there were no commandments in effect, how could denying God be an iniquity deserving of judgement?

Commandment 2:

4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)

The Book of Job states:

27 If I have observed the sun when it shines, or the moon moving in its brightness, so that my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand; 28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgement, For I would have denied God who is above (Job 31:27-28).

The observing of the sun and moon, whereby one is enticed, as well kissing one’s own hand, are believed by most commentators to have been practices associated with idolatry.

Commandment 3:

7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

The Book of Job states:

5 It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts (Job 1:5).

21 Blessed be the name of the LORD (Job 1:21).

9 Curse God and die! (Job 2:9).

10 In all this, Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10).

The third commandment is clearly shown in Job to have been understood. It is clear that before Mount Sinai one could ‘sin with his lips,’ and that ‘sin’ was known to exist then (after Mount Sinai, God did tell the Israelites that the people who used to live in the land sinned by violating this command, Leviticus 18:21,27).

Commandment 4:

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)

The Book of Job states:

13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great (Job 2:13).

1 Is there not a time of hard service for man on the earth (Job 7:1).

5 That the triumping of the wicked is short…20 Because he knows no quietness in his heart (Job 20:5,20).

21 Now aquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace (Job 22:21).

4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? (Job 38:4).

Job 2:13 supports the concept that the week was being observed prior to Mount Sinai. It is consistent with the two accounts in Genesis that a week was used as a period of rejoicing (Gen 29:22,27-28) and grieving (Genesis 50:10).

Job 7:1 supports the concept of “six days shall you labor” (Exodus 20:8) which is part of the fourth commandment. Job 20:20 supports the concept found in Hebrews 4:3-6 that those do who disobey “shall not enter My rest.” Whereas Job 22:21 supports the related concept that “we who believed do enter that rest…There remains therefore a rest (Greek sabbitismos, ‘a sabbath observance’) for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:3,9).

In Job 38:4, God says He ‘laid the foundations of the earth’ which is similar to the concept in Exodus 20:11 ‘For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them’. Thus in Job we see the nearly all the concepts of the fourth commandment.

Commandment 5:

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

The Book of Job states:

21 His sons come to honor (Job 14:21).

5 He who speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children will fail (Job 17:5).

8 But the mighty man possessed the land, and the honorable man dwelt in it (Job 22:8).

These verses support the concept that one is to be honorable, children are to honor their father, and that the children are to become honorable, whereas the fifth commandment says to give honor (Exodus 20:12) which implies that parents are to be honorable.

Commandment 6:

13 “You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13)

The Book of Job states:

14 The murderer rises with the light; He kills the poor and needy; And in the night he’s like a thief (Job 24:14).

39 If I have eaten its fruit without money, or caused its owners to lose their lives; 40 Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley (Job 31:39-40).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions considered murder to be wrong. Job 24:14 is similar to a teaching by Jesus tieing in murder and thievery together:

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

Notice that Job knew of this connection thousands of years before Jesus stated it as recorded by John.

Commandment 7:

14 “You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)

The Book of Job states:

15 The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, ‘No eye will see me’; and he disguises his face (Job 24:15).

1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman? (Job 31:1).

9 “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door, 10 Then let my wife grind for another, And let others bow down over her. 11 For that would be wickedness; Yes, it would be iniquity deserving of judgment. 12 For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, And would root out all my increase. (Job 31:9-12).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions knew adultery was prohibited and an ‘iniquity deserving of judgement.’

Commandment 8:

15 “You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15)

The Book of Job states:

5 Is not your wickedness great, and your iniquity without end? 6 For you have taken pledges from your brother for no reason, and stripped the naked of their clothing (Job 22:5-6).

14 And in the night he’s like a thief (Job 24:14).

39 If I have eaten its fruit without money, or caused its owners to lose their lives; 40 Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, and weeds instead of barley (Job 31:39-40).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions considered stealing to be wrong.

Commandment 9:

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

The Book of Job states:

28 I would never lie to your face (Job 6:28).

35 They conceive trouble and bring forth futility; Their womb prepares deceit (Job 15:35).

25 Now if it is not so, who will prove me a liar and make my speech worth nothing? (Job 24:25).

4 My lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit (Job 27:4).

6 Should I lie concerning my right? (Job 34:6).

4 For truly my words are not false (Job 36:4).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions considered ‘bearing false witness’ to be wrong.

Commandment 10:

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17)

The Book of Job states:

2 And envy slays a simple one (Job 5:2).

12 Why does your heart carry you away, and what do your eyes wink at, that you turn your spirit against God, and let such words go out of your mouth? (Job 15:12-13).

1 They conceive trouble and bring forth futility (Job 15:35).

1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman? (Job 31:1).

9 “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door, 10 Then let my wife grind for another, And let others bow down over her. 11 For that would be wickedness; Yes, it would be iniquity deserving of judgment. 12 For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, And would root out all my increase. (Job 31:9-12).

These scriptures clearly support the concept that Job and his companions considered covetousness (or evil desire) to be wrong. Since Paul wrote, “I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ ” (Rom 7:7), it is clear that the law against covetousness must have been in effect prior to Mount Sinai.

“Sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4) or as it says in the AV “sin is the trangression of the law.” The terms sin (9), sinned (6), and sins (1) are used 16 times in the the Book of Job (NKJV).

How could there be sin if there was no law, since according to an interesting scripture by the Apostle Paul, “sin is not imputed when there is no law?” (Romans 5:13).

In the Book of Job, Elihu said:

5 Behold God is mighty…10 He also opens their ear to instruction, and commands that they turn from iniquity. 11 If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures. 12 But of they do not obey, they shall perish by the sword and they shall die [as one] without knowledge (Job 36:5,10-12).

If people in Job’s day were not supposed to know about God’s law, how could they obey Him? If those who disobey will perish like those that have no knowledge of God and His ways, then they must have had knowledge of God and His laws.

There is another interesting passage from the Apostle Paul to consider:

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

What is so interesting about that?

Well, Paul said it was only because there was an existing law against coveting that he understood that he was not to covet.

But, Job knew, prior to Mount Sinai that he was not to covet. Job specifically knew it was wrong to covet his neighbor’s wife.

The Book of Job demonstrates that God has revealed information that is not specifically listed in the Book of Genesis (Job 28:28;36:12;42:5). This is also consistent with the following concerning what God said to Isaac related to his father Abraham:

4 And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. (Genesis 26:4-5)

The Book of Job demonstrates that sin and God’s Ten Commandment law were known prior to Mount Sinai.

While some may try to reason around what the Book of Job teaches, it is a fact that early Christians did believe that they needed to keep the Ten Commandments (for detailed proof, see The Ten Commandments and the Early Church). And real Christians believe that today.

