Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Failure or success? How to change the outcome?

Monday, August 11th, 2014

COGwriter

Decades ago, the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following:

WHY are only the very few—women as well as men—successful in life? Just what is success? Here is the surprising answer to life’s most difficult problem, proving that NO HUMAN NEED EVER BECOME A FAILURE! All who have succeeded have followed these seven laws! The only WAY to success is not a copyrighted formula being sold for a price. You can’t buy it! The price is your own application to the seven existing laws.

DID IT EVER occur to you that there might be a reason why so many people make a failure of life? Not only men and career women, but wives and mothers to!

Are you one who is wrestling with the problem of “making ends meet”? Nearly all of us are. This problem need not mean failure—yet it often leads to it.

It is a fact—the vast majority do wind up failures. Yet none need fail!

Take a look at the facts in the world.

Is THIS Success?

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.

Much of the world is in current “prosperity.” Yet—in booming U.S.—more businesses failed in a very recent year than in any other in the last twenty-six. Across the world streaks the shocking trend of increasing failures. Scores of millions daily allow he creeping cancer of failure to chain them to a life of unhappy circumstances, from which only death promises release.

But why?

Why are only the very few really successful? Is it mere chance—is it just happen-so—can it be luck? Or are there definite reasons?

Why do all but the very few find themselves, by age 60 or 65, dependents? Why must there by old-age pensions, public welfare aid, charities to support the non-crippled, non-handicapped helpless? Why must children so often provide for aged parents—when it ought to be the other way around?

I am going to tell you why!

There are definite causes! Seven basic laws govern success! It is high time people come to know them, and end this unhappy and needless tragedy!

Finding the Answer

When I was a young man of twenty-three, I was a member of the editorial staff of a national magazine. I was sent on tours over the United States, covering ten or fifteen states each tour. My assignment was investigating business conditions, reporting workable ideas and facts. I interviewed businessmen and chamber of commerce officials. I discussed with merchants and manufacturers their problems. I searched out ideas and methods that had been successfully applied in sales promotion, public relations, cutting costs, speeding up turnover, increasing profits.

One of the things my editors assigned me to investigate was the reason behind the success of the few, and the failure of the many. Some 95% of smaller independent merchants were reported by Dun and Bradstreet to be heading toward bankruptcy.

Of course, we were concerned then only with the success or failure of men. But the same laws apply to the lives of women.

I asked the opinions of hundreds of businessmen. Most thought success resulted merely from superior ability, and failure from the lack of it. But this opinion consigned the majority to failure from birth without a chance. If a man lacked the ability, he was foredoomed to failure. There seemed nothing he could do about it. I was not satisfied with this ides—and later I proved it false.

The manager of the large J.L. Hudson department store in Detroit thought failure generally resulted from lack of adequate capital. A minority interviewed agreed with him. But this, also, made dollars, and not the man, responsible for success or failure.

Actually, investigation showed these to be contributing factors, but only that. A more prevalent factor, I found, was fitting the proverbial “square peg in the round hole.” Most failures were misfits. Most, had they known these seven laws, could have made a success in the field where they best fit.

This quest for the reasons for success or failure intrigued me. My research on this question did not stop with these editorial tours. Observation and analysis of this problem have continued through the years.

And I know, now, that no human being need ever become a failure!

Failures are not foredoomed. Success does not just happen! It is governed by seven definite laws. If you know them, and apply them, the happy result, in the end , is assured.

Every individual was put on this earth for a PURPOSE! Every person was put here to become a success. Every human ought to enjoy the sweet taste of success—to find peace and happiness—to live an interesting, secure, and abundant life! And in order that all might—if willing—reap such full and abundant rewards, the Creator set in motion actual, definite LAWS to produce that desired result.

The tragedy is that through the centuries and millenniums man has turned his back on those laws—those causes of the very success he craves! The world long ago ignored and forgot them. Today, most people do not know what they are. Most people have not followed a single one of the seven basic laws.

I ask in all candor—isn’t that a shocking state of human affairs? It is, in fact, the colossal tragedy of all history!

You Can’t Buy it!

If some recognized authority had a copyrighted plan to sell that was guaranteed to make all who follow it prosperous and successful, I suppose people by the thousands would flock to buy the plan.

One man had such a plan. It was a sort of pseudo “psychological” religion. He promised the plan would make its followers prosperous or rich—the easy way, of course. Its propagator advertised that it had made him rich. He boasted of his fine home, his great high-ceiling pipe-organ room. The inference was that it would make its purchasers equally prosperous—but he neglected to mention that it was the naïve dupes who bought his bogus plan who made him rich.

This man stumbled onto an advertising catch-phrase for a headline in magazine and newspaper advertisements, which multiplied responses. He used it for years. But ultimately it wore itself out. This charlatan’s “success” was neither real nor lasting. He was, himself, a colossal failure.

The only way to true success is not a formula being sold like merchandise.

You can’t buy it with money. It comes to you free—without money, and without price. There is a price, of course—your own application of these definite laws. It is not guaranteed to be the easy way—but it is guaranteed to by the only way to real success!

Clark Gable—Success?

It so happens that on the very morning of the day this was originally written, I read in a London newspaper the obituary of Clark Gable, motion picture celebrity. I suppose the world would rate him a great success. But was he?

Just what is success, anyway?

How can people win success when so few know what it is?

I was struck with a number of things in this cinema-star’s obituary. My mind, of course, was on this theme, since I was at the moment writing on it.

Clark Gable was heralded on page one of this newspaper as king of the films. He was described as “the romantic hero of 90 films.” He was one of the first ten money-making stars in the years 1932-43, 1947-49, and 1955. That is 16 years. And the top film stars make fabulous incomes. “He was, ” said the obituary, “one of the few screen idols to stay the course for so long.” But does all that spell SUCCESS?

One of the “fascinating” things mentioned about his life was that he had been married five times! Would we consider at least three failures in marriage (one wife was killed in an air crash) SUCCESS? The obituary said he cultivated “the furrowed brow, the knowing frown, the half-closed eyes, those ears and the wise-guy leer.” They were not natural. He deliberately cultivated them for the women. “Clark Gable,” said the obituary, “had cultivated these for the girls for nearly the whole of his romantic reign.” You might have called it his trademark. He would.” “It’s just a business to me, always has been,” he explained. It was just his way of “earning a living.”

Rich Men I Have Known

In my lifetime I have had close and intimate contact almost constantly with recognized successful men. From age 18, in early life—within the United States. From middle-age—worldwide. I have read many books and articles written by such men, numerous biographies and autobiographies of the great and the near great—their experiences, their philosophies. I know how these leaders among men think, how they act, what principles and rules they follow.

One factor characterized nearly every one of these men. They made money. They acquired material possessions. Many headed big corporations. They achieved recognition as being important.

Significantly, most of these man practiced the first SIX of the seven laws of success. That is tremendously important!

There was the president of a great motor car corporation at the time when I was the young assistant secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in his city. He made money. He was recognized in the world as important. He rose to the top in his profession and industry. But in the flash depression of 1920 his corporation passed into receivers’ hands, he lost his personal material gains—and he ended his life a suicide! ? Was he, after all, a success. He neglected not only the seventh, but also the sixth.

Then there were two great bankers whom I knew, one of them quite intimately. This was Mr. Arthur Reynolds, president of the then second largest national bank in America. I first knew Mr. Reynolds when he was president of a bank in the city where I was born. Later, as an ambitious and rising young advertising man in Chicago, I went to him often for personal counsel and advice. He was always interested, helpful. And I always considered his advice sound, and followed it. Mr. Reynolds won a measure of national and worldwide fame.

Some thirty-five years later I walked into his great bank and inquired of one of its many vice-presidents whether he knew where Mr. Reynolds had moved, and where he had died. I had heard that he had retired and moved to our headquarters city, Pasadena, and died there. This vice president had never heard of Arthur Reynolds. “Who was he? he asked.

He inquired around. No one he asked remembered Arthur Reynolds. Finally the public relations secretary sent to the bank’s library, and presently a clerk brought a newspaper clipping. It was the sole record the bank seemed to possess of its former president, who, with his brother, was largely responsible for building up this bank to its great size and importance. The clipping was from a San Mateo, California, newspaper. It told of his death in that San Francisco suburb.

After reading it, I handed the clipped obituary back.

“You’ll certainly want to keep this,” I remarked. “It must be valuable to the bank.”

“Oh, no,” he replied. “If you knew him, take it along.”

And thus I carried from that great bank what probably was the only record of this man in the bank of which he was so long president. His “success” was not lasting. It was not long remembered.

During his busy lifetime, this man applied the first SIX of the seven rules of success. Yet whatever success he achieved was fleeting, and although he had accumulated money, acquired a nice block of stock in the bank, lived in a fine home, became recognized as important in his lifetime, all of his “success” died with him!

The other great banker was Mr. John McHugh. I first knew him as president of a bank on a Midwest city. Then I had an hour’s interesting chat with him in the Willard Hotel in Washington during the American Bankers’ Association national convention in 1920. He was then president of a well-known New York City bank. Later, consolidations of several New York banks elevated him two offices higher than the president of the then largest bank in the world. Yet some 36 years later when I inquired about him at this great bank, the answer was the same—”Who’s he? Never heard of him!” His “success” did not live after him.

But there is a real success that endures!

But IS This Success?

Yes, I have been privileged to know many of the great and the near great—especially in the American business world. I have known multimillionaire capitalist, chief executives of great corporations and banks, cabinet members in the national administration at Washington, authors, artists, lecturers, college and university heads.

For the most of them, success meant the acquisition of money and material possessions, and being of recognized status.

One important man I know was Elbert Hubbard, philosopher, prolific writer, publisher, lecturer, known as “the Sage of East Aurora.” “The Fra,” as he sometimes styled himself, became quite famous. He wore semi-long hair under an extra-size hat, and a string bow tie. He was said to be worth a half million dollars at a time when that equaled three million or more on today’s market.

He published two magazines, composed mostly of his own writings, The Philistine, and The Fra. He boasted the largest vocabulary of any man since Shakespeare. He published An American Bible, shocking many of the religious yet explaining that the word “bible” merely means “book,” not necessarily implying sacred writings, unless the word “HOLY” is prefaced. His “bible” consisted of his selection of choice writings from American authors. He included Franklin, Emerson, Paine, Jefferson, Lincoln, and, of course, Hubbard!He allotted nearly half of the entire volume to Hubbard—and all other famous Americans combined shared the remainder.

Hubbard was not the victim of an inferiority complex, and he preached a positive philosophy. He did have rare insight and wisdom in purely material matters, and a keen understanding of human nature.

He knew that “important” men craved flattery as an actor enjoys applause. A large share of his fortune was made by writing an almost endless series of booklets, captioned Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great and the Near-Great. These were printed, of course, in rare style in his own Roycroft Press. Dozens and scores of America’s rich and famous men paid Hubbard premium prices to write them up in his inimitable literary style.

An interesting sidelight on Mr. Hubbard’s concept of success came spontaneously from his lips one Sunday afternoon. He and I were chatting at his Roycroft Inn in East Aurora, New York.

“I asked a Unitarian minister,” I said, “whether he had ever been able to discern just what your religious belief really is—if any.”

“Fra Elbertus” was interested at once. “And what did he say?” he asked, curiously.

“He said he wasn’t quite sure, but he suspected that whatever your religion may be, it probably originated in your pocketbook and bank account.” There was no denial.

“Ho, ho,” laughed Elbert Hubbard, “well, I get away with it, don’t I?”

But was Elbert Hubbard a real success, after all? By human standards, I suppose he was. He knew and applied the first six of the seven laws of success. He worked hard and industriously, and he reaped a bounteous harvest—of money, popularity, acclaim. He and his wife Alice Hubbard went down together into the depths of the Atlantic when a German submarine sank the Lusitania. This was one of the overt acts of the Kaiser’s forces that plunged America into World War 1.

But his fame did not appear to last. One seldom hears of him any more.

Hubbard knew material values. But his agnosticism closed the door—and threw away the key—that led to an understanding of spiritual values. He never quite understood the real PURPOSE of life itself. He wasn’t sure whether there was a Creator. He was convinced that fundamentalist or traditional “Christianity” was an impractical superstition. He didn’t know WHY humanity was placed on the earth—or whether it just happened! He didn’t know man’s real potential destiny. He didn’t know the seventh law of success. And, not knowing or following that seventh rule, he drove himself, by the diligent practice of the six, in the wrong direction — diametrically away from true success!

