Archive for the ‘Religious News’ Category

Pope Francis promotes praying for the dead–Cardinal Burke wants to correct the Roman Pontiff

Thursday, December 1st, 2016


Day of the Dead decorations

COGwriter

Mike Gendron put out the following in his newsletter today:

Purgatory, Praying for the Dead, and Indulgences
Roman Catholics have special days set aside to remember deceased loved ones, to visit their graves, and to pray for their time to be shortened in Purgatory. According to a Catholic spokesman, ”When you pray for the dead and go to the cemetery, you actually gain an indulgence.” An indulgence is defined as an “extra-sacramental remission of the temporal punishment due to sin that has been forgiven, which remission is granted by the Church in the exercise of the power of the keys.” Catholics believe that … upon death … some are held in Purgatory, where they must have their sins purged for an unknown period of time.

Pope Francis has visited cemeteries for All Souls’ Day throughout his tenure. Recently he held a mass at Prima Porta Cemetery in Rome, tweeting beforehand, “With faith we visit the graves of our loved ones, where we can also pray for those who no one remembers.”

Mike’s Comment: Nowhere in the Bible do we ever see anyone of faith praying for the dead.

Of course, early Christians did not teach the doctrine of purgatory (see Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory?) or praying for the dead. Part of the reason I reported the above was because of something that happened yesterday:

Vatican City, Nov 30, 2016 / 05:38 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his last set of catechesis on mercy, Pope Francis focused on the works of praying for the living and the dead, as well as burying the dead, insisting that since we are all part of one family in Christ, we must remember to pray constantly for one another. …

When it comes to praying for the dead, Francis said this work is above all a recognition of the witness the deceased left for us, and of “the good that they did. It is a thanksgiving to the Lord for having given them and for their love and friendship.” http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/we-have-to-pray-for-both-the-living-and-the-dead-pope-francis-says-83574/

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

Regarding the Day of the Dead, Wikipedia reports:

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

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

The Day of the Dead is clearly a pagan holiday.

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

In his newsletter today, Mike Gendron also had the following:

The Pope May Not Be Infallible After All

Cardinal Burke says if Pope Francis won’t clarify a ‘serious error,” the Cardinals must make a ‘formal act of correction.’ It appears there is a plan for a formal statement against Francis for heresy or at least deviation from the Faith. The Cardinals are following the proper canonical process. As one writer noted, “The step of making a ‘formal act of correction’ would be the preliminary step, according to classical theology and Church discipline, of declaring someone – anyone – a formal heretic.”

This is an earth-shaking development! It is clear that the Cardinals’ intention is to safeguard the Catholic Faith, not simply to accuse anyone of heresy. What happens if the pope does not respond and fails to give the clarification of the Church’s teaching? Cardinal Burke said, “Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.”

Proselytism Among Christians is a Grave Sin

Pope Francis has created a new sin by daring to say “every form of proselytism among Christians is sinful.” This is his latest effort to push his ecumenical agenda and to protect his 1.2 billion Catholics from being evangelized by Christians with the true Gospel. He thinks Christian unity is “a path” of walking together with Jesus despite theological differences. Ignoring the fact that Catholics and Christians believe a different Gospel, the pope said, “Proselytism among Christians, therefore, in itself, is a grave sin.” When asked why, he said, “Because it contradicts the very dynamic of how to become and to remain Christian.” In other words, the pope is seeking to prevent God’s people from making disciples by teaching them to observe everything Christ has commanded (Mat. 28:18-20).  Proselytism, which the pope calls a grave sin, is defined as the act of attempting to convert people to another faith.  …

Mike’s Comment: The pope’s statement is just one of many bizarre pronouncements he has made since taking over the papacy.

The reality is that Pope Francis has taken steps that are contrary to various traditions of the Church of Rome. I would also add that the idea that popes are infallible has been proven wrong historically.

Furthermore, Pope Francis’ push for his ecumenical and interfaith agendas is clearly wrong.

As far as Cardinal Burke goes, he has long been a critic of Pope Francis and may consider him to be an ‘antipope’ (watch Anti-Pope Francis?).

Despite this, the false ecumenical/interfaith agenda continues to be pushed by the Vatican.  And more, disappointingly, seem to be agreeing with that agenda.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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?]
All Saints’ Day, the Day of the Dead, and All Souls’ Day Are these original Christian observances? Does the Bible endorse them?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies?
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day–is it a dead of the dead? What do these days teach?
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? What about the use of the cross, by the early Church?
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants) Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous?
Protestant and Church of God views of the United States in Bible Prophecy Is the USA mentioned in Bible prophecy? Some Protestants say yes, while others say no. What does the Bible really teach? Learn the truth about this. There is also a video available: Is The United States Mentioned In Bible Prophecy?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
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?
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.


SDA’s Ellen White and Jehovah’s Witnesses misidentified the archangel Michael

Friday, November 25th, 2016


Michael in the Hebrew language

COGwriter

Did you know that the Seventh-day Adventist ‘prophetess’ Ellen White taught that the archangel Michael was Jesus?

Did you know that the Jehovah’s Witnesses still teach that?

Recently, one raised as a Seventh-day Adventist told me that Ellen White held that view and that he found it blasphemous. When I asked him for citations, he sent the following that Ellen White taught:

Patriarchs and Prophets page 761—Again: Christ is called the Word of God. John 1:1-3. He is so called because God gave His revelations to man in all ages through Christ. It was His Spirit that inspired the prophets. 1 Peter 1:10, 11. He was revealed to them as the Angel of Jehovah, the Captain of the Lord’s host, Michael the Archangel.

Prophets and Kings page 572—For three weeks Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus; and before the contest closed, Christ Himself came to Gabriel’s aid. “The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days,” Gabriel declares; “but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” Daniel 10:13.

Early Writings page 164—Moses passed through death, but Michael came down and gave him life before his body had seen corruption. Satan tried to hold the body, claiming it as his; but Michael resurrected Moses and took him to heaven. Satan railed bitterly against God, denouncing Him as unjust in permitting his prey to be taken from him; but Christ did not rebuke His adversary, though it was through his temptation that the servant of God had fallen. He meekly referred him to His Father, saying, “The Lord rebuke thee.”

The Story of Redemption page 206—Moses passed through death, but Michael came down and gave him life before his body had seen corruption. Satan tried to hold the body, claiming it as his; but Michael resurrected Moses and took him to heaven. Satan railed bitterly against God, denouncing Him as unjust in permitting his prey to be taken from him; but Christ did not rebuke His adversary, though it was through his temptation that the servant of God had fallen. He meekly referred him to His Father, saying, “The Lord rebuke thee.”

19 Manuscript release 106.2—Jude presents the example of Christ. He says, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil He disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (As cited in an Email to COGwriter@aol.com 11/06/16)

Those in the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) believe that Michael is simply an archangel, not divine. Nowhere does the Bible teach that Jesus was once Michael.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses still teach that Jesus was the archangel Michael:

The foremost angel, both in power and authority, is the archangel, Jesus Christ, also called Michael. (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 9) Under his authority are seraphs, cherubs, and angels. (The Truth About Angels. Jehovah’s Witnesses Official Web Site. Appeared in The Watchtower November 1, 1995. http://www.watchtower.org/library/w/1995/11/1/article_02.htm 07/09/07)

Michael is a name given to Jesus in his role as a heavenly Ruler (Pay Attention. p. 289).

Michael [another name for Jesus] and his angels battled with the dragon…Revelation 12 (What Does the Bible Really Teach?Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Brooklyn, 2005, p. 89).

The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus is God, but the CCOG does.

The Bible is clear that Jesus was not an angel and that God did not exalt any angel like Jesus was exalted.

Notice what the Book of Hebrews teaches:

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

5 For to which of the angels did He ever say:
“You are My Son,Today I have begotten You”?

And again:
“I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?

6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:
“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

7 And of the angels He says:
“Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.”

8 But to the Son He says:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

10 And:
“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.”

13 But to which of the angels has He ever said:
“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:1-14)

Angels, including archangels are ministering spirits–they are not part of the Godhead. For more details, see also Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus?

More information on the Godhead can be found in the following:

Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning Is binitarianism the correct position? What about unitarianism or trinitarianism?
Is The Father God? What is the view of the Bible? What was the view of the early church?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It? What does the Bible teach? What is claimed in The Da Vinci Code?
Why Does Jesus Have Two Different Genealogies listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3? Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 seemingly list two different genealogies for Jesus. Why?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
What is the Holy Spirit? This is an article by Rod Reynolds.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD.
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.

The archangel Michael is not Jesus, our Saviour.

Some items of related interest may include:

Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this, but does the Bible allow for this?
What is Restrained and Who is Restraining in 2 Thessalonians 2:7? Are sorceries being restrained until the future? What is the mystery of lawlessness? Could Michael be the restrainer? Here is a related article in Spanish: ¿Qué es lo que se restringe y quién lo está restringiendo en 2 Tesalonicenses 2:7?
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.
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
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.
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? A related sermon is also available: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Right and Wrong Teachings?
Close Encounters of a ‘Spirit’ Kind discusses some experiences I believe were (demon) ‘spirit’ related. A video is also available titled: Poltergeists and Lying Wonders.
Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim This is information about various types of angelic beings.
Did Angels Marry Human Women? Many insist this is so and also that this mating caused giants to be born. Did this come from the ‘Book of Enoch’? What does Genesis 6:4 really mean? A related video is also available: Did Angels Marry Women and Produce Giants?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?

Any similarities between ancient Assyrian gods and Germany and Islam?

Friday, November 25th, 2016


Assyrian Relief from Nineveh, 645-635 B.C.

COGwriter

A while back, World News Daily reported the following:

…Babylonian artifacts. Ancient tablets describe “Alla” as a deity of “violence and revolution.”… The…find…links the name to the Epic of Atrahasis, chiseled on tablets sometime around 1700 B.C. in Babylon…“The beginning of the Epic of Atrahasis describes Allah as how all of the gods labored endlessly in grueling work, under the rule of the patron deity Enlil or Elil. But soon revolt of the gods had erupted, and one deity of ‘violence and revolution’ [was] named Allah (spelled by the experts as Alla),” he wrote….“The question remains as to why no expert on Assyriology or Sumerology had even suspected that ‘Alla’ had a connection with the Arabian ‘Allah,’” he wrote. http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/1700-b-c-alla-god-of-violence-and-revolution/

While the above article attempts to connect that to modern Islam, various scholars likely have their doubts. But there is no doubt that the names Alla and Allah certainly seem similar. Whether or not Islam is tied to ancient Assyrian deities, Islam is not a religion of peace as some claim, but a religion that promotes war (see also Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God).

But could there be any Germanic ties?

Well clearly this research shows a connection between the ancient Assyrians and a warring deity.

Other sources have demonstrated that the ancient Assyrians used the term Alla for some of their deities:

Al-sarru, if Al had been an Assyrian god. We may set down Alman as a possible reading, or even Alnis, but there seems no meaning to either. Now we have a similar name Alla-MAN, this can hardly be phonetic. I venture therefore to read Alla-sarru and Al-sarru, ‘Alla is king.’ As MAN means king…Mannu-ki-Alla shows the same divine name. (Johns CHW. An Assyrian doomsday book, or, Liber censualis of the district round Harran in the seventh century B.C.: copied from the cuneiform tablets in the British Museum, Volume 17 of Assyriologische Bibliothek. J. C. Hinrichs, 1901. Original from Princeton University, Digitized May 28, 2009, p. 15)

They also had other warring deities.

Here are two other references:

ON THE ORIGINAL ASSYRIA. WE proceed to consider the character of another country, noticed as marking… by the Hebrews and Chaldeans, was either Syr, Shur, or Tyr ; so that the compound word might be Ai-syria, or Ai-shyria…which is here rendered Assyria. (Clamet A, Taylor Calmet’s dictionary of the Holy Bible: with the Biblical fragments, Volume 4, 5th edition. Holdsworth and Ball, 1830. Original from the New York Public Library, Digitized Oct 20, 2010, p. 60)

Men prayed to Tyr…In some places he was called Tiwaz and was associated with the Roman God, Mars, the Celtic God, Nadu, as well as the Indian God, Mitra…Tyr was the original God of war, and the precursor of Odin…The name Tiwaz is also related to the Roman God Jupiter, and the Greek God, Zeus. All three names are descended from Dyaus Piter or Father Dyaus, and are all descended from the name Dieus…

A helmet was found in Negau in Austria which bears an inscription…translated as Teiwa, which is an archaic form of Tyr’s name…Tyr was worshipped…in Bavaria (Blumetti R. The Book of Balder Rising. iUniverse, 2004, pp. 142, 143).

Tyr, Mars, etc. were gods of war. And Tyr was worshiped in Bavaria (essentially southern Germany).

Also notice:

Ishtar was a favorite goddess of the Assyrian kings, who styled her as “their lady,” and sometimes coupled her with Asshur, “the Great Lord,” in their invocations. Ishtar had a very old temple at Asshur, the primitive Assyrian capital, and this temple, Tiglath-Pileser I, repaired and beautified. (Clare IS. Ancient oriental nations, Volume 1 of The Unrivaled History of the World: Containing a Full and Complete Record of the Human Race from the Earliest Historical Period to the Present Time, Embracing a General Survey of the Progress of Mankind in National and Social Life, Civil Government, Religion, Literature, Science and Art. Unrivaled Publishing Co., 1889. Original from Indiana University, Digitized Feb 3, 2010p. 225).

Ishtar, also known as Easter/Oster/Ostern (the Germanic goddess of Springtime), long influenced the Assyrians and as well the modern Germans. Ishtar was the goddess of fertility and war. Ishtar also has ties to the ancient Babylonian mystery religion and Nimrod. She was also called Beltis. Belits was the wife of Bel-Nimrod. She was called “the Queen of Fertility” and also known as “the Great Mother” (similar to how some revere Mary, the mother of Jesus today) and essentially was also Ishtar in the Assyrian triad (Clare, pp. 222-223).

Bel, or Bel-Nimrod, according to the testimony of the Assyrian monuments, was worshiped as extensively in Assyria as in Chaldaea, and Babylonia. (Clare, p. 222)

What is the possible relevance of any of this?

The tying together of violent deities from Babylon to Assyria in the past suggests a possible connection in the future.

Why?

The Bible tells of a time where a leader with Assyrian ties (Isaiah 10:5-7) will rise up and destroy not a few nations. This leader is also the one called the King of the North. This final such leader will, according to the Bible, honor a violent god and he also will destroy many:

38 But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. 39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. 40 “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown…(Daniel 11:38-41)

What’s the Alla, Tyr, and Ishtar connection?

Precisely the distinguishing in Daniel 11:38 between the “god of fortresses” and “a god his fathers did not know.” The implication, to me at least, is that the “god of fortresses” is related to a “god” of violence that his fathers did know, like Alla, Tyr, and Ishtar.

And while there will also be a new “god” that the King of the North will honor, there will be some difference between his empire (Daniel 2:41-43 and the Babylonian one (Daniel 2:24, 36-37). It may be important to realize that the empire of this final King of the North is also called the “daughter Babylon” in scripture (Jeremiah 50:41-43), thus it must be somehow different, but with some Babylonian connections.

So, this information about the Babylonian warring connection of ancient deities tied in with biblical prophecy shows an additional apparent connection between ancient Babylon and the coming King of the North power.

It should be understood that although the coming King of the North will likely claim to be some type of Christian, the reality is that the historical record shows that the early professors of Christ would not participate in carnal warfare. It is only those whose faiths have stronger ties to warring deities than the true Christian God that do that.