Some items of possible interest may include:

Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai? Some have said not. This article provides biblical quotes to answer this important question. A sermon of related interest is titled Were the Ten Commandments in Place prior to Mt. Sinai?
Job and the Ten Commandments Was Job written prior to Mount Sinai? Did Job know about the ten commandments? This article provides biblical answers to those questions.
What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments? This article quotes what Jesus actually said about them (His words are in red).
Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? Some have said so. This article provides some biblical quotes to answer this important question.
What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments? Many say Paul taught against the ten commandments. Is this true? This article quotes Paul with his words in green.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well. Here is a version in the Spanish language:.¿Están vigentes todavía los diez mandamientos?
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
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. A related sermon is titled: Christians and the Ten Commandments.
When was the Exodus? Did it Happen? Some deny the biblical account of the Exodus. Was Ramses II the pharaoh then? When did the Exodus occur? Is there proof outside of the Bible that there was an Exodus? Here is a related article in the Spanish language: ¿Cuándo fue el Éxodo? ¿Ocurrió realmente?
Reasons, Proofs, and Ramifications of the Ten Plagues of Exodus What do you know about these plagues? Is there any confirmation outside the Bible? Might something worse be coming? A related two-part sermon is available: Egypt and the Plagues (Part 1) and Exodus Plagues and Prophecy (Part 2).
Exodus and the Days of Unleavened Bread This article discusses parts of the Book of Exodus with some connections to the Days of Unleavened Bread. A related sermon is available and is titled: Unleavened Bread: Lessons in Exodus.
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?

Sermonette: Overcome

Sunday, May 8th, 2016


COGwriter

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


10:25

Overcome

John Hickey, from New Zealand, admonishes Christians to overcome.

Here is a link to the video sermonette: Overcome.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? If you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?
Elementary Doctrines of the Church: Hebrews 6 Seven doctrines are mentioned and discussed. A related sermon is also available titled: Basic Doctrines of Hebrew 6.
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?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Ten Commandments out, homosexual statue in, Alabama’s top justice again suspended

Saturday, May 7th, 2016


Depiction of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

COGwriter

Alabama’s Ray Moore has again been suspended for attempting to stand for aspects on biblical morality:

May 7, 2016

Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama state Supreme Court, was suspended for his efforts to block same-sex marriage, counter to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015.

A state judicial oversight commission filed ethics charges against Moore Friday, saying the controversial judge abused the power of his office. The accusations could lead to his removal from office.

The charges stem from an administrative order Moore issued early this year to probate judges, telling them to follow Alabama law banning same-sex marriage. This came after a federal judge ordered the state’s probate judges not to enforce the ban.

Late Friday, Moore issued a statement saying he does not believe the oversight commission has the authority to take such actions against him.

In 2003, Moore was ousted from his position as chief justice by the same body for disobeying a federal order to remove a huge monument of the Bible’s Ten Commandments he had placed on the grounds of the judicial building.

Alabama voters elected Moore to the same office nine years later. http://www.voanews.com/content/alabama-chief-justice-suspended-over-gay-marriage-stance/3319596.html

Biblically, there are no such things as ‘same-sex marriages.’

Here is something I wrote about Judge Moore’s efforts against the homosexual agenda earlier this year:

Judge Roy Moore should be commended for taking a morally proper stand.  Although in this age, he will likely eventually lose on this issue, biblically he is on the right side of history.  God does not sanction homosexual unions and neither should any human. (Thiel B. Alabama’s Chief Justice stops non-biblical marriages. January 6, 2016).

In the past, Judge Moore defended public displaying of the Ten Commandments. And he was also chastised for that.

Instead of allowing certain public displays of the Ten Commandments, the USA has decided to fund a homosexual statue. Here are two views about that:

May 6, 2016

Bravo to the president for considering making Christopher Park, opposite the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, a national monument honoring the gay rights movement.

The park as it now exists has been, de facto, such a place since 1992, when George Segal’s “Gay Liberation” — white lacquered bronze sculptures of two standing men and two seated women — was installed. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/opinion/a-gay-rights-monument.html

May 6, 2016

Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of the international aid organization, Samaritan’s Purse, took to Facebook Friday to issue a strong condemnation against President Obama’s plans to declare a national monument in New York City in recognition of the “gay”-rights struggle.

“A monument to sin? That’s unbelievable,” Graham wrote, of the Obama administration’s announced plans to declare the nation’s first “gay”-rights monument at a Greenwich Village spot loosely known as the birthplace of the LGBT liberation movement …

Graham slammed the plan, calling it a smack in the face of others who were much more worthy of the recognition.

“War heroes deserve a monument,” he wrote. “Our nation’s Founding Fathers deserve a monument, people who helped to make America strong deserve a monument – but a monument to sin?” …

“It’s no surprise that the three officials who represent the area and support the monument are all openly gay,” Graham wrote. “I can’t believe how far our country has digressed. I hope that the president will reconsider. Flaunting sin is a dangerous move. God’s Word tells us, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.’”  http://www.wnd.com/2016/05/franklin-graham-blasts-obamas-monument-to-sin/#gr80GRt4gvfOIRcT.99

So the USA is opposed to the Ten Commandments, but instead wants to fund a monument to sin.

Contrary to the views of certain advocates, homosexual acts are clearly prohibited in the Bible:

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

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

Much associated with the homosexual agenda is an abomination to God (watch also Transgender ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ and What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?).

Homosexuality (gay and lesbian) and effeminism (transgenderism) are condemned in the New Testament:

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, KJV)

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

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

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

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

Notice that the Bible condemns not only gay, bisexual, and lesbian relations, but those who approve of them.

Notice also:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

The reality is that the Ten Commandments reflect love, and breaking them is evil.

Yet despite biblical warnings, many modern leaders, are pushing so-called homosexual “rights” and “same-sex marriage.” That includes people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And there are people like Donald Trump who, while not pushing it as hard, seemingly are fine with it. Gregory T. Angelo, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans (a pro-LGBT organization), described Trump as “one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency.”

The Bible, however, warns about such leaders:

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

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

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

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

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

And why did it happen?

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

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

Why mention this in the 21st century?

Because God turned:

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

The USA is heading towards destruction. Can you see the ‘handwriting on the wall’?

Notice also the following:

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

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

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

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

So the Bible shows that Sodom was destroyed for many things including its pride and the committing of abominations. Homosexuality is an abomination and a sin.  It is NOT something to be publicly promoted and honored!

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

The Bible teaches:

1 Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

Religious and government leaders should not teach against biblical standards of morality.

It is sad that Chief Justice Moore once again is having difficulties for standing against some of the errors that various leaders in the USA are promoting.