It Never Satisfied

What was the real meaning of life to these “successful” men?

Their goal in life—their definition of success—was material acquisition, recognition of status by society, and the passing enjoyment of the five senses.

But the more they acquired, the more they wanted, and the less satisfied they became with what they had. When they got it, it was never enough.

Some “successful” men of the world maneuver to get their pictures on page one of metropolitan newspapers, or on the front covers of national magazines. This inflates and briefly titillates ego, but it never satisfies for long. There’s nothing the public forgets so quickly as yesterday’s news!

Such men seek the flattery of others, and engage in back-slapping to invite it. But, like an actor’s applause (the word always makes me think of “applesauce”) it doesn’t last and leaves them flat, with a gnawing inner hunger for something that will satisfy! So they become restless, discontented.

Their bank accounts may be full, but their lives are empty. And what they do acquire, which is never enough and never satisfies, they leave behind when they die!

What is wrong?

Such men started out with the wrong goals. They had not discerned the true values, but pursued the false.

Isn’t it about time we learn the true definition of SUCCESS?

Perhaps the prize example of all history is that of an ancient king, who strove hard, accomplished much, gained fabulous wealth. He experimented with every pleasure, to see whether it brought happiness.

This man said to himself, “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.”

Continuing to describe his experiment, this man wrote: “I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good.”

This ancient king was young enough to try to really enjoy life. He could afford it, too. He was one of the wealthiest men who ever lived—with the resources of a nation at his command. If there was not enough money for a project he dreamed up, he simply raised the taxes.

So, he continued writing of his experiment in searching for happiness and success, “I went in for great works.” Stupendous national works and projects. “I built mansions, planted vineyards, laid out gardens and parks for myself, in which I planted all manner of fruit trees, making pools to water the trees in my plantations. I bought slaves, both men and women, and had slaves born within my household. I had large herds and flocks, larger than any before me. I amassed silver and gold, right royal treasures; I procured singers, both men and women, and many a mistress, man’s delight. Richer and richer I grew, more than any before me in my country . . . Nothing I coveted did I refuse myself: I denied my heart no enjoyment—for my heart did feel pleasure in all this—so much I did get from all my efforts.

“But, ” he concluded, “when I turned to look at all I had achieved and at my efforts and trouble, then it was all vain and futile . . . all was VANITY, and a striving after wind. Nothing in this world is worthwhile.

“Utterly vain, utterly vain, everything is VANITY,” wrote this king, after his life of experimenting. All it led to was striving—yes, always striving—and for what? “After WIND,” he concluded. All that a lifetime of hard work, vigorous application, material accomplishment brought him, he concluded, amounted to no more that a HANDFUL OF WIND!

This man was called the wisest man who had ever lived. He was King Solomon of ancient Israel. But in all his costly experimenting he never found the true values—the meaning of true and lasting SUCCESS!

And WHY?

Simply because, with all his wisdom, this man sought pleasure—happiness—success—his own way, in materialism. In the beginning the Eternal Creator designated and set in motion living laws for the very purpose of producing happiness, abundant living, pure and continuous joy, in all humans who would follow them. These are the seven great laws of SUCCESS. King Solomon, like nearly all the world’s “successful” men, applied diligently the first six—but without the seventh, he started out in the wrong direction. The more he strove, the farther he went—in the direction away from true and lasting success.

He knew this seventh law. But, “Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Eternal. . . he did not keep what the Eternal commanded. Therefore the Eternal said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my rules which I commanded, I will surely tear the kingdom from you’ ” (1 Kings 11:6-11).

Now let me tell you the experience of a modern king. He was a close personal friend of ex-King Saud of Arabia, to whom I have been personally presented. Wealth came suddenly to Sheik Ali of Qatar (pronounced “”gutter”).

Qatar is a little Arabian country jutting into the Persian gulf. The big oil boom recently came to Sheik Ali’s little kingdom. It paid the country of 35,000 population 50 million dollars a year, of which 121/2 million went personally to old Sheik Ali, age 69.

Now what would you do with it, if you suddenly came into 121/2 million dollars a year?

The answer, in all probability, is that you would not do what you now think you would! That much money, coming suddenly into one’s hands, usually changes one’s ideas completely. That’s what it did to old Sheik Ali.

Immediately he began to build big gaudy pink, green, and gold palaces in the midst of malodorous mud hovels. They were air-conditioned, ultramodern, even equipped with push button window curtains! And now the newly wealthy sheik could avoid the 120-degree bake-oven summers of the desert.

He chartered whole airliners and took with him a retinue so large that his newly purchased palatial villa on Lake Geneva could not hold them all, and they overflowed into various resort hotels.

Then Sheik Ali indulged in the $1,000,000 purchase of a magnificent mansion overlooking Beirut—and the beautiful Mediterranean. When King Saud paid him a royal visit, he presented the king with 16 automobiles. One was embellished with gold. Old Sheik Ali became so generous in his self-indulgences, that his debts, over and beyond his fabulous income, soon mounted to 14 million dollars!

The news stories filtered around the world of how the Sheik just simply could not make ends meet on a mere 121/2 dollars a year! About the 1st of November, 1960, he abdicated in favor of his son Ahmed, age 40. A new advisory council arranged to pay old Ali’s debts, and give him a pension large enough only to provide for a mere handful of servants and a few wives.

Poor old Ali! He found it harder to make ends meet on 121/2 million annual dollars than he did in comparative poverty.

The FIRST Law

Certainly NOTHING in life is more important than to know: what is real success—and how to achieve it.

His ‘seven laws of success’ are then included in that booklet: The Seven Laws of Success.

The Continuing Church of God has also produced a sermon titled Christian Success.  While the “seven laws of success” that are in the booklet The Seven Laws of Success by the late Herbert W. Armstrong were used, a lot more scriptures were included than that booklet used. And while physical success was also discussed, the sermon put more emphasis on spiritual success, which is what truly is needed to not be a failure.

People can change if they will willingly humble themselves and take various steps.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Christian Success: What does the Bible teach? 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.
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?
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?
The Seven Laws of Success Booklet by Herbert W. Armstrong that can help people become successful.