For details on those and other prophecies, check out the following:

Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God What are some of the main differences? Are there any similarities? A video of related interest is titled: Islam: Any Christian Concerns or Similarities?
Germany’s Assyrian Roots Throughout History Are the Germanic peoples descended from Asshur of the Bible? Have there been real Christians in Germanic history? What about the “Holy Roman Empire”? There is also a You-Tube video sermon on this titled Germany’s Biblical Origins.
Germany in Biblical and Catholic Prophecy Does Assyria in the Bible equate to an end time power inhabiting the area of the old Roman Empire? What does prophecy say Germany will do and what does it say will happen to most of the German people? Here is a link to a video Is the USA Pushing Germany to Start WWIII?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? In the Spanish language check out ¿Quién es el Rey del Norte? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe? Here is a link to a video titled: Can You Prove that the Beast to Come is European?
European Technology and the Beast of Revelation Will the coming European Beast power would use and develop technology that will result in the taking over of the USA and its Anglo-Saxon allies? Is this possible? What does the Bible teach? Here is a related YouTube video: Military Technology and the Beast of Revelation.
Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? Some claim that these passages refer to a gathering of 10 currently existing nations together, while one group teaches that this is referring to 11 nations getting together. Is that what Revelation 17:12-13 refers to? The ramifications of misunderstanding this are enormous. A related sermon is titled Ten Kings of Revelation and the Great Tribulation.
Might German Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg become the King of the North? Is the former German Defense Minister (who is also the former German Minister for Economics and Technology) one to watch? What do Catholic, Byzantine, and biblical prophecies suggest?
Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians?

Scholar’s view on prophets for the 21st century

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016


Elijah in the wilderness

COGwriter

A reader emailed me the following from an assistant professor of biblical studies:

Examining the church’s prophetic role

People have mixed feelings about prophets. Some associate prophets with fanaticism, others view them as revolutionaries, preachers of a new world order. Others still might consider them experts on matters of the occult.

But who were the biblical prophets, and why do they matter for the life of the church in the 21st century?

Prophets rose in prominence during the time of the monarchy in ancient Israel, circa 1020-1000 BCE. The narrative of the monarchy’s rise is found in 1 Samuel 8-12. Scholars differ as to whether those chapters support or oppose the monarchy.

In this context, prophets performed a crucial function of counterbalancing royal power. A clear example of this function can be found in the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12). …

For speaking truth to power, many prophets were persecuted. Their unwavering attitude in face of their suffering became an example for first century Christians (Hebrews 11:32-38).

But what did the prophets mainly criticize? A common theme is disapproval of illicit gains. …

For Amos and Isaiah, religious activities unaccompanied by love of your neighbor are deemed meaningless and even contemptible. Isaiah 1:15 reads, “When you spread out your hands, I will close my eyes to you; when you multiply your prayer, I will not hear it; your hands are full of blood.” This last sentence carries an irony with it.

Normally, the hands of those offering sacrifices would be full of animal blood. However, in the context of Isaiah 1:15, it becomes clear the “blood” on their hands is a result of not caring for the destitute (Isaiah 1:17). The same message can be found in Amos 5:18-27 and in the post-exilic prophet Zechariah, chapters 7-8. For these prophets, worship has social implications and true worship must be accompanied by love of your neighbor.

In conclusion, the church has a prophetic role in this world. After all, the church is built on the foundation of the “prophets and apostles, with Christ as the cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20). More than any other institution, the church bears the responsibility of speaking truth to power and counterbalancing the powers that be.

A native of São Paulo Brazil, Wilson de Angelo Cunha is an assistant professor of biblical studies in the School of Theology and Vocation at LeTourneau University. He teaches Hebrew, biblical literature and primarily Old Testament courses. (Cuna W. Longview News-Journal, August 29, 2015).

Prophets denounced the sins of the people and their leaders.

In the past nearly four years, on behalf of the Continuing Church of God, I have been part of videos that denounce both the sins of people as well as sins of certain specific leaders:

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.
Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
Gambling and Sin: Is it a Sin for Christians to Gamble? What does the Bible reveal? A related video is Gambling: A Covetous Sin?
Tattoos: History and Biblical Teachings Would you like to know more about the history of tattoos, social concerns about tattoos, health risks of tattoos, and what the Bible teaches about them? Here is a related video titled Should Christians Get a Tattoo?
GMOs and Bible Prophecy What are GMOs? Since they were not in the food supply until 1994, how could they possibly relate to Bible prophecy? Do GMOs put the USA and others at risk? Here is a related YouTube video GMO Risks and the Bible.
Tithing Questions and Some Answers Answers questions about tithing and also addresses some non-biblical arguments against tithing. Should people tithe? Here is a link to a related video sermon Tithing Answers from the Bible.
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Is There Another View of Evolution? and another titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
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?
Abortion, the Bible, and a Woman’s Right to Choose Do you know what the Bible teaches on this? Has the Roman Catholic Church allowed abortions? What about the real Church of God? Some may also, or instead, wish to view the YouTube video Abortion, the Bible, and US Debt.
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There is also a YouTube video on this, titled Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children.
The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality? Can homosexuals change? A related video sermon is titled What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? Here is a link to a YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
Should Christians Smoke Tobacco or Marijuana? Is smoking a sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change? What about marijuana?
Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? There is increasing acceptance of the use of marijuana. How should Christians view this? Here is a related video titled How Should a Christian View Marijuana?
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.
Five Rules for Effective Parenting Do you know that there are five simple rules that can make you a more effective parent? Here is a link to a version in Mandarin Chinese 五条简单有效的子女养育规则. There is also a 12 1/2 minute English language YouTube video on this, also titled Five Rules for Effective Parenting.
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
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol?
Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? Here are some historical and biblical insight on this question. There are many cultures that have celebrations and observances that are similar to some associated with Halloween. What did the Druids do? Is Halloween one of the most important holidays for Satanists? Do the Japanese, Indians, and Chinese have any practices that are similar to some associated with Halloween? Does the Bible endorse or condemn practices that are associated with Halloween? Here is a related sermonette length video: International ‘Halloween’ Should Christians observe Halloween?
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?
The Bible and Astrology Should Christians avoid participating in astrology or did God inspire it? Does the Bible encourage astrology? What does the Bible actually teach? What is astrology? How does astrology differ from astronomy? A related video would be Should Christians Be Involved In Astrology?
NBC: ‘Exposed in Ashley Madison Hack? Here’s What to Do Now’ Adultery is wrong. A related video would be Ashley Madison: Your Sins Will Find You Out.
Taxes What caused the descendants of Israel to pay taxes? Should Christians pay taxes? If you prefer, or additionally, you could watch the video Should Christians Pay Taxes?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
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.
The Bible, Christians, and the Environment How should Christians view the environment? Does the Bible give any clues? What are some of the effects of air, water, and land pollution? Is environmental pollution a factor in autism and death? Do pollutants seem to double the autism risk? What will Jesus do? A YouTube video is available titled Air Pollution, Autism, and Prophecy.
Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? Pope Francis’ plans are misleading many. A related video is titled Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!
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?
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: 13 Ways President-Elect Trump is Apocalyptic.

Videos were also made denouncing improper prophetic positions of those who claim to be part of the Church of God:

What is Restrained and Who is Restraining in 2 Thessalonians 2:7? Are sorceries being restrained until the future? What is the mystery of lawlessness? Here is a related article in Spanish: ¿Qué es lo que se restringe y quién lo está restringiendo en 2 Tesalonicenses 2:7?
The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations? Some claim that these passages refer to a gathering of 10 currently existing nations together, while one group teaches that this is referring to 11 nations getting together. Is that what Revelation 17:12-13 refers to? The ramifications of misunderstanding this are enormous. A related sermon is titled Ten Kings of Revelation and the Great Tribulation.
Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising.

Wilson de Angelo Cunha is correct that there is still a need for prophets in the 21st century.

Many will not accept that–including most in the COGs.

Of course, there are many false prophets.

False predictions by Protestant-related leaders like Mark Biltz e.g. Knowledge of prophecy helps keep us vigilant, plus let’s us know that the world will not end with tonight’s blood moon), Jonathan Cahn (e.g. WND: Are you serious about ‘The Harbinger Man’ movie?), and the late Harold Camping quickly come to mind. Amongst those that claim to be COG, false predictions from Ronald Weinland, Gerald Flurry, and David Pack come to immediate mind. I should also add that the Laodicean COGs have a variety of inaccurate prophetic positions (watch, for example, 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy; a longer list is shown in the article The Laodicean Church Era).

The following is from a former Roman Catholic Mike Gendron’s newsletter regarding Pope Francis:

Beware of False Prophets in White Robes

As we watched the non-stop coverage of the pope’s visit to America last month, many of the scenes appeared to be apocalyptic. We saw multitudes of people flocking to get a glimpse of a mortal man who was unknown just three years ago. The national excitement for this false prophet was overwhelming as gullible people hung on his every word. It was heartbreaking to see such adoration given to a deceiver who holds people captive in his false religious system. Warnings from the true head of the church were ignored. The Lord Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mat. 7:15). Jesus said, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him” (John 5:43). Clearly, the pope did not come in the Father’s name, but he arrogantly wears the title reserved for the one and only “Holy Father” (John 17:11). Tragically, most Catholics do not know the Word of God, and their ignorance makes them easy prey for the worst kind of deception.

Pope Francis did not mention Jesus Christ a single time in his entire address to Congress, yet he claims to be the Vicar of Christ and the Head of Christ’s Church. Knowing that the Lord Jesus is the very foundation of the Christian faith, the pope’s omission speaks volumes about his worldly agenda. In a message the next day at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the pope did mention Jesus, but in a deceptively misleading way. He said, “We need to remember that we are followers of Jesus… and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.”

Where is the outrage among Roman Catholics? When will they awake from their stupor and run from this blasphemer? … How dare the pope say the life of Jesus ended in failure! The pope, and all other false prophets, are described by Jesus as thieves who come to steal and kill and destroy the sheep (John 10:10). The pope knows the difference between success and failure. No one has been more successful in directing people towards the wide road to destruction with his perverted gospel.

By the authority of God’s Word, we know the pope is under divine condemnation for preaching a gospel contrary to the Gospel of God. The apostle Paul warned us: “There are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:6-9).

The pontiff is not a true prophet of God. Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?

Sadly, because of false prophets and false predictions, people are unwilling to realize that God is not finished using prophets and uses at least one now (cf. Joel 2:28; Ephesians 4;11). But all who do so, do so to their own peril (cf. 2 Peter 3:2-3; Revelation 3:14-18).

Norman Edwards, former board member of the old Global Church of God pointed out:

1Jo 4:1-2 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

Note: If there were no true prophets, there would be no need to “test the spirits”—because every prophet would be a “false prophet”. But because there are both true prophets and false prophets, we need to “test the spirits”. (Edwards N. Need Prophets More than Prophecy. Shepherd’s Voice, Fall 2013)

Instead of being “cold,’ following false prophets, most in the end times will not be ‘hot,’ they will rationalize that it is ‘safer’ to not recognize anyone as a prophet of God, hence they will be lukewarm.

Jesus said:

15 … I could wish you were cold or hot.  16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:19)

The Bible teaches that God will have prophets in the 21st century (cf. Acts 2:17-18; see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God). Those who prefer to be lukewarm are advised to change, quickly.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets, yet many overlook what the Bible teaches about how to recognize a true one. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? This article contains a scripture-based checklist to assist with this determination.
How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God This is a sermon on YouTube addressing a subject that most in the Church of God do not seem to have looked into very much. It discusses scriptures and dispels some improper assertions that some associated with the COG have made about prophets in this time.
Elijah: Past and Prophesied Information about the original Elijah and some information about the Elijah-related prophecies.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are  available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?
There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them.
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind? There is also a YouTube video with information Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
Protestant and Church of God views of the United States in Bible Prophecy Is the USA mentioned in Bible prophecy? Some Protestants say yes, while others say no. What does the Bible really teach? Learn the truth about this. There is also a video available: Is The United States Mentioned In Bible Prophecy?
Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors What are some errors that various Protestants hold to that will tend to prevent them from knowing when the Great Tribulation will begin? A related video is titled Ten Dangerous Protestant Prophetic Errors.
The Dangerous Rise of Preterists Has the Great Tribulation finished? What was the view of early Christians? Why is the preterist view dangerous? A related sermon video is titled Preterism: You’ve Gotta Be Kidding…Right?
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
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?
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here is a sermon Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?

The ‘fruits’ of teaching a pre-tribulation rapture

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

The above photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki reflect what pre-tribulation rapturists hope to miss

COGwriter

Is there a pre-tribulation rapture of the church? No, not according to scripture.

Nor even sources such as Joseph Swank:

Preaching a pre-tribulation rapture weakens the church

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., is a pastor at New Hope Church in Windham, Maine, and is the author of five books and thousands of articles that have appeared in various Protestant and Catholic publications. He has BA and MDiv degrees, with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School.

Mark it down as biblical truth: There is no pre-tribulation rapture. However, untold thousands believe in the “secret rapture of the church” prior to the tribulation period. This is because untold thousands don’t want to have to think of suffering through a tribulation time frame. The late Corrie ten Boom called this pre-trib rapture teaching the “American doctrine.” Go figure. The belief in a secret rapture of believers before the tribulation is also because of a best-seller, “The Late, Great Planet Earth,” by Hal Lindsey which was set loose in the l960s. It has been a paperback aggressively pushed by practically every evangelical / fundamentalist engine going. Theologians, videos, films and preachers bolster up this myth with their earnest preachings and teachings. Yet this is nothing but a myth, accented as much by certain theologically conservative Protestant segments similar unto the Roman Catholic underlining of the immaculate conception of Mary. Nevertheless, if there is no biblical support for such a Mariology teaching, it is bogus. Likewise, the pre-tribulation rapture teaching is bogus. The pre-trib rapture concept was manufactured in the 1800s in an 18 year old Plymouth Brethren girl’s dream, told to her Pastor, John Darby, and then relayed to C. I. Scofield who bought into the dream as revealed truth. Scofield placed this pre-tribulation rapture notion as a footnote in his popular Bible, hence the spread of the myth. However, just the opposite is biblical truth. In Matthew 24:29-3l, for instance, the rapture (“gathering together”) is placed in the same time frame as the open second coming of Jesus Christ. And all of this is “after the tribulation” (verse 29). That is it in a nutshell! Yet pre-tribulation rapturists sidestep this clear passage for more oblique passages. The latter are twisted and turned in order to fit into the “American doctrine.” Yet such twisting is not sound exegesis. And for biblically-riveted evangelicals and fundamentalists to commit this drastic error is bordering on the horrific. All other passages in Scripture relating to the “gathering together unto Him” must refer back to the literal time line provided by Jesus in Matthew 24. One must not use a symbolic passage in the Book of Revelation or any other symbolically-based section of the Bible by which to draw a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine. Further, one must not take words of the apostle Paul so as to insert them opportunistically into a conjured pre-tribulation string of Scripture references. Yet this has been done ad infinitum.

So, a Protestant minister and theologian has reported that the there is no pre-tribulation rapture, that this teaching is a myth, and that it hurts Protestants. He is correct on all of that.

The fruits of false doctrines are not good. In the case of the false pre-tribulation rapture, it gets people to think that they do not need to be concerned about prophecy, because God will pull them out before the Great Tribulation begins and place them in heaven. But this is false. Believing in the pre-tribulation rapture gets people to not take the steps in their lives to prepare for what is coming in this age nor the next. It gets people to accept false tradition over what the Bible actually teaches.

I once went through all the scriptures that two pre-tribulation rapturists listed as proof of their position (see Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected). If they would have quoted those scriptures, instead of simply listing them, those interested in the truth would have more easily seen the error of their positions.

While the Bible does promise protection during the Great Tribulation for the Philadelphian Christians, all Christians are NOT promised protection during that time. Notice the following passages of scripture that prove this:

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

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

25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High,
Shall persecute the saints of the Most High,
And shall intend to change times and law.
Then the saints shall be given into his hand
For a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)

Some Christians can be protected, but it will not be most. Notice something that Jesus taught:

36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

Are you doing that? Have you properly decided to support the Philadelphian COG which is leading the final phase of the work? If not, you may be among those who will not be subject to protection.

The solution to humanities problems is NOT a non-existent pre-tribulation rapture, but the kingdom of God.

Those who wish to know more about the truth on this subject and how God will protect the Philadelphia remnant of His church may wish to study the following:

There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
This is PETRA! This is a 1962 Good News article by the late Dr. Hoeh.
Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture? Did the Bible teach that Jesus raptures Christians prior to the start of the Great Tribulation? What did Jesus Himself teach? Do the scriptural passages that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins point to prove their left behind pre-tribulation rapture assertions? Do all Christians get protected from the Great Tribulation? Who does the Bible teach will get protected? Is the Great Tribulation the ‘wrath to come’ that Christians are promised protection from? This is a video.
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind?
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? A related sermon is titled The Millennium.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
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.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
World War III: Steps in Progress Are there surprising actions going on now that are leading to WWIII? Might a nuclear attack be expected? Does the Bible promise protection to all or only some Christians? How can you be part of those that will be protected? A related video would be Is World War III About to Begin? Can You Escape?
Laodicean Warning for God’s People Is there really a place of safety? Do God’s people need to be warned? Warned for what?
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.

Peter, Paul, and 7 ‘myths’

Friday, November 18th, 2016


Vatican City (photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Today, is celebrated by various Catholics of Rome as the feast of the dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul–both of which I have visited. The one known as St. Peter’s Basilica is in Vatican City and is claimed to have the remains of the Apostle Peter.

Part of this is based upon the claim that Peter died in Rome.

What about Peter’s death? Notice what the Rheims New Testament records that Peter wrote just prior to it:

14. Being certain that the laying away of my tabernacle is at hand, according as our Lord
JESUS Christ also signified to me.
15. And I will do my diligence, you to have often after my decease also, that you may keep
a memory of these things.
16. For, not having followed unlearned fables, have we made the power and ‘presence’
of our Lord JESUS Christ known to you: but made beholders of his greatness.
17. For, he receiving from God his father honour and glory, this manner of voice coming
down to him from the magnifical glory, This is my beloved son in whom I have pleased
myself, hear him
.
18. And this voice we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy
mount. (II Peter 1:14-18).

This is problematic as far as Rome is concerned. The reason is that the above passage seems to be teaching that John was still with Peter (John was part of the “we heard”). This is indirectly acknowledged by the ANNOTATIONS from Chapter 1 of I Peter from the Rheims New Testament of 1582 on page 515 as it states:

c By this it is plain, that either John, James, or Peter must be the author of this epistle, for these three only
were present at the Transfiguration. Matt. 17:1

Since the particular above James is believed to have been killed by 39 A.D. in Judea (Acts 12:1), either Peter died near then (which he did not, he died around three or so decades later) or the Apostle John must have still been with Peter. And since there is no evidence that the Apostle John went to Rome in the 60s A.D., the available evidence (including from Roman Catholic sources) suggests that John was in Jerusalem or Asia Minor at that time. Plus, if John was in Jerusalem or Asia Minor then, since Peter seems to be claiming that John was with him, then Peter would have been in Jerusalem or Asia Minor just prior to his death. Hence, to claim that Peter spent much time in Rome or died in Rome seems to be inconsistent with the biblical record.

The place of Peter’s burial is also controversial.

Essentially according to the Quo Vadis legend, Peter was buried in Rome. However, that account was not written until over a century after Peter died.

But there was something else that some have pointed to:

It is not before around 160 CE that we see some kind of interest by Roman Christians in the site by the construction a simple monument that consisted of a niche and a courtyard (the Tropaion Gaii). The monument was probably used for gatherings, but not as a marker as an individual grave, since memory of Peter’s original burying place was lost by the time the Tropaion was erected. The existence of the Tropaion did not result in the development of a Christian burial site, but was integrated into a middle-class non-Christian burial street. Only in the age of Constantine the site was firmly and finally taken over by Christians, thereby obliterating all earlier traces of burial activity apart from the immediate space around the Tropaion. ( Zangenberg, Jürgen; Labahn, Michael. Christians as a religious minority in a multicultural city: modes of interaction and identity formation in early Imperial Rome : studies on the basis of a seminar at the second conference of the European Association for Biblical Studies (EABS) from July 8-12, 2001, in Rome. Volume 243 of Journal for the study of the New Testament Library of New Testament Studies, the Series European studies on Christian origins. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004, p. 132)

Furthermore that site must not have been accepted originally as, according to the Liber Pontificalis (the Book of Popes), it was Roman bishop Cornelius who supposedly moved the body of Peter to its present location (nearly two centuries after Peter died). Here is one written account:

XXII Cornelius (Pope 251-253)…He during his pontificate at the request of a certain matron Lucina, took up the bodies of the apostles, blessed Peter and Paul up out of the catacombs by night; first the body of blessed Paul was received by the blessed Lucina] and laid in her own garden on the Via Ostiensis, near the place where he was beheaded; the body of the blessed Peter was received by the blessed Cornelius, the bishop, and laid near to the place where he was crucified, among the bodies of the holy bishops, in the shrine of Apollo, on the Mons Aureus, in the Batican, by the palace of Nero, on June 29. (Translated by Louise Ropes Loomis. The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis. Originally published by Columbia University Press, NY 1916. 2006 edition by Evolution Publishing, Merchantville (NJ), pp. 25-26).

Hence, one of the earliest Catholic writings attempting to demonstrate that Rome had a series of early bishops/popes states that Peter was NOT originally buried in Rome. There would be no point in moving Peter’s body if people actually had believed that the Tropaion Gaii marked the spot.

Interestingly the conclusion of the one who supposedly identified the body of Peter in Vatican Hill was that he was not convinced it was Peter:

Antonio Ferrua …was the Jesuit archaeologist responsible for uncovering what is believed to be the tomb of St Peter in the grottoes under St Peter’s Basilica in Rome…Ferrua’s discovery came, however, quite by chance. In 1939 Pope Pius XI died and plans were made to bury him beside Pius X in the crypt below the basilica. But when workmen began to dig under St Peter’s they came upon the floor of Constantine’s original basilica, beneath which was a necropolis, a street of Roman tombs dating from the 2nd century AD…Under the supervision of Monsignor Ludwig Kaas, the Administrator of St Peter’s, the Vatican appointed four archaeologists, including Ferrua, to investigate the tombs…Ferrua’s discovery was shrouded in controversy; in 1953, after the death of Monsignor Kaas, it was revealed by a workman that he had discovered some other bones which Kaas had ordered to be removed from the repository and stored at the Vatican. When these were later identified as the remains of an elderly man, it was concluded that these were the bones of the saint. “The relics of St Peter,” announced Pope Paul VI on June 26 1968, “have been identified in a manner which we believe convincing”; the following day, after a ceremony in front of the aedicula, the remains were restored to the repository.

Ferrua was more circumspect. Aware of the scepticism that surrounded even the analysis of the Greek fragment – which others had read as Petros endei or “Peter is not here” – he recently told the Italian Catholic newspaper L’Avvenire that he was “not convinced” that the saint’s bones had been found…A man of deep faith, Ferrua was a rigorous scholar, much admired for his refusal to allow his beliefs to compromise his work (The Rev Antonio Ferrua. Telegraph, London – May 29, 2003 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1431338/The-Rev-Antonio-Ferrua.html viewed 07/20/09).

Thus, the one credited for finding Peter’s body was unconvinced by the evidence he had investigated.

It should be noted that there is also the view that Peter died in Judea and was interred in the Mount of Olives—an ossuary box bearing the inscription “Shimon Bar Jonah” has been found and some believe it may be referring to the Simon Bar-Jonah (Fingegan J. The Archaeology of the New Testament. Princeton: Princeton University Press, reprt 1979, pp. 359-375) that became the Apostle Peter as per Matthew 16:17—and although that is inconclusive, it is probably stronger contemporary “evidence” than Rome seems to have as Peter’s original burial site.