Various ones can pretend that promoting “homosexual rights” is acceptable, but the Bible teaches otherwise. This will not end well for the USA.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Can homosexuals change? A related video sermon is titled What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There are also two YouTube videos related to this, titled Transgender ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ and Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children.
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
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. A related sermon is titled: Christians and the Ten Commandments.
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Reasons why Barack Obama is apocalyptic and reasons why Barack Obama is not the Antichrist. This article includes many biblical and non-biblical prophecies, from around the world, that seem to discuss Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist?  Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests?  Read it and decide for yourself if President Obama seems to be fulfilling various prophecies. Watch also the YouTube Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Donald Trump in Prophecy Prophecy, Donald Trump? Are there prophecies that Donald Trump may fulfill?  Are there any prophecies that he has already helped fulfill?  Could a Donald Trump presidency be apocalyptic?  A related video is titled Could Donald Trump be Apocalyptic?
Hillary Clinton in Prophecy  Prophecy, Hillary Clinton? Are there prophecies that Hillary Clinton may fulfill?  Are there any prophecies that she has already helped fulfill?  Could Hillary Clinton be apocalyptic?  Could Hillary Clinton be the final Antichrist? A video of related interest is titled Hillary Clinton and Bible Prophecy.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
Love, Marriage, and Sex It is important to get them in the right order.
God Created Marriage Some falsely claim that God did not create marriage and that fornication is fine. What does the Bible really teach? Here is a version in Mandarin Chinese 神创造婚姻.
Making Your Marriage Work Marriage is not always easy, but it pictures a divine relationship. How can you make your marriage work? Here is a link to the video sermon: You Can Make YOUR Marriage Work.
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
British and American Moral Decay Public nudity is becoming more prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon lands. What are some of the consequences?
Can those in the USA/UK see the Handwriting on the Wall? Is everything fine in the USA/UK or is it like the days of Noah? Can we learn from the handwriting that appeared on a wall thousands of years ago? Here is a link to a related YouTube video Can you see the ‘Handwriting on the Wall’?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2016, 2017, or 2018? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives. A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation Start in 2016?

Sermon: Bearing Fruit Worthy of Repentance

Saturday, April 30th, 2016


COGwriter

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

Steve Dupuie discusses the role of Christians bearing fruit worthy of repentance.  What are good fruits and what are bad fruits?  He discusses ways to increase producing good fruit as well as ways to decrease producing bad fruit and why it’s important.
Here is a link to the sermon: Bearing Fruit Worthy of Repentance.

Some items of related interest may include:

Elementary Doctrines of the Church: Hebrews 6 Seven doctrines are mentioned and discussed. A related sermon is also available titled: Basic Doctrines of Hebrew 6.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Faith for those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.
Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church Was it by immersion? Did it include infants? Does Polycarp prove infant baptism? Here is a link to some information in the Spanish language: Bautismo de infantes o bendición de los niños pequeños. A related sermon video is titled Baptism: What is it and how should it be done?
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.
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
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.
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.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Bible Millionaire education and amusement

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Game Seat

By COGWriter

You have two holy days in a row.

Are you interested in a fun way to add to your knowledge of the Bible?

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

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

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

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

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

Michael’s Free Bible Quizzes and Public Domain Animations.

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

The Seventh (Last) Day of Unleavened Bread

Friday, April 29th, 2016


Unleavened Bread

COGwriter

Today is the last, the seventh, day of unleavened bread. Here is some of what the Hebrew scriptures teach about it:

6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. 8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. (Leviticus 23:6-8)

18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. (Exodus 12:18)

So, today (the 21st of Nisan or Abib on the Hebrew calendar) faithful Christians are off work/school and attending some type of church service (including perhaps watching a sermon video).

Here is some of what the Greek scriptures teach about it:

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

In Exodus it states that the Days of Unleavened Bread, “shall be a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth” (13:9). Keeping seven days of unleavened bread pictures that we are to live in sincerity and truth by keeping God’s law–that we are not to continue in false religion, not to continue in sin.

Why seven days?

In the Bible God seems to use the number seven to show completeness. There are seven days in a week (Exodus 20:6), seven days of creation (Genesis1), seven Churches in Rev 2&3, seven candlesticks (Revelation 1:20), seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34), etc. The seven Days of Unleavened Bread seem to picture that after our sins have been forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus (Romans 3:25, I Corinthians 5:7)), that we are to no longer continue in the old ways but to walk in the true ways of the Bible (I Corinthians 5:8). The Days of Unleavened Bread help us to understand that sin is to be put out of our lives; throughout the year it reminds us that false religion is all around and needs to be avoided.

People who do not keep the Days of Unleavened Bread are not reminded about false religion and sin through this symbol during the year; maybe they do not want to be.

This last Day of Unleavened Bread lasts until sunset tonight. Are you keeping it? If not, why not start now?

For those of you who are scattered or otherwise and have interest, here is our suggested format for the last day of unleavened bread service this year:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one titled: For how go to the Donations page of the Continuing Church of God. There is a mailing address there, as well as the ability to give offerings online.
  • Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
  • Sermon, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is:  Does God have faith in humans? Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Because of this being an annual Holy Day, some may wish to have double-services.  If so, here is a suggestion for the second service (note: the sermon listed below is from 2015):

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


1:16:20

Does God have faith in humans?

Jesus said He wanted His followers to be perfect as His Father in heaven was perfect. But perfection is not something that humans attain in this life. Do converted Christians sin? Does God have faith in humans? Does God’s Holy Day plan reflect any of this? This is a message intended to be for the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread. (Note: In one place Dr. Thiel cited Revelation 13:8, but mistakenly referred to it as from Romans 13:8.)

This is a sermon for the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread, which runs until sunset April 29, 2016.

Here is a link to the sermon: Does God have faith in humans?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Perfection? Does God have faith in humans? A message for the seventh-day of unleavened bread. A related sermon is titled: Does God have faith in humans?
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here is a YouTube video intended to be viewed for the first day of unleavened bread: Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
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?
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Why Easter? Did early Christians observe Easter? What are the origins of Easter? What does Easter have to do with the goddess Ishtar. Where did the word Easter come from? Where do Easter eggs come from? What do rabbits have to do with Easter? Was Jesus resurrected on a Sunday? This is a video.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? How do the Holy Days picture God’s plan of salvation? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Are you learning from the Days of Unleavened Bread?

Thursday, April 28th, 2016


Unleavened Bread

COGwriter

The days of unleavened bread are mainly over for this year. Did you learn anything from them?

What do the Days of Unleavened Bread picture?

The Bible makes various comments about these days as well as comments about what leaven pictures.

Perhaps before going further, I should quote and comment 1 Corinthians 5:7:

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

Notice clearly that the Corinthians must have been observing the Days of Unleavened Bread because the Apostle Paul stated “you truly are unleavened.” The problem that the Corinthians had was that they were not unleavened spiritually. That is why Paul continued and told them to also spiritually be unleavened “with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” This is what the Bible shows that the Apostle Paul was teaching.

