Archive for the ‘Religious News’ Category

Ukrainian archbishop wants Pope Francis to speak louder against Russia

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015


Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk (Kremlin.ru)

COGwriter

Ukrainian Catholic Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk would like Pope Francis to speak louder against Russia:

February 25, 2015

The head of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic church has urged a tougher line on Russian aggression in his country both from Pope Francis and the international community.

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said on Feb. 23 that a Feb. 4 statement from Francis, in which he called the conflict between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists “fratricidal,” was “particularly painful for all the people in Ukraine.”

Shevchuk noted that a recent line from the Pope about fighting in eastern Ukraine was reminiscent of the effect of Soviet “propaganda,” the Catholic publication Crux on Feb. 23.

The Greek Catholic leader from the conflict-wracked country said the Pope’s line had rankled Ukrainians who see the violence on the Crimean peninsula not as a civil conflict, but an act of foreign aggression by Russia.

Shevchuk expressed regret that Francis did not specifically point a finger at Russia in his Feb. 20 remarks to a group of visiting Ukrainian bishops, instead referring only to a “situation of grave conflict.”

In asking for prayers for the victims in Ukraine, many of whom are civilians, and for the families, the Pope said “let us pray the Lord so that this horrible fratricide violence may cease as soon as possible.”

The reference to this “fratricide violence” is what is believed to have rankled many Ukrainians who see the conflict as induced by Russian intervention.

“As sons, we always expect more from the Holy Father,” Shevchuk said, while adding that “we respect his freedom to use the words that will help him mediate in the peace process.”

Shevchuk’s remarks came at the end of a visit Ukraine’s Greek Catholic bishops to Rome that Catholic prelates are required to make every five years.

He said he discussed the situation in Ukraine with the Pope, and believes Francis may soon deliver an important “action” to express his solidarity.

The roughly 6 million strong Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine is the largest of the 22 Eastern churches in communion with the Holy See in Rome.

Read more: http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/ukrainian-catholic-leader-urges-tougher-line-from-pope-on-russia-28416#ixzz3SlhdwqWb

Pope Francis has not come out in favor of the Kiev government as much as those in western Ukraine would have liked. Pope Francis has refrained from being highly critical of Russia in all of this for several reasons, including his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his desire to attain unity with the Russian Orthodox church.

Earlier this month, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church praised the Vatican for basically not taking a hard stance against Russia (see Russian Patriarch Kirill praises Vatican’s approach to Ukrainian crisis).  Interestingly, I was reading an article yesterday from a Roman Catholic source (Fatima Crusader, Winter, 2015) that spent a fair amount of time defending Russia and condemning the West for a lot of what is happening in Ukraine.

Of course, not all withing the Roman Catholic faith support the Russian side (see Pope Francis objecting to current ‘piecemeal’ World War III; Vatican radio reports bishops blasting Russia for blood in Ukraine). Therefore, Pope Francis is probably looking at how to handle much of this with minimal offense.

I would also add that Pope Francis has had a positive personal relationship with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (see Russia’s Putin and Pope Francis both kiss Marian icon).  The Vatican itself has praised Vladimir Putin in the past (see Vatican credits Russia’s Putin for ‘defending Christianity’ and confirms a meeting).  Vladimir Putin, despite his flaws, has taken public stands against certain forms of immorality that most Western political leaders would never take (e.g.  Russia’s Putin blasts West on Syria and Western media disapproves of his position on homosexuality and Russia’s Vladimir Putin takes a stand against vulgar language).

As most realize, the Russian Orthodox Church has the most members of any branch of the Eastern Orthodox faith (between around 180-200 million).  Since Pope Francis wants to get ecumenical unity with the Eastern Orthodox, he likely has concluded that he needs to be careful to not directly offend much them if he perceives that as possible.

The Vatican’s approach to Ukraine, in my view, is mainly one of alignment with the ecumenical and interfaith agenda that Pope Francis has. As I have written before, I believe that the Russian Orthodox will, for a time, provide at least tacit support for the changed ‘Catholic’ faith of the Church of Rome and the final Beast power that will arise in Europe. However, since the Bible shows that a Russian-led confederation will turn against the end time ‘daughter of Babylon’ that Europe will become (Jeremiah 50:41-43; 51:27-33), it would seem that the Russian Orthodox church will also distance itself from whatever version of religion that final Beast power will cling to (the Babylonian leaders will turn against the Church of Seven Hills according to the Bible–Revelation 17:9,16-18).

That being said, though there will likely be ups and downs in the relationship, continue to look for cooperation between the Russian Orthodox and the Vatican for the next several years at least.

Here is some news related to what is going on in Ukraine:

February 25, 2015

Ukraine’s military for the second consecutive day reported a “significant reduction” in attacks by pro-Russian rebels, but said a cease-fire has not yet taken hold in eastern Ukraine.

Rebels carried out 19 attacks on government-held territory and targets over the previous 24 hours, according to a Facebook statement Wednesday by the press center for the Kyiv military.

On Tuesday, rebels began pulling heavy weapons back from the front lines, as required by an internationally mediated cease-fire that was supposed to begin February 15.

The Ukraine government has said it will not pull back its weapons until the rebel attacks cease completely. It said it is abiding by the terms of the truce, but reserves the right to return fire.

Meanwhile, Alexei Miller, the CEO of Russian gas company Gazprom, said Wednesday Russia would stop exporting natural gas to Ukraine unless it received prepayment from Kiev for energy supplies, Interfax reported.  http://www.voanews.com/content/ukraine-reports-significant-reduction-in-fighting/2657984.html

In Ukraine itself, the economy is in rough shape and the military situation is tense, though a little relieved as less fighting reduces tensions.  Some are hopeful, though many are discouraged.

But neither the European Union nor Russia’ Eurasian Union is the answer, though many there think one of the other is.  National repentance is what is needed, and that does not seem likely in Ukraine, though personal repentance is possible.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Russia and Ukraine: Origins and Prophesied Future Where do the Russians come from? What about those in the Ukraine? What is prophesied for Russia and its allies? What will they do to the Europeans that supported the Beast in the end? You can also watch the short video Ukraine in Prophecy?
Russia in the Bible and in Prophecy Is Russia mentioned in the Bible? It it is where is it? Is there any evidence of a people moving to the land that the Russians now occupy? What do Catholic and other prophecies say about Russia? What does the Bible teach? How are Protestants often in error on this? Is there more in biblical prophecy for Russia than war? Does God have a plan to save Russia and her allies? Does Russia have a history involving Sabbath keepers? Does scripture tie Russia in with Armageddon? Will Russia help defeat the end time Babylonian power? What did the Apostle John, and the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel, write about Russia? This is a sermon-length video.
Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day? Is Ezekiel 38 about to be fufilled? A related video is available titled Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now?
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
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. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video of related interest could be Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
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.
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future?
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? A video of related interest could be Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from c. 31 A.D. to 2014. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The Last Pope Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Why might Pope Francis be the last pope? What happens if he is? Biblical and other prophecies help explain what to expect.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Amazon Book What does the Bible say about a pope near this time? Is the final pope to be an antipope and antichrist? Does Catholic prophecy point to Pope Francis as being the dreaded “Peter the Roman”? This 186 page book provides information and answers.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of the printed book which is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle.
The Eurasian Union, the Kings of the East, and Bible Prophecy Is there a Eurasian union that will be formed? Is one being formed right now? Are any leaders working on that in the 21st century? Does the Bible teach that there will be a Eurasian union? If some type of Eurasian union is formed, who might it benefit and who will it destroy? A related video would be Is The Eurasian Union Rising?
Bible News Prophecy July-Sept. 2014: The Coming Eurasian Union Here is the latest magazine from the Continuing Church of God. The cover of which shows Vladimir Putin and features an article about the coming Eurasian Union.
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?
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?
Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach? Here is a link to a video, also titled Is Russia the King of the North?
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.

Polycarp: Church of God or Church of Rome?

Monday, February 23rd, 2015


“Martyrdom of Polycarp” from Ceiling of the Church of St. Polycarp, Smyrna (now called Izmir, Turkey)

COGwriter

February 23rd is considered the “Feast of Polycarp” by the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics. Some believe that he was martyred on that date (though an early Spring martyrdom seems to have been more likely), and thus some read parts or all of a second century account called The Martyrdom of Polycarp.

While the day supposedly in his honor appears to be a Church of Rome, and not Church of God, day, his beliefs were more like the latter than the former.

Who was Polycarp?

Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John. In the late 1st century (or the early second century) he was put in charge of the Church of God in Smyrna. Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox revere him as a saint (as do some Protestants). We in the Continuing Church of God primarily trace our early history from Peter, Paul, and John through Polycarp (we also trace our history through other areas that had faithful Christians for a while, such as Jerusalem).

Almost everyone associated with Christendom considers that Polycarp was a true and faithful Christian leader.

In the late second century, the Catholic and Orthodox saint Irenaeus wrote:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna…always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3 and Chapter 3, Verse 4).

So if Polycarp was a faithful saint who was appointed by the apostles, then perhaps real Christians would follow his practices as he followed the Bible?

In the famous account of his martyrdom, he made some statements that even under the face of death suggested that he had a sense of humor:

9:1 But as Polycarp entered into the stadium, a voice came to him from heaven; ‘Be strong, Polycarp, and play the man.’ And no one saw the speaker, but those of our people who were present heard the voice. And at length, when he was brought up, there was a great tumult, for they heard that Polycarp had been apprehended.

9:2 When then he was brought before him, the proconsul enquired whether he were the man. And on his confessing that he was, he tried to persuade him to a denial saying, ‘Have respect to thine age,’ and other things in accordance therewith, as it is their wont to say; ‘Swear by the genius of Caesar; repent and say, Away with the atheists.’

Then Polycarp with solemn countenance looked upon the whole multitude of lawless heathen that were in the stadium, and waved his hand to them; and groaning and looking up to heaven he said, ‘Away with the atheists.’

9:3 But when the magistrate pressed him hard and said, ‘Swear the oath, and I will release You; revile the Christ,’ Polycarp said, ‘Fourscore and six years have I been His servant, and He hath done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?’

Perhaps it should be mentioned that some have interpreted the above account as proof that Polycarp died at age 86 and hence was baptized as an infant, but another ancient document (known as the Harris Fragments) records that he lived until age 104, thus is supportive that Polycarp was baptized at age 18 (see also Baptism and the Early Church).

And even though many Greco-Romans observe the presumed date of his martyrdom as a feast, it is not likely that many of those who do so realize that he held many (though not all) views that sometimes conflict with those now held by the Greco-Roman churches. Actually, he was a heretic fighter and even tried to get Anicetus, Bishop of Rome to change.

Here is a summary of some of Polycarp’s beliefs and practices:

A Binitarian view, that acknowledged the Holy Spirit, was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders, like Polycarp.
Hierarchical church governance was advocated by Polycarp.
The canon of the New Testament was known by Polycarp as he seemed to refer to all the books it in the famous Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians.
Christmas was not observed by Polycarp nor any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings.
Deification of Christians after the resurrection was taught by the early leaders of the Church, including Polycarp.
Easter per se was not observed by the apostolic church, and Polycarp fought against it.
The Fall Holy Days were observed by true early Christians, including Polycarp.
The Father was considered to be God by all early professing Christians, including Polycarp.
Polycarp taught against idols (and that would include icons).
Polycarp taught against the immortality of the soul.
Jesus was considered to be God by the true Christians, including Polycarp.
The Kingdom of God was taught by Polycarp.
Leavened Bread was removed from the homes of early Christians like Polycarp.
Lent was not observed by Polycarp.
Limbo was not taught by Polycarp.
Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians like Polycarp.
Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians who succeeded Polycarp.
Passover was kept on the 14th of Nisan Polycarp.
Purgatory was not taught by Polycarp.
The Resurrection of the dead was taught Polycarp.
The Sabbath was observed on Saturday by Polycarp.
The Ten Commandments were observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians, including Polycarp–and in the order that the Continuing Church of God claims they are in.