Here is some limited information about it written by F. Paul Peterson in 1960, edited by James Tabor, and somewhat shortened by me:

While visiting a friend in Switzerland, I heard of what seemed to me, one of the greatest discoveries since the time of Christ—that Peter was buried in Jerusalem and not in Rome…

After talking to many priests and investigating various sources of information, I finally was greatly rewarded by learning where I could buy the only known book on the subject, which was also written in Italian. It is called, “Gli Scavi del Dominus Flevit”, printed in 1958 at the Tipografia del PP. Francescani, in Jerusalem. It was written by P. B. Bagatti and J. T. Milik, both Roman Catholic priests…

In Jerusalem I spoke to many Franciscan priests who all read, finally, though reluctantly, that the bones of Simon Bar Jona (St. Peter) were found in Jerusalem, on the Franciscan monastery site called, “Dominus Flevit” (where Jesus was supposed to have wept over Jerusalem), on the Mount of Olives…the names of Christian Biblical characters were found on the ossuaries (bone boxes). The names of Mary and Martha were found on one box and right next to it was one with the name of Lazarus, their brother. Other names of early Christians were found on other boxes. Of greatest interest, however, was that which was found within twelve feet from the place where the remains of Mary, Martha and Lazarus were found—the remains of St. Peter. They were found in an ossuary, on the outside of which was clearly and beautifully written in Aramaic, “Simon Bar Jona”…

Then I asked, “Does Father Bagatti (co-writer of the book in Italian on the subject, and archaeologist) really believe that those are the bones of St. Peter?” “Yes, he does,” was the reply. Then I asked, “But what does the Pope think of all this?” That was a thousand dollar question and he gave me a million dollar answer. “Well,” he confidentially answered in a hushed voice, “Father Bagatti told me personally that three years ago he went to the Pope (Pius XII) in Rome and showed him the evidence and the Pope said to him, ‘Well, we will have to make some changes, but for the time being, keep this thing quiet’.” In awe I asked also in a subdued voice, “So the Pope really believes that those are the bones of St. Peter?” “Yes,” was his answer. “The documentary evidence is there, he could not help but believe.” …

I did not have the opportunity to see priest Bagatti while in Jerusalem. I wrote to him, however, on March 15, 1960, as follows: “I have spoken with a number of Franciscan priests and monks and they have told me about you and the book of which you are a co-writer. I had hoped to see you and to compliment you on such a great discovery, but time would not permit. Having heard so much about you and that you are an archaeologist (with the evidence in hand), I was convinced, with you, concerning the ancient burial ground that the remains found in the ossuary with the name on it, ‘Simon Bar Jona’, written in Aramaic, were those of St. Peter.” It is remarkable that in his reply he did not contradict my statement, which he certainly would have done if he honestly could have done so. “I was very much convinced with you – … that the remains found in the ossuary … were those of St. Peter.” This confirms the talk I had with the Franciscan monk in Bethlehem and the story he told me of Priest Bagatti’s going to the Pope with the evidence concerning the bones of St. Peter in Jerusalem. In his letter one can see that he is careful because of the Pope’s admonition to keep this discovery quiet. (Peterson F. Paul. Saint Peter’s Tomb: The Discovery of Peter’s Tomb in Jerusalem in 1953. http://www.jesusdynasty.com/blog/2007/04/03/has-the-ossuary-of-simon-peter-aka-simeon-son-of-jonah-been-found/ viewed 02/17/11)

The Jerusalem burial of Peter is not currently taught by the Church of Rome. Thus, it appears to me, at least, that scholars (including Catholic ones) tend to understand that it is questionable if Peter was buried in Rome and if his body is actually in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (see also What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?).

A while back related to Catholic ‘myths,’ Zenit.org, a pro-Vatican news source, reported the following:

Much of the hostility towards the Catholic Church is based on ignorance and prejudice. This is the argument of Christopher Kaczor in his recent book, “The Seven Big Myths About the Catholic Church,” (Ignatius Press).A professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Kaczor started by pointing out that the Church is made up of both saints and sinners and that mistakes in governance can indeed occur…

The first myth examined by the book is the idea that religion and science are in conflict with each other…The second myth is that the Church opposes freedom and happiness by saying no to a number of actions…The idea that the Church hates women is another myth addressed in the book…The issue of homosexuality, and the argument by some that the Church hates homosexuals, is another myth dealt with by Kaczor. http://www.zenit.org/article-35978?l=english

Before going further, I would state that true science and true religion are not in conflict with each other.

Now as far as myths FROM the Roman Catholic Church, there are many (and some are not accepted by its top leadership, though commonly held).

Since Zenit mentioned seven myths about Catholics, let us briefly list seven ‘Roman Catholic’ myths:

  1. The Roman Catholic Church is the original church and became that way when the Apostle Peter was in Rome. The Bible never suggests that, nor is there absolute proof the Apostle Peter was ever even in Rome (and even if he was, he spent the bulk of his time elsewhere). For details, please see the article Peter and Rome.
  2. The Church of Rome has apostolic succession from Peter to Linus to Cletus to Clement to Evaristus. The fact is that Roman Catholic scholars know this is essentially wishful thinking based upon later traditions. For details, please see What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? and Apostolic Succession.
  3. The Church of Rome never changes. This is thoroughly disproved by many documents. A detailed article on many doctrinal changes that the Roman Catholic Church adopted are proven in the article Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?
  4. The Church of Rome gave the world the Bible. No, the Bible as we know it came from Asia Minor. The fact that it took the Church of Rome centuries to finally settle on the books as the Apostle John finalized and his successors verified proves that Rome was not the source of the Bible. For details, please see The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History and The Old Testament Canon.
  5. The Church of Rome is the original “catholic church.” The first time the term “catholic church” is clearly found in theological writings, it was used in a letter to the Church of God in Smyrna and was not a reference to Rome. Yet, even though the Church of Rome teaches that the church in Smyrna was led by a variety of leaders it considers to be saints, the Church of Rome does not hold to the same teachings that the Church of God in Smyrna held to–instead it now strongly condemns some of those beliefs. For details, please see The Smyrna Church Era, Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter, Thraseas, and Papirius of Smyrna.
  6. Christian leaders wore mitres and dressed like the modern Catholic clergy. While the Vatican does not teach this directly, the average member seems to accept the dress of the Catholic clergy as nearly sacred. Yet, no early leader dressed like that and even in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Vatican City, none of the early apostles is portrayed wearing mitres, etc. For additional proof, please see the article Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was their Dress?
  7. The Church of Rome has the creed of the apostles. No, history, as verified by Catholic scholars, disproves this. For details, please see What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed?

The original faithful Church was in Jerusalem and over time the location of its main leaders shifted to Asia Minor and then elsewhere (this can be demonstrated by studying the historical and biblical references in Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome).

Because many who profess Christ, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant, to name three groups, do not understand the truth about Church history (see The History of Early Christianity for an overview), most believe myths about it (as well as what God’s plan is).

It is only the true Church of God that has the type of spiritual succession and continuity to the original faith of the apostles that those associated with the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic faiths claim to have.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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.
Peter and Rome He was an original apostle and early Christian leader. Where was Peter buried? Where did Peter die?
The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
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?
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was their Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
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?

Temple Institute’s ‘foundation stone’ views are in error

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

COGwriter

A few years ago, I was able to visit the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. While I was somewhat familiar with this group, I had not fully understood certain aspects of its position related to the Temple Mount until I watched a presentation there.

The Temple Institute believes that it must clear the Temple Mount of Islamic structures:

When will the reconstruction of the Holy Temple Commence?

There are two approaches to answering this question.

One approach is based on the geo-political dynamics of the Temple Mount, and the other approach is based on the desire of the nation of Israel and her fellow nations to rebuild the Holy Temple.

Geo-politically, the Temple Mount has to be cleared of the Dome of the Rock and the mosques which are presently located upon it before the physical rebuilding of the Holy Temple can begin. Many scenarios can be imagined which would accomplish this, the most promising, and not necessarily the most far-fetched, would entail Moslem recognition of the Mount as the intended location for the rebuilt Temple. With the acquiescence of the Moslem world the Moslem structures currently on the Mount would be disassembled and reassembled elsewhere. (http://www.templeinstitute.org/frequently-asked-questions.htm viewed 11/10/13)

Of course, the Muslims are not interested in getting their famous Dome of the Rock and their mosques removed. So, that is not likely, even after a war. That is part of why I have long understood that the Jews would be willing to resume animal sacrifices without the rebuilding of a full Jewish Temple–and that is consistent with the Bible (Ezra 3:6) as well as the position of certain Jewish leaders, such as those in the reconstituted Sanhedrin (see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?) and even some at the Temple Institute.

But the following was something I had not fully understood that the Temple Institute had before visiting:

Our sages teach that the stone under the Dome of the Rock is called the “Foundation Stone,” for it is the very foundation of creation. It is the spiritual center of the world and the starting point of creation; all the prayers of all mankind assemble in this place before ascending on high to G-d. It was here that the Ark of the Covenant was placed within the Holy of Holies.(The “Foundation Stone” of Creation. http://www.templeinstitute.org/ctl_articles_2.htm viewed 11/10/13)

Being the King of the Universe, God could have chosen any location in the universe “to place His name,” “to dwell,” and “to rest His presence.” Where did He chose do to this? Jerusalem, and more precisely, the Temple Mount. (Deuteronomy 12:5, I Kings 8:29 & 11:36, Isaiah 37:16 & 60:13, Ezekiel 43:7, Zechariah 8:3, Joel 4:17, Psalm 32:13) If God is incorporeal and omniscient, why or even how could there be a precise location for His Presence to dwell? Couldn’t Rabbi Nachman have directed his sentiments anywhere, since God is everywhere? Yes, God is everywhere. Yet He chose to manifest Himself more intensely and to associate His Name with one specific place, Jerusalem. And even more precisely, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

“In many places, when speaking of the Jerusalem, the Torah calls it, ‘The place that G-d will choose to make His Name dwell there.’ To the extent that we can understand it, this means that G-d associates Himself with this place. This is very difficult for the human mind to comprehend, and indeed, Solomon, the wisest of all men, found it impossible to understand. He thus said to G-d, ‘Behold, the heavens and the heavens of Heaven cannot contain you, how much less this House that I have built’ (1-Kings 8:27). Yet, he knew that G-d had somehow associated Himself with this place, as G-d Himself had proclaimed.” Aryeh Kaplan

The Temple Mount, where God chose to place His Name, is literally the point of creation; the place where the physical realm came into existence. And it is the place where everything we can’t see, i.e. the spiritual world, attaches itself to the physical. It is literally the portal between heaven and the earth. This precise point of creation on the Temple Mount is called the Even Shetiyah, the Foundation Stone.

It appears to me that the primeval point which G-d created out of nothing is what the sages called the foundation stone from where the world was founded.” – Nachmanides, Commentary to the Torah, Genesis 1,1

“When the Holy One, blessed is He, created His world, He created it like an infant born from its mother. For a fetus born from the mother, begins from its navel and expands outward to all four directions so too, the Holy One, blessed is He, began to create the world from the Foundation Stone and from that, the entire world was established.” – Midrash Tanchuma – Pikudei #3

Jacob saw a vision of this primeval point of creation that links heaven and earth. His vision is famously known as “Jacob’s ladder” and is recorded in Genesis 28.

Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He encountered the place and spent the night . . . he took from the stones of the place which he arranged around his head, and lay down in that place. And he dreamt, and behold! A ladder was set earthward and its top reached heavenward; and behold! Angels of God were ascending and descending on it . . . Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely Hashem is present in this place and I did not know! And he became frightened and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God and this is the gate of the heavens! Jacob arose early in the morning and took the stone that he placed around his head and set it up as a pillar; and poured oil on its top . . . and said this stone which I have set up as a pillar shall become a House of God.

Did you catch that? Even prior to the Temple standing, Jacob called the Temple Mount the “abode of God” and “the gate of the heavens.”…

Yet at the same time what an apt name – the place – as if it is the only place of real significance in the world. Jacob slept at the precise location of the future altar of the Holy Temple. No wonder it was the place where Adam, Cain, Abel, and Noah made sacrifices, according to Pirke de Rabbi Eliezar 31. And it was the place where Abraham bound Isaac to the altar. In fact the 12 stones Jacob gathered around his head before he slept came from the altar Abraham made and bound Isaac upon (A call to remember. August 5, 2013. http://www.templeinstitute.org/a-call-to-remember.htm)

They are placed on the Foundation Stone, the Even Shtiya, of the Temple Mount, the Holy of Holies. We Jews know that upon it, Yitzhak was bound, it was purchased by David from Aravna and over it Solomonn built the First Temple. (Medad Y. A Found(dation) Stone Lost. June 29, 2102; reprinted from Jerusalem Post Blogs. http://www.templeinstitute.org/archive/29-06-12.htm viewed 11/10/13)

So, claiming that this comes from the Bible as well as Jewish tradition, the Temple Institute claims that the stone that Jacob used as a pillar was the foundation for the creation of the world, and because of that, the Muslim structure must be removed from the Temple Mount area and a Jewish temple build there.

Here is what the Bible records about Jacob, the stone, and the related dream:

10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. 22 And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” (Genesis 28:10-22)

The Bible does not seem to place the creation importance on this particular stone itself that the Temple Institute places on it. It does NOT teach that this same stone was used by Adam, Cain, Abel, and Noah.

Jesus warned that the Jews sometimes relied on their own traditions above the Bible (Mark 7:9-13) and that is what the Temple Institute seems to be doing in some instances (see also The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World; here is a related video The Red Heifer and the End of the World).

That being said, the Temple Institute is preparing to perform animal sacrifices, has given statements showing that it is willing to do them without a new temple being built (only an altar and some implements with a Levite are biblically-required per scripture, and the Temple Institute has basically claimed to have all of that).

The Bible teaches that animal sacrifices will stop (Daniel 9:27; 11:31), which means that they first must start. And irrespective of Jewish traditions about a foundational stone, the Temple Institute and others have indicated a willingness to start the sacrifices when allowed. And that may very well happen after some type of peace deal is confirmed in the Middle East (cf. Daniel 9:27; see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).

Now, getting back to the stone itself, there are other legends/traditions as well. Some (Jews and non-Jews) believe that David purchased it based upon the following account from the Bible:

18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground.

21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”

22 Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.”

And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel. (2 Samuel 24:18-25)

Since this is a place that David sacrificed, if the stone was there, David could have purchased it.

While the Temple Institute seems to believe that the stone is below ground in the Temple Mount area, others have other views. Notice the following:

The Stone of Scone, more commonly known as the Stone of Destiny or the Coronation Stone (though the former name sometimes refers to Lia Fáil) is a block of sandstone historically kept at the now-ruined abbey in Scone, near Perth. It is also known as Jacob’s Pillow Stone, Jacob’s Pillar Stone and as the Tanist Stone.

Traditionally, it is supposed to be the stone which Jacob used as a pillow. It was originally supposed to have been used as the Coronation Stone of the early Dalriada Scots when they lived in Ireland…

In 1996 the British Government decided that the Stone should be kept in Scotland when not in use at coronations, and on November 15, 1996, after a handover ceremony at the Border between representatives of the Home Office and of the Scottish Office, it was returned to Scotland and transported to Edinburgh Castle where it remains…

In the story of the threshing floor of Arvana, the story of the dedication of Jerusalem in the days of David, as it is told in the book of Divrei Hayamim (Chronicles), we find a verse that has no parallel in chapter 24 of Shmuel II, which is the original source for the compiler of Divrei Hayamim: “And David said: This is the house of God and this is the sacrificial altar for Israel” (Divrei Hayamim I 22:1). The phraseology is very similar to that of Jacob in the story of the ladder (“This is none other than the house of the Lord and this is the gate of heaven” [verse 17]), and it seems that this is an attempt to identify various places of ceremonial significance, Beit-El and Jerusalem, as one place. (Palgren H. Stone of Scone – Stone of Destiny – Jacob’s Pillow/Pillar Stone – BabyLon(don) & Rennes Le Chateau. October 1, 2005. http://www.redicecreations.com/winterwonderland/stoneofscone.html viewed 11/10/13)

We have seen a late work on prophecy gravely affirming that the Prophet Jeremiah died in Ireland, having been forced hither by the wandering sons of Ephraim. One of the few unquestionable facts connected with early Irish history, is the intercourse between Ireland and the Phoenicians, through Spain. The Israelitish settlers, according to the tradition, carried with them Jacob’s pillow or pillar, known as the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny, which secured a perpetual monarchy to the people so happy as to possess it. This stone, at the crowning of the first king of the Scots in Scotland, was borrowed… (The Christian remembrancer; or, The Churchman’s Biblical, ecclesiastical & literary miscellany. 1864. Original from Oxford University, Digitized, Oct 5, 2006, p. 2).

I have seen what is supposed to be the above stone (it was in England when I saw it in 1992, but it moved to Scotland). Historically, many COG groups that had leaders in the old Worldwide Church of God, have tended to believe that Jacob’s stone is the Stone of Destiny that is currently in Scotland (but there is controversy–some believe the real stone is lost/hidden and a replacement is what is now in Scotland).

Other stones that may have had biblical usage may, however, very well have been part of the first or second temples in Jerusalem.

Some stones from the second temple were believed to be moved to build what seems to have been the first Christian church building in Jerusalem (see Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill). While this building might relate to one that the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2 may end up in, it would not yet seem to be a place that animal sacrifices would begin in–especially since the Temple Institute has another location in mind. That being said, because of traditions that this building is above the tomb of David and the ark of the covenant (many discount that, but others disagree, see also Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill), if additional archaeological evidence surfaces to support this (or some other location related to David, the ark of the covenant, or the temple), groups like the Temple Institute may change their location ideas.

Be that as it may, since the Bible teaches that animal sacrifices will stop (Daniel 9:27; 11:31), they must first resume. And currently this most likely is in the Temple Mount area (though there are other possible locations). This resumption of animal sacrifices is something that the Temple Institute may well be involved in–and they mainly only need permission from Israeli authorities to do so. One person there reported to one of our sons that this could be done within hours of getting permission.

And getting that permission is not impossible. Though it may well take a war, peace deal, and/or political gridlock for that to happen. But it will come to pass as the Bible teaches.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here is a related video in English The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building?
Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications? After a 20 year negotiation, the Church of Rome has negotiated the right to have Catholic mass in the building known as the Cenacle. It is in the area where the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill once stood. This is believed to be the location of the earliest Christian church building. How does the Bible define the ‘temple of God’ in the New Testament? Could this be the area where the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God’ that Bible prophecy discusses in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? This is a YouTube video.
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There is also a related YouTube video you can watch titled Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel.

Sermon: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Right and Wrong Teachings?

Saturday, November 12th, 2016


COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:


1:15:23

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Right and Wrong Teachings?

When did the Jehovah’s Witnesses start? What do they teach? Are they correct that the Greco-Roman churches were affected by apostasy early on? Are any of their doctrines right? Are any of their doctrines wrong? What about their position on 1914? How should you deal with any who might come to your door? In this sermon, Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more.

Here is a link to the sermon: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Right and Wrong Teachings?

Some items of related interest may include:

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?
Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? Or did they have a different view?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Many, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, claim it was, but was it?
Did the Archangel Michael become Jesus? The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this, but does the Bible allow for this?
Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning This is a longer article than the Binitarian View article, and has a little more information on binitarianism, and less about unitarianism. A related sermon is also available: Binitarian view of the Godhead.
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.
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, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos.

Church of Rome’s ‘Holy Relics Day’

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016


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

COGwriter

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

Feast of the Holy Relics

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

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

Holy relics?

There are a few points to consider.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice some of what Tertullian wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One Protestant scholar noted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please check out the following:

What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did Catholic and Orthodox “saints” endorse or condemn idols and icons for Christians?
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? A related YouTube video would be Origin of the Cross.
Fatima Shock! What the Vatican Does Not Want You to Know About Fatima, Dogmas of Mary, and Future Apparitions. Whether or not you believe anything happened at Fatima, if you live long enough, you will be affected by its ramifications (cf. Isaiah 47; Revelation 17). Fatima Shock! provides concerned Christians with enough Catholic-documented facts to effectively counter every false Marian argument.
Fatima Shock! YouTube Dr. Thiel highlights a few points of why no one would support Fatima, etc. as discussed in the documented book Fatima Shock!
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final Antichrist? Here is a related YouTube video The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman”.
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? Former Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is now Pope Francis. According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? This is a YouTube video.
Why Should American Catholics Should Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. 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.

Are Signs and Wonders ‘proof’ that the Eastern Orthodox are apostolic?

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Orthodox Church, Santorini (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Some time back, I received an email that included the following information:

I saw you writing about Orthodox Church.
I don’t know if you are aware but the yearly miracles of Early Church like Holy Light, Jordan River going back, Cloud on Mount Tabor and such happen yearly in Orthodox Church until today…You may not know, but like prophets of Old Time Orthodoxs today have a way of speaking with God., namely Jesus prayer.

Anyway, there was a recommended website in the email which I visited.

The website had a photo that someone claims includes an angel. And this is supposed to be part of the proof of the validity of Eastern Orthodoxy. After discussing the “miracles” and selected abbreviated histories, the website also states:

The general idea is that Protestants and Catholics should clearly look into coming home at Orthodox Church.

Well, there are three problems with the above statement.

The first is that the Roman Catholics and Protestants claim to have a variety of signs and wonders themselves. But some “Catholics” who had visions, stigmatas, and other visible signs also made pronouncements, supposedly on God’s authority, that were clearly later shown to be false.

Notice one such example concerning Therese Neumann:

Therese Neumann (1898-1962) mystic and stigmatist of Germany. She did not eat, drink, sleep, or have body functions for 40 years–a well documented fact in light of being so contemporary. She lived solely on the Eucharist. When asked in 1945 after World War II if America would ever be destroyed or invaded by war, she responded,

“No, at the end of this century America will be destroyed economically by natural disasters.” (Flynn Ted and Mary. The Thunder of Justice. MaxKol Communications, Inc. Sterling (VA), 1993, p. A259)

The Protestants have their own problems with signs and wonders which I will not now go into here.

The second problem is that the Orthodox themselves teach that they should not be swayed by signs and wonders, even if they supposedly involve apparitions of Mary (who the Orthodox clearly venerate). Here is what one Orthodox priest wrote:

Given these Roman Catholic “evangelistic methods” of more than a century ago, it is it any wonder that contemporary “apparitions” of Mary are invariably accompanied by ecumenistic messages promoting the idea that all religions are equally valid and Orthodox Christianity is but one “path” among many?…

Today, as heterodox Christians become more and more ecumenist and work toward creating a “One World Church,” the search has begun for a Mary of universal recognition, one who will appeal not only to those who bear the name Christian, but apprently to Muslims and others as well, just as attempts are likewise being made to identify the “new Christ” with the Muslim concept of their coming Mahdi and with the Messiah still awaited by the Jews. This, of course, will be no Christ at all but the antichrist.

(Jackson P. ORTHODOX LIFE., No. I, 1997., Brotherhood of Saint Job of Pochaev at Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, N.Y. pp. 18-22. http://fr-d-serfes.org/orthodox/theotokos.htm viewed 05/11/09)

The reality is that it is likely that false apparitions, claiming to be “Mary” may be among the signs and lying wonders that the Bible warns are coming:

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).

So, if the Orthodox teach that they themselves should NOT listen to seemingly clear signs from Catholic sources, then they should realize that Catholics will not be inclined to accept any signs (clear or otherwise) from the Orthodox.

But the third problem is that the Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants all should realize that none of them hold to the teachings of the original apostles or their immediate successors. Hence the Eastern Orthodox is NOT the place to come home to.

Those who wish to look into this will realize that many of the early Christian leaders that the Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants consider to have been saints held positions that agree with the Continuing Church of God, but contradict the current teachings of those other groups.

It isn’t that there is no place for signs and interventions from God (Acts 2:17-18; see also Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God?), but what a group teaches MUST agree with the Bible or the signs and wonders should not be relied upon.

This, as well as information related to Marian apparitions, can be determined by prayerful honest study of the following documented information:

Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
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!
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers?
Dreams, the Bible, and the Continuing Church of God Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God?
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?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
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.