Archive for the ‘Religious News’ Category

The Catholic Encyclopedia on Christmas

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Scans by Volume

COGwriter

Most who profess Christianity, as well as many who do not, now celebrate the holiday known as Christmas.  It is a holiday endorsed and promoted by the Church of Rome.  Since it is not enjoined in the Bible, do Roman Catholic scholars realize where it and many of its symbols came from?

Yes, they do.

The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches that:

Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church (Martindale C. Transcribed by Susanti A. Suastika. Christmas. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The above is true.  Early Christians did not celebrate Christmas, and to this day those faithful in Church of God groups such as the Continuing Church of God still do not celebrate it.

Where Did December 25th Come From?

Since 25th is not specified in the Bible, where did it come from?

December 25th was observed as the birthday of the sun as part of the ancient Roman festival called Saturnalia.  It was also the alleged date of the birthday of the pagan sun-god Mithras (sometimes also spelled Mithra).

Notice the following from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Constantine the Great… Constantine can rightfully claim the title of Great, for he turned the history of the world into a new course and made Christianity…the religion of the State… it is easy to understand that many of the emperors yielded to the delusion that they could unite all their subjects in the adoration of the one sun-god who combined in himself the Father-God of the Christians and the much-worshipped Mithras; thus the empire could be founded anew on unity of religion. Even Constantine…cherished this mistaken belief… Could not Sol Deus Invictus, to whom even Constantine dedicated his coins for a long time, or Sol Mithras Deus Invictus, venerated by Diocletian and Galerius, become the supreme god of the empire?  Constantine may have pondered over this. Nor had he absolutely rejected the thought even after a miraculous event had strongly influenced him in favour of the God of the Christians… It is true that the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas. Consequently Constantine speaks not of the day of the Lord, but of the everlasting day of the sun.  (Herbermann C., Georg Gp. Constantine the Great. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.  New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908).

Mithraism A pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-god Mithra. It entered Europe from Asia Minor after Alexander’s conquest, spread rapidly over the whole Roman Empire at the beginning of our era, reached its zenith during the third century, and vanished under the repressive regulations of Theodosius at the end of the fourth century…Helios Mithras is one god…Sunday was kept holy in honour of Mithra, and the sixteenth of each month was sacred to him as mediator. The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigours of the season (Arendzen J.  Mithraism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911).

The birthday of the sun god Mithras was what Emperor Constantine observed and he wanted his followers to observe. And it ended up getting officially adopted by the Greco-Roman bishops.

Furthermore, here is even more that The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches about Christmas:

Christmas…Irenaeus and Tertullian omit it from their lists of feasts; Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday; Arnobius (VII, 32 in P.L., V, 1264) can still ridicule the “birthdays” of the gods.

Alexandria. The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. About A.D. 200, Clement of Alexandria (Strom., I, xxi in P.G., VIII, 888) says that certain Egyptian theologians “over curiously” assign, not the year alone, but the day of Christ’s birth, placing it on 25 Pachon (20 May) in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus…

Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Asia Minor. In Cyprus, at the end of the fourth century, Epiphanius asserts against the Alogi (Hær., li, 16, 24 in P. G., XLI, 919, 931) that Christ was born on 6 January…

Rome. At Rome the earliest evidence is in the Philocalian Calendar (P. L., XIII, 675; it can be seen as a whole in J. Strzygowski, Kalenderbilder des Chron. von Jahre 354, Berlin, 1888), compiled in 354, which contains three important entries. In the civil calendar 25 December is marked “Natalis Invicti”…

By the time of Jerome and Augustine, the December feast is established, though the latter (Epp., II, liv, 12, in P.L., XXXIII, 200) omits it from a list of first-class festivals. From the fourth century every Western calendar assigns it to 25 December…

The Gospels. Concerning the date of Christ’s birth the Gospels give no help; upon their data contradictory arguments are based. The census would have been impossible in winter: a whole population could not then be put in motion…

Natalis Invicti. The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont’s epoch-making “Textes et Monuments” etc., I, ii, 4, 6, p. 355…The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in Cypr., “De pasch. Comp.”, xix, “O quam præclare providentia ut illo die quo natus est Sol . . . nasceretur Christus.” – “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born . . . Christ should be born.”… (Christmas, The Catholic Encyclopedia)

So, The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches that early leaders did not observe Christmas, that it was impossible that the census of Luke was done in the winter (hence it is impossible that Jesus was born on December 25th), and that compromise with paganism is the strongest source for the date of December 25th being selected.

What About the Symbols Associated with Christmas?

While it is clear that December 25th came from paganism and not the Bible, what about the symbols associated with Christmas?

The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:

Cards and presents. Pagan customs centering round the January calends gravitated to Christmas…

The yule log. The calend fires were a scandal even to Rome, and St. Boniface obtained from Pope Zachary their abolition (Martindale C. Christmas, 1908).

Hence it is clear that even early Roman writers such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen did not endorse Christmas, nor did Augustine even list it as an important holiday. And that even later Catholic sources recognize that it is not logical that a census (as shown in Luke 2:1) would be done during the winter–making a December 25th date of birth unlikely (it was also too cold for shepherds to spend the night with their flocks out in an open field, as shown in Luke 2:8, making a December 25th birth basically impossible).

It should also be noted that wreaths, according to the one-time Roman Catholic supporter Tertullian, were part of pagan celebrations in the early portion of winter.  He warned against their use, but they were adopted as well by those who observe Christmas.

Notice also something that Cesare Baronius, a ‘venerable’ Catholic of the 16th century, wrote:

If the candles which were formerly distributed at the Saturnalia are now identified with the feast of the Purification of our Lady? What, I ask, is there so surprising if holy bishops have allowed certain customs firmly rooted among pagan peoples, and so tenaciously adhered to by them that even after their conversion to Christianity they could not be induced to surrender them, to be transferred to the worship of the true God?” (Baronius, “Annales”, ad ann. 58, n. 77). (as cited in Thurston, Herbert. ”Lights.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. Nihil Obstat.October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.21 Dec. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09244b.htm>)

Thus, Baronius basically said that Saturnalia lights are a pagan practice, yet using them is acceptable.  Christmas is basically a repackaged form of the pagan holiday called Saturnalia.  It was adopted because of compromise with paganism.

Yet even the Rheims‘ version of the New Testament (a Catholic approved translation) states the following:

15. And what agreement with Christ and Belial? or what part hath the faithful with the infidel? 16. And what agreement hath the temple of God with Idols? For you are the temple of the living God. as God saith, Then I will dwell, and walk in them, and will be their God: and they shall be my people. 17. For the which cause, Go out of the midst of them, and separate yourselves. saith our Lord, and touch not the unclean: and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:15-17, The Original And True Rheims New Testament Of Anno Domini 1582. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William von Peters, Ph.D. Copyright © 1998, Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2004, copyright assigned to VSC Corp.).