Sermon: Luke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards

Saturday, August 9th, 2014


10th Century Representation of Gospel Writer Luke

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce its latest sermon which is at its ContinuingCOG channel:

This is the seventh of a multi-part sermon series by Dr. Thiel covering the Gospel account credited to Luke. This sermon covers chapters 17 through 20. Dr.Thiel discusses giving offense, faith. the kingdom, prophecy related to the gathered together protected & those that are not, unprofitable servants, prayer and the widow, the important in God’s eyes, blessing of little children, the rich man & the commandments, the soul is not immortal, that promised rewards vary, taxes, the resurrection, and doing things for show.

Here is a link to part one of this sermon series: Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the Census.

Here is a link to part two of this sermon series: Luke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the Mount.

Here is a link to part three of this sermon series: Luke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the Ministry.

Here is a link to part four of this sermon series: Luke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and Signs.

Here is a link to part five of this sermon series: Luke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow Way.

Here is a link to part six of this sermon series: Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Here is a link to part seven of this sermon series: Luke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son.
The Rich Man and Lazarus What was Jesus teaching in Luke 16?
Parable of the Mustard Seed Jesus told many parables. Why? What might this one mean?
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.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
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.

Is evolution scientifically logical?

Monday, August 4th, 2014

COGwriter

A reader sent me a link to the following:

Darwin claimed life began eons ago from chance chemical processes. From the first living cell, all life evolved. This might have been plausible in Darwin’s day, when cells were considered simple. But no longer. Even a bacterial cell requires thousands of different proteins ­- each composed of hundreds of amino acids in precise order. Francis Crick, who co-discovered DNA’s structure, estimated the odds of getting just ONE protein by chance as one in 10 to the power of 260 – a number beyond imagination.
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If, as evolutionists claim, bacteria evolved successively into invertebrates, then fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, there must have been countless “transitional stages.” Think about it. For a fish to become a land creature, turning its fins into legs would require new bones, new muscles, new nerves – and while it was adapting to life on land, a new breathing system. Since this supposedly happened from chance mutations – very rare events – innumerable creatures would have to live and die during the intermediate period.
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So where’s EVIDENCE for these transitionals? Not in the living world. Among bacteria, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, there are many thousands of species, but no intermediate species between these groups. That’s one reason why Carl Linnaeus, father of taxonomy (the science that classifies the living world) was a creationist. Evolutionists try to explain the missing intermediates by saying “they all became extinct” (a convenient euphemism for “we ain’t got proof”). A more apt reason for their nonexistence: they never existed. (http://henrymakow.com/2013/08/Darwinism-is-an-Illuminati-Scam.html#sthash.Mg2BQhoT.IebXRKFx.dpuf)

As a scientist, I have long known that proponents of evolution treat the subject more like a religious view than a scientific theory. This is somewhat also what the Ben Stein movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed revealed (see Ben Stein’s Expelled).

Which was?

Scientists who challenge too many claims associated with evolution are shunned by many academic institutions, as there is a tremendous amount of pressure at most “leading” academic institutions to squelch research that is not in support of evolution because it will affect their beliefs. Thus many ‘accept’ evolution and act like it is a scientific fact, when instead it is an unproven model that can scientifically be rebutted at various stages.

Last month, I posted the following (see Congressman questions logic of atheistic evolutionists):

“How embarrassing for an intellectual to have to say ‘Yeah, I believe that,’” Gohmert said, citing Murphey. “Nobody plus nothing equals everything.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/10/louie-gohmert-god-atheists_n_5575241.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

From the perspective of both matter and life, evolution is NOT scientifically logical.

Evolution has led to the intentional ignorance of appropriate scientific methods. It became a religion for many in the 19th century, and remains one for many today.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Is God’s Existence Logical? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Where the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long?
Where Did God Come From? Any ideas? And how has God been able to exist? Who is God?
How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient? Here is a biblical article which answers what many really wonder about it.
Has time been lost? It Saturday the seventh day of the week?
Questions and Answers from Genesis Many wonder about certain early events that this article discusses.
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?

Nicodemus: A Pharisee who Knew Jesus

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014


Nicodemus per Michelangelo

COGwriter

August 3rd is the day Catholics have declared as the day for Saint Nicodemus as allegedly part of his body or possessions were found that day.

Nicodemus is mentioned several times in the Gospel of John. Here is the first:

1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:1-21)

There are many things learned from the above. The first is that many of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day knew that Jesus was special and that logic told them that He had to be doing God’s work (but most rejected Him and His work, as most still reject God’s true leaders and work today).

The next main item is the teaching about being born again. Details about this are in the article Born Again: A Question of Semantics?

The next one to mention is that God’s plan involving Jesus and humanity is about love. Jesus was also teaching that He came to die for all and not a few (see also Universal Offer of Salvation and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants ). And then Jesus finishes with telling that humans often love darkness and evil and that they hate the light, which is the truth. This is one reason why real Christians have long been subject to ridicule and persecution (see also Persecutions by Church and State).

Getting back to Nicodemus, he has further mention in scripture:

47 Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? 48 Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”

50 Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”

52 They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” (John 7:47-52)

38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby. (John 19:38-42)

So, Nicodemus even helped lay Jesus’ body in the tomb. This shows that after his encounter with Jesus in John 3, Nicodemus remained a believer.

Some believe that Josephus (a first century Jewish historian) mentioned this same Nicodemus in the following:

1. A Little afterward Pompey came to Damascus, and marched over Celesyria; at which time there came ambassadors to him from all Syria, and Egypt, and out of Judea also…2. In a little time afterward came ambassadors again to him, Antipater from Hyrcanus, and Nicodemus from Aristobulus; which last also accused such as had taken bribes; first Gabinius, and then Scaurus,—the one three hundred talents, and the other four hundred; by which procedure he made these two his enemies, besides those he had before. (Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. Book XIV, Chapter 3).

If this was the Nicodemus of scripture, it implies that he had a certain amount of influence when alive.