Furthermore, in Romans 3:25 it states, “in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed”. Does this mean we are to continue is sin?

Of course not!

A few verses later Paul wrote, “On the contrary, we establish the law” (Rom 3:31). So while most understand that the Passover pictures a remembrance of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice (I Corinthians 11:24-26), many seem to not understand that we are not to continue in sin.

Why?

Maybe one of the reasons is that they do not observe the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Leaven

In the world, leaven is all around. Not only is it in baked goods, it is now in many other products. Leaven spreads and most of the items it becomes part of crumble. In the Bible, leaven normally pictures malice, wickedness, and hypocrisy (I Corinthians 5:8; Mat 16:6,12; Luke 12:1), while unleavened bread pictures sincerity and truth (I Corinthians 5:8). The Old Testament states, “no leaven shall be seen among you” (Deut 16:3), whereas the New Testament states, “His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7) and that “sin is lawlessness” (I John 3:4).

Leaven pictures the teachings of the Pharisees (Mat 16:6,12; Luke 12:1) whom Jesus called hypocrites (Mat 23:23,25,27,29). According to Strong’s, the Greek word Jesus used that was translated as hypocrite means, “an actor under an assumed role”. The Pharisees were false religious leaders who pretended to keep God’s law, but really did not (Mat 15:3-9).

Notice that leaven is a symbol of false doctrine and hypocrisy that Jesus warned against:

6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”

8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? — but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6-12)

Jesus further described the Pharisees by saying, “you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Mat 23:28). Jesus thus tied leaven (the Pharisees teachings, Mat 16:12) to false religion (being hypocrites) and sin (since “sin is lawlessness,” 1 John 3:4).

Physically, leavening agents include yeast, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), and baking powder. Physically, leavening agents “puff up” grain containing products and make them look larger than they would be otherwise. Since the Bible teaches:

15 On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses (Exodus 12:15).

Those who attempt to obey God follow this and remove most breads, crackers, etc. from their houses, clean out their toasters, and otherwise remove physical leaven from their lives just prior to the start of the Days of Unleavened Bread each year. Since the removal involves work, and the term for day in Exodus 12:15 is Miyowm (Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.) which is different than the Hebrew term for day, Uwbayowm, in Exodus 12:16 (despite the fact that Strong’s uses the same number, 3117, for both words)–this suggests that the removal perhaps should be done before the start of the first day, which is a holy convocation. And this is consistent with other statements in Exodus such as for all of the “seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses” (Exodus 12:19) and “Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters” (Exodus 13:7). The only way for no leavened bread to be seen in one’s quarters for those seven days is if it is gone prior to the start of those seven days.

In Exodus it states that the Days of Unleavened Bread, “shall be a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth” (13:9). Keeping seven days of unleavened bread pictures that we are to live in sincerity and truth by keeping God’s law–that we are not continue in false religion, not to continue in sin.

Why seven days?

In the Bible God seems to use the number seven to show completeness. There are seven days in a week (Exodus 20:6), seven days of creation (Genesis1), seven Churches in Rev 2&3, seven candlesticks (Rev 1:20), seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34), etc. The seven Days of Unleavened Bread seem to picture that after our sins have been forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus (Rom 3:25, I Corinthians 5:7)), that we are to no longer continue in the old ways but to walk in the true ways of the Bible (I Corinthians 5:8). The Days of Unleavened Bread help us to understand that sin is to put out of our lives; throughout the year it reminds us that false religion is all around and needs to be avoided.

People who do not keep the Days of Unleavened Bread are not reminded about false religion and sin through this symbol during the year; maybe they do not want to be.

A Warning

Now it is interesting to note that Jude warned that, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

This is interesting because in the next verse he ties this problem with deliverance (from Egypt) during the Days of Unleavened Bread (which should be kept as an annual reminder of sin and deliverance, Exodus 13:3-10, I Corinthians 5:8).

“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 5). In like manner, just because of the sacrifice of Jesus “God had passed over the sins that were previously committed” (Rom 3:25), he may afterward destroy “those who did not believe”. How do you know if you truly have faith and believe? By doing what God says.

James warned, “You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead (James 2:19-20). In a similar way Paul wrote, “for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” (Rom 2:13). Paul also warned, “For if we sin willfully after we have received knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation” (Heb 10:26-27).

Like the Old Testament (Exodus 12:15,19), the New Testament teaches us “Therefore purge out the old leaven” I Corinthians 5:7. From a physical standpoint it is easy to not obey these teachings. Physically it is easier not to purge or remove all the leaven from our dwellings. But spiritually, by not keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, many fail to understand that they have to live the way of life that Jesus taught–many accept a false outward religion! Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). By not keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, many have fallen for a religion based upon traditions of men instead of God’s commands!

The Bible vs. ‘Traditions of Men’

Believe it or not Jesus ran into the same problem in His day. The religious rulers (the Pharisees) were condemned because “you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition” (Mathew 15:6). Although traditions of men say that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for keeping the law, the opposite is true. Remember that Jesus said to them that “inside you are filled with lawlessness and hypocrisy” (Matthew 23:28). Actually, they pretended that they believed the Bible, but taught that their understandings (hermeneutics in modern terms) were more important than the literal commands in the Bible (Mark 7:8-9).

Nowadays, the prevailing “tradition” is to NOT keep the days of unleavened bread.

So the problem of the Pharisees exists even to our day.

The Days of Unleavened Bread last until sunset Friday. Are you keeping them? If not, why not start now?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here is a sermon titled Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
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?
UCG and Its Unleavened Bread Study Paper What does the Bible say about eating unleavened bread for seven days? What has UCG officially said about it?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Why Easter? Did early Christians observe Easter? What are the origins of Easter? What does Easter have to do with the goddess Ishtar. Where did the word Easter come from? Where do Easter eggs come from? What do rabbits have to do with Easter? Was Jesus resurrected on a Sunday? This is a video.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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?

Walpurgis night is really not a Christian holiday

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016


Witches’ Sabbath

COGwriter

On April 30th, some observe something they call Walpurgis Night.

Walpurgis Night is somewhat considered to be a Catholic holiday as its name comes from a Catholic saint named Walpurga. It is sometimes also known as the Witches’ Sabbath. It is widely celebrated in parts of Europe on April 30th and May 1st, and is sometimes called the other “Halloween.”

Here is some of what The Catholic Encyclopedia says about Walpurga:

St. Walpurga Born in Devonshire, about 710; died at Heidenheim, 25 Feb., 777. She is the patroness of Eichstadt, Oudenarde, Furnes, Antwerp, Gronigen, Weilburg, and Zutphen, and is invoked as special patroness against hydrophobia, and in storms, and also by sailors…

At Mainz she was welcomed by her uncle, St. Boniface, and by her brother, St. Willibald. After living some time under the rule of St. Lioba at Bischofsheim, she was appointed abbess of Heidenheim, and was thus placed near her favourite brother, St. Winibald, who governed an abbey there. After his death she ruled over the monks’ monastery as well as her own…

The various translations of St. Walburga’s relics have led to a diversity of feasts in her honour. In the Roman Martyrology she is commemorated on 1 May, her name being linked with St. Asaph’s, on which day her chief festival is celebrated in Belgium and Bavaria. (Casanova, Gertrude. “St. Walburga.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 27 Apr. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15526b.htm>)

Here are some modern reports about Walpurgis Night:

“Walpurgis Night was when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroad—when the graves were opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel.” ~ Bram Stoker, “Dracula’s Guest”

The other Halloween – exactly six months from All Hallow’s Eve – is known as May Eve. April 30 is also known as Walpurgis Night. Beltane, which also corresponds to April 30/May 1, is one of eight solar Sabbats observed by pagans. The holiday incorporates traditions from the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, but it bears more relation to the Germanic May Day festival.

Ancient Celts recognized only two seasons of the year, summer and winter, and their pivotal dates, Beltane and Samhain, were very important for the world, both seen and unseen.

As with Halloween, the veil separating the world of the living and the dead was supposed to wear particularly thin at this time of year. In Medieval Christendom, it was not only Hallowe’en or All Souls’ Day when a spooky atmosphere was cultivated, but on May Eve, among other nights of the year, it also was believed that the world of ghosts and fairies, and witches and shapeshifters, could spill over to our own. http://blog.al.com/strange-alabama/2013/04/the_other_halloween.html

Tonight, April 30th, Germany celebrates Walpurgis Night, or Hexennacht – “witches’ night”. According to German folk tales, this is the night when witches fly to Mount Brocken in the East of Germany to hold a celebration and await the beginning of spring.

So what can you expect in this magical night? Many people dress up as witches and flock to Mount Brocken, located in the Harz region of Germany. Big bonfires are lit, and the “witches” dance around the flames. If you want to skip the dressing up but still want to go dancing, visit one of the many Tanz in den Mai (“dance into May”) events, held all over Germany. http://gogermany.about.com/b/2013/04/30/a-night-out.htm

Walpurgis Night is another pagan ritual celebrating the arrival of spring. According to Wiki, it is widely celebrated across much of central and northern Europe; I can attest to that.

Wiki also claims that Walpurgis Night is named after the English missionary Saint Walpurga (ca. 710–777/9) who was canonized on 1 May (ca. 870). Over the centuries since, Walpurgis Night has become celebrated in conjunction with the night of April 30 to May 1…

Walpurgis Night

Common perception is that WP is the night when witches from across the universe converge on to the Brocken mountain in Germany to hold their annual meeting. It’s thought to be sort of an annual meeting to review past activities and plan for the future, the like of which any society or company has.

Witches

Witches are (female) characters of super-natural powers, thought to have been the cause of much trouble in the past…modern-day celebrations of this pagan ritual abound over much of Europe. http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/54785

Walpurgis Night (Walpurgisnacht) is a traditional spring festival on 30 April or 1 May in large parts of Central and Northern Europe. It is often celebrated with dancing and with bonfires. It is exactly six months from All Hallows’ Eve…

The German term is recorded in 1668 by Johannes Praetorius (writer) (de)[3] as S. Walpurgis Nacht or S. Walpurgis Abend. An earlier mention of Walpurgis and S. Walpurgis Abend is in the 1603 edition of the Calendarium perpetuum of Johann Coler,[4] who also refers to the following day, 1 May, as Jacobi Philippi, feast day of the apostles James the Less and Philip in the Catholic calendar.

The 17th century German tradition of a meeting of sorcerers and witches on May Day is influenced by the descriptions of Witches’ Sabbaths in 15th and 16th century literature.

30 April is pálení čarodějnic (“burning of the witches”) or čarodějnice (“the witches”) in the Czech Republic, the day when winter is ceremonially brought to the end by the burning of rag and straw witches or just broomsticks on bonfires around the country. The festival offers Czechs the chance to eat, drink and be merry around a roaring fire.

In Estonia, Volbriöö is celebrated throughout the night of 30 April and into the early hours of 1 May, where 1 May is a public holiday called “Spring Day” (Kevadpüha). Volbriöö is an important and widespread celebration of the arrival of spring in the country. Influenced by German culture, the night originally stood for the gathering and meeting of witches. Modern people still dress up as witches to wander the streets in a carnival-like mood.

In Finland, Walpurgis day (Vappu) is one of the four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus). Walpurgis witnesses the biggest carnival-style festival held in the streets of Finland’s towns and cities. The celebration, which begins on the evening of 30 April and continues to 1 May, typically centres on copious consumption of sima, sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages…

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Brocken and await the arrival of spring.

Walpurgis Night (in German folklore) the night of 30 April (May Day’s eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their gods…”

Brocken is the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany. It is noted for the phenomenon of the Brocken spectre and for witches’ revels which reputedly took place there on Walpurgis night.

The Brocken Spectre is a magnified shadow of an observer, typically surrounded by rainbow-like bands, thrown onto a bank of cloud in high mountain areas when the sun is low. The phenomenon was first reported on the Brocken.

—Oxford Phrase & Fable.

A scene in Goethe’s Faust Part One is called “Walpurgisnacht,” and one in Faust Part Two is called “Classical Walpurgisnacht.” The last chapter of book five in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain is also called “Walpurgisnacht.” In Edward Albee’s 1962 play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Act Two is entitled “Walpurgisnacht.”

In Sweden, Walpurgis Night (Swedish: Valborgsmässoafton or simply Valborg, Vappu in Finland) has more or less become a de facto half holiday… On the eve of the festival, huge bonfires, which should be lighted by striking two flints together, blaze on all the hills and knolls…(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night viewed 04/28/2013)

Walpurgis Night (521-30): No other scene in Goethe’s Faust places such difficult demands on the reader for understanding its place and significance in the drama The essential meaning which Goethe wished to convey resides in the “Walpurgis Night” revels themselves, quite apart from any necessary association with Faust and his pact with Mephistopheles. Concerning the legends of the May Day Witches’ Sabbath, Goethe associated Faust with the murky spirit world of Nordic, Germanic legend. “Walpurgis Night” therefore provides a logical extension of the hocus-pocus and murky superstition established in “Witch’s Kitchen.” the sources for “Walpurgis Night” used have been traced by scholars from several books borrowed from the Ducal library in Weimar at the time when work en the scene was in progress. For the most part these consist of obscure and pseudo-scientific compendia of medieval folklore from the seventeenth century

These accounts offer a fantastic picture of medieval witches’ sabbaths, colored by a mixture of popular superstition and moralistic outrage. The annual revels involved a procession of witches which ascended in the darkness to the summit of the Brocken, where orgiastic revels were held in celebration of Satan…Goethe initially planned to follow the accounts of such satanic debauchery—even to the inclusion of Satan himself, who figures nowhere else in Faust!