Notice that unclean practices associated with idols are prohibited by God. Does not that include celebrating as the idolaters celebrate?

The Roman Saturnalia and the Persian Mithraism themselves were adaptations of an even earlier pagan religion – that of the ancient Babylonian mystery cult.  The ancient Babylonians celebrated the reborn Nimrod as the newborn Tammuz by worshipping an evergreen tree.  The Babylonians also celebrated this rebirth during the season of the winter solstice.  Jeremiah condemns ancient Israel for copying this type of paganism, and and condemned the the pagan use of trees in Jeremiah 10:2-4 and the evergreen tree in Jeremiah 3:13.

To take this a step further, notice that using green trees as part of worship was condemned by God thousands of years ago:

2 ‘You must completely destroy all the places where the nations you dispossess have served their gods, on high mountains, on hills, under any spreading tree; 3 you must tear down their altars, smash their sacred stones, burn their sacred poles, hack to bits the statues of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. (Deuteronomy 12:2-3, New Jerusalem Bible, NJB, a Catholic translation)

2 Destroy all the places in which the nations, that you shall possess, worshipped their gods upon high mountains, and hills, and under every shady tree: 3 Overthrow their altars, and break down their statues, burn their groves with fire, and break their idols in pieces: destroy their names out of those places. 4 You shall not do so to the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 12:2-4, DOT, a Catholic translation).

16 Beware lest perhaps your heart be deceived, and you depart from our Lord, and serve strange Gods, and adore them (Deuteronomy 11:16, DOT).

9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee, beware lest thou have a mind to imitate the abominations of those nations…12 For the Lord abhorreth all these things, and for these abominations he will destroy them at thy coming. (Deuteronomy 18:9,12, DOT)

24 God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24, NJB)

Catholic translations of the Bible show that spreading shady trees, like evergreens, were not to be part of the worship of the true God–and that people should not be deceived and serve such strange practice or other pagan practices. The truth is that Christmas reminds us that people are often unwilling to worship God as He intended, but instead often prefer pagan substitutes that they rationalize as somehow acceptable if they pretend the holiday is about Jesus.

Catholic Scholars Know

The ‘modern’ Rheims Bible teaches:

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)

Catholic scholars know that Christmas did not come from the Bible, that December 25th was an ancient pagan birthday celebration, and that many of the trappings associated with Christmas come from pagan sources.

But they and their church endorse its observance anyway.   They are knowingly deceiving themselves.

Those who truly believe Jesus’ words, “Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, NJB) will not celebrate a compromised pagan holiday such as Christmas because it contains practices and symbols warned against in the Bible and was never enjoined upon true believers to practice.

We in the Continuing Church of God do not celebrate Christmas.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god?
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?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

BibleNewsProphecy: World Council of Churches’ Peace Plan

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce our latest video on our Bible New Prophecy YouTube channel:

ago

The World Council of Churches (WCC) announced that launched an Ecumenical Peace Advocacy Network to build a just and sustainable peace, engaging churches, ecumenical organizations and civil society. The WCC claims to have over 300 member churches representing 500 million people. The Church of Rome is an official observer, but not a member. The WCC also has ties with the United Nations. Will the WCC plan bring real peace? Will a false and temporal peace be attained? When does the Bible teach that true unity will take place? Does it warn about a Babylonian unity that Jesus will destroy?

NOTE: The NJB verses for Zechariah 2:10-16 cited in the video are shown as Zechariah 2:6-13 in the NKJV/KJV.

A written article of related interest is titled: World Council of Churches launches global peace network with UN interest.

Here is a link to our video: World Council of Churches’ Peace Plan

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are? The Orthodox claim to be the ‘Church of the Seven Councils,’ including two Councils held in Nicea, but the Church of God holds a different view.
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.
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? As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, also watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics
Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction?
Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against?
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced many YouTube videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. And you can find them at that channel.

Despite obstacles, Vatican pushing inter-faith and ecumenical agendas

Friday, December 19th, 2014


Ecumenical Service

COGwriter

The Vatican is pushing forward with its inter-faith and ecumenical plans, while it acknowledges that there are obstacles:

December 19, 2014

Vatican City - The president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue believes the Pope’s actions promoting interreligious dialogue in Turkey were both simple and clear. …

When asked for his reaction to the Pope’s visit to Turkey, he noted it was “very significant” for him personally, especially being responsible for interreligious dialogue.

“I think the Pope has been very clear. Simple and clear,” he said.

“What is important to make people understand,” he said, “is that we cannot be happy the one without the others. And never the one against the others.”

Responding to how dialogue with Muslims was promoted during the visit, the French cardinal stressed, “There was dialogue, but it’s very discreet, I should say.”

“Because there’s a tiny Christian community,” he noted, the dialogue is not as obvious, but it still exists. “It’s just not as elaborated like in Europe or the Middle East.”

He said Pope Francis having met with the Chief Rabbi in Turkey could be seen as increased interreligious dialogue with Jews. However, he added that even with the Pope’s efforts, “It’s not easy to make the three monotheistic religions be in dialogue.”  http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/cardinal-tauran-we-cannot-be-happy-one-without-against-the-others

December 18, 2014
Pope Francis says that despite open questions in ecumenical dialogue, Christians should not resign themselves to a lack of unity and should instead “concentrate on the next step possible.”

The Pope said this today in an address to representatives of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Germany and the Ecumenical Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference during their ecumenical visit to Rome.

The Pope reminded them that the common goal is unity and we shouldn’t let theological differences halt the “common ecumenical journey” taking place.

“Let us not forget that, together, we are following a path of friendship, of mutual esteem and of theological research, a path that makes us look to the future full of hope,” the Pope underscored.

The official dialogue between Lutherans and Catholics, after almost 50 years of intensive work, Francis noted, has achieved remarkable progress. …

The Pope acknowledged that “the common objective of the full and visible unity of Christians sometimes seems to be distant due to the different interpretations, within the dialogue, on what the Church is and her unity.” …

“Ecumenical dialogue can no longer be separated from the reality and the life of our Churches.,” he said, noting both religions should be encouraged to, with God and the Spirit’s help, “further steps towards unity and not to limit ourselves simply to what we have already achieved.” http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-on-ecumenism-despite-what-s-unresolved-let-s-focus-on-next-steps

The type of ecumenical and inter-faith plans that the Vatican is working on WILL NOT RESULT THE TYPE OF UNITY THAT THE BIBLE ENDORSES.  The reality is that TRUTH is being discarded when it is not considered to be politically-expedient.

The Lutherans and Catholic have resolved many of their differences, ignored some of their own histories, and are poised for greater unity.  Such unity will happen, but it is not endorsed by the Bible.  Those who do not have the ‘love of the truth’ are prophesied to accept it when certain events occur:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

When the events predicted above come to pass, some will erroneously claim that it is because of God’s Spirit that certain signs are occurring and that God blesses that type of unity.  Some may fall for apparitions claimed to be Mary or other such lying wonders (see Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).

