Archive for the ‘Religious News’ Category

Donald Trump condemns acts of Anti-Semitism

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017


Anti-Semitic graffiti

COGwriter

Antisemitism is, sadly, in the news again:

February 21, 2017

US President Donald Trump has condemned dozens of violent threats made against US Jewish community centres in the past few weeks.

“We have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” he said while visiting an African-American museum in Washington.

“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centres are horrible and painful”, he said.

The FBI opened an investigation on Monday following more threats.

“I will tell you that anti-Semitism is horrible and it’s going to stop and it has to stop,” Mr Trump said in an interview with NBC earlier on Tuesday.

Last week, 27 Jewish community centres in at least 17 US states reported receiving hoax bomb threats. On Monday 11 more were made across the country. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39011090

There has been a surge of anti-Semitic actions in the USA this year (see also First they came for the Jews, then will they come for the true Christians?). Last year, was a record anti-Semitic year in the UK (see Berkeley protests against speech; Record year for anti-Semitism in UK).

Antisemitism and threats against Jewish facilities are wrong.

My wife and I attended Worldwide Church of God services in a Jewish Community Center in Long Beach, California for a number of years. At least once it was hit by anti-Semitic graffiti that I am aware of.

Sadly, in the Greco-Roman world, various ones who claimed Christianity have long promoted antisemitism.

Antisemitism may have been a factor in the Vatican recognizing a Palestinian state (see Was anti-semitism a factor in Vatican recognition of the state of Palestine?).

According to Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, Book III chapter 18, the Eastern Orthodox saint and Roman emperor Constantine in the fourth century stated:

Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.

The way that Jesus, who was Jewish, taught differently was love, not hate. Jesus never taught to have ‘nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd.’ Roman Catholics refer to Constantine as ‘Constantine the Great,’ but he obviously held anti-Semitic views.  And Constantine was not the only major leader to hold such views.

Persecution against ‘Jews’ has often turned into persecution against those with biblical Christians practices.

Notice something that Jesus the Jew said what would happen to Christians:

20 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. (John 15:20)

Around 332, Constantine issued what is known as the Edict Against the Heretics which included persecution against Christians who held to the original faith and had practices, such as the date of Passover, the same as the Jews (see also Persecutions by Church and State).

In 387, the Eastern Orthodox saint and bishop John Chrysostom preached the following:

The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews are soon to march upon us one after the other and in quick succession: the feast of Trumpets, the feast of Tabernacles, the fasts. There are many in our ranks who say they think as we do. Yet some of these are going to watch the festivals and others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts. I wish to drive this perverse custom from the Church right now…If the Jewish ceremonies are venerable and great, ours are lies…Does God hate their festivals and do you share in them? He did not say this or that festival, but all of them together. (John Chrysostom. Homily I Against the Jews I:5;VI:5;VII:2. Preached at Antioch, Syria in the Fall of 387 AD. Medieval Sourcebook: Saint John Chrysostom (c.347-407) : Eight Homilies Against the Jews. Fordham University. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/chrysostom-jews6.html 12/10/05).

John Chrysostom preached the following in his Homily Against the Jews (of which there are at least eight anti-Semitic homilies):

But do not be surprised that I called the Jews pitiable. They really are pitiable and miserable (I:II:1).

So the godlessness of the Jews and the pagans is on a par. But the Jews practice a deceit which is more dangerous (I:VI:4).

Do you see that demons dwell in their souls and that these demons are more dangerous than the ones of old? (I:VI:7).

Since it is against the Jews that I wish to draw up my battle line, let me extend my instruction further. Let me show that, by fasting now, the Jews dishonor the law and trample underfoot God’s commands because they are always doing everything contrary to his decrees. When God wished them to fast, they got fat and flabby (VI:IV:2).

Indeed, the fasting of the Jews, which is more disgraceful than any drunkenness, is over and gone (VIII:I:5).

John Chrysostom is considered to be a major Roman Catholic saint. He is one of the four ‘doctors of the church’ who is shown supporting a large black chair that is called the Cathedra Petri (Chair of Peter) in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The late Joseph Tkach once referred to this chair as Satan’s throne (see Satan’s Throne).

The improperly named Protestant publication Christianity Today once had a link titled, “Person of the Week: John Chrysostom” which went to an article titled: John Chrysostom Early church’s greatest preacher. So, Protestants too, endorse an anti-semite. More on him can be found in the article John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite.

These anti-Semitic views have included persecutions against Christians who the Greco-Romans considered to have “Jewish” practices.

People like the Albigneses were condemned by various councils. And one, the Council of Albi (sometimes spelled Alby) in 1254 apparently stated:

They savour of Judaism…they observe the Jewish sabbath, but say that the holy Dominical day is no better than any other day; let them be accursed (Quoted in Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 64).

Notice what a former Roman Catholic priest reported:

It has been reckoned that in the last and most savage persecution under Emperor Diocletian about two thousand Christians perished, worldwide. In the first incident of Pope Innocent’s Crusade ten times that number of people were slaughtered. Not all were Albigensians. It comes as a shock to discover that, at a stroke, a pope killed far more Christians than Diocletian (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolberg Press, Dublin, 2000, pp. 160-161).

(The entire persecution that Roman Emperor Diocletian unleashed lasted from 303-313 A.D; the inquisition-persecution that Pope Innocent III unleashed lasted hundreds of years.)

It perhaps should be pointed out that sometimes those in the true Church of God have been considered to be secretly Jews by some in Greco-Roman faiths:

In the Middle Ages, the Popes and the Councils were successful in destroying the Jewish revolutionary movements which appeared within Christianity in the form of false teaching and which were introduced by those who were Christians in appearance but Jews in secret. The latter then recruited upright and good Christians for the arising heretical movement by persuading the latter in a crafty way.

The secret Jews organised and controlled in secret manner the movements, which were the creative and driving force of wicked false teachings, such as those of the Iconoclasts, the Cathars, the Patarines, the Albigensians, the Hussites, the Alumbrados and others. (Pinay, Maurice. The Plot Against the Church, Part Four Chapter One. Translated from the German and Spanish editions of the same work. 1962)

The above book is still recommended by and for many Catholics (though some others distance themselves from it). Hence, some of the Greco-Romans have considered some of whom we in the Continuing Church of God include in our tracing of our spiritual ancestors (like some of the Cathars and Albigenses) to have been a secret Jewish group that only professed Christ.

As far as Protestant leaders themselves with anti-Semitic views, one can notice the some of the teachings of Martin Luther, who wrote in the 16th century:

My heart is fuller of these thoughts than my tongue can tell. I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will always curse and blaspheme God as all the prophets have predicted. He who neither reads nor understands this, as yet knows no theology, in my opinion. And so I presume the men of Cologne cannot understand the Scripture, because it is necessary that such things take place to fulfill prophecy. If they are trying to stop the Jews blaspheming, they are working to prove the Bible and God liars (“Martin Luther’s to George Spalatin,” from Luther’s Correspondence and Other Contemporan, Letters, trans. by P. Smith (1913), Vol. 1, pp. 28-29).

Furthermore he wrote:

I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that those miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them…They are so blind and stupid that they see neither the words found in Genesis 17 nor the whole of Scripture, which mightily and explicitly condemns this lie…They are real liars and bloodhounds who have not only continually perverted and falsified all of Scripture with their mendacious glosses from the beginning until the present day. Their heart’s most ardent sighing and yearning and hoping is set on the day on which they can deal with us Gentiles as they did with the Gentiles in Persia at the time of Esther…The worse a Jew is, the more arrogant he is, solely because he is a Jew — that is, a person descended from Abraham’s seed, circumcised, and under the law of Moses. David and other pious Jews were not as conceited as the present-day, incorrigible Jews…I wanted to present this to us Germans so that we might see what rascals the blind Jews are and how powerfully the truth of God in our midst stands with us and against them (Medieval Sourcebook: Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543)

Martin Luther advised his followers:

…to 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).

The sad reality is that leaders esteemed by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Protestants have all advocated horrible antisemitism.

Of course, there was also Adolf Hitler.

Sadly, many in Europe and elsewhere still hold anti-Semitic views.

Although it is good when leaders, including Donald Trump, take a stand against anti-Semitism, we will see persecution greatly increase before Jesus returns. And this will not be limited to Jews, but will include all real Christians (cf. Daniel 7:25; see also Persecutions by Church and State).

The underlying antisemitism throughout the world will allow for this, especially when the time will come when the Beast’s government will mandate it (Revelation 13:15-17).

Some items of 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.
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?
John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite This late fourth/early fifth century Bishop of Constantinople is considered to be a ‘saint’ and ‘doctor’ by the Church of Rome, Church of England, and the Eastern Orthodox, but he did not teach Christ’s love.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2017, 2018, or 2019? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017?
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
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.
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.
Donald Trump in Prophecy Prophecy, Donald Trump? Are there prophecies that Donald Trump may fulfill?  Are there any prophecies that he has already helped fulfill?  Could a Donald Trump presidency be apocalyptic?  A related video is titled: Donald: ‘Trump of God’ or Apocalyptic?
Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse This 188 page book is for people truly interested in prophecies related to Donald Trump and the United States, including learning about several that have already been fulfilled and those that will be fulfilled in the future. The physical book can be purchased at Amazon for $12.99 from the following link: Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse.
Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse-Kindle Edition This electronic version of the 188 page print edition is available for only US$3.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to Donald Trump and America’s Apocalypse-Kindle Edition.

Black History Month and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

COGwriter

As we get towards the end of ‘Black History Month,’ I thought it might be appropriate to quote some writings from the late Martin Luther King Jr. Particularly, those on the ancient sun-god religion of Mithraism, that was popular in the Roman Empire from about the first century B.C. until the fourth century A.D.

So here is some of what Dr. King wrote on Mithraism, in a document dated November 23, 1949:

In Avesta, Mithra was the genius of celestial light…The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was another view which was very prominent in Mithraism…

Women were compelled to seek salvation in some other cult, for Mithraism excluded them entirely…

When Mithraism is compared to Christianity, there are surprisingly many points of similarity. Of all the mystery cults, Mithraism was the greatest competitor of Christianity…

That Christians did copy and borrow from Mithraism cannot be denied (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 213-214, 217, 222, 224).

Of course, true Christians did not really borrow from Mithraism, but the Greco-Roman faiths did.

Here is some of what Dr. King wrote in a document dated February 15, 1950:

Mithraism…was suppressed by the Christians sometime in the latter part of the fourth century A.D.: but its collapse seems to have been due to the fact that by that time many of its doctrines had been adopted by the church, so that it was practically absorbed by its rival.

…the Church made a sacred day out of Sunday partially because…of the resurrection. But when we observe a little further we find that as a solar festival, Sunday was the sacred day of Mithra: it is also interesting to notice that since Mithra was addressed as Lord, Sunday must have been “the Lord’s Day” long before Christian use. It is also to be noticed that our Christmas, December 25th, was the birthday of Mithra, and was only taken over in the Fourth Century as the date, actually unknown, of the birth of Jesus.

To make the picture a little more clear, we may list a few of the similarities between these two religions: (1) Both regard Sunday as a Holy Day. (2) December 25 came to be considered as the anniversary of the birth of Mithra and Christ also. (3) Baptism and a ritual meal were important parts of both groups…

In summary we may say that the belief in immortality, a mediator between god and man, the observance of certain sacramental rites…were common to Mithraism and Christianity. (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 307, 309.)

Notice that Martin Luther King, Jr. clearly understood that the Sunday churches dropped the Sabbath, that “the Lord’s Day” essentially first meant the day of Mithra, and that the worlds’ churches did adopt many practices from Mithraism.

I wish he and others emphasized this aspect of his writings more. His writings on Mithraism should help raise the awareness of its influence to all. Hopefully, so people who claim Christ will realize that they should not continue practices that many obtained outside of the Bible, but from the influence of Mithraism.

I would again like to emphasize that Christians faithful to the original teachings of Christ, the apostles, and the New Testament did not adopt the practices of Mithraism.

While Dr. King was most known for his civil rights protests, he figured out that much of what passed for Christianity in his day was really a form that adopted Mithratic practices. Does that include your version? Are you sure?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria? Where did the eucharistic host and IHS come from?
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?
Africa: Its Biblical Past and Prophesied Future What does the Bible teach about Africa and its future? Did the early Church reach Africa? Will God call all the Africans?
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?
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.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? Who clearly endorsed Sunday? What relevance is the first or the “eighth” day? A related sermon is also available: Sunday: First and Eighth Day?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Why Should American Catholics Should Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Pope Francis and Mark Zuckerberg lay out their global visions

Friday, February 17th, 2017

 
Mark Zuckerberg and Pope Francis

COGwriter

Zenit, a pro-Vatican news agency, reported the following:

Pope: ‘Time Is Running Out, We Must Act’

February 17, 2017

Time is running out to confront this ecological crisis. We must act. I appeal for Creation to be defended..

And remember, no people are ‘criminal,’ nor religion, ‘terrorists.’ But there are people out there who are fundamentalists…

Pope Francis made these points in his message to the participants of a national meeting of popular movements in Modesto, California. …

Acknowledging their commitment to fight for social justice, to defend Earth and stand alongside migrants, Francis noted he reaffirms their choice and offered, in this regard, two reflections.

First, he said, “the ecological crisis is real,” noting climate change is a real scientific phenomenon and cannot be ignored. …

“No people is criminal and no religion is terrorist,” he said, adding, “Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist.”

They do not exist, he underscoring, also noting that no people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent.

“There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions— with intolerant generalizations, they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia.” https://zenit.org/articles/pope-time-is-running-out-we-must-act/

Pope Francis continues to push his twisted ecumenical and Babylonian (cf. Revelation 17 & 18) agenda.

Of course there are Muslim terrorists, despite what Pope Francis stated.

Islam encourages war, deceit, and terrorism. Notice something from the Islamic State’s publication Dabiq:

Jihād in this era is an obligation upon each and every Muslim as numerous lands of the Muslims have been usurped by the kuffār and numerous parties of apostasy have arisen therein. Until all these lands are retaken, cleansed of apostates, and ruled by the Sharī’ah, the obligation does not drop. … Allah c said, {And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows} [Al-Anfāl: 60].(The Murtadd Brotherhood. Dabiq, issue 14, Islamic year 1437–October 2016, p. 36)

‘Jihad’ supposedly means ‘holy war.’

Yes, the Islamic State is extreme. However, so is the Qur’an–here are some verses from it:

003.151
YUSUFALI: Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: their abode will be the Fire: And evil is the home of the wrong-doers!
PICKTHAL: We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve because they ascribe unto Allah partners, for which no warrant hath been revealed. Their habitation is the Fire, and hapless the abode of the wrong-doers.
SHAKIR: We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they set up with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the fire, and evil is the abode of the unjust. (The Qur’an Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 3: AL-E-IMRAN (THE FAMILY OF ‘IMRAN, THE HOUSE OF ‘IMRAN). Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. retrieved from http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/003-qmt.php#003.151 12/04/15)

008.012
YUSUFALI: Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”
PICKTHAL: When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger.
SHAKIR: When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them. (The Qur’an Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 8: AL-ANFAL (SPOILS OF WAR, BOOTY). Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. retrieved from http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/008-qmt.php#008.012 12/04/15)

033.026
YUSUFALI: And Allah turned back the Unbelievers for (all) their fury: no advantage did they gain; and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is full of Strength, able to enforce His Will.
PICKTHAL: And Allah repulsed the disbelievers in their wrath; they gained no good. Allah averted their attack from the believers. Allah is ever Strong, Mighty.
SHAKIR: And Allah turned back the unbelievers in their rage; they did not obtain any advantage, and Allah sufficed the believers in fighting; and Allah is Strong, Mighty.

033.026
YUSUFALI: And those of the People of the Book who aided them – Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts. (So that) some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners.
PICKTHAL: And He brought those of the People of the Scripture who supported them down from their strongholds, and cast panic into their hearts. Some ye slew, and ye made captive some.
SHAKIR: And He drove down those of the followers of the Book who backed them from their fortresses and He cast awe into their hearts; some you killed and you took captive another part. (The Qur’an Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 33: AL-AHZAB (THE CLANS, THE COALITION,THE COMBINED FORCES). Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. retrieved from http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/033-qmt.php#033.060 12/04/15)

Consider also the following from the Qur’an:

033.060
YUSUFALI: Truly, if the Hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who stir up sedition in the City, desist not, We shall certainly stir thee up against them: Then will they not be able to stay in it as thy neighbours for any length of time:
PICKTHAL: If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbours in it but a little while.
SHAKIR: If the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease and the agitators in the city do not desist, We shall most certainly set you over them, then they shall not be your neighbors in it but for a little while;

033.061
YUSUFALI: They shall have a curse on them: whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain (without mercy).
PICKTHAL: Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.
SHAKIR: Cursed: wherever they are found they shall be seized and murdered, a (horrible) murdering. (The Qur’an Translations of the Qur’an, Surah 33: AL-AHZAB (THE CLANS, THE COALITION,THE COMBINED FORCES). University of Southern California. Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. retrieved from http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/quran/verses/033-qmt.php#033.060 12/04/15)

The above seems to suggest that you act like ordinary neighbors for a time and then react against them.

Notice the following Islamic teachings related to deceit and terror from the Bukhari (other accepted Islamic writings):

Bukhari 3,49,857 Muhammad said, “A man who brings peace to the people by making up good words or by saying nice things, though untrue, does not lie.”

Bukhari 4,52,267 Muhammad cried out, “Jihad is deceit.”

Bukhari 5,59,369 Bin Maslama volunteered to kill an enemy for Muhammad, then said, “Give me permission to deceive him with lies so that my plot will succeed.” Muhammad replied, “You may speak falsely to him.”

Bukhari 8,78,618 Abu Bakr, the prophet Muhammad’s closest friend and adviser and first convert to Islam, said, “If I make a pledge and later discover a more worthy pledge, then I will take the better action and make amends for my earlier promise.” (As published in Boone P. The Muslim principle that makes nuke deal suicide. World News Daily, August 5, 2015. http://www.wnd.com/2015/08/the-muslim-principle-that-makes-nuke-deal-suicide/#SVDge7POtwWRlxHB.99)

Bukhari 4,52:220, Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Book 52: Fighting for the Cause of Allah (Jihaad). University of Southern California. Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement. retrieved from http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/052-sbt.php#004.052.220 12/04/15)

Murder and bearing false witness are wrong and in violation of the Ten Commandments (see also The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil).

Islam encourages terrorism, and there are Islamic terrorists. Yet, Pope Francis is publicly denying this reality. The Bible warns:

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. (Revelation 13:11)

Pope Francis’ words denying Islamic terrorists, etc. are the words of a dragon.

Furthermore, while there are no true Christian terrorists, there are terrorists who call themselves Christian. From the Edict Against Heretics from Emperor Constantine to the decree of the death penalty against those holding to fundamental Christian doctrines by Emperor Theodosius a few decades later to the Inquisition and other persecutions, the Church of Rome has often been a terrorist organization.

The fact that Pope Francis complained about those who hold “fundamentalist” views shows that he is setting people up to act against those who stand for the original biblical faith. Yet, the Bible, even the Roman Catholic versions, teach the opposite:

3…  contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. (Jude 3, Douay-Rheims)

The faith once for all delivered to the saints would seem to be considered “fundamentalist” by the pontiff, who is glossing over terrorism and pointing against fundamentalist views. His telling people to “act” suggests that they rise up some day against those with “fundamentalist” Christian views.

Pope Francis does what he does to promote his false Laudato Si ‘gospel’ as well as the United Nation’s ‘New Universal Agenda, which he has pushed for and endorsed.

Pope Francis is not the only globalist.

Notice the following related to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg:

February 17, 2017

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reframing his platform — at times a cesspit of political outrage — for the Trump era.

In a long letter on his Facebook page Thursday, Zuckerberg lamented the rise of isolationism and the backlash against globalization. When Facebook first launched in 2004, supporting a more connected, global community was not controversial, he wrote.

“Yet now, across the world there are people left behind by globalization, and movements for withdrawing from global connection,” wrote Zuckerberg. “There are questions about whether we can make a global community that works for everyone, and whether the path ahead is to connect more or reverse course.” http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/mark-zuckerberg-responds-rise-trumpism-n722291

February 17, 2017

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, wrote in a 5,800-word manifesto his personal vision of recreating the world in his image – an image that includes a true “global community that works for all of us,” he said, in an interview with the Associated Press. …

His summary?

More of the same: More thinking of the global good; less thinking of the individual.

More ‘new world order’ type thinking; less sovereignty and independence.

“I hope we have the focus to take the long view and build the new social infrastructure to create the world we want for generations to come,” Zuckerberg wrote. http://www.wnd.com/2017/02/facebooks-zuckerberg-lobbies-for-new-world-order/#lISweC3Dz0EqVWWd.99

Like Pope Francis, Mark Zuckerberg is pushing a false gospel.

A gospel where one does not repent towards God and embrace “the faith once delivered to the saints.”

Instead, he and Pope Francis are promoting a worldly view that without repentance, but through international cooperation of unconverted leaders, the world will be able to improve itself and solve its problems.

The Bible says that will not work.

Twice the Bible warns:

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25)

Instead of humans fixing the world’s problems, Jesus warned:

21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:21-22)

As far as the “ecological crisis” that Pope Francis referred to, the Bible shows that it will get much worse:

8 Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9)

However, the above prophecy is for several years into the future–we are not too near that yet.

But with international efforts to push towards globalism, often now without the USA, the world will create something claimed to fulfill the vision of Pope Francis and Mark Zuckerberg, yet it will not bring lasting peace–it will end in death and destruction.

The Bible is clear that new world will then come. But that will be the millennial Kingdom of God, not the Babylonian world view that Pope Francis and Mark Zuckerberg now seem to be promoting.

Some items of interest may include the following:

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.
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.
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? Two related videos include UN’s ‘New Universal Agenda’ is a False Gospel! and United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical is titled ‘Laudato Si.’ In it, he goes over his views related to environmental, economic, social, moral, agricultural, and spiritual issues. He advocates international cooperation to solve various problems he believes are affecting humanity. Is that Pope’s agenda the solution? What about the Kingdom of God? does the Bible teach? Two related articles include Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? and Laudato Si: A call for a one-world government?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: Real Christian Repentance.
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.e the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2026 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2017, 2018, or 2019? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2016 o 2017? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter video is: Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be Barack Obama and the State of the Apocalypse.
Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

A young woman’s body keeps many unfaithful

Friday, February 17th, 2017


Bernadette Soubirous (Rabanus Flavus)

COGwriter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His book also teaches:

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

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

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

Eastern Signs and Faiths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some items of related interest may include:

Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers?
Ashley Madison: Your Sins Will Find You Out A website promoting ‘secret’ affairs (adultery and fornication) was hacked. This video discusses some of the Bible’s perspectives on that.
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future? Here are links to a two-part sermon series: What are Some of the Parts of Satan’s Plan? and Satan’s Plan is More Dramatic than Many Realize.
The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben: France in Prophecy? What is the origin of this in France? What is prophesied to happen to them? A two-part sermon related to history and prophecy is available online: The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Reuben and France and Prophecy.
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! is a highly documented book by Bob Thiel for those interested in the real truth about Fatima and how future apparitions may affect the future. In addition to the print version, there is a Kindle version of Fatima Shock! which you can acquire in seconds.
Fatima Shock! YouTube Dr. Thiel highlights a few points of why no one would support Fatima, etc. as discussed in the documented book Fatima Shock!
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? 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.
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?

Vatican still has not taken a position on Medjugorje?

Thursday, February 16th, 2017


Medjugorje Icon at Podbrdo, place of apparition (Beemwej)

COGWriter

It has been over three years since Vatican Radio announced that a special commission had completed its report on Medjugorje:

January 18, 2014

Commission to submit study on Medjugorje

(Vatican Radio) The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, confirmed on Saturday that the international commission investigating the events in Medjugorje held its last meeting on 17 January. The commission, created by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is presided by Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

The commission has reportedly completed its work and will submit the outcomes of its study to the Congregation. http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/01/18/commission_to_submit_study_on_medjugorje/en1-765219

Notice also:

“Still no papal decision: The Provincial of the Franciscan Order in Hercegovina denies that Pope Francis has told him to pray that he has made the right decision on Medjugorje, and expresses surprise that an American priest residing in Medjugorje gave this impression on June 25.” http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/news-archive-2014/

Rest assured that no media outlets have got their hands on the ‘Ruini Dossier’, the commission have successfully locked the dossier concluded by Cardinal Ruini as top secret.

Our sources inform us that although the commission was formed by a team of 20, they formed sub-committees, one to present a positive argument and one to present a negative argument, similar to the process of canonisation of a saint where there are advocates of sanctity, and the ‘devils advocate’.

A lot of the ‘leaks’ coming through are from those connected within these ‘sub-committees’ sometimes giving a biased stance.

The commission report itself is not a decision. The decision will be made by Pope Francis according to the recommendation of Cardinal Muller, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, after reviewing the findings of the commission.

Sources in touch with the Vatican and the commission have told us the commission have reviewed positives and negatives and a ‘severe but positive’ pronouncement has been recommended to Pope Francis. Positive meaning the Vatican recognises the good coming from Medjugorje and will allow pilgrimages to continue, but severe because they wish to calm down any hype connected with the phenomena and keep the focus on prayer and not the visionaries or apparitions. We reiterate here that Pope Francis may not wish to even go ahead with this recommendation and decide something of his own accord.

However if His Holiness does go ahead then possibly both sides of the argument are not going to be fully satisfied and both sides will be in some way slightly confronted, as the commission on the one hand have found no evidence of the visionaries faking the apparitions, recognise countless conversions and have informed Pope Francis they are ‘open to the possibility the Blessed Virgin is appearing’ in a manner that they recognise as unprecedented in Church History, but equally they are pointing out various ‘uncertainties’ such as the visionaries running hotels and the period of apparitions still ongoing makes them de facto inconclusive. These uncertainties have lead them to suggest protective restrictions to be made for the visionaries and the public, and better spiritual guidance for the visionaries. http://www.nationalmedjugorjemovement.com/news/vatican-reccomends-severe-but-positive-decision-to-pope-francis/

Here is something from last Fall:

MEDJUGORJE, Bosnia-Herzegovina – As a journalist covering the Vatican, I’ve obviously been aware for a long time of the debate that swirls around Medjugorje, the small town in Bosnia-Herzegovina where revelations of the Virgin Mary allegedly have been taking place since 1981.

I know that some take the phenomenon seriously, others are skeptical, and many are waiting for Rome to declare officially one way or the other.

Yet until last week, I’d never had the chance to see the place with my own eyes.

I went to Medjugorje with my parents, one of whom is a deep believer in the apparitions, the other not so much. On the day of our arrival, we went to Saint James church, knowing the Franciscans running the place were praying the Rosary before Mass, and that there’d be Eucharistic adoration after.

I was personally shocked to see the long lines for confession, despite there being 35 confessionals in seven different languages. I didn’t stop to count, but there must have been some 300 people in line at least. …

In the last five decades, the Church has overruled several hundreds of alleged private revelations.

As long as the apparitions are ongoing, the Vatican’s preferred course is to defer to the local bishop. The last two bishops of Mostar-Duvno, the diocese to which Medjugorje belongs, have said clearly that nothing supernatural is happening here.

When approached by Crux for comment, Bishop Ratko Perić politely but forcefully refused, answering simply that “there’s no interview about Medjugorje, which is in the hands of the Holy See.”

Yet he’s spoken and written about it before, discouraging pilgrims from visiting the site. In 2009 for instance, he wrote: “Through the ‘seers’, followed whole floods of lies, contradictions, promises, speed-ups, slowdowns, falsehoods, uncertainties.”

In that document the bishop also highlights various contradictions between the seers’ own accounts, and inconsistencies between the messages when studied chronologically. …

In 2010, under Benedict, the Vatican set up a commission to study the Medjugorje question. Five years later, on June 6, 2015, Pope Francis told reporters that “we’ve reached the point of making a decision and then they will say.” But over a year later, nothing has been said. https://cruxnow.com/global-church/2016/09/22/debate-rages-medjugorje-maybe-place-prayer-enough/

Here is more recent news:

February 13, 2017

Vatican says Bishop Henryk Hoser will not be deciding on the merits of reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary

Pope Francis is sending a bishop to a Medjugorje, Bosnia, shrine to gain “deeper knowledge” of the pastoral needs of millions of Catholics drawn there by reports of apparitions of the Virgin Mary.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Saturday Polish Bishop Henryk Hoser’s mission doesn’t involve deciding the merits of the reported apparitions. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/02/13/pope-francis-sending-bishop-to-medjugorje/

February 9, 2017

ROME- Pope Francis said that clerical sexual abuse is the work of the devil, there’s corruption in the Vatican, warned against new religious orders with a “restorationist” mentality, and even appeared to take a gentle shot at reputed Marian apparitions such as Medjugorje, saying the real Madonna is not “the head of a post office that every day sends a different letter.”

These are only a handful of the points Pope Francis touched on during a meeting with 140 Superiors General of male religious orders and congregations last November, in an informal, behind-closed doors exchange.

The transcript of the encounter was published on Friday by the Jesuit-run magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, which is celebrating its issue number 4,000. …

“But the real Madonna! Not the Madonna at the head of a post office that every day sends a different letter, saying: ‘My children, do this and then the next day do that.’ No, not that Madonna. The real Madonna is the one who generates Jesus in our hearts, a Mother.”

The superstar Virgin Mary, who seeks the limelight, the pope insisted, “is not Catholic.”

Though he didn’t give examples as to what he was referring to, whenever Francis brings up the image of the Virgin as a “postmistress,” many think of Medjugorje, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where some believe she’s been appearing daily since 1981. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2017/02/09/pope-denounces-restorationist-orders-takes-shot-medjugorje/

So, it appears that Pope Francis probably does NOT accept the apparition at Medjugorje, but has decided to take some actions related to it.

For those unfamiliar with Medjugorje, it is a town located in the Herzegovina region of western Bosnia and Herzegovina where false messages and claimed miracles related to an alleged ‘Marian apparition.’ ‘She’ is often referred to as “Our Lady of Medjugorje” and “Our Lady Queen of Peace” by those who believe that she has been appearing since 24 June 1981 to six children in Medjugorje. This apparition allegedly has been giving daily messages to three or so people ever since.

While the findings of commission report have not been released, many Catholics correctly believe this apparition is false and not from Jesus’ mother Mary. Because of the ‘daily message’ aspects of it, many believe that Pope Francis was also condemning Medjugorje when he made the following statement on November 14, 2013:

Curiosity impels us to want to feel that the Lord is here or rather there, or leads us to say: “But I know a visionary, who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady.” But look, Our Lady is the Mother of everyone! And she loves all of us. She is not a postmaster, sending messages every day. http://www.catholicismusa.com/instead-of-curiosity-and-seeking-novelities-listen-to-the-breeze-of-wisdom/

We will see how this Marian-focused pontiff will deal with this–so far I have not seen him comment on the report. He seems to be content to let many followers of his church visit the location while he has it studied further.

He could embrace parts or all of Medjugorje, condemn parts or all of it, or continue to say little or nothing about it. But no matter how Pope Francis handles it, the Medjugorje apparition is false–it is demonic. But again, since Pope Francis has endorsed other demonic apparitions (Fatima and Guadalupe come to immediate mind) he might decide to endorse this false one.

Also, it is not just my view that this apparition is false. Notice the following reports, mainly from Catholic leaders, as cited on Wikipedia:

On 10 April 1991, the Yugoslav Episcopal Conference issued at Zadar a declaration that states: “It cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations.” (Biskupije Mostar-Duvno Trebinje-Mrkan”. Cbismo.com. 2009-06-06. Retrieved 2013-04-01)

On 2 October 1997, Bishop Ratko Perić of the diocese of Mostar-Duvno, in which Medjugorje is situated, wrote: “On the basis of the serious study of the case by 30 of our ‘studiosi’, on my episcopal experience of five years in the Diocese, on the scandalous disobedience that surrounds the phenomenon, on the lies that are at times put into the mouth of the ‘Madonna’, on the unusual repetition of “messages” of over 16 years, on the strange way that the ‘spiritual directors’ of the so-called ‘visionaries’ accompany them through the world making propaganda of them, on the practice that the ‘Madonna’ appears at the ‘fiat’ of the ‘visionaries’, my conviction and position is not only non constat de supernaturalitate [the supernaturality is not proven] but also the other formula constat de non supernaturalitate [the non-supernaturality is proven] of the apparitions or revelations of Medjugorje.” (Ratko Perić, Bishop of Mostar (2 October 1997). “Letter to Thierry Boutet, editor of Famille Chrétienne“. Retrieved 2 December 2013)

On 21 October 2013, the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States communicated, on behalf of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that, in the light of the 1991 Zadar declaration about the Medjugorje events, Catholics, whether clergy or laypeople, “are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such ‘apparitions’ would be taken for granted” (http://medjugorjedocuments.blogspot.com/2013/11/2013-cdf-twice-to-us-bishops-on.html)

Here is a report claiming that Pope Francis has blessed a Medjugorje medal:

When Alicia Italiani from Erie, PA, wrote to Pope Francis to ask if her devotion to the Medjugorje message was was acceptable to the Church, the response was different from what she had expected. She received a Medjugorje medal, and a note that the Pontiff had personally blessed it.

The envelope Alicia Italiani received from the Pope, and its contents: The medal to the right has the word Medjugorje inscribed, and has been for sale in Medjugorje for years

Pope Francis is in agreement with the Medjugorje message, even if he is still to raise his voice on the authenticity of the apparitions. In early May the Pope personally blessed a Medjugorje medal and had it sent to an American woman who had asked him if following the Medjugorje message was okay with the Catholic Church.

“Several months ago, I wrote a letter to Pope Francis asking his blessing and prayer for my family and for myself. I have a devotion to Our Lady of Medugorje, and I understand that whether the alleged apparitions in Medugorje are approved or not, that prayer and fasting and any devotion to the Blessed Mother is good and pleasing to God. But I still felt like I needed to know if it was OK to follow those particular messages (just because there’s been so much confusion regarding the devotion within the Church)” Alicia Italiani from Erie, PA, tells the newsletter The Spirit of Medjugorje.

“On May 6, I received a response back. The response was from the Papal Nuncio to the United States from Pope Francis. Included in the envelope were a medal from Medugorje, a medal of St. Michael the Archangel and two holy cards – one with a picture of Pope Francis and the other a picture of St. Francis with his prayer for peace. The note said that the medals were blessed by Pope Francis! I felt so comforted and I just wanted to share the story” Alicia Italiani tells.

With some believing it to happen this year, Pope Francis is expected to issue a verdict on Medjugorje at some point. In January an international Vatican Commission ended four years of investigations by passing on its final report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Both its contents, the further procedure, and the time-table have remained under lock. http://ourladyprays.com/pope-francis-blessed-medjugorje-medal/

I have seen no statement in the past year from Pope Francis endorsing Medjugorje, despite the fact that he is a Marian-focused pontiff, and may have ‘blessed’ a medal.

Notice something I reported about Medjugorje and related matters (such as the alleged Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal) in 2012:

What About the Healings?

Are claimed healings associated with Fatima proof that the messages were from God? There are several reasons to consider that they are not proof.

The first is that there have been hundreds of claimed healings from those going to discredited sites like Medjugorje. According to Msgr. Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar, the “seers” claimed messages from the “Marian” apparition that were clearly false and the facts he laid out prove this…

Ecumenical Private Revelations and Medjugorje

Some Fatima supporters are afraid that “a politically correct and ‘ecumenical’ revisionist ‘interpretation’ of the Message of Fatima” is being adopted by certain members of the Catholic clergy.

Some also believe that the messages of Medjugorje are “heresy after heresy” and encourage ecumenism that many Fatimists oppose.

The “Lady” in Medjugorje allegedly said:

All religions are equal before God…In God there are no divisions or religions; it is you in the world that created divisions…God directs all denominations as a king directs his subjects…It is you who are divided on the earth. The Muslims and the Orthodox, like the Catholics, are equal before my Son and before me, for you are all my children. (Ferrara C. Setting the Record Straight. The Fatima Crusader, 98, Spring 2011, pp. 19-20)

Since the Fatimists can (correctly) denounce Medjugorje as heresy because of some of the messages, all should realize that the same is true with many of the messages of Fatima.

Msgr. Pavao Zanic, the former Bishop of Mostar (which includes Medjugorje), in 1990 wrote:

For even a short description of the falsehoods about Medjugorje we would need 200 pages… Presbitero Rodriguez Teofilo…asked me for the reasons why I do not believe in the “apparitions”… I told him about the case of the ex-Franciscan priest Ivica Vego. Due to his disobedience, by an order of the Holy Father the Pope, he was thrown out of his Franciscan religious order OFM by his General, dispensed from his vows and suspended “a divinis.” He did not obey this order and he continued to celebrate Mass, distribute the sacraments and pass the time with his mistress. It is unpleasant to write about this, yet it is necessary in order to see who Our Lady is speaking of. According to the diary of Vicka and the statements of the “seers,” Our Lady mentioned 13 times that he is innocent and that the bishop is wrong. When his mistress, sister Leopolda, a nun, became pregnant, both of them left Medjugorje and the religious life and began to live together near Medjugorje where their child was born. Now they have two children. His prayerbook is still sold in Medjugorje and beyond in hundreds of thousands of copies.

Yet, many still believe in Medjugorje.

In 1985, Cardinal Ratzinger “banned pilgrimages to the site. But this has been widely ignored. Instead the seers have grown wealthy as a result of their claims.”

The banning was ignored because many believe that because some of the messages seem fine (the devil is subtle enough not to make all the messages clearly false), some are curious, and others believe that various claimed healings at Medjugorje are proof that it is valid anyway. But obviously Mary of the Bible would not have made false statements justifying a fornicating priest nor would she have endorsed all religions as equal as was claimed.

Notice that in 1985, Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, also condemned Medjugorje.

Yet, because of signs, personal feelings, and allegedly healings, many within Roman Catholicism as well as some without (someone lent me a book of Medjugorje a few months ago written by a Protestant who became convinced the messages are genuinely from Mary), consider these signs to be miraculous proof that Mary is present in Medjugorje and is now speaking to us. Despite the fact that parts of what is said are clearly blasphemous and against scripture.

Why should anyone care about this?

Although most non-Catholics do not think that reports of apparitions can affect them, if they live long enough this century, they will find that this is not the case. Claimed Marian apparitions are a much bigger deal than people realize and seems to tie in with a variety of prophecies throughout the Bible (e.g. Isaiah 47, Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 17).

Furthermore, did you know that apparitions that some believe to be Mary were partially responsible for how the Greco-Roman churches gained influence over the Church of God in Asia Minor in the third century and Europe in the Middle Ages? Did you know that basically because of apparitions in Mexico and Russia that nearly all of Latin America became “Catholic” and Russia became accepting of icons? Did you know that Satan has many in Asia and elsewhere looking to female apparitions and apparently has had his seers prophesy that one or more future “Marian” apparitions will help the Beast/Great Monarch rise up?

Jesus warned that nearly everyone would be deceived in the end (Matthew 24:24) and apparitions seem likely to be part of why.

Partially what Medjugorje itself shows is that despite facts, truth, and warnings, people often want to believe what they think they see as opposed to the truth. This will become a bigger problem later as well.

The Bible specifically warns of a “virgin” that uses enchantments who is also called the Lady of Kingdoms. Notice the following as shown in a Catholic version of the Bible:

1 Come down, sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne for the daughter of the Chaldeans, for thou shalt no more be called delicate and tender…4 Our redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel. 5 Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called the lady of kingdoms. 6 I was angry with my people, I have polluted my inheritance, and have given them into thy bend: thou hast shown no mercy to them: upon the ancient thou hast laid thy yoke exceeding heavy.

7 And thou hast said: I shall be a lady forever: thou hast not laid these things to thy heart, neither hast thou remembered thy latter end.

8 And now hear these things, thou that art delicate, and dwellest confidently, that sayest in thy heart: I am, and there is none else besides me: I shall not sit as a widow, and I shall not know barrenness.

9 These two things shall come upon thee suddenly in one day, barrenness and widowhood. All things are come upon thee, because of the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great hardness of thy enchanters. 10 And thou best trusted in thy wickedness, and hast said: There is none that seeth me. Thy wisdom, and thy knowledge, this hath deceived thee. And thou best said in thy heart: I am, and besides me there is no other. 11 Evil shall come upon thee, and then shalt not know the rising thereof: and calamity shall fall violently upon thee, which thou canst not keep off: misery shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know. 12 Stand now with thy enchanters, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, in which thou hast laboured from thy youth, if so be it may profit thee any thing, or if thou mayst become stronger. 13 Thou hast failed in the multitude or thy counsels: let now the astrologers stand and save thee, they that gazed at the stars, and counted the months, that from them they might tell the things that shall come to thee. (Isaiah 47:1, 4-7, 11-13, DRB)

In the New Testament, notice what the Apostle Paul warned:

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

Deception must be clever to work, and multitudes have already been deceived by signs and wonders coming from statues and alleged apparitions of Mary. The “interfaith movement” will like employ “Mary” as a tool for improper unity (see Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction?).

As far as the Bible goes, all should realize that there is nothing in the Bible, or even in early church writings, that supports the view that God wanted to use weeping statues, apparitions, etc. of Mary. Sadly, however, multiple millions are not willing to truly accept that–and more will be deceived in the future.

For more information, please check out the following:

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?
The ‘Lady’ of Guadalupe: Any Future Ramifications? It is claimed that a female apparition appeared near Mexico City on December 12, 1531. How has it affected the world? What might it suggest about the future? A video of related interest is titled: The ‘Lady of Guadalupe’ and Prophecy.
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future? Here is a link to a related video: Satan’s Plan A Brief Introduction.
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?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Feast of the Immaculate Conception? Did early Christians teach Mary had an immaculate conception and led a sinless life?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?
Do you understand the ramifications of the ‘Lady of Guadalupe’? It is claimed that a female apparition appeared near Mexico City on December 12, 1531. How has it affected the world? What might it suggest about the future?
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did Catholic and Orthodox “saints” endorse or condemn idols and icons for Christians?
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.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries 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.

Valentine’s Day: Its real origins

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

COGwriter

If you are a Christian, should you celebrate February 14th as Valentine’s Day?

The Apostle John was inspired to write:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17, NKJV)

Valentine’s Day is a worldly holiday, essentially built upon lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It will pass away, it is not a true Christian holiday. The real origin of Valentine’s Day is outside the Bible and early Christian literature.

Christians who may be tempted to compromise need to ask themselves if the origins of Valentine’s Day are biblical or pagan.

It is not too hard to figure that out.

Even the old World Book Encyclopedia (Valentine’s Day. Volume 19. 1966, pp.205-206) states,

…the customs of the day have nothing to do with the lives of the saints. They probably come from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia which took place every February 15. The festival honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, the god of nature…The Romans celebrated their feast of Lupercalia as a lovers’ festival for young people. Young men and women chose partners for the festival by drawing names from a box…After the spread of Christianity, churchmen tried to give Christian meaning to the pagan festival. In 496, Pope Gelasius changed the Lupercalia festival of February 15 to Saint Valentine’s Day February 14. But the sentimental meaning of the old festival has remained to the present time. Historians disagree about the identity of St. Valentine”.

Furthermore it also states,

LUPERCALIA…was celebrated on February 15 in honor of Faunus, a rural Italian god. Faunus was later identified with Pan, the god of herds and fertility…Priests…ran around striking all the women the met (Lupercalia. Volume 12. 1966, p.456).