Goethe’s view of the witches’ Sabbath on the Brocken gradually shifted away from the orgiastic revels at the summit, as these were conceived in response to the popular tradition, toward a kind of festival of May Day night which has much more positive and serious implications for the drama of Faust as a whole. For this view of the rites of May–just as pagan in origin as the cult of Satan and perhaps originally identical with it—Goethe’s chief source for the ”Walpurgis Night’s Dream-”eminently served his purpose the fairy-folk of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

WALPURGIS NIGHT

After the cathedral scene, a violent shift of mood and locale takes us to the witches’ rendezvous on the Brocken with Faust and Mephisto as spectators and participants in the tumultuous annual convocation…

Wapurgis Night: St. Walpargis or Walburga, abbess of Heidenheim, in Franconia, was born in England and died in 779; her name appears to be derived from “Wolborg,” a “good fortress” (against evil, by her purity) and she was invoked in aid against witchcraft. Her day, l May, is also an ancient Pagan spring festival, and she is thus associated by antithesis with the witches’ sabbath which was traditionally supposed to take place on the Brocken during the previous night. (http://legacy.owensboro.kctcs.edu/crunyon/CE/03-Goethe/52130.htm viewed 04/28/2013)

Walpurgis Night combines two legends: a springtime gathering to drive away evil spirits and an eighth century nun named Saint Walpurga, who was believed to be pursued by evil spirits. http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/germantown-more-news/item/54018-hunt-for-ghosts-at-grumblethorpe-this-saturday-night?Itemid=18

Here is a report machine-translated from German about it:

Every year, countless characters in extravagant costumes in the Harz and elsewhere on Walpurgis Night…At more than 20 locations in the resin Walpurgis Night is celebrated with the colorful stage shows and loud music, the spokeswoman said the Harz Tourism Association, Eva Christin Ronkainen, in Goslar. In these cauldrons – Brown of Lower Saxony location to Schierke in Saxony-Anhalt – then dance bearded wizards, witches and tempting little devil. http://www.mz-web.de/mitteldeutschland/walpurgis-alte-mythen-und-junge-klischees,20641266,22604280.html

Walpurgis Night really has little to do with Walpurga and is not a Christians holiday. It seems to be a combination of paganism, witchcraft, popular fiction, and a party combined with the name of someone associated with demons.

It seems to have a lot in common with Halloween. It is not a Christian celebration.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? Here are some historical and biblical insight on this question. There are many cultures that have celebrations and observances that are similar to some associated with Halloween. What did the Druids do? Is Halloween one of the most important holidays for Satanists? Do the Japanese, Indians, and Chinese have any practices that are similar to some associated with Halloween? Does the Bible endorse or condemn practices that are associated with Halloween? Here is a related sermonette length video: International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
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?

Overcoming sin

Monday, April 25th, 2016

COGwriter

Christians need to overcome the world and its sinful ways.

Christians realize that Jesus died for our sins. The Bible makes this clear:

3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted).

3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:3-5)

Through biblical observances such as Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread (it is currently the Days of Unleavened Bread in 2016), Christians better learn the price of sin through Jesus’ sacrifice, the prevalence of sin in the world, and the necessity to put sin out of our lives.

Just like the children of Israel had to leave the bondage of physical Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:6), Christians need to leave the spiritual Egypt (Revelation 11:8) of this present evil world (Galatians 1:4). Christians need to come out of sin, but they need God’s help in overcoming sin.

Verses to Memorize to Help with Overcoming Sin

Before going into sin and repentance, there are some portions of scripture that perhaps should be shown first. These are also verses that you really should memorize.

Here is the first:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Nearly every day I pray a slightly modified version of the above more or less as follows:

Father in heaven, let us trust in You with all our hearts and lean not to our own understandings. In all our ways help us acknowledge You and You will direct our paths.

If you sin, at the time you do so you are not obviously trusting in God with all your heart.

Interestingly, notice the verse that comes immediately after Proverbs 3:6:

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:7)

So, we see that not trusting in God, but trusting in ourselves (vanity) can lead to evil. But that fearing and trusting God is the way to depart from evil.

Christians should also consider the following words of Jesus:

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)

I would suggest that all memorize at least the first half of Matthew 6:33.

If you are truly seeking first the kingdom of God, this will help you overcome sin–unlike the children of Israel who did not seek God’s righteousness (cf. Romans 10:1-3).

There is another verse that all should memorize, and it is bolded below:

1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)

The children of Israel saw the miracles, but although they went along with God’s physical plan, they did not truly repent. We, as Christians, all must however.

Putting Sin Out Requires the Help of Jesus

During the Days of Unleavened Bread we are to have no sin in our lives, symbolically, by having to leaven in our dwellings (see also Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread). This annual reminder helps Christians better focus on the need to try to live without sin.

Just as you are not to have a little leaven then, you are not to have a little sin as it affects you (cf. Galatians 5:9; 1 Corinthians 5:7; James 2:8-13)

Christians, however, still sin, but upon confessing them, Jesus will forgive them:

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

But that does not mean we are to deliberately and intentionally sin and remain in it:

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27)

Sometimes the sin is so within one that it seems to defy human will. Notice some of what the Apostle Paul wrote:

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15-25)

Jesus also said, “with men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

We all have lost the struggle with sin at times, but through Christ we can overcome.

Jesus was tempted as we are and understands:

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

No matter how much you feel you messed up, you still can boldly go to the throne of grace to obtain mercy.

Do Not Put Yourself in a Place that You Are as Tempted to Sin

There are also practical, physical, considerations that can help you overcome sin.

When you pray, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13, KJV), the implication is that you do not intentionally place yourself in areas to be tempted.

For example, if one is inclined to overly gamble, one should avoid going to casinos or visiting cities such as Las Vegas.

One who is inclined to smoke should not hang out with others who smoke. Nor should they ever buy cigarettes. However, since smoking is a very difficult habit to break, sometimes one may find replacement behaviors or some other physical item helpful to break the habit. But if someone wants to stop smoking, they really need to stop buying cigarettes. They  should also repent and ask forgiveness of their sins each time they smoke (or commit any other sin).

As far one’s diet goes, God tells His people to “eat what is good” (Isaiah 55:2), thus Christians should be careful about their diets and not eat that which is not good for them.

Jesus lived without sin (Hebrews 4:5) and the Bible teaches that we do not have to allow sin in our lives either, but we are to put on Christ:

13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:13-14)

When it comes to alcohol, one should not hang out with those that overly drink. Notice what the Apostle Peter wrote:

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:1-4)

Peter even warns that some will think it strange if you stop such improper behaviors, but that is what Christians are to do. Furthermore:

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Christians are not to run with the crowd and go along with the world. Sin grows (James 1:15) and spreads (Romans 5:12).

When it comes to sexual immorality, the Apostle Paul wrote:

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

One flees sexual immorality by not getting oneself in a situation that could be somewhat expected to possibly lead to it, or immediately leaving a situation if it appears possible.

And Jesus taught:

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish (Matthew 5:27-29)

So, it is not just doing something wrong that is sin, but also wishing to do the sin is a sin. And if internet pornography is a problem for someone, then they should avoid the internet completely–at least for a while. They also should not go to improper movies, have or buy improper magazines, etc.

But you have to do more than avoid temptation: you are supposed to do good (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:35).

Now you may say that you do not have a problem with gambling, alcohol, drugs, fornication, or pornography, and if you do not, then that is good. But probably all of us have been guilty of the type of murder that Jesus warned against:

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger (Matthew 5:21-22)

And furthermore, notice what Jesus called the greatest commandment:

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.” (Mark 12:29-31)

I would submit that this first commandment is the commandment that is violated the most, by probably everyone on the planet, Christian and non-Christian alike. Anytime you sin, you show God that you love something more than Him. The second is also violated a lot.

Basically, humans have a very difficult time getting sufficiently serious about God and His ways to put them above EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME, in their lives.

As Christians, it is not just enough not to sin, we are to do the work of God. Furthermore, consider that when you pray God is not limited to what He can give you–in other words do not neglect to pray for major change, not to just not sin, but to do and support His work.

Jesus taught and warned:

25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matthew 16:25-27)

Christians need to do the true work of God no matter what it costs. This involves personal growth, trusting and loving God, loving others, and supporting God’s end time work.

But there are rewards for doing so:

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:3-5)

We Christians must truly trust God and commit our ways to God.

6 Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (Psalms 20:6-7)

If Christians truly trust in God, and not themselves, they will be saved.

That is part of why Jesus taught:

9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)

Notice it is God’s will that is to be done and what we are to pray for, as well as His kingdom to come.

Notice what God really wants:

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Satan’s problem was that he refused to walk humbly. He was the anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28:14)–he had it all–but his pride got in the way (cf. Ezekiel 28:17). Humans often let their pride get in the way (Proverbs 29:33)–and pride puffs people up (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6).

Yet, Christians are to try to think like God:

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7)

Jesus had more than we humans can imagine, yet He was humble enough to give it up to serve and die for us. That is the attitude to have to truly overcome.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Overcoming Sin What is sin? How are Christians suppose to overcome it? There is also a YouTube video titled How to Overcome Sin.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Do Christians Sin? This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it?
History of Auricular Confession and the ‘Sacrament of Confession’ Did early Christians confess their sins to priests?
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?
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?

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Suicides up

Sunday, April 24th, 2016


Robin Williams (photo by Eva Rinaldi)

COGwriter

Suicides are up in the USA:

“We’re going in the wrong direction”: America is facing a suicide epidemic

A sobering new study finds the rate of death by suicide increased 24 percent from 1999 to 2014

April 24, 2016

“It’s very sobering and disappointing,” said Harold Koplewicz, a psychiatrist and president of the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit in Manhattan. “We’re not making progress. We’re actually going in the wrong direction.”

“It’s a very important report, and the results are very striking,” said Jeffrey Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, a mental health nonprofit based in New York. “The rate has increased so much since 1999, especially during the second half of that period.” The main people at risk of dying from suicide are those with psychiatric conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, points Borenstein.

But the issue is not just a mental health problem. “Many people view suicide as a mental health problem, but many people who die of suicide do not have a mental health problem. It’s a public health problem,” said Kristin Holland, a behavioral scientist at the Center for Disease Control. http://www.salon.com/2016/04/24/were_going_in_the_wrong_direction_america_is_facing_a_suicide_epidemic_partner/

April 22, 2016

A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that suicide rates have jumped 24 percent over the years between 1999 and 2014.

The study published late Thursday showed that rates increased sharply after 2006, as the economic boom of the late 1990s faded and the onset of what became the 2008 recession began.

Suicide rates for all men under age 75, the rate shot up 43 percent between 1999 and 2014.

Among women under 75, the rate of increase was greatest among women between the ages of 45 and 64. The suicide rate among those women was 80 percent higher in 2014 than in 1999.

The results show the traditional gender gap in suicide rates narrowing: while men usually are more likely to commit suicide than women, the rate of women who took their own lives grew much faster than among men. …

Suicide rates, US, 1999 and 2014

Suicide rates, US, 1999 and 2014 . . .

Key findings

  • From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24 percent, with the pace of increase greater after 2006.
  • Suicide rates increased from 1999 through 2014 for both males and females and for all ages 10–74.
  • The percent increase in suicide rates for females was greatest for those aged 10-14, and for males, those aged 45-64. http://www.voanews.com/content/united-states-suicide-rate/3298204.html

The photo at the beginning of this post if that of comedian Robin Williams who is believed to have committed suicide:

August 13, 2014

The suicide by a famous celebrity, such as Robin Williams on Monday, tends to be jarring because it adds a public element to what is an irrational decision based on private misery…

There was an illusion that Williams, 63, had things under control even though he shared his problems with depression and substance abuse through his comedy routines.

“We tend to think that people who have it all don’t deal with problems like the rest of us, and then we question how could they do this to themselves,” Andy Hagler, executive director of The Mental Health Association in Forsyth County, said Tuesday. “People think that because celebrities have wealth, they have avenues for help the rest of us don’t.

“However, the pain — both mentally and physically — does not discriminate. It is oftentimes associated with depression, along with co-occurring substance use, such as alcohol and/or drug use.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 90 percent of Americans who commit suicide experienced a combination of depression and substance abuse. http://myfox8.com/2014/08/13/forsyth-co-mental-health-advocates-hope-robin-williams-suicide-will-spark-public-action/

There is almost an epidemic of suicide today:

Warm, funny Robin Williams wasn’t so alone when he died in an apparent suicide on Monday, leaving behind his grieving family and a nation of bewildered fans. Recently self-harm has been taking more lives annually around the world than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. In more advanced countries, only three causes of death steal more years of life expectancy, according to data prepared last spring by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

And yet suicide remains a largely silent epidemic, the rare top-10 cause of death that fails to inspire celebrity sing-alongs, bake-sales, and all-night telethons. Last year the Centers for Disease Control flagged self-harm as “an increasing public health concern.” But even with grabby data—like the fact that U.S. suicide deaths now outnumber deaths by automobile accident—the subject drifted off the op-ed pages and out of the public mind. …

The suicide rate—the number of people per 100,000 who kill themselves each year—dropped in developed countries between 1990 and 2010, according to the University of Washington data. In the United States, meanwhile, the rate has jumped almost 20 percent in the last decade, according to the CDC. …

The suicide rate among Americans 45 to 64 has jumped more than 30 percent in the last decade, according to the CDC, and it’s possible to slice the data more finely than that. Among white, upper-middle-aged men, the rate has jumped by more than 50 percent, according to the public data. If these men were to create a breakaway territory, it would have the highest suicide rate in the world. …

Williams was depressed, his publicist said on Monday…http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/robin-williams-death/deadly-stigma-robin-williams-suicide-exposes-silent-epidemic-n179206

The Bible teaches to ‘choose life’ and not the way of death (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The late Herbert W. Armstrong noted that some who seemed successful in this age, truly were not successful. Here is some of what he wrote decades ago:

Every two minutes someone in the United States attempts suicide. Each day nearly 70 persons succeed—but is that success? The World Health Organization estimates that some one thousand people commit suicide in the world—every day!

Suicides now outnumber murders. Now various organizations for the prevention of suicide are a reality! But the cause is individual failure!

Only a minority, of course, go to this extreme, but the overwhelming majority do end their lives in failure…

People will ignore all their lives any idea of divine guidance and help—yet if one should find himself on a foodless and waterless raft after a shipwreck in mid-ocean, it is remarkable how quickly he would begin to believe there really is a living God! In last-resort desperation most people will cry out to Him whom they have ignored, disobeyed, and set at naught all their lives.

Wouldn’t it seem axiomatic that, if there is a compassionate beneficent Creator standing ready and willing to give us emergency help as a last resort, it would have been more sensible to have sought His guidance and help all along? Yet some have acquired wealth, lived luxuriously, and then, suddenly losing all, turned finally to God in their economic distress. Others have committed suicide…

Is it possible that the living GOD might be a factor in determining the success or failure of one’s life? Few have thought so.

People will ignore all their lives any idea of divine guidance and help—yet if one should find himself on a foodless and waterless raft after a shipwreck in mid-ocean, it is remarkable how quickly he would begin to believe there really is a living God! In last-resort desperation most people will cry out to Him whom they have ignored, disobeyed, and set at naught all their lives.

Wouldn’t it seem axiomatic that, if there is a compassionate beneficent Creator standing ready and willing to give us emergency help as a last resort, it would have been more sensible to have sought His guidance and help all along? Yet some have acquired wealth, lived luxuriously, and then, suddenly losing all, turned finally to God in their economic distress. Others have committed suicide. Few, it seems, will ever rely on their Maker and life-Sustainer until they feel helpless and in desperate need. Even then the motive too often is selfish.

Yet, if we are to enjoy the good things of life—freedom from fears and worries, peace of mind, security, protection, happiness, abundant well-being—the very SOURCE of their supply is the Great God! Since all comes from Him anyway, why not tap the SOURCE from the very beginning?

But in our day of modern science, sophistication and vanity, it has not been fashionable to believe in a Maker. In this deceived world, knowledge of God has found little or no place in modern education.

The ALL-IMPORTANT seventh Law of Success, nevertheless, is having contact with, and the guidance and continuous help of GOD!

And the person who does put this all-important seventh law last is very probably dooming his life to failure at the end. (Armstrong HW. The Seven Laws of Success,)

The Bible teaches that one is not to murder (Exodus 20:13). And that includes murdering oneself. Notice also the following:

Is suicide a crime?…

God commands: “THOU SHALT NOT KILL” (the sixth commandment). Webster defines the word kill as “to deprive of life.” To commit suicide, then, is breaking one of the Ten Commandments -and is definitely condemned by God. Paul admonishes us saying, “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

If any man DESTROY (KJV margin) the temple of God, him shall God DESTROY; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Cor. 3 : 16, 17 ) . “What, know you not that your BODY is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?” (I Cor. 6: 19). No murderer-or suicide-has eternal life abiding in him (I John 3: 15). He has no hope unless and until in the general resurrection after the millennium he repents of his sin (Matthew 11 :20-24). (Plain Truth. January 1960, pp. 15-16)

It is sad and disturbing when people commit suicide or commit other forms of murder.

Decades ago, a Worldwide Church of God minister told of experiences he had with three successive would-be suicides. Each time he said to them, “Well, go right ahead — but first you’d better learn what happens at the moment you die. So far as your consciousness goes, the next fraction of a second you will wake up in the resurrection — and if you commit this self-murder, you’ll still be facing all your problems, and the guilt of this SELF-MURDER crime in addition. Why not solve the problems NOW, before you commit this murder?” Not one of the three went on through with his intended suicide!

While that may not work for everyone, the truth is that there’s nothing to gain by “ending it all,” thinking that is the easy way out. Death only brings instant awakening in the resurrection. You will know absolutely NOTHING from the second you die, till the second you awake in the resurrection. These men, the minister explained, had supposed that suicide would END IT ALL — and they’d be out of their troubles, but when they learned they would still have their troubles plus a MURDER charge against them in THAT JUDGMENT, it no longer seemed that suicide was the “quick way out of it all.”

No, death is not a friend to solve problems. Jesus came to DESTROY DEATH — to make a happy, peaceful, abundant life possible for all — for each in his own due time. He came that we might have LIFE, “and have it more abundantly.”

In today’s society, hopefully the depressed and disappointed will not turn to suicide. There is hope for those, however, who will turn to God.

Some items of possibly related concerns may include:

What Happens After Death? Is death like sleep, or is that a cultic idea? Can you speak to the dead? Here is a link to a related sermon: What really happens after death?
Are The Wicked Tormented Forever or Burned Up? How does one explain Revelation 14:11 in light of Malachi 4:3? What happens to the incorrigibly wicked?
The Seven Laws of Success Herbert W. Armstrong had seven laws that he felt could help people become successful.
How to Overcome Depression and Discouragement This is an article by Paul Krautmann & John Siston.
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach?
Christian Success Does the Bible teach that Christians are to be successful? Are there at least seven laws of success that Christians should follow? How does the Bible teach we are to become successfully spiritually? Does the Bible really teach that Christians should be successful physically? This video answers these questions and more from the Bible. An outline of some of the scriptures used is here: Christian Success Outline.
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?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Do Christians Sin? This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong.
Overcoming Sin What is sin? How are Christians suppose to overcome it? Here is a link to a version in Mandarin Chinese: 克服是重要的. Here is also a link to a video in English titled How to Overcome Sin.
How to Prevent Sin This is an article by Herbert W. Armstrong. Here is a version in Mandarin: 如何不犯罪
Real Conversion Many think that they are converted Christians. But are they? Would you like to know more about conversion.
False Conversion Have you really been converted? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this article on this important subject.
All About Water Baptism What is baptism? Would you like to know more about it. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. As far as early history, see also Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church.
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
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. A related sermon is titled: Christians and the Ten Commandments.