But those who fall for this movement will be in error.

The Bible is clear that a group of churches, led by one from the city of seven hills, is to be avoided and will end in disaster (Revelation 17:1-10,18).

The Bible does not teach that Christians will have the type of unity that the Vatican claim to want UNTIL AFTER THE FALL OF BABYLON (Zechariah 2:12-16).

The Bible tells that the ecumenical/inter-faith movement will also end in destruction (Revelation 18 & 19). This is not something that Catholics or the Eastern Orthodox should want (see also Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox?).

Only the return of Jesus Christ and the millennial kingdom will bring the true type of unity that the world needs. The Vatican is pushing for a type of unity that will end in disaster according to the Bible.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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?
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.
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? watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! and World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? A related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
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?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2015, 2016, or 2017? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2014 o 2015? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? Former Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is now Pope Francis. According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis 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 be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? Could a Jesuit be “the black pope”?
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?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. A related sermon link would be Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

CT on December 25th and Christmas

Friday, December 19th, 2014


Solis Invicti coin (Jastrow)

COGwriter

While I have tended to have articles about how the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics have viewed Christmas, a reader sent me something that was ran long ago in the misnamed publication Christianity Today. Here are some excerpts:

The month and day of Christ’s birth have been hotly disputed for centuries. For the church’s first three centuries, Christmas wasn’t in December—or on the calendar at all.

By Elesha Coffman

It’s very tough for us North Americans to imagine Mary and Joseph trudging to Bethlehem in anything but, as Christina Rosetti memorably described it, “the bleak mid-winter,” surrounded by “snow on snow on snow.” To us, Christmas and December are inseparable. But for the first three centuries of Christianity, Christmas wasn’t in December—or on the calendar anywhere.

If observed at all, the celebration of Christ’s birth was usually lumped in with Epiphany (January 6)…Some church leaders even opposed the idea of a birth celebration. Origen (c.185-c.254) preached that it would be wrong to honor Christ in the same way Pharaoh and Herod were honored. Birthdays were for pagan gods…

Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215) favored May 20 but noted that others had argued for April 18, April 19, and May 28. Hippolytus (c.170-c.236) championed January 2. November 17, November 20, and March 25 all had backers as well. A Latin treatise written around 243 pegged March 21, because that was believed to be the date on which God created the sun…The eventual choice of December 25, made perhaps as early as 273…December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman “birth of the unconquered sun”), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian “Sun of Righteousness” whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers. The winter solstice, another celebration of the sun, fell just a few days earlier. Seeing that pagans were already exalting deities with some parallels to the true deity, church leaders decided to commandeer the date and introduce a new festival.

Western Christians first celebrated Christmas on December 25 in 336, after Emperor Constantine had declared Christianity the empire’s favored religion. Eastern churches, however, held on to January 6 as the date for Christ’s birth and his baptism. Most easterners eventually adopted December 25, celebrating Christ’s birth on the earlier date and his baptism on the latter, but the Armenian church celebrates his birth on January 6…

The pagan origins of the Christmas date, as well as pagan origins for many Christmas customs (gift-giving and merrymaking from Roman Saturnalia; greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year; Yule logs and various foods from Teutonic feasts), have always fueled arguments against the holiday. “It’s just paganism wrapped with a Christian bow,” naysayers argue.

Truly, real Christians did not celebrate Christmas. It was added as a compromise with those that worshiped the sun god. Its symbols are not Christian, they are pagan. Despite the fact that church leaders knew this, many of the compromised church adopted it. It has long been a difference between those in the true Church of God and those in the world’s churches.

The true Church of God never celebrated Christmas. Those of the Greco-Roman-Protestant faiths, eventually did, and still do. There are, of course, others (like the Jehovah’s Witnesses) that do not celebrate it.

But it truly is such a popular holiday that it is easy to show that most people really do not care about its pagan origins and observe it anyway.

However, since Protestants (officially at least) have claimed ‘sola scriptura‘ (the idea that doctrine is supposed to only come from the Bible), the hypocrisy of Protestants keeping Christmas should be obvious.

Actually, this is one of the Roman Catholic criticisms of Protestantism–that while Protestants claim sola scriptura, they in reality rely on many of the same non-biblical/pagan traditions that the Church of Rome does as well.

So, if you are Protestant, claim to believe in sola scriptura, and keep Christmas, you should ask yourself how you can justify the contradiction. Of course, most will ignore the obvious. But you do not have to.

For those of us in the Continuing Church of God, the decision to not observe Christmas is simply and obvious. We do not wish to learn the way of the heathen nor adopt truly heathen practices. The Bible teaches:

2″Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.” (Jeremiah 10:2-5, NIV).

29 When the Lord thy God shall have destroyed before thy face the nations, that thou enterest in to possess, and thou shalt possess them, and dwell in their land: 30 beware left thou imitate them, after they be subverted at thy entering in, and thou require their ceremonies, saying: As these nations have worshipped their Gods, so will I also worship. 31 Thou shalt not do in like manner to the Lord thy God. For all the abominations, that our Lord doeth abhor, have they done to their Gods, offering their sons and daughters, and burning them with fire (Deuteronomy 12:29-31, DOT).

Notice what the NKJV version of the New Testament (a Protestant-made translation) states the following about going along with pagan practices:

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”

17 Therefore

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 ‘I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

So unclean practices associated with idols are prohibited by God. Does not that include celebrating as the idolaters celebrate?

Real Christians are to be separate from those who compromise and church history shows that historically there were always two groups–the faithful and the compromisers (see also Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries?).

Christmas on December 25th, at best, is a compromise. But it also takes people away from God as it distorts God’s plan of salvation and does not truly honor Jesus Christ.

Protestants may disagree, but their disagreements tend to be based upon emotion and tradition, not the actual word of God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
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.
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.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they? A related sermon is titled Tradition and Scripture.
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?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
How did December 25th become Christmas? Was Jesus born then? If not, why December 25? Here is the article translated into Mandarin Chinese 12月25日最后是怎么被许多基督的信仰者采纳的.
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a sermon titled What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
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?
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?
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.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church?

German anti-Islamization marches highlight concerns

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

COGwriter

Some in Germany have held marches protesting the Islamization of Germany, with more protesting planned.   Minister for Foreign Affairs gave a speech reminiscent of one given in support of the rise of the so-called Third Reich. A reader just sent me the following:

‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Published December 17, 2014

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. http://www.voanews.com/media/video/anti-islamization-marches-increase-tensions-in-germany/2562335.html

PEGIDA, a German abbreviation for “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West” …

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces challenges from allies and rivals to confront a rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment driving increasingly popular anti-Islam marches in the city of Dresden every Monday.

With thousands expected at the next march, Merkel is in a dilemma. Her security officials are warning of an increase in hate crimes, while opinion polls show support for the marchers’ calls for a tougher German immigration policy.

“There is a visible rise in xenophobic crime countrywide,” police chief Holger Muench told Welt am Sonntag, which like most German Sunday newspapers focused on Monday’s march by a group calling itself PEGIDA – an acronym for “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West”.

There has been a spike in both anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiment this year, with right-wingers joining football hooligans to fight Salafist Muslims and a spate of attacks on Jews. At the same time, with record levels of immigration, Germany has become Europe’s biggest recipient of asylum-seekers.  http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2014/12/15/chancellor-merkel-in-dilemma-as-german-anti-islam-marches-gain-support/

The group leading this movement in Germany is called PEGIDA.  I went to its website and tried to machine-translate information there.  Basically, it seems to believe that police-funding to control immigrants is insufficient, the bureaucracy associated with immigrants needs reform, too many Islamic immigrants have been allowed to stay in Europe, that Muslim immigrants hate women, and many in Islam pose threats to Europe. PEGIDA is against the implementation of ‘sharia’ and wants to protect the ‘Christian’ Western culture.

It also plans to hold some type of event next Monday, December 22, 2014 according to the banner I copied from its site and placed at the start of this article.

PEGIDA says it is against hate. Now, I included the following below because they machine-translated better into English than many of other stances of PEGIDA did:

PEGIDA ist GEGEN Radikalismus egal ob religiös oder politisch motiviert!

PEGIDA is AGAINST radicalism whether religious or politically motivated!

PEGIDA ist GEGEN Hassprediger, egal welcher Religion zugehörig

PEGIDA is AGAINST preachers of hate, no matter what religion.

Protests against Islam are not unexpected. Long time readers of this page may recall the following in posts in years past:

Europe is starting to get fed-up with Islam.  And this is an arena where the EU differs from the USA–the USA would be loathed against such a ban (and this would not be expected to be possible in places like Southern California)–but Europe has a different view. (Belgium To Ban the Burka?. April 1, 2010)

France has also indicated it would like to eliminate burkas, while Switzerland voted to ban the construction of more minarets last Fall (see Switzerland Votes to Ban Minarets)

A divide between Islam and the nominally-Christian Europe is going to become more and more real.  Though there will be apparent cooperation (cf. Psalm 83; Daniel 11:27), the two will turn against each other (Daniel 11:40-43).  (France Begins Burqa Ban. April 11, 2011)

The reality is that most Germans do not consider that Islam is part of Germany.  The stage is being set for a more forceful German leader (perhaps Karl Guttenberg) to rise up and take this to the next level.  If, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared, multiculturalism is a total failure and those from Islamic countries will not totally integrate, the next step may be to insist they integrate or leave. (Germany’s Merkel: Multiculturalism a Total Failure. October 18, 2010)

The reality is that throughout Europe anti-Islamic sentiment is rising up and the Netherlands seems to also plan on banning veils or burqas (Headscarf debate returns to spotlight in Europe. http://africa.ibtimes.com/articles/67932/20101002/headscarf-veil-islamic-muslim-veil-france-netherlands-turkey-ban.htm). (Netherlands Having Political Change. October 4, 2010)

Furthermore, it may partially because of civil war/unrest/riots/austerity that a significant de-Islamization of Europe will take place. The situation in Europe will change and the leader known biblically as the ten-horned Beast or the final King of the North will rise up, irrespective of the accuracy of any other predictions. Civil unrest in Europe combined with the rise of a militaristic leader is also consistent with various biblical prophecies. (France arrests 19 suspected Islamic terrorists: What’s next?. March 30, 2012)

World events are moving towards the fulfillment of properly understood biblical prophecy.  There will be more protests against Islam in Germany, France, and other parts of Europe.

Catholic prophecy tells of a time when a ruler will push Islam out of Europe:

St. Francis de Paul (1470):…From your lordship shall be born the great leader of the holy militia…These devout men shall wear on their breasts, and much more in their hearts, the sign of the living God, namely the cross…members of this holy order…

…the Great Monarch…He shall be a great captain and prince of holy men, who shall be called ‘the holy Cross-bearers of Jesus Christ,’ with whom he will destroy the Mahometan sect and the rest of the infidels. He shall annihilate all the heresies and tyrannies of the world. He shall reform the Church of God by means of his followers, who shall be the best men upon the earth in holiness, in arms, in science, and in every virtue…They shall obtain dominion over the whole world, both temporal and spiritual…

God Almighty will exalt a very poor man of the blood of Emperor Constantine…who shall on his breast wear a sign which you have seen at the beginning of this letter (a red Cross)…He will gather a grand army, and the angels shall fight for them…

This religious order shall be the last and best in the Church: it shall proceed with arms…Woe to tyrants, to heretics, and to infidels to whom no pity will be shown…An infinite number of wicked men shall perish through the hands of the Cross-bearers…most holy Crossbearers elected by the Most High, who, not succeeding in converting heretics with science, shall make vigorous use of their arms…These holy Cross-bearers shall reign and dominate holily over the whole world until the end of time

But when shall this take place? When crosses with the stigmas shall be seen, and the crucifix shall be carried as the standard. The time is coming when the Divine Majesty will visit the world with a new religious order of holy Cross-bearers, who will carry a crucifix, or the image of our crucified Lord, lifted up upon the principal standard in view of all. This standard will be admired by all good Catholics; but at the beginning it will be derided by bad Christians and by infidels…You shall destroy the sect of the Mahomet, and all infidels of every sect. You shall put an end to all the heresies of the world…

He shall be the great founder of a new religious order different from all the others…This shall be the last religious order in the Church and shall do more good for our holy religion than all other religious institutes. By force of arms he shall take possession of a great kingdom. He shall destroy the sect of Mahomet…There will be one fold, one shepherd. He shall reign until the end of time. On the whole earth there will be twelve kings, one emperor and one pope. (Culleton, p. 157-161).

St. Francis de Paul (d. 1507): A new order will be founded, that of the Cruciferi, because its members will carry the cross on their banners…The Crusaders will lead the Mohammedans, the teachers of heretical doctrines and bad Christians back to Christ…the power of Islam {was} destroyed by the Great Monarch. (Culleton, The Reign of Antichrist, p. 142).

Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser (died 1658):…”When everything has been ruined by war; when Catholics are hard pressed by traitorous co-religionists and heretics; when the Church and her servants are denied their rights, the monarchies have been abolished and their rulers murdered…then the hand of Almighty God will work a marvelous change, something apparently impossible according to human understanding. There will rise a valiant monarch anointed by God. He will be a Catholic, a descendant of Louis IX, (yet) a descendant of an ancient imperial German family, born in exile. He will rule supreme in temporal matters. The Pope will rule supreme in spiritual matters at the same time. Persecution will cease and justice shall reign. Religion seems to be oppressed, but by the changes of entire kingdoms it will be made more firm.

“He will root out false doctrines and destroy the rule of the Moslemism. (Connor E. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, pp.35-36)

The ‘Great Monarch’ that is spoken of above is quite similar to the final King of the North that the Bible warns against.  Both Catholic and biblical prophecy teach that this leader will be a European, probably at least partially of German heritage.  As the 21st century proceeds, do not be surprised that Islam will be pushed out of Europe to a major degree (cf. Daniel 11:40-43).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Germany in Biblical and Catholic Prophecy Does Assyria in the Bible equate to an end time power inhabiting the area of the old Roman Empire? What does prophecy say Germany will do and what does it say will happen to most of the German people?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? In the Spanish language check out ¿Quién es el Rey del Norte? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
Might German Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg become the King of the North? Is the former German Defense Minister (who is also the former German Minister for Economics and Technology) one to watch? What do Catholic, Byzantine, and biblical prophecies suggest?
Germany’s Assyrian Roots Throughout History Are the Germanic peoples descended from Asshur of the Bible? Have there been real Christians in Germanic history? What about the “Holy Roman Empire”? There is also a You-Tube video sermon on this titled Germany’s Biblical Origins.
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
European Technology and the Beast of Revelation Will the coming European Beast power would use and develop technology that will result in the taking over of the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies? Is this possible? What does the Bible teach? Here is a related YouTube video: Military Technology and the Beast of Revelation.
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?
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims? An item of possibly related interest in the Spanish language would be: Líderes iraníes condenan la hipocresía de Occidente y declaran que ahora es tiempo para prepararse para el Armagedón, la guerra, y el Imán Mahdi.
The Prophesied ‘Islamic’ Confederation Where is an Islamic caliphate prophesied? Will one happen? Should you be concerned about it? A related video is Will an Arabic Calphiphate Destroy the West?

Was Jesus born in a different Bethlehem?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
Place of Jesus Birth?

Representation of Bethlehem Birth, Vatican City, January 2010

COGwriter

An archeologist has claimed that there is evidence that Jesus was born in a different Bethlehem than the one many believe He was born in.

The Bible says the place of Jesus Christ’s birth was the town of Bethlehem of Judea, but one archaeologist says the Christian savior was more likely born in a different Bethlehem that is farther from Jerusalem.

Aviram Oshri, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), told NPR that he has conducted extensive excavations in Bethlehem of the Galilee, and has found artifacts there which suggest that the traditionally held view of where Jesus was born may be incorrect.

“I think the genuine site of the nativity is here rather than in the other Bethlehem near Jerusalem,” said Oshri.

In Bethlehem of the Galilee, Oshri says he has discovered stone vessels that were used by Jews during the same time period that Jesus lived. Excavators also discovered evidence of what was once a large, ornate church – Oshri says the church suggests that Christians also once believed the site to be the place of Christ’s birth – as well as parts of a wall that may have been built by emperor Justinian to protect the village.

“It makes much more sense that Mary rode on a donkey, while she was at the end of the pregnancy, from Nazareth to Bethlehem of Galilee which is only seven kilometers rather than the other Bethlehem which is 150 kilometers,” he said, according to NPR. http://www.christianpost.com/news/archaeologist-believes-jesus-was-born-in-a-different-bethlehem-87317/#0MsAwGYHHDvHUxsA.99

Interestingly, when he was asked if he thought that this would change people’s attachment to the other Bethlehem site, he said no. I, too, have found that once people make up their minds about something, they often will not consider the facts. But on the Bethlehem matter, while I am not certain which Bethlehem, I am certain that Jesus was not born in a cave (see Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity?).

In November of 2012, a book from then Pope Benedict XVI questioned a couple of Christmas traditions:

The three wise men from the Christmas story, Benedict concedes, could be inspired by a “theological idea” rather than by a “historical event,” though he says he prefers a more literal interpretation of the biblical account…

Benedict also recalls that, according to the Gospels, there are no animals in the Bethlehem stable to warm the newborn Jesus. But, he adds, no Nativity scene would be complete without them…Killjoy Pope crushes Christmas nativity traditions: New Jesus book reveals there were no donkeys beside crib, no lowing oxen and definitely no carols (see also Pope Benedict Questions Some Christmas Traditions).

There are many other traditions associated with Christ’s birth, including the fact that it is seems impossible that He could have been born in the Winter. And, of course, symbols that many now associate with His birth, like Santa Claus and Christmas trees were not related to Jesus’ actual birth by any of the early Christians either.

Some people care, most do not.

But all should remember that Jesus taught:

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)

And the truth is the truth.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Was Jesus Born in the Grotto of the Nativity? Was Jesus born in a below ground cave? Was Jesus born below the “Church of the Nativity”? Were the wise men there?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Is Keeping Christmas a Sin? Is keeping Christmas acceptable for true Christians? What are some scriptures to consider?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
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.

Taliban killed at least 141 in Pakistan; 180 killed in Syria fighting

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Flag of the Taliban

COGwriter

The Taliban killed in Pakistan today:

December 16, 2014

An assault led by the Taliban on a Pakistan military-run school Tuesday left 141 people dead, 132 of which were children, officials say, in the worst attack to hit the country in years.  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/12/16/taliban-pakistan-school-attack/

December 16, 2014

ISLAMABAD—Rescue operations continue at a school in Pakistan after Taliban militants stormed the building, killing 130 people, most of them students.

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked the military-run facility in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

A provincial official said more than 100 others were wounded in the assault.

Provincial Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said most of the school building has been cleared, but some militants remain.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was an act of retaliation for Pakistan’s offensive targeting militants in the country’s northwestern tribal region, near the Afghan border. …

Local officials said the death toll could rise and that over 100 of the dead were schoolchildren.

Authorities said heavily armed gunmen entered the school in a highly secured part of Peshawar city and fired indiscriminately at students who were taking winter exams. …

The United Nations in Pakistan strongly condemned ”the barbaric attack,” saying it is ”appalled by this act of cruelty and brutality.” A statement released by the U.N. resident coordinator in Pakistan said, attacking children and children’s education is a disregard of the most fundamental principles of humanity and we reaffirm our strongest commitment to protecting children’s rights.

Separately, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson extended his country’s “deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims, condemning the school assault as a senseless and inhuman” act.

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted on Tuesday: “The news from Pakistan is deeply shocking. It’s horrifying that children are being killed simply for going to school.”  http://www.voanews.com/content/reu-taliban-gunmen-attack-military-run-school-in-nw-pakistan/2560556.html

This is not really a total surprise.  Once the USA and UK announced their pull-out of Afghanistan, this type of incident from the Taliban seemed more likely.

On March 9, 2013 (see Taliban suicide bombing in Afghanistan: Considered to be a warning?), I wrote:

Unless the USA keeps enough troops in Afghanistan (which it is not intending to do), the situation there will change to something that the USA has claimed that it does not want. The Taliban, other Islamic groups, and tribal leaders will pretty much insure that.

On October 26, 2014 (see USA and UK cease combat operations in Afghanistan: What’s next?), I wrote:

The ceasing of combat operations by the UK and USA is not a victory in Afghanistan.  It is a pause so that troops can be pulled out.  It will not bring real peace to the region.  At least some in Afghanistan will likely support the rise of a leader that the Bible refers to as the final King of the South.

Notice something else in the news from today:

December 16, 2014

BEIRUT—

Around 100 Syrian soldiers and 80 Islamist fighters were killed during a two-day battle in which insurgents captured the Wadi al-Deif military base, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Tuesday.

The Britain-based group said Islamist insurgents including al-Qaida’s Syria wing, the Nusra Front, on Monday took the base next to the country’s main north-south highway linking Aleppo with Damascus. Fighters also captured the smaller Hamidiya base, southwest of the Wadi al-Deif, the Observatory said. http://www.voanews.com/content/around-180-syrian-soldiers-jihadists-reported-killed-in-battle-for-base/2560678.html

All the fighting, killing, and terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa are getting political and religious leaders to rethink their approach to the region.

The time will come when a confederation of nations from North Africa and the Middle East will form, which the Bible refers to as the final King of the South.  Political leaders outside of the region apparently will support this.  The Taliban’s terrible actions are probably a step towards that.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Prophesied ‘Islamic’ Confederation Where is an Islamic caliphate prophesied? Will one happen? Should you be concerned about it? A related video is Will an Arabic Calphiphate Destroy the West?
Obama Administration Pushing for an Islamic Empire? Because of the rise of groups such as the Islamic State, the Obama Administration and others are pushing for a coalition of Arab nations along with Turkey. Does this resemble the final King of the South of Bible prophecy? Is there an Islamic antichrist? Does the Bible teach that terrorism and the sword will affect the USA and some of its allies? What does the Bible teach in Ezekiel about a confederation involving Egypt? Will an Arabic confederation end in destruction for those who strongly support it? Are the 10 nations in the Arab coalition the ten kings of Revelation 17:12-13? Are the 10 nations including the USA and Turkey the ten nations of Revelation 17:12-13? Who is? Was the pushing of the Obama Administration to do this predicted by in 2009 in a writing by Dr. Thiel? What does the Bible show?
Damascus and Syria in Prophecy Will Bashar Assad hold power as he has it? Does the Bible show that Damascus, the capital of Syria, will be destroyed? What will happen to Syria? Will the Syrians support the final King of the South that the Bible tells will rise up? Which scriptures discuss the rise and fall of an Arabic confederation? Does Islamic prophecy predict the destruction of Syria. This is a YouTube video.
India, Its Biblical Past and Future: Any Witness? The Bible discusses the origins of those of Indian heritage.  This article quotes the Bible and also discusses some of the witness to India throughout history and what is happening in the 21st century (including those in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).
India and the Beast of Revelation 13 Do biblical, Catholic, and even Hindu prophecies suggest that many in India will follow, for a while, the Beast and False Prophet/Antichrist? Here is link to a related YouTube video Will People in India Worship the Beast of Revelation 13?
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? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2015, 2016, or 2017? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2014 o 2015? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? Can humans bring peace to the Middle East? Here is a link to a related video: Middle East Peace? When?
Iraq, the King of the South, Armageddon, and Prophecy What will happen to Iraq? Is it the prophesied Mystery Babylon? What is Armageddon and how does that have to do with Iraq? Here is a related video Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy.
Africa: Its Biblical Past and Prophesied Future What does the Bible teach about Africa and its future? Did the early Church reach Africa? Will God call all the Africans?
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some 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. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
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.
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? A related sermon is titled The Millennium.
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims? An item of possibly related interest in the Spanish language would be: Líderes iraníes condenan la hipocresía de Occidente y declaran que ahora es tiempo para prepararse para el Armagedón, la guerra, y el Imán Mahdi.
Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising.
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的 

Hanukkah is somewhat of a Jewish ‘Christmas’

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014


A Hanukkah Menorah (MathKnight)

COGwriter

Many Jews celebrate a time that they call Hanukkah. This year it begins Tuesday December 16 at sunset until sunset Wednesday December 24, 2014.

As far as Hanukkah itself, here is some of Wikipedia has reported about it:

Hanukkah (pronounced HAH-nə-kə ; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה, pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah, Chanukkah or Chanuka), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

Hanukkah is not a biblical holiday, but mainly started out as a national holiday. Jesus, Himself, seemed to possibly observe it, and it is referred to as the Feast of the Dedication in the New Testament (John 10:22-23). Last year, on the Roman calendar, it runs from “Sunset, December 8 to nightfall, December 16.”

The New York Times reported the following about it:

Many Americans, Jews as well as Christians, think that the legend of the long-lasting oil is the root of Hanukkah’s commemoration.
And perhaps that mistake is no surprise, given that for many the holiday has morphed into “Christmas for Jews,” echoing the message of peace on earth accompanied by gift giving. In doing so, the holiday’s own message of Jewish survival and faith has been diluted…

Though Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday, 19th-century activists in America promoted it to encourage their coreligionists to take pride in their heritage. During the 20th century it was embraced more broadly by Jews who wanted to fit in with other Americans celebrating the holiday season — and to make their kids feel better about not getting anything from Santa.

It helped, of course, that Hanukkah falls near Christmas on the calendar and traditionally involved candles and small monetary gifts. Over time, children began receiving grander presents, and Hanukkah-themed season’s greeting cards proliferated. Some families even started to purchase “Hanukkah bushes,” small trees often decked out with Stars of David and miniature Maccabees. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/opinion/hanukkah-unabridged.html

The Jews should be aware that they are not to adopt Gentile practices involving trees, etc. Notice what the Hebrew Bible (AKA the Old Testament) teaches:

29 “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:29-31)

2 Thus says the Lord:

Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
5 They are upright, like a palm tree,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot go by themselves.
Do not be afraid of them,
For they cannot do evil,
Nor can they do any good.” (Jeremiah 10:2-5)

For more on biblical admonitions against using green trees in worship, go to the article: What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?

Compromise has happened throughout the centuries from both Jews as well as those who claimed to be true Christians. Hanukkah is now mainly a Jewish compromise.

Oddly, more Jews keep Hanukkah than keep many of the biblical holy days (often improperly referred to as Jewish holidays).

And of course, most who claim to be Christians keep non-biblical holidays more than they do biblical ones.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God Both groups keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but have important differences in doctrines and practices. Here is a link to a related sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
The Temple and the Work This article discusses the two temples of the Old Testament and gives insight as to their possible relevance to the situation which has impacted the Church during this past decade or so.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Asteroid, three days darkness, and millions claimed to die in a week

Monday, December 15th, 2014


Asteroid (NASA photo)

COGWriter

Received the following in an email:

DEAR SIR,

ZARAHEMLA IS ANCIENT AMERICA AND MORONI IS PUERTRICO AND THREE DAYS OF DARKNESS PROPHECY ARE THERE IN MORMON BIBLE PROPHECY GOING TO HAPPEN IN DECEMBER 22 2014 PLEASE READ THE BIBLE PROPHECY https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/8?lang=eng
 PROOF FROM MORMON BIBLE PROPHECY ABOUT THREE DAYS OF DARKNESS IN 2014 COMING SOON REPRESENTS CHRIST DEATH AND AFTER THREE DAYS RESURRECTION.. Helaman 14:1 To Helaman 14:31 [Book of Mormon] https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/hel/14?lang=eng http://www.readbookonline.net/read/17496/47474/
ACCORDING TO BIBLE PROPHECY JOEL 2:28-32 & ISAIAH 60:1-2 & AMOS 5:20- 22 & 8: 9-10…HOSEA 6:2
THREE DAYS DARKNESS (JESUS RESURRECTED FROM DEATH)AFTER THREE DAYS JESUS WAS ALIVE AGAIN FROM DEATH THATSY 3 DAYS DARKNESS IN 2014…COMING……
JUDGMENT COMING DUE TO IDOL WORSHIP EVEN JESUS STATUE WORSHIP,MOTHER MARY WORSHIP AS WELL AS IDOL OR STATUE WORSHIP,SAME SEX MARRIAGE….
SIGNS & EVIDENCE OF JESUS COMING. THIS PROVES JESUS IS REAL GOD GREAT ASTEROID GOING TO HIT NEAR AMERICA IN 2014 MANY MILLIONS WILL DIE.12 POINT EARTHQUAKE AND 1000 FT TSUNAMI. AMERICA WILL BE DIVIDED IN TWO IN THIS EVENT.MUSLIM TEMPLE DOME OF THE ROCK IN ISRAEL WILL BE DESTROYED IN 12 POINT EARTH QUAKE. THREE DAYS DARKNESS COVERING WHOLE WORLD.EVERY ONE REPENT FROM SINS COME TO JESUS. (REVIVAL AND TRIBULATION STARTS AFTER THIS EVENT)
PROTECTION OF THE EARTH IS REMOVED BY JESUS THE LAST DAYS OF THE EARTH STARTING. MANY MIRACLES AND MANY WILL COME TO JESUS AND MANY WILL ACCEPTS JESUS AS GOD.
pray for the people life and salvation …
1. asteroid impact
2.12 point earth quake
3.shockwave as very strong wind
4.1000 foot tsunami

5. 3 days of darkness
6. pestilence
israel ready to built temple muslim mosque dome of the rock will be broken in coming 12 point earth quake to do the job on the ame day of asteroid hitting.

As Jesus stated in Matthew 24:6, “the end is not yet.”  Israel is not about to build a temple (see also Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?), etc.

This emailer sent me something in October related to this which I also denounced (see Asteroid to hit in the next 90 days and USA split between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama?).  The emailer also believes in a non-biblically existent pre-tribulation ‘rapture’ (scriptures about that are in the article Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?).

This time, however, the emailer is trying to drag the Mormons into this.  Let me state here, however, that both Mormon and Roman Catholic prophecy tell of a time of three days of darkness (see also Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies?).  However, a multi-million death asteroid and three days of darkness to fulfill the Mormon and Catholic prophecies is not scheduled for December 22, 2014.  I did read the Book of Mormon references the emailer sent, and they also does not specify a date.

Nor do the scriptures the emailer claims.  I also had an email exchange with the emailer and said that I would be publicly denouncing this.  When I asked what the emailer would do when proven wrong, the emailer denied this could be wrong–but the emailer’s position is.

While the Bible is clear that there will be signs in the heavens and including darkness, but this 2 1/2 years or more after the start of the Great Tribulation (which has not yet began):

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), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Matthew 24:15-16)

10 Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.

12 Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night. (Revelation 8:10-12)

So, the Bible clearly teaches that the “end of the world” events will include problems that will come from space (called the heavens above)-like an asteroid. See also Wormwood and Planet Nibiru.

While disasters can hit any time (and we may well see terrorism or ‘natural disasters’ then), idolatry Mary worship, etc. will not stop on December 22, 2014.  This is another false understanding of prophecy.

However, many prophetic misunderstandings are less obvious, and deceive more.  Even nearly all COGs are deceived.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Wormwood and Planet Nibiru Will the Earth be devastated by Planet X or Comet Encke in 2014? Here is a link to a related YouTube video Could Comet ISON be Wormwood of Bible Prophecy?
Blood Moons and Prophecy There are four ‘blood moons’ expected in 2014 and 2015. Do they signal the Day of the Lord or the return of Jesus Christ? A related YouTube video is also available: Blood Moons, Prophecy, 2014, and 2015.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here is a related video in English The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
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?
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?
Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors What are some errors that various Protestants hold to that will tend to prevent them from knowing when the Great Tribulation will begin? A related video is titled Ten Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors.
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous? A related sermon video is titled Preterism: You’ve Gotta Be Kidding…Right?
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous? A related sermon video is titled Preterism: You Gotta Be Kidding…Right?
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?
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind? There is also a YouTube video with information Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
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.
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. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?.
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?
Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture? Did the Bible teach that Jesus raptures Christians prior to the start of the Great Tribulation? What did Jesus Himself teach? Do the scriptural passages that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins point to prove their left behind pre-tribulation rapture assertions? Do all Christians get protected from the Great Tribulation? Who does the Bible teach will get protected? Is the Great Tribulation the ‘wrath to come’ that Christians are promised protection from? This is a video.
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! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2015, 2016, or 2017? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2014 o 2015? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.  Here is a link to the video: Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2015?
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.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.
Laodicean Warning for God’s People Is there really a place of safety? Do God’s people need to be warned? Warned for what?
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.

Islamic State’s horrifying answers about Non-Muslim females

Saturday, December 13th, 2014


Islamic State supporters are sending a message of destruction.

COGwriter

The Islamic State (also known as ISIL or ISIS) distributed a question and answer pamphlet about non-Muslim females, with many of the answers horrifying:

December 13, 2014

Perhaps you were wondering if all the terrible tales of sex slavery by ISIS could be true? After all, they claim to be a very religious group. Unfortunately, new evidence reveals the situation is indeed as grim, if not grimmer, than the reports.

The 27 questions and answers of the pamphlet translated by MEMRI reveal a systematic look into sexual slavery, answering a variety of questions, such as if one can sleep with two sisters , buying and selling slaves and covering up the slave during prayer.

Harrowing personal accounts from female escapees of ISIS’s sexual slavery have been flowing into the media over the last few months. This pamphlet’s publishing implies that questions concerning sexual slavery were becoming frequent following ISIS’s rise. Unfortunately, this confirms reports of thousands of Yazidi woman and other minorities being taken into sexual slavery by the terrorist group. http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/ISIS-published-female-sex-slave-handbook-384510

December 13, 2014

(CNN)– Can you take non-Muslim women and children captive? Yes, says ISIS.

Can you have sex with them, even prepubescent girls? Yes, according to the Islamist extremist group.

Can you sell them or give them as gifts to others? The answer is yes, once again.

People in Mosul — the Iraqi city now under control of the group calling itself the Islamic State — got these and other messages loud and clear after sunset prayers Friday, when armed men handed out a color-printed pamphlet “Question and Answers on Female Slaves and their Freedom,” three residents told CNN.

“People started gathering in small groups chattering about this (document),” said one of the men, whom CNN didn’t name for security reasons. “Most are shocked, but (we) cannot do much about it.” …

Its militants have justified their actions — like the beheadings of journalists and aid workers — in God’s name.

Even then, it is rare to see its rationale laid out as plainly as in “Question and Answers on Female Slaves and their Freedom.”

In the document, for instance, it is explained that capturing women is permissible if they are “nonbelievers.” It adds, “Female slaves are the women that Muslims took from their enemies.”

Much of the pamphlet talks about ISIS’ policy on having sexual intercourse with a female slave, something that the group cites the Quran to justify. …

As to girls: “It is permissible to have intercourse with the female slave who hasn’t reached puberty if she is fit for intercourse,” the document reads. “However, if she is not fit for intercourse, he (the owner ) can only enjoy her without intercourse.”

The Q&A is clear that, young and old, the captors have full control of their captives.

As such, the ISIS document claims, “It is permissible to buy, sell or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property.”  http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/12/world/meast/isis-justification-female-slaves/

The Islamic State continues, despite U.S. and other efforts to try to thwart it.

In my view, it is likely that the Islamic State believes that the pamphlet will assist in its recruiting drive to get more terrorists.  It mainly is recruiting males, and males that want to kill and terrorize.  Hence, the Islamic State probably feels that appealing to potential rapists will assist them.

The Bible tells of a time of even more terror.  And that terror will NOT be limited to the Middle East nor Africa.  Notice the following prophecies:

14 ‘But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15 and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, 16 I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you. (Leviticus 26:14-17)

25 The sword shall destroy outside; There shall be terror within (Deuteronomy 32:25)

12 “Cry and wail, son of man; For it will be against My people, Against all the princes of Israel. Terrors including the sword will be against My people; Therefore strike your thigh. (Ezekiel 21:12)

12 Behold, these are the ungodly,Who are always at ease; They increase in riches…19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. (Psalms 73:12,19)

25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, 27 When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. (Proverbs 1:25-27)

5 Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way (Ecclesiastes 12:5).

Jihadist gains in various parts of the world are a prelude to more terrorism and change. A confederation against the USA, its Anglo-Saxon allies, and Israel involving Arab and European forces is coming. And I have long believed that terrorism will have to be part of this based not only upon the “terror” prophecies, but those that discuss an arrangement between what is now mainly Islamic dominated lands and Europe in Psalm 83. While the current Islamic State will not lead as it wishes, it very well may be involved in major terrorist actions around the world.

How a ‘religious’ organization can engage in rape and selling women into sexual slavery is not at at justifiable–but now the Islamic State believes it has justified such atrocities. The female captives are in my prayers.

Additionally, we all need to pray, as Jesus said, ‘Thy kingdom come’ (Matthew 6:10, KJV).

Of course, the Islamic State terrorizes more than females and also takes military actions.  Notice, for example, the following:

December 13, 2014

Iraqi officials say Islamic State militants have shot down an Iraqi military helicopter, killing the two pilots onboard.

Media reported on Saturday the attack happened in the Shi’ite holy city of Samarra, about 95 kilometers north of Baghdad.  http://www.voanews.com/content/islamic-state-militants-shoot-down-iraqi-helicopter/2557674.html

Because of actions by groups such as the Islamic State, many in the West as well as in many of the Islam-dominated countries will decide that a coalition of nations in North Africa and the Middle East is what is needed for ‘peace.’  But this, according to the Bible, will not truly bring peace (Daniel 11:40-43), though it may well lead to a temporary peace (Daniel 9:27; see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Iraq, the King of the South, Armageddon, and Prophecy What will happen to Iraq? Is it the prophesied Mystery Babylon? What is Armageddon and how does that have to do with Iraq? Here is a related video Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy.
The Prophesied ‘Islamic’ Confederation Where is an Islamic caliphate prophesied? Will one happen? Should you be concerned about it? Here is a link to a related video video: Will an Arabic Calphiphate Destroy the West?
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims? An item of possibly related interest in the Spanish language would be: Líderes iraníes condenan la hipocresía de Occidente y declaran que ahora es tiempo para prepararse para el Armagedón, la guerra, y el Imán Mahdi.
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? Can humans bring peace to the Middle East? Here is a link to a related video: Middle East Peace? When?
Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising. The Muslim Brotherhood and the Rise of the King of the South The Bible tells of the formation of a power of nations that are in the Middle East and North Africa that are part of the final “King of the South” (Daniel 11:40-43) The Muslim Brotherhood wishes to have an Islamic empire with basically the same nations. This YouTube video explains what to expect from such a confederation.
Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2014 o 2015? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon video: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives.
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2015?
  When will the Great Tribulation begin? Can it begin in 2015 as some have indicated? What are the biblical requirements that precede the Great Tribulation? What did Jesus teach would happen prior to the Great Tribulation. Are there definite clues in the Book of Daniel that Christians should look out for? Is there a King of the North or a King of the South yet? Where does the ‘prince’ of Daniel 9:26-27 come from? What about ‘blood moons’? Dr. Thiel videoed this on the Mount of Olives where Jesus specifically discussed events leading up to the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24.
World War III: Steps in Progress Are there surprising actions going on now that are leading to WWIII? Might a nuclear attack be expected? Does the Bible promise protection to all or only some Christians? How can you be part of those that will be protected? A related video would be Is World War III About to Begin? Can You Escape?
Wars, rumors of wars, and the Apocalypse Jesus foretold a time before the end where there would be wars and rumors of wars. The Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation) warns of the red horseman of war. Now, even secular writers, like Larry Edelson, are worried that wars and rumors of war are the most menacing problem that now haunts the earth? Are they right? What is the solution? This is a sermonette-length video.
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.
Prophecy Obama: Prophecies of Barack Obama? Reasons why Barack Obama is apocalyptic and reasons why Barack Obama is not the Antichrist. This article includes many biblical and non-biblical prophecies, from around the world, that seem to discuss Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist?  Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests?  Read it and decide for yourself if President Obama seems to be fulfilling various prophecies. Watch also the YouTube Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Just What Do You Mean the Kingdom of God? A booklet that was written by Herbert Armstrong answers questions about the Kingdom.
Women and the New Testament Church What roles did women play in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles? Did Jesus and the Apostle Paul violate Jewish traditions regarding their dealings with women? Do women have any biblical limitations on their role in the Church? Were there female prophets? Do women have any special responsibilities in terms of how they dress? What does the New Testament really teach about women? Here is a related sermon titled: New Testament Women.