The pagan being named Cupid (a supposed son of Venus) was also involved. According to pagan mythology, anyone being hit by Cupid’s arrow falls in love with the first person he/she sees. One source was bold enough to state,

The church replaced elements of various love-gods (Juno Februata, Eros, Cupid, Kama, Priapus) with St. Valentine, an imaginary Christian. A number of contradictory biographies were created for him…By taking over some of the features of the Pagan gods and goddesses, St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers…St. Valentine’s Day can be traced back to Lupercalia, the Roman “festival of sexual license” (ST. VALENTINE AND VALENTINE’S DAY, http://www.religioustolerance.org/valentine1.htm, February 6, 2004).

Notice what the Roman Catholics teach,

The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year (The Origins of St. Valentine’s Day. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/ValentinesDay/, January 31, 2004).

It is of interest to note that the same Catholic source states,

The Catholic Church no longer officially honors St. Valentine, but the holiday has both Roman and Catholic roots.

Does Valentine’s Day sound like a holy festival of love or a pagan holiday of lust?

Notice also:

The Feast of Lubercus The first interpretation has this celebration originating as a pagan tradition in the third century. During this time hordes of hungry wolves roamed outside of Rome where shepherds kept their flocks. The God Lupercus, was said to watch over the shepherds and their flocks and keep them from the wolves. Every February the Romans celebrated a feast called Lupercalia to honor Lupercus so that no harm would come to the shepherds and their flocks. Also during Lupercalia, but in honor of the goddess Juno Februata, the names of young women were put into a box and names were drawn by lot. The boys and girls who were matched would be considered partners for the year, which began in March. This celebration continued long after wolves were a problem to Rome. — St. Valentine’s Day As Christianity became prevalent, priests attempted to replace old heathen practices. To Christianize the ancient pagan celebration of the Feast of Lubercus, the church officials changed the name to St. Valentine’s Day. To give the celebration further meaning and eliminate pagan traditions, priests substituted the drawing of Saints names for the names of the girls. On St. Valentine’s Day the priest placed saint’s names into an urn or box. The young people then drew a name from the container. In the following year, the youth was supposed to emulate the life of the saint whose name he had drawn. By the fourteenth century they reverted back to the use of girl’s names. In the sixteenth century they once again tried to have saintly valentines but it was as unsuccessful as the first attempt. While it can’t be proved historically, there were seven men named Valentine who were honored with feasts on February 14th. Of these men, two stories link incidents that could have given our present day meaning to St. Valentine’s Day…—-February 14th – The Day the Birds Began to Mate The Europeans also believed that on February 14th the birds began to choose their mates. In fact Chaucer, in his “Parlement of Foules,” wrote: “For this was Seynt Valentine’s Day when every foul cometh ther to choose his mate”…The tradition of birds choosing their mates on St. Valentine’s Day led to the idea that boys and girls would do the same. Now when a youth drew a girl’s name, he wore it on his sleeve, and attended and protected her during the following year. This made the girl his valentine and they exchanged love tokens throughout the year. Later this was changed to only men giving love tokens to females, usually without names but signed “with St. Valentine’s Love.” Later, in France, both sexes drew from the valentine box. A booked called Travels in England, written in 1698, gives an account of the way it was done: On St. Valentine’s Eve an equal number of Maids and Bachelors get together, each writes their true or some feigned name upon separate billets, which they roll up and draw by way of lots, the Maids taking the Men’s billets, and the Men the Maids’; so that each of the young Men lights upon a Girl that he calls his Valentine, and each of the Girls upon a young Man which she calls hers. By this means each has two Valentines–but the Man sticks faster to the Valentine that is fallen to him than to the Valentine to whom he is fallen. Fortune having thus divided the company into so many couples, the valentines give balls and treats to their mistresses, wear their billets several days upon their bosoms or sleeves, and this little sport ofen ends in Love. This ceremony is practised differently in different Countries, and according to the freedom or severity of Madame Valentine. This is another kind of Valentine, which is the first young Man or Woman chance throws in your way in the street, or elsewhere . . . (The Origins of Valentine’s Day. http://www.techdirect.com/valentine/origin.html, January 31, 2004).

Anyway, the preceding article mentions those three as the possible origins of Valentine’s day. Actually all three of those are to some degree correct (and World Book Online, in its article Valentine’s Day–which I checked on February 6, 2004–says that some believe that all three played a role in the origins)–Valentine’s day was a pagan holiday that the Catholic Church modified and that most Protestants embrace, which is probably why some Europeans also declared that to be the day the birds mated (birds mate pretty much every day in some part of Europe, so its seems disingenuous to coincidentally declare it on February 14).

But the most likely beginning of the “holiday” seems to have to do with the beginning of the Roman Empire, and probably is prior to the third century:

Archaeologists say they have unearthed Lupercale-the sacred cave where, according to legend, a she-wolf nursed the twin founders of Rome and where the city itself was born.

The long-lost underground chamber was found beneath the remains of Emperor Augustus’ palace on the Palatine, a 230-foot-tall (70-meter-tall) hill in the center of the city…

According to myth, Lupercale is where a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the war god Mars and mortal priestess Rhea Silvia, who had been abandoned in a cradle on the bank of the Tiber River…

Every year on February 15 ancient priests killed a dog and two goats and smeared the foreheads of two boys from noble families with the sacrificial blood as part of the Lupercalia celebration. (Valsecchi, Maria Cristina. Sacred Cave of Rome’s Founders Discovered, Archaeologists Say. National Geographic News. January 26, 2007. January 26, 2007. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070126-rome-palatine.html)

Of course, the story of Romulus and Remus is really the fable about the beginning of the Roman Empire–now that Europe is once again trying to revive this empire, I am sure that its leaders are pleased to have located “the sacred cave”.

Is Valentine’s Day A Holiday in Honor of “The Queen of Heaven”?

Another source adds,

The roots of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to pagan festivals of third century Rome. February 14th was set aside as a day to honor the goddess Juno, who was the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses and was the goddess of women and marriage. This day was also the eve of the Feast of Lupercalia. This festival was in honor of the god Lubercus (The History of Valentine’s. http://www.christinescyberuniverse.com/VDay/VdayHistory.html, January 31, 2004).

And who was Juno?

JUNO was the queen of heaven and wife of Jupiter (Zeus)…The ancient Greeks called her HERA (Juno. World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 11. 1966, pp.162-163).

A holiday for the queen of heaven!

What does God say about that?

…the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. Do they provoke Me to anger?” says the LORD. “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?” (Jeremiah 7:18-20, NKJV)

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: ‘You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, “We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!’ “Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: ‘Behold, I have sworn by My great name,’ says the LORD, ‘that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “The Lord GOD lives.”‘Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them” (Jeremiah 44:25-28, NKJV).

In other words, God was not happy that people wanted to worship the queen of heaven and He would punish them for it.

Another source mentioned,

The Feast of Lupercalia was celebrated in honor of the God Lupercus, who was said to watch over shepherds and their flocks and kept them safe, since during this time hordes of hungry wolves roamed outside Rome. The festival was celebrated on February 15 at the cave of the Lupercal on the Palatine Hill, where the legendary founders of Rome, the twins Romulus and Remus, were supposed to have been nursed by a wolf. However, other scholars, while not dismissing the celebration of Lupercalia, prefer to explain the celebration which took place in the middle of February as a celebration to the Goddess Juno Februato. It is to their thinking linked to Valentine’s Day. While all scholars agree to the time when the practice of men drawing the names of women took place, there do exist slight differences in whose honor the celebrations took place. As time marched on, Christianity steadily gained converts and it became an officially supported religion in the Roman state under Constantine I, who ruled as emperor from AD 324 to 337. All pagan cults were prohibited in AD 392 by an edict of emperor Theodosius I. At this time, priests attempted to replace old heathen practices. The ancient pagan celebration of the Feast of Lubercus was renamed St. Valentine’s Day . The priests replaced the practice of having men draw names of girls with having young people draw names of saints. The youths were supposed to emulate the life of the saint whose name they had drawn. The practice of this custom was unsuccessful at first and reverted back to the use of having men draw names of girls (The Myth of the Origin of Valentine’s Day. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/9300/stp.html, January 31, 2004).

No matter if Valentine’s is the Feast of Lupercus/Lubercus or Queen of Heaven Juno or both (which it probably is) it is NOT listed as a Feast of the LORD (see Leviticus 23).

The modern practice of giving cards to ask/tell someone to “be my Valentine” seems to be a holdover from the ancient sexual lottery.

None who profess Christ should observe this February 14th “holiday”–it simply is not a Christian holiday. It began as a sexual lottery and still has sexual ramifications, even in the 21st century.

Modern scholars and historians realize this, shouldn’t you?

For more information, please consider studying the following:

Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today has suggested that Valentine’s Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true? There is also a YouTube titled Should Christians Observe Valentine’s Day? A more detailed sermon is available and titled Valentine’s Day, Christianity, and Islam.
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.
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Is Mardi Gras Christian? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Where did it come from? There is also a related YouTube video Mardi Gras & Carnaval: Are they for Christians?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well.
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught?
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries 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.

Valentine’s Day and the ‘Sacred Heart of Mary’

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

COGwriter

February 14th is known to many as Valentine’s Day.

The ‘heart’ is a common symbol related to Valentine’s Day, as is the pagan deity Cupid. Back in the 1800s, Alexander Hislop wrote:

In the Church of Rome a new kind of devotion has of late been largely introduced, in which the beads play an important part, and which shows what new and additional strides in the direction of the old Babylonian Paganism the Papacy every day is steadily making. I refer to the “Rosary of the Sacred Heart.” It is not very long since the worship of the “Sacred Heart” was first introduced; and now, everywhere it is the favourite worship. It was so in ancient Babylon, as is evident from the Babylonian system as it appeared in Egypt. There also a “Sacred Heart” was venerated. The “Heart” was one of the sacred symbols of Osiris when he was born again, and appeared as Harpocrates, or the infant divinity, * borne in the arms of his mother Isis.

Therefore, the fruit of the Egyptian Persea was peculiarly sacred to him, from its resemblance to the “HUMAN HEART.” Hence this infant divinity was frequently represented with a heart, or the heart-shaped fruit of the Persea, in one of his hands. The following extract, from John Bell’s criticism on the antiques in the Picture Gallery of Florence, will show that the boyish divinity had been represented elsewhere also in ancient times in the same manner. Speaking of a statue of Cupid, he says it is “a fair, full, fleshy, round boy, in fine and sportive action, tossing back a heart.” Thus the boy-god came to be regarded as the “god of the heart,” in other words, as Cupid, or the god of love. To identify this infant divinity, with his father “the mighty hunter,” he was equipped with “bow and arrows”; and in the hands of the poets, for the amusement of the profane vulgar, this sportive boy-god was celebrated as taking aim with his gold-tipped shafts at the hearts of mankind. His real character, however, as the above statement shows, and as we have seen reason already to conclude, was far higher and of a very different kind. He was the woman’s seed. Venus and her son Cupid, then, were none other than the Madonna and the child. Looking at the subject in this light, the real force and meaning of the language will appear, which Virgil puts into the mouth of Venus, when addressing the youthful Cupid:–

“My son, my strength, whose mighty power alone
Controls the thunderer on his awful throne,
To thee thy much afflicted mother flies,
And on thy succour and thy faith relies.”
.
From what we have seen already as to the power and glory of the Goddess Mother being entirely built on the divine character attributed to her Son, the reader must see how exactly this is brought out, when the Son is called “THE STRENGTH” of his Mother. As the boy-god, whose symbol was the heart, was recognised as the god of childhood, this very satisfactorily accounts for one of the peculiar customs of the Romans. Kennett tells us, in his Antiquities, that the Roman youths, in their tender years, used to wear a golden ornament suspended from their necks, called bulla, which was hollow, and heart-shaped. Barker, in his work on Cilicia, while admitting that the Roman bulla was heart-shaped, further states, that “it was usual at the birth of a child to name it after some divine personage, who was supposed to receive it under his care”; but that the “name was not retained beyond infancy, when the bulla was given up.” Who so likely to be the god under whose guardianship the Roman children were put, as the god under one or other of his many names whose express symbol they wore, and who, while he was recognised as the great and mighty war-god, who also exhibited himself in his favourite form as a little child?

The veneration of the “sacred heart” seems also to have extended to India, for there Vishnu, the Mediatorial god, in one of his forms, with the mark of the wound in his foot, in consequence of which he died, and for which such lamentation is annually made, is represented as wearing a heart suspended on his breast. It is asked, How came it that the “Heart” became the recognised symbol of the Child of the great Mother? The answer is, “The Heart” in Chaldee is “BEL”; and as, at first, after the check given to idolatry, almost all the most important elements of the Chaldean system were introduced under a veil, so under that veil they continued to be shrouded from the gaze of the uninitiated, after the first reason–the reason of fear–had long ceased to operate. Now, the worship of the “Sacred Heart” was just, under a symbol, the worship of the “Sacred Bel,” that mighty one of Babylon, who had died a martyr for idolatry; for Harpocrates, or Horus, the infant god, was regarded as Bel, born again. That this was in very deed the case, the following extract from Taylor, in one of his notes to his translation of the Orphic Hymns, will show. “While Bacchus,” says he, was “beholding himself” with admiration “in a mirror, he was miserably torn to pieces by the Titans, who, not content with this cruelty, first boiled his members in water, and afterwards roasted them in the fire; but while they were tasting his flesh thus dressed, Jupiter, excited by the steam, and perceiving the cruelty of the deed, hurled his thunder at the Titans, but committed his members to Apollo, the brother of Bacchus, that they might be properly interred. And this being performed, Dionysius [i.e., Bacchus], (whose HEART, during his laceration, was snatched away by Minerva and preserved) by a new REGENERATION, again emerged, and he being restored to his pristine life and integrity, afterwards filled up the number of the gods.” This surely shows, in a striking light, the peculiar sacredness of the heart of Bacchus; and that the regeneration of his heart has the very meaning I have attached to it–viz., the new birth or new incarnation of Nimrod or Bel. When Bel, however was born again as a child, he was, as we have seen, represented as an incarnation of the sun. Therefore, to indicate his connection with the fiery and burning sun, the “sacred heart” was frequently represented as a “heart of flame.” So the “Sacred Heart” of Rome is actually worshipped as a flaming heart, as may be seen on the rosaries devoted to that worship. Of what use, then, is it to say that the “Sacred Heart” which Rome worships is called by the name of “Jesus,” when not only is the devotion given to a material image borrowed from the worship of the Babylonian Antichrist, but when the attributes ascribed to that “Jesus” are not the attributes of the living and loving Saviour, but the genuine attributes of the ancient Moloch or Bel? (Hislop A. The Two Babylons, pp. 188-191)

One thing that Alexander Hislop failed to mention was that although the ‘sacred heart,’ Cupid, and certain other symbols associated with Valentine’s Day came from paganism, is the reason why the Church of Rome became more focused on the ‘immaculate heart of Mary’ when it did.

The basic reason was because of testimonies of various ones who claimed to see apparitions of Mary. For example, after claiming to see an apparition in Rue du Bac, Paris in 1830, the Catholic Saint Catherine Labouré claimed Mary “was conceived without sin” (Apostoli A. Fatima for Today. Ignatius Press, 2010, p. 7). (More on the apparitions like this, Lourdes, Medjugorje, and Fatima, can be found in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.) In the 19th century, there was a female apparition in France, known as the Lady of Lourdes. One of the statements she reportedly stated in 1858 was, “I am the Immaculate Conception!”

The ‘sacred heart’ of Mary is tied in with a variety of Catholic prophecies which are mainly tied in with messages that Marian apparition allegedly gave. Basically, they teach that ‘Mary’ will help turn the world into a ‘Catholic’ faith in the end time and if not, destruction will come.

The apparition known as the ‘Lady of Fatima’ allegedly made the following claim on July 13, 1917:

…the souls of poor sinners…To save them God wants to establish throughout the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people will do what I tell you, many souls will be saved…(Flynn, Ted & Flynn, Maureen, p. 136).

Now believers of the Bible should be shocked by the above as there is nothing in the Bible that hints that the above could possibly be true. People are saved only through Jesus (Acts 4:12). “Nor is there salvation in any other” (Acts 4:12; 16:30-31), including “the Lady of Fatima”. Hence, the Fatima apparition should not be considered as sent by God as at least that part of the message contradicts scripture (even if parts of what were claimed did come to pass).

Notice what Bishop Kennedy of the Celtic Orthodox Church wrote:

The great deceiver of Fatima promises salvation to those who embrace devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary… We can be very certain that God did not send Mary to earth to change God’s eternal plan of salvation. It is just this kind of deceit that leads to other false statements about Mary; Mediatrix of all graces etc. The devil’s deceit is felt far and wide within the Church as is evidenced in the number of well meaning but deceived souls proclaiming Mary is Mediatrix of all graces. How would have such a statement sounded to the Apostles? This salvation we enjoy is from God in Christ; “The man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as ransom for all”. (1 Timothy 2:1, 3-6 NAB)… We should STOP THE DEVIL in his tracks and proclaim the vision of Fatima to be a fraud, a work of the devil and an abomination to God, Mary and to the Church. (Kennedy BJ, Bishop. The Fatima Affair. HOLY TRINITY CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH / MONASTERY. Toledo, Ohio. http:// www.celticorthodoxchurch.com/fatima.html viewed 05/17/12)

Sadly, on October 13, 2013, Pope Francis consecrated the world to this so-called immaculate heart of Mary (see Francis consecrated world to the ‘immaculate heart’ of an alleged ‘Fatima’ statue).

As it turns out, Pope Francis has shown he is highly Marian focused and speaks of his version of her regularly (see Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?). He also has made various pronouncements related to Valentine’s Day.

While that may not seem to be unusual, notice what the Roman Catholics have taught:

The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year…

The Catholic Church no longer officially honors St. Valentine, but the holiday has both Roman and Catholic roots. (The Origins of St. Valentine’s Day. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/ValentinesDay/, January 31, 2004).

Pagan symbols and pagan holidays are not God’s tools to reach people. True Christians need to avoid participating in pagan holidays, such as Valentine’s Day. Turning towards Cupid’s or Mary’s heart is not what the world needs. Valentine’s Day is not a biblical holiday nor did early Christians observe it.

The world needs the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Valentine’s observances and other distractions turn people away from the true Jesus and more towards a faith that is against what Jesus stood for.

For more information, please consider studying the following:

Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine’s Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true? There is also a YouTube titled Should Christians Observe Valentine’s Day? A more detailed sermon is available and titled Valentine’s Day, Christianity, and Islam.
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? Is Mardi Gras Christian? Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival? Where did it come from? There is also a related YouTube video Mardi Gras & Carnaval: Are they for Christians?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you understand the ramifications of the ‘Lady of Guadalupe’? It is claimed that a female apparition appeared near Mexico City on December 12, 1531. How has it affected the world? What might it suggest about the future?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Feast of the Immaculate Conception? Did early Christians teach Mary had an immaculate conception and led a sinless life?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! 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.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries 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.

Spending and other Valentine’s Day traditions

Friday, February 10th, 2017


Valentine Card, 1909, Shows Pagan Ties

COGwriter

Notice the following:

February 2017

NEW YORK – Shopping for jewelry for a loved one ahead of Valentine’s Day can be stressful. http://www.nwherald.com/2017/01/25/5-tips-for-buying-jewelry-for-valentines-day/avhqvzl/

Valentine’s jewelry shopping can apparently be stressful, but is not something any should do.

Since many observe Valentine’s Day, this post will cover some of the traditions of it around the world and where some came from. Notice the following:

February 14, … Many countries have their own particular traditions and customs on February 14 and here’s a selection: Italy Originally, Italians celebrated Valentine’s Day as the Spring Festival…Also, there is a traditionof giving chocolate to loved ones and Italians believe that in this case, size does matter- the bigger the chocolate, the stronger the love you will have. France The French like to think of themselves as the most romantic people in the world, and it’s often claimed on Gallic shores that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his life while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. United Kingdom Valentine’s cards are often sent anonymously in the UK, a tradition dating back to Victorian times… Estonia Valentine’s Day celebrations in Estonia have their own twist: February 14 is called “Friend’s Day”, so single, lovelorn people don’t feel left out. http://www.euronews.com/2014/02/14/valentines-day-traditions-around-the-world/ China couples in China rushed to make their marriages official, as Friday marked both Valentine’s Day and the Chinese Lantern Festival. The two celebrations fall on the same day only once every 19 years. http://www.voanews.com/content/valentines-day-around-the-world/1851556.html United States In the United States, the National Retail Federation expects people to spend more than $17 billion this year on candy, cards, flowers and other mementos marking the occasion. http://www.voanews.com/content/valentines-day-around-the-world/1851556.html

Valentine’s Day is banned in Saudi Arabia and discouraged in other Islam-dominated lands.

February 14, 2014 In Pakistan, Malaysia and other mainly-Muslim countries, many consider Valentine’s Day to be un-Islamic and discourage the celebration of it. In Iran and Saudi Arabia, Valentine’s Day is banned. Hindu extremists in India have also opposed the day. http://www.voanews.com/content/valentines-day-around-the-world/1851556.html

But, some still observe it in the Islamic-dominated lands–which is why some have taken steps to reduce the influence of this essentially pagan holiday. Notice something from NPR:

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled… From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain. The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile. The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right… Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.” Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine’s Day at some point, in part because they sound alike. http://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133693152/the-dark-origins-of-valentines-day

While I am glad women are no longer subject to public whipping on this day, the holiday still is not of Christian origin. The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The popular customs associated with Saint Valentine’s Day undoubtedly had their origin in a conventional belief generally received in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

For this reason the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers’ tokens. (Thurston, Herbert. “St. Valentine.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 14 Feb. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15254a.htm>.)

The Catholic Encyclopedia essentially admits this did not come from the Bible. I would add that the practices began earlier than the Middle Ages with origins in a pagan sexual lottery. Notice what else the Roman Catholics teach:

The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year (The Origins of St. Valentine’s Day. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/ValentinesDay/, January 31, 2004).

The Apostle Jude warned that people claiming to be Christian leaders would turn towards behaviors like sexual license:

4 For there have been some intruders, who long ago were designated for this condemnation, godless persons, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 4, New American Bible of the United States Conference Catholic Bishops)

As alluded to earlier, in countries like the USA, Valentine’s traditions include giving cards, flowers, and chocolate, often with symbols that are supposed to represent Cupid or some type of love. Food and alcohol are sometimes also involved. Here is more information on some of the origins of a few of the traditions:

Your Valentine’s Day checklist probably includes chocolates, cards and a dozen red roses. So how did all this start?…Ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia on Feb. 13-15. The feast involved animal sacrifices and whipping women, thought to make them more fertile… But the first direct connection between St. Valentine’s and the idea of love comes much later, in the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, says Andy Kelly, an English professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, who wrote the book “Chaucer and the Cult of St. Valentine.” Chaucer, best known for “The Canterbury Tales,” wrote a poem called “Parliament of Foules (Fowls)” in 1381 to honor Richard II’s engagement, Kelly said. In the poem, St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on May 3 — not Feb. 14 — and represents “the day when all the birds choose their mates for the year,” Kelly told USA TODAY Network. “Quickly afterwards, within a generation, people took the idea of celebrating of St. Valentine’s as a day of love,” Kelly said. The St. Valentine whom Chaucer was probably referencing was St. Valentine of Genoa, who died on May 3 and whose feast day was celebrated on May 2, according to Kelly’s book… Cards The British Museum in London has a Valentine dated from the 15th century, but it wasn’t until the mid-19th century when Valentine-giving became popular in England, said Ann C. Colley, a distinguished professor of English at SUNY-Buffalo State… Chocolate Chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac, said Alexandra Leaf, a culinary educator and founder of Chocolate Tours of New York City, in an interview with USA TODAY Network. Starting in the 17th century, when cacao beans were first brought to Europe from Mexico and Central America, Europeans associated the food with stories about Montezuma and his many wives, Leaf said… “There’s a carryover of the aphrodisiac notion that would make it appropriate for Valentine’s Day,” Leaf said… Cupid The cherub-faced Cupid we recognize today was originally something quite different. In the 5th century, the Greek version of Cupid, Eros (the inspiration for the word “erotic”), was depicted as a tall young man, who was “athletic, heroic and had wings,” according to Angeline Chiu…Chiu said Cupid’s transformation into a baby can be credited to Renaissance art… Red roses In the 18th century, Charles II of Sweden introduced the idea of flowers symbolizing emotions or messages carrying non-verbal messages, according to ProFlowers.com. Today, red roses stand for passionate love, pink roses for friendship, white for purity, and both red and white mean unity, said Jennifer Sparks, spokeswoman for the Society of American Florists, in an e-mail to USA TODAY Network. http://www.freep.com/article/20140214/FEATURES01/302140053/Valentine-s-Day-traditions-explained

Valentine’s Day is not an actual Christian holiday, even the Church of Rome no longer officially honors it, see Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins, though Pope Francis promoted it today. Actually, in the photo of him encouraging Valentine’s Day at http://www.voanews.com/content/valentines-day-around-the-world/1851556.html, Francis was holding a red rose. It comes from paganism and the Bible warns against engaging in pagan practices. Notice:

29 When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. 32 Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it (Deuteronomy 12:29-32, NKJV). 2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe (Jeremiah 10:2-3, KJV).

29 …abstain from things offered to idols (Acts 15:29, NKJV). 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16) 9 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. (1 Corinthians 10:19-21)

While there are many traditions and practices, none who profess Christ should observe this February 14th “holiday”–it simply is not a Christian holiday.

For more information, please consider studying the following:

Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine’s Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true? There is also a YouTube sermon available titled Valentine’s Day, Christianity, and Islam.
Should Christians Observe Valentine’s Day? This is a shorter YouTube video about the origins of Valentine’s Day and why real Christians should not observe it.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well. Here is a version in the Spanish language:.¿Están vigentes todavía los diez mandamientos?
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings. A related sermon is titled: Christians and the Ten Commandments.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

‘Christianity’ seen as bad by elements of society

Thursday, February 9th, 2017


COGwriter

Ecumenical News reported about a study finds that ‘Christianity’ is increasingly being considered to be bad for society:

A decades-old trend that Christianity is irrelevant is increasingly giving way to the notion that it is bad for society, a new study by the Barna Group in the United States has found.
The study found that U.S. society is undergoing a change of mind about the way religion and people of faith intersect with public life.

That is, there are intensifying perceptions that faith is at the root of a vast number of societal ills.

“Though it remains the nation’s most dominant religion, Christianity faces significant headwind in the court of public opinion,” says the study in it finding that Christianity is increasingly seen as bad for society. …

It finds the following notions that explain an emerging reality:

● Adults and especially non-believers are concerned about religious extremism. …

● Nearly half of non-religious adults perceive Christianity to be extremist. February 25, 2016 http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/christianity-increasingly-seen-as-bad-for-society-us-study-finds/38705.htm

Here is something from Barna Group about its study:

The perception that the Christian faith is extreme is now firmly entrenched among the nation’s non-Christians. A full forty-five percent of atheists, agnostics, and religiously unaffiliated in America agree with the statement “Christianity is extremist.” Almost as troubling is the fact that only 14 percent of atheists and agnostics strongly disagree that Christianity is extremist. The remaining four in ten (41%) disagree only somewhat. So even non-Christians who are reluctant to fully label Christianity as extremist, still harbor some hesitations and negative perceptions toward the religion.

Protestant sources have claimed that this is resulting in a new type of persecution against those that profess Christ:

Christians in the US are facing constant attacks in the media, where they are portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist, and close- minded. The characterization in the media may be translating into direct attacks as well. The First Liberty Institute, the largest legal organization in the US dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom, documents such actions and reports that attacks on religion doubled between 2012 and 2015.

More importantly, Christians and all religious people are being marginalized through the law.

From the case of a Christian football coach suspended for praying at the 50-yard line, to Christian business owners forced to pay a $135,000 fine for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, the number of troubling cases directed towards Christians has exploded.

In 2011, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship lost their official recognition as a student organization in all of their respective chapters across 23 California public colleges. This occurred because the Christian organization required their respective leaders to uphold a doctrinal statement of Biblical principles, which allegedly conflicted with California State universities’ policies. After four years of embattled negotiations, InterVarsity regained their official recognition in June 2015.

In 2014, Eric Walsh was terminated one week after being hired by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). The basis of termination was alleged undisclosed income from prior employment in California. However, the Georgia DPH knew that Walsh was a Christian preacher outside of work and went to great lengths to review and investigate the content of his sermons posted on YouTube. Georgia officials have even requested copies of Walsh’s sermons, despite prior statements that the termination had nothing to do with his religious views or affiliations. Walsh is currently suing the Georgia DPH for wrongful termination and religious discrimination.

The rise of these cases stems partly from a broad cultural shift towards secularism. The Pew Foundation found that those identifying as non-religious in the US rose by seven percent, to 23 percent of the total US adult population within just seven years (2007 to 2014).

Anti-Christian entities have been able to leverage the growing secularization of society and culture to their advantage, utilizing the courts as a preferred venue to gradually marginalize and silence Christians. Using the cudgel of “equality,” secular forces in and out of the courts have worked to create a body of law built from one bad precedent after another. Claims of intolerance and inequality are used to fundamentally distort the clear intent of the First Amendment. http://www.persecution.org/persecutionnl/2017-01/ICC%202016%20Hall%20of%20Shame%20Report.pdf

While many in society do not realize it, real Christianity is good for society. It is good for society if people actually keep the Ten Commandments, and early Christians did this (see The Ten Commandments and the Early Church).

Jesus taught His followers to not only be good outwardly, but inwardly:

5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn,For they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek,For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful,For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart,For they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers,For they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

6:1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. (Matthew 5:3-6:4)

Instead, the predominant faiths considered to be Christian support carnal warfare, reason around the adultery/divorce admonitions, reason around the law and the prophets, and simply do not promote Christianity as Jesus did.

Jesus’ Christianity was NOT a warring or persecuting religion.

The New Testament teaches “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Yet, it should also be mentioned that most faiths that now claim Christianity do not have the original doctrines and practices of Jesus’ church (see also the free online booklet Where is the True Christian Church Today?).

Here is something from the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God:

Notice the following teachings of early Christianity that historical documents shown were held during the times of the Ephesus and/or Smyrna eras–all of which are accepted by the Continuing Church of God and only a relatively few of which are practiced/taught/still accepted by Roman Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestants though early leaders considered as “saints” by the Catholics also held them):

Baptism of Christians was by immersion and did not include infants.

The complete Bible with the proper Old Testament and New Testament was relied on by the true Church in Asia Minor.

A Binitarian or Semi-Arian view, that acknowledged the Holy Spirit, was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.

Birthdays were not celebrated by early Christians.

Born-Again meant being born at the resurrection, not at the time of conversion, which is when a spiritual begettal occurs.

Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement.

Church Governance was properly hierarchical.

Christmas was not observed by any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings; December 25th did not come from the Bible.

Circumcision, though not required, was long practiced by original Nazarene Christians.

Confession of sins were not made to priests and did not require penance.

Deification of Christians (which begins after the first resurrection) was taught by the early leaders of the Church.

Duties of Elders/Pastors were pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental–nor did they dress as many now do.

Easter per se was not observed by the apostolic church.

The Fall (and Spring) Holy Days were observed by true early Christians.

The Father was considered to be God by all early professing Christians.

The True Gospel included the kingdom of God and obedience to the law of God and was so understood by the faithful.

Heaven was not taught to be the reward of Christians.

Holy Spirit was not referred to as God or as a person by any early true Christians.

Hymns were mainly psalms, not praises to Christ.

Idols were taught against, including adoration of the cross.

Immortality of the soul or humans was not taught.

Jesus was considered to be God by the true Christians.

The Kingdom of God was preached.

Leavened Bread was removed from the homes of early Christians when the Jews did the same.

Lent was not observed by the primitive church.

Limbo was not taught by the original church.

Mary was the mother of Jesus, was blessed (Luke 1:28) and called blessed (Luke 1:48), but was not prayed to, etc. by true early Christians.

Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians.

Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians.

Monasticism was unheard of in the early Christian church.

Passover was kept annually on the 14th of Nisan by apostolic and second century Christians in Asia Minor.

Pentecost was kept on Sunday by certain Jews and was observed then by professing Christians.

Purgatory was not taught by the original apostolic church.

The Resurrection of the dead was taught by all early Christians

The Sabbath was observed on Saturday by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church.

Salvation was believed to be offered to the chosen now by the early Church, with others being called later, though not all that taught that (or other doctrines) practiced “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

God’s Six Thousand Year Plan for humankind to rule itself was believed by early professors of Christ.

Sunday was not observed by the apostolic and original post-apostolic Christians.

The Ten Commandments were observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians–and in the order that the Church of God claims they are in.

Tithes and Offerings were given to support the ministry, the churches, the needy, and evangelical travels and proclamation.

Tradition had some impact on the second century Christians, but was never supposed to supersede the Bible.

The Trinity was not a word used to describe the Godhead by the apostolic or second century Christians, though a certain threeness was acknowledged.

Unclean Meats were eaten by the early allegorists, but not by true Christians.

The Virgin Birth was acknowledged by all true ante-Nicene Christians.

The Continuing Church of God continues to teach all the above as they were held by Jesus’ original apostles and their truly faithful early followers.

Western society has not seen real Christianity practiced on a wide scale. For if they did, they would better be able to understand how it is good for humankind, and not bad.

To learn about the history of the true Christian church, check out the free online booklet: Continuing History of the Church of God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
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.
Mystery of Civilization Why is civilization like it is? How will it end? What will replace it? Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Mystery of Civilization and How it Will End.
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.
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
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.
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?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith. Do you know much about them? Both groups have some interesting similarities, but many major differences. Would you like information on how to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses?
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.
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.
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 called for a ‘loosening of the purse strings,’ but failed to do so

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017


COGwriter

Pope Francis made a video for this month. Notice the following about it:

“Don’t abandon them,” appeals Pope Francis in his prayer intention on video for the month of February 2017, dedicated to “those who are afflicted, especially the poor, the refugees and the marginalized.”

In the video made public on February 2, the Pope said “we live in towns that build towers, commercial centers, engage in real estate business, but leave a part of themselves on the margin, on the peripheries.” 02/02/17 https://zenit.org/articles/dont-abandon-the-poor-and-the-refugees-exhorts-the-pope/

A year ago, Pope Francis made another call for others to give away their wealth:

Pope at General Audience Calls for Loosening of Purse Strings

February 10, 2016

“If the Jubilee does not come out of your pockets, it’s not a true Jubilee. You understand?”

Pope Francis said this during his General Audience in St. Peter’s Square this morning, his last before taking off Friday on his Apostolic Journey to Mexico, Feb. 12-18, stressing that a call to loosen the purse strings to help the needy is throughout the Bible, not something the Pope has “invented.” …

Today, Francis stressed, we must ask ourselves what we have and what we can give to those who have nothing. “Ten percent, fifty percent,” he said, adding, “Let the Holy Spirit inspire each of you.”

“If I’m not mistaken,” the Pope went on to say, “More or less, I’m not certain about the figures, but about 80% of humanity’s wealth is in the hands of less than 20% of the population.”

How many fruits, the Pope exclaimed, are born from donating to those in need. https://zenit.org/articles/pope-calls-for-loosening-of-purse-strings-at-general-audience/

A few days after Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, he made the following statement:

“Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor.” http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/16/us-pope-poor-idUSBRE92F05P20130316

He has repeatedly told others to give to the poor.

While on the surface the Pope’s word are what a ‘lamb’ may say, could it be part of the speech of a dragon (Revelation 13:11)?

So far, Pope Francis has repeatedly made statements about the poor (e.g. Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? and Pope tells United Nations to push wealth redistribution–a sign of Revelation 13 & 17?), but has not done much that seems tangible that way.

The Bible tells about an unfaithful harlot church that wallows in wealth (Revelation 17:1-9, 18:7). Having been to Vatican City numerous times, I have seen some of that wealth on display.

As far as Pope Francis himself, On March 22, 2013 he said:

As you know, there are various reasons why I chose the name of Francis of Assisi, a familiar figure far beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith. One of the first reasons was Francis’ love for the poor. How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just. http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/francis-address-to-diplomatic-corps

Will he take specific steps, such as wealth redistribution? He has not yet. Though he has repeatedly preached it for others.

In English, there is an expression that one should, “Put your money where your mouth is.” So far, Pope Francis has not done this in the nearly four years since his election to become pontiff.

Yet, what if Pope Francis finally sells off some of the vast treasures (such as jewels and land) of the Vatican and/or give significant amounts of money/land away to the poor?

Well, if he does that, this will likely greatly enhance the pedophile-damaged image of the Church of Rome for the media and many others around the world. This will enhance the appeal of the religion that Rome will promote. Even if it gives away only 1/4 of its vast wealth.

The Bible warns that the whole world will profit financially from the final end time Babylon (Revelation 18:9, 15-19). And in addition to trade, giving away wealth and land–in conjunction with the final King of the North (Daniel 11:24, 39), that the final Antichrist will support–will be a factor in the temporal success of this condemned system.

Notice that financial pressures will be something that the Antichrist is associated with:

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. (Revelation 13:16-17)

The “He” above is the two-horned beast (Revelation 13:11), also known as the False Prophet (Revelation 16:13), and Antichrist (1 John 4:1-3).

The Bible also says that the merchants of the world will have gotten wealthy from the system that the Antichrist will promote:

2 Babylon the great…has become a dwelling place of demons…a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3…and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury. (Revelation 18:2a,b,d, 3c)

So, there are several biblical prophecies that tie the power that the Antichrist supports with a type of deceitful prosperity. Did you notice the connection to a cage of birds above? Well, then notice then also the following:

27 As a cage is full of birds,
So their houses are full of deceit.
Therefore they have become great and grown rich.
28 They have grown fat, they are sleek;
Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked;
They do not plead the cause,
The cause of the fatherless;
Yet they prosper,
And the right of the needy they do not defend.
29 Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord.
‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’

30 “An astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.
But what will you do in the end? (Jeremiah 5:27-31)

So, the supporters of the Beast and Antichrist/False Prophet will prosper for a time, then God will punish.

Furthermore, notice three Catholic writings/prophecies about the final Antichrist:

Saint Mechtilda (died 1299): Antichrist will, through base and false strategem, and with presents of gold and gems, attain influence over the worldly princes. They will look up to him as their Lord and God (Culleton, The Reign of Antichrist, pp. 133-134).

Saint Ephrem (died 375): Antichrist will use worldly goods as bait. He will entice many Christians with money and goods to apostatize…The devil will help him find all the hidden treasures of the world, even those at the bottom of the ocean. With those treasures he will attain greater success for the reign of Satan than at any other time in past centuries (Connor, pp.73.74).

Saint Jerome (died 420): Antichrist…will gain support with many gifts and money. He will sell himself to the devil…(Connor E. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, p. 74).

The Bible, by the way, does mention that the King of the North will end up with a lot of gold, silver, and precious stones (Daniel 11:38,43) and that a seven-hilled/mountain-based power will have “gold and precious stones and pearls” (Revelation 17:4).

But is it possible that before the Beast rises up that the Antichrist will use material items for bait?

Might the Antichrist use some of the wealth of the Vatican to support certain European nations/leaders?

With the migrant and other social issues in Europe, I expect this as it seems to be likely and consistent with the following scriptures:

1…”Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”…9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits…18:3 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.” (Revelation 17:1-2,9; 18:3)

Nor do I believe the Vatican will limit its support to Europe–parts of Latin America, Africa, and Asia would likely benefit. The Church of Rome has a lot of worldly wealth–it is a version of that church that is being discussed above in Revelation.

Since Pope Francis declared, “Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor,” is it possible that he was suggesting that since his church holds enormous wealth in bank accounts, land, art, and jewels, that perhaps he intends to distribute some of this wealth?

When he spoke to the people of Bañado Norte last Summer, he told the poorest Catholic parish:

I want to be your neighbor. I want to bless your faith, your hands and your community. http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-people-of-banado-norte

Pope Francis must be aware that the Bible teaches:

15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:15-17)

Someday, he or another pontiff,may decide that on this point that they should walk the walk and not simply talk the talk.

Several years ago someone asked “Ask a Catholic” about that church’s wealth:

You said:

  • I’m wondering why the Catholic Church has such a huge amount of wealth, as can be seen in the beautiful buildings and costly objects in them, when Jesus clearly encourages us to sell all of our possessions and give to the poor?
  1. Because the historical riches it has going back to 33 A.D. are priceless and preserved for all Christendom
  2. Because the faithful believe in the Church and give what they can to support the Church, following the wishes you mentioned and what the Lord has asked from us.
  3. Because of the number of faithful that make up the Church are over 1.125 billion members worldwide, 65 million in the United States.

Nevertheless, the implication in your question is that the Church does not give to the poor and neither spreads the Gospel to those who have not heard it. This is a distortion of the great outreach and support work the Church has done worldwide for centuries. http://www.askacatholic.com/_WebPostings/Answers/2011_08AUG/2011AugWhyIsTheChurchSoWealthy.cfm

In addition to historically receiving property and wealth from kings and emperors and the Crusades, the Church of Rome also gets a lot of bequeaths which some believe is related to the belief that priests can help pray people out of a non-existent place called purgatory (Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory?). And yes, people have been told that the more they give to Church of Rome the more priests will pray for them.

The Vatican does have vast wealth.

Pope Francis may have to look in the mirror when he states that people need to loosen purse strings in the so-called ‘year of jubilee’ that he himself declared and called for.

I suspect the time will come when the Vatican will actually sell/give away/pledge some of its wealth to influence world events and affect communities. Pope Francis has been hinting of this for nearly three years, so at some point in time, he probably intends to take action to match his rhetoric. This will increase his popularity with the media, European leaders, and others in the world.

If Pope Francis does not end up doing this, he, at minimum, has made various statements that the final Antichrist (which may not be him as that is not certain yet) and the Beast, can point to as justification for wealth distribution.

The Pope wants unity among the world’s religions and nations while pushing his economic views. Putting the Vatican’s ‘money where his mouth is’ could be something that he will do to try to support that.

Some items of related interest may include:

Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical is titled ‘Laudato Si.’ In it, he goes over his views related to environmental, economic, social, moral, agricultural, and spiritual issues. He advocates international cooperation to solve various problems he believes are affecting humanity. Is that Pope’s agenda the solution? What about the Kingdom of God? does the Bible teach? Two related articles include Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? and Laudato Si: A call for a one-world government?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? A related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation discusses the largest church since the second/third century, which in a real sense is the eighth church mentioned in the Book of Revelation (it also endorses “eighth day” worship). What church would support the Beast? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video of related interest could be Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Feast of the Immaculate Conception? Did early Christians teach Mary had an immaculate conception and led a sinless life?
Origin of the Marian Dogmas: Where Do Catholic Scholars Say The Four Dogmas of Mary Came From?
Assumption of Mary Did Mary die? Was she taken to heaven on August 15th? What is known? What does the Bible show?
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
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 seem to 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?
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?]
The Last Pope Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Why might Pope Francis be the last pope? What happens if he is? Biblical and other prophecies help explain what to expect.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Amazon Book What does the Bible say about a pope near this time? Is the final pope to be an antipope and antichrist? Does Catholic prophecy point to Pope Francis as being the dreaded “Peter the Roman”? This 186 page book provides information and answers.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of the printed book which is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle.