Archive for the ‘Religious News’ Category

Sanhedrin pressures Jerusalem mayoral candidates to back building a massive third temple

Thursday, November 8th, 2018


Organization of the Nascent Sanhedrin

COGwriter

The reconstituted Sanhedrin wants the next mayor of Jerusalem to build a Temple:

Which Jerusalem Mayoral Candidate Will Build the Temple?

November 8, 2018

Jerusalem will have a new mayor next week and more than any other election this year will decide the religious nature of Israel’s capital. The nascent Sanhedrin has addressed a letter to the two candidates emphasizing the role of the Third Temple in municipal current policy.

The Jerusalem mayoral election held last week ran five candidates, but the results were so close that an additional runoff vote next week is needed to choose between the top two. Moshe Lion with 33 percent of the vote and Ofer Berkovitch with 29 percent will run off against each other – with neither achieving the 40 percent of the electorate required to win office. …

The religious Jewish aspect of being the mayor Jerusalem was amplified to an even greater degree in an open letter that the Sanhedrin sent to the two candidates.

“With God’s merciful approval, one of you will be chosen as head of the city, may it be built and made ready for its ultimate purpose,” the Sanhedrin wrote. “We call on the candidates as well as the voters to make choices based on truth and on the main aspect of Jerusalem, which is the building of the Temple.”

The Sanhedrin wrote a similar letter to U.S. President Donald Trump after he won the election, calling on him to take a role in building the Third Temple just as Persian King Cyrus helped the Jews build the Second Temple after the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BCE.

“Avoiding this essential issue endangers the existence of the city and its identity as the capital of Israel, thereby endangering Israel itself,” the Sanhedrin wrote to the mayoral candidates. “Every Jew and all of humanity are commanded to ascend to the Temple Mount.”

“We expect you, as candidates, to relate to this role the city has as home of the Temple. This subject is not simply a matter of religious belief but must also be expressed in political, fiscal, and educational terms.” …

The Sanhedrin emphasized that the city will change when the Temple is built, requiring massive improvements to its infrastructure.

“Jerusalem must prepared to host the millions of pilgrims who will attend the feasts when the Third Temple is built,” the letter said. “We also call on the government to prepare a center for an international body to replace the United Nations and the Hague, one that will be rooted in the Bible.” https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/116619/sanhedrin-jerusalem-mayor-temple/

The Sanhedrin wants a Temple, wants animal sacrifices, and wants political leaders to support its agenda.

Perhaps it should be pointed out that the word sanhedrin basically means “council.” A version of this word is found 22 times in the New Testament. Notice two of them:

55 And the chief priests and all the sanhedrim were seeking against Jesus testimony — to put him to death (Mark 14:55, Young’s Literal Translation).

1 And Paul having earnestly beheld the sanhedrim, said, ‘Men, brethren, I in all good conscience have lived to God unto this day;’ 2 and the chief priest Ananias commanded those standing by him to smite him on the mouth, (Acts 23:1-2, YLT)

The current reconstituted, nascent, Sanhedrin, does NOT have universal acceptance in Israel–nor is it technically a part of the Israeli government. But it does have allies and some political influence–and it wants animal sacrifices.

As far as US President Trump goes, the Sanhedrin was involved in getting his image on two coins that it has had produced for the purpose of supporting its activities, including its desire for a massive third Temple (see  Sanhedrin Mints Silver Half Shekel With Images of Trump and Cyrus: Is the ‘third temple’ necessary for a successful Trump presidency? and Sanhedrin releases a Trump-Cyrus ‘Temple Coin’ and Claims ‘Third Temple’ needed to avert war).

The Sanhedrin seems to believe that a third Temple is needed to avert war:

The … nascent Sanhedrin … believe the Temple project is the only way to avert the outbreak of another Middle East war.

“The Temple, as a house of prayer for all nations, is the source of true peace,” said Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin, a biblically mandated court of 71 elders, 04/15/18 http://www.wnd.com/2018/04/new-coin-minted-to-fund-building-jerusalem-temple/#LXIEspz5C9HJLs4i.99

The above, in a sense, reminded me of the view of certain ‘Fatamists’ that world peace will only happen if the Pope and all the Roman Bishops consecrate Russia–a false hope (for some details, see Pope Francis to ‘consecrate’ world to the ‘immaculate heart of Mary’).

Anyway, one of the reasons that another massive temple has not been built in Jerusalem is precisely to prevent a major war.

This has been the case for decades as even the late WCG Pastor General, Herbert W. Armstrong observed

There has been much perplexity and discussion as to when the temple will be built to which Christ shall come. Malachi’s prophecy speaks of Christ’s second coming to His temple (Malachi 3:1-6). In Haggai’s prophecy it is referred to prophetically. Zerubbabel has been sent as governor of a colony to build the second temple 70 years after the destruction of Solomon’s temple. He built the temple to which Jesus came, though it had been enlarged and embellished by the Roman Herod. But speaking of this temple, as a type and forerunner of the temple to which Christ shall come at His second coming , it is written, “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the ‘ Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:9).

It is inconceivable that the Israelis, in the present international turmoil over their possession of old Jerusalem, could ever demolish the Arab Moslem Dome of the Rock … and build a new one there of greater splendor and glory than Solomon’s! (Armstrong HW. 7 Proofs of God’s True Church, Part 6. Plain Truth. August, 1979, p. 38)

So, is there another option for the Sanhedrin if building a massive temple is not?

Yes.

Before getting to that, notice something else from Herbert W. Armstrong as well as something Daniel was inspired to write:

11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days (Daniel 12:11)

Many of us are being tried and tested as NEVER BEFORE–and for our own good! But, verse 11, “from the time the daily sacrifice shall be taken away ….Consider this a moment. This does NOT imply a material temple to be built in our time in Jerusalem. It does seem to imply the Israelis may restore the daily (twice daily) sacrifice–possibly at the wailing wall. (Armstrong HW. The Time We Are In, Now. Pastor General’s Report-Vol 1, No. 15, November 20, 1979, Page 2)

For animal sacrifices to be taken away, they first must start.

Can they start without a massive temple?

Yes.

Notice what the Bible shows:

6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid. (Ezra 3:6)

One may argue that since it takes the participation of Jewish religious leaders in order for Jewish animal sacrifices to be resumed in the 21st century, that the above scripture is a moot point.

And it might be if there were no Jewish religious leaders that thought that they could not sacrifice without a temple.

I contacted the reconstituted Sanhedrin a decade ago to verify the view that animal sacrifices could be started before a temple is rebuilt.

The response I received was:

Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander wrote:

רמב”ם, מעשה הקרבנות, פרק יט , הלכה טז והלכה יז:

טז [טו] מִי שֶׁשָּׁחַט קֳדָשִׁים בַּזְּמָן הַזֶּה, וְהֶעֱלָה חוּץ לָעֲזָרָה–חַיָּב: מִפְּנֵי שְׁהוּא רָאוּי לִקָּרֵב בִּפְנִים–שֶׁהֲרֵי מֻתָּר לְהַקְרִיב, אַף עַל פִּי שְׁאֵין בַּיִת, שֶׁקְּדֻשָּׁה רִאשׁוֹנָה קִדְּשָׁה לְשָׁעָתָהּ וְקִדְּשָׁה לָעֲתִיד לָבוֹא, כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ.
יז [טז] הַשּׁוֹחֵט קָדְשֵׁי גּוֹיִים בַּחוּץ, חַיָּב; וְכֵן הַמַּעֲלֶה אוֹתָן בַּחוּץ. וְהַגּוֹיִים מֻתָּרִין לְהַקְרִיב עוֹלוֹת לַה’, בְּכָל מָקוֹם–וְהוּא, שֶׁיַּקְרִיבוּ בַּבָּמָה שֶׁיִּבְנוּ. וְאָסוּר לְסַיְּעָן, וְלַעֲשׂוֹת שְׁלִיחוּתָן–שֶׁהֲרֵי נֶאֱסַר עָלֵינוּ לְהַקְרִיב בַּחוּץ; וּמֻתָּר לְהוֹרוֹת לָהֶם, וּלְלַמְּדָם הֵיאַךְ יַקְרִיבוּ לְשֵׁם הָאֵל בָּרוּךְ הוּא.

Translation:

Hichot Maasei HaKorbanot [The Procedures of Offering Sacrifices]

Chapter 19

Paragraph 17:

He who slaughters a Sacrifice in this period [when we have no Temple], and offered the sacrifice outside the Azara [the alloted area of the Temple] – is culpable, because the offering must be performed in the Azara, SINCE IT IS PERMITTED TO PERFORM SACRIFICES despite having no Temple, since the sanctity of the Temple is eternal.

Paragraph 18:

He who slaughters the sacrifice of a gentile outside the Azara is culpable, as is one who performs the offering. NON JEWS are permitted to offer burnt-offerings anywhere, on an alkter which they built. Jews may not help them in the performance of this sacrifice, since Jews may not offer sacrifices outside the Azara. But we may instruct them and teach them how to perform sacrificesto the ASlmighty God, Blessed be He.

Additionally, it is worth noting that on 5766, Rabbi Benyamin Fuss published a 445 page book on Sacrifices of non-jews, of which the text proper is of 372 pages [the rest are indices, etc.] called Torat Habamah: Regarding sacrifices on an Altar outside the Temple. (Email from the Sanhedrin webmaster Abrahamson to Bob Thiel September 17, 2008).

So, the Sanhedrin clearly believed it did not need a third temple to sacrifice.

Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander is the English language spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin.

The webmaster of the Sanhedrin added the following in a subsequent email to me:

This quote comes from Maimonides’ (Rambam) work the Mishneh Torah.

The nascent Sanhedrin sees itself as the continuation of rabbinic jurisprudence, and must take into account all halachic works written to date, and proceed from there. (Email from the Sanhedrin webmaster Abrahamson to Bob Thiel September 17, 2008).

Therefore, it appears to be a longstanding position of some Jewish scholars that Jewish sacrifices can be started on an altar and, as long as it is in the area of the old temple, that a physical temple is not first required.

This is consistent with Ezra’s previously quoted practice.

Regular readers of this COGwriter Church of God News page are aware that I have repeatedly written that political leaders in Israel will one day feel sufficiently pressured to allow animal sacrifices.

Sacrifices must be started in order for them to be stopped. And there are three passages in Daniel showing that they will be stopped: Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11. They will be stopped by the Beast, also called the King of the North in Daniel 11.

Religious matters in the Middle East are often highly political.

The Sanhedrin has shown that it is trying to influence political leaders to get a massive temple built.

The Sanhedrin, and groups like The Temple Institute, are willing to pressure politicians and other government officials to allow animal sacrifices.

One day, those animal sacrifices will be re-instituted.

We are getting closer to that time.

Biblical prophecies will come to pass (2 Peter 1:19).

A video related to the Sanhedrin is available and titled: Sanhedrin pushing animal sacrifices.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Nascent Sanhedrin structure and high priest: The plan is to start animal sacrifices this would fulfill prophecy! The reconstituted Sanhedrin wants the reimplementation of animal sacrifices. A related video is titled Sanhedrin pushing animal sacrifices.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here are links to two related videos in English: Red Heifers and the Fate of the World and The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, which is located on a Mount Zion, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building? There is also a video titled Might the oldest church building have prophetic ramifications?
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.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful among all real Christian groups to the word of God.
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.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo (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 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.

Rome’s ‘Feast of Holy Relics’

Thursday, November 8th, 2018


Statue at Fatima Chapel and Image of What the Children in Fatima Said They Saw

COGwriter

November 8th is the day that the Church of Rome claims is for ‘Holy Relics.’ Its followers partially cite the Council of Trent from the 16th century as proof this is acceptable:

Feast of the Holy Relics

Protestantism pretends to regard the veneration which the Church pays to the relics of the Saints as a sin, and contends that this pious practice is a remnant of paganism.

The Council of Trent, on the contrary, has decided that the bodies of the martyrs and other saints who were living members of Jesus Christ and temples of the Holy Ghost, are to be honored by the faithful. This decision was based upon the established usage of the earliest days of the Church, and upon the teaching of the Fathers and of the Councils. http://saints.sqpn.com/pictorial-lives-of-the-saints-the-feast-of-the-holy-relics/ viewed 11/06/13

Holy relics?

There are a few points to consider.

The first is that the Bible is opposed to the idea of ‘holy relics.’ Here is one admonition from the Apostle John:

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21).

The second is that those that the Church of Rome consider to have been early ‘Fathers’ and saints were opposed to them as well.

After John died, his disciple, Polycarp of Smyrna became perhaps the most well-known Christian leader in the second century.

Even though the Roman Catholics and Orthodox leaders consider that Polycarp was an important saint, note what Polycarp wrote in the mid-second century:

I exhort you, therefore, that ye abstain from covetousness, and that ye be chaste and truthful. “Abstain from every form of evil.” For if a man cannot govern himself in such matters, how shall he enjoin them on others ? If a man does not keep himself from covetousness, he shall be defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as one of the heathen. But who of us are ignorant of the judgment of the Lord? (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter XI. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

Thus, Polycarp says that those who practice idolatry, even if they profess Christ, will be judged as a heathen!

In the early-mid second century there was an apologist named Marcianus Aristides who wrote the following to the emperor:

But it is a marvel, O King, with regard to the Greeks, who surpass all other peoples in their manner of life and reasoning, how they have gone astray after dead idols and lifeless images. And yet they see their gods in the hands of their artificers being sawn out, and planed and docked, and hacked short, and charred, and ornamented, and being altered by them in every kind of way. And when they grow old, and are worn away through lapse of time, and when they are molten and crushed to powder, how, I wonder, did they not perceive concerning them, that they are not gods? And as for those who did not find deliverance for themselves, how can they serve the distress of men?

But even the writers and philosophers among them have wrongly alleged that the gods are such as are made in honour of God Almighty. And they err in seeking to liken (them) to God whom man has not at any time seen nor can see unto what He is like. Herein, too (they err) in asserting of deity that any such thing as deficiency can be present to it; as when they say that He receives sacrifice and requires burnt-offering and libation and immolations of men, and temples. But God is not in need, and none of these things is necessary to Him; and it is clear that men err in these things they imagine (Marcianus Aristides. TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK AND FROM THE SYRIAC VERSION BY D. M. KAY. Apology of Aristides the Philosopher, Chapter XIII. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 9. Edited by Allan Menzies, D.D. American Edition, 1896 and 1897. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

It should be noted that Marcianus Aristides argued against the concept that it was acceptable to believe that the idols only represented God–he clearly teaches that God was not to be worshiped with idols.

Melito also wrote against idols. Melito was a bishop of Sardis and is considered to be a saint by both the Catholics of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox.

Here is what Melito wrote around 170 A.D.:

We are not those who pay homage to stones, that are without sensation; but of the only God, who is before all and over all, and, moreover, we are worshippers of His Christ, who is veritably God the Word existing before all time (Melito. Translation by Roberts and Donaldson. From the apology addressed to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 11/18/06).

For there are some men who are unable to rise from their mother earth, and therefore also do they make them gods. from the earth their mother; and they are condemned by the judgments of truth, forasmuch as they apply the name of Him who is unchangeable to those objects which are subject to change, and shrink not from calling those things gods which have been made by the hands of man, and dare to make an image of God whom they have not seen…

Who is this God? He who is Himself truth, and His word truth. And what is truth? That which is not fashioned, nor made, nor represented by art: that is, which has never been brought into existence, and is on that account called truth. If, therefore, a man worship that which is made with hands, it is not the truth that he worships, nor yet the word of truth…”

There are, however, persons who say: It is for the honour of God that we make the image: in order, that is, that we may worship the God who is concealed from our view. But they are unaware that God is in every country, and in every place, and is never absent, and that there is not anything done and He knoweth it not. Yet thou, despicable man! within whom He is, and without whom He is, and above whom He is, hast nevertheless gone and bought thee wood from the carpenter’s, and it is carved and made into an image insulting to God. To this thou offerest sacrifice, and knowest not that the all-seeing eye seeth thee, and that the word of truth reproves thee, and says to thee: How can the unseen God be sculptured? Nay, it is the likeness of thyself that thou makest and worshippest. Because the wood has been sculptured, hast thou not the insight to perceive that it is still wood, or that the stone is still stone? The gold also the workman: taketh according to its weight in the balance. And when thou hast had it made into an image, why dose thou weigh it? Therefore thou art a lover of gold, and not a lover of God…

Again, there are persons who say: Whatsoever our fathers have bequeathed to us, that we reverence. Therefore, of course, it is, that those whose fathers have bequeathed them poverty strive to become rich! and those whose fathers did not instruct them, desire to be instructed, and to learn that which their fathers knew not! And why, forsooth, do the children of the blind see, and the children of the lame walk? Nay, it is not well for a man to follow his predecessors, if they be those whose course was evil; but rather that we should turn from that path of theirs, lest that which befell our predecessors should bring disaster upon us also. Wherefore, inquire whether thy father’s course was good: and, if so, do thou also follow in his steps; but, if thy father’s course was very evil, let thine be good, and so let it be with thy children after thee. Be grieved also for thy father because his course is evil, so long as thy grief may avail to help him. But, as for thy children, speak to them thus: There is a God, the Father of all, who never came into being, neither was ever made, and by whose will all things subsist…

And then shall those who have not known God, and those who have made them idols, bemoan themselves, when they shall see those idols of theirs being burnt up, together with themselves, and nothing shall be found to help them (Melito. Translation by Roberts and Donaldson. A DISCOURSE WHICH WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF ANTONINUS CAESAR, AND HE EXHORTED THE SAID CAESAR TO ACQUAINT HIMSELF WITH GOD, AND SHOWED TO HIM THE WAY OF TRUTH. Online version copyright © 2001 Peter Kirby. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/melito.html 11/18/06).

Notice that Melito taught against the use of images/idols/icons AND then taught NOT to accept them even if it was handed down by fathers (in other words, do not rely on traditions that say that idols are correct). Since Melito is considered to be both a saint and a ‘father’ of the Church by those Roman Catholics and Orthodox, then they should heed what he said as it is consistent with scripture.

About the same time that Melito was around, Theophilus also was a church writer. Theophilus of Antioch is not only considered to have been a saint by the Catholics and Orthodox, he also is in the Orthodox list of successors from the apostles. Here is a little bit of what he wrote about idols:

The divine law, then, not only forbids the worshipping of idols, but also of the heavenly bodies, the sun, the moon, or the other stars; yea, not heaven, nor earth, nor the sea, nor fountains, nor rivers, must be worshipped (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter XXXV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume II. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

And concerning piety He says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I am the LORD thy God” …Of this divine law, then, Moses, who also was God’s servant (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter IX. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Other second century writers, though they were not in the true Church of God, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Athenagoras, and Tertullian also wrote against idols.

Notice that Irenaeus actually wrote that when God was going to call Gentiles (basically quoting Isaiah 17:7-8), that they would no longer have or worship idols:

And that these promises the calling from among the Gentiles should inherit, to whom also the new testament was opened up, Isaiah says thus:

These things saith the God of Israel: In that day a man shall trust in his Maker, and his eyes shall look to the Holy One of Israel: and they shall not trust in altars, nor in the work of their own hands, which their fingers have made. For very plainly this was said of such as have forsaken idols and believed in God our Maker through the Holy One of Israel. And the Holy One of Israel is Christ: and He became visible to men, and to Him we look eagerly and behold Him; and we trust not in altars, nor in the works of our hands.

(Irenaeus, St., Bishop of Lyon. Translated from the Armenian by Armitage Robinson. The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, Chapter 91. Wells, Somerset, Oct. 1879. As published in SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO, 1920).

The Catholic Encyclopedia calls Athenagoras a “Christian apologist of the second half of the second century”. Here is some of what he wrote:

Because the multitude, who cannot distinguish between matter and God, or see how great is the interval which lies between them, pray to idols made of matter, are we therefore, who do distinguish and separate the uncreated and the created, that which is and that which is not, that which is apprehended by the understanding and that which is perceived by the senses, and who give the fitting name to each of them—are we to come and worship images? If, indeed, matter and God are the same, two names for one thing, then certainly, in not regarding stocks and stones, gold and silver, as gods, we are guilty of impiety. But if they are at the greatest possible remove from one another— as far asunder as theartist and the materials of his art— why are we called to account? (Athenagoras the Athenian. A Plea for the Christians, Chapter 15. Translated by B.P. Pratten. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0205.htm>).

Notice some of what Tertullian wrote:

The principal crime of the human race, the highest guilt charged upon the world, the whole procuring cause of judgment, is idolatry…

God prohibits an idol as much to be made as to be worshipped. In so far as the making what may be worshipped is the prior act, so far is the prohibition to make (if the worship is unlawful) the prior prohibition. For this cause–the eradicating, namely, of the material of idolatry–the divine law proclaims, “Thou shall make no idol;”…All things, therefore, does human error worship, except the Founder of all Himself. The images of those things are idols; the consecration of the images is idolatry.

(Tertullian. On Idolatry, Chapters 1,4. Translated by S. Thelwall. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 3. Edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Furthermore, there is no evidence that any who professed Christ had idols/icons, such as what are seen in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, or even endorsed them in the second century. Thus, the early church was always against the use of idols and icons. Actually, the Roman Catholics clearly realize this as well as The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

Long before the outbreak in the eighth century there were isolated cases of persons who feared the ever-growing cult of images and saw in it danger of a return to the old idolatry. We need hardly quote in this connection the invectives of the Apostolic Fathers against idols (Athenagoras “Legatio Pro Christ.”, xv-xvii; Theophilus, “Ad Autolycum” II; Minucius Felix, “Octavius”, xxvii; Arnobius, “Disp. adv. Gentes”; Tertullian, “De Idololatria”, I; Cyprian, “De idolorum vanitate”), in which they denounce not only the worship but even the manufacture and possession of such images. These texts all regard idols, that is, images made to be adored (Fortescue A. Transcribed by Tomas Hancil. Veneration of Images. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Furthermore, notice an accusation against those who professed Christ in the second/third century (date uncertain):

Why have they no altars, no temples, no acknowledged images? (Minucius. Octavius. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 4, Chapter 10. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

It should be noted that no Christian prior to the late second or early third century is ever described as carrying an idol, having images in any worship services, or even wearing a cross (though some apostates started to advocate crosses in the second and third centuries).

The third point to mention is that it took councils of men to accept the relics for the Church of Rome.

It was not until the ninth century that the arguments over idols were resolved between the Roman Catholics and Orthodox (the Orthodox generally wanted them, but many Roman bishops/pontiffs up until that time fought against them). The Orthodox Church teaches this:

The Seventh Ecumenical Council (787 and 843) decreed the use of icons, following in the main the teaching of St. John of Damascus” (Litsas FK. A Dictionary of Orthodox Terminology – Part 2. http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article9152.asp 8/27/05) .

…within Christianity itself there had always existed a ‘puritan’ outlook, which condemned icons because it saw in all images a latent idolatry…The final victory of the Holy Images in 843 is known as ‘the Triumph of Orthodoxy’…One of the distinctive features of Orthodoxy is the place which it assigns to icons. An Orthodox church today is filled with them…An Orthodox prostrates himself before these icons, he kisses them and burns candles in front of them…Because icons are only symbols, Orthodox do not worship them, but reverence or venerate them…icons form a part of Holy Tradition…The Iconoclasts, by repudiating all representations of God, failed to take to full account the Incarnation” (Ware T. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, London, 1997, pp. 31-33).

Notice that the Orthodox call that acceptance of icons as “the victory of Orthodoxy” over those of anti-idol professing Christian faiths (the date appears to have been March 11, 843).

However, since the use of idols and icons was not the position of the first or even second century church, it is truly not orthodox to use idols and icons. (More information on the Orthodox Church can be found in the article Some Similarities and Differences Between the Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God.)

One Protestant scholar noted:

For the Jews and the early Christians, all attempts to create a likeness of God were prohibited…Gradually this reluctance faded, and at the beginning of the eighth century we find images in widespread use in the East; in the West they were less common (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 212).

But why did idols win for the Greco-Romans? It is my opinion that the Romans felt that they needed unity with the Orthodox in order to put up a united front against Islam. Islam was properly against idols, and apparently Rome felt that its sometimes historically correct position against idols portrayed a divided “Christianity,” hence this was one additional major compromise for it.

The fourth point is that not only are the relics not holy, they often are not what people think.

At the beginning of this post are two statues. The first one is one normally in Fatima, Portugal, that Pope Francis had flown to Rome last month to bow and pray before. My wife and I saw this particular statue when we visited Fatima. While millions have bowed down before and/or prayed to this statue, I will mention again to all who will hear that the statue IS NOT DRESSED like what the three children at Fatima (Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta) claimed the ‘Lady of Fatima’ looked like in 1917. What they described was a young female with a short skirt as also shown at the beginning of this post. There is no possible way that Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared in Fatima, Portugal before Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta in 1917. Suggesting that the first image, which is not even an approximate representation of what was seen in Fatima, was somehow holy is wrong. It should also be pointed out that the relics of the Apostle Peter are also not in the Vatican according to various Catholic-related sources.

The Bible shows that the use of images will be forced upon the world in the end:

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (Revelation 13:11-15)

This will not end well for the Vatican (Revelation 17:15-17) nor for the rest of the world (Revelation 18).

The Bible does NOT endorse the ‘Feast of Holy Relics’ day.

For more information, please check out the following:

What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did the early Church use icons? What was the position of Christians about such things? A related sermon is available: The Second Commandment, Idols, and Icons.
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? Two related YouTube videos would be Beware of the ‘Ecumenical Cross’ and Origin of the Cross.
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! provides concerned Christians with enough Catholic-documented facts to effectively counter every false Marian argument.
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!
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? 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?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final Antichrist? Here is a related YouTube video The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman”.
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? This is a YouTube video.
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?
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.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
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?]
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Snakes, Elections, and the Messiah

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

COGwriter

Breaking Israel News reported the following:

Snakes, Elections, and the Messiah

November 7, 2018

Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, a mystic rabbi with a strong following in Israel, explained the connection between the snake, the U.S. elections, and the Messiah, who he says is already among us, describing him in great detail. …

“God rules over everything but gave us free choice through Adam and Eve,” he said. “They chose freely and sinned because they didn’t listen to what God told them and by doing so, they brought death into the world.”

This free choice from Eden is expressed today in daily life as well as politics. …

“Everything that is happening in the world now is a sign of the coming Messiah, preparing the way for him to be revealed,” Ben Artzi said, referring to several unusual occurrences that drew international attention to the Temple Mount. In July, a large stone fell from the Kotel (Western Wall), which the rabbi insisted was “far from random.” On the last day of the holiday of Sukkot, precisely at sunrise, a mist suddenly billowed up from the ground on the Temple Mount and surrounded the Dome of the Rock. Sinkholes recently appeared near the Sha’ar HaRachamim (Gate of Mercy or Golden Gate). …

The rabbi emphasized that the strange appearance of a snake crawling out from the rocks of the Western Wall was clearly significant.

“The snake didn’t simply crawl across the floor or hide in some corner,” Rabbi Ben Artzi said. “They discovered him in the middle of the wall, crawling out of the stones, there for everyone to see.”

Ben Artzi, interpreted the appearance of the snake as a divine reminder for the elections.

“The snake was a sign, sent by God,” Rabbi Ben Artzi argued. “The archetypal Biblical snake caused problems for Adam and Eve, tricking them into choosing incorrectly. With the snake at the Kotel, God was saying, ‘Choose well; be pure and holy, stand with God and Messiah.” …

Nachash (snake) is gematria (Hebrew numerology) 358, equal to Moshiach (Messiah). We have the choice of which we want: Messiah or the snake.” …

“The Messiah is among us now. He is a regular man living a regular life. He has a wife and children. There are no special signs or public relations. In simplicity and modesty, he works for Israel 24-hours a day. It is his simplicity which is confusing to so many. The Messiah breathes like everyone, dresses like everyone.”  https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/116559/snakes-elections-messiah/

No, a snake at a wall in Jerusalem eating a pigeon (see below) was not a reminder for the elections nor a messianic sign. Furthermore, the Messiah is not a man living a regular life with a wife and children.

If the Jews would be willing to look at the evidence from the Bible, as well as certain interpretations of their sages, they would be able to clearly prove to themselves that Jesus is the Messiah.

One item that I covered in my last sermon, Prophecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and death, had to do with the fact that the Book of Daniel prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed after the Messiah came and was cut off (Daniel 9:25-26). The Temple was destroyed after Jesus was executed. Hence, since the Temple was destroyed the Messiah had to have already come. Certain Jewish writings outside of the Bible also seem to support that view (for details, check out the free online book: Proof Jesus is the Messiah).

Despite clear proof related to Jesus, perhaps I should mentioned that a famous rabbi claimed that the Messiah was born this past July:

Messiah-mania has reached a fever pitch in Israel, as one prominent rabbi says the prophesied redeemer was born a week ago, while a group promoting the rebuilding of the Temple released a new TV spot saying, “The time has arrived.” …

Maybe it’s the blood moons. Maybe it’s the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Or, maybe, suggest other rabbis, now that the majority of Jews in the world now live in Israel, prophecy is read to be fulfilled.

Perhaps the most surprising development is a statement by a well-respected Israeli rabbi, Chaim Kanievsky, a leading authority in Haredi Jewish society, stating unequivocally that the messiah was born July 21.

Kanievsky, hailed as one of the leading rabbis of his generation, wrote a book, “Siach Nechama,” or “A Comforting Discourse,” that claims the messiah is alive today and when Israel merits it, he will immediately reveal himself.”

A Hebrew-language religious news site explained the rabbi based his statement on the Jerusalem Talmud (Tractate Brachot) and Midrash Rabbah, a collection of homiletic teachings believed to have been compiled in the fifth century in Tiberias, which states that the Messiah will be born on Tisha B’Av, which is observed as a fast day mourning the destruction of the Jewish Temples. This year, Tisha B’Av fell on Saturday, July 21.

“It seems to me that the sages intended to teach us that even when the Temple is destroyed, in any case the Redemption exists,” he said. “And the Messiah actually exists and lives among us. He passes from one body to another in each generation.” 07/29/18 https://www.wnd.com/2018/07/messiah-mania-hits-fever-pitch-in-israel/#yKZHtghGhb2pFSqW.99

The idea that the Messiah would be born on B’av is not new to Chaim Kanievsky. We also covered that before (see Rabbi claims Messiah was born last week, but Jews should know He was born over 2000 years ago) and even brought it up in a video sermonette: Jerusalem Temple Destruction and the Messiah.

But what about this snake matter?

I read several articles about this recently. Here is some information about that from two of them:

November 5, 2018

FEARS the Apocalypse may be approaching were fuelled by three events taking place within just a few months echoing scriptures about the end of the world. …

The birth of a red heifer in Israel, the Dead Sea replenished with fish and a snake slithering out of Israel’s Western Wall – these three unusual events have all been listed as signs of the end times in holy scriptures. …

The {Temple} Institute, after the examination, deemed the cow a “viable candidate for the Biblical red heifer”, Breaking Israel News said.

The second apocalyptic sign consists of the sighting of fish in the Dead Sea, a body of water with a salinity so high it makes life there almost impossible. …

The third sign of the Apocalypse sparked “panic and embarrassment” according to The Times of Israel.

A snake slithered out from stones above the women’s prayer section at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on October 31.

This weird event sparked speculation among bloggers and online commentators the snake is a symbol we are living in “dangerous times” and that “we are all being warned”.

This difficult period will lead, they continued, to the second coming of the Messiah. https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/1040849/end-of-the-world-bible-old-testament-israel-jerusalem-red-heifer

November 1, 2018

A snake wriggling out from between the stones of the Western Wall in search of a meal brought with it a message straight from Jewish mystical teachings; connecting the archetypal enemy of man with the High Priest in the Temple, and also, perhaps, serving as a harbinger of the Messiah. …

The snake was probably seeking a meal of pigeons or eggs but it brought with it a powerful message.

A Hebrew language blogger quoted by Ynet News noted the serpent made its Jerusalem appearance during a hotly contested mayoral election, connecting it to the destruction of the Second Temple.

“The snake appeared during this time of dispute and divisiveness at the site of the Temple which was destroyed because of widespread hatred and divisiveness.”  …

Pointing to the pigeon that fled the snake in the video, Sod1820, a Hebrew language kabbalah site, cited Midrash (homiletic teachings), Israel is compared to a pigeon or dove, …

The site also claimed the appearance of a snake coming out of the stones of the Temple Mount could be seen as an auspicious sign. In gematria (Hebrew numerology) nachash (snake)  נחש equals 358, the same as Moshiach (Messiah) משיח. The Zohar (the basis of Jewish mysticism) explained that the evil inclination, personified by the snake in Eden, will make a resurgence in the days before Messiah, tempted to come and drink sustenance from the enormous levels of holiness that will appear in the world in the end-of-days. …

It does indeed seem like the Temple Mount is trying to speak to the Jewish people. About four months ago, a large piece of one of the stones weighing several hundred pounds suddenly fell, barely missing one of the women who came to pray at dawn. Another sign appeared on Hoshana Rabba, the last day of Sukkot, when a large cloud of mist began billowing up from the ground inside the Temple Mount Compound, surrounding the Dome of the rock for several minutes.  https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/116242/snake-temple/

Anyway, no, I do not believe that a snake found on the Western Wall is a prophetic sign nor do I believe it was related to the US midterm elections. Nor do I believe that a falling rock, fish in the Dead Sea, or some mist by the Dome of the Rock are prophetic signs.

The Jewish mystics are wrong about this.

As far as the red heifer goes, that might have significant importance.

The Bible teaches that regular/daily animal sacrifices will be stopped in Jerusalem in Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 11:31. In order for them to be stopped, they must first be started. Groups like the Temple Institute have declared that they need a pure red heifer in order to resume those sacrifices (as well as official governmental permission). If they determine that they really do have a proper red heifer they may well pressure the government of Israel for permission to resume animal sacrifices. For more about that, check out the following:

The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here are links to two related videos in English: Red Heifers and the Fate of the World and The Red Heifer and the End of the World.

As far as the Messiah goes, notice some of what Daniel was inspired to write from a Jewish translation of the Bible into the English language:

24 Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place. 25 Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto one anointed, a prince, shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, but in troublous times. 26 And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and be no more; and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; but his end shall be with a flood; and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:24-26, Jewish Publication Society)

This is proof of Jesus’ messiahship.

How so?

Well, it shows that the Messiah was clearly to come before the Temple is destroyed.

26 Then, after the sixty-two weeks, Mashiach will be cut off and have nothing. The people of a prince yet to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary, but his end will come with a flood, and desolations are decreed until the war is over. (Daniel 9:26, Complete Jewish Bible)

The “anointed one” is the Messiah (rendered as the “Mashiach” in the Complete Jewish Bible).

So, the Messiah had to come before the Temple was destroyed. If not, the Bible is not true. But since the Bible is true, the Jews should consider the ramification of Daniel 9:26.

Furthermore, the prophecy in Daniel 9:24 ties the timing of the “anointed one/Mashiach” in verse 26, to a decree. This is the decree of Ezra 7:12-26. Daniel also mentions that Jerusalem will be rebuilt and that happened as we can see in the Book of Nehemiah.

Daniel 9:25 says that after the cutting off of the “anointed one” the city (Jerusalem) will be destroyed and the sanctuary (the Temple) will be destroyed as well. The sanctuary/temple was destroyed by General Titus in 70 A.D.

In the Continuing Church of God, we have taught that Jesus was resurrected in 31 A.D. or possibly 30 A.D. (this is also partially based upon the date on the Hebrew calendar in which Jesus took His last Passover on, plus outside confirmation related to darkness that happened per Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, and Luke 23:45). Hence the Temple was destroyed after the Messiah came. Jesus fulfilled that Messianic prophecy.

Let’s look at an explanation of Jesus’ timing from the old Radio Church of God related to the Daniel 9 prophecy:

At the time of Jesus’ life on this earth, Herod — the king in Judea — the wise men from the nations to the east, and many of the priests, scribes, and elders, as well as the common people, realized that the seventy weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 was nearing its completion. The Messiah, the Prince, was eagerly looked forward to, to free them from the yoke of Roman oppression. The Messiah was expected because of an understanding of this prophecy. But He was misunderstood when He appeared in the fulfillment of this prophecy, because they refused to recognize the first portion of the prophecy and hung their hope only on the last portion. …

Here, very plainly, is listed the exact time at which the prophesied Messiah would appear to begin to do the work mentioned in verse 24. The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. Much of the book of Ezra and the entire book of Nehemiah cover this particular event. Seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks equal sixty-nine weeks. So the prophecies show that from the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem in 457 B. C. it would be 483 years until the appearance of the prophesied Messiah to begin fulfilling the works of verse 24. (Hill DJ. HERE’S WHY Jews Reject Jesus and Christians Reject Christ! Plain Truth, April 1962)

Adding 483 to the year 457 B.C. brings us to the year 27 A.D. (there was no year “zero” between B.C. and A.D.). That also brings us to the time that Jesus began His ministry (apparently in the Fall of the year). His ministry is believed to have lasted 3 ½ years, hence the veil would have been torn in the Spring of 31 A.D.

According to Jewish writer, Abba Hillel Silver, many Jews did expect the Messiah during the first century:

The Book of Daniel, the one canonized apocalyptic tract out of many which were widely circulated and held in high regard by the people dwelt upon the mystery of the “end of days” …

Prior to the first century, Messianic interest was not excessive …

The first century … witnessed a remarkable outburst of Messianic emotionalism. This is to be attributed … to the prevalent belief induced by the popular chronology of that day (Silver AH. The History of Messianic Speculation in Israel. Written 1927. Kessinger Publishing paperback 2010, pp. 4,5)

So, there was a lot of Messianic expectation in the first century, based upon calculations from writings such as Daniel.

Shlomo Yitzchaki, also known as Rashi (RAbbi SHlomo ben Isaac), of the 11th century, wrote about Daniel 9:24,26:

Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed on Jerusalem from the day of the first destruction in the days of Zedekiah until it will be [destroyed] the second time. to terminate the transgression and to end sin so that Israel should receive their complete retribution in the exile of Titus and his subjugation, in order that their transgressions should terminate, their sins should end, and their iniquities should be expiated, in order to bring upon them eternal righteousness and to anoint upon them (sic) the Holy of Holies: the Ark, the altars, and the holy vessels, which they will bring to them through the king Messiah. The number of seven weeks is four hundred and ninety years. The Babylonian exile was seventy [years] and the Second Temple stood four hundred and twenty [years]. …

And after those weeks. the anointed one will be cut off Agrippa, the king of Judea, who was ruling at the time of the destruction, will be slain and he will be no more Heb. וְאֵין לוֹ, and he will not have. The meaning is that he will not be the anointed one Heb. מָשִׁיחַ. This is purely an expression of a prince and a dignitary and the city and the Sanctuary lit. and the city and the Holy and the people of the coming monarch will destroy [The monarch who will come] upon them. That is Titus and his armies. (Rashi. Judaica Press Complete Tanach, Daniel – Chapter 9)

So, Rashi admitted Daniel 9 was a messianic prophecy that was fulfilled about the time of Jesus.

‘Herod’ Marcus Julius Agrippa was king of Judah from around A.D. 27—basically the same time Jesus started His ministry. So, if the timing of Agrippa is right like Rashi wrote, then obviously the timing of Jesus was in accordance with Daniel 9:24-26.

As far as Agrippa goes, the Jews revolted against him in 66. Later, he helped the Romans and their general Titus conquer Jerusalem. Agrippa was rewarded for his efforts in helping Rome and lived and reigned decades after the fall of Jerusalem. King Agrippa II was not the anointed “King Messiah.”

As far as Rashi goes, apparently the reason for the messiahship going to Agrippa was because of Israel’s sins.  Rashi also declared:

After 2000 years of Torah it was God’s decree that the Messiah would come and the wicked generation would come to an end and the subjugation of Israel would be destroyed.

But Jesus did come at the right time and the Temple was afterwards destroyed as was prophesied in Daniel 9:24-26.

Anyway, neither a snake on a wall, fish in the Dead Sea, a mist near the Dome of the Rock, nor a falling rock are signs that the Messiah will come for the first time, nor are any truly related to the USA midterm elections.

For more real reasons that Jews should have accepted Jesus, including how the New Testament recorded that He fulfilled over 200 prophecies in the Old Testament, check out our free online book: Proof Jesus is the Messiah.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here is a link to a related sermon: Proof Jesus is the Messiah: Certainty.
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Is God Calling You? This is a booklet discussing calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here are links to two related videos in English: Red Heifers and the Fate of the World and The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, which is located on a Mount Zion, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building?
Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications? After a 20 year negotiation, the Church of Rome has negotiated the right to have Catholic mass in the building known as the Cenacle. It is in the area where the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill once stood. This is believed to be the location of the earliest Christian church building. How does the Bible define the ‘temple of God’ in the New Testament? Could this be the area where the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God’ that Bible prophecy discusses in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? This is a YouTube video.
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.
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.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?

The Election is Over: Some American fears

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018


Scared Child at Night (D Sharon Pruitt)

COGwriter

The mid-term elections in the USA were yesterday. Various ones have expressed fears related to it. According to the initial reports, the Republicans kept their majority in the US Senate, while the Democrats gained a majority in the House of Representatives.

The Congress of the USA is now divided as the party divisions are often stronger than mutual/national interests.

Now that the election is past, consider that Time reported the following about American fears a few weeks ago:

Corruption of government officials is currently Americans’ number one fear, according to a recent survey by researchers at Chapman University.

The researchers asked a random sample of 1,541 adults to rate the level of fear for 88 different fear options across a variety of domains (like crime and natural disasters). Based on their findings, here were the top 10 fears for 2015:

  • Corruption of government officials (58.0%)
  • Cyber-terrorism (44.8%)
  • Corporate tracking of personal information (44.6%)
  • Terrorist attacks (44.4%)
  • Government tracking of personal information (41.4%)
  • Bio-warfare (40.9%)
  • Identity theft (39.6%)
  • Economic collapse (39.2%)
  • Running out of money in the future (37.4%)
  • Credit card fraud (36.9%)

Interestingly, the researchers also found that half of all Americans believe in something paranormal, with 40% reporting they believe places are haunted by spirits, and over one fourth believing the living and dead can communicate. 10/14/18 http://time.com/4073702/heres-what-americans-are-most-afraid-of/?xid=homepage

Government corruption is a real problem. It is likely that Republicans will continue to accuse Democrats of corruption and the Democrats accuse certain Republicans of corruption. And yes, there is corruption on both sides.

While the mainstream news media often tends to point to Donald Trump as its biggest fear, here is a pre-President Trump report about one view of what Americans fear the most:

Americans…what we fear most is walking alone at night, according to the first comprehensive nationwide study on the subject.

California-based Chapman University questioned 1,500 people from across the United States to reach its conclusions. The survey found that the top five things that scare Americans the most are: walking alone at night, becoming the victim of identity theft, Internet safety, being the victim of a mass/random shooting, and public speaking.

The researchers pared the information they gathered into four general categories: personal fears, natural disasters, fear factors and crime.

“A majority of Americans not only fear crimes such as, child abduction, gang violence, sexual assaults and others; but they also believe these crimes (and others) have increased over the past 20 years,” said Dr. Edward Day, who led the crime portion of the research and analysis, in a press release. “When we looked at statistical data from police and FBI records, it showed crime has actually decreased in America in the past 20 years.”

The survey also looked at what Americans worry about most. Many of those concerns center around online activity; people worry about both government and corporate surveillance of their Internet activity.

Americans’ other top worries include running out of money and becoming ill in the future.

And even though we are uneasy about natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes, only 25 percent of us have a disaster preparedness kit — an emergency supply of food, water, clothing and medical supplies.

“We are conducting follow-up studies to examine why so many Americans remain unprepared despite lessons learned from recent natural disasters,” said Dr. Ann Gordon, one of the lead researchers, in the press release. ”And, we are also taking a closer look at ‘preppers’—a community that takes preparedness to the extreme.”

The researchers even came up with an analysis of what types of people tend to fear certain things. Being less educated and watching a lot of television were the most consistent predictors of fear, according to the survey. http://blogs.voanews.com/all-about-america/2014/10/29/what-americans-fear-most-and-its-not-ebola/

Some people fear because their neighborhoods are not safe. Some people fear because of the seemingly random violence that has hit parts of that country. Of course, there are also other fears.

Some people fear because they do not understand why they are here or the meaning of life. Some items that can assist include the following:

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?

Of course, natural and other disasters are coming and it is wise to take physical and spiritual steps to deal with them. Yet, many with fears and worries take few, if any, effective steps to deal with such matters.

As far as taking proper preparation goes, the Bible teaches the following:

3 A prudent man forsees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished. (Proverbs 22:3)

That does not mean that there will be no difficulties, but that proper steps should be taken. Jesus said:

43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:43-44).

Speaking to His followers, Jesus said they would have problems:

33 In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

But Jesus also said:

22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:22-32)

People need to take proper spiritual steps now.

Trials and tribulations are coming, but those who will heed the call to be Philadelphian Christians in this age can be protected from the coming hour of trial that will come upon the earth:

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

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:7-11)

Sadly, most who profess Christ in these days are NOT Philadelphian Christians and will have to go through the tribulation. Notice that Revelation teaches that only some Christians will be protected while others will not be:

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

Please consider your spiritual state, no matter where you may live. Just because you profess Jesus Christ and may keep the commandments does NOT mean that you will be protected. Only the Philadelphian Christians are promised protection and they have a different focus on truly doing the work (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20) in these end times.

As far as the nation of the USA goes, America needs the return of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.

As far as fears go, here is a link to a video based on a different study of American fears: Top Ten Fears.

Several items of possibly related interest may include:

Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. A video of possible interest may be Will Will USA Spying Help the Beast Power?
Can you see the ‘Handwriting on the Wall’? Thousands of years ago, King Belshazzar saw a hand appear at a big party he was hosting. The hand wrote Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. Shortly after the Prophet Daniel explained it, his empire was taken over and King Belshazzar died. Is this applicable today? Are there signs right before our eyes that show that the end is coming to the United States and its Anglo-descended allies. Do abortions, sexual immorality, celebrity pornography, and increased debt mean anything? What does the Bible show?
Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians. We all know the Bible prophecies famines. Should we do something? Here is a version in the Spanish language Escrituras sobre Preparación física para los Cristianos.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2018, 2019, or 2020? 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 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation begin in 2018?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
This is PETRA! This is a 1962 Good News article by the late Dr. Hoeh.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent.

Souls in Purgatory?

Monday, November 5th, 2018


Artist’s portrayal of Purgatory

COGwriter

A Catholic source posted the following:

November draws us to the souls in purgatory – a place Our Lady of Fatima confirmed

November is the month traditionally associated with the Holy Souls in purgatory. The feast day associated with them, the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed, “All Souls Day,” falls on Nov. 2 just after All Saints Day, which commemorates all those in heaven. On Nov. 2, we are particularly encouraged to pray for our departed relatives and friends who are waiting patiently to enter heaven, but we can also pray for them all through November, and indeed at any other time of the year.

Some people have tended to ignore or downplay purgatory, but when Our Lady appeared at Fatima she explicitly mentioned it during her very first apparition on May 13, 1917. After telling the children she was from heaven, she promised Lucia and Jacinta that they would go to heaven, and Francisco too, but that he would have to say many rosaries. Then Lucia asked about two girls who had died, friends of hers who used to come to her house to learn weaving.

She asked if one of them, Maria das Neves, was in heaven, and was told, “Yes, she is.” Lucia noted that she was about 16 years old. Then she asked about her other friend, Amelia, who was between 18 and 20 years old. To this question, Our Lady said: “She will be in purgatory until the end of the world.” https://wafusa.org/november-draws-us-to-the-souls-in-purgatory-a-place-our-lady-of-fatima-confirmed/

Before going further, a Catholic saint named Anne Emmerich also claimed to see purgatory and limbo. Despite her being a Catholic saint, Pope Benedict XVI essentially denied the doctrine of limbo.

As far as the Lady of Fatima goes, she made many false statements, including those that constitute a false gospel (see also Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).

Let it also be stated that there are no holidays enjoined in the Bible for October 31, November 1, November 2 (see Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?). November does NOT draw real Christians “to the souls in purgatory.”

To determine if there is such as place as Purgatory, we should look at the Bible as well as the beliefs of early Christians.

The article quoted at the beginning of this post also has the following:

Jesus pointed to the importance of the soul when he said, in the words of the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible, “For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?” (Mark 8:36).

He also pointed to the existence of purgatory, when He said: “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper.”

This passage has been understood as indicating the necessity of ensuring we are purified before we die, otherwise the punishment due to our sins, even when they have been forgiven, will be exacted in purgatory.

The Catechism has this to say about purgatory: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” (CCC 1030)

But no early Christian believed that Mark 8 was a reference to purgatory.

Early Christians believed that God had a plan that would offer salvation to everyone, not called in this present Church age, at/after the white throne judgment–this was based upon sacred scripture (see Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis). They believed in a doctrine that I have labeled as true apocatastasis. They believed that due to the judgment in Revelation 20:11-13, people would be offered salvation who had not previously rejected it. And as numerous previous quotes in this article will demonstrate, many objected to purgatory prior to the Protestant Reformation.

The Catholic Encyclopedia itself admits that early Christians did not teach its current concept of its purgatory doctrine:

Some stress too has been laid upon the objection that the ancient Christians had no clear conception of purgatory, and that they thought that the souls departed remained in uncertainty of salvation to the last day…There are several passages in the New Testament that point to a process of purification after death. Thus, Jesus Christ declares (Matthew 12:32): “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come”…(Hanna, Purgatory. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

Early Christians, who understood the language that the Bible was written in, did NOT teach nor believe in purgatory–purgatory was NOT part of the original Christian faith.

The Catholic Encyclopedia correctly states:

The modern Orthodox Church denies purgatory…(Hanna, Edward J. Purgatory. Transcribed by William G. Bilton, Ph.D. Purgatory. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The Eastern Orthodox have long realized that there was no such place as purgatory. Do not be surprised in the future if the Church of Rome drops, or at least modifies, its position about purgatory (see also Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants)).

Last November, it was reported that Pope Francis may not really believe in purgatory:

Christians asking is the pope still Catholic?

November 16, 2017

Is the pope Catholic?

It’s not a punch line.

It’s a question being asked about the current head of the Roman Catholic Church, Francis, who critics believe is showing signs of abandoning fundamental Catholic doctrines – including the existence of hell.

In a recent address, Pope Francis declared “everything will be saved” upon Christ’s return.

“The thought that at the end of our history there will be merciful Jesus suffices in order to have faith and not to curse life,” the pope said. “Everything will be saved. Everything.”

That would suggest the church is opening up to “universalism,” the doctrine that everyone will ultimately be given salvation, according to Eugenio Scalfari, founder of the Italian newspaper la Repubblica.

Scalfari, a major Italian journalistic and cultural influence, believes Francis has “abolished the places where souls were supposed to go after death: hell, purgatory, heaven.”

Instead, the souls dominated by evil will “cease to exist.” The pope has also been accused of even warping the words of Scripture to make God appear less judgmental. …

Pastor Carl Gallups … agrees with Catholic dissidents that the pope has thrown the Catholic Church into confusion.

“Thus far, Pope Francis appears to have thrown the Catholic Church into further confusion since his reign. We are undoubtedly living in profoundly prophetic times. How people can miss this truth, right before our eyes every day, is beyond comprehension.” http://www.wnd.com/2017/11/christians-asking-is-the-pope-still-catholic/

Here is a link to a video: Popes Change on Limbo and Purgatory?

And even though he was not part of the true Church of God, notice what the Catholic/Orthodox/Protestant saint Justin wrote:

Justin also stated, “For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians” (Dialogue. Chapter 80).

While those of us in the Continuing Church of God would agree that souls die (Ezekiel 18:4) and are not taken to heaven upon death (Job:14:14; John 3:13), those in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches would seem to disagree with Justin here. His comments are also opposed to the idea of purgatory.

So what was taught in the second century?

Essentially after the judgment, it was believed that unsaved humans (those who did not become saints in this life) who did not knowingly reject God’s way of life would have 100 hundred years to live (in accordance with Isaiah 65:20) and that nearly all would then accept God’s offer of salvation. There was also nothing resembling All Saint’s Day nor All Souls’ Day taught by second century Christians, though some apostates may have kept to related pagan practices (see also All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and All Souls’ Day).

In the late 4th century, Augustine started to come up with ideas that sound like modern purgatory. Eventually he and others challenged apocatastasis–which was an original Christian view. Notice that The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that various early leaders taught apocatastasis, that Augustine and others challenged it, and that purification was associated with apocatastasis:

St. Gregory recurs to the same thought of the final annihilation of evil, in his “Oratio catechetica”, ch. xxvi; the same comparison of fire which purges gold of its impurities is to be found there; so also shall the power of God purge nature of that which is preternatural, namely, of evil. Such purification will be painful, as is a surgical operation, but the restoration will ultimately be complete. And, when this restoration shall have been accomplished (he eis to archaion apokatastasis ton nyn en kakia keimenon), all creation shall give thanks to God, both the souls which have had no need of purification, and those that shall have needed it…

The doctrine of the apokatastasis is not, indeed, peculiar to St. Gregory of Nyssa, but is taken from Origen…

It was through Origen that the Platonist doctrine of the apokatastasis passed to St. Gregory of Nyssa, and simultaneously to St. Jerome, at least during the time that St. Jerome was an Origenist.

From the moment, however, that anti-Origenism prevailed, the doctrine of the apokatastasis was definitely abandoned. St. Augustine protests more strongly than any other writer against an error so contrary to the doctrine of the necessity of grace…

We note, further, that the doctrine of the apokatastasis was held in the East, not only by St. Gregory of Nyssa, but also by St. Gregory of Nazianzus as well; “De seipso”, 566 (P.G., XXXVII, col. 1010) grace…

In any case, the doctrine was formally condemned in the first of the famous anathemas pronounced at the Council of Constantinople in 543: Ei tis ten teratode apokatastasis presbeuei anathema esto (Batiffel, Pierre. Transcribed by Elizabeth T. Knuth. Apocatastasis. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus it appears that the protests of Augustine eventually led to the condemnation of the doctrine of apocatastasis but the retention of purging/purification within Roman circles. The Greek churches, however never abandoned apocatastasis nor did they ever adopt the Roman purgatory.

Yet, concerning purgatory, a Catholic bishop-approved article claimed:

Fundamentalists may be fond of saying the Catholic Church “invented” the doctrine of purgatory to make money, but they have difficulty saying just when. Most professional anti-Catholics—the ones who make their living attacking “Romanism”—seem to place the blame on Pope Gregory the Great, who reigned from A.D. 590–604…

Whenever a date is set for the “invention” of purgatory, you can point to historical evidence to show the doctrine was in existence before that date. Besides, if at some point the doctrine was pulled out of a clerical hat, why does ecclesiastical history record no protest against it?

…where are the records of protests?

They don’t exist. There is no hint at all…

It is no wonder, then, that those who deny the existence of purgatory tend to touch upon only briefly the history of the belief…(Catholic Answers. Purgatory. NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors. Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004. IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827 permission to publish this work is hereby granted. +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004, http://www.catholic.com/library/Purgatory.asp viewed 12/23/07).

History indicates that the above assertions are not quite accurate.

First of all, there seems to be no records of any major protest about the millennial teaching being abandoned by both Jerome and Augustine, hence having limited records of protest does not prove something did not change (see Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?).

Secondly, history records that there was a condemnation of apocatastasis. Yet at that time, many Roman leaders realized that scripture did indicate that the opportunity for salvation did not clearly end at the first death.

Notice the following from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Certain Scriptural texts, e.g., I Cor. xv, 25-28, seem to extend to all rational beings the benefit of the Redemption, and Origen allows himself to be led also by the philosophical principle which he enunciates several times, without ever proving it, that the end is always like the beginning..The universal restoration (apokatastasis) follows necessarily from these principles (Prat F. Transcribed by Anthony A. Killeen. Origen and Origenism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

There are several passages in the New Testament that point to a process of purification after death. Thus, Jesus Christ declares (Matthew 12:32): “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” According to St. Isidore of Seville (Deord. creatur., c. xiv, n. 6) these words prove that in the next life “some sins will be forgiven and purged away by a certain purifying fire.” St. Augustine also argues “that some sinners are not forgiven either in this world or in the next would not be truly said unless there were other [sinners] who, though not forgiven in this world, are forgiven in the world to come” (De Civ. Dei, XXI, xxiv). The same interpretation is given by Gregory the Great (Dial., IV, xxxix); St. Bede (commentary on this text); St. Bernard (Sermo lxvi in Cantic., n. 11) and other eminent theological writers (Hanna, Purgatory. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

And if what Irenaeus and Origen taught earlier was not going to be doctrine, then the Romans figured that something needed to fill in. Hence came more discussion of purgatory and of its emergence within Roman pontifical circles.

Gregory the Great speaks of those who after this life “will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames,” and he adds “that the pain be more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life” (Ps. 3 poenit., n. 1) (Hanna, Purgatory. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

This is quite different than what Origen taught, as Origen taught that somehow people would be purified on earth (which is consistent with the 100 year period referred to in this chapter, though Origen seems to refer to Zechariah 5) (Origen. Contra Celsus, Book VI, Chapter 26).

While it is clear that by the seventh century, purgatorial ideas were being taught, the idea was not taught so clearly to alienate the Greeks as they did not separate from the Romans until 1054 A.D. But those associated with the Churches of God quickly saw problems with it.

Not surprisingly, the book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma states that the Cathari and Waldenses (who preceded the Protestants by centuries) were amongst the earliest who were against the Roman teaching on purgatory:

The reality of purgatory was denied by the Cathari, the Waldenses (Ott L. Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. Nihil Obstat: Jeremiah j. O’Sullivan. Imprimatur: +Cornelius Ep. Corgagiensis ei Ap. Amd. Rossensis, 7 October 1954. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1974, p. 482).

Since purgatory is not a biblical reality, it would make sense that those with the true Church of God would oppose such concepts. Actually, the Waldensians considered purgatory to be a doctrine of Antichrist, and the following appears to be from the 12th century:

“Antichrist is a falsehood, or deceit varnished over with the semblance of truth, and of the righteousness of Christ and his spouse, yet in opposition to the way of truth, righteousness, faith, hope, charity, as well as to moral life. It is not any particular person ordained to any degree, or office, or ministry, but it is a system of falsehood, opposing itself to the truth, covering and adorning itself with a show of beauty and piety, yet very unsuitable to the church of Christ, as by the names, and offices, the Scriptures, and the sacraments, and various other things, may appear. The system of iniquity thus completed with its ministers, great and small, supported by those who are induced to follow it with an evil heart and blind-fold—this is the congregation, which, taken together, comprises what is called Antichrist or Babylon, the fourth beast, the whore, the man of sin, the son of perdition. His ministers are called false prophets, lying teachers, the ministers of darkness, the spirit of error, the apocalyptic whore, the mother of harlots, clouds without water, trees without leaves, twice dead, plucked up by the roots, wandering stars, Balaamites and Egyptians.

“He is termed Antichrist because being disguised under the names of Christ and of his church and faithful members, he oppugns the salvation which Christ wrought out, and which is truly administered in his church—and of which salvation believers participate by faith, hope, and charity. Thus he opposes the truth by the wisdom of this world, by false religion, by counterfeit holiness, by ecclesiastical power, by secular tyranny, and by the riches, honours, dignities, with the pleasures and delicacies of this world. It should therefore be carefully observed, that Antichrist could not come, without a concurrence of all these things, making up a system of hypocrisy and falsehood—these must be, the wise of this world, the religious orders, the pharisees, ministers, and doctors; the secular power, with the people of the world, all mingled together. For although Antichrist was conceived in the times of the apostles, he was then in his infancy, imperfect and unformed, rude, unshapen, and wanting utterance. He then wanted those hypocritical ministers and human ordinances, and the outward show of religious orders which he afterwards obtained. As he was destitute of riches and other endowments necessary to allure to himself ministers for his service, and to enable him to multiply, defend, and protect his adherents, so he also wanted the secular power to force others to forsake the truth and embrace falsehood. But growing up in his members, that is, in his blind and dissembling ministers, and in worldly subjects, he at length arrived at full maturity, when men, whose hearts were set upon this world, blind in the faith, multiplied in the church, and by the union of church and state, got the power of both into their hands.

“Christ never had an enemy like this; so able to pervert the way of truth into falsehood, insomuch that the true church, with her children, is trodden under foot. The worship that belongs alone to God he transfers to Antichrist himself—to the creature, male and female, deceased—to images, carcasses, and relics. The sacrament of the eucharist is converted into an object of adoration, and the worshipping of God alone is prohibited. He robs the Saviour of his merits, and the sufficiency of his grace in justification, regeneration, remission of sins, sanctification, establishment in the faith, and spiritual nourishment; ascribing all these things to his own authority, to a form of words, to his own *works, to the intercession of saints, and to the fire of purgatory. He seduces the people from Christ, drawing off their minds from seeking those blessings in him, by a lively faith in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, and teaching his followers to expect them by the *will and pleasure and works of Antichrist. (A Treatise concerning Antichrist, Purgatory, the Invocation of Saints, and the Sacraments” as shown in Jones, William. The history of the Christian church from the birth of Christ to the xviii. century, Volumes 1-2, 3rd edition. R.W. Pomeroy, 1832. Original from Harvard University, Digitized, Feb 6, 2009, pp. 337-340)

In the thirteenth century, the famed Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas wrote the following:

Nothing is clearly stated in Scripture about the situation of Purgatory, nor is it possible to offer convincing arguments on this question. It is probable, however, and more in keeping with the statements of holy men and the revelations made to many, that there is a twofold place of Purgatory. One, according to the common law; and thus the place of Purgatory is situated below… Another place of Purgatory is according to dispensation: and thus sometimes, as we read, some are punished in various places, either that the living may learn, or that the dead may be succored, seeing that their punishment being made known to the living may be mitigated through the prayers of the Church.

Some say, however, that according to the common law the place of Purgatory is where man sins. This does not seem probable, since a man may be punished at the same time for sins committed in various places. And others say that according to the common law they are punished above us, because they are between us and God, as regards their state. But this is of no account, for they are not punished for being above us, but for that which is lowest in them, namely sin (Aquinas T. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, Appendix II, Article 1. Second and Revised Edition, 1920. Nihil Obstat. F. Innocentius Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor. Theol. Imprimatur. Edus. Canonicus Surmont, Vicarius eneralis. Westmonasterii. APPROBATIO ORDINIS Nihil Obstat. F. Raphael Moss, O.P., S.T.L. and F. Leo Moore, O.P., S.T.L. Imprimatur. F. Beda Jarrett, O.P., S.T.L., A.M., Prior Provincialis Angliæ).

Even though it taught purgatory, clearly the Roman Church did not have an absolutely clear position on purgatory in the 13th century. But Aquinas taught that purgatory would be quite painful:

I answer that, In Purgatory there will be a twofold pain; one will be the pain of loss, namely the delay of the divine vision, and the pain of sense, namely punishment by corporeal fire. With regard to both the least pain of Purgatory surpasses the greatest pain of this life…

Therefore it follows that the pain of Purgatory, both of loss and of sense, surpasses all the pains of this life (Aquinas T. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, Appendix I, Article 1.).

One Catholic scholar, E. Duffy, felt that in 1300 Pope Boniface VIII enriched the Church of Rome through the granting of a particular indulgence to the masses:

Boniface is a mysterious man, proud, ambitious fierce…It was Boniface who declared the first Jubilee or Holy Year in 1300, when tens of thousands of pilgrims converged on Rome to gain indulgences, adding enormously to the prestige of the papacy…(and in the process enriching the Roman basilicas, where the sacristans were said to have had to scoop in pilgrim offerings with rakes). This promise of ‘full and copious pardon’ to all who visited Peter and the Lateran after confessing their sins was the most spectacular exercise of power of the keys since Urban II issued the first Crusade Indulgence… Boniface…displayed some of the worst traits of clerical careerism, enriching his relatives at the expense of the Church, and waging a relentless was against family’s traditional rivals (Duffy, Eamon. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes. Yale University Press, New Haven (CT), 2002, p. 160).

Indulgences are granted to allegedly reduce time in purgatory. Vatican coffers have received a lot of money from people who give donations to have priests pray for themselves or loved ones to hopefully have less time in purgatory.

Interestingly, when the Catholic Inquisitor Bishop Bernard Guidonis was disposing of those the Catholics refer to as heretics in the 14th century, he noted that some believed the following:

Again, they say that after Antichrist’s death these spiritual individuals will convert the entire world to the faith of Christ; and the whole world will be so good and benign that there will be no malice or sin in people of that period, except perhaps for venial sins in a few of them; and all things will be common as far as use is concerned; and there will be no one who offends anyone else or encourages another to sin. For there will be the greatest love among them, and there will be one flock and one pastor. According to some of them this period and condition will last for one hundred years. Then, as love fails, malice will creep back in and slowly increase until Christ is, as it were, compelled to come in universal judgment because of it (Gui B. From the Inquisitor’s Manual of Bernard Gui [d.1331], Chapter 5. Early 14th century, translated in J. H. Robinson, Readings in European History, (Boston: Ginn, 1905).

Thus, the idea that the Church of God long has taught, that God would offer salvation to all, is apparently documented, not only in the pages of the Bible, but through some of the writings of its enemies.

Also notice the following from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

The doctrine of apokatastasis viewed as a belief in a universal salvation is found among the Anabaptists…(Batiffel, Pierre. Transcribed by Elizabeth T. Knuth. Apocatastasis. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Published 1907. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Universal salvation, it should be pointed out in this context, is not that God will save everyone, but that God will truly offer salvation to everyone who ever lived (see Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis).

Partially because of objections from the Protestant reformers, the Roman Catholics called together the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century, to define certain doctrines. Here is how it defined the purgatory doctrine:

“Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from the Sacred Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Fathers taught in Councils and very recently in this Ecumenical synod (Sess. VI, cap. XXX; Sess. XXII cap.ii, iii) that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar; the Holy Synod enjoins on the Bishops that they diligently endeavor to have the sound doctrine of the Fathers in Councils regarding purgatory everywhere taught and preached, held and believed by the faithful” (Denzinger, “Enchiridon”, 983) (Hanna. Purgatory. The Catholic Encyclopedia).

The more modern Catechism of the Catholic Church, while claiming it had roots in tradition, admits that purgatory was not clearly defined until two separate councils in the Middle Ages. Notice what it teaches:

The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect…The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent…This teaching is also based on…Sacred Scripture…Maccabeus…

The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance on behalf of the dead: Let us help and commemorate them…Let us not hesitate to help those that have died…(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1031,1032, p. 291).

It should be clear that early Christians in the first and second century simply did not believe or teach the doctrine of purgatory.

The Church of God originally taught apocatastasis, not purgatory. And still does so today. God is a God of love and does have a merciful plan of salvation–and it includes getting the gospel out in this age (Note: The “short work” that Paul speaks of in Romans 9:28 and the completion of Matthew 24:14 will likely include massive news coverage of what the most faithful flock is teaching. This, of course, does not mean that the most faithful should sit around and wait and not do their part–cf. John 9:4; Matthew 9:37-38–as the priority of proclaiming the gospel remains). Of course, people should respond once they learn–those who reject the truth are risking committing the unpardonable sin.

Yet, God has always had a plan for the unsaved and those who did not truly ever understand His loving plan, it is revealed in scripture, and while there is an “age to come,” it is not the same as the relatively modern idea of purgatory.

Some items for further inquiry may include:

Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
Waldensian Treatise on Antichrist These are translated extracts from a likely 13th/14th century paper titled A Treatise concerning Antichrist, Purgatory, the Invocation of Saints, and the Sacraments.
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies? Here is a link to the video: Popes Change on Limbo and Purgatory?
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? Here are some historical and biblical insight on this question. There are many cultures that have celebrations and observances that are similar to some associated with Halloween. What did the Druids do? Is Halloween one of the most important holidays for Satanists? Do the Japanese, Indians, and Chinese have any practices that are similar to some associated with Halloween? Does the Bible endorse or condemn practices that are associated with Halloween? Here are links to two related sermonette length videos: Halloween: Are there 7 reasons for Christians to celebrate it? and International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween?
All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and All Souls’ Day When did “All Saints Day” and the “Day of the Dead” begin? “What about All Soul’s Day”?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
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?
Fatima and the ‘Miracle’ of the Sun On October 13, 1917, tens of thousands of people witnessed what they considered to be a miracle in the sky in Fatima, Portugal. Was this a miracle from God? Can you be certain? A video of some related interest is Fatima and Pope Francis. Here is a link to the sermon: Fatima and the ‘Miracle of the Sun’.
What is the Gospel? True religion should be based upon the true gospel. What are some of the different gospels and where did they come from? Do you believe the true or a false gospel? Who is preaching the gospel? Here is a version in Korean ¼õÇLÇt·€ »4ÅÇÇx¬?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
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 sermons Why Teach the Kingdom of God, The Gospel of the Kingdom, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Mystery of Iniquity What is the mystery of iniquity? How did it start? How will it end? Two related sermons are also available: The Mystery of Iniquity and The Mystery of Lawlessness.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. A sermon is also available: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! provides concerned Christians with enough Catholic-documented facts to effectively counter every false Marian argument. In addition to the print version, there is a Kindle version of Fatima Shock! which you can acquire in seconds.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son. Here is a link to a shorter video The ‘Unpardonable Sin’ and ‘Climate Change’?

Religious persecution is a global phenomena: Egypt kills ‘Islamic State’ murdering persecutors

Sunday, November 4th, 2018


ICC persecution map

COGwriter

We continue to see increases in persecution towards those claiming some version of Christianity as their faith around the world.

Today, November 4, has been declared the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church by some Protestants.

The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing Egyptians of the Coptic faith on Friday. The Egyptian government responded:

4 November 2018

Nineteen Islamist militants accused of carrying out a deadly attack on Christians in Egypt have been killed by police, the interior ministry says.

They died in a shoot-out after police pursued “fugitive terrorist elements” into the desert area west of Minya province, the statement said.

Seven Coptic Christians were killed in an attack on two buses near a monastery in Minya on Friday.

The Islamic State (IS) group has said it carried out the attack.

It was the latest in a series of attacks by extremists on Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46090104

November 4, 2018

Egypt said Sunday it has killed 19 militants suspected of being connected with the jihadists who killed seven Coptic Christians Friday who were traveling to a remote monastery in central Minya province.

The Interior Ministry said the militants were killed in a shootout in the desert west of Minya province. It did not say when the firefight took place.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Christians, but has not provided any evidence.

Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 100 million people. They have long complained of discrimination. https://www.voanews.com/a/egypt-kills-19-militants-suspected-in-christian-attack-/4643852.html

Of course, it is not just the Islamic State or other such groups. There have been issues with many governments, though Turkey (see Protestant Pastor Andrew Brunson released and now in USA) and Pakistan (see https://www.dw.com/en/asia-bibis-husband-ashiq-masih-appeals-to-us-president-donald-trump-for-asylum/a-46149151) recently released Protestants that they had jailed for their faith.

(As far as some of the type of persecutions Christians face in countries like the USA, see the article USA makes ICC’s ‘Hall of Shame’ list of nations regressing in religious freedom.)

Religious persecution is terrible, but was prophesied for Christians (John 15:20; see also Persecutions by Church and State).

Will it end?

Yes (cf. Revelation 21:4).

Let’s however consider history.

Real as well as false Christians were subject to persecution under the old Roman Empire.

After claiming to see a militaristic cross in the sky, Roman Emperor Constantine decided to change that. In 313 A.D., Constantine issued the Edict of Milan which began as follows:

When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I Licinius Augustus fortunately met near Mediolanurn [Milan], and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security, we thought -, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred;

This brought an end to official persecution.

In the future, we should expect to see deals between the Europeans and Muslims (cf. Daniel 11:27; Psalm 83:2-8). These deals will likely reduce persecution of professors of Christ. Later, we would expect to see a tendency to reduce certain types of persecution in non-Muslim lands in Asia, such as India and North Korea (cf. Revelation 13:4,8).

But will that end all persecution?

No. Plus more intense persecution will be coming.

Let’s now again look at history and Emperor Constantine.

While Christians officially were not suppose to be persecuted after the Edict of Milan, many of the Greco-Romans did not care for those that practiced original Christianity. In 325 A.D., Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicea and attempted to force a non-biblical date for the observance of Passover.

While Greco-Romans accepted this, those in the Church of God did not.

This non-acceptance by those that held to the biblical date upset the Greco-Romans as well as Emperor Constantine.

Instead of trying to get along and be tolerant, around 332 Emperor Constantine decided to issue what is known as the Edict Against the Heretics:

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

“Forasmuch, then, as it is no longer possible to bear with your pernicious errors, we give warning by this present statute that none of you henceforth presume to assemble yourselves together. We have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies: and our care in this respect extends so far as to forbid the holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever. Let those of you, therefore, who are desirous of embracing the true and pure religion, take the far better course of entering the catholic Church, and uniting with it in holy fellowship, whereby you will be enabled to arrive at the knowledge of the truth. In any case, the delusions of your perverted understandings must entirely cease to mingle with and mar the felicity of our present times: I mean the impious and wretched double-mindedness of heretics and schismatics. For it is an object worthy of that prosperity which we enjoy through the favor of God, to endeavor to bring back those who in time past were living in the hope of future blessing, from all irregularity and error to the right path, from darkness to light, from vanity to truth, from death to salvation. And in order that this remedy may be applied with effectual power, we have commanded, as before said, that you be positively deprived of every gathering point for your superstitious meetings, I mean all the houses of prayer, if such be worthy of the name, which belong to 540 heretics, and that these be made over without delay to the catholic Church; that any other places be confiscated to the public service, and no facility whatever be left for any future gathering; in order that from this day forward none of your unlawful assemblies may presume to appear in any public or private place. Let this edict be made public.” (Chapter LXV.—Constantine’s Edict against the Heretics. This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College).

Some of those referred to as Paulians (Paulicians) and Cataphrygians were part of the true Church of God; thus they would have rejected Sunday and other doctrines that Emperor Constantine endorsed. And like some other persecutions, the Edict included those truly in the Church of God and those not in the true church. Herod, when he tried to kill Jesus, persecuted an entire nation, killed many babies, but Jesus’ family fled the persecution and He survived. Constantine’s tactics seem similar.

Christianity under Constantine becomes a form of imperial Roman culture. One Christian denomination is favored with his patronage. They get tax breaks. They get big, beautiful Bible codices copied at public expense. They can use the imperial post for free. They ask Constantine to kick out the leaders of the other Christian denominations in town. So the people who get the worst treatment after Constantine becomes a patron of this one church are other Christians. More Christians are persecuted after the conversion of Constantine than before, because they’re targeted by one particular branch of the church (Hulme, David. Interviews Paula Fredriksen Paul and Paula. Vision magazine, Fall 2005).

Of course, no branch of the actual true church would be persecuting–it was an apostate branch that Constantine favored that did so.

Constantine also prohibited literature:

Thus were the lurking-places of the heretics broken up by the emperor’s command, and the savage beasts they harbored (I mean the chief authors of their impious doctrines) driven to flight. Of those whom they had deceived, some, intimidated by the emperor’s threats, disguising their real sentiments, crept secretly into the Church. For since the law directed that search should be made for their books, those of them who practiced evil and forbidden arts were detected, and these were ready to secure their own safety by dissimulation of every kind. Others, however, there were, who voluntarily and with real sincerity embraced a better hope. Meantime the prelates of the several churches continued to make strict inquiry, utterly rejecting those who attempted an entrance under the specious disguise of false pretenses, while those who came with sincerity of purpose were proved for a time, and after sufficient trial numbered with the congregation. Such was the treatment of those who stood charged with rank heresy: those, however, who maintained no impious doctrine, but had been separated from the one body through the influence of schismatic advisers, were received without difficulty or delay. Accordingly, numbers thus revisited, as it were, their own country after an absence in a foreign land, and acknowledged the Church as a mother from whom they had wandered long, and to whom they now returned with joy and gladness. Thus the members of the entire body became united, and compacted in one harmonious whole; and the one catholic Church, at unity with itself, shone with full luster, while no heretical or schismatic body anywhere continued to exist. And the credit of having achieved this mighty work our Heaven-protected emperor alone, of all who had gone before him, was able to attribute to himself. (Chapter LXVI.—Constantine’s Edict against the Heretics. This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College).

We are now seeing governments like Canada prohibiting the use of certain scriptures in certain settings because they do not want certain biblical doctrines taught. Large internet companies have also directly and indirectly censored or reduced access to materials supporting biblical positions. So, do not think that what happened in the fourth century is merely irrelevant ancient history. Aspects of history have a tendency to repeat.

In 364 A.D. the Council of Laodicea declared:

CANON XXIX. CHRISTIANS must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ (THE COMPLETE CANONS OF THE SYNOD OF LAODICEA IN PHRYGIA PACATIANA).

Laodicea was in Asia Minor and thus this would have basically been an Eastern Orthodox persecution against those who wished to keep the biblical Sabbath.

The Rome Emperor Constantine apparently liked unclean food so much that he persecuted those who would not eat it. Here is a report from a source with Middle East ties:

Constantine called a gathering of Christian monks with a view to the formulation of obligatory religious beliefs…However, some of them disagreed with this text…There was a scission and the symbol of faith which had been formulated was not regarded as valid.

Thereupon, three hundred and eighteen men gathered in Nicaea and formulated a symbol of faith, which was accepted and made obligatory by Constantine. People who dissented from it were killed and professions of faith differing from it suppressed.

In this way people who professed the religion of Christ came to do all that is reprehensible; they worshipped the cross, observed the Roman religious rites and ate pork. Those who did not eat it were killed (Pines S. The Jewish Christians of the Early Centuries of Christianity according to a New Source. Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Volume II, No.13; 1966. Jerusalem, pp. 31-32)

Here is a report from a Roman Catholic scholar about matters in Jerusalem:

That there existed strife between the different branches of the faithful can easily be gathered from the expression of the anonymous pilgrim of Bordeaux in 333, who says that the three basilicas were erected by the gentile Christians “at the command of Constantine”, that is by force, and from the late account of Eutychius (PG 111,1012-1013) that, just at this time, the faithful while they were leaving the church on Easter day, were forced to eat pork under the pain of death. We know how the Judaeo-Christians refused this in order not to transgress the Mosaic law to which they held there were bound (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi, 13 Maii 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 14 Junii 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 13-14).

True Christians would not eat biblically unclean meat (see The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats), yet Constantine decided it was acceptable to kill people who followed what the Bible says. He tried many ways to persecute those not following his faith, which I have called Constantinian Christianity: a Babylonians mix of religions that professes Christ, but will not live according to the Bible.

As it turns out Constantine’s declarations did not stop everyone from properly observing Passover or keeping other Christian practices. So, a later Roman Emperor decreed the death penalty related to proper Passover observance:

Edicts of Theodosius against the heretics, A.D. 380-394…Theodosius…decreed that…by the death of the offender; and the same capital punishment was inflicted on the Audians, or Quartodecimans, who should dare to perpetrate the atrocious crime of celebrating on an improper day the festival…

The theory of persecution was established by Theodosius, whose justice and piety have been applauded by the saints (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume III, Chapter XXVII. ca. 1776-1788).

Is killing those that followed the example of Jesus and John to observe the Passover on the 14th instead of Sunday a sign of a true Christian leader or a sign of a supporter of antichrist?

How could any true saint applaud Theodosius for killing people who followed Jesus’, Johns’, Polycarps’, etc. example of observing Passover on the biblical date?

On the night of His final Passover, Jesus declared:

the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. (John 16:2).

And those who followed the Emperor Theodosius fulfilled that prophecy–they killed people for keeping Passover the same night that Jesus did. Those who will associate the final Imperial leader are apparently prophesied to do the same thing (Daniel 7:25).

Why is this relevant now?

Because more persecution of the truly faithful will come again.

Persecution of Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Jews, and Protestants in the Islamic nations has gone up since the so-called 2011 Arab Spring. This is wrong and should be denounced.

Yet, similar to what happened in the fourth century, we will eventually see a massive lessening of persecution against many of them (those who will tend to eventually unify and support the coming European Beast of Revelation 13).

Yet, after imperial power is in place, the Bible says that persecution against the faithful will take place (Daniel 7:25; 11:29-25). Persecution will again come against those that will not accept the religion that a power in Europe will endorse:

7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:7-10)

So, the Beast will persecute the saints, true Christians.

Furthermore, not worshiping the Beast will be a cause of persecution for anyone-Christian or not:

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Revelation 13:11-18).

Persecution is a fact of history. It has happened before and we should be prepared for the fact that it will happen again.

During the time of the final persecutions, the Bible records:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).

The good news is that Jesus will come and the Beast power will be eliminated:

11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.

12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:11-14)

1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day — death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. (Revelation 18:1-8)

But have no doubts about it, even though the Babylonian European Beast power will eventually be destroyed, more persecution of true Christians is coming.

A listing of Church of God doctrines Christians were persecuted for in the past and are expected to be persecuted for in the future is included in the article Persecutions by Church and State.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
What is the Synagogue of Satan? David Pack falsely claims these are leaders in what he considers to be “splinter” COGs. What is the truth about this?
The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions Was the Church of Rome really responsible for this? What happened? A video of related interest is titled: The Past and Future Inquisition.
Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he? Here is a link to a related sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
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.
Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus? Will the final “Anti-Christ” be Jewish, insist on Saturday, be opposed to the trinity, and bring in the millennium? Certain Catholic writings indicate this, while others take a different view, but what does the Bible show? A related sermon is Will Jesus Christ be called the Antichrist?
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
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.
The Great Monarch: Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Is the ‘Great Monarch’ of Catholic prophecies endorsed or condemned by the Bible? Two sermons of related interest are also available: Great Monarch: Messiah or False Christ? and Great Monarch in 50+ Beast Prophecies.
Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 Who is 666? This article explains how the COG views this, and compares this to Ellen White. Here is a link to a prophetic video Six Financial Steps Leading to 666?
The Mark of Antichrist What is the mark of Antichrist? What have various ones claimed? Here is a link to a related sermon What is the ‘Mark of Antichrist’?
Mark of the Beast What is the mark of the Beast? Who is the Beast? What have various ones claimed the mark is? What is the ‘Mark of the Beast’?
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?
Canada in Prophecy: What Does Bible Prophecy, Catholic Prophecy, and other Predictions Suggest About the Future of Canada? There are prophecies that suggest involvement with Canada. And many are not positive about its future.
USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work.
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? Two related sermons are available Millennial Utopia and The Millennium.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2026 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2019, 2020, or 2021? 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 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation begin in 2018?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.

Daylight Saving Time ends for USA, Canada, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cuba, and Haiti at 2:00 am

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

COGwriter

Sunday, November 4, at two a.m., the USA and several other nations (Canada, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cuba, and Haiti) change their clocks to go back to Standard Time and off of Daylight Saving Time:

It’s that time of year again.

The “fall back” day is coming to clocks across the nation…
Remember, you’ll “fall back” and set your clocks back one hour. Many electronic devices automatically adjust when Daylight Saving…Time begins or ends. http://ames.patch.com/articles/fall-back-daylight-saving-time-2012-ends-sunday-4b97ab65

Since the mid-1960s, most of Arizona has refused to adopt daylight saving time. It is also not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2015/1031/Daylight-saving-time-Why-it-isn-t-going-away-video

New Zealander George Hudson proposed the modern idea of daylight saving in 1895. Germany and Austria-Hungary organized the first implementation, starting on 30 April 1916/ 1 May 1916. Many countries have used it at various times since then, particularly since the energy crisis of the 1970s.

Here is something else related to it from Time:

That Daylight Saving Time began in Germany on May 1, 1916, in the hopes that it would save energy during World War I, according to Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time. But, though Germans were first to mess with their clocks, they likely got the idea from Britain—and from someone whose ideas about Daylight Saving had little to do with conserving fuel.

William Willett had in 1907 published The Waste of Daylight. Willett was inspired by an early-morning epiphany that “the sun shines upon the land for several hours each day while we are asleep” and yet there “remains only a brief spell of declining daylight in which to spend the short period of leisure at our disposal.” Though he did mention that it would save money to reduce the use of artificial lighting, his main purpose was the increase enjoyment of sunlight. He lobbied Parliament for such legislation until his death in 1915—not living to see the law passed in England shortly after it was in Germany. …

Across the pond, the first U.S. law on Daylight Saving Time went into effect on March 19, 1918 for the same fuel saving reasons, about a year after the country entered the war. But again, though the official reason was fuel saving, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was the major backer for the policy, Downing argues, because Americans getting off work while it was still light out meant they would be more likely to go out shopping in the evening. http://time.com/4549397/daylight-saving-time-history-politics/

Because of the clock change, sunset will be over an hour earlier next Friday in the USA, Canada, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cuba, and Haiti. This change happened in Europe and certain other lands earlier.

Those of us who observe the weekly Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday may wish to remember this time change. In my own case, we will have to close our office earlier than normal for the next several months on Fridays.

This will affect not only those in the Churches of God, but others who keep the seventh-day Sabbath such as observant Jews, Messianic Jews, and Seventh-day Adventists.

Here is a link for Sunset Times for the U.S.A. (and international cities if longitudinal location is known).

Daylight Saving Time for Europeans ended last Sunday (see Daylight Saving Time ending in the UK, the EU, and Ukraine: sunset times will be affected).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
Early Sabbath Keeping in North America When did Europeans first keep the Sabbath in North America? Did the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower keep Saturday or Sunday?
How to Observe the Sabbath How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord? Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true?
Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God Both groups keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but have important differences in doctrines and practices. Here is a link to a related sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The genuine Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White. Did Ellen White make prophetic errors? Did Ellen White make false prophecies? Here is a version in the Spanish language: SDA/COG Diferencias: La bestia de dos cuernos de Apocalipsis y 666. Here is a sermon in the English language: CCOG and SDA differences and similarities.
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.

Pope encourages Michael Moore and denounces capitalism; Mothers giving away babies in socialist Venezuela

Friday, November 2nd, 2018


COGwriter

Director Michael Moore met with Pope Francis and made some comments about that meeting:

November 2, 2018

Michael Moore, the liberal film-maker, told “Late Night” with Seth Meyers that he met the pope two weeks ago and asked him about income inequality:

I went to the weekly audience, and then he asked to speak to me privately. It was an amazing moment, and I asked him if I could ask him a question.  …  And I said, “So you believe capitalism, the kinda — the capitalism we have now is a sin?” He goes, “Yes, it is.” He said, “The poor must always come first.”

And then he grabbed my hand and he said, “Please, pray for me.” And I said, “I will, and please pray for me. And he said, “No, you have to make more movies.” And I’m like, “I just wanted a prayer.” He’s like, “No, you go back to — you go back work.” He has a sense of humor. https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/susan-jones/pope-told-michael-moore-capitalism-sin

Michael Moore partnered with producers Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein in May 2017 to produce and distribute Fahrenheit 11/9. but after Harvey Weinstein had additional charges against him for sexual impropriety he did not provide the funding as originally expected–but funding to make the film did happen from other sources per Wikipedia.

Anyway, that movie came out in September and had political intent:

Michael Moore Is Releasing ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ Before the Midterm Elections to ‘Bring Trump Down’

Michael Moore wasn’t taken seriously when he predicted that Donald Trump would win the 2016 election, but his insights have become highly sought-after since that fateful day in November 2016. Not coincidentally, that date is also the source of his upcoming documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9,” which Moore discussed last night on “Real Time with Bill Maher”: “You have to listen this time because he is going to win the 2020 election,” he said. “This man believes in being president for life.”

“I’m finishing my movie and getting it out before the midterms because I want millions of people to get to the polls. We’re going to bring Trump down,” Moore added … https://www.indiewire.com/2018/06/michael-moore-fahrenheit-11-9-release-date-trump-1201980123/

Michael Moore’s movie did not do well financially as it reportedly only grossed about $6 million.

Now, presuming Michael Moore’s account of his meeting with Pope Francis was correct, I am still waiting for Pope Francis to “put his money where his mouth is.”

Francis has repeatedly made many statements that others give more to the poor, but I have yet to see any massive change in the Vatican’s spending to conclude that he has decided to do that with Church of Rome funds (see also Caring for the poor is our ‘passport to paradise’, says Pope Francis; What about EU banking and deposit insurance?).

While the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10) and people should care for the poor (cf. Galatians 2:10, 6:7-10; James 2:15-17), capitalism, per se, is not a sin.

People like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were capitalists. Jesus (Matthew 25:14-28) and Peter (Acts 5:3-4) made capitalist supporting statements, as well as statements in support of the poor.

Here is a ‘capitalist’ supporting parable spoken by Jesus:

12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.
13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’
14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’
15 And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’
17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’
18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’
19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’
20 Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.
21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’
22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’
24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’
25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’)
26 For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. (Luke 19:12-26)

This does not mean that capitalists do not sin, but it is in conflict with Pope Francis’ assertion that capitalism is a sin.

Well, what about socialism?

Notice a report that the BBC had today about the oil-rich socialist nation of Venezuela:

Venezuela crisis: Mothers giving away babies, children living on streets

2 November 2018

Extreme poverty has jumped 40%, deaths related to child malnutrition are on the rise, and millions have fled the country in the past two years.

Many inside and outside Venezuela blame the policies of socialist President Nicolas Maduro. …

Mothers and children have been among those hit hardest … https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-latin-america-45879534/venezuela-crisis-mothers-giving-away-babies-children-living-on-streets

BBC has a video at the above link.

Notice something from this summer:

Venezuela’s Maduro Admits Socialist Model Has Failed

August 2, 2018

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro admitted that his socialist economic model has “failed” amid food and medicine shortages as well as a failing infrastructure highlighted by Tuesday’s power failure to 80% of Caracas. …

“The production models we’ve tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours, mine and yours,” Maduro told his ruling PSUV party congress. …

No word on whether he took a bite of an empanada during his speech while his country starves on the “Maduro diet” – a phrase coined after Venezuela’s notorious food shortages gave rise to mass starvation across the country. Not even the donkeys are safe. …

Venezuela’s industrial sector is operating at just 30% capacity, as illustrated by the farming sector, which now provides just a quarter of national consumption, after providing 75% just a few years ago according to the National Farmers Federation.

This should all make for some interesting debate questions during the next US elections, as Democratic Socialists have become the “new face” of the left. Just don’t ask any questions about economics or logistics … https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-01/venezuelas-maduro-admits-socialism-has-failed

Yes, Venezuela, despite possibly having more oil than any other nation on earth, is having economic problems after it tried socialistic means to restrict capitalism.

Of course, the solution to problems facing the world is not eliminating capitalism nor embracing more socialism.

The solution to the problems facing the world is not to encourage Michael Moore to make more films, but national repentance, the acceptance of Jesus, and the coming Kingdom of God.

Pope Francis, Michael Moore, and all others are encouraged to learn more about it from our free online booklet: The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Should a Christian Vote? This article gives some of the Biblical rationale on this subject. Would Jesus vote for president/prime minister? Is voting in the Bible? This is a subject Christians need to understand. A video of related interest is available titled: Should Christians Vote? Another video is 10 Reasons Not to Vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.

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?]
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2027 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2018, 2019, or 2020? 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 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation begin in 2018?
Mexico, Central America, South America, Brazil, and the Caribbean in Prophecy [Español: México, América central, Suramérica, Brasil y el Caribe en la profecía] [Português: México, América Central, Ámérica do Sul, e Brasil na profecia] What will happen to those of Latin America? Will they have prosperity? Will they cooperate with Europe? Will they suffer in the future? What role might the various Caribbean nations/territories play? A video of related interest is titled: Donald Trump and Mexico’s future.

All Saints, All Souls, Day of the Dead?

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

COGwriter

Today is observed by many as All Saints Day, and tomorrow as All Souls’ Day.

All Souls’ Day is basically a Catholic, and not a biblical, holiday and is endorsed by the Church of Rome:

ALL SOULS Day. A solemn commemoration of, and prayer for, all the souls in Purgatory, which the Church makes on the second of November. (Addis W, Arnold T. Catholic Dictionary, 6th ed. The Catholic Publication Society Co, 1887. Nihil Obstat. EDUARDUS S. KEOGH, CONG. ORAT., Censor Deputatu Imprimatur. HENRICUS EDUARDUS, CARD. ARCHIEP. WESTMONAST. Die 18 Dec., 1883. Imprimatur. John Card. McCloskey, Archbishop of New York. Feb. 14, 1884. Copyright, Lawrence Kehoe, 1884/1887. p20)

Here is what The Catholic Encyclopedia reports about it and a related practice:

All Soul’s Day

The commemoration of all the faithful departed is celebrated by the Church on 2 November, or, if this be a Sunday or a solemnity, on 3 November. The Office of the Dead must be recited by the clergy and all the Masses are to be of Requiem, except one of the current feast, where this is of obligation.

The theological basis for the feast is the doctrine that the souls which, on departing from the body, are not perfectly cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for past transgressions, are debarred from the Beatific Vision, and that the faithful on earth can help them by prayers, almsdeeds and especially by the sacrifice of the Mass. (See PURGATORY.)

In the early days of Christianity the names of the departed brethren were entered in the diptychs. Later, in the sixth century, it was customary in Benedictine monasteries to hold a commemoration of the deceased members at Whitsuntide. In Spain there was such a day on Saturday before Sexagesima or before Pentecost, at the time of St. Isidore (d. 636). In Germany there existed (according to the testimony of Widukind, Abbot of Corvey, c. 980) a time-honoured ceremony of praying to the dead on 1 October. This was accepted and sanctified by the Church. St. Odilo of Cluny (d. 1048) ordered the commemoration of all the faithful departed to be held annually in the monasteries of his congregation. Thence it spread among the other congregations of the Benedictines and among the Carthusians.

Of the dioceses, Liège was the first to adopt it under Bishop Notger (d. 1008). It is then found in the martyrology of St. Protadius of Besançon (1053-66). Bishop Otricus (1120-25) introduced it into Milan for the 15 October. In Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, priests on this day say three Masses. A similar concession for the entire world was asked of Pope Leo XIII. He would not grant the favour but ordered a special Requiem on Sunday, 30 September, 1888.

In the Greek Rite this commemoration is held on the eve of Sexagesima Sunday, or on the eve of Pentecost. The Armenians celebrate the passover of the dead on the day after Easter. (Mershman, Francis. “All Souls’ Day.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 6 Aug. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01315b.htm>)

A diptych is a sort of notebook…The liturgical use of diptychs offers considerable interest. In the early Christian ages it was customary to write on diptychs the names of those, living or dead, who were considered as members of the Church a signal evidence of the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. Hence the terms “diptychs of the living” and “diptychs of the dead.” Such liturgical diptychs varied in shape and dimension. Their use (sacrae tabulae, matriculae, libri vivorum et mortuorum) is attested in the writings of St. Cyprian (third century) and by the history of St. John Chrysostom (fourth century), nor did they disappear from the churches until the twelfth century in the West and the fourteenth century in the East. (Maere, René. “Diptych.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. Nihil Obstat. May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 6 Aug. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05022a.htm>)

So, from the above we see that All Souls’ Day is not part of original Christianity and the date has varied. The Roman Catholic practices to it are related to its purgatory doctrine, which is something that did not get developed until many centuries after Jesus–neither purgatory nor All Souls Day were endorsed by the original Church of God (see Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory?). And those in the Continuing Church of God do not endorse it to this day.

Notice another belief associated with All Souls’ Day:

On November 1, All Saints’ Day, adult spirits return, drawn by the ofrendas (altars with offerings), which serve as thresholds between this world and the next…A chair near the altar allows family members to visit with the dead before they depart on November 2nd, when the altar is taken down. The fragile paper decorations, like the transience of flowers, incense, and food, are reminders of the fleeting nature of life. Altars are reminders that the dead are welcomed by the living and continue to have a relationship with us as a natural part of life itself. (Andrade M. The Day of the Dead. http://www.burkemuseum.org/static/RR/DOFD/dofd2.htm. viewed 08/06/13)

Souls are not departing on this day as many falsely believe.

These “festivals of the dead” turn people away from God’s plan of salvation as laid forth by His Holy Days. And these death festivals encourage people to commune with, appease, serve and even worship the dead.

Speaking of the dead, notice also the following:

History of Day of the Dead ~ Día de los Muertos

Day of the Dead is an interesting holiday celebrated in central and southern Mexico during the chilly days of November 1 & 2. Even though this coincides with the Catholic holiday called All Soul’s & All Saint’s Day, the indigenous people have combined this with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones.

They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. http://www.mexicansugarskull.com/support/dodhistory.html accessed 10/29/16

Of course none of those beliefs about deceased children reuniting for 24 hours are true. But the Church of Rome allows them.


Day of the Dead decorations

Regarding the Day of the Dead, Wikipedia reports:

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1 and 2, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world: In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.

The Day of the Dead is clearly a pagan holiday. Perhaps I should mention that in various places in California, I have seen more and more promotion of the Day of the Dead/Día de Muertos. Its observance seems to becoming more publicly popular in this State.

Christians who wish to remain faithful to the original apostolic faith will not observe All Souls’ Day, All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead nor endorse purgatory, but endorse God’s Holy Days (see also Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and All Souls’ Day Are these original Christian observances? Does the Bible endorse them?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies?
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day–is it a dead of the dead? What do these days teach?
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? What about the use of the cross, by the early Church?
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Martin Luther and ‘Reformation Day’ issues

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018


Martin Luther

COGwriter

October 31st marks the day that Martin Luther hammered his now famous 95 theses on the Wittenberg (Germany) church back in 1517. BBC reported the following related to him:

Five hundred years ago, a young German monk began the Protestant Reformation, shattering the authority of the Catholic Church.

Centuries later, there are signs that the churches have put aside their differences. …

Luther’s understanding of church, God and eternal life. … would also result in him hammering 95 theses – arguments and objections – to the doors of the Schlosskirche, or University church.

With each blow, the authority and stability of the Catholic Church was challenged as never before. …

Luther’s theological crisis was accelerated by a Dominican monk called Johann Tetzel, who was charged with collecting so-called indulgences on behalf of the Catholic Church.

These were payments which were made in the hope that individuals, and their deceased relatives, would be fast-tracked through purgatory into heaven.

Tetzel was an effective travelling salesman.

He would ask his audience: “Don’t you hear the voices of your wailing dead parents and others? From this you could redeem us with small alms.”

He would even offer a jingle that would not be out of place in a modern advertising campaign: “When the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.” …

Luther came to believe that one’s acceptance before God could not be purchased by indulgences, nor achieved by good works, but only received through faith.

He also came to the conclusion that only scripture could determine the governance of the Church and the practice of Christians.

‘Son of iniquity’

Luther’s observations were not well received.

Within a year, Pope Leo X dismissed Luther as an outspoken drunk who would repent when sober, describing him as “a son of iniquity”.

Excommunicated in 1521, Luther was dragged before the Diet of Worms, an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire, but refused to recant … 31 October 2017 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41742857

While the Church of Rome now agrees with many of the items on his list, back in 1517 this caused tremendous dissension and was a key factor in the so-called Protestant Reformation.

Many consider that Martin Luther was a great saint.

I do not.

People actually believe the Bible would not as well.

His actions and writings prove he was not a Christian.

For proof, let’s start with this quote from Martin Luther:

My word is the word of Christ; my mouth is the mouth of Christ” (O’Hare PF. The Facts About Luther, 1916–1987 reprint ed., pp. 203-204).

Martin Luther was also a type of preterist, which meant he did not believe in various biblical prophecies (see also The Dangerous Rise of Preterists). He also somewhat denounced the Book of Revelation as well as several other books of the Bible (see Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?).

Consider also that although Jesus endorsed fasting and told His followers to do so (Matthew 6:16-17; 9:15), Martin Luther condemned it:

This doctrine is so wicked and shameful before God, that no carousing or gluttony, no intemperance or drunkedness could be so bad, that it would be better to be completely fuddled all day than thus to fast (Luther’s Works, vol ii., p.730 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p. 91).

Notice the following report that came out after a series of archeological digs in three of Martin Luther’s former residences:

Archaeologists Unveil Secrets of Luther’s Life

Spiegel – Oct 28, 2008

Archeologists have uncovered Martin Luther’s household waste, including beer mugs, toy marbles and a child’s crossbow. The find is being shown in a new exhibition that casts the religious reformer’s private life in a new light…

Brother Martin, a stout man, was sitting on the toilet in the Wittenberg Monastery, wearing the black robe of the Augustinian Order, when he was suddenly struck with the fundamental concept of his reformist body of thought.

Martin Luther himself noted, in two after-dinner speeches (Nos. 1681 and 3232b), that Protestantism was born in the sewer: “The spiritus sanctus imparted this creation to me on dis cloaca.”…

Luther, a German national hero, has been the subject of dozens of biographies. His translation of the Bible into German was as influential as his curses were memorable. Now archeologists have uncovered surprising new information about the religious reformer at three different excavation sites:

    • The floor of the building where Luther was born, in the town of Eisleben
    • His parents’ house in the town of Mansfeld
    • The estate in Wittenberg where the former monk lived with his wife and their six children

The digs exposed toys and food remains, broken dishes and grain (dated to the year 1500, using the C-14 method). The archeologists also found his wife’s wedding ring and a hoard of 250 silver coins…

All of this snooping around in the refuse of the founder of their church has not exactly been met with enthusiasm within Germany’s protestant congregations. In their view, the notion that the Luther family tossed dead cats into the household garbage is just as irrelevant, from a religious standpoint, as the suspicion that Luther, as a monk, attached his theses to the castle church with tacks instead of nails.

But the debris from Luther’s household should not be downplayed. Some of it, analyzed using the methods of criminology, relates to the reformer’s intellectual works, and it even reveals that he was not always entirely truthful.

For instance, the scholar fudged his parents’ social circumstances. He claimed that he was the son of a “poor miner” who toiled away in the mines with his hatchet, and that “my mother carried all her wood home on her back.”

But this is far from the truth. Luther’s father already owned a copper mill as a young man, while his mother came from a bourgeois family in Eisenach and had good connections to the royal mine administration.

In 1484, when Martin Luther was still an infant, the family moved to Mansfeld, where the father quickly became a successful foreman. He operated three copper smelters, owned 80 hectares (198 acres) of land and lent his money for interest.

The size and grandeur of his house, as the excavation revealed, were in keeping with his economic standing. “The front of the house on the street side was 25 meters (82 feet) wide,” says archeologist Björn Schlenker. The excavation exposed massive basement vaults and a rear courtyard surrounded by large outbuildings.

It was on this farm that young Martin and his siblings played, surrounded by flocks of geese and chickens. The fragments at the site reveal that they played with crossbows, clay marbles and bowling pins made of beef bones — toys not every family could afford at the time.

The remains of kitchen scraps discovered on the property reveal that the family frequently ate roast goose and the tender meat of young pigs. During Lent, the Luther family ate expensive ocean fish, like herring, codfish and plaice…

It is well known that Luther’s parents firmly believed in witches and the devil, but now further details have emerged. The remains of a pilgrim’s horn, a noisemaker pilgrims could buy in the western city of Aachen, were found in the rubble. The father had apparently traveled to Aachen, the German version of Lourdes, to marvel at the swaddling clothes and loincloth of Jesus.

The young Luther did not yet find such relics repulsive when he studied law in Erfurt, a city in eastern Germany. But then suddenly he discontinued his university studies and fled into a monastery. Why?

The reformer later explained that his decision was prompted by a severe storm he had been caught in on July 2, 1505. After a lightning strike, he spontaneously vowed to become a monk…

But the tale of a sign from above coming to Luther in the form of a lightning strike is greatly exaggerated. In truth Luther, who was 21 at the time, was fleeing from an impending forced marriage.

“Newly discovered archive records show that the father had already married off three of his daughters and one son to the children of wealthy foremen,” explains expert Schlenker. Apparently it was now Martin’s turn.

Instead of submitting to his father’s will, the young man went to the monastery of the Augustinian hermits near Erfurt…

He denounced Turks as “devils,” Jews as “liars” and gay priests as “garden brothers who do it with each other.” Rome, he wrote, was surrounded by “pig-theologians.”

After penning such sharp words, the powerfully eloquent reformer ate from faience bowls and drank from magnificent Turkish pitchers. The archeologists found intricate oven tiles decorated with motifs from the Old Testament, as well as more than 1,600 shards from glasses Luther, an avid eater, used to quench his considerable thirst for beer. Luther needed it to numb his emotions…

He also suffered from angina pectoris, which made him anxious. As gout set in, writing became increasingly difficult.

And then there was his obesity. At first, the doctor weighed 100, then 120 and, finally, an estimated 150 kilograms (the estimate is based on an ink drawing made of Luther shortly after his death).

The archeologists also found dozens of small containers, which Luther used to hold the many ointments and medications he bought for himself.

Gradually he wasted away…

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,586847,00.html

Martin Luther and his false non-biblical teachings simply cannot and should not be trusted nor relied upon by those who profess Christ.

Martin Luther hated Jews and encouraged violence against them:

… burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss in sulphur and pitch (Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543 as quoted from Luther’s Works, Volume 47: The Christian in Society IV, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971). pp 268­293).

Followers of Adolf Hitler sometimes pointed to Martin Luther’s writings to ‘justify’ the Holocaust.

It was not just Jews that Martin Luther hated. He violently hated those that would not support him:

Pure devilry is urging on the peasants…Therefore let all who are able, mow them down, slaughter and stab them, openly or in secret, and remember that there is nothing more poisonous, noxious and utterly devilish than a rebel. You must kill him as you would a mad dog…

The authorities must resolve to chastise and slay as long as they can raise a finger…It may be that those who are killed on the side of the authorities is really a martyr in God’s cause. A happier death no man could die. The present time is so strange that a prince can gain Heaven easier by spilling blood than by praying (Luther M. Against the Murderous and Rapacious Hordes of the Peasants, May 4, 1525-Erl, 24, 287, ff. As cited in O’Hare PF. The Facts About Luther, p. 232).

I, Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the rebellion, for I said that they should be slain; all their blood is upon my head. But I cast it on the Lord God, who commanded me to speak this way (Werke, Erl. Edition, lix, p. 284 ‘Table Talk’ as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.96).

It is reported that 100,000 perished at the time of the peasant ‘rebellion.’ It should also be understood that politics, and not just religion, was a major factor that led to the ‘military accomplishments’ of the Protestant reformers and their supporters.

Dr. Luther should have realized that real Christians would not have done that (see also Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?).

Protestant’s claimed ‘sola Scriptura’ when they separated from Rome. Yet, the fact that Lutherans (and Roman Catholics for that matter) even have ‘altars’ where they consume ‘communion’ is also not scriptural.

Perhaps the two biggest problems with Martin Luther was that he was NOT a converted Christian and he did NOT believe in sola Scriptura. Notice the following from a Protestant scholar who supported Martin Luther:

Although classical theology is certainly not without its problems, historically it is almost always the case that the appeal to the Bible alone…leads to the reemergence of ancient heresies…The Reformation began with the slogan “To the sources!” and sought to deal a fatal blow to the place of church tradition in shaping life and faith…Despite their efforts not to be influenced by the authority of tradition, each of the major Reformation churches found itself borrowing from the past and building up a traditionalism of its own…when the Anabaptists and other radicals discovered Scripture to be teaching things the Lutherans found detestable, Lutherans learned the usefulness of tradition…(Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 335,350-351).

The “usefulness of tradition”? In other words, teaching traditions of men even when they contradict scripture.

It should be noted that the above is not limited to one Protestant scholar, Martin Luther truly did not believe in the rallying cry, sola scriptura (an article of related interest may be Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?). (The Anabaptists are mentioned in the article on the Sardis Church era).

The reality is the fact that Protestants, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics accept tradition, they call many biblical practices that were enjoined upon and practiced by the early New Testament church, heresies. But if practices were original and based upon the Bible, can they logically be called heresies? Are not the heretics, those that changed the teachings of the Bible in favor of traditions of men?

A major problem with the Protestant Reformation was that many of its leaders were murderous anti-Semites, who would not rely on the Bible for many doctrines, and would not “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Martin Luther was not a real Christian saint.

That being said, more and more parts of Germany have declared this date a holiday:

Reformation Day is a new public holiday in more German states

October 26, 2018

The North German states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein have Wednesday, October 31, a new public holiday, bringing the number of states making it a day off to nine, the Lutheran World Federation reported. …

Celebrations in Reformation anniversary year 2017 increased the awareness for ecumenical and interreligious cooperation among church leaders.

Ralf Meister, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover, commented said in a report in May, “The Day of the Reformation is a day on which we will seek to promote tolerant relations among religions, confessions and worldviews, based on dialogue.” …

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brunswick is expecting the new Catholic Bishop of Hildesheim diocese, Heiner Wilmer SCJ, at its service in the cathedral.

“That is a wonderful ecumenical symbol and underlines the good cooperation between Christians in Lower Saxony,” Bishop Christoph Meyns said.

In Hamburg, Bishop Kirsten Fehrs from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany, Canon Peter Mies, the Catholic dean for Hamburg, and Rev. Uwe Onnen, chair of the Council of Christian Churches in Hamburg, will hold a joint service.

Bishop Fehrs said, “I am very happy that we will celebrate this day in ecumenical unity and cultural openness and not separately in our denominations.” https://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/reformation-day-is-a-new-public-holiday-in-more-states-in-germany/60616.htm

So, instead of being a celebration of rebellion against the Church of Rome, Reformation Day is being used for ecumenical purposes.

Let me add here that according to the Bible a false ‘ecumenical’ church will rise up (Revelation 17). According to Roman and Eastern Orthodox writings, their churches and the Protestant ones will get together in some type of ecumenical reformation. According to the Bible, that will not end well for the Church of Rome (Revelation 17:15-18) or others involved with it (cf. Revelation 18).

How many now view ‘Reformation Day’ should serve as a warning that an unbiblical ecumenical reformation is coming.

Those interested in learning more should consider studying the following:

The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants) 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 sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Freemasonry and the Destruction of Rome? What is Freemasonry? What about ties to the Illuminati? Could they be involved in the fulfillment of prophecy? Here is a link to a related sermon: Freemasonry, Armageddon, and Rome.
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
Protestant and Church of God views of the United States in Bible Prophecy Is the USA mentioned in Bible prophecy? Some Protestants say yes, while others say no. What does the Bible really teach? Learn the truth about this. There is also a video available: Is The United States Mentioned In Bible Prophecy?
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous? A related sermon video is titled Preterism: You’ve Gotta Be Kidding…Right?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Pope Francis’ Celebration of Reformation’s 500th Anniversary The Vatican announced that Pope Francis plans to attend a celebration commemorating the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. Is this part of the ecumenical movement? Is this a good thing? Does the Bible warn against this? Do Protestant leaders favor ecumenical unity? What did early Protestants teach about the papacy? Should the Bible or human committees be listened to?
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.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.