The Jewish Encyclopedia teaches this about him:

Nicodemus:

Prominent member of the Sanhedrin, and a man of wealth; lived in Jerusalem in the first century C.E. He is mentioned in John iii. 1-21, vii. 50, xix. 39. In the first of these passages he is represented as “a ruler of the Jews” who learned from Jesus what “rebirth by baptism” meant, as if that rabbinical term had been altogether unknown to him (but see Baptism and Birth, New). The second passage records how he made his visit to Jesus by night, in order that he might not be known as one of the latter’s disciples. In the third passage he and Joseph of Arimathæa are described as having taken charge of the body of Jesus in order to give it decent burial. That the man brought into such prominence in the fourth Gospel must havebeen a well-known figure of Jewish society at the time is evident. In all probability he is identical with the Talmudical Nicodemus ben Gorion, a popular saint noted for his miraculous powers; and this would explain also the reference to “heavenly things” in Jesus’ arguments with him (John iii. 12).

The apocalyptic Gospel of Nicodemus, which gives an account of Jesus before Pilate and the Sanhedrin, as well as of his death and resurrection, belongs to the third century, while the oldest extant manuscript of it dates from the twelfth. (Nicodemus. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11525-nicodemus_ viewed 08/03/13)

Notice that the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus was believed to have originated well after Nicodemus would have died and hence is not a true writing from him. There is also no reliable evidence that Nicodemus performed any miracles, but it is possible that God used him in that capacity.

Tradition holds that Nicodemus was later martyred, and that is possible, though not certain.

Nicodemus believed Jesus, stood up for following Him, and helped place Him in the tomb. His encounter with Jesus in John 3 presented the opportunity for Jesus to make various doctrinal statements that God wanted recorded for our time.

Do you truly understand what Jesus was teaching Nicodemus?

If you want to know more, some items of possibly related interest may include:

Do you know about Nicodemus? Nicodemus was a Pharisee who lived at the time of Jesus. Do you know what the Bible and other accounts teach about him?
Born Again: A Question of Semantics? Many Protestants use the term born-again. Do they know where the concept came from or does it matter? Are you born or begotten upon proper baptism?
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?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some persecutions that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted? This article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church.
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?

Sermon: Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014


10th Century Representation of Gospel Writer Luke

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce its latest sermon which is at its ContinuingCOG channel:

This is the sixth of a multi-part sermon series by Dr. Thiel covering the Gospel account credited to Luke. This sermon covers chapters 14 through 16. Dr.Thiel discusses the Sabbath, the invited, salt and the unpardonable sin, being willing to truly follow God, mammon, the parable of ‘the lost sheep,’ and the Rich man and Lazarus.

Here is a link to part one of this sermon series: Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the Census.

Here is a link to part two of this sermon series: Luke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the Mount.

Here is a link to part three of this sermon series: Luke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the Ministry.

Here is a link to part four of this sermon series: Luke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and Signs.

Here is a link to part five of this sermon series: Luke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow Way.

Here is a link to part six of this sermon series : Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son.
The Rich Man and Lazarus What was Jesus teaching in Luke 16?
Parable of the Mustard Seed Jesus told many parables. Why? What might this one mean?
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.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
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.

Former Catholic on reaching Catholics

Friday, August 1st, 2014


The ‘Mary’ in the Basilica of Mary Major That Pope Francis Prays Before (Photo by Joyce Thiel, June 2013)

COGwriter

Received a newsletter today from a former Catholic turned Protestant, named Mike Gendron, who wrote about reaching Catholics:

Many of the 70 million Catholics in America were born into their religion and have never examined their faith through the lens of Scripture. From infancy they are taught that salvation comes through their church as they merit saving grace through the sacraments and perform religious rituals and good works to be justified and re-justified. Roman Catholicism is often called the “plus” religion because of what it has added to the Gospel of grace. Catholic salvation is based on Jesus plus Mary,… Scripture plus tradition and the blood of Jesus plus purgatory…

As we witness to Catholics, we must persevere with patience to untangle the sticky web of religious indoctrination that holds them captive (Col. 2:8). Let us follow the instructions of Paul and “not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, and correcting opponents with gentleness.” We must pray for God to “grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth”, that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, who holds them captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:24-26).

The two most important biblical principles to remember as you witness are to: 1) establish Scripture as the supreme authority for truth (2 Tim. 3:15-17) and 2) proclaim the Lord Jesus as the all-sufficient Savior (Heb. 7:25; Acts 4:12).

I would state that the Church of Rome is also a subtract religion.  It subtracted the gospel of the Kingdom (which Protestants also do not teach), the biblical holy days (which Protestants also do not teach), the true Christian way of life (which Protestants also do not teach), etc.

However, it is true that those in the Church of Rome have added their version of ‘Mary’ into the salvation equation and that is clearly wrong.  Most Protestants do not do that, but even that has been changing with them as the ecumenical movement has gained ground (see also Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction!).

While it is important to emphasize to Catholics, and anyone else, the importance of scripture and the need for salvation through Jesus Christ, when discussing religious matters with Catholics, there are a few other points to mention.

One is history.  Catholics believe that since the reforming Protestants came out of the Church of Rome, that Protestantism could not possibly be the original faith.  On that point the Catholics of Rome are completely correct.

So, when discussing theology with Catholics, those in the Church of God sometimes should emphasize that:

  1. The Church of God is NOT Protestant (see Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism).
  2. The Church of God existed from the beginning with original apostolic teachings and doctrines that those associated with Rome have often changed (see Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).
  3. That the Church of God in Asia Minor was the predominant Christian church, before a compromising Greco-Roman confederacy formed (see The Ephesus Church Era and The Smyrna Church Era and What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?).  Catholics tend to be surprised to learn that the Apostle John was alive decades after the Apostle Peter died and hence often seem open to the fact that the Apostle John would not have been subservient to early claimed successors of Peter such as Linus.
  4. That many of the early leaders that the Church of Rome considers to be saints today held doctrines that agree more with the Continuing Church of God than the Church of Rome.
  5. That the Church of God, through the Apostle John to Polycarp has had the complete Bible from the beginning (see The Old Testament Canon and The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History).
  6. Many considered to be Catholic saints and leaders have held doctrinal and prophetic beliefs closer to those held by the Continuing Church of God than currently by the Vatican.
  7. That the Church of God can trace followers and beliefs from the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 to present (see The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 and Continuing History of the Church of God).

There are also other points, but the above list can serve as good starting points.

Catholics often do not realize that Marian veneration was NOT part of the original apostolic faith (see also Origin of the Marian Dogmas).

Those truly interested in the history of the true Christian church should study the free online booklet Continuing History of the Church of God as well as the articles, etc. we have available, and compare them to what the Bible itself proves.

Some items of related interest may include:

Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
Do you understand the ramifications of the ‘Lady of Guadalupe’? It is claimed that a female apparition appeared near Mexico City on December 12, 1531. How has it affected the world? What might it suggest about the future?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Feast of the Immaculate Conception? Did early Christians teach Mary had an immaculate conception and led a sinless life?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of a new 186 page book (in the print version). And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? What does the Bible say about a pope near this time? Is the final pope to be an antipope and antichrist? Does Catholic prophecy point to Pope Francis as being the dreaded “Peter the Roma”? This 186 page book provides information and answers. This book is available for USD$9.98 in printed form The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist? 1964 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! provides concerned Christians with enough Catholic-documented facts to effectively counter every false Marian argument. In addition to the print version, there is a Kindle version of Fatima Shock! which you can acquire in seconds.
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years. It also discusses the concept of church eras. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view?  Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches?  Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a version in the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?

Jesus, the Son of God and Savior

Friday, August 1st, 2014

COGwriter

The Bible refers to Jesus by various names and titles. And although the first chronological references written about Him are in the Hebrew scriptures, the ones that seem to most discuss Him prior to that are in the New Testament.

In response to a statement about His age made by some of the Jews:

58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58, NKJV throughout unless otherwise specified)

The term “I AM” was part of the Divine Name in the Old Testament. When Jesus said He was “I AM,” He was telling people that He predated creation.

Notice also the following:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-4).

While some unitarians do not like the above passage (and some of their objections are dealt with in the article ), the simply truth is that Jesus was called the Word and He became flesh.

The New Testament is clear that Jesus predated the physical creations:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:15-18)

While some trinitarians improperly claim that Jesus was fully human and fully divine while on the earth in the flesh (see Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?), this is not what the Bible teaches. Notice two passages that should make that clear for those willing to believe the Bible over traditions of men:

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

5 For, let this mind be in you that [is] also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, thought [it] not robbery to be equal to God, 7 but did empty himself, the form of a servant having taken, in the likeness of men having been made, 8 and in fashion having been found as a man, he humbled himself…(Philippians 2:5-8a, Young’s Literal Translation)

Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity when He physically came into the womb Mary. An article of related interest may be Jesus is God, But Became Flesh.

The Apostle Paul makes clear that Jesus was God in the Old Testament as well as the New:

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. (1 Corinthians 10:1-5)

7 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:7).

9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).

It is only through the name of Jesus that we can be saved:

10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)

4 And you shall know no God but Me; For there is no savior besides Me. (Hosea 13:4)

Jesus is the Saviour.

Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Did Jesus teach and keep the Ten Commandments? Why is the kingdom of God mystery? Why did Jesus speak in parables? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? What did Josephus, Tactitus, and Suetonius write? How will Jesus return? Could the Beast be a ‘false christ’?

There is sermon by the Continuing Church of God titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour. and it addresses those questions and more.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
What is the Holy Spirit? This is an article by Rod Reynolds.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a shorter article than the Binitarian View article, but has a little more information on binitarianism.

BNP Video: Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is produced a video about concerns about pornography on our YouTube channel called Bible New Prophecy.

Does the Bible teach anything about pornography? Did Jesus and Paul teach anything about it? What are some of the issues and problems associated with pornography? What do the scriptures teach about how a woman should dress? What is the difference between soft and hard core pornography? What did Barack Obama say about Beyoncé? Should people like Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez appear as they often do?

This YouTube video answers those questions and more. Here is a link to the YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?

Some items of related interest may include:

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-lands. What are some of the consequences?
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Edition for Second Obama Term This is a 160 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Barack Obama and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled (which the book documents in detail) and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also has a chapter about a Republican choice. This book is available to order at www.barackobamaprophecy.com. The physical book can also be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Barack Obama Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Kenyan, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Republican Leaders? Second Edition for Second Obama Term.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition.

35% of Americans have debts turned over to collection agencies

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

COGwriter

A new report claims that 35% of USA Americans have debts which have been turned over to collection agencies:

July 29, 2014

WASHINGTON —

More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

These consumers fall behind on credit cards or hospital bills. Their mortgages, auto loans or student debt pile up, unpaid. Even past-due gym membership fees or cellphone contracts can end up with a collection agency, potentially hurting credit scores and job prospects, said Caroline Ratcliffe, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank.

“Roughly, every third person you pass on the street is going to have debt in collections,” Ratcliffe said. “It can tip employers’ hiring decisions, or whether or not you get that apartment.”

The study found that 35.1 percent of people with credit records had been reported to collections for debt that averaged $5,178, based on September 2013 records…

Wages have barely kept up with inflation during the five-year recovery, according to Labor Department figures. And a separate measure by Wells Fargo found that after-tax income fell for the bottom 20 percent of earners during the same period.  http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2024187331_apxdebtstudy.html

In the covetous American society, it is little wonder that debt is such a problem.  Of course, this is a problem both for individuals who are in debt and the USA as a whole, as it is in debt more than any nation in the history of humanity.

Debt was prophesied as a curse for disobedience.  Notice a few scriptures:

43 The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. 45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed…47 “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. 51 And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you. 52 They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you (Deuteronomy 28:42-45,47-52).

7 The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)

6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him, And a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases What is not his–how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges’? 7 Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, All the remnant of the people shall plunder you. Because of men’s blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it. 9 “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high, That he may be delivered from the power of disaster! 10 You give shameful counsel to your house, Cutting off many peoples, And sin against your soul. 11 For the stone will cry out from the wall, And the beam from the timbers will answer it. (Habakkuk 2:6-11)

As far as the report that real income has not risen in the five years since the USA has supposedly been in economic recovery, let me simply state that since the USA began to legalize abortion, the financial standard of living of its people overall has stagnated, as opposed to increasing as it had previously.  Notice some related comments:

In real terms, as mentioned above, US growth in the 21st century seems to have fallen back to medieval levels. Why?…Because the economy failed to produce real growth. After 1973, wages, for example, adjusted for inflation, went nowhere. (Bonner B. Economic Growth in the Internet Age. Daily Reckoning, June 23, 2011)

The typical working stiff earns less real money today than he did 40 years ago. (Bonner B. Economic Long Live the 1%. Daily Reckoning, November 25, 2011)

Coincidence or curse? The reality is that prior to abortions becoming “legalized” in the late 1960s and then nationally in 1973, most people in the USA seemed to understand that it was not wise to consume more than you produce. Now, with more abortion and less understanding of other basic biblically-supported economic concepts, a culture that accepts this type of debt and living off of others has flourished. But it will NOT last.

Additionally, the various court/political decisions this week related to homosexual marriage in states such as Virginia and North Carolina only add the sins of the USA and its risk of destruction as Romans 1:18-32 point out.  Add to that increased societal acceptance of various forms of pornography, and the recipe for disaster is being concocted.

Many seemingly believe that the USA will not suffer total collapse, but they are in error. The Bible teaches that event the nation with the strongest military will be taken over (cf. Daniel 11:39), and that will occur sometime in the 21st century (for details, see Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? and Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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?
Abortion, the Bible, and a Woman’s Right to Choose Do you know what the Bible teaches on this? Has the Roman Catholic Church allowed abortions? What about the real Church of God? Some may also, or instead, wish to view the YouTube video Abortion, the Bible, and US Debt.
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?
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?
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2021 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up?
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’?
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?
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?
Canada in Prophecy: What Does Bible Prophecy, Catholic Prophecy, and other Predictions Suggest About the Future of Canada? There are prophecies that suggest involvement with Canada. And many are not positive about its future.
Protestant and Church of God views of the United States in Bible Prophecy Is the USA mentioned in Bible prophecy? Some Protestants say yes, while others say no. What does the Bible really teach? Learn the truth about this. There is also a video available: Is The United States Mentioned In Bible Prophecy?
Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians. We all know the Bible prophecies famines. Should we do something? Here is a version in the Spanish language Escrituras sobre Preparación física para los Cristianos.
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Just What Do You Mean the Kingdom of God? A booklet that was written by Herbert Armstrong answers questions about the Kingdom.
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West?
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Edition for Second Obama Term This is a 160 page book for people truly interested in prophecies related to Barack Obama and the United States, including learning about many that have already been fulfilled (which the book documents in detail) and those that will be fulfilled in the future. It also has a chapter about a Republican choice. This book is available to order at www.barackobamaprophecy.com. The physical book can also be purchased at Amazon from the following link: Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States: Is Barack Obama Fulfilling Biblical, Islamic Catholic, Kenyan, and other America-Related Prophecies? What About Republican Leaders? Second Edition for Second Obama Term.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition. This electronic version is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States-Second Term-Amazon Kindle edition.

Zephaniah said to ‘gather together’

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014


Imagined Depiction of Zephaniah (center) Speaking

COGwriter

“The prophet Zephaniah lived and wrote about 630 B.C.” (Armstrong HW. The Proof of the Bible, 1958) during the time of Josiah, king of Judah (Zephaniah 2:1).

God inspired the Prophet Zephaniah to write the following:

1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, (Zephaniah 2:1)

Although it has certain misunderstandings, the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary realized that the gathering together was intended for a religious group or assembly:

Zephaniah 2:1

Gather yourselves together – to a religious assembly, to avert the judgment by prayers, (Joel 2:16, “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders,” etc.)  (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

When are they to gather together?

2 Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you! (Zephaniah 2:2)

The gathering is to take place will before the day of the Lord (which happens about 2 1/2 years after the Great Tribulation of Matthew 24:21 begins) and before some type of decree is issued.

Who does God want to gather together?

The end time Christians.  Notice what Jesus stated and something the Apostle Peter wrote:

19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19, NKJV)

9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10, KJV)

This is a peculiar people.  These are people who the world does not desire.  These are Philadelphian Christians.

How do we know that Zephaniah 2:1-3 is related to Christians?  Because the decree is for the end time and because of what else God inspired Zephaniah to write:

3 Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. (Zephaniah 2:3a)

The above is a reference to Christians as they are to be the “meek of the earth” (Matthew 5:5) and to Philadelphians who “have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility.”  These are Philadelphian Christians who understand that church leaders need to have integrity and are willing to be humble enough to accept the authority of a church led by a low-level prophet in the absence of a clear apostle (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-15).  They are humble enough to not think that they should remain ‘independent,’ as many who once were part of the old Worldwide Church of God, during this Laodicean time, have done.

Why does God tell them they may wish to be gathered together? So:

3…It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:3b)

Interestingly, the Hebrew words translated as Zephaniah means “Yahweh Hides” or “Yahweh Has Hidden” (Holy Bible: Vine’s Expository Reference Edition, p. 826).

Why have I written that Zephaniah 2:1-3 has to do with Philadelphian Christians?

For they are the only ones who will actually ‘gather together’ as they should.

Why?

Because it is they who will lead the final phase of the work and it is only to the Philadelphians that Jesus promises to protect from the coming hour of trial, also referred to as the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord:

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:  8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.  9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.  10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘  (Revelation 3:7-13)

Notice that the Philadelphians are doing the work of God, have kept God’s word, have not denied Christ’s name/authority, and are persevering in the truth.

Yet, other churches around at the end, such as the remnants of Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) and Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) are not promised that protection.  Nor are the many Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-22)–even if they are somehow gathered together–as they have gathered together in places that Jesus did not wish them to.

Are not all real Christians going to be protected?

No.  The Book of Revelation is clear that after the Philadelphians are persecuted (cf. Daniel 7:25a; 11:29-36), that group will flee to a place of protection, while the rest of the true Christians will not flee and then be subject to severe persecution:

13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child.  14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:13-17)

What kind of decree will be issued?

A decree that may allow those who are gathered together and who listen to it an opportunity to be protected (Zephaniah 2:1-3).  A decree that the Philadelphians will listen to and flee.

When is a decree to be issued?  After an event that Jesus told of that He tied to the writings of the Prophet Daniel:

15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), (Matthew 24:15)

14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), (Mark 13:14a)

What did Jesus say happens next?

16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.  18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.  19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!  20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.  21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:16-21)

Notice also:

5 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:

“Blow the trumpet in the land;
Cry, ‘Gather together,’
And say, ‘Assemble yourselves,
And let us go into the fortified cities.’
6 Set up the standard toward Zion.
Take refuge! Do not delay!
For I will bring disaster from the north,
And great destruction.” (Jeremiah 4:5-6)

The decree to ‘gather together’ will be repeated in the area of Judah just before the time of great destruction.

Why a decree?

Apparently, to make it easier for people who read what Jesus said to better be able to understand that Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 and Daniel 9:27b and Daniel 11:31 had been fulfilled.

By whom will the decree be made?

The Bible says:

7 Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
8 A lion has roared!
Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken!
Who can but prophesy?  (Amos 3:7-8)

The prophet may make the decree personally and/or pass it on to another authority in the church to make.

Who is the only Church of God in the 21st century to teach all of this?

The Continuing Church of God.

If you are not with the group that is leading the  final phase of the work will you not be able to flee if you wait until the last moment? While that may be remotely possible for some, remember that God inspired Zephaniah to admonish God’s people to ‘gather together…before the decree is issued.’

Most will discount this and many will scoff.  Most COGs do not have any when considered to be a prophet, and those other than CCOG who claim to, have prophets that have been proven to be false (e.g. PCG, CGPFKG, TPM).

Furthermore, I read a post recently from a CCOG scoffer who picked at the very idea that one should suggest that a COG is Philadelphian and those part of such a COG will have be subject to being protected in a place of safety.

He and many others do not realize how important Jesus taught paying attentions to world events and prophecy is.  Notice something Jesus taught:

34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.  35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.  36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.“  (Luke 21:34-36)

Notice Jesus said to watch and pray ALWAYS.  He was referring to prophetic matters. THIS CAME FROM JESUS, BUT MANY SCOFF AT PROPHECY for differing reasons (cf. 2 Peter 3:1-7)–yet being a prophetic scoffer is a mistake (cf. 2 Peter 3:8-9).

Jesus realized that if people did not pay attention to prophecy and pray alway, they would not properly take the steps to “be counted worthy to escape all these things.”  Yes, God uses prophecy as a motivator for people.  Remember that God used Jonah to warn Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-4) and they repented (Jonah 3:5-9), and they did not get the punishment they were going to get then (Jonah 3:10).

Jesus specifically told the Laodiceans, in a prophecy, that they needed to repent (Revelation 3:19) or face consequences (Revelation 3:14-19, and that they would be rewarded for doing so (Revelation 3:20).  The Laodiceans are Church of God Christians “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).

Many COG groups no longer officially teach the idea of “church eras,” and various ones also teach against it (though many are silent about them).  Those that are unwilling to accept the idea of church eras, have tended to misunderstand Jesus’ teachings to the seven churches and will, unless they change, not accept the related truths today.  Many do not realize that not teaching church eras was one of the first changes in doctrine implemented by the Tkach Administration after the death of Herbert Armstrong (see The 18 Restored Truths: Do You Know What the First Changes the Tkach Administration Made?).

Of course, the old Worldwide Church of God clearly did teach church eras.  Notice one related quote from the late Herbert W. Armstrong:

“Greetings, everybody! This afternoon I want to speak on the mission of the Philadelphia Era of the Church, this Church today in comparison to the first era of the Church, the Ephesus Era of the Church. It’s been seeming more and more to me, as the years go by, that the Bible was written primarily for the Philadelphia Era of the Church…Today’s mission of the Church you will find in Matthew 24:14. And this gospel of the kingdom…that is the same gospel that Jesus preached…shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”(Armstrong HW. Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era, December 17, 1983)

The Continuing Church of God has the same mission and the same commitment to fulfilling Matthew 24:14 that Herbert Armstrong advocated.  Matthew 24:14 is a PROPHETIC MESSAGE and it does tie in with world news and the condition of the world.

Although many Laodiceans do believe in church eras and do believe that they should watch events related to biblical prophecy, sadly, they have compromised and accepted compromised leaders who, unless they repent, will not know when the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21) that will begin.  This is documented in the article The Laodicean Church Era.  Sadly, most lack the motivation and humility to make the necessary changes.

Notice also the following from the old Worldwide Church of God:

“Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger,” cried the Prophet Zephaniah (2:3).

A sermon-on-the-mount-type character is required. If you develop such Christlike character, the chances of your escaping the great tribulation are very good.

God’s anxiety for the physical welfare of His people is recorded by the Prophet Isaiah: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold [here is the reason for hiding], the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity …” (Isa. 26:20-21).

Notice that verse 21 ties right back into the Christian’s prophetic responsibility: watching significant world events individually (and warning the world as a Church) as well as praying to be worthy to escape the punishments of God on this sick and dying world.

Watch! (Schroeder JR. Christ the Revelator. Good News, 1975)

The old WCG taught that Zephaniah had to do with being protected, yet few teach that today.

Since no later that 2007 (see Will Many Not Expect The End?) I have written that Zephaniah had to do with Philadelphians being ‘gathered together’ so that they would be protected from the coming trial that will hit the earth.

We in the Continuing Church of God “have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV).”

Should we not be “exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25)?

We in the Continuing Church of God boldly teach the need for Philadelphians to be ‘gathering together’ today.  Will you heed God’s instructions as the Prophet Zephaniah was inspired to write?  Would you possibly like to be protected?  If so, will you ‘gather together’?

A new, and related YouTube video, is available: Zephaniah’s ‘Gather Together’ Prophecy.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety?  Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
This is PETRA! This is a 1962 Good News article by the late Dr. Hoeh.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2014, 2015, or 2016? 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 2013 o 2014? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.
Elijah: Past and Prophesied Information about the original Elijah and some information about the Elijah-related prophecies.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong?
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets, yet many overlook what the Bible teaches about how to recognize a true one. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? This article contains a scripture-based checklist to assist with this determination.
How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God This is a sermon on YouTube addressing a subject that most in the Church of God do not seem to have looked into very much. It discusses scriptures and dispels some improper assertions that some associated with the COG have made about prophets in this time.
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing?  This is a sermonette length video.