The Continuing Church of God has all of the same beliefs and practices as Polycarp (although we observe no particular day in his honor).

If Polycarp really was a saint that was placed in charge by Christ’s apostles–which he was–shouldn’t you have the same beliefs and practices?

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Polycarp of Smyrna: Why Christians should know more about him The Church of Rome, Eastern Orthodox, Continuing Church of God, and various Protestants consider that Polycarp of Smyrna was a saint and a significant Christian leader in Asia Minor in the second century. What is unique about Polycarp? Was he really a successor to the apostles? What did he teach? Does he prove infant baptism? How old was he when he was martyred? Did he and his successors hold Church of God or Church of Rome doctrines? This is a YouTube video sermon.
Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians Did Polycarp refer to all the books in the New Testament? This is Roberts and Donaldson’s translation, corrected by me in one place, where they made a small error in translating Latin by omitting one word. It is also annotated with scriptures to demonstrate that Polycarp did have the New Testament canon.
Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught? Does the Continuing Church of God or the Church of Rome more faithfully follow his teachings and practices?
The Martyrdom of Polycarp This was written shortly after Polycarp died; likely involving Papirius. A mistranslation is corrected in this version.
Polycarp, Fragments from Victor of Capua This may have been written by Polycarp or “pseudo-Polycarp”.
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?
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. 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.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Why Should American Catholics Should Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good?
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?
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. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.

Pope Francis speaks of Lent, Ash Wednesday, Easter, & Mary but needs a lesson about the original faith

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015


Orthodox Church in ‘Lenten Vestments,’ Czech Republic (Frettie)

COGwriter

Pope Francis taught the following:

February 22, 2015

Dear brothers and sisters,

Last Wednesday, Lent began with the Rite of Ashes, and today is the first Sunday of this liturgical time that makes reference to the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, after his baptism in the Jordan River. …

And in the end of the Lenten itinerary, in the Easter Vigil, we can renew with greater awareness the Baptismal covenant and the commitments that flow from it. May the Blessed Virgin, model of docility to the Spirit, help us to let ourselves be led by Him, who wishes to make each of us a “new creature.”  http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/angelus-address-on-crossing-the-lenten-desert

To many Roman Catholics all of that probably seemed fine.  Many probably considered it to the inspirational.  But this is not inspired by God, nor was Pope Francis teaching the original faith.

Notice what Saint Jude wrote from a Catholic-approved translation of the Bible:

3 I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. (Jude 3, Douay-Rheims)

So let’s see if he was contending for the faith once delivered to the saints when he promoted Lent, Ash Wednesday, Easter, and the Blessed Virgin.

Notice that he mentioned Lent and tried to tie it in with Jesus spending 40 days in the desert.  While it is true that Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert, scriptural indications are that this would have been in the Fall and not the Spring.  How can that be determined?

Eusebius, the Greco-Roman “father of church history,” taught that Jesus’ ministry lasted 3 1/2 years. Since Jesus was killed in the Spring, going back 3 1/2 years puts the beginning in the Fall. Since Jesus was killed in the Spring, going back 3 1/2 years puts the beginning in the Fall.

Notice also the following from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

The chronology of the public life offers a number of problems to the interpreter…

But a comparison of St. John’s Gospel with the Synoptic Evangelists seems to introduce another pasch, indicated in the Fourth Gospel, into Christ’s public life. John 4:45, relates the return of Jesus into Galilee after the first pasch of His public life in Jerusalem, and the same event is told by Mark 1:14, and Luke 4:14. Again the pasch mentioned in John 6:4 has its parallel in the “green grass” of Mark 6:39, and in the multiplication of loaves as told in Luke 9:12 sqq. But the plucking of ears mentioned in Mark 2:23, and Luke 6:1, implies another paschal season intervening between those expressly mentioned in John 2:13 and 6:4. This shows that the public life of Jesus must have extended over four paschs, so that it must have lasted three years and a few months. Though the Fourth Gospel does not indicate this fourth pasch as clearly as the other three, it is not wholly silent on the question. The “festival day of the Jews” mentioned in John 5:1, has been identified with the Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Expiation, the Feast of the New Moon, the Feast of Purim, the Feast of Dedication, by various commentators; others openly confess that they cannot determine to which of the Jewish feasts this festival day refers. Nearly all difficulties will disappear if the festival day be regarded as the pasch, as both the text (heorte) and John 4:35 seem to demand (cf. Dublin Review, XXIII, 351 sqq.). (Maas, Anthony. “Chronology of the Life of Jesus Christ.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 22 Feb. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08377a.htm>)

So, between 3 years and a few months to less than four years, is consistent with the belief that Jesus ministry lasted about 3 1/2 years.
Presuming that Jesus began His ministry on the Feast of Trumpets, the beginning of the Jewish civil ‘new year,’ and ended on Passover, it would have lasted about 3 1/2 years.

Here is how The Catholic Encyclopedia defines Lent:

The Teutonic word Lent, which we employ to denote the forty days’ fast preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season (Thurston H. Transcribed by Anthony A. Killeen. A.M.D.G. Lent. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In other words, Lent means the Spring season (it may be of interest to note that Easter is a Teutonic word as well).

But since Lent means Spring and Lent now begins and is primarily in the Winter, where did it really come from?

Certainly not from the Bible!

Notice that The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches that the claim by some that this was observed by the Apostles is unfounded:

Some of the Fathers as early as the fifth century supported the view that this forty days’ fast was of Apostolic institution…But the best modern scholars are almost unanimous in rejecting this view…Formerly some difference of opinion existed as to the proper reading, but modern criticism (e.g., in the edition of Schwartz commissioned by the Berlin Academy) pronounces strongly in favor of the text translated above. We may then fairly conclude that Irenaeus about the year 190 knew nothing of any Easter fast of forty days…And there is the same silence observable in all the pre-Nicene Fathers, though many had occasion to mention such an Apostolic institution if it had existed. We may note for example that there is no mention of Lent in St. Dionysius of Alexandria (ed. Feltoe, 94 sqq.) or in the “Didascalia”, which Funk attributes to about the year 250 (Lent. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

Notice what the Catholic Socrates Scholasticus admitted around the beginning of the fifth century:

The fasts before Easter will be found to be differently observed among different people. Those at Rome fast three successive weeks before Easter, excepting Saturdays and Sundays. Those in Illyrica and all over Greece and Alexandria observe a fast of six weeks, which they term ‘The forty days’ fast.’ Others commencing their fast from the seventh week before Easter, and fasting three five days only, and that at intervals, yet call that time ‘The forty days’ fast.’ It is indeed surprising to me that thus differing in the number of days, they should both give it one common appellation; but some assign one reason for it, and others another, according to their several fancies. One can see also a disagreement about the manner of abstinence from food, as well as about the number of days. Some wholly abstain from things that have life: others feed on fish only of all living creatures: many together with fish, eat fowl also, saying that according to Moses, Genesis 1:20 these were likewise made out of the waters. Some abstain from eggs, and all kinds of fruits: others partake of dry bread only; still others eat not even this: while others having fasted till the ninth hour, afterwards take any sort of food without distinction. And among various nations there are other usages, for which innumerable reasons are assigned. Since however no one can produce a written command as an authority, it is evident that the apostles left each one to his own free will in the matter, to the end that each might perform what is good not by constraint or necessity. Such is the difference in the churches on the subject of fasts (Socrates Scholasticus. Ecclesiastical History, Volume V, Chapter 22).

Since the Babylonians took over the Greeks and the Egyptians, that may have been when they started this practice.

Notice:

But the original length of the fast, traced back to Babylon was a “forty-days” fast in the spring of the year (Laynard’s Nineveh and Babylon, chapter 4, page 93). That is why it bore its name of “40 days”! (Hoeh, H. Did Jesus Observe Lent? Plain Truth. February 1982, p. 30).

It is likely that the idea of a forty-day fast came from Alexandria in Egypt or from Greece.

The historian Alexander Hislop apparently felt so as he wrote:

The forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, “in the spring of the year,” is still observed by the Yezidis or Pagan Devil-worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians. Such a Lent of forty days was held in spring by the Pagan Mexicans, for thus we read in Humboldt, where he gives account of Mexican observances: “Three days after the vernal equinox…began a solemn fast of forty days in honour of the sun.” Such a Lent of forty days was observed in Egypt, as may be seen on consulting Wilkinson’s Egyptians. This Egyptian Lent of forty days, we are informed by Landseer, in his Sabean Researches, was held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god. At the same time, the rape of Proserpine seems to have been commemorated, and in a similar manner; for Julius Firmicus informs us that, for “forty nights” the “wailing for Proserpine” continued; and from Arnobius we learn that the fast which the Pagans observed, called “Castus” or the “sacred” fast, was, by the Christians in his time, believed to have been primarily in imitation of the long fast of Ceres, when for many days she determinedly refused to eat on account of her “excess of sorrow,” that is, on account of the loss of her daughter Proserpine, when carried away by Pluto…

Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing, and which, in many countries, was considerably later than the Christian festival, being observed in Palestine and Assyria in June, therefore called the “month of Tammuz”; in Egypt, about the middle of May, and in Britain, some time in April. To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and, by a complicated but skilful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity–now far sunk in idolatry–in this as in so many other things, to shake hands…

Let any one only read the atrocities that were commemorated during the “sacred fast” or Pagan Lent, as described by Arnobius and Clemens Alexandrinus, and surely he must blush for the Christianity of those who, with the full knowledge of all these abominations, “went down to Egypt for help” to stir up the languid devotion of the degenerate Church, and who could find no more excellent way to “revive” it, than by borrowing from so polluted a source; the absurdities and abominations connected with which the early Christian writers had held up to scorn. That Christians should ever think of introducing the Pagan abstinence of Lent was a sign of evil; it showed how low they had sunk, and it was also a cause of evil; it inevitably led to deeper degradation. Originally, even in Rome, Lent, with the preceding revelries of the Carnival, was entirely unknown; and even when fasting before the Christian Pasch was held to be necessary, it was by slow steps that, in this respect, it came to conform with the ritual of Paganism. What may have been the period of fasting in the Roman Church before sitting of the Nicene Council does not very clearly appear, but for a considerable period after that Council, we have distinct evidence that it did not exceed three weeks (Hislop A. Two Babylons. pp. 104-106).

Hence we see that the so-called Christian observance of Lent is apparently a continuation of widespread ancient pagan practices that were subtly incorporated into mainstream Christianity over the centuries.

It should be noted that the Bible condemns practices associated with pagan worship, such as those that involved Tammuz:

And He said to me, “Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing.” So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the LORD’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:13-14).

Essentially, mourning for Tammuz could include fasting of some type for some time.

The Orthodox Catholic apologist Arnobius (died 330) warned against the type of fasts that pagans had and even seemed to warn about a Mardi Gras banquet followed by a fast:

What say you, O wise sons of Erectheus? what, you citizens of Minerva? The mind is eager to know with what words you will defend what it is so dangerous to maintain, or what arts you have by which to give safety to personages and causes wounded so mortally. This is no false mistrust, nor are you assailed with lying accusations: the infamy of your Eleusinia is declared both by their base beginnings and by the records of ancient literature, by the very signs, in fine, which you use when questioned in receiving the sacred things,—” I have fasted, and drunk the draught; I have taken out of the mystic cist, and put into the wicker-basket; I have received again, and transferred to the little chest” (Arnobius. Against the Heathen, Book V, Chapter 26).

The feast of Jupiter is tomorrow. Jupiter, I suppose, dines, and must be satiated with great banquets, and long filled with eager cravings for food by fasting, and hungry after the usual interval (Against the Heathen, Book VII, Chapter 32).

Hislop believed that Arnobius was teaching against what became known as Lent (Two Babylons, p. 106). Perhaps it should be noted that in the late 2nd century, Tertullian also warned against “Christians” participating in events that also honored Minerva (please see the article Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate?).

The Catholic Saint Abbot John Cassian (also known as Cassianus, monk of Marseilles) in the fifth century admitted:

Howbeit you should know that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist (Cassian John. Conference 21, THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT THEONAS. ON THE RELAXATION DURING THE FIFTY DAYS. Chapter 30).

Notice that he admits that “the primitive church” did not keep Lent!

What about Ash Wednesday?

It also is not from the Bible nor was it kept by the original Christians.  The Catholic Encyclopedia reports:

Ash Wednesday
The Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday, which is the first day of the Lenten fast.

The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead (Ash Wednesday. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia states:

Ash Wednesday, in the Western Church, the first day of Lent, being the seventh Wednesday before Easter. On this day ashes are placed on the foreheads of the faithful to remind them of death, of the sorrow they should feel for their sins, and of the necessity of changing their lives. The practice, which dates from the early Middle Ages, is common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Episcopalians, and many Lutherans; it was also adopted by some Methodists and Presbyterians in the 1990s (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press).

Notice that Ash Wednesday was not an original observance of even the Church of Rome, it is another one of the many changes that church adopted that the true Church of God did not (for more details, please see Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

Now here is another Catholic-approved translation of that verse he asked about:

16 ‘When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. (Matthew 6:16, NJB)

Thus, Jesus seems to denounce practices that resemble Ash Wednesday.

What about Easter?

Easter itself is not a Christian term but comes from paganism:

The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity…Anglo-Saxon, eâster, eâstron; Old High German, ôstra, ôstrara, ôstrarûn; German, Ostern. April was called easter-monadh. (Holweck F. G. Transcribed by John Wagner and Michael T. Barrett. Easter. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York)

ISHTAR was one of the most prominent of the deities of the Accadian and Assyrian Pantheon. Se was the Assyrian goddess of Love. She was the…Ashtoreth of the Jews or Hebrews. She is the planetary Venus, and in general features corresponds with the classical goddess of Love. Her name Ishtar is that by which she was known in Assyria, and the same name prevailed, with slight modifications, among the Semite nations generally. In Babylonia the goddess was known as Nana…

She may be identified with Eostre of the Germans, or Easter. To this goddess our Saxon or German ancestors sacrificed in April, which was therefore by them styled…Eostur-monath, and from thence arose our word Easter, which the Saxons retained after their conversion to Christianity, so that our Easter-day is nothing more nor less than Ishtar’s day…The name became attached by association of ideas to the Christian festival of the Resurrection (of Christ), which happened at the time of the passover…The English name Easter, and the German Ostern, are derived from the name of the Teutonic goddess Ostera (Anglo-Saxon Eostre), whose festival was celebrated by the ancient Saxons with peculiar solemnities in the month of April; and for which, as in many other instances, the first Romish missionaries substituted the paschal feast.” The Council of Nice “ordained (A.D. 325) that it should be kept always on a Sunday.” Thus we find that it was originally the festival of Ishtar, and occurred on the Sabatu of Elul, or the festival Sabbath of the Assyrians, which occurred in August or harvest time; and that it afterwards became united with the passover or paschal feast of the Jews, and finally adopted by the Christian Church as the Easter Sabbath, changing the date to the spring or seed time, or in April from the harvest month or August. Among the Assyrians it was the feast day of Ishtar and Nergal…

The Phoenician name of Ishtar was Astarte, the later Mendaean form of which was Ashtar. She was called Jeremiah, “the queen of heaven,” Jer. vii, 18, and xliv. 17-25…she was sometimes called “the goddess of the chase,” corresponding to Diana as well as Venus, the goddess of love. Mr. George Rawlinson says: “The worship of Ishtar was widespread, and her shrines were numerous. She is often called the “queen of Babylon”…It may be suspected that her symbol was the naked female form…(Hamilton LLC note. Ishtar and Izdubar, the epic of Babylon; or, The Babylonian goddess of love and the hero and warrior king, restored in mod. verse by L.L.C. Hamilton. 1884 Original from Oxford University Digitized Jun 19, 2007, pp. 207-208)

Paganism…it was precisely in these cults that the worst perversions existed. Ishtar, Astarte, and Cybele had their male and female prostitutes, their Galli: Josiah had to cleanse the temple of Yahweh of their booths (cf. the Qedishim and Kelabim, Deuteronomy 23:17; 2 Samuel 23:7; cf. 1 Samuel 14:24; 15:12), and even in the Greek world, where prostitution was not else regarded as religious, Eryx and Corinth at least were contaminated by Semitic influence, which Greece could not correct. (Martindale, Cyril Charles. “Paganism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 17 Feb. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11388a.htm>)

Ishtar is pronounced about the same as the English term Easter.

Early Christians did NOT celebrate Easter.  They observed Passover as a memorial of Jesus’ death.

Perhaps I should also mention that although the Eastern Orthodox Church shown above has ‘lenten vestments,’ these vestments do not come from the Bible, nor did early Christians use these type of vestments.  They did not become in use until after the compromises with tje follower of Mithras, Roman Emperor Constantine, in the fourth century.

What about appealing to the blessed Mary?  Was that a practice of early Christians?

No.

The Catholic Encyclopedia that confirms that:

Devotion to Our Blessed Lady in its ultimate analysis must be regarded as a practical application of the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. Seeing that this doctrine is not contained, at least explicitly in the earlier forms of the Apostles’ Creed, there is perhaps no ground for surprise if we do not meet with any clear traces of the cultus of the Blessed Virgin in the first Christian centuries. The earliest unmistakable examples of the “worship” — we use the word of course in the relative sense — of the saints is connected with the veneration paid to the martyrs who gave their lives for the Faith…Further, it is quite likely that the mention of the Blessed Virgin in the intercessions of the diptychs of the liturgy goes back to the days before the Council of Nicaea, but we have no definite evidence upon the point, and the same must be said of any form of direct invocation, even for purposes of private devotion (Herbert Thurston. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Should Christians appeal to Mary as a mediator?

No.

Notice what a Catholic-approved translation of the Bible teaches:

5 For there is one God, one also mediator of God and men, man Christ JESUS (1 Timothy 2:5, RNT).

Thus any others who claim there is another mediator clearly contradict the Bible and CANNOT BE SERVING THE CHRISTIAN GOD.

Those who truly wish to observe the practices of the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) will not observe Lent, celebrate Ash Wednesday, pray to Mary, nor observe Easter.  They would keep the same days and practices of the original church.

Pope Francis, and those who believe certain portions of his message today, need to study the Bible and the lessons of history and change.

Some items of possible interest may include:

Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Did Jesus celebrate Carnaval? Where did it come from? There is also a related YouTube video Mardi Gras & Carnaval: Are they for Christians?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
What Happened in the ‘Crucifixion Week’? How long are three days and three nights? Was Palm Sunday on a Saturday? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter? (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Murió Jesús un día miércoles o un viernes?)
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria? Where did the eucharistic host and IHS come from?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
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?
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?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
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. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.

Papias held COG views that oppose that Church of Rome

Saturday, February 21st, 2015


Hierapolis, Turkey (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

The Catholics of Rome consider February 22nd as the day to honor Papius of Hierapolis. This is somewhat odd in that Papius held Church of God, not Church of Rome views. One of which, the current Catechism of the Catholic Church considers to be a doctrine of antichrist.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that Papias was,

Bishop of Hierapolis (close to Laodicea and Colossae in the valley of the Lycus in Phrygia) and Apostolic Father, called by St. Irenaeus “a hearer of John, and companion of Polycarp, a man of old time”. He wrote a work in five books, logion kyriakon exegesis, of which all but some fragments is lost…Of Papias’s life nothing is known. If Polycarp was born in 69, his “comrade” may have been born a few years earlier…The work of Papias was evidently written in his old age, say between the years 115 and 140 “…His knowledge of St. John’s Gospel is proved not merely by his mention of aloes, but by a citation of John 14:2, which occurs in the curious prophecy of a miraculous vintage in the millennium which he attributed to Our Lord…

Eusebius says that Papias frequently cited traditions of John…Eusebius says Papias “published a story of a woman accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews”. This appears to refer to the pericope adulterae (John 8). The cause of the loss of this precious work of an Apostolic Father was the chiliastic view which he taught, like St. Justin and St. Irenæus. (Chapman J. Transcribed by Marcia L. Bellafiore. St. Papias. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Since John and Polycarp were quartodecimans (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 24), apparently so was Papias (since the churches in Asia Minor had not adopted a Sunday Passover at this time, Ibid). Yet, being a Quartodeciman was seriously denounced by an edict of Theodosius in the late fourth century.

Papias and John

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this about Papias the the Apostle John,

The author of the Second and Third Epistles of John designates himself in the superscription of each by the name (ho presbyteros), “the ancient”, “the old”. Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, also uses the same name to designate the “Presbyter John” as in addition to Aristion, his particular authority, directly after he has named the presbyters Andrew, Peter, Philip, Thomas, James, John, and Matthew (in Eusebius, “Hist. eccl.”, III, xxxix, 4)…St. Irenaeus also positively designates the Apostle and Evangelist John as the teacher of Papias, and neither he nor any other writer before Eusebius had any idea of a second John in Asia (Adv. haer., V, xxxiii, 4). In what Papias himself says the connection plainly shows that in this passage by the word presbyters only Apostles can be understood. If John is mentioned twice the explanation lies in the peculiar relationship in which Papias stood to this, his most eminent teacher. By inquiring of others he had learned some things indirectly from John, just as he had from the other Apostles referred to. In addition he had received information concerning the teachings and acts of Jesus directly, without the intervention of others, from the still living “Presbyter John”, as he also had from Aristion. Thus the teaching of Papias casts absolutely no doubt upon what the New-Testament writings presuppose and expressly mention concerning the residence of the Evangelist John in Asia (Fonck L. Transcribed by Michael Little. St. John the Evangelist. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, it appears that Papias directly knew the Apostle John. The Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation which, among other things, described a thousand year reign of Christ on the earth (Revelation 20:4).

Eusebius recorded the following about Papias:

1. There are extant five books of Papias, which bear the title Expositions of Oracles of the Lord. Irenæus makes mention of these as the only works written by him, in the following words: “These things are attested by Papias, an ancient man who was a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp, in his fourth book. For five books have been written by him.” These are the words of Irenæus.
2. But Papias himself in the preface to his discourses by no means declares that he was himself a hearer and eye-witness of the holy apostles, but he shows by the words which he uses that he received the doctrines of the faith from those who were their friends.
3. He says: But I shall not hesitate also to put down for you along with my interpretations whatsoever things I have at any time learned carefully from the elders and carefully remembered, guaranteeing their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those that speak much, but in those that teach the truth; not in those that relate strange commandments, but in those that deliver the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and springing from the truth itself.
4. If, then, any one came, who had been a follower of the elders, I questioned him in regard to the words of the elders— what Andrew or what Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the disciples of the Lord, and what things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I did not think that what was to be gotten from the books would profit me as much as what came from the living and abiding voice.
5. It is worth while observing here that the name John is twice enumerated by him. The first one he mentions in connection with Peter and James and Matthew and the rest of the apostles, clearly meaning the evangelist; but the other John he mentions after an interval, and places him among others outside of the number of the apostles, putting Aristion before him, and he distinctly calls him a presbyter.
6. This shows that the statement of those is true, who say that there were two persons in Asia that bore the same name, and that there were two tombs in Ephesus, each of which, even to the present day, is called John’s. It is important to notice this. For it is probable that it was the second, if one is not willing to admit that it was the first that saw the Revelation, which is ascribed by name to John.
7. And Papias, of whom we are now speaking, confesses that he received the words of the apostles from those that followed them, but says that he was himself a hearer of Aristion and the presbyter John. At least he mentions them frequently by name, and gives their traditions in his writings. These things, we hope, have not been uselessly adduced by us.
8. But it is fitting to subjoin to the words of Papias which have been quoted, other passages from his works in which he relates some other wonderful events which he claims to have received from tradition.
9. That Philip the apostle dwelt at Hierapolis with his daughters has been already stated. But it must be noted here that Papias, their contemporary, says that he heard a wonderful tale from the daughters of Philip. For he relates that in his time one rose from the dead. And he tells another wonderful story of Justus, surnamed Barsabbas: that he drank a deadly poison, and yet, by the grace of the Lord, suffered no harm.
10. The Book of Acts records that the holy apostles after the ascension of the Saviour, put forward this Justus, together with Matthias, and prayed that one might be chosen in place of the traitor Judas, to fill up their number. The account is as follows: “And they put forward two, Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias; and they prayed and said.” Acts 1:23 11. The same writer gives also other accounts which he says came to him through unwritten tradition, certain strange parables and teachings of the Saviour, and some other more mythical things.
12. To these belong his statement that there will be a period of some thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this very earth. I suppose he got these ideas through a misunderstanding of the apostolic accounts, not perceiving that the things said by them were spoken mystically in figures.
13. For he appears to have been of very limited understanding, as one can see from his discourses. But it was due to him that so many of the Church Fathers after him adopted a like opinion, urging in their own support the antiquity of the man; as for instance Irenæus and any one else that may have proclaimed similar views.
14. Papias gives also in his own work other accounts of the words of the Lord on the authority of Aristion who was mentioned above, and traditions as handed down by the presbyter John; to which we refer those who are fond of learning. But now we must add to the words of his which we have already quoted the tradition which he gives in regard to Mark, the author of the Gospel.
15. “This also the presbyter said: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.” These things are related by Papias concerning Mark.
16. But concerning Matthew he writes as follows: “So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.” And the same writer uses testimonies from the first Epistle of John and from that of Peter likewise. And he relates another story of a woman, who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews. These things we have thought it necessary to observe in addition to what has been already stated. (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book 3, Chapter XXXIX; Digireads, pp. 68-69)

So, this “Catholic saint” taught the millennium–a doctrine that is now denounced by the Vatican as associated with Antichrist (see Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?).

Papias would have observed Passover on the 14th of Nisan instead of a Sunday. Neither Papias nor other early Christian leaders observed Lent nor Easter.

The Roman Catholic Church, in spite of the fact that it admits that many of its early saints taught the millennium, now strongly condemns this belief. Notice:

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194).

It should be noted that the millennial teaching appears to be the only doctrine associated with Antichrist that is condemned in the current official Catechism of the Catholic Church (which is the first new one in hundreds of years). The one that has the imprimatur of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who is now called Pope Emeritus and was Pope Benedict XVI.

Notice something else that Joseph Ratzinger wrote in a paper titled The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure prior to becoming pope:

“…both Chiliasm [the teaching of the Millennium] and Montanism were declared heretical and were excluded from the universal church; for they both denied this vision [the "Christ is the end of the ages" vision] and awaited still another period of more definitive salvation to follow after the age of Christ” (as cited in Birch, pp. 515-516; note the comments within [] were from the Catholic writer Birch).

This is an odd statement for several reasons. It was the leaders in Asia Minor who stood for the Millennium and were the first to oppose Montanism–whom the Roman Catholics originally tolerated (please see the article Location of the Early Church)–hence the belief in one is NOT necessarily related to the other.

The other reason this condemnation is odd, is that even though Origen was opposed to the millennium Origen also taught that there was definitive salvation after what then Cardinal Ratzinger calls “the age of Christ” (please see the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism). Yet pontiff emeritus Benedict XVI has publicly praised Origin as a “true teacher” (for documentation, see What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation?).

It appears to me that the millennial view is being so definitely condemned now, because we are getting so close to that time when the Church of Rome is expected to compromise more and the Pope has prepared his followers to do that. It seems like the final revised Roman Church intends to warn against following any (like the actual two witnesses) who will be teaching the original millennial doctrine. Of course, there still are Catholics who accept the biblical teaching on the millennium–but they are becoming more and more of a minority within their church.

Despite any Catholic observance in Papias’ honor, the reality is that based on what is actually known about Papias, he had views closer to the hurch of God, than the current Church of Rome.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Papias Papias died circa 135-145 and oversaw churches from Hierapolis. This article has many of his writings that are not in today’s post.
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?
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

World Council of Churches continues to promote its ‘peace plan,’ Barack Obama speaks of unity against terrorists

Thursday, February 19th, 2015


Official logo of the World Council of Churches from its website

COGwriter

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has had another meeting attempting to promote its ideas for global peace:

Violence perpetrated in the name of religion was highlighted as “a defining issue of our generation” by Canon David Porter when he spoke at a gathering of a key group in the World Council of Churches. Porter, a Anglican, spoke to members of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches which met this week in Geneva.

Porter is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s director for reconciliation at Lambeth Palace in London and he joined the WCC meeting via Skype on 17 February.

At the meeting, Porter said that religiously sanctified violence is a global challenge, and not just an issue of the Arab world.

“The reality is that those promoting such violence are looking deep into their own religious traditions and are attempting to find justifications for their actions,” he said. …

Rev. Elenie Poulos from Australia, another member of the WCC commission, identified religiously motivated violence as one of its key priorities for the work of the commission.

“Churches need to come up with a new language to deal with religiously motivated violence, especially in the Middle East,” she said. http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/issues-related-to-religion-and-violence-raised-at-world-council-of-churches-28356#ixzz3SCbEhv2o

It is the belief of many in the WCC that cooperation amongst the various religions of the world is the key to peace.  Some within that group do not agree, yet that seems to be the prevailing view.  Late last year, the WCC, with endorsement of the United Nations, launched a peace initiative and the WCC plans to have a 2015 meeting in Africa and the Middle East related to this. The time will come when a temporary peace will come to that region (see The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27), yet it will end in destruction for many in the Middle East and North Africa (see also The Future King of the South is Rising).

On an indirectly related point, US President Barack Obama stated the following today:

February 19, 2015

We come together from more than 60 countries from every continent. We speak different languages, born of different races and ethnic groups, belong to different religions. We are here today because we are united against the scourge of violent extremism and terrorism. …

At the United Nations in September, I called on the international community to come together and eradicate violent extremism. And I challenged countries to come to the General Assembly this fall with concrete steps we can take together. And I’m grateful for all of you for answering this call.  http://www.voanews.com/content/text-of-obamas-speech-to-anti-extremism-summit/2650640.html

While Barack Obama did not call for ecumenical/interfaith unity per se in that speech, he is indicating that is what is needed to bring a certain ‘peace’ to the Middle East, in order to dealing with the terrorists like ISIL.

Getting back to the WCC, here is some of what it states about itself at its website:

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity.

The WCC brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians and including most of the world’s Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches. At the end of 2013, there were 345 member churches. While the bulk of the WCC’s founding churches were European and North American, today most member churches are in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific. http://www.oikoumene.org/en/about-us viewed 12/10/2014

Even though the Church of Rome is not officially a member of the WCC, it sends ‘accredited observers’ to WCC meetings.

The Vatican has similar goals as the WCC. The Church of Rome already has ecumenical agreements/understandings with many churches that are part of the WCC, including the Eastern Orthodox (see Pope Francis speaks on his plans to re-establish full communion with the Eastern Orthodox), certain Pentecostals (see Pope Francis visits Pentecostal church–a first, but part of a Babylonian plan and Pope Francis speaks of ecumenism to 52,000 Pentecostals and others and also watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!), certain Lutherans (see Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction!), and certain other Protestant churches (see In Vatican City: New Babylon more openly forming! and Is Rick Warren a closet Catholic?).

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:

1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

7 But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. …

18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:1-10)

Many are falling for this idea of ‘unity.’  Even the United Nations has stated that it supports the idea of trying to pursue peace through ecumenical and inter-faith means with religious leaders, and that it supports the Vatican’s agenda (see United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order?, here is a link to a related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order).

The Bible does not teach that Christians will have the type of unity that the WCC, UN, and Vatican claim to want UNTIL AFTER THE FALL OF BABYLON. Notice that in Zechariah (a Catholic translation is shown below), the Bible warns against a coming ‘daughter of Babylon’ and shows that proper unity will not happen until after Jesus returns:

10 Look out! Look out! Flee from the land of the north — Yahweh declares- for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven — Yahweh declares. 11 Look out! Make your escape, Zion, now living with the daughter of Babylon!

12 For Yahweh Sabaoth says this, since the Glory commissioned me, about the nations who plundered you, ‘Whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye. 13 Now look, I shall wave my hand over them and they will be plundered by those whom they have enslaved.’ Then you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me! 14 Sing, rejoice, daughter of Zion, for now I am coming to live among you -Yahweh declares! 15 And on that day many nations will be converted to Yahweh. Yes, they will become his people, and they will live among you. Then you will know that Yahweh Sabaoth has sent me to you! 16 Yahweh will take possession of Judah, his portion in the Holy Land, and again make Jerusalem his choice. (Zechariah 2:12-16, New Jerusalem Bible-NJB)

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

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?). The ecumenical and inter-faith plans that the Vatican, WCC, and the UN are promoting are clearly condemned by the Bible and should not be encouraged.

The Apostle Paul also taught that true unity of faith would not happen until after Jesus returns:

13 until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. (Ephesians 4:13, NJB)

Those who believe this unity comes prior to Jesus’ return are in error. Actually, when Jesus returns, He will destroy the unity of nations that are against Him:

11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and voices could be heard shouting in heaven, calling, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’ 16 The twenty-four elders, enthroned in the presence of God, prostrated themselves and touched the ground with their foreheads worshipping God 17 with these words, ‘We give thanks to you, Almighty Lord God, He who is, He who was, for assuming your great power and beginning your reign. 18 The nations were in uproar and now the time has come for your retribution, and for the dead to be judged, and for your servants the prophets, for the saints and for those who fear your name, small and great alike, to be rewarded. The time has come to destroy those who are destroying the earth.’ (Revelation 11:15-18, NJB)

19:6 And I heard what seemed to be the voices of a huge crowd, like the sound of the ocean or the great roar of thunder, answering, ‘Alleluia! The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun;… 19 Then I saw the beast, with all the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to fight the Rider and his army. 20 But the beast was taken prisoner, together with the false prophet who had worked miracles on the beast’s behalf and by them had deceived those who had accepted branding with the mark of the beast and those who had worshipped his statue. These two were hurled alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur. 21 All the rest were killed by the sword of the Rider, which came out of his mouth, and all the birds glutted themselves with their flesh… 20:4 Then I saw thrones, where they took their seats, and on them was conferred the power to give judgement. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God’s word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not accept the brandmark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 19:6,19-21; 20:4, NJB)

Notice that Jesus will have to destroy world of armies unified against Him. Then He and the saints will reign. That is when there will be proper unity of the faith. Even the NJB, a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible, concurs.

Although Jesus taught that true peacemakers were blessed (Matthew 5:9), notice that the Bible shows that many do not know the way of peace:

8 The way of peace they have not known,
And there is no justice in their ways;
They have made themselves crooked paths;
Whoever takes that way shall not know peace. (Isaiah 59:8)

13 “Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:13-18)

5 Destruction comes;
They will seek peace, but there shall be none.
26 Disaster will come upon disaster,
And rumor will be upon rumor.
Then they will seek a vision from a prophet;
But the law will perish from the priest,
And counsel from the elders. (Ezekiel 7:25-26)

Notice that the Bible also warnings about some who improperly proclaim peace:

13 “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
Everyone is given to covetousness;
And from the prophet even to the priest,
Everyone deals falsely.
14 They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’
When there is no peace.
15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?
No! They were not at all ashamed;
Nor did they know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time I punish them,
They shall be cast down,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 6:13-15)

10 “Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace — and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar — 11 say to those who plaster it with untempered mortar, that it will fall. There will be flooding rain, and you, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it down. 12 Surely, when the wall has fallen, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the mortar with which you plastered it?’”

13 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “I will cause a stormy wind to break forth in My fury; and there shall be a flooding rain in My anger, and great hailstones in fury to consume it. 14 So I will break down the wall you have plastered with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be uncovered; it will fall, and you shall be consumed in the midst of it. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.

15 “Thus will I accomplish My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it with untempered mortar; and I will say to you, ‘The wall is no more, nor those who plastered it, 16 that is, the prophets of Israel who prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,’” says the Lord God.

17 “Likewise, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own heart; prophesy against them, (Ezekiel 13:10-17)

2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:2-6)

Real Christians need to watch what is going on and understand. All, Christians and non-Christians, should be concerned about the type of ‘peace’ and unity that the WCC, Vatican, and UN are really trying to push. It is NOT the type of arrangement that the Bible teaches will result in peace, but in war.

As mentioned above, the time will come when there is a type of ‘peace deal’ in the Middle East (Daniel 9:27; see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27), but that deal will NOT last. Do not be fooled by the appeal to peace by those who truly cannot bring it.

Only the return of Jesus Christ and the millennial kingdom can do that. Disaster and destruction will come to the Middle East and other areas before Jesus returns (Daniel 11:39-45; Ezekiel 30:2-8; see also Is the Future King of the South Rising Up?, Who is the King of the North?, and How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About?).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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

Chinese New Year for 2015

Thursday, February 19th, 2015


Sculpture of Horse from Chinese zodiac (Jakub Hałun)

COGwriter

The Chinese New Year, which begins in hours in the Western Hemisphere, is being celebrated today in China and elsewhere. The Chinese New Year is based upon a lunar-solar calendar cycle. Like the biblical one, it is supposed to be somewhat related to Spring, though the Chinese one tends to begin earlier.

The Chinese New Year is basically considered an observance originally established to worship pagan gods and also has astrological implications (it also involves ancestor observes). Unlike Western astrology which is supposedly based up the astrological sign in the sky when one is born (which varies about monthly), Chinese astrology is based on being born in a particular astrological year. The Chinese have 12 astrological signs that rotate in a cycle.

The year that is ending was the year of the horse.  It is now the year of the goat/sheep.  Thus people who are to be born between now and next year are considered to ‘astrologically’ be born under the sign of the year of the sheep/goat.

Here are some comments from Wikipedia about it:

Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated on the first day of the year of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year“.

The source of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors…

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian (Chinese: 年; pinyin: Nián). Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One day people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu’s mount…

The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits as encapsulated by nian (年) of which the term guo-nian (过年) was derived…

The second day of the Chinese New Year, known as kāinián (開年/开年, “beginning of the year”),[17] was when married daughters visited their birth parents, relatives and close friends…

The third day is known as Chìkǒu (赤口), directly translated as “red mouth”. Chìkǒu is also called Chìgǒurì (赤狗日), or “Chìgǒu’s Day”. Chìgǒu, literally “red dog”, is an epithet of “the God of Blazing Wrath” (熛怒之神). Rural villagers continue the tradition of burning paper offerings over trash fires. It is considered an unlucky day to have guests or go visiting…

In those communities that celebrate Chinese New Year for only two or three days, the fourth day is when corporate “spring dinners” kick off and business returns to normal…

This day is the God of Wealth’s birthday…

The seventh day, traditionally known as Rénrì (人日, the common person’s birthday), is the day when everyone grows one year older…

Eight Day Another family dinner is held to celebrate the eve of the birth of the Jade Emperor, the ruler of heaven. People normally return to work by the eighth day.the Store owners will host a lunch/dinner with their employees, thanking their employees for the work they have done for the whole year.

Approaching 12 midnight on this day, Hokkien people prepare for a Jade Emperor ritual (Bai Ti Gong or 拜天公) during which incense is burnt and food offerings made to the Jade Emperor and also to Zao Jun, the Kitchen God who reports on each family to the Jade Emperor.

Some people will hold a ritual prayer at after midnight on the eighth day. In Malaysia, especially, people light fireworks, often more than on the first day…

The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven (天公, Tiāngōng) in the Daoist Pantheon.

Tenth Day The Jade Emperor’s party is also celebrated on this day…

On the 13th day people will eat pure vegetarian food to clean out their stomach due to consuming too much food over the preceding two weeks…

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuanxiao Festival/Yuánxiāojié (元宵節), also known as Shangyuan Festival/Shàngyuánjié (上元節) or the Lantern Festival (otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei Chinese: 十五暝; pinyin: Shíwǔmíng; literally “the fifteen night” in Fujian dialect)…In Malaysia and Singapore, this day is celebrated by individuals seeking for a love partner, a different version of Valentine’s Day.

Since about a fifth to a quarter of humanity is Chinese, I thought it may be important to point out the pagan implications of this holiday as it is celebrated by scattered Chinese around the world.

The Bible itself has a different start of the New Year. When speaking of the Hebrew month of Abib, which occurs around late March/early April God declared:

“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus 12:2).

And that was not January 1st nor is it February 19th for 2015.

Also, the Bible is opposed to astrology (cf. Isaiah 47:13-15), and would not condone being part of astrological celebrations.

The first day of the next biblical new year is March 21st for 2015, which technically begins after sunset on March 20th.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Origins and Practices of Chinese New Year When is the Chinese New Year? What are its origins? Should Christians observe it?
The Bible and Astrology Should Christians avoid participating in astrology or did God inspire it? Does the Bible encourage astrology? What does the Bible actually teach? What is astrology? How does astrology differ from astronomy? Should Christians Be Involved In Astrology?
OMENS? DIVINATION? HOROSCOPES? THE ORIGIN OF ASTROLOGY
Where did astrology come from? Should you read your horoscope?
Does Astrology Work? Many believe and follow astrology–but does it work?
Close Encounters of a ‘Spirit’ Kind discusses some experiences I believe were (demon) ‘spirit’ related.
Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim This is information about various types of angelic beings.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine’s Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true? There is also a YouTube titled Should Christians Observe Valentine’s Day?
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? There is also a video titled What is the meaning of your life?
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day.
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters Where did the Chinese people come from? This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel. Here is a link to a version of this article in Spanish: ¿Prueban los caracteres chinos la exactitud de la Biblia?
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God’s Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? China in prophecy, where? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon? A YouTube video of interest may be Is China THE Threat to the United States of America?
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true? Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 一个不合理的神?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
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。.

Ash Wednesday is not in the Bible

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015


Cross of Ashes

COGwriter

Tonight, some will observe Ash Wednesday and start Lent.  Lent is considered to be a time of self-imposed abstinence by millions.  Time reported the following:

February 18, 2015

What’s the purpose of Ash Wednesday?

It marks first day of the 40 days of Lent, a roughly six-week period (not including Sundays) dedicated to reflection, prayer and fasting in preparation for Easter. …

Where do the ashes some people put on their face come from?

They’re obtained from the burning of the palms of the previous Palm Sunday, which occurs on the Sunday before Easter, and applied during services. …

What do the ashes mean?

The ashes, applied in the shape of a cross, are a symbol of penance, mourning and mortality… There aren’t any particular rules about how long the ashes should be worn, but most people wear them throughout the day as a public expression of their faith and penance.  http://time.com/3713126/ash-wednesday/

So, the ashes are a public symbol?  This does not sound like repentance nor humility. Notice what a Catholic-approved translation of the Bible teaches:

16 ‘When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. (Matthew 6:16, NJB)

Thus, Jesus seems to denounce practices that resemble Ash Wednesday.  Also, it should be noted that cross was not a symbol early Christians used (see What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol?).

Furthermore, Ash Wednesday’s true origins are considered to be a mystery by those who observe it. It was not observed by Jesus, the original apostles, nor any in the early Church. Ash Wednesday is not mentioned in either the Hebrew or Greek scriptures,  commonly known as the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Despite that, notice the following from the 1988 circular letter on Lent and Easter “Paschales Solemnitatis,” issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship of the Church of Rome:

“21. On the Wednesday before the first Sunday of Lent, the faithful receive the ashes, thus entering into the time established for the purification of their souls. This sign of penance, a traditionally biblical one, has been preserved among the Church’s customs until the present day. It signifies the human condition of the sinner, who seeks to express his guilt before the Lord in an exterior manner, and by so doing express his interior conversion, led on by the confident hope that the Lord will be merciful. This same sign marks the beginning of the way of conversion, which is developed through the celebration of the sacraments of penance during the days before Easter.” (As cited in McNamara E, Priest.  Ashes Earlier. Zenit, March 4, 2014. http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/ashes-earlier)

No one in the Old or New Testaments was ever recorded as putting ashes on their foreheads in a shape of a cross.  Yet, also notice the following claims from the Shorter Book of Blessings by the Church of Rome:

1059. The season of Lent begins with the ancient practice of marking the baptized with ashes as a public and communal sign of penance. The blessing and distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday normally takes place during the celebration of Mass. (As cited in McNamara E, Priest.  Ashes Earlier. Zenit, March 4, 2014. http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/ashes-earlier)

The Bible does not show that the baptized received ashes on their foreheads in the shape of a cross.  Furthermore, this is not part of the early traditions of Christians.  It seems to have been a practice of pagans, however.

One who believes in Ash Wednesday once sent me the following two weeks ago:

Ash Wednesday is approaching and with it the rite of the imposition of ashes on the foreheads…

My question is, why does the gospel for Ash Wednesday include the reading of Jesus’s words forbidding the imposition of ashes?

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Isn’t this strange, that we should do something that Jesus has forbidden and at the same time read out ceremonially his words forbidding it?

I have asked Anglican and Catholic priests about this but they have offered no answers. Can you suggest any?

Here is another Catholic-approved translation of that verse he asked about:

16 ‘When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. (Matthew 6:16, NJB)

In addition to providing other information, I also responded to the emailer with the following:

While you are correct that people in the Old Testament used ashes as part of their sorrowing, there was no ceremony in the New Testament that encouraged this.  And as you pointed out, Ash Wednesday seems to be in opposition to the principle that Jesus espoused in Matthew 6:16…

As far as why Rome violates various passages of scripture, Rome and others have often changed doctrines from the Bible and the practices of the apostles.  An article that documents this, that probably contains a lot you would be surprised about, would be: Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?

Ash Wednesday certainly is not from the Bible.

Yet, in the past, even Episcopalians have been advocating Ash Wednesday:

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church offers commuters ‘Ashes to Go’ at Beverly Depot station

“We think there is an unmet desire for people to get ashes on Ash Wednesday that cannot make it to a regular service because it’s a workday,” Perrott said in an interview yesterday. “We thought going to a train station and offering ‘Ashes to Go’ will meet that need.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports:

Ash Wednesday
The Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday, which is the first day of the Lenten fast.

The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead…There can be no doubt that the custom of distributing the ashes to all the faithful arose from a devotional imitation of the practice observed in the case of public penitents. (Ash Wednesday. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

Thus, Ash Wednesday is believed by the Church of Rome to be related to following some type of public penance, though precisely from where is not clear. Ash Wednesday now marks the beginning of the Lenten season.

Notice also something from the Protestant publication calling itself Christianity Today:

The Beginning of Lent
Until the 600s, Lent began on Quadragesima (Fortieth) Sunday, but Gregory the Great (c.540-604) moved it to a Wednesday, now called Ash Wednesday, to secure the exact number of 40 days in Lent—not counting Sundays, which were feast days. Gregory, who is regarded as the father of the medieval papacy, is also credited with the ceremony that gives the day its name. (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2004/lent.html)

So, “Ash Wednesday” apparently did not originate on a Wednesday. Of course, the entire lenten period is not from the Bible, hence it should be of no surprise that it has had various changes in its observation.

While it is true that there were some 40 day fasts in the Bible, they did not resemble Lent, they were not any type of annual practice, and the apostles never observed one as far as can be determined. The Catholic Saint Abbot John Cassian (also known as Cassianus, monk of Marseilles) in the fifth century admitted:

Howbeit you should know that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist (Cassian John. Conference 21, THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT THEONAS. ON THE RELAXATION DURING THE FIFTY DAYS. Chapter 30).

The historian A. Hislop wrote:

Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing (Hislop A. Two Babylons. pp. 104-106).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia states:

Ash Wednesday, in the Western Church, the first day of Lent, being the seventh Wednesday before Easter. On this day ashes are placed on the foreheads of the faithful to remind them of death, of the sorrow they should feel for their sins, and of the necessity of changing their lives. The practice, which dates from the early Middle Ages, is common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Episcopalians, and many Lutherans; it was also adopted by some Methodists and Presbyterians in the 1990s (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007, Columbia University Press).

Notice that Ash Wednesday was not an original observance of even the Church of Rome. Perhaps I should also mention that the Eastern Orthodox Church does not celebrate Ash Wednesday.

Yet, oddly, Protestant groups, like the improperly named Christianity Today seem to have endorsed it. Notice comments from three more articles at its website:

Let’s Lengthen Lent
pre-Lenten festivals such as the Mardi Gras have turned into bacchanals that have become a reproach to civilization.So what do we do? Observe Lent or ignore it?…I hope to be in my church on Ash Wednesday as a worshiper. (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/marchweb-only/34.0.html)

He Is Risen so I Am Shriven

Can eating pancakes enrich Christian piety? As a part of the traditional celebration of Shrove Tuesday, I believe flapjacks can build our faith. … the understated British gather calmly in their homes on the day before Lent to fill themselves with pancakes. Why pancakes? In medieval Europe, Christians often gave up eating rich foods like meat, eggs, and milk for the 40-day period of penance, prayer, and preparation leading to Easter. The practice and duration of the ritual corresponded to Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert. …

During the Reformation, many Protestants, especially my English Puritan ancestors, dismissed Lent and Shrove Tuesday as superstitious Catholic observances aimed at earning God’s favor through human works. Thus, strict Lenten observance declined among English-speaking people.

But the palate proved mightier than the Puritans. Most Britons didn’t want to give up pancakes—even if, without an austere Lent… Lent is to Easter what Advent is to Christmas. Lent gets us in the “Easter spirit,” and helps us appreciate that Easter is theologically more significant than Christmas—even if contemporary Western culture gets it backward.  http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/february-web-only/he-is-risen-so-i-am-shriven.html

Lent

Lent is one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. Like all Christian holy days and holidays, it has changed over the years…(http://www.christianitytoday.com/holidays/)

Despite claiming that it is part of the “Christian calendar,” the fact is that neither Ash Wednesday nor Lent can be found to be endorsed in the Bible nor in the writings of the early followers of Jesus. Obviously, many of those at the falsely named Christianity Today do not believe in sola Scriptura.  Consistent with the current ecumenical movement, more and more Protestants are observing practices that they once realized were improper.

It should be noted that the Bible never uses the term ‘Easter,’ the name of a pagan deity, in conjunction with Jesus’ resurrection.

The Bible also never uses the terms Lent or Ash Wednesday. Nor does it seem to positively describe the marking of anyone’s head with ashes. But the Bible does condemn practices associated with Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:13-14) which may be related to the origins of Lent and/or Ash Wednesday. Here is one commentary on that:

Ezekiel 8:14-15

Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.

Tammuz. This god can be traced back to the Sumerian Dumuzi, the god of the subterranean ocean and a shepherd deity, whose sister-consort, Inanna-Ishtar, descended into the lower world to bring him back to life. In his worship are similarities to that of Egyptian Osiris, the Canaanite Baal, and the Syrian Adonis. Gebal or Byblos, twenty-one miles north of Beirut, was the great seat of Adonis worship. The nightly death of the god, the god’s dying before the touch of winter, or the vernal god’s dying with the parched summer are variations on the theme of death and resurrection. Mourning for the god was followed by a celebration of resurrection (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press).

Notice that the mourning ended with the resurrection for Tammuz. This is essentially the same as fasting for forty days which ends with the Easter.  The adoption of crosses seems also to be related to Tammuz (see What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol?  and/or watch ).

Since Ash Wednesday involves receiving ashes on one’s forehead to begin the forty-day period of Lent, this may be related to the beginning of the mourning for the death of Tammuz. It may or not be relevant to note that Ishtar is also spelled as Ash-tar. An interesting coincidence.

Speaking of coincidences, some have wondered if Ash Wednesday had any relationship to the ancient Sun-god Mithras.

Here is what Tertullian of Carthage (in eastern Egypt) noted near the beginning of the third century:

Mithra there, (in the kingdom of Satan,) sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers (Tertullian. The Prescription against Heretics, Chapter 40. Translated by Peter Holmes, D.D., F.R.A.S.)

Payam Nabarz wrote in the 21st century:

Tertullian certainly writes that Mithras marks (signat) his soldiers on the forehead, but what ‘sign’? Some writers have even speculated that this mark was the mark of the “Beast of Revelations,” as the numerological value of the Sun is 666!…

Mithratic…initiates…would henceforth have the Sun Cross on their foreheads. The similarity to the cross of ashes made on the forehead on the Christian Ash Wednesday is striking. Some have suggested this to be an example of the early Christians borrowing from the Mithratic cult; others suggest that both cults were drawing upon the same prototype (Nabarz P. The mysteries of Mithras: the pagan belief that shaped the Christian world. Inner Traditions / Bear & Company, 2005, p. 36).

The 20th century writer Manly Hall wrote:

Candidates who successfully passed the Mithraic initiations were called Lions and were marked upon their foreheads with the Egyptian cross. (Manly P. Hall Manly P. Hall (Author), J. Augustus Knapp (Illustrator) The Secret Teachings of all Ages. Originally published 1926, reprint Wilder Publications, 2009, p. 45)

It appears that the idea of a cross on the forehead probably came from Egypt initially. Mithraism probably picked it up (there is some question about the exact mark on the forehead, but a type of cross seems to be the most likely). And sometime after the Church of Rome absorbed some aspects of Mithraism, Ash Wednesday appeared–but not officially for some time. Mithraism itself was a major force in the Roman world until at least the fourth century A.D., but it seemed to die out by the end of that century. On the other hand, the Egyptian cults seemed to exist until a later time. Many Mithratic practices have been adopted by many who profess Christ. For details, please see the article Do You Practice Mithraism?

Others have felt, however, that Ash Wednesday was adopted from India, and then made it to Rome. Notice what Barbara Walker reported:

Ash Wednesday This allegedly Christian festival came from Roman paganism, which in turn took it from Vedic India. Ashes were considered the seed of the fire god Agni, with the power to absolve all sins…

At Rome’s New Year Feast of Atonement in March, people wore sackcloth and bathed in ashes to atone for their sins. Then as now, New Year’s Eve was a festival for eating, drinking, and sinning, on the theory that all sins would be wiped out the following day. As the dying god of March, Mars took his worshippers’ sins in with him into death. Therefore the carnival fell on dies martis, the Day of Mars. In English, this was Tuesday, because Mars was associated with the Saxon god Tiw. In French the carnival day was called Mardis Gras, “Fat Tuesday,” the merrymaking day before Ash Wednesday. (Walker B. The woman’s encyclopedia of myths and secrets. HarperCollins, 1983, pp. 66-67).

And although Ash Wednesday is now most often in February (though it was in March in 2011), the aspect of penance from sins is still tied in with Ash Wednesday. And the merrymaking still exists in places that observe Mardi Gras or “Carnaval.”

Whether from Egypt, Mithratic Roman paganism, or India, the one place it did not come from was the Bible. Nor did it come from early traditions of the first followers of Jesus.

Thus Ash Wednesday does not seem to have a strictly biblical origin. Because of the relatively late acceptance of it by the Church of Rome (about 600 or 700 years after Christ), it appears that it may have entered Rome as a remnant of the Sun-cult Mithras or possibly was absorbed through the introduction of some others who had practices once associated with parts of ancient Egypt or India.

Pope Francis has spoken about Lent:

March 5, 2014

Concluding his address, Pope Francis reminded the faithful of several essential elements to live the Lenten season: to give thanks to God for the mystery of his crucified love, authentic faith, conversion and openness of heart to all.

“On this path,” he concluded, “let us invoke with particular faithfulness, the protection and help of the Virgin Mary. May She, the first believer in Christ, accompany us in the days of intense prayer and penance, to be able to celebrate, purified and renewed in the Spirit, the great mystery of the Passover of her Son.”  http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-lent-is-a-turning-point-that-encourages-us-to-convert

Turning to Jesus, not Mary for help and protection, is what real Christians are supposed to do.  Ash Wednesday and Lent are not Christians holidays.

Some items of possible interest may include:

Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Did Jesus celebrate Carnaval? Where did it come from?  There is also a related YouTube video Mardi Gras & Carnaval: Are they for Christians?
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.
What Happened in the ‘Crucifixion Week’? How long are three days and three nights? Was Palm Sunday on a Saturday? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter? (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Murió Jesús un día miércoles o un viernes?)
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a video titled Why Easter?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?  Where did the eucharistic host and IHS come from?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?  A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
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?
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。.

Undecayed female body keeps many from being faithful

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015


Bernadette Soubirous (Rabanus Flavus)

COGwriter

Today, many in France will honor Bernadette Soubirous. She is famous for her what some refer to as “incorruptibility” (limited decay of the flesh after death) as well as claims about seeing visions of a “Lady” in Lourdes, France. On 18 February of 1858, she claimed that “vision” asked her to return to a particular grotto every day for a two weeks and Bernadette passed on various messages that she claimed to have received. Her shrine is a popular destination for certain Catholics.

Probably because her now waxed body has been so well preserved, her face in on the front cover of a famous Catholic book by J.C. Cruz titled The Incorruptibles (Nihil Obstat: HC Bezou, November 11, 1974. Imprimatur + PM Hannan, Archbishop of New Orleans, November 19, 194. TAN Books, 1977)–most other Catholic “incorruptibles” have not been as well preserved. Although on the internet it has been claimed “for each incorrupt body discovered, after research has been done to determine who the person was, it has always been determined that the person was an extremely devout Catholic,” that claim is in error. This type of “incorruptibility” has happened to others who were not Catholic, as well as Catholics who were not devout.

Concerning physical incorruptibility, the New Catholic Encyclopedia of 1967 stated, “Many cases could possibly have a natural explanation or be caused by diabolical power.” But many Catholics tend to overlook that fact.

My experience with talking to some suggests that one of the reasons that some affiliated with Rome will not see the truth about certain matters is because they rely on physical signs such as “incorruptibility” of various male and female bodies as proof that their church has God’s favor, hence they often believe that this validates their church’s positions overall.

Partially related to Lourdes, the former Roman Pontiff Benedict XVI once said:

…let us turn to her who is the Queen of all the Saints, the Virgin Mary, thinking of Lourdes, stricken by a grave overflowing of the Gave, which has also flooded the grotto of the apparitions of Our Lady. Today we would especially like to entrust missionaries to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary – priests and laity, who sow the good seed of the Gospel in every part of the world. We also pray for the Synod of Bishops, which, over the course of these weeks, is confronting the challenge of the new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith. http://www.zenit.org/article-35781?l=english

Of course, the Bible never refers to Jesus’ mother Mary as the ‘queen’ of anything–the only ‘queen of heaven’ (an expression that some also try to apply to Mary) that the Bible refers to is condemned (Jeremiah 7:18-20; 44:17-23). Also, the only ‘virgin’ ‘Lady of the Kingdoms’ (other terms sometimes improperly applied to Mary that the Bible tells of (Isaiah 47:1-5) is also condemned (Isaiah 47:5-15).

Here is some of what my book Fatima Shock! said about the “Immaculate Conception” and the Lourdes apparition:

In the 19th century, there was a female apparition in France, known as the Lady of Lourdes. One of the statements she reportedly stated in 1858 was, “I am the Immaculate Conception!”

Now this is an unusual and biblically contradictory idea as the Bible teaches that all have sinned (Roman 3:23) except Jesus (Hebrews 4:15), as He is the only one who had a biblically immaculate conception, but not the Marian kind.

For non-Catholics, let me explain that what became an extra-biblical Catholic doctrine was that Mary was conceived unlike all other humans and free of what many refer to as “original sin.” Specifically this “dogma” has been explained in Dr. Ludwig Ott’s 20th century book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma as:

“Mary’s freedom of original sin was an unmerited gift of God, and an exception from the law that was vouchsafed to her only.”

His book also teaches:

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in scripture… Neither the Greek nor the Latin Fathers explicitly (explicite) teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

So where did it come from?…Jumping forward to the 12th century, a British monk Eadmer began to promote the idea of an Immaculate Conception of Mary. When he did so, “St. Bernard of Clairvaux… (about 1140), warned the faithful that this was an unfounded innovation…”

So was the Catholic saint Bernard wrong in condemning Monk Eadmer’s heresy here? Of course not! Others, at least as late as the 17th century supported Bernard’s position on this. (Fatima Shock! pp. 85-86)

Eastern Signs and Faiths

While “Mary” is known throughout the Middle East and West, she is less known, though revered by some like a goddess, in Eastern religions:

Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and other pilgrims regularly worship at famous Roman Catholic shrines to the Virgin Mary such as Lourdes in France and Fatima in Portugal…Many venerate her like one of their own goddesses…(Fatima Shock! p. 188)

There is a prophecy that indicates that certain end-time Marian supporters will eliminate Protestantism:

Saint Louis de Montfort (18th century): These great souls…singularly devouted to our Blessed Lady… shall fight, overthrow and crush the heretics with their heresies, the schismatics with their schisms…

Yet, some Protestant leaders have gotten more accepting of Marian aspects of faith:

Archbishop Williams…said…at Lourdes that when Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 “she came at first as an anonymous figure, a beautiful lady, a mysterious thing, not yet identified as the Lord’s spotless mother…” he said. The Archbishop later was criticized by the England-based Protestant Truth Society, a group of Anglicans and non-conformists committed to upholding the ideals of the Protestant Reformation…Jeremy Brooks, the group’s director of ministry, said: “All true Protestants will be appalled that the Archbishop of Canterbury has visited Lourdes and preached there. “Lourdes represents everything about Roman Catholicism that the Protestant Reformation rejected, including apparitions, Mariolatry and the veneration of saints…The archbishop’s…sermon — which included a reference to Mary as ‘the mother of God’ — is a complete denial of Protestant orthodoxy.”

Protestants need to understand that by eliminating heresies, Catholic prophecies sometimes specifically mean the elimination of Protestantism. Mary was not called the “Mother of God” by early faithful Christians or those who kept their practices. (Fatima Shock! pp. 219-220)

Mary is not one to pray to or to entrust oneself to–including Catholics, Hindus, etc.

Jesus is. But even Pope Francis gets confused about this, and he has had a lot of interest in Marian apparitions.

Yet, there is a great tendency within the Church of Rome to rely on signs, apparitions, and wonders to support teachings that do not square with the Bible. All who profess Christ, including those who are COG, Catholic, Protestant, or anything else, should understand that Jesus is the center of the plan of salvation and that the Church of Rome intends to promote a further Marian reverence that will likely deceive nearly all (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17-18–and this includes nearly all who profess Christ (cf. Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). And those who honor people such as Bernadette of Lourdes are unknowingly helping set this up.

Some items of related interest may include:

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 Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers?
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?
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future? Here are links to a two-part sermon series: What are Some of the Parts of Satan’s Plan? and Satan’s Plan is More Dramatic than Many Realize.
The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy? What is the origin of this in France? What is prophesied to happen to them? A two-part sermon related to history and prophecy is available online: The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben and France and Prophecy.
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! is a highly documented book by Bob Thiel for those interested in the real truth about Fatima and how future apparitions may affect the future. In addition to the print version, there is a Kindle version of Fatima Shock! which you can acquire in seconds.
Fatima Shock! YouTube Dr. Thiel highlights a few points of why no one would support Fatima, etc. as discussed in the documented book Fatima Shock!
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
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. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Danish terrorist had sworn allegiance to ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015


‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

COGwriter

The terrorist who shot and killed in Denmark said he swore allegiance to the Islamic State just minutes prior to his murderous rampage:

February 17, 2015

Danish media report the Copenhagen man who attacked a free-speech seminar and a synagogue last weekend swore allegiance to the Islamic State leader just six minutes before he unleashed his deadly barrage of gunfire.

The reports Tuesday said 22-year-old gunman, Omar Abdel Hamid el-Hussein, made a Facebook post pledging fealty to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The gunman said he was committed to “Abu Bakr in full obedience in the good and bad things.  And I will not dispute with him unless it is an outrageous belief.”

Meanwhile, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service said it had been warned last September by the country’s prison service that Hussein, who had been serving time for a vicious stabbing of a passenger on a train, was at “risk of radicalization.”

But the security service, known as PET, said it “had, against the background of the alert from the Prison and Probation Service, no reason to believe the now deceased [Hussein] was planning attacks.”

Hussein was released from prison two weeks before he killed one person and wounded three police officers at a café where the free speech seminar was being  held, and hours later killed a guard at a bat mitzvah ceremony at the synagogue.  Still later, Hussein was killed by police in a shootout.  http://www.voanews.com/content/reports-danish-gunman-swore-allegiance-to-is-leader/2647459.html

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a brutal terrorist. Much of the following applies to him and his followers:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1-6)

I would add that Islamic terrorists often believe lies such as they will get 72 virgins in paradise if they are killed in Jihad–a false and non-biblical position.

But is that even in the Qu’ran?  Notice the answer from one source:

The simple answer is NO! There is no promise of 72 virgins for martyrs, terrorists or suicide bombers anywhere in the Quran.

The section many people claim promises this is Chapter (78) sūrat l-naba (The Great News). The controversy is due to the poor translation of ONE verse from verses 29 to 34…

The translation by Moshin

  And all things We have recorded in a Book. (29)

 So taste you (the results of your evil actions); No increase shall We give you, except in torment. (30)

 Verily, for the Muttaqûn[], there will be a success (Paradise); (31)

 Gardens and vineyards, (32)

 And young full-breasted (mature) maidens of equal age, (33)

 And a full cup (of wine). (34)

 

The translation by Yusuf Ali

  And all things have We preserved on record. (29)

 ”So taste ye (the fruits of your deeds); for no increase shall We grant you, except in Punishment.” (30)

 Verily for the righteous there will be a fulfilment of (the Heart’s) desires; (31)

 Gardens enclosed, and Grape-vines; (32)

 Companions of Equal Age; (33)

 And a Cup full (to the Brim). (34)


We see from these 2 translations that the verse that causes all the problems is verse 33.

  The word for word translation of this verse is,

  wakawāʿiba = And splendid companions  CONJ – prefixed conjunction wa (and)
                                                                                                         N – accusative feminine plural noun

 

atrāban = well-matched,  ADJ – accusative feminine plural indefinite adjective

So how can some translators get it so wrong! Well the answer is simple. Many translators of the Quran from Arabic to other languages have used the Hadith and other sources to help in completing the translations. You therefore find many translations that use stories from the Hadith to elaborate the actual Quran translations. This is clearly the case with this verse in Mohsins and many other English and other language translations…It is clear from the true word for word translation of this verse that no such promise of 72  or even 1 virgin  exists in the Quran.   http://www.justislam.co.uk/product.php?products_id=216

Irrespective of how the Qu’ran should be translated, followers of the Islamic State are often promised female consorts in this age.  The Islamic State even has a manual about how they can take girls (see Islamic State’s horrifying answers about Non-Muslim females).

As far as being in paradise goes, God is not going to reward terrorists.  They need to change or they will not get into the city with God’s people.  Notice:

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

Terrorists are often murderers and all of them believe and practice lies.  If Omar Abdel Hamid el-Hussein believed he was getting God’s favor by killing Danes, he was in error.

As far as the Islamic State itself goes, more and more are getting outraged by actions it and its followers are part of.  It has been attacked by the USA, France, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and others.  A coalition is building, and the time will come when a coalition of states in the Middle East and North Africa will form, likely with Western encouragement, partially to deal with Islamic terrorists.

But as I have said before, unless he were to change, there is no way I believe that the ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, will lead the coalition that the Bible refers to as led by the King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43).

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? Some claim that these passages refer to a gathering of 10 currently existing nations together, while one group teaches that this is referring to 11 nations getting together. Is that what Revelation 17:12-13 refers to? The ramifications of misunderstanding this are enormous. A related sermon is titled Ten Kings of Revelation and the Great Tribulation.
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There is also a related YouTube video you can watch titled Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated.
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 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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy? What is the origin of this in France? What is prophesied to happen to them? A two-part sermon related to history and prophecy is available online: The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben and France and Prophecy.
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 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.

Mardi Gras is not Christian; Pope Francis was once a ‘Mardis Gras bouncer;’ Shrove Tuesday?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015



New Orleans Mardi Gras (Infrogmation)

COGwriter

Today is known in some places as Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday,” called Shrove Tuesday in parts of the UK) and is related to a carnival or carnaval season.

Pope Francis used to be a Mardi Gras bouncer:

February 17, 2015

The Pope’s Days as a Mardi Gras Bouncer

Pope Francis is spending this Fat Tuesday in solemn preparation for Ash Wednesday, but that wasn’t always the case. The man who would be pope used to get down.

Mardis Gras, Fat Tuesday, Martedi Grasso—whatever you call it, the eve of the Catholic Lenten season is a final hurrah before a 40-day period of prayer and fasting. Pope Francis now spends the day in solemn preparation for Ash Wednesday services, but it wasn’t always this way for the hip pontiff. …Pope Francis wasn’t always involved in holy work. Back when he was known as Jose Maria Bergoglio, he worked as a nightclub bouncer in Flores, Argentina, to earn money as a student.

“I was the world’s worst bouncer,” Francis told the congregation of San Cirillo Alessandrino in a Roman suburb shortly after his election in 2013. He cut a less-than-intimidating figure, according to several biographies written about him. The most intimate, Francesco: Life and Revolution, was written by Argentinian journalist Elisabetta Pique, who has known Bergoglio since he was elevated to cardinal in 2001, and who he called personally shortly after his election. Pique describes the man before he became pope as “el Flaco” or the thin one and later, “Carucha” or “baby face,” as his friends called him.

Francis also had a girlfriend before he joined the priesthood—this woman is widely reported to have been a skilled Tango and Milonga dancer.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/17/the-pope-s-days-as-a-mardi-gras-bouncer.html

Here are some comments about Mardi Gras:

Mardi Gras is not just a week-long party for New Orleans bar-goers, millions of people around the country celebrate the raving party.

Mardi Gras is infamous for public nudity, chaotic parties, ingesting copious amounts of alcohol and acts as another St. Patrick’s Day for those who aren’t actually Irish, but drink like they are.

The Christian-themed holiday serves as one last hooray before Lent and giving up delicacies until Easter. People party hard for the week leading up to Lent and Ash Wednesday. This usually involves a massive parade, numerous mini-celebrations and masquerade balls sporting gold, green and purple, which represent power, faith and justice.

Citizens hold nothing back, including their sense of humility, during the few days included in Carnival season. Women typically strip for meaningless colorful beads, chocolate or plastic coins thrown from floats, and wear even less out at bars. The women have no shame and the men have no boundaries. http://www.fourthestatenewspaper.com/mobile/off-the-wall/mardi-gras-unexposed-mayhem-1.2781767

Of course, there is nothing truly Christian about Mardis Gras. It does not come from the Bible nor did early Christians observe it.

According to Wikipedia:

Carnival begins 12 days after Christmas, or Twelfth Night, on January 6 and ends on Mardi Gras, which always falls exactly 47 days before Easter.

The USA city most famous for its Mardi Gras celebrations would be New Orleans. The Washington Post reported the following about it before:

For the past five days, the southern party town has given itself over to excess, good food, lots of drink and maybe a little debauchery. And that’s not the weeks leading up to the event with small parades preparing for the celebration. Mardi Gras is a marathon, New Orleanians will tell you, and Fat Tuesday marks the final stretch.

For the non-New Orleanians, a quick primer on Mardi Gras: Before the Catholic holiday of Lent, in which worshipers fast and repent for 40 days, people do their best to make up for the days of restraint with jam-packed days of plenty. Festivals are observed all over the world, such as Carnival in Brazil, but it’s never been so associated with a city’s identity as it has with New Orleans…

The food is the king cake, a gooey, butter-rich cake with a hidden baby Jesus tucked inside. The Post’s Tim Carman looked into the history of the cake and found “The cake’s appeal becomes clearer the closer you get to the city limits and, conversely, becomes more comical the farther you travel from the voodoo-sexual-second-line cultural vortex of the Big Easy. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/blog-post/2011/03/mardi_grass_fat_tuesday_the_mu.html

Here is another item about it:

The Salt Lake Tribune – Jan 8, 2008

Although the origins of Carnaval are shrouded in mystery, some believe the fest began as a pagan celebration of spring’s arrival sometime during the Middle Ages. The Portuguese brought the celebration to Brazil in the 1500s, but it took on a decidedly local flavor by adopting Indian costumes and African rhythms. The word itself probably derives from the Latin carne vale,” or goodbye meat,” a reference to the Catholic tradition of giving up meat (and other fleshly temptations) during Lent…

Rio’s first festivals were called entrudos, with locals dancing through the streets in colorful costumes and throwing mud, flour and suspicious-smelling liquids on one another. In the 19th century, Carnaval meant attending a lavish masked ball or participating in the orderly and rather vapid European-style parade. Rio’s poor citizens, bored by the finery but eager to celebrate, began holding their own parades, dancing through the streets to African-based rhythms…

…an event that happens annually in Brazil on the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. In 2008, Carnaval officially begins Friday, Feb. 1, when the mayor gives the keys to the city to King Momo, the portly pleasure-seeker who ushers in the bacchanalia. The next four days are marked by neighborhood parties, lavish masked balls and impromptu fests all over town (http://www.sltrib.com/travel/ci_7883824).

Here is some of what the American Catholic reports about it:

Mardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday,” has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event…Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning “farewell to the flesh.” Like many Catholic holidays and seasonal celebrations, it likely has its roots in pre-Christian traditions based on the seasons. (Catholic Roots of Mardi Gras. American Catholic. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/mardigras/)

Essentially, this is a pagan holiday that the Catholics adopted as a compromise to keep members. Participants eat a lot (hence the name “fat Tuesday”) before they begin a fast now called Lent–another observance with pagan origins. Parades involving under-clothed women are common. And that is not just in the USA:

Rio celebrates as Carnival opens in Brazil…

Carnival…five-day annual exaltation of music, booze and flesh…The rotund King Momo embodies Carnival, a raucous free-for-all where excesses are encouraged and the natural order of things is turned upside down: men dress as women…In addition to the elaborate two-day samba group parade and the high-dollar costumed balls where the rich spend a lot to wear very little in the most exclusive company, Rio’s free, open-to-all street Carnival is bigger than ever.

The Bible teaches against cross-dressing:

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

Of course, Mardi Gras festivities are not biblical, despite their popularity. Millions come to the streets in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate it (see Carnaval’s Popularity is Growing). And, it is incredibly popular in New Orleans and certain other cities.

Mardis Gras also seems to trigger a variety of crimes.  Notice a report that came out yesterday, even before its official start:

February 16, 2015

As the clock ticks on this year’s Mardi Gras celebration, a deployment of Louisiana State Police troopers in New Orleans has made its presence felt with more than 140 arrests thus far, according to State Police statistics.

The arrests, 50 of them felonies, amount to almost 16 a day, from Feb. 6 — when troopers arrived in the city to bolster a New Orleans police force struggling to fill its thinning ranks — through Sunday (Feb. 15).

In that nine-day period, the detail of 150 troopers seized 14 weapons and generated more than 315 non-drug related charges, State Police said. An additional 100 or so narcotics-related charges have come from those arrests, State Police said, and more than $376,000 in drugs have been taken off the streets.

At least some of those narcotics came from a bust Sunday night on St. Anthony Street. According to a State Police statement, troopers — acting on a tip — found a variety of drugs and arrested six people on possession charges.  http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2015/02/state_police_and_mardi_gras_14.html

The fruits of Mardis Gras are not good.

Lent, which also is not of biblical origin, is thus becoming an excuse essentially for loud and wild parties all over the world, which stop the night before it. Which would be tonight.

Mardi Gras tends to be associated with drunkenness, lust, and other practices that the Bible condemns.

It really should not be considered as something that real Christians would participate in.

What about Shrove Tuesday?

Shrove Tuesday is considered to be an ‘alternative’ to Mardis Gras and is also today.  The improperly named publication Christianity Today has the following about it:

February 17, 2015

Can eating pancakes enrich Christian piety? As a part of the traditional celebration of Shrove Tuesday, I believe flapjacks can build our faith.

For those of us who love Jesus and Aunt Jemima, this is very good news.

Shrove Tuesday is essentially the British take on Mardi Gras or Carnival. But instead of flamboyant parties filled with riotous excess, the understated British gather calmly in their homes on the day before Lent to fill themselves with pancakes.

Why pancakes? In medieval Europe, Christians often gave up eating rich foods like meat, eggs, and milk for the 40-day period of penance, prayer, and preparation leading to Easter. The practice and duration of the ritual corresponded to Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert.

During Lent, perishable goods would spoil, so pancakes—traditionally just eggs and milk mixed with flour—were the ideal meal for consuming Lenten no-no foods. …

During the Reformation, many Protestants, especially my English Puritan ancestors, dismissed Lent and Shrove Tuesday as superstitious Catholic observances aimed at earning God’s favor through human works. …

But the palate proved mightier than the Puritans. Most Britons didn’t want to give up pancakes—even if, without an austere Lent, there wasn’t any real reason to use up all the eggs and milk. Eating pancakes was reason enough for a party. To this day, people all over Britain and in scattered Anglophone countries eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

But with the underlying religious motivation largely gone, the occasion is now more commonly known as Pancake Tuesday. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/february-web-only/he-is-risen-so-i-am-shriven.html

No, eating pancakes today does not show that one is a Christian exercising biblical piety. Pancake desire is not a sign of faith. Shrove Tuesday, of course, is not in the Bible.  Consistent with the current ecumenical movement, more and more Protestants are observing practices that they once realized were improper.

Observing non- biblical holidays as religious festivals is not the way God wishes to be worshiped.  Notice something 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)

The truth is that most who profess Christianty will not worship God in truth and worship Him as He commands.

Mardis Gras and Shrove Tuesday do not honor the God of the Bible.  True worshipers do not take part in such false worship.  Do you really believe what Jesus taught?

Some items of related interest may include:

Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Is Mardi Gras Christian? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Where did it come from? There is also a related YouTube video Mardi Gras & Carnaval: Are they for Christians?
Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
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.
Why The Continuing Church of God Does Not Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day Should non-Catholics observe a Catholic holiday?
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.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
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?
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?
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. Two related sermon links would include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. In Spanish: